PROOF: Jesus was the Messiah
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.
— The Apostle Peter
How can we PROVE that a man who lived two millennia ago was the Messiah? We can prove it. We can do it with logic and with math. In essence, the following will result in a scientific or mathematical proof of the Messiahship of Jesus. But prior to getting to such scientific or mathematical proof, let’s look at some other reasons which provide us with good old down to earth farmhouse logic as to why Jesus was the Messiah or the Christ.
Records indicate that at least ten of the original Apostles died the death of martyrs. They died these painful and humiliating deaths because of what they were representing to the public. Because of their conviction, they were preaching and teaching what they had witnessed. They had witnessed the ministry, the crucifixion, and the miraculous resurrection of Jesus. It was their testimony concerning the resurrection and the events immediately following the resurrection that got them into trouble with the authorities. This was just a little too much for the typical ruler to stomach, especially when the testimony of the Apostles agitated the public and caused rifts in the social order of the day. And because they were commissioned by the Messiah himself to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), they wouldn’t shut up. All they had to do was stop saying what they were saying and perhaps admit that they were telling tales. If they had stopped, they would not have died such horrible and painful deaths. These were ordinary men who had led ordinary lives prior to meeting Jesus. All they had to do to save their own lives, avoid the torture and continue looking after and enjoying their families was to stop preaching about the resurrection of Jesus. They did not stop. Why did they not stop? Their knowledge and their beliefs were to the point of TOTAL conviction. Their conviction was even to the point of death. Who would submit to such torture and submit to die such a death when they did not have to do so? Yes, I know there have been several people throughout history who have died for their convictions. And I know that some of those people who died for their convictions were mistaken concerning their convictions. But I contend that none of those people throughout history have died for a lie when they knew it was a lie! The Apostles could not have been mistaken in what they saw. They would not die for a lie. People might knowingly preach a lie, but they will not die for that lie when they know it to be a lie; they will recant as opposed to dying. None of the Apostles recanted! They knew what they had seen with their own eyes and they willingly died for that truth.
Reports have it that even John (who was not martyred) was the victim of attempted martyrdom by Rome on two occasions. John miraculously survived poisoning, and then miraculously survived being boiled in oil – or fried in oil. He was then imprisoned until he was a very old man. So though he was not killed, John also was willing to face death for his knowledge and conviction. Would ALL of the Apostles have been willing to die horrible deaths for a lie? Absolutely not! Jesus WAS the Messiah.
The prophet Daniel prophesied concerning the coming of the Messiah. He even spelled out to the day when the Messiah would be presented to the world. Those professing Christians who have intensely studied the prophecies of Daniel, sometimes differ as to the exact date to which Daniel referred when he gave the time for the visitation of the Messiah, but those who do study this timeline, do not differ by any significant span of time. They all come to dates in the vicinity of 30 A.D. In the gospels, Jesus himself referred to the prophecies of Daniel, giving validation to both Daniel and Daniel’s writings as being prophetic. Daniel’s prophecies placed the coming of the Messiah in the late part of the third decade or early part of the fourth decade of the first century. So, according to a prophecy from more than 500 years prior to Jesus’ birth, Jesus or someone in his generation was the Messiah. And let’s not forget that we know from secular history that these prophecies were written down in the Septuagint over three centuries before Jesus was born. Have any of us heard of any possible first century candidates for the title of Messiah other than Jesus? Absolutely not! Jesus WAS the Messiah.
According to the sixth verse of the fifteenth chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Jesus was seen after his resurrection by around five hundred people! How do you get FIVE HUNDRED people to lie or hallucinate the same hallucination? This was a well known event in Jerusalem. You might find a handful of people who would continue with such a lie or practical joke, but how do you get hundreds of people to continue in such a lie when it is so unpopular and so divisive to society? Is it really practical that such a thing as five hundred people carrying-off such a lie could happen? Not likely! Jesus WAS the Messiah.
Why would the Magi trek hundreds of miles to visit the Christ child unless they had good information that he was, indeed, the Christ child. The prophet Daniel had saved their entire order a few hundred years earlier. Daniel had saved all the Magi of his day by miraculously interpreting the king’s dream. Because none of the Magi of Daniel’s time could interpret the king’s dream, the king made the decision to put all the Magi to death. Daniel then accurately interpreted the King’s dream and saved the day for all the Magi. Daniel then became the ruler of the Magi. Daniel got their attention and they remembered his prophecies and read his prophecies for the next five hundred years. The Magi were neither Jewish nor Christian, but they believed in the prophecies of Daniel, and they came to visit the Messiah at his birth. Would these important rulers from another country trek hundreds of miles to visit the Messiah, unless they were convinced that it was truly the Messiah? Absolutely not! Jesus WAS the Messiah.
