Messianic Prophecies


AN APPEAL - Dear skeptic, dear professor of Christ who is not a possessor of a personal relationship with Christ, dear agnostic, dear atheist, dear religious person, dear member of any religion other than Christianity, let me issue an intellectual challenge. I realize that one cannot be saved simply by intellectual belief, but saving belief is not belief in nothing, but is a belief based on truth. The challenge is to look at the probability of the Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled in any one man as discussed below (see especially Stoner's article in Science Speaks). Or read the chapter Support of Deity: Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ found in Josh McDowell's The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict - scroll down to page 220).

Compiled by Bruce Hurt

Some of the most dramatic evidence that the Bible is a supernatural book and not a collection of stories and myths, is in the realm of fulfilled Bible prophecy. It has been estimated that there are some 2500 prophecies in the Bible, almost 2000 of which have been fulfilled to the letter. Although this synopsis focuses on Messianic prophecies, there are some dramatic fulfilled non-Messianic prophecies, one example being the Lord's prophecy in Ezekiel 26 against the powerful city of Tyre (Click here)

It has been estimated that there are 333 prophecies in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the Messiah. Clearly the fulfillment of all 333 in one Man would be literally impossible based on chance alone. But what about the odds against even a smaller number being fulfilled by chance. Click for an illustration of the statistical unlikelihood that even 8 of OT prophecies could have fulfilled in Jesus merely by chance. The chart below has a sample of some of these prophecies, arranged chronologically beginning with the first five books, the Pentateuch, which Jesus Himself taught from in one of His post-resurrection appearances, Luke recording that...

"beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." (Luke 24:27)


The Messiah (Christ) is the Word of God (Jn 1:1) and so it should come as no surprise that He is described in every Old Testament book.

  • In Genesis He is the Seed of the woman (Ge 3:15).
  • In Exodus He is the Lamb of God for sinners slain (Ex 12:5, 6, 7, 11).
  • In Leviticus He is our High Priest (the whole book).
  • In Numbers He is the Star out of Jacob (Nu 24:17).
  • In Deuteronomy He is the Prophet like unto Moses (Dt 18:15).
  • In Joshua He is the Captain of the Lord’s armies (Josh 5:13, 14, 15).
  • In Judges He is the Angel of the LORD or the messenger of Jehovah (Jdg 13:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23).
  • In Ruth He is our Kinsman-Redeemer (Chapter 3).
  • In Samuel, Kings and Chronicles He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1Sa 8:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).
  • In Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther He is the sovereign Lord over all the kingdoms of the earth (entire books).
  • In Job He is our risen and returning Redeemer (Job 19:25).
  • In Psalms He is the Blessed Man (Psalm 1:1, 2, 3), the Son of Man (Psalm 2:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12), the Crucified One (Psalm 22), the Coming One (Psalm 24), the Reigning One (Psalm 72).
  • In Proverbs He is our Wisdom (Pr 14).
  • In Ecclesiastes He is the forgotten Wise Man (Eccl 9:14, 15).
  • In Song of Solomon He is my Beloved (Song 2:16).
  • In Isaiah He is our suffering Substitute (Isa 53).
  • In Jeremiah He is the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jer 23:6).
  • In Lamentations He is the Man of sorrows who weeps for His people (Lam 1:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18).
  • In Ezekiel He is the glory of God (Ezek 1:28).
  • In Daniel He is the Smiting Stone (Da 2:34) and the Companion in the furnace of fire and the den of lions (Da 3:24, 25; 6:22).
  • In Hosea He is David’s Greater King (Hos 3:5).
  • In Joel He is the Hope of His people (Joel 3:16).
  • In Amos He is the Rescuer of Israel (Amos 3:12).
  • In Obadiah He is the Deliverer upon Mount Zion (Oba 1:17).
  • In Jonah He is the buried and risen Saviour (compare Mt 12:40).
  • In Micah He is the Everlasting God born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2).
  • In Nahum He is our Stronghold in the day of wrath (Nah 1:7).
  • In Habakkuk He is the Anchor of our faith (Hab 2:4).
  • In Zephaniah He is in the midst for judgment and cleansing (Zeph 3:5,15).
  • In Haggai He is Lord of presence and power (Hag 1:13).
  • In Zechariah He is the coming king riding on a donkey (Zech 9:9).
  • In Malachi He is the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2).

Related Resources: Offsite

Click here for Hebrew Names of Messiah






circa 4000 B.C
"Beginning with Moses..."

