The Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy
The following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner in Science Speaks (Moody Press, 1963) 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, '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." That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. 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."
Stoner considers 48 prophecies and says, "we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10157, or 1 in
The estimated number of electrons in the universe is around 1079. It should be quite evident that Jesus did not fulfil the prophecies by accident."
Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus
For the faithful Jew, one of the most important events described by God in the Tanakh (the Old Testament) is the coming of the Messiah to assert God’s authority on earth, to redeem His chosen to Himself. Most Jewish scholars see this described in the Old Testament in two ways. There is outright prophecy, a description of some attribute the Messiah will have or some fact which will be true of Him. There are also pictures in advance, or “types” where events in history act as analogies to some truth about Messiah.
As an example of types, consider the story of Joseph in the last few chapters of Genesis. The Bible records that Joseph saved his brothers from death even though they had tried to kill him and had, when they arrived in Egypt, failed to recognize him. Many consider this a picture, or analogy, of how the Messiah will be received by the Jews, God’s chosen people, when He comes. Of course, we, and the Messianic Jews, believe He has already come and that this picture matches the life of Jesus exactly.
Although types make for very interesting study, they rely heavily on potentially subjective interpretations of the biblical texts. As we are after clear, undeniable evidence of the Messiah and Jesus, we will focus our attention on the outright prophecies. We will be taking special note of the many prophecies Jesus fulfilled which he could not have influenced if He were merely a man. God provided the Messiah we need to be able to have a relationship with Him because of His infinite love for us. That Messiah is Jesus.
For Jesus to truly be the Messiah described in the Old Testament, He would have to fulfill every Messianic prophecy. Depending on who you ask, the exact number of prophecies relating to the Messiah varys widely. But, there is a large list of Old Testament verses which most agree are descriptions of the Messiah. Let’s have a look at some of these and see how Jesus relates to them.
Some of the more interesting and surprising statements about the Messiah in the Old Testament are those concerning His lineage. Contrary to what some might claim, there are very specific prophecies about this, each of which Jesus fulfilled. In talking to the serpent in Genesis 3:15 , God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.” This is taken by many as one of the earliest Messianic prophecies describing Satan’s brief vicory over Messiah and Messiah’s ultimate victory over Satan. It is mentioned here because the offspring (Messiah) is described as being of the woman (Eve). This is extraordinary as the nation of Israel has always been patriarchal; people are mentioned in terms of their fathers, not their mothers. Because of this, many see this verse as also being a prophecy of Messiah’s birth through a virgin (see below). Bearing this in mind, it is interesting to study what the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 4:4 , again referring to the sending of a Son through a woman.
The Bible makes note of several other aspects of the earthly bloodline the Messiah will come from. In Genesis 12:3 , God is making a promise to Abram (later, Abraham) about the influence his descendants will have over the earth and says, “In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed.” This is accepted as a statement that the Messiah would descend from Abraham as Messiah is the source of all true blessings. The bloodline is further refined to Isaac, son of Abraham in Genesis 17:19 and 21:12 , to Jacob, son of Isaac in 28:14 and to Judah, son of Jacob (or Israel) in 49:10 . Matthew, in the first chapter of his Gospel , begins his account of the life of Jesus by describing His lineage as coming from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Judah and so on. Luke echos this lineage for Jesus in Luke 3:33-34 .
Building on the specificity of Messiah’s lineage, God promises King David, through Nathan the prophet in 2 Samuel 7:12-13 , that Messiah will not only come from his own bloodline, but will also inherit his throne. David’s throne is again promised as the seat of Messiah’s government in Isaiah 9:6-7 , and in Jeremiah 23:5 . Taking a look at the accounts of Jesus shows Him to be a descendant of King David in Matthew 1:1 , 1:6 and in Luke 3:31 . He is further described as heir to David’s throne with power by Paul in Romans 1:3-4 . It is important to remember here that Paul was once a Pharisee, which in his time meant that he possessed a strong knowledge and understanding of the Old Testament. For him to claim Jesus as the foretold Messiah, was no small admission. The Jewish leaders, his ex-companions, were very clear on Paul’s position; they repeatedly tried to kill him for it (study the latter half of the book of Acts).
Probably the most important claim the Old Testament makes about Messiah is that He is truly God. These claims are made in the form of ascribing God’s traits to Messiah and describing Messiah as God’s Son. One aspect of God is that He is eternal. The prophet Micah tells us in Micah 5:2 that the Messiah Himself is eternal when he, talking about Messiah, says, “...whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Compare this to the claim of eternality Jesus made in the New Testament in John 8:58 . Paul describes many attributes of Jesus which indicate an eternal Messiah in Ephesians 1:3-14 and in Colossians 1:15-19 .