The Apostle Peter was one of the men who walked with, talked with, ate with, journeyed with and celebrated with Jesus. Peter saw the trials of Jesus. Peter saw the crucifixion of Jesus. Peter saw the tomb of Jesus with his dead body in it. Peter then saw the empty tomb! Peter then saw the resurrected Jesus. After witnessing all of these events, and being of such conviction that he was willing to die for his belief, Peter made an amazing statement. He said that we have something more sure than all of that. We find his statement in II Peter 1.
II Peter 1:16-21 – For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Why would Peter give more weight to prophecy than to his own personal observation, after being a personal witness to the Messiahship of Jesus? He seemed to trust prophecy more than he trusted himself. Would it be logical to place that much trust in prophecies? Perhaps it might be logical if the prophecies were numerous enough and detailed enough.
The Septuagint was a translation of the Hebrew scriptures which was accomplished in the third century prior to Jesus’ birth. It contained numerous prophecies about the Messiah which were penned by numerous men over numerous centuries. We know today from secular history that the prophecies in the Septuagint were translated and written down for over three hundred years prior to Jesus’ birth. By some counts, Jesus fulfilled over three hundred of these written prophecies. Let’s first look at a few of those prophecies, and then we’ll perform a mathematical calculation concerning the true Messiah. We’ll number some of the prophecies below.
- The Messiah was to be a descendent of Abraham. Jesus was a descendent of Abraham. Genesis 12:3 and Matthew 1:1.
- The Messiah was to be a descendent of Isaac. Jesus was a descendent of Isaac. Genesis 17:19; 21:12 and Matthew 1:2.
- The Messiah was to be a descendent of Jacob. Jesus was a descendent of Jacob. Genesis 28:14; and Matthew 1:2.
- The Messiah was to be a descendent of Judah. Jesus was a descendent of Judah. Genesis 49:10; and Matthew 1:2-3.
- The Messiah was to be a descendent of David. Jesus was a descendent of David. II Samuel 7:12-13 and Matthew 1:1-6.
- The Messiah was to come 483 years after the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. Jesus came 483 years after the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. Daniel 9:24-26 and Luke 3:1,23.
- The Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Micah 5: 1-2 and Luke 2:4-7.
- The Messiah was to be born of a virgin. Jesus was born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:26-35.
- The Messiah was to be announced by someone who came before him. Jesus was announced by John the Baptist. Isaiah 40:3-5, Malachi 3:1 and Matthew 3:1-3.
- The Messiah was to be a healer. Jesus healed many people. Isaiah 35:5-6, Isaiah 42:18 and Matthew 11:5 (many others).
- The Messiah was to enter Jerusalem on a donkey. Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. Zechariah 9:9 and Mark 11:1-11
- The Messiah was to enter the temple with authority. Jesus drove the moneychangers from the temple. Haggai 2:7-9, Malachi 3:1 and John 2:13-16.
- The Messiah was to be betrayed by a friend. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his 12 disciples. Psalm 41:9, Psalm 55:12-14 and John 13: 18-26.
- The Messiah was to be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. Jesus was betrayed by Judas for 30 pieces of silver. Zechariah 11:12 and Matthew 26:15.
- The Messiah was to have his betrayal price given for a potter’s field. Judas’ 30 pieces of silver went toward the purchase of a potter’s field. Zechariah 11:13 and Matthew 27:7.
- The Messiah was to be forsaken by his friends. Just before the crucifixion, Jesus’ disciples abandoned him. Zechariah 13:7 and Matthew 26:31-56.
- The Messiah was to be murdered by having his hands and feet pierced. (This was prophesied centuries before crucifixion, as a form of execution, was even “invented”.) Jesus died by crucifixion with his hands and feet pierced. Psalm 22:17, Zechariah 12:10 and Luke 24:39, John 19 & 20.
- The Messiah was to be given vinegar to quench his thirst. Jesus was given vinegar as he hung on the cross. Psalm 69:21-22 and Matthew 27:34.
- The Messiah was not to have any bones broken. Jesus had no bones broken even though it was a typical part of crucifixion. Exodus 12:46, Psalm 34:20-21 and John 19:33-36.
- The Messiah was to have his garments parted and lots cast for his vesture. At this crucifixion, Jesus’ garments were parted among the soldiers at the execution and they cast lots for his vesture. Psalms 22:18 and Matthew 27:35.
