Fulfilled prophecy is one of the most powerful arguments in favor of validating the Bible’s own claim to divine inspiration. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the God of the Bible is his ability to predict the future without error one hundred percent of the time. Frankly, the integrity of Scripture rises and falls on the predictions made by the Author.

The Lord God of Israel established the credentials for a true prophet of God by saying, “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:21-22).

Elsewhere the Lord declares, “Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Isa. 46:11).

Scholars estimate that as much as 27 percent of the Bible was predictive prophecy when it was written, and that the Bible addresses more than 730 prophetic subjects. According to John Walvoord, one of the most well respected Bible prophecy experts in the twentieth century, “Half of the prophecies of the Bible have already been fulfilled in a literal way.” He believes this gives us every reason to say that remaining Bible prophecies will also have a literal fulfillment.

Scholars have identified more than 300 Messianic prophecies in the Bible. What is the probability of all 300 of them being fulfilled in the life of one person, Jesus Christ?

Peter Stoner, Professor Emeritus at Westmont College, asked this question and involved as many as 600 university students in a mathematical exercise designed to discover the answer. He writes about his well-documented findings in a book called Science Speaks Out.

Stoner began by calculating the possibility of one person fulfilling the prophecy found in Micah 5:2 that says the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Taking into consideration the population of Bethlehem from the time of Micah’s prophecy until now, Stoner concluded there was a one in 300,000 chance of this single Bible prophecy being fulfilled.

He then calculated the possibility of only eight of the Messianic prophecies being fulfilled in a single person. After careful examination, Stoner conservatively estimated that the chance of this happening was one in 10 with 17 zeroes added to the number. To put this gigantic number in perspective, he illustrated the possibility.

Suppose we collect silver dollars numbering 10 to the 17th power and spread them out evenly over the state of Texas. They would cover the entire Lone Star state as high as two feet deep. Now mark one of the silver dollars and then stir up the whole mass of them. Then ask a blindfolded man to pick out the marked silver dollar. What are the chances of him picking out the right one? You guessed it. One in 10 with 17 zeroes after it, which is the same chance that one person could ever fulfill only eight of the Messianic prophecies found in the Bible. The chances of one person fulfilling more than 300 predictions about Messiah are truly incomprehensible.

Stoner concludes his findings by saying, “Anyone who rejects Christ as the Son of God is rejecting a fact, proved perhaps more absolutely than any other fact in the world.”

Fulfilled prophecy is God's way of authenticating himself. A study of Bible prophecy points to the kind of evidence that indeed demands a verdict. How will you respond?


Lou Ann says:
I'm SO glad that you decided to focus the blog post on the FACT of fulfilled prophecy. You mentioned in the sermon yesterday something to the effect that archeological evidence alone cannot prove the Scriptures to be valid. But the study of archeological evidence is what has gnawed at me for the past 24 hours! As someone who has been a believer from about the age of 5, I have never personally felt a need to have the validity of Scripture proven to me. I have always accepted the Word of God as entirely and 100% true, down to every detail of every story. I can appreciate that our current series, "66", is timely and culturally relevant. But there are some aspects of the desire for scientific and literary arguments in defense of the Scriptures that disturb me. Having been trained in mathematics (the only pure science :-D), I am constantly analyzing everything around me – looking for answers to the questions "why?" and "how?". I have come to this conclusion in life: when you know the answer to "why" or "how", then it doesn't require FAITH to believe. In your sermon, you explained that a Stanford scholar showed that Jericho lies on a fault line and that there was likely an earthquake at the time that the walls of Jericho fell straight down. I was startled to find that this explanation disappointed me. In fact, I was greatly disappointed. When I left church I had to sit down and figure out exactly what about this news was disappointing for me. It is my wholehearted belief that the Lord who I worship is the Lord over all matter, every molecule and every atom. I believe that He works in and above and beyond any and all laws of science and physics. I don't want to think that an earthquake took place at the time that Joshua and the Hebrew army shouted, causing the walls of Jericho to fall