Another aspect of the Messiah is that He is the true and only Son of God, being Himself God. The writers of Psalms and Proverbs make this link for us in Psalms 2:7 and Proverbs 30:4 . In Luke 1:32 , an angel of God is telling Mary that she is about to become the mother of Jesus and says to her, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father, David.” In Matthew 3:17 , God Himself speaks at the baptism of Jesus and says of Him, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The Old Testament gets even clearer about the fact that Messiah is God, that God Himself will be the Messiah, that the name of the Messiah is Y-H-W-H. Read the description of Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 . There we read of a Son who will be given to govern the world. Of the five names listed that the Messiah will be known by, note that one of them is Mighty God. The prophet Jeremiah is even more blatant about applying the name of God to the Messiah in Jeremiah 23:6 . Of course, the question is, does the Bible apply God’s name to Jesus? Noting that the name Y-H-W-H is above any other name in authority, read what Paul wrote about Jesus in Philippians 2:9 . There he writes that God gave Jesus “the name which is above every name.”
Jewish scholars have little doubt about the deity of the Messiah, but many people have a hard time accepting that Jesus is God. A more in depth discussion as to the deity of Jesus may be found here .
The Old Testament also describes several things the Messiah will do while here on earth. In Deuteronomy 18:15 , Moses is addressing the people of Israel, and tells them, “Yahweh your God will raise up to you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brothers, like me; to him you shall listen” identifying the Messiah as being a prophet just like Moses was. God assures us that it is the Messiah of whom Moses was speaking in verses 18-19 by the seriousness God places on those who will not listen to the coming prophet. Taking a look at the New Testament, John tells us in John 7:40 that many Jews who heard Jesus really believed that He was the prophet Moses mentioned. Also, Luke quotes the words of the Apostle Peter in Acts 3:19-22 who confirmed by his direct witness of Jesus that He was, in fact, the prophet Moses said was coming.
Isaiah describes in Isaiah 61:1-2 some aspects of the ministry the Messiah will have. Compare this to the passage in Luke 4:18 where Jesus not only quotes the Old Testament passage but also claims to be its fulfillment. An in-depth study of the ministry of Jesus throughout the gospels reveals this as truth, and not just some idle boast. More specifically, Isaiah 35:5-6 , describes a wonderful ministry of healing for any who need it. Jesus describes the works He has done in almost the exact same words in Matthew 11:5 . Over and over and over again, all throughout the gospels, Jesus never turned away anyone who needed healing, even when He knew they would not turn to Him (note His healing of the ten lepers in Luke 17:12-19 though only one returned to give glory to God). All this for the deep love He feels for each one of them, and each one of us. He healed us even at the cost of His own life.
Isaiah also tells us in Isaiah 9:1 that Messiah’s ministry would begin in the region of Galilee. All the gospels confirm to us that Jesus also began His ministry in Galilee. In Matthew 4:12-17 , Matthew goes so far as to claim that Jesus did so as direct fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 9:1 .
In the Old Testament, there are many places where the character of Messiah is described. We see the same character traits exhibited by Jesus in the New Testament. In verses 40:11 and 42:3 of his book, Isaiah describes Messiah as demonstrating tenderness and compassion and in verse 12:15 of his gospel, Matthew says the same of Jesus when he relates that “Great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all.” As Matthew continues his narration, he even claims that what he is relating is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of verse 42:3 . The Apostle Peter goes farther and claims that Jesus is completely without sin in 1 Peter 2:22 and that, by quoting it, this fulfills Isaiah 53:9 .
The Bible documents many more such parallels between the traits and actions of the Messiah and of Jesus. The following table shows just a few of these.
These are only a few of the prophecies about the things the Messiah will do from the Old Testament along with the descriptions of how Jesus fulfilled them. But, since a determined faker could try to mimic the prophecies about what the Messiah will do, let’s have a look at prophecies which no human could bring off.
The Old Testament speaks even more about the things which will be done to Messiah and things about His life over which no ordinary human could have any control. These are important to understand as most of them would be impossible for a false Messiah to fake since they would be out of a normal person’s control. God loves us so much that He has given us the things to look for in Messiah in such a way that He cannot be impersonated successfully as long as we pay attention. These things make it quite clear that Jesus is the Messiah foretold by the Old Testament.
One of the first things to note in the Old Testament is that God tells us exactly when Messiah would come to earth. In Daniel 9:24-26 , he gives us a total of 69 “weeks” (a euphamism of the day meaning a period of 7 years) or 483 years after Jerusalem and its wall were commissioned to be rebuilt for when the Messiah would be ”cut off” for our sins. The best archaeological evidence dates the rebuilding of Jerusalem at approximately 453 B.C. Four hundred and eighty three years after the city was rebuilt, Jesus was being crucified outside its walls. We are given the historical information we need to accurately place Jesus’ birth in Matthew 2:1 , 16 and 19 and Luke 3:1 and we know He was crucified 33 years later.
Another trait about Messiah can be found in Isaiah 7:14 where we are told that He will be born of a virgin. There are many who contest the use of the word ”virgin” as the original Hebrew word simply means “young woman.” However, the context of the usage of this word all throughout the rest of the Old Testament provides the connotation of an “unsullied reputation.” Further proof of this lies in the Greek word chosen by the Jewish scholars who created the Septuagint (the original Greek Old Testament) written 200 years before Jesus was even born. They chose the greek word parthenos which really does mean virgin. Matthew uses this word when he quotes Isaiah in Matthew 1:23 . The declaration of Jesus being born of a virgin may be found in Matthew 1:18 -Matthew 2:1 and in Luke 1:26-35 .