- The Messiah was to be raised from the dead. Jesus was the firstborn of the resurrection. Psalm 2:7, Isaiah 53:9-10 and Matthew 28:1-20, Acts 2:23-36.
The above are but a few of the many prophecies concerning the first coming of Jesus. The odds against any person ever fulfilling these prophecies are astronomical, and these are only a portion of the hundreds of prophecies. And many of the prophecies are such that no one could stage a fulfillment. How would anyone stage both the time and location of his birth? How would anyone stage his own murder while assuring that none of his bones would be broken? How could anyone stage the actions of others who paid his betrayal price for a potter’s field after his death? How could anyone stage his own resurrection? Obviously, anyone who might fulfill these prophecies would have to be “the real McCoy”.
Let’s now get into the mathematical proof to which we referred earlier. The following illustration is one similar to what I have seen or heard a couple of other folks do on occasion. Chuck Missler includes a similar exercise in several of his recorded lectures. I’ve always been intrigued by both the simplicity and the depth of this proof. It involves assigning a probability to a few of the prophecies concerning Jesus. After we do that, we’ll then perform some simple calculations to determine a mathematical probability. Simple. Remember these prophecies were all written down in the Septuagint, which was a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek – the common language in first century Jerusalem. We know from secular history that the Septuagint was published over 300 years prior to Jesus’ birth. So these were true prophecies that were truly fulfilled by Jesus. What we want to do now is to determine what the probabilities are that these prophecies could be fulfilled by any person who ever lived based simply upon chance. You know, the “16 monkeys at typewriters correctly typing the complete works of Shakespeare” type probability. What are the chances?
First let’s assign some probabilities to a few of the prophecies. In order to be more than fair, we’ll be conservative in assigning all the numbers. Okay, let’s go.
What would be the chance of a person’s being born in Bethlehem. Presently, in 2006, Bethlehem has a population of around 40,000. The population of the world in 2006 is over 6.5 billion. Thus the chances of anyone being born in Bethlehem today would be 6.5 billion divided by 40,000 which gives us the number 162,500. So based on these numbers there is one chance in 162,500 that a person being born today might be born in Bethlehem. Since populations in various geographic areas have changed through the ages, let’s be conservative and lower that number. Let’s use 10,000, which is only about 6% of 162,500. That seems more than fair. Remember, a lower number here indicates more opportunity for the prophecies to be fulfilled simply by chance. So to say that perhaps 1 in 10,000 people throughout history have been born in Bethlehem seems much more than fair. So we have 1:10,000.
Next let’s assign a number to the possibility that any particular person simply by chance might be a descendent of David. David was a Jew. Considering the population of the world, the Jews make up a very small portion of it – only a fraction of a percent. And David was only one person of the entire population of Jews. So, it’s very possible that the descendents of David make up only one part (or less) in a million of the world’s total population. Let’s be fair and conservative and say that 1 person in every 1000 is a descendent of David. Wouldn’t you agree that this number is conservative. Okay 1:1000.
From all the people who have ever lived, what are the chances of any one of those being born in the first half of the first century? Remember Daniel’s prophecy which narrowed the time of the Messiah’s visitation to within a few years of 30 A.D. But to be conservative and fair, we’ll stretch that time to a 50 year period. Secular scientists teach that man has been living in the world for at least 60,000 years, and possibly hundreds of thousands of years. So a 50 year period out of that time span would be about 1:1200 or greater. We’ll be fair and conservative here and say that man has been around only about 6000 years, which is what our Creator seems to be teaching us in the Holy Bible, and which under any circumstances is a much more conservative number. Don’t forget, a conservative number makes it more difficult for us to prove that Jesus was the Messiah based upon these prophecies. 6000 divided by 50 gives us a probability of 1 in 120 that an individual might be born in the first half of the first century based solely on chance. And this 6000 year figure is conservative for another reason. The “experts” (whoever they are) on world population tell us that half of the people who ever lived are alive today. This means that there is a much greater chance that any person at random would be born in the 20th or 21st century than in the first century. But we’ll be conservative and keep the number as is at 1:120. No, let’s be even more conservative and lessen it to 1:100.
What are the chances that a person might die by execution as was prophesied for the Messiah? Wouldn’t we think that this is a high number? Not many people die by execution if we are considering percentages. We might guess that 1 in 10,000 would be quite conservative. And this wasn’t just any form of execution; it was to specifically be crucifixion. Only a small percentage of people throughout history have died by execution, and only a very small percentage of those executed throughout history have been executed by crucifixion. So, 1 in 10,000 seems very conservative for a prophecy that specifies death by crucifixion. And let’s remember that this prophecy was delivered before crucifixion was even “invented” or introduced to the world. 1:10,000.
