Part 4 of Proof that the Bible is the Inspired Word of God
Each of the 3 long captivities of Israel was prophesized in the Bible. Their first exile in Egypt, which lasted 430 years. The 70 years of captivity in Babylon and the worldwide dispersion of the Jewish people for 2000 years. Ezekiel got the date right for the miraculous rebirth of Israel: May 15, 1948.
No one, but God can accurately predict future events in detail. In Isaiah 46:9-10 God said, “Remember the former things of old; for I am God and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying my counsel stands and I will do all my pleasure.”
The Bible contains 1817 individual predictions concerning 737 separate subjects found in 8352 verses. This is 27% of the Bible. 27% or almost 1/3rd of the Bible is prophecy. One of the reasons God has prophesies in the Bible is for proof: that He is who He says He is and He wrote the book. There have been many false prophets outside the Bible and most of the time they have been wrong. Only God has been right all the time.
No one predicted the coming of Buddha or Mohammed, but the Old Testament has over 300 passages that refer to the first coming of the Messiah. Of these, 48 are specific details about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. These were published over 5 centuries before Christ was born. Things He had no human control over: like being born in Bethlehem and to a Virgin.
If you know anything about statistics you’ve heard of the Laws of Mathematical Probability. They are not abstract. In fact, they are so dependable that huge insurance companies write policies promising to pay a million dollars to the family of a 30 year old male in return for a small premium of only $30 per month. Why would they take such a risk? Because of the Law of Probability. After careful study of the mortality tables insurance companies know that only a tiny fraction of the 30-year-old clients they insure will actually die in a year.
The laws of probability reveal that if the probability of a single event occurring randomly is one chance in 5 and the probability of another event occurring is 1 in 10, then the probability that both events will occur together in sequence is 5x10 or 1 in 50.
If you have 1 coin and toss it in the air, you have a 50% chance of it being “heads”. But, if you toss 2 coins in a row the odds of getting heads twice in a row is 2x2 or 4. Tossing 10 coins in a row and getting 10 heads jump to 1 chance in 1024.
I’m going to tell you just 17 of the prophecies about the Messiah that came true in Jesus. To have them all come true in 1 man is so improbable that any unbiased observer must accept that the Bible was truly inspired by God and that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah.
1. His birth in Bethlehem (predicted in Micah 5:2) from the tribe of Judah (predicted in Genesis 49:10) - 1 in 2400 chance.
2. Jesus would be preceded by a messenger (predicted in Isaiah 40:3, fulfilled in Matthew 3:1-2 ) - 1 in 20 chance
3. He would enter Jerusalem on a colt – 1 in 50 chance
(predicted in Zechariah 9:9, fulfilled in Luke 19:35-37)
4. He would be betrayed by a friend – 1 in 10 chance
(predicted in Psalm 41:9, fulfilled in Matthew 26:47-48)
5. His hands and feet would be pierced – 1 in 100 chance
(predicted in Psalm 22:16, fulfilled in Luke 23:33)
6. He would be wounded by His enemies – 1 in 10 chance
(predicted in Isaiah 53:5, fulfilled in Matthew 27:26)
7. His betrayal would be for 30 pieces of silver – 1 in 50 chance
(predicted in Zechariah 11:12, fulfilled in Matthew 26:15)
How could you predict 500 years prior the exact amount of money that would be paid for the death of a future king?
8. He would be spit on and beaten – 1 in 10 chance
(predicted in Isaiah 50:6, fulfilled in Matthew 26:67)
9. His betrayal money would be thrown into the Temple and then given to buy a
Potter’s field. 1 in 200 chance
(predicted in Zechariah 11:13, fulfilled in Matthew 27:5-7)
10. He would be silent before His accusers – 1 in 100 chance
(predicted in Isaiah 53:7, fulfilled in Matthew 27:12-14)
11. He would be crucified with thieves – 1 in 100 chance
(predicted in Isaiah 53:12, fulfilled in Matthew 27:38)
12. People would gamble for His garments. 1 in 100 chance
(predicted in Psalm 22:18, fulfilled in John 19:23-24)
13. His side would be pierced. 1 in 100 chance.
(predicted in Zechariah 12:10, fulfilled in John 19:34)
Usually the Romans were so cruel they let their prisoners hang for however long it took to die, in horrible agony. Sometimes it took days. They usually broke their legs so they couldn’t lift themselves to breath if for some reason they wanted to hurry it along. But, the Jews wanted Jesus down by Passover.
14. None of His bones would be broken. 1 in 20 chance
(predicted in Psalm 34:20, fulfilled in John 19:33)
15. His body would not decay – 1 in 10,000 chance
(predicted in Psalm 16:10, fulfilled in Acts 2:31)
16. His burial in a rich man’s tomb. 1 in 100 chance
(predicted in Isaiah 53:9, fulfilled in Matthew 27:57-60)
17. The darkness covering the earth. 1 in 1000 chance
(predicted in Amos 8:9, fulfilled in Matthew 27:45)
In the book the “Third History of Thallus” by a pagan historian in the 3rd century, it was reported that an unusual darkness blotted out the sun for a number of hours at the time of the Passover in AD32. Thallus speculated it was because of an eclipse, but any astronomer can tell you that was impossible because Passover is carefully calculated to occur at a time of a full moon and the positions of the sun, moon and earth at the time make it impossible that this darkness was caused by a natural eclipse.
So, what are the chances that these 17 predictions, made 500 years before Christ’s birth, occurred by chance rather then by the divine plan of God? 1 in 480 billion x 1 billion x 1 trillion. And remember that’s just 17 of the 48 major prophecies given in the Old Testament about the promised Messiah, all of which came true.
To imagine what this means, picture 1 grain of sand painted gold. That’s your 1 chance in the 480 billion x 1 billion x 1 trillion. Now, we’re going to blindfold you and ask you to find that grain of sand somewhere in our galaxy – not just our earth. Would you put any money on a bet that you would find it?
Yet people are willing to bet their eternal lives that these fulfilled prophecies about Jesus Christ are not reliable!