We are also promised a messenger, one who would come before the Messiah to announce His arrival. Read what Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 40:3-5 and what Malachi wrote in Malachi 3:1 . Both are statements of this promise from God. In the New Testament, Matthew records the claim that John the Baptizer made that he was this messenger fortold by Isaiah. John the Baptizer even quotes the Old Testament prophet in Matthew 3:1-3 . Luke records in his gospel in chapter 1, verse 17 the words of an angel speaking to John’s father saying the same thing. Luke reiterates John as the fulfillment of Isaiah in Luke 3:2-6 .
At the other end of His earthly ministry, we are given several details about His execution. The Old Testament tells us that He will be “pierced.” The prophet Zechariah associates this with the death of the Messiah in 12:10 and Psalms 22:16 tells us that this piercing will be in the Messiah’s hands and feet. In Matthew 27:35 and John 19:18 , we are told that Jesus is executed by crucifiction, which requires the piercing of the hands and feet. Luke confirms in 24:39 the piercing really did happen by asking His disciples to inspect the holes after His resurrection. John even claims this as fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10 in John 19:34-37 .
Despite the cruel nature of His execution, we are promised that none of the Messiah’s bones would be broken. In the Law of Moses, we are told that the Passover lamb should not have any of its bones broken (see Exodus 12:46 and Numbers 9:12 ). Since the Messiah is the ultimate Passover Lamb whose blood protects the doorposts of our hearts, then His bones must remain unbroken as well. This is reiterated in Psalms 34:20 . In John 19:33-36 we are told how the Roman soldiers did not need to break any of Jesus’ bones and that this was in direct fulfillment of the Scripture.
Below is a table which lists more things which are true of Messiah. Read the Old Testament verses in their contexts and compare them with the New Testament descriptions of how Jesus fulfilled each and every one of them.
As described above, there is a significant amount of biblical evidence which can lead us to only one conclusion. Jesus is the Messiah. He claimed it. It was claimed by others of Him. But more importantly, He demonstrated it by His fulfillment of every messianic prophecy we know of, leaving no room for doubt. The mathematical probability that a person could fulfill even the prophecies listed here is astronomical, yet Jesus did it.
To get a feel for the probabilities involved, consider this. An author and speaker named Josh McDowell calculated the odds of Jesus fulfilling only eight of the Messianic prophecies as 1 out of 1017 (a one followed by 17 zeros). This is equivalent to covering the entire state of Texas with silver dollars two feet deep, marking one of them, mixing them all up and having a blind-folded person select the marked one at random the first time.
Only a few of the Messianic prophecies in the Bible have been presented here. There are many more, not even including the ones (mostly from the book of Revelation which are still outstainding (have not been fulfilled yet).
Since Jesus is Messiah (and therefore God), then He is our creator and we are accountable to Him. All He wants is to be your Savior and the Lord of your life, to love you in tangible ways, to have a personal, one on one relationship with you. If you do not already have this relationship, you can read more here about how to get it started. Jesus is knocking. Will you open the door and let Him help you?
Think About It
If I selected 20 people at random and asked each of them to make a prediction about events surrounding my future death - will I die in a car crash? or of old age? what will people's reaction to me be at the time? etc - there would not be 20 correct answers, though there may be a few lucky guesses.
But these 20 prophecies about the death of the Messiah in Isaiah, Daniel and Zechariah apparently did come true.
1) He would come after an order to rebuild Jerusalem and the completion of that rebuilding.
2) His humble origins would discourage people from accepting him as the Messiah.
3) He would be rejected by his own people.
4) He would face a judgement.
5) He would be silent before his accusers.
6) He would be beaten, spat upon and mocked.
7) He would be disfigured.
8) He would be pierced (Isaiah).
9) He would be pierced (Zechariah).
10) He would be killed (Isaiah).
11) He would be killed (Daniel).
12) The year of his death predicted.
13) He would be considered stricken by God.
14) He would be numbered with the transgressors.
15) His death would have a meaning connected with atonement.
16) He would make intercession for his persecutors.
17) He would be buried in a rich person's tomb.
18) After his death Jerusalem would be destroyed again by a "ruler who will come".
19) He would be considered greater than any king after his death.
20) He would become a 'light' to the Gentiles.
I believe that these prophecies are God's way of showing that people are put right with him through what Jesus did on the cross, namely, paying the price for our sins. God did not just appoint people such as Paul to expound the message of the cross after the event; he also ordained people to foretell what he was about to do in advance. Therefore people are put right with God by receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour. A simple guide for doing this can be found here.
"Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby..."
end of right column --> 2 end table --> end page content --> ********************************************************************************** --> end main_content -->
Please, Please, Please consider accepting Christ's free gift; you have everything to lose, and everything to gain. I just ask and beg you to please, just consider this/think/reflect on it. Let your guard down, we have nothing to prove or defend; I pray that you will gladly accept Christ's gift as Savior.