Genesis 3:15 :And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He (note her seed called "He") shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise Him on the heel. (Spurgeon - Ge 3:15 Christ the Conqueror of Satan) (See commentary Ge 3:15)

Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of time came God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law. (Note) (See Spurgeon - The Great Birthday and Our Coming of Age)

Most conservative writers agree this is the Prot-evangelium ("First Gospel"), which

1) Predicts hostility between "your seed" (Satan & unbelievers, cf Jn 8:44) and her Seed (Christ & all "in Christ" by faith)

2) Promises the good news that the woman’s seed (Christ) would crush the Devil’s head, a mortal wound spelling utter defeat on the Cross where Jesus forever triumphed over Sin, Satan & Death. Satan bruising of Messiah’s heel pictures His suffering. Note God's mercy to promise the Messiah before pronouncing sentence! The rest of the Old Testament proceeds to point ahead to the Seed, the Messiah.

W H Griffith Thomas writes that Genesis 3 “is the call of Divine justice, which cannot overlook sin. It is the call of Divine sorrow, which grieves over the sinner. It is the call of Divine love, which offers redemption for sin.” (Genesis 3 Devotional Commentary)


circa 2000 B.C
Genesis 22:18 "And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." ."

Genesis 12:3-note And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." ("the gospel" - compare Gal 3:8 in next column) (See Spurgeon - Abraham's Double Blessing)

Matthew 1:1 "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."

Galatians 3:16 (Note) "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ."

Galatians 3:8 (Note) And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU. (Genesis 12:3b)"

Morris notes that "In his theological argument concerning the Abrahamic covenant, Paul almost unconsciously makes an exceedingly strong affirmation of the verbal inspiration of the Old Testament Scriptures, basing his argument not just on one word, but one letter, "seed" instead of "seeds." Thus the promised "Seed" was not the nation Israel, but the one Person Who alone could fulfill the great promises made to Abraham, namely, Christ. (See Defender's Study Bible Notes in Right Margin)

circa 700 B.C
Micah 5:2 But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity (Note)
(Spurgeon - The Incarnation and Birth of Christ)
Matthew 2:1-6 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him. 3 And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he began to inquire of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 And they said to him 'In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet, 6 And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler, Who will shepherd My people Israel.' (Spurgeon- Mt 2:1-4 Far-Off, Near) Even if Jesus could have fulfilled some of the other prophecies by choosing to do so, He could hardly have fulfilled His place of birth in an obscure village distinct from the other village by the same first name (Bethlehem)! Jesus sternly warned every skeptic of every age that

"unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins." (John 8:25)

Notice that in this verse "He" has been added by the translators, so what Jesus really said was that He was "I Am", the equivalent of Jehovah ("I Am") in the Old Testament. In contrast to the argument by many skeptics that Jesus never declared He was God, this verse is one of many clear refutations. His hearers, although unbelieving, nevertheless knew exactly what He was saying and after He again declared "I Am"..."they picked up stones to throw at Him..." (John 8:59)

circa 700 B.C

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the LORD Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (God with us). (Note) (See Spurgeon - Isaiah 7:14 The Birth of Christ) Matthew 1:18-23 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bear a Son and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He Who will save His people from their sins." 22 Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, 23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us." The Amazing Prophecy of Names - A study of Isaiah's names for the Saviors - Discovery Series

The Jewish Tradition Of Two Messiahs - Discovery Series

Questions Skeptics Ask About Messianic Prophecy - Discovery Series

Jesus Christ: The Only Possible Legitimate Messiah

Chart on Christ in the Old Testament

Messianic Prophecies, Types and Applications in the Old Testament

circa 700 B.C

Isaiah 40:3 A voice is calling: Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness, make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. (Note) Matthew 3:1-3 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea saying, 2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.!" (Spurgeon - Mt 1:23 God With Us)  
circa 700 B.C
Isaiah 9:1-2 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali (Note) with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. 2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. (Note) (Spurgeon - Immanuel The Light of Life) Matthew 4:13-16 Leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles 16 The people who were setting in darkness saw a great light; and to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned (Surgeon- Mt 4:15-16 Light for those Who Sit in Darkness)  


Zechariah 9:9 (Note) "Behold your King is coming to you, He is just and endowed with salvation, humble and mounted on a donkey even on a colt the foal of a donkey." (Spurgeon - The Lowly King)

Zechariah 9:10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.


Matthew 21:5 Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden. 6 And the disciples went and did just as Jesus had directed them, 7 and brought the donkey and the clot, and laid n them their garments, on which He sat. 8 And most of the multitude spread their garments in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees, and spreading them in the road. 9 And the multitudes going before Him and those who followed after were crying out, saying, "Hosanna ("Save us we pray") to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!" 10 And when He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?" 11 And the multitudes were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee."

(Spurgeon - Mt 21:5 Another Royal Procession) (Mt 21:5 Triumphal Entry)


(Not directly quoted so fulfillment is seen in several passages)

Revelation 11:15 (note) And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."

