The Big Question 19: Did Jesus Fulfil Prophecy?
Aug 14, 2018 1314
Did Jesus fulfil prophecy?
Some years ago, I started writing my autobiography. I got through a fair chunk of writing, and now I’m taking a break. I realised how many weird and wonderful twists and turns my life’s had! It’s certainly not going the way anyone really thought it would, let alone me! So predicting stuff is pretty difficult!
From the very start of Christianity, followers of Jesus have claimed that the coming and work of Jesus were a direct fulfilment of prophecy.
The issue is that people today often don’t take notice, and the reason is because they don’t know what was written about Jesus or when it was written. You can’t be impressed by prophecies if you don’t know their background right?
And of course, the other issue is that we supposedly live in a rational age, in which we don’t believe in things we can’t prove, and some people don’t even believe in what can be proven.
Peter Stoner was an American mathematician and astronomer in the twentieth century, who calculated the odds of eight of the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament being fulfilled from the time that they were made until our day. Messianic is from the word “Messiah,” the Jewish word for the saviour who would come.
The sort of prophecies that he dealt with were ones like Micah 5:2, which says that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem.
These prophecies are so precise in their details, that critics of Christianity used to say that these prophecies were written after the fact. However, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s changed all that forever. Because what those scrolls contained were parts of every book of the Old Testament part of the Bible, except one. Since the Dead Sea Scrolls could be dated firmly to before the time of Jesus, this proved definitively that these prophecies existed even many hundreds of years before Jesus was born. In fact they are meant to have been written between 500 to 1000 years before his birth.
So, Stoner took eight of these prophecies and ran the numbers. What he discovered was staggering!
He found that the probability of only eight of these prophecies being fulfilled in one man was
1 / 100,000,000,000,000,000 = 1 x 10-17
So, I don’t believe there’s any coincidence about the life of Jesus at all. For me, this moves it beyond the realm of probability to certainty: that Jesus was really someone special, and that he was who he said he was.