Historical accuracy of the Bible?
More Videos (just click on the below video you want to see):
No archaeological discovery has ever proven wrong a Biblical reference. On the contrary, the accuracy of the Bible has been substantiated by many archaeological discoveries.?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /-->
Dr. Henry M. Morris concluded his in-depth study of the archeological evidence concerning the Bible with these words. "It must be extremely significant that, in view of the great mass of corroborative evidence regarding the Biblical history of these periods, there exists today not one unquestionable find of archaeology that proves the Bible to be in error at any point" (Henry M. Morris, The Bible and Modern Science, [Chicago:ÿMoody Press, 1956]).
Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land
Critics of the Bible have claimed for decades that the Bible's statements in Joshua about the conquest of the Promised Land in the centuries before the monarchy of King David were pure fiction. In light of this new archeological evidence critics will be forced to relinquish their rejection of the Bible's record of ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /-->Israel's conquest as stated by Joshua. In the book of Joshua (6:5), God told Joshua, “When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in." Even this miracle is confirmed by archaeology. Professor John Garstang found and recorded his amazing finding, “there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely that the attackers would be able to clamber up and over the ruins into the city.” The evidence from all other archaeological digs around ancient cities in the Middle East reveal that the walls of cities always fall inwards as invading armies push their way into the city.
Historicity of numerous kings mentioned in the Bible
Only fifty years ago many disbelieving scholars totally rejected the historical accuracy of the Bible because they claimed that the Scriptures talked about numerous kings and individuals that could not be confirmed from any other historical or archeological records. Recent discoveries have proven these critics wrong. Discoveries have been found referring to King David, Solomon, Uzziah, Hezekiah and many others.
Recent archeological investigations have demolished the position of those who rejected the biblical account ofIsrael's kings such as King David. In 1993, archeologists digging at Tel Dan in the Galilee in northern Israelfound a fragment of a stone inscription that clearly refers to the "house of David" and identifies David as the "king of Israel." This is the first inscription outside the Bible that confirms the Bible's statement that David was the king of Israel in the ninth century before Christ.
A stone inscription from Egypt confirms that Israel was established as a nation in Canaan centuries before the reign of King David, just as the Bible claims. The Merneptah Stela is a seven-and-a-half-foot-high stone inscription discovered in the temple of Pharaoh Merneptah at Thebes in Egypt. Scholars determined that Pharaoh Merneptah ruled Egypt from 1213 to 1203 B.C. and confirmed that he launched an invasion into the area of the modern-day West Bank in Canaan, defeating the Jewish inhabitants of the land. The second line from the bottom of this inscriptions boasts, "Israel is laid waste; his seed is not."
In addition to the archeological evidence for King David, we now have confirmation of other kings of Israel. The name of Omri, king of Israel, is recorded on an inscription known as the Stela of King Mesha of Moab. In addition, Omri's name appears on the rock inscriptions of three kings of Assyria, the annals of both Tiglath-Pileser III and Sargon II, and the Black Obelisk of King Shalmaneser III, who wrote, "I conquered . . . all of the Land of Omri (Israel)." Other Assyrian inscriptions found in Nineveh confirm the Bible's records about these kings of Israel: Ahab, Jehu, Joash, Menehem, Pekah, and Hoshea. In addition, the names of many of the kings of the southern kingdom of Judah are also recorded on inscriptions of the nations that fought against the Jews. The inscriptions found by archeologists also confirm the names of these kings of Judah: Ahaziah, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Jehoiachin. Scholars found ration records of the army of Nebuchadnezzar, king ofBabylon (606 to 562 B.C.) that state, "ten sila of oil to Jehoiachin, king of Judah. . . ." Obviously, the fact that these foreign nations listed the kings of Israel and Judah provides the strongest evidence confirming the accuracy of the Word of God.
Historicity of other Biblical Personalities
One of the most interesting discoveries in recent years was the finding of two bull', or clay seals, that bear the impression of the actual seal used by Baruch, the scribe of Jeremiah the prophet who transcribed the Book of Jeremiah. Both bull' bear the inscription, "Belonging to Berekhyahu, son of Neriyahu, the Scribe." One of these clay seals is on view in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. However, the second bull' was found in Jerusalem earlier in this century and purchased by collector Shlomo Moussaieff of London who owns the greatest private collection of ancient Jewish inscriptions in the world. This second clay seal, bearing the same inscription, also reveals a fingerprint that probably belonged to Baruch.
At the beginning of this century a fascinating seal was discovered in Israel that bore an inscription of a beautiful lion and the words, "Belonging to Shema servant of Jeroboam." This amazing find indicates that it belonged to an official of King Jeroboam of Israel. Other seals have been discovered confirming the biblical records about King Uzziah (777 to 736 B.C.) and King Hezekiah (726 to 697 B.C.).