Revelation 19:16 (note) And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

MESSIAH WOULD BE REJECTED BY HIS OWN PEOPLE Psalms 69:8 I have become estranged from my brothers and an alien to my mother's sons. (Spurgeon's Note)

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Spurgeon - Isa 53:3 Man of Sorrows)

John 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. (Spurgeon - John 1:11 Ingratitude of Man)

John 7:5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him.

circa 500 B.C

Zechariah 11:12 (Zechariah carried out the drama - see previous verses - by symbolically picturing Messiah asking those He came to shepherd what they felt He was worth to them) And I said to them, "If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!" So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages (In a mocking response, the leaders offered 30 silver pieces which was the amount of compensation paid for a slave gored by an ox - see Ex 21:32 below). 13 Then the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I (THE MESSIAH) was valued by them." So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD. (Note by Messianic Jewish writer David Baron)

Exodus 21:32 "If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall give his or her master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

Matthew 26:14 Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests,15 and said, "What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?" And they weighed out to him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Him.

Matthew 27:3 Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? See to that yourself!" 5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood." 7 And they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter's Field as a burial place for strangers.



Psalms 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it is melted within me. 17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at Me; 18 They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. (Spurgeon's Note)

John 19:24 They said therefore to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be"; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS."

Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. (Spurgeon Ps 22:1 - Cries from the Cross) (Spurgeon Note) Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?"
(Spurgeon Mt 27:46 Lama Sabachthani)
(Mt 27:46 Our Lord's Solemn Enquiry)
MESSIAH'S LEGS WOULD NOT BE BROKEN Psalm 34:20 (Note) He keeps all His bones; not one of them is broken. (cf. to Ps 22:17) (Spurgeon Note) John 19:33 But coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.
(Spurgeon- John 19:31-37 On the Cross After Death)
circa 530BC
Daniel 9:24 (notes) "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place.
25 "So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
26 "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
27 "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."
See this time period charted out and the incredible fulfillment...

Daniel's Seventieth Week (click)

Related Resources

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Intro Comments


In New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (free online scroll down to page 250) Josh McDowell has the following

Objection: Fulfilled Prophecy in Jesus Was Coincidental—an Accident - “Why, you could find some of these prophecies fulfilled in the deaths of Kennedy, King, Nasser, and other great figures,” replies the critic.

Answer: Yes, one could possibly find one or two prophecies fulfilled in the lives of other men, but not all sixty-one major prophecies! In fact, for years, if you could have found someone other than Jesus, living or dead, who fulfilled half the predictions concerning Messiah, as listed in Messiah in Both Testaments by Fred John Meldau, the Christian Victory Publishing Company of Denver offered to give you a thousand-dollar reward. There are a lot of men in the universities who could have used this extra cash!

H. Harold Hartzler, of the American Scientific Affiliation, Goshen College, in the foreword of Peter Stoner’s book writes: “The manuscript for Science Speaks has been carefully reviewed by a committee of the American Scientific Affiliation members and by the Executive Council of the same group and has been found, in general, to be dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented. The mathematical analysis included is based upon principles of probability which are thoroughly sound and Professor Stoner has applied these principles in a proper and convincing way” (Hartzler, “F,” as cited in Stoner, SS).

The following probabilities are taken from Stoner in Science Speaks to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to eight prophecies (1.—No. 10; 2.—No. 22; 3.—No. 27; 4.—No. 33 & 44; 5.—No. 34; 6.—No. 35 & 36; 7.—No. 39; 8.—No. 44 & 45 [crucified]),

 “We find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 1017” (10 to the 17th power). That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (17 zeros after the one). In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that “we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them according to their own wisdom. “Now these prophecies were either given by inspiration of God or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 1017 of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ. This means that the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 1017 of being absolute.” (Stoner, SS, 100–107)

Stoner considers forty-eight prophecies and reports,

We find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10157. This is really a large number and it represents an extremely small chance. Let us try to visualize it. The silver dollar, which we have been using, is entirely too large. We must select a smaller object. The electron is about as small an object as we know of. It is so small that it will take 2.5 times 1015 of them laid side by side to make a line, single file, one inch long. If we were going to count the electrons in this line one inch long, and counted 250 each minute, and if we counted day and night, it would take us 19,000,000 years to count just the one-inch line of electrons. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and we tried to count them it would take us, counting steadily 250 each minute, 19,000,000 times 19,000,000 times 19,000,000 years or 6.9 times 1021 years. (Stoner, SS, 109, 110)

Such is the chance of any individual fulfilling forty-eight prophecies.

Norman Geisler

The highly reputed “predictions” of Nostradamus were not that amazing at all. Contrary to popular belief, he never predicted either the place or the year of a great California earthquake. Most of his “famous” predictions, such as the rise of Hitler, were vague. As other psychics, he was frequently wrong, a false prophet by biblical standards.

