September 15, 2008 1 Comment
Fulfilled prophecy is one of the most powerful arguments in favor of validating the Bible’s own claim to divine inspiration. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the God of the Bible is his ability to predict the future without error one hundred percent of the time. Frankly, the integrity of Scripture rises and falls on the predictions made by the Author.
The Lord God of Israel established the credentials for a true prophet of God by saying, “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:21-22).
Elsewhere the Lord declares, “Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Isa. 46:11).
Scholars estimate that as much as 27 percent of the Bible was predictive prophecy when it was written, and that the Bible addresses more than 730 prophetic subjects. According to John Walvoord, one of the most well respected Bible prophecy experts in the twentieth century, “Half of the prophecies of the Bible have already been fulfilled in a literal way.” He believes this gives us every reason to say that remaining Bible prophecies will also have a literal fulfillment.
Scholars have identified more than 300 Messianic prophecies in the Bible. What is the probability of all 300 of them being fulfilled in the life of one person, Jesus Christ?
Peter Stoner, Professor Emeritus at Westmont College, asked this question and involved as many as 600 university students in a mathematical exercise designed to discover the answer. He writes about his well-documented findings in a book called Science Speaks Out.
Stoner began by calculating the possibility of one person fulfilling the prophecy found in Micah 5:2 that says the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Taking into consideration the population of Bethlehem from the time of Micah’s prophecy until now, Stoner concluded there was a one in 300,000 chance of this single Bible prophecy being fulfilled.
He then calculated the possibility of only eight of the Messianic prophecies being fulfilled in a single person. After careful examination, Stoner conservatively estimated that the chance of this happening was one in 10 with 17 zeroes added to the number. To put this gigantic number in perspective, he illustrated the possibility.
Suppose we collect silver dollars numbering 10 to the 17th power and spread them out evenly over the state of Texas. They would cover the entire Lone Star state as high as two feet deep. Now mark one of the silver dollars and then stir up the whole mass of them. Then ask a blindfolded man to pick out the marked silver dollar. What are the chances of him picking out the right one? You guessed it. One in 10 with 17 zeroes after it, which is the same chance that one person could ever fulfill only eight of the Messianic prophecies found in the Bible. The chances of one person fulfilling more than 300 predictions about Messiah are truly incomprehensible.
Stoner concludes his findings by saying, “Anyone who rejects Christ as the Son of God is rejecting a fact, proved perhaps more absolutely than any other fact in the world.”
Fulfilled prophecy is God’s way of authenticating himself. A study of Bible prophecy points to the kind of evidence that indeed demands a verdict. How will you respond?