Another important seal found in Jerusalem dates from the seventh century before Christ and is inscribed as follows: "Belonging to Abdi Servant of Hoshea." This seal made of orange chalcedony, used to authenticate royal documents for security, belonged to Abdi, a high official of King Hosea, the last king of the northern kingdom ofIsrael before it was conquered by the Assyrian Empire in 721 B.C. Another large seal on red limestone was found bearing the inscription "Belonging to Asayahu, servant of the king"ÿtogether with a galloping horse. The name "Asaiah" is a short form of the name "Asayahu."ÿThis name occurs twice in the Old Testament in connection with the title "servant of the king." In 2 Chronicles 34:20 we find the name, "Asaiah a servant of the king's" and again in 2 Kings 22:12, "Asahiah a servant of the king's." It is possible that this seal was owned by "Asaiah, the servant of the king" a high court official who was sent by King Josiah to carefully examine the scroll of the lost Book of Deuteronomy that was found in the Temple by the High Priest Hilkiah in approximately 622 B.C.
Explorers in Iraq in the last century found the ancient inscribed clay cylinder bearing the actual decree of King Cyrus of Persia allowing the various captured natives of many different nations to return freely to their ancient homelands. It was the government policy of the preceding Babylonian Empire of King Nebuchadnezzar to displace whole peoples such as the Jews and resettle them in the far reaches of their empire. However, King Cyrus of Persia, a moderate and God-fearing monarch, reversed the cruel Babylonian policy. Immediately after conquering the Babylonian Empire, King Cyrus issued a decree allowing the Jews to freely return to their homeland in Israel ending the seventy-year-long captivity. The decree of King Cyrus began with these words, "I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king." After describing his conquests and deeds, the cylinder inscription reads, "I gathered all their former inhabitants and returned to them their habitations." In this incredible discovery we find the confirmation of one of the most astonishing events in the pages of Scripture. "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, he is the God, which is in Jerusalem" (Ezra 1:1-3).
The Archeological Evidence of the New Testament
The English scholar, William Ramsay, traveled as a young man to Asia Minor over a century ago for the sole purpose of disproving the Bible's history as described by Luke in his Gospel and in the Book of Acts. Ramsay and his professors were convinced that the New Testament record must be terribly inaccurate. He believed that Luke could not be correct in his history of Christ or in his account about the growth of the Church during the first decades following Christ. Dr. Ramsay began to dig in the ancient ruins of sites throughout Greece and Asia Minor, searching for ancient names, boundary markers, and other archeological finds that would conclusively prove that Luke had invented his history of Christ and His Church. To his amazement and dismay, William Ramsay discovered that the statements of the New Testament Scriptures were accurate in the smallest detail. Finally, Dr. Ramsay was convinced by the overwhelming evidence proving the Bible's accuracy. As a result, he accepted Jesus Christ as His personal Savior. He became both a Christian and a great biblical scholar. As a result of his conversion to belief in Jesus Christ, Sir William Ramsay's books became classics in the study of the history of the New Testament. Another great scholar, A. N. Sherwin-White, was a great classical historical scholar atOxford University who studied the extensive evidence for and against the historical accuracy of the Book of Acts. Sherwin-White wrote his conclusion after studying the evidence, "For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming . . . any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd" (Quoted by Rubel Shelley, Prepare To Answer [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1990]).
Dr. William F. Albright was unquestionably one of the world's most brilliant biblical archeologists. In 1955 he wrote: "We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after circa A.D. 80." However, additional discoveries over the next decade convinced him that all the books in the New Testament were written "probably sometime between circa A.D. 50 and 75." Significantly, Albright concluded that the writing of the New Testament within a few years of the events it described made it almost impossible that errors or exaggeration could have entered the text. He wrote that the duration between the events of Christ's life and the writing was "too slight to permit any appreciable corruption of the essential center and even of the specific wording of the sayings of Jesus." In other words, Professor Albright, one of the greatest minds in the field of archeology and ancient texts, concluded that the New Testament records the truth about Jesus Christ and his statements.
Dr. John A. T. Robinson was a distinguished lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge and developed a reputation as a great scholar. Naturally, he accepted the academic consensus universally held since 1900, that denied the disciples and Paul wrote the New Testament and concluded that it was written up to a hundred years after Christ. However, an article in Time magazine, March 21, 1977, reported that Robinson decided to personally investigate for himself the arguments behind this scholarly consensus against the New Testament's reliability because he realized that very little original research had been completed in this field in this century. He was shocked to discover that much of past scholarship against the New Testament was untenable because it was based on a "tyranny of unexamined assumptions" and what he felt must have been an "almost willful blindness." To the amazement of his university colleagues, Robinson concluded that the apostles must have been the genuine writers of the New Testament books in the years prior to A.D. 64. He challenged other scholars to complete original research necessary to truly examine the question fairly. As a result of such a new analysis Robinson believed that it would necessitate "the rewriting of many introductions to-and ultimately, theologies of-the New Testament." Robinson's book, Redating the New Testament, published in 1976, suggests that Matthew's Gospel was written as early as A.D. 40, within eight years of Christ.