John MacArthur gives a great summary of Scripture as it relates to the Second Coming of Christ:

Future predictive prophecy occupies 20% of Scripture. 

  • One-third of this 20% is focused on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Speaks of the return to judge sinners and to reward the righteous
  • ~660 general prophecies in the Bible and about 330 (50%) relate to Jesus Christ. 
  • Of 330 prophecies about Jesus, about 110 refer to His first coming and 220 to His Second Coming. 
  • There are 46 OT prophets - 10 spoke of His first coming and 36 of His Second Coming. 
  • Estimated that >1500 OT verses refer to the return of the Messiah in glory and judgment. 
  • Approximately one of every 25 NT verses relate to Christ's Second Coming.
  • There are 8 NT mentions of the Second Coming for every mention of His first coming 
  • Our Lord referred to His Second Coming 20 times and there are over 50 warnings in the NT that He is coming again.

Peter Stoner

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me - John 5:39.

THE WORD "Scriptures" in this passage refers to the Old Testament. Christ is saying that in the Old Testament we will find the prophecies referring to Himself. It is therefore in these prophecies, and their fulfillment, that we may look if we wish to find evidence that Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God, the saviour of mankind, and everything else which was prophesied of Him, and which He claimed to be.

If we find these prophecies to be fulfilled in Christ, we will establish not only that Christ is the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament, but that those prophecies were given by God Himself. For if they were not given by God, no man would have fulfilled any number of them, as will be evident later in this chapter.

In order to evaluate our evidence we shall use the same principle of probability which was stated and used in the preceding chapter.

In evaluating these prophecies, we shall have to answer this question regarding each prophecy: One man in how many men has fulfilled this prophecy? I realize that some will object to this question, saying that these prophecies were made with respect to Christ, and no other man has, or even can, fulfill them. This, of course, is true when you consider the mass of prophecies regarding Christ, but it is not true of all individual prophecies. It was prophesied, for example, that Christ would be born in Bethlehem; certainly other persons have been born in Bethlehem. It was prophesied that Christ would be crucified; other men have been crucified. I certainly am not trying to be sacrilegious in asking these questions; but I am trying to look at the evidence entirely unbiased, that I may the better give a clear argument.

The Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at Pasadena City College sponsored a class in Christian evidences. One section of the work of this class was to consider the evidence produced by the fulfilled prophecies referring to the first advent of Christ. The students were asked to be very conservative in their probability estimates. They discussed each prophecy at length, bringing out various conditions which might affect the probability of any man fulfilling it. After discussion, the students agreed unanimously on a definite estimate as being both reasonable and conservative. At the end of the evaluations the students expressed their feelings thus: If any one were able to enter into the discussions and help in placing the estimates, as they had done, that person would certainly agree that the estimates were conservative. The estimates used in this chapter are a combination of the estimates given by this class on Christian evidences combined with estimates given me later by some twelve different classes of college students, representing more than 600 students. I have carefully weighed the estimates and have changed some to make them more conservative. If the reader does not agree with the estimates given, he may make his own estimates and then carry them through to their logical conclusions.

We considered the following eight prophecies:

1. "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).

This prophecy predicts that the Christ is to be born in Bethlehem. Since this is the first prophecy to be considered there are no previously set restrictions, so our question is: One man in how many, the world over, has been born in Bethlehem?

  The best estimate which we can make of this comes from the attempt to find out the average population of Bethlehem, from Micah down to the present time, and divide it by the average population of the earth during the same period. One member of the class was an assistant in the library so he was assigned to get this information. He reported at the next meeting that the best determination of the ratio that he could determine was one to 280,000. Since the probable population of the earth has averaged less than two billion, the population of Bethlehem has averaged less than 7,150. Our answer may be expressed in the form that one man in 7,150/2,000,000,000 or one man in 2.8 x 10 to the fifth was born in Bethlehem.

2. "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me" (Mal. 3:1).

Our question here is: Of the men who have been born in Bethlehem, one man in how many has had a forerunner to prepare his way? John the Baptist, of course, was the forerunner of Christ. But since there appears to be no material difference between the people born in Bethlehem and those born any other place in the world, the question can just as well be general: One man in how many, the world over, has had a forerunner to prepare his way?

The students said that the prophecy apparently referred to a special messenger of God, whose one duty was to prepare the way for the work of Christ, so there is a further restriction added. The students finally agreed on one in 1,000 as being extremely conservative. Most of the members thought the estimate should be much larger. We will use the estimate as 1 in 10 to the third.

3. "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation: lowly, and riding upon ... a colt the foal of an ass" (Zech. 9:9).

