On this Christmas week, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on the coming of the Messiah. The Old Testament contains hundreds of prophecies that give specific detail about the “anointed one” who is the Messiah. The prophets proclaimed that He would come to save the people.
The Bible is unique in many ways, especially when it comes to fulfilled prophecy. At the time when it was written, 27 percent (1800 verses) of the Bible was prophetic. Large portions of those prophecies have been fulfilled, and that is a powerful argument for the inspiration of the Bible.
What is the probability that these Messianic prophecies could be fulfilled in the life of one person by chance? Peter Stoner, in his book Science Speaks, calculated the probability of just eight Messianic prophecies being fulfilled by chance. These included the prophecy in Micah 5:2 that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Another was Malachi 3:1 that predicted that a messenger would prepare the way for the Messiah. Four of the prophecies were from Zechariah. They predicted that the Messiah would be betrayed: by a friend, for 30 pieces of silver, and it would be used to buy a potter’s field. Another prophecy said that the Messiah would die by being pierced (crucified).
Multiplying all of these probabilities together, Peter Stoner came up with a number of 10 to the 17th power. In other words, the chance that just eight prophecies could be fulfilled by chance is one in one hundred quadrillion. In order to illustrate this, he says imagine we could fill the state of Texas with silver dollars two feet deep. Put a red mark on one and then ask a blindfolded person to travel anywhere in the state. The chance that he would pick up the marked silver dollar on the first try would be one in one hundred quadrillion.