Archeology has been continually proving the New Testament to be a reliable source of history. Many people, places and customs spoken of in the New Testament has now been confirmed to be true.
For example, the pool of Bethesda described in John 5:2 has been located in the northeast quarter of the old city of Jerusalem called Betheza.
The fact that Gallio was proconsul of Archaia as stated in Acts 18:12 has been proven correct through inscriptions found.
In 1968 the first physical evidence of crucifixion as a form of punishment was found when archeologist discovered heel bones still tranfixed by an iron nail.
Interesting, huh? Here are a few more facts of History/Archaeology, that "coincidentally" line straight up with Biblical texts?
Milestones prior to 1914
Biblical Archaeology began after publication by Edward Robinson (American professor of Biblical literature; 1794–1863) of his travels through Palestine during the first half of the 19th century (a time when the oldest complete Hebrew scripture only dated to the Middle Ages), which highlighted similarities between modern Arabic place-names and Biblical city names.
1890 Sir W.M.F. Petrie noticed strata exposed by waterflow adjacent to Tell el-Hesi (originally believed to be Biblical Lachish , now probably Eglon ) and popularized details of pottery groups excavated therefrom. F.J. Bliss continued digging there in 1891–2.
Subsequent highlights of major sites mentioned in the Bible where excavations spanned more than one season:
John Garstang was instrumental in these accomplishments. W.F. Albright dominated the scholarship of this period and had long-lasting influence on Biblical historians based on his analysis of Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery.
1947 and later: The Dead Sea Scrolls are an important testimony to the antiquity of the texts. The first seven scrolls had initially appeared on the antiquities market, but when their enormous importance was recognized, archaeologists eventually found their source in a series of caves above the Dead Sea , and subsequent searches located thousands of similar fragments. Following the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947and the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948 , Biblical Archaeology gained new momentum. The science of archaeology had been digested and refined by new excavators who conducted numerous surveys of smaller sites during the second half of the 20th century, and re-excavations at major sites using modernized techniques.
When Jesus was in Judea 2000 years ago, the Roman occupation was oppressive, and the people felt helpless. They looked for hope, the same way people look for hope today. The popularity of the cartoon/TV series “Superman” had a super-human like individual from the planet Krypton, who rights the wrongs of evil doers. Superman had two identities one as Clark Kent a “mild mannered” newspaper reporter with glasses and the other as Superman. When needed, Clark would transform from reporter to Superman. The two identities were so dissimilar that friends of Clark such as Lois Lane who new both Clark and Superman could not make the connection that both were the same person playing two different roles.
The need for Superman dates back to the beginning of man himself. One of the more well known is the Greek man-god known as Heracles (Hercules-Roman) the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, who though fallible seeks to right injustice. Ultimately, its man’s search for hope and meaning that leads him to search for a rescuer. We look for rescue, from the problems of life; sickness, injustice, poverty, hunger, war and death. The imprint in the heart of man for his need of redemption, (Rescue) goes back to the fall.
It was very good
Mankind was created on the 6th day, after his creation was complete we are told, God saw everything and it was “very good”.
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis 1:31
Why so bad?
If everything was “very good”, what is the Bible’s explanation for the condition of the world, for all the misery and pain people go through? The condition of man goes back to choice. God did not create robots, but “Free will” beings, with the ability to choose. At man’s creation, the man and woman had the choice to “obey God” or “Not obey God”. This choice is typified in the “Tree of Knowledge” at the Garden of Eden.
In the Garden of Eden man, choose to disobey God and listen to the Serpent, whom was Satan speaking through the body of an animal, to Adam and Eve. The Serpent called God a liar, and urged them to disobey God, by eating of the forbidden fruit. They listened to Satan, a fallen being himself, and mankind fell. The misery followed when they choose to disobey God.
The Seed of the Women
What earlier God declared as “Very Good” became corrupted; sin entered the Human race along with death and misery. Humanity was without hope, but in mercy, God opened a door of hope for humanity, a promise of redemption. The “Seed of women” a “Son of Man” would bruise the head of the Serpent and his offspring, “The wicked”.
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel." Genesis 3:15
Nevertheless, in this same verse we see the Serpent would bruise the “Heel” of the “Seed of the Women”. The “Son of Man” the “Seed of the Women” would suffer the bite of the serpent at the heel. This is the first hint at the sufferings of the Messiah. However, the “Son of Man”, the seed of the Women, will vanquish or cover (Shoof…Hebrew) the Serpent/Satan. Redemption is in the heart of all humanity. Man is looking and seeking redemption from the problems of this world.
Job one of the oldest books in the Bible, looked forward to his redemption in the latter years by a “Redeemer”
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; 26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, 27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27
Here Job speaks of a future day when even after his body is decayed, He would see his “Redeemer” with new eyes and be in new flesh. This would be last event on the earth. But some questions may arise here. Is Job talking about a man or is he talking about God. Is God Job’s “Redeemer” or the “Son of Man”, the “Redeemer”? Job is talking about the Messiah.