Our question then is: One man in how many, who was born in Bethlehem and had a forerunner, did enter Jerusalem as a king riding on a colt the foal of an ass? This becomes so restrictive that we should consider an equivalent question: One man in how many, who has entered Jerusalem as a ruler, has entered riding on a colt the foal of an ass?

The students said that this was a very hard thing to place an estimate on. They knew of no one but Christ who had so entered. The students thought that at least in more modern times any one entering Jerusalem as a king would use a more dignified means of transportation. They agreed to place an estimate of 1 in 104. We will use 1 in 102.

4. "And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends" (Zech. 13:6+).

Christ was betrayed by Judas, one of His disciples, causing Him to be put to death, wounds being made in His hands.

There seems to be no relation between the fulfillment of this prophecy and those which we have previously considered. We may then ask the question: One man in how many, the world over, has been betrayed by a friend, and that betrayal has resulted in his being wounded in his hands?

The students said that it was very rare to be betrayed by a friend, and still rarer for the betrayal to involve wounding in the hands. One in 1.000 was finally agreed upon, though most of the students would have preferred a larger number. So we will use the 1 in 10 to the 3 power.

 5. "And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver" (Zech. 11:12).

The question here is very simple: Of the people who have been betrayed, one in how many has been betrayed for exactly thirty pieces of silver?

The students thought this would be extremely rare and set their estimate as one in 10,000, or 1 in 10 to the 4 power. We will us 1 in 10 to the 3 power

6. "And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord" (Zech. 11:13).

This is extremely specific. All thirty pieces of silver are not to be returned. They are to be cast down in the house of the Lord, and they are to go to the potter. You will recall that Judas in remorse tried to return the thirty pieces of silver, cut the chief priest would not accept them. So Judas threw them down on the floor of the temple and went and hanged himself. The chief priest then took the money and bought a field of the potter to bury strangers in. Our question is: One man in how many, after receiving a bribe for the betrayal of a friend, had returned the money, had it refused, had thrown it on the floor in the house of the Lord, and then had it used to purchase a field from the potter?

The students said they doubted if there has ever been another incident involving all of these items, but they agreed on an estimate of one in 100,000. They were very sure that this was conservative. So we use the estimate as 1 in 10 to the 5 power.

7. "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth" (Isa. 53:7).

One man in how many, after fulfilling the above prophecies, when he is oppressed and afflicted and is on trial for his life, though innocent, will make no defense for himself?

Again my students said they did not know that this had ever happened in any case other than Christ's. At least it is extremely rare, so they placed their estimate as one in 10,000 or 1 in 10 to the 4 power. We will use 1 in 10 to the 3 power.

8. "For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet" (Ps. 22:16).

The Jews are still looking for the coming of Christ; in fact, He might have come any time after these prophecies were written up to the present time, or even on into the future. So our question is: One man in how many, from the time of David on, has been crucified?

After studying the methods of execution down through the ages and their frequency, the students agreed to estimate this probability at one in 10,000 or 1 in 10 to the 4 power, which we will use.

If these estimates are considered fair, one man in how many men, the world over, will fulfill all eight prophecies? This question can be answered by applying our principles of probability. In other words, by multiplying all of our estimates together, or 1 in 2.8 x 10 (to 5 power) x 10 to the 3 power  x 10 to the 2 power  x 10 to the 3 power x 10 to the 5 power x 10 to the 3 power x 10 to the 4 power . This gives 1 in 2.8 x 10 to the 28 power, where 28 means that we have 28 ciphers (zeros) following the 2.8. Let us simplify and reduce the number by calling it 1 in 10 to the 28. Written out this number is 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

This is the answer to the question: One man in how many men has fulfilled these eight prophecies? But we are really concerned with the answer to the question: What is the chance that any man might have lived from the day of these prophecies down to the present time and have fulfilled all of the eight prophecies? We can answer this question by dividing our 10 to the 28 by the total number of people who have lived since the time of these prophecies. The best information available indicates the number to be about 88 billion or 8.8 x 10 to the 10.

  To simplify the computation let us call the number 10 to the 11. By dividing these two numbers we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17.

Editor's note: It is probable that 88 billion or 8.8 x 10 to the 10 assumes a growth rate for the earth's population which is much too small - that most of the people who have ever lived are still alive today - suggesting that this number may be too large by a factor of ten. If so, this will affect the final result by the same factor of ten; ten times fewer total people who might have fulfilled these prophecies means only one tenth the chance that one of them might have done it by accident. Our number would become 1018 instead of 1017. The number used in this book is very conservative.

Let us try to visualize this chance. If you mark one of ten tickets, and place all of the tickets in a hat, and thoroughly stir them, and then ask a blindfolded man to draw one, his chance of getting the right ticket is one in ten. Suppose that we take 10 to the 17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far s he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote using their own wisdom.

Now these prophecies were either given by inspiration of God or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 10 to the 17 of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ.