How about riding a donkey into Jerusalem? Would we not agree that very few people have done such a thing? Surely there have been more than one, but it’s certainly far from an everyday activity for the vast population of the world. Can we agree that less than 1 in every 1000 people who have lived have ridden on a donkey to enter the city of Jerusalem? Wouldn’t we think that less than one in a thousand people who ever lived have even entered into Jerusalem in any manner, much less riding a donkey? Let’s use 1:1000.
What’s the percentage of healers who have lived since the beginning of man? Jesus was prophesied to be, and indeed was a healer. Throughout history, only a small minority of people have even professed to be healers, and even fewer have truly been healers. Regardless of the type of healers we might consider, would we not think that using a number for 1 person in a 100 as having been a healer would be truly conservative? Let’s use 1:100.
Not many people have been betrayed for a price. Certainly there have been people through history, and even today, who have been betrayed for money, but by percentages, the numbers are quite small. Could we agree that perhaps 1 person in 100 is a conservative number for those having been betrayed for money? Now what happens when we narrow the field and consider only those who have been betrayed for exactly thirty pieces of silver? That would be an extremely small number would it not – perhaps as small as one in every several million people? Again, let’s be conservative and say that 1 of every 1000 people in history have been betrayed for exactly 30 pieces of silver. 1:1000.
Staying with the betrayal price, how many people have had their betrayal price then used to buy a potter’s field? Again, would we not think this would be an extremely small number? It’s perhaps so small that it may have happened only once in history. But we could be wrong about that, so we’ll be very conservative and suggest that 1 person in 1000 of those betrayed have had the betrayal price used to buy a potter’s field. Doesn’t that seem very fair? 1:1000.
What percentage of people who have lived have entered the temple with authority? Or let’s just use the group of people who have entered the temple for any reason under any circumstances. Remember, that for the lifetime of most people, there hasn’t even been a temple; the last temple was destroyed 2000 years ago. Is 1 person in 100 conservative enough? 1:100.
How many people have been given vinegar to quench their thirst? Very, very few, wouldn’t you say. Can we use 1 person in 1000 as a conservative number? 1:1000.
Let’s use only one more prophecy (and remember there were over three hundred prophecies fulfilled by Jesus at his first coming). How many men in history have had clothes for which others have gambled? This is another number that cannot be established with absolute certainty, but surely the number of men to whom this has happened must be very, very small. Have we even heard of, in our own lifetime, anyone gambling for a dead man’s clothes? It has to be a small number of people. To be conservative, can we use 1:1000?
So now we have a list of several probabilities. We now need to determine what the chances are of all these things happening to a specific individual. To do that, we multiply all the numbers together.
As an example calculation, let’s assume that in some large group of people that 1 person in 10 is left handed, and that 1 person in 5 has brown eyes, and that one person in 20 is over six feet tall. From those criteria, what are the chances that an individual picked at random will be a brown eyed, left hander, over six feet tall? To determine the answer we multiply 10 x 5 x 20. The result is 1000. Thus we know that in this large group only 1 person in every 1000 persons will fit all three categories and will be brown-eyed, left-handed, and over six feet tall.
In multiplying the above eleven numbers together from the eleven prophecies (chosen from over three hundred prophecies), we multiply 10,000 x 1000 x 100 x 10,000 x 1000 x 100 x 1000 x 1000 x 100 x 1000 x 1000 = 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. That’s quite a large number, so we’ll use scientific notation and call it 1 x 1032.
So the chance that all eleven of the above prophecies could happen to any particular individual is 1 x 1032. These are the odds against Jesus fulfilling the eleven prophecies. But let’s be much more conservative, and determine the odds against ANY PERSON WHO EVER LIVED – NOT JUST JESUS – fulfilling the prophecies. To determine what are the chances that these eleven prophecies could have happened to ANY INDIVIDUAL in history up to this point in time, we then need to divide the above number by the total of all people who have ever lived. As stated earlier, the experts say that over half of the people who ever lived, are alive today. Today there are 6.5 billion people in the world. So let’s say that 13 billion people have lived in this world since Adam. Now to once again be very conservative let’s raise this number to 100 billion (in this category, the larger the number, the more conservative we are being in determining the chances of all eleven prophecies happening to anybody ever). 100 billion in scientific notation would be 1 x 1011. When we divide 1 x 1032 (the chance of the above eleven prophecies being fulfilled) by 1 x 1011 (assumed total number of people who ever lived), our result is 1 x 1021.