The word for “Messiah comes from the Hebrew root word, “Msh” which to “touch lightly” or “rub with oil” this word is applied to Priests (Exodus 28:41), Kings (I Kings 19:16), and Prophets (I Samuel 12:5) who were chosen by God to accomplish specific tasks. King Cyrus of Persia is addressed as “Anointed”.
"Thus says the Lord to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held-To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut:
Cyrus chosen by God subdues nations, and he would later allow the exiles from Babylon to return home and rebuild the Temple. David calls Saul “the Lord’s anointed” (I Samuel 24:6). Therefore, in one sense there are many anointed of the Lord, or messiahs, people specifically chosen by God, to accomplish specific tasks. The term also has a very specific and individual meaning.
The Bible talks of a future King who will rule the Earth for eternity. This King is “Anointed” or chosen to fulfill this specific task. In 2 Samuel 7 we are given information about this individual’s family line.
"since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the Lord tells you that He will make you a house. 12 "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 "I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15 "But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 "And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever." '2 Samuel 7:11-16
Nathan the prophet tells David that from his family line a “Son of Man” will come, a “Seed of the Women”, who will have the throne of David, and His eternal kingdom will be established forever. This “Son of Man” would also be a “Son of David”, therefore this person will be “Anointed” or chosen by God for a specific purpose. This individual is known as the “Messiah Son of David”.
The Qualifications of Messiah
Beginning in the third chapter of Genesis, we have specific information about this coming, “Seed of the Women” through progressive revelation. With each qualification, the search narrows until the potential candidates becomes very narrow in scope.
For example, currently the population of the earth is 6.3 Billion people. If you talk to some one and plan to meet, without knowing anything about them, you could locate them from the earth’s population. You could specify a time, place and article of clothing.
Time: I will meet you on January 15th 2005 3:00 PM (Jerusalem Time)
Place: At the Damascus Gate, Jerusalem
Description: I will be wearing a Checkered Hat
By using, these three specific qualifiers we are able eliminate just about anybody from equation. Except for person who meets the qualifiers and the person who knows the qualifiers, everybody would be outside the loop on the meeting.
In this same manner through the prophets of Israel, the Messiah was qualified, specific information about Him, information spanning the generations of humanity. The Bible demonstrates its “Supernatural source” with “Supernatural objective evidence”. Evidence outside the scope of the natural realm is supernatural in nature.
5 Even from the beginning I have declared it to you; Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you, Lest you should say, ‘My idol has done them, And my carved image and my molded image Have commanded them.’ Isaiah 48:5
9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Isaiah 46:9,10
Using “Supernatural prophetic” utterances God has qualified His Messiah. Specific characteristics revealed between 1500 to 425 years before his birth, narrowed the search for God’s Chosen Messiah from the Billions born throughout the history of creation to just one person. The man Jesus Christ is the only person who ever lived who could fulfill the qualifications
His Sex: “Son of Man” ..50% of the population of those who have ever lived.
His place of Birth: Bethlehem of Ephrathah 99.9..999% of Humans born in the world eliminated as Messiah.
His family line: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Jesse, David…99.99999999% eliminated
His time of death: End of 483 Jewish Years following command to rebuild Jerusalem, March/April. (See 70 Weeks of Daniel Class 6)
Description of death: Pierced, whipped, innocent of crime
· Specific events: After his death Temple destroyed and City destroyed
Through these qualifiers alone just about every human being, who ever lived is eliminated from the possibility of being the Messiah chosen by God, the King of the earth. (SEE CHART BELOW)
If Jesus was Messiah was he killed?
If what was going to happen were so clear in the scripture, why did Jesus die? Roman occupation of Judea dated from the time of Pompey, the Roman General who conquered Jerusalem in 63 BC. The Jewish people hated Rome and wanted deliverance. They looked to the coming of Messiah, The Son of David, who would vanquish the armies of the world. Moreover, Jerusalem would become the capital of the Earth according to the prophets.
In the Old Testament, there are several competing pictures of Messiah. He is seen as “the Son of Man”, and called “Son of God”, He is seen as “Judge and King” of the Earth while He is also seen as a rejected servant and suffering. During the time of Roman occupation, Israel looked to coming of the Son of David who would rule the Earth. They did not look for a servant Messiah who was going to die. Jesus presented himself as the “Son of Man” who was going to suffer, this was contrary to the view of Messiah expected by Israel. Going back to the illustration of Clark Kent and Superman, Clark’s friends could not make the connection between the two characters. The Pharisees did not see one Messiah playing dual roles, “Suffering Servant” and “Conquering King”. This was not expected of the Messiah who was going save Israel. This dual role will be unveiled at the end of time as hinted at in Isaiah 52:14,15
14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; 15 So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider. Isaiah 52:14-15
The pictures of a “Suffering Messiah”, “Conquering King” ,“Son of Man” and “Son of God” seem to be in conflict with each other. Jesus questioned the Pharisees about this conflict.
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David." 43 He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying: 44 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool" '? 45 "If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his Son?" 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.
