Prophecy About JesusProphecy About Jesus
So, were these predictions really "prophecy about Jesus"? Was the Jesus of the New Testament really the promised Messiah of the Old Testament? For me, I started to see the mathematical impossibility of just one man -- Jesus -- accidentally fulfilling or purposefully manipulating over 300 predictions written hundreds of years before his birth.
Professor Peter Stoner (1888-1980) discovered the same thing. Stoner was Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College until 1953, and Chairman of the Science Division of Westmont College from 1953 to 1957. Stoner calculated the probability of one man fulfilling only a handful of the over 300 Messianic prophecies. In 1944, he published his research results in Science Speaks: Scientific Proof of the Accuracy of Prophecy and the Bible. Stoner concluded that the probability of one person fulfilling just eight of the specific prophecies was one chance in 1017 (one followed by 17 zeros). How about one person fulfilling just 48 of the over 300 prophecies? Stoner calculated these odds at one chance in 10157 -- way beyond statistical impossibility! 1
OK, this can't be considered true statistical science... Can it?
Actually, the American Scientific Affiliation gave Stoner's work their stamp of approval:
- The manuscript for Science Speaks has been carefully reviewed by a committee of the American Scientific Affiliation members and by the Executive Council of the same group and has been found, in general, to be dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented. The mathematical analysis included is based upon principles of probability which are thoroughly sound and Professor Stoner has applied these principles in a proper and convincing way. 2
I mean, this prophecy about Jesus wasn't generalized stuff!
The Book of Daniel was written 500 years before the birth of Jesus. In Chapter 9, Daniel predicts the very day that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem and present himself as king for the first time. The prophecy states that 69 weeks of years (69 x 7 = 483 years) would pass from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah. 3 Since Daniel was written in Babylon during the Jewish captivity after the fall of Jerusalem, this prophecy was based on the Babylonian 360-day calendar. Thus, 483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days.
According to records found in the Shushan (Susa) Palace, and confirmed in Nehemiah 2:1, the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was issued by the Persian king, Artaxerxes Longimanus, on March 5, 444 BC. Remarkably, 173,880 days later (adjusting for leap years), on March 30, 33 AD, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9).4 Five days later, Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross just outside Jerusalem. (Actually, the form of his execution and even his last words were foretold hundreds of years earlier in Psalm 22.) Three days later, the New Testament accounts declare that Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, fulfilling numerous other prophecies of the long-awaited Messiah.
I stopped myself...
OK, that's all terrific stuff, but something was holding me back... I needed more... I needed something to squash my nagging doubt... Where's the evidence that this prophecy about Jesus wasn't written after the death of Jesus by a group of zealots that wanted to deify their departed religious leader...? I needed something else -- I needed one more piece of evidence showing that the prophecy about Jesus was in black and white prior to the time of Jesus... And there it was...
Keep Reading Now! Footnotes:
1 Peter Stoner, Science Speaks: Scientific Proof of the Accuracy of Prophecy and the Bible, 1944, 109-10.
2 American Scientific Affiliation, H. Harold Hartzler, Ph.D., Secretary-Treasurer, Goshen College, Ind. (Peter Stoner, Science Speaks: Scientific Proof of the Accuracy of Prophecy and the Bible, 1944, Foreword).
3 Daniel 9:25.
4 Some great scholars will argue these dates within a few days or up to a year, but this prophecy is still staggering in scope. See, Sir Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince, Kregel Classics, 1957 reprint, 127-128, 221.