Facts about prophecy
The laws of probability
Let's look at three Bible prophecies concerning the coming of Messiah:
1. Messiah was to come from the tribe of Judah, one of the 12 tribes of Israel named after the 12
sons of Jacob, whose name was changed by God to Israel.
10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh
come: And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.
23 And Jesus himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was
supposed) of Jo-seph, the son of Heli,
33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
The laws of statistics tell us there is 1 chance in 12 of that happening. (12 tribes – 1 chance in twelve)
2. He would be born in Bethlehem, a small city of the province of Judah in the nation of Israel.
2 But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall
one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.
1. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise-men
from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,
Since there were about 200 towns in Judah the chances of his being born in Bethlehem would have
been 1 in 200.
3. He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.
12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my
hire thirty pieces of silver.
13 And Jehovah said unto me, Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I was prized at by them. And I
took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them unto the potter, in the house of Jehovah.
15 and said, What are ye willing to give me, and I will de-liver him unto you? And they weighed unto him
thirty pieces of silver.
This prophecy even went to far as to indicate what would become of the 30 pieces of silver – it went to
Statisticians figure (somehow) that the chances were 1 in 50 of that happening.
BUT, the combined probability of all three prophecies being fulfilled by any one man, especially when he
had no control over the circum-stances, would be 1 in 120,000. It is a staggering thought that God would
be so bold as to predict such details concerning the life of one man when there are so many chances in
life of something changing or altering the plan.
There is only one chance in 120,000 that any man would fulfill three prophecies by chance. When we
consider 11 prophecies about Messiah -
· Born in Bethlehem 1 in 200
· Preceded by a messenger 1 in 20
· Enter Jerusalem on a colt 1 in 50
· Be betrayed by a friend 1 in 10
· Have his hands and feet pierced 1 in 100
· Be wounded and whipped 1 in 25
· Be sold for 30 pieces of silver 1 in 100
· Be spit upon and beaten 1 in 10
· Betrayal money thrown in temple and given for potters field 1 in 200
· Be silent before his accusers 1 in 100
· Be crucified with thieves 1 in 100
There is one chance in 10 billion times a billion that the prophets could have accurately predicted these
11 specifics by chance, or that one man's life could fulfill these detailed prophecies by chance alone. It
is obviously impossible. Also, consider that some of these prophecies were given almost 1000 years
before Jesus was born.
Plus, there are other considerations. That his hands and feet would be pierced was predicted 500
years before crucifixion was invented by the Romans.
When we consider that there are 48 major prophecies given in the Old Testament about the promised
Messiah, the odds of one life fulfilling all 48 prophecies are astronomical. To illustrate this point,
imagine that someone dropped a diamond ring from a plane somewhere over one of the oceans. You
enter a bet that you can locate it with just one try using a long line and a fishhook. You can wander over
the earth's 197,000,000 square miles of ocean in your boat for as long as you like. When you feel
lucky, stop, drop the line and try to hook the ring lying thousands of feet below on the ocean floor. You
only get one try.
Your odds of finding the ring are precisely equal to the odds against the biblical prophets correctly
predicting just those 11 specific details in the life of Messiah - not to mention the other 37 prophecies.
Now, let's push that even farther. There are 333 details in the predic-tions of scripture concerning the
person and career of Messiah. The chances? 1 in 840,000,000,000,000,000 (840 followed by 15 0's).