Later at his trial before the High Priest, this conflict to understand the “Son of Man” and “Son of God” is revealed. They could not understand the Messiah being both “Son of Man” and “Son of God”.
63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" 64 Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!
Matthew 26: 63-65
The solution to this conflict can be resolved in understanding the “First” and “Second” Coming of Messiah/Christ. Jesus came the first time to die for the sins of the world the second time he comes, he will come to judge the world. The Pharisee at the time of Christ could not reconcile these two conflicting roles.
One Messiah, Two Pictures
This Messiah will be one person with two roles. His first coming was to Redeem humanity from their sins through his sacrificial death as the prophet Isaiah reveals (Isaiah 52:12-53:13). His second coming will be to judge a disobedient and sinful world, “To crush the head of the serpent”.
These dual roles are revealed in Zechariah 12:10-12. The one, “Pierced” is mourned over by the land of Israel as He returns to rescue Israel from the nations surrounding her and bent on her destruction (Zechariah 12:3,9).
10 "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 "In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 "And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; Zechariah 12:10-12
The Rabbis also see this verse as referring to the Messiah, except they describe the one “Pierced” as “Messiah bar (son) Joseph”, who will be killed and then brought back to life by “Messiah bar David” after the battle of Gog and Magog.
And the land shall mourn (Zech. 12:12). What is the reason of this mourning? R. Dosa and the rabbis differ about it. R. Dosa says: “[They will mourn] over Messiah who will be slain,” and the rabbis say: “[They will mourn] over the Evil Inclination which will be killed [in the days of the Messiah]…..”
The rabbis have taught: The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to Messiah ben David, may he be revealed soon in our days!: “Ask of Me anything, and I shall give it to you ,for it is written, The Lord said unto me, Thou art My son, this day have I begotten thee, ask of Me and I will give thee the nations for thy inheritance (Ps. 2:7-8). And when he will see that Messiah ben Joseph will be slain, he will say before Him: “Master of the World! I ask nothing of you except life!” God will say to him: “Even before you said, “life,’ your father David prophesied about you, as it is written, He asked life of Three, Thou gavest it him (Ps. 21:5).” (B. Suk 52a)
Again this conflict can only be resolved by seeing one Messiah fulfilling two roles. These roles are both fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.
The Suffering Servant
The most vivid picture of the “Suffering Servant” Messiah is in the Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12 Specific qualifiers give details about an individual who will be “Very high” but first he will be marred.
He will be God’s servant.
· My Servant (Is. 52:13)
· My righteous Servant (Is. 53;11)
He will be exalted in the Earth
· He shall be: exalted (Is 52:13)
· extolled (Is 52:13)
· Very high. (Is 52:13)
· He sprinkle many nations (Is. 52:15)
· Kings shall shut their mouths at Him (Is. 52:15)
He will be beaten physically
· His visage was marred more than any man
· His form more than the sons of men
His identity will be revealed to certain people
· Who has believed our report? (Is.53:1)
· to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? (Is. 53:1)B
His true identity is hidden till later
· many were astonished at you (Is.52.14)
· what had not been told them they shall see ( 52.15)
· what they had not heard they shall consider (52:15)
He will be rejected and despised by the people
· He is despised and rejected by men (Is 53:3)
· He was despised, and (Is 53:3)
· We did not esteem Him. (53:3 ·we hid, as it were, our faces from Him (Is 53:3)
He will be a Man, a descendent of the human race.
· A Man of sorrows (Is 53:3)
He will suffer at the will of God.
· sorrows and acquainted with grief (Is 53:3)
· He was oppressed (Is 53:7)
· He was afflicted (Is 53:7)
· Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him (Is 53;10)
What is His purpose for coming.
· He has borne our griefs (Is. 53:4)
· And carried our sorrows (Is. 53:4)
· He was wounded for our transgressions, (Is 53:5)
· He was bruised for our iniquities; (Is 53:5)
· The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, (Is 53:5)
· By His stripes we are healed. (Is 53:5)
· The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Is. 53:6)
· He bore the sin of many, (Is 53;12)
· And made intercession for the transgressors. (Is. 53:12)
He will also die.
· For He was cut off from the land (Is. 53:8)
· they made His grave with the wicked (Is 53:9)
· the rich at His death (Is. 53:9)
· He poured out His soul unto death, (Is 53:12)
He will die with the wicked
· they made His grave with the wicked (Is 53:9)
He will be buried with the rich
· the rich at His death (Is. 53:9)
He will be Righteous and Sinless
· He had done no violence (Is. 53:9)
· Nor was any deceit in His mouth. (Is. 53:9)
· My righteous Servant shall justify many (Is. 53;11)
He will be rewarded
· I will divide Him a portion with the great (Is. 53:12)
He will reward
· He shall divide the spoil with the strong (Is 53:12)
The qualifiers that describe this individual is a picture of Jesus Christ 700 years before his birth, in the book of Isaiah. They describe his ministry, his reason for coming, what will happen to Him when he comes, his treatment and what’s in store for those who trust Him