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WHAT ABOUT PROPHECY? PART #2. PROPHECIES OF THE COMING CHRIST. The importance of these prophecies is hard to over estimate. If these prophecies have been fulfilled, then we find conformation for the claim of the bible that it is the word of God.

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prophecies of the coming christ
  • The importance of these prophecies is hard to over estimate. If these prophecies have been fulfilled, then we find conformation for the claim of the bible that it is the word of God.
  • We also find conformation of a personal, involved, benevolent, all-powerful God who has chosen to reveal Himself in a particular way.
  • Lastly, we find the person that these predictions were written about, the person whom God has sent to bring about salvation.
how many prophecies are we talking about
How many Prophecies are we talking about?
  • How many prophecies are there about the messiah? 3 or 4 like the others?
    • Surely the odds are that more than one person who has ever lived could fulfill 3 or 4 prophecies, or even double or triple that many prophecies.
  • Fortunately, the Old Testament prevents such an argument. By some accounts there are 300 to 400 messianic prophecies in the Old Testament.
josh mcdowell
Josh McDowell
  • Josh McDowell made an excellent study of the major prophecies and numbers them at 61. he characterizes these prophecies as credentials that anyone claiming to be the Messiah had to have.
  • In his list is a group of prophecies concerning the genealogy of the Messiah. If we consider only these, we will begin to see just how narrow the list of candidates for the Messiah actually is.
It is obvious that the Messiah was someone extremely specific and that the pool of candidates is incredibly small.
  • Not just anyone could make that claim and be taken seriously
but there s more
But there’s more.
  • The prophecies concerning the Messiah provide even further credentials that must be met.
  • In his book “science speaks”, Peter Stoner took just eight of these prophecies and calculated the odds of all of them being fulfilled.
Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Mc 5:2)
  • Messiah will be preceded by a messenger (Mal. 3:1)
  • Messiah will come to Jerusalem riding on a colt. (Zch. 9:9)
  • Messiah will be betrayed by a friend (Zch. 13:6)
  • Messiah will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. (Zch. 11:2)
  • Messiah’s betrayer will try to return the silver but will be refused, he will then throw them on the floor of the temple. (Zch. 11:13)
  • Messiah will not speak in His own defense. (Isa. 53:7)
  • Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. (Ps 22:16)
The numbers Peter Stoner used to calculate the odds were arrived at by himself and 600 of his students over a ten year period
  • Stoner and his students found that in considering these eight prophecies, the odds that they would be fulfilled by any man who lived between the writing of the prophecies (no later than 400 BC) and today is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (or 100 Quadrillion)
an illustration
An Illustration
  • Suppose we take 100 quadrillion silver dollars and lay then on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state 2 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 at getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these 8 prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, providing they wrote with there own wisdom.
how about 48 prophecies
How about 48 Prophecies?
  • Stoner also calculated the odds of fulfilling 48 prophecies.
1 in


(or 10157)

As large as that number is, it must be remembered that there at least 61 major prophecies. If the odds of 48 prophecies being fulfilled are that great, how much greater are the odds of 61 prophecies?
  • The odds are overwhelming.
daniel s 70 weeks
  • One of the most well known and astounding prophecies regarding the Messiah is found in Daniel.
  • This passage in Daniel 9:24-27, often referred to as “Daniels 70 weeks” gives a very narrow window of time during which the Messiah would appear.
Daniel 9:24-27 
    • 24 “ Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy,  And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 “ Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.  26 “ And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;  And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”
To understand the timetable given, it must be noted that the word translated “week” is the Hebrew word for 7 as it refers to a duration of time, a “period of sevens”
  • Throughout the Old Testament it has been used to mean a period of seven days or years. In this case, it is believed to refer to weeks of years: 70 weeks = 490 years.
The window of time for the Messiah to appear had to be before the destruction of the temple.
    • “And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
  • At the time that Daniel wrote this prophecy 530 BC, Jerusalem lay in ruins already. His prophecy said that the city will be rebuilt before it is destroyed. It also said that the decree that ordered Jerusalem’s restoration is the beginning of the 70 weeks.
After 69 weeks of years (or 483 years), the Messiah will appear.
  • This is when the window opens. And we know the window shut in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.
  • No one appearing in history outside of this window could be the promised Messiah.
when did the window open
When did the window open?
  • Do we know of a decree that ordered the rebuilding of Jerusalem and, if so, when was the decree issued?
  • If we did know of such a decree, then we would know the start of the 70th weeks, the 69th week marking the opening of the Messiah’s window.
Nehemiah 2:1-8 

  And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.”So I became dreadfully afraid, 3 and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?” 4 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” 6 Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. 7 Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, 8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.

The decree is dated in the month of Nisan during the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes. Artaxerxes ascended the throne in 465 BC, giving us a 444 BC start date for the year. Traditionally, if the day of the month was not mentioned in writing, ancient Hebrews intended for the first day of the month to be understood as the day in question.
  • Thus the start date for the 70 weeks would be Nisan 1, 444 BC, which is equivalent of March 4, 444 BC on our calendar.
365 360
365 = 360
  • Keep in mind that the Jewish calendar was a little different than our calendar. Their calendar only had 30 days per month, or 360 days per year not 365 as we have.
    • So to understand this correctly we need to convert the 69 weeks, 483 years, to days: 483 yrs x 360 days = 173,880 days
So beginning at March 4, 444 BC and counting forward 173,880 days on the current calendar, if we account for leap years and the lack of a year 0, we arrive at Sunday, March 29, AD 33.
  • This would be Palm Sunday, the day Jesus presented Himself to Israel as the Messiah, making April 3, AD 33 the date of the crucifixion.
Again, this astonishing prophecy could not have been added into the Scripture to make it fit the life of Jesus because the Hebrew Old Testament was preserved by the Jews and Christians alike. The text itself has never been an issue.
  • Prophecy is very important because it is a miracle that is testable.
  • We only have to see if such events come to pass to verify or reject a prophet.
    • As we have seen, there are prophecies that have come true and can be demonstrated.
    • There is an extremely small probability of these being fulfilled by chance.
    • They could not have been written into the text at a later date.
    • Thus having shown authentic credentials as ones who speak the very words of God, we have good reason to treat the prophets as authoritative.
  • We find a large number of prophecies that pertained to one man, the Messiah. All indications are that the Messiah did appear as prophesied and fulfilled further prophecies written about Himself.
  • This man was Jesus. Jesus Himself made prophetic statements and so His authority should be able to be tested as well.
    • There were many miracles attributed to Jesus but one in particular is the event on which Christianity itself stands or falls.
the resurrection of jesus
  • The resurrection of Jesus is what we will deal with next time.