This means that the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one change in 10 to the 17 of being absolute.

Sometimes we weigh our chances in the business world, and say if an investment has nine chances in ten of being profitable, and only one chance in ten of being a failure, it is safe enough for us to make the investment. Whoever heard of an investment that had only one chance in 10 to the 17 of failure? The business world has no conception of such an investment. Yet we are offered this investment by God. By the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior we know, from only these eight prophecies which lack only 1 chance in 10 to the 17 of being an absolute proof, that that investment will yield the wonderful dividend of eternal life with Christ. Can anyone be so unreasonable as to reject Jesus Christ and pin his hope of eternal life on such a slim chance as finding the right silver dollar among this great mass, covering the whole state of Texas two feet deep? It does not seem possible, yet every man who rejects Christ is doing just that.

More than three hundred prophecies from the Old Testament which deal with the first advent of Christ have been listed. Every one of them was completely fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Let us see what happens when we take more than eight prophecies. Suppose we add eight more prophecies to our list, and assume that their chance of fulfillment is the same as the eight just considered. The chance that one man would fulfill all sixteen is 1 x 10 to the 28 x 10 to the 17 or 1 in 10 to the 45.

Let us try to visualize this as we did before. Take this number of silver dollars. If you make these into a solid ball, you will have a great sphere with a center at the earth, and extending in all directions more than 30 times as far as from the earth to the sun. (If a train had started from the earth at the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, and had traveled steadily toward the sun at the rate of sixty miles per hour, day and night, it would be about reaching its destination today. But remember that our ball of silver dollars extends thirty times that far in all directions.) If you can imagine the marking of one silver dollar, and then thoroughly stirring it into this great ball, and blindfolding a man and telling him to pick out one dollar, and expect it to be the marked one, you have somewhat of a picture of how absolutely the fulfillment of sixteen prophecies referring to Jesus Christ proves both that He is the Son of God and that our Bible is inspired. Certainly God directed the writing of His Word.

In order to extend this consideration beyond all bounds of human comprehension, let us consider forty-eight prophecies, similar in their human chance of fulfillment to the eight which we originally considered, using a much more conservative number, 1 in 10 to the 21.

Applying the same principle of probability used so far, we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all forty-eight prophecies to be 1 in 10 to the 157.

This is really a large number and it represents an extremely small chance. Let us try to visualize it. The silver dollar, which we have been using, is entirely too large. We must select a smaller object. The electron is about as small an object as we know of. It is so small that it will take 2.5 x 10 to the 15 of them laid side by side to make a line, single file, one inch long. If we were going to count the electrons in this line one inch long, and counted 250 each minute, and if we counted day and night, it would take us 19,000,000 years to count just the one-inch line of electrons. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and we tried to count them, it would take us 1.2 x 10 to the 38 years (2 x 10 to the 28 times the 6 billion years back to the creation of the solar system (ED: I BELIEVE THAT NUMBER IS NOT REALITY).

With this introduction, let us go back to our chance of 1 in 10 in 157. Let us suppose that we are taking this number of electrons, marking one, and thoroughly stirring it into the whole mass, then blindfolding a man and letting him try to find the right one. What chance has he of finding the right one? What kind of a pile will this number of electrons make? They make an inconceivably large volume. The distance from our system of stars, or galaxy, to the next nearest one is nearly 1,500,000 light-years; that is the distance that light will travel in 1,500,000 years going 186,000 miles each and every second. This distance is so great that if every man, woman and child in the United States, 200,000,000 of them, had a library of 65,000 volumes, and you collected every book in all of these libraries and them started on this journey of 1,500,000 light-years, and decided to place one letter from one of the books on each mile (e.g., if "the" was the first word in the first book you would put "t" on the first mile, "h" on the second mile, and "e" on the third mile; then leave a mile blank without a letter and start the next word in the same manner, etc.), before you complete your journey you will use up every letter in every book of every one of the libraries and have to call for more.

Space, by some authorities, is supposed to extend in all directions to the distance, not of 1,500,000 light-years. but more than 4,000 times that far or 6,000,000,000 light-years. Let us make a solid ball of electrons, extending in all directions from the earth to the distance of six billion light-years. Have we used up our 10 to 157 electrons? No, we have made such a small hole in the mass that we cannot see it. We can make this solid ball of electrons, extending in all directions to the distance of six billion light-years 6 x 10 to 28 times.

Suppose again that we had this great amount of electrons, 10 to 157 of them, and we were able to make 500 of these tremendous balls, six billion light- years in radius, each minute. If we worked day and night it would take us 10 to 10 times the 6 billion years back to creation to use up our supply of electrons. Now, one of these electrons was marked and thoroughly stirred into the whole mass; blindfold your man and ask him to find the marked electron.