We can see that in being conservative with every step of this procedure, we still came up with a very large number. This number represents the odds of having any person who ever lived fulfill only these eleven of the numerous prophecies concerning Jesus. The chances seem to be pretty slim, don’t they? But how slim are they? A number this large is difficult to grasp. Let’s analyze the number a little further.
Scientists tell us that the universe has been here for 15 billion years. If we, for the moment, assume that their number is incorrect and that the universe has actually been here for 30 billion years, how many seconds would that be? It would be just under 1 x 1018 seconds. Wow! This means that our number above (1 x 1021) is 1000 times more than the number of seconds (1 x 1018) which are required to equal just over 30 billion years! To get that many seconds (1 x 1021), we would need over 30,000 billion years. 1 x 1021 is truly a large number.
Let’s try and look at this number in a different fashion. Let’s think about leaves – tree leaves. Imagine a large tree filled with leaves. Let’s even imagine that the tree has a million leaves on it. Let’s further imagine that one, and only one, of the leaves has been injected with a tiny microchip which is invisible to the naked eye. Our job is to guess which leaf has the microchip. With no high tech aid, we can only guess as to the correct leaf. What are our chances of guessing the correct leaf on the first try? Since the tree has a million leaves, our chances are a million to one. Our odds aren’t too good are they? But they are still astronomically better than 1 chance in 1 x 1021. Remember 1 chance in 1 x 1021 would be the odds of anyone ever fulfilling the 11 prophecies we discussed above. So how many trees like this would we need? Let’s assume that we can fit twenty-five such trees on an acre of land. And let’s assume that we have an entire square mile of land (640 acres) filled with such trees, but still only one leaf on only one tree has the microchip. What are our odds now of guessing the correct leaf with only one try? We have 25 trees on each of 640 acres, and each tree has 1 million leaves. So we multiply 25 x 640 x 1,000,000. We get the result of 16 billion (or 16 x 109) leaves as the result. Our odds of finding the correct leaf with only one attempt are one chance in 16 x 109. These are not very good odds, but still far better than the odds of anyone ever fulfilling the 11 prophecies. Let’s try more trees. Let’s look at 144 million acres, or an area that is roughly the size of Texas. 144 million acres times 25 trees per acre times 1 million leaves per tree gives us as the number of leaves. Our total number of leaves this try is 3.6 x 1015, which is certainly getting closer to our target number of 1 x 1021, but we aren’t there yet. And we’re already looking for a leaf in an area the size of Texas which is totally covered with huge trees full of leaves – 1 million leaves per tree. Well, let’s jump this way up there. Let’s now assume that the whole earth is covered with these trees. The WHOLE Earth – no oceans, no glaciers, no mountains – nothing but trees. 25 trees per acre over the entire face of the whole Earth, and each tree has 1 million leaves. What are our odds now? We won’t do the calculation here, but it turns out that we would have 3.2 x 1018 leaves from which to choose our one. Our number is STILL not large enough, even when we cover the entire Earth with these trees. As it turns out, we would need approximately 300 planets the size of the Earth which were all totally covered with trees at 25 trees per each acre and 1 million leaves per each tree. And we need to locate the correct micro-chipped leaf with only one guess. It’s gotten rather nuts hasn’t it? And yet, based upon our very conservative numbers, these are the odds that any person in history could have fulfilled the eleven prophecies we discussed above. Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies. So had we used more prophecies, and had we been less conservative and used more realistic numbers, the resulting chances would be unimaginably greater than the 300 planets filled on their every square foot with trees of a million leaves each! This is a simple yet astonishing mathematical proof that Jesus the Christ was indeed that – the Christ or the Messiah. There is no other choice.
Jesus the Christ was,
Yeshua HaMashiach (Hebrew for Jesus the Christ)
Father of Eternity
Prince of Peace
The Holy One of Israel
The God of the whole earth
The Root and the Offspring of David
The Bright and Morning Star
Alpha and Omega
The Beginning and the End
The First and the Last
Him which is, and which was, and which is to come
The Faithful Witness
The first begotten of the dead
The Prince of the kings of the earth
The LORD of hosts
Son of man
He that lives, and was dead
Faithful and True
Captain of the Lord's army
The Word of God
The Lion of the tribe of Judah
The Ancient of Days
The great "I AM"
KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS
Son of God