Was Jesus the Messiah?

What Are the Odds?

Let’s look at two of the specific prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament.

“You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.” (Micah 5:2, NLT)

“The Lord himself will choose [a] sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel-‘God is with us.'” (Isaiah 7:14, NLT)

Now, before considering the other 59 prophecies, you have to stop and ask yourself how many people in the category of potential Messiah throughout history were born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem. “Well, let’s see, there’s my neighbor George, but … no, never mind; he was born in Brooklyn.” In the case of 61 detailed prophecies being fulfilled by one person, we are talking about virtually impossible odds.

When forensic scientists discover a DNA profile match, the odds of having the wrong person is frequently less than one in several billion (something for deviants to keep in mind). It would seem we are in the same neighborhood of odds, and numbers of zeros, in considering a single individual fulfilling these prophecies.

Professor of mathematics Peter Stoner gave 600 students a math probability problem that would determine the odds for one person fulfilling eight specific prophecies. (This is not the same as flipping a coin eight times in a row and getting heads each time.) First the students calculated the odds of one person fulfilling all the conditions of one specific prophecy, such as being betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver. Then the students did their best to estimate the odds for all of the eight prophecies combined.

The students calculated that the odds against one person fulfilling all eight prophecies are astronomical-one in ten to the 21st power (10∧21). To illustrate that number, Stoner gave the following example: “First, blanket the entire Earth land mass with silver dollars 120 feet high. Second, specially mark one of those dollars and randomly bury it. Third, ask a person to travel the Earth and select the marked dollar, while blindfolded, from the trillions of other dollars.”[7]

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