No man could in any way look over this mass of electrons, blindfolded or not blindfolded, and pick out any one electron, let alone the one that had been marked. (The electron, in fact, is so small that it cannot be seen with powerful microscope.)

To the extent, then, that we know this blindfolded man cannot pick out the marked electron, we know that the Bible is inspired. This is not merely evidence. It is proof of the Bible's inspiration by God--proof so definite that the universe is not large enough to hold the evidence. Some will say that our estimates of the probability of the fulfillment of these prophecies are too large and the numbers should be reduced. Ask a man to submit his own estimates, and if they are smaller than these we have used, we shall add a few more prophecies to be evaluated and this same number will be reestablished or perhaps exceeded.

Our Bible students claim that there are more than three hundred prophecies dealing with Christ's first advent. If this number is correct, and it no doubt is, you could set your estimates ridiculously low on the whole three hundred prophecies and still obtain tremendous evidence of inspiration.

For example you may place all of your estimates at one in four. You may say that one man in four has been born in Bethlehem: that one of these children in four was taken to Egypt, to avoid slaughter; that one in four of these came back and made his home in Nazareth; that one in four of these was a carpenter; that one in four of these was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver; that one in four of these has been crucified on a cross; that one in four was then buried in a rich man's tomb; yes, even that one in four rose from the dead on the third day; and so on for all of the three hundred prophecies and from them I  will build a number much larger than the one we obtained from the forty-eight prophecies.

Any man who rejects Christ as the Son of God
is rejecting a fact proved perhaps more absolutely than any other fact in the world.


The idea of "prepare" means to “clear away the obstacles”. The geographical feature of "wilderness" symbolized the arid lifelessness of the unconverted soul. Mountains and hills represent the proud and arrogant among men, valleys the people of low degree. All unevenness and roughness of character must be made smooth. All four Gospel writers quote this verse as applying to John the Baptist (Matt. 3:1-4; Mark 1:1-4; Luke 1:76-78; John 1:23) In the NT John the Baptist declared that repentance was necessary to prepare the way for Christ. Highway in Isaiah (and in the Gospels) figuratively referred to the hearts of people who must be spiritually prepared by repentance for God’s glory to be revealed.

Constable - It was customary to construct processional avenues for approaching dignitaries and for idols carried in parade. The wilderness and desert represent the barren waste where God’s people dwelt, complete with obstacles and impediments to overcome, and through which He would come to them with refreshment, as He did formerly at Mount Sinai. The idea is that He was certainly coming and His people should prepare for His appearing. (Isaiah 40 Commentary - Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable)

Freeman - It’s been the custom for centuries for Eastern monarchs who are traveling through their domain to send men before them to prepare their way by removing stones (see Isaiah 62:10), leveling rough places, filling up hollows, cleaning up trash and litter, and generally making the road pleasant and easy for the distinguished travelers and their guests. One of the stories told about the semi-legendary Queen Sammu-ramat (Semiramis of Greek legend, and mother of king Adad-nirari III, who reigned from 810 to 783), is that on one of her journeys she came to a rough, mountainous, region, and ordered the hills leveled and the hollows filled, which was done at enormous cost. Her object was not only to shorten her way, but to leave to posterity a lasting monument to herself. Since her time there have been other instances of similar character, but none involving so much labor and expense. (Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. Manners & Customs of the Bible)

In a devotional from Our Daily Bread on Isaiah 40:3 - Many years ago Robert Louis Stevenson was stricken with a fatal illness. Seeking quiet and rest in a favorable climate, he chose a faraway island in the Pacific Ocean. He soon found conditions to be less than ideal, however, for the native chiefs were constantly at war with one another. Quarrels and disputes kept breaking out among them, but gradually Stevenson was able to solve these conflicts. By every kind act in his power he won their friendship, and soon he got them to settle their differences, teach­ing them how to be happy and at peace. These people had never had such a friend before. The great novelist became their hero, and they longed to show him their gratitude. They had no money to buy gifts, but one of the natives said, "We can make him a wide, smooth pathway straight through the heart of the jungle that shall lead to his land, for he has longed to have others come and visit him." All agreed to start immediately on its construc­tion. Today this inscription appears over the entrance of that highway: "The Road of the Loving Heart," and just below it a plaque telling that it was built to please Stevenson because he had brought them joy and peace. There is One greater than Stevenson who has also shown us His love, and through His sacrifice has brought eternal peace to our troubled hearts. In gratitude to Him, let us labor to prepare "the way of the Lord" for others, that through our consecrated lives and our words of testimony they may find easy access to our divine Friend. If we show them His grace, many will want to walk "The Road of the Loving Heart." (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

With the zeal of John the Baptist
Let us still "prepare the way"
For the weary feet of sinners
Who would seek the Lord today.
— I. H.

