This is a Christmas Day post for nerds. In the first place, only a nerd would be reading blog posts on Christmas Day. In the second place, this is about numbers and odds — a nerdy topic.
My point is that 1) the odds of anyone filling every single prophecy written about the Messiah are astronomically high and 2) Jesus of Nazareth is the only person ever born who actually fulfilled all of those prophecies. He, therefore, must be Messiah.
The way one calculates the odds of repeating events is to multiply the odds of each event times the odds of each other event. For example, when one flips a coin, the odds are 1 in 2 that it will be heads. However, the odds of it being heads twice in row are 1 in (2 X 2), or 1 in 4. The odds of heads five times consecutively are 1 in (2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2), or 1 in 32. Are you with me?
Now the odds of a person fulfilling any of the following prophecies is not an exact science, so I have used what I consider conservative numbers. For each of the following prophecies, I will give the scripture reference and the odds of fulfilling it. At the end, I will calculate the odds of any one person fulfilling every one of the prophecies.
Here we go:
- Born from the tribe of Judah…Genesis 40:10 / Rev 5:5 … 1 in 12
- Born in Bethlehem…Micah 5:2/Mat 2:1 … 1 in 200
- Preceded by a messenger…Isaiah 40:3/Mat 3:3… 1 in 20
- Came into Jerusalem riding on a colt…Zechariah 9:9/Mat 21: 1-11… 1 in 50
- Betrayed by a friend…Psalm 41:9/Mat 25:25 … 1 in 100
- Hands and feet pierced…Psalm 22:16 … 1 in 200
Note that the prophecy is from 1000 years BC, 400 years before this Roman form of execution was invented.
- Exact amount of payment to Judas (30 pieces of silver) …Zechariah 11:12/Mat 27:9…1 in 100
- What would happen to the betrayal money…Zechariah 11:13 … 1 in 200
- Spit upon and beaten…Isaiah 50:6 … 1 in 10
- Silent before accusers…Isaiah 53:7…1 in 100
What are the chances of an innocent man, accused of a capital offense, staying silent?
- Crucified with thieves…Isaiah 53:12…1 in 100
- Soldiers gambled for his garment…Psalm 22:18…1 in 50
- Side would be pierced… Zechariah 12:10…1 in 100
Normally, soldiers would break the legs, but this was not needed in Jesus’ case because he was already dead. This preserved the prophecy that not a bone would be broken.
- Body would not decay…Psalm 16:10…1 in 10,000
This has never happened to anyone in history.
- Buried in a rich man’s tomb…Isaiah 53:9 … 1 in 100
- Born of a virgin…Isaiah 7:14
Again, not something that had ever happened before in history.
By now we have more than enough fulfilled prophecies to make our case, but here are a few extras:
Hung on a tree…Deut 21:23
Jesus would return from Egypt…Hosea 11: 1
Israel would reject him…Isaiah 53:1
He would be mocked by a crowd…Ps 22: 7-8
He would begin his ministry in Galilee…Isaiah 9:1,2
Would raise from the dead…Psalm 16:8-11
While all of the “odds” (other than being of the tribe of Judah) are subjective, these are also conservative. Not even considering the virgin birth, the chances of one person meeting all of these prophecies is 1 in 480,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or one in 480 thousand trillion trillion.
If every planet in every solar system in the billions of galaxies in the universe were all covered with silver dollars, and one happened to have a black dot painted on the back of it, a person would have the same odds of picking that silver dollar on the first try as he would to fulfill all of these prophecies pertaining to the Messiah. Yet Jesus did it.
Here is wishing every reader a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child; the Messiah of the world.