When God's work comes to a standstill, you can be sure the obstacles in the way can be removed by human hands!


The northern territory of Israel, called the land of Naphtali, which had been brought into contempt by the invaders, will be made glorious. (Galilee of the Gentiles was the Savior’s boyhood home and the scene of part of His public ministry.) Christ’s First Advent brought light to Galilee. His Second Coming will bring joy to the nation and put an end to slavery and war. The coming of the Messiah is synonymous with the coming of light to remove the darkness of captivity.

Constable writes that in Isaiah's time - In contrast to the gloom of the false counselors, the residents of Galilee in Israel, who would experience the Lord’s chastening, would enjoy glory. God would bring light when His people had lost all hope. Galilee was the first region in Israel to feel the lash of the Assyrian invaders. It was a melting pot and home to many Gentiles as well as Jews because the international highway between Mesopotamia and Egypt passed through it. Glory came to this region later when Jesus lived and ministered there (cf. Matt. 4:13–16). But it will enjoy even greater glory during Messiah’s earthly reign, as will all of the Promised Land. (Isaiah 9 Commentary - Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable)

An artist took the Constitution of the United States, and he painted the letters of the Constitution very carefully and shaded each letter. And, as you looked at the Constitution of the United States of America, you could read it and read it all as the Framers intended it to be. But, if you stepped back and looked at it, you would see that the artist had so shaded the letters that you saw a portrait of George Washington. Now, that’s what you find in the Old Testament. You’ll find all of these laws and ceremonies and practices, and these types, illustrations. But, as you step back, there He is—Jesus, the Son of God....Now, let me come to a conclusion tonight and tell you two things: number one, you can trust the Word of God; secondly, you can trust the God of that Word. I mean, if you trust the Word of God, you certainly ought to trust the God of that Word. Now, the Old Testament says that somebody is coming. The New Testament says that somebody has come. And, the book of the Revelation says that somebody is coming again. Now, the New Testament tells you how Jesus, who is coming, gets you ready for His Second Coming, how you can know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. (The Christ of the Old Testament)

Jesus directed us to the Old Testament (that is the only Bible they had in the time of Jesus) to see "His portrait" in those inspired writings...

(Luke 24:44-45+) -Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in (1) the Law of Moses and (2) the Prophets and (3) the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

Comment -  Note Jesus gives us the Jewish threefold division which embraces the entire Old Testament canon. Another way of expressing this would be the historical writings, the poetical writings, and the prophetical writings. Note also the phrase "must be fulfilled" indicates that every promise of God concerning the Person and work of Jesus Christ will be fulfilled, either at His first or second coming, for "the Scripture cannot be broken" (Jn 10:35)

(John 5:39-40) “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

(John 5:45-47) “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Henry Morris - It is a foolish claim, (though many modern Christians make it - ED: INCLUDING ANDY STANLEY!) to believe the New Testament without also believing the Old Testament, including Genesis. Christ Himself accepted the Pentateuch as literal and inspired history. Thus, to reject the Genesis accounts of creation and the Flood, for example, is tantamount to rejecting Christ as the omniscient Son of God. (Defender's Study Bible)

Zechariah 9:9-10 Notes from Messianic Jewish writer David Baron who quotes "Edersheim. Many pages could be filled with quotations from the Talmud, the Midrashim, and Jewish commentators, in which this passage (Zech 9:9-10) is applied to the Messiah. In the Talmud Bab., fol. 98, we read Rabbi Joshua ben Levi asks :

"It is written in one place, Behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13-note), but in another place it is written, lowly, and riding upon a donkey. How is this to be understood? The answer is, If they be righteous (or deserving) He shall come with the clouds of heaven; if they be not righteous, then He shall come lowly, and riding upon a donkey."

With the exception of Rabbi Moshe ha-Kohen (quoted by Aben-Ezra, who applied the prophecy to Nehemiah) and Aben-Ezra (who applies it to "Judas, the son of the Hasmonean ") all the Jewish commentators apply it to the Messiah. Rashi says,

"This cannot be explained except of King-Messiah, for it is said of Him, And His dominion shall be from sea to sea ; but we do not find that such a one ruled over Israel in the time of the Second Temple."

Saadiah Gaon, commenting on the words in Daniel 7:13 (Daniel 7 Commentary) ., " Behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven," says,

"This is the Messiah our righteousness. But is it not written of the Messiah, Lowly, and riding upon an donkey. Yes, but this shows that He will come in humility, and not in pride upon horses." (The Visions and Prophecies of Zechariah-Chapter 15)


Wil Pounds


S. Lewis Johnson

Messianic Prophecies in Isaiah


Studies in Messianic Prophecy
Max Reich

The Following Are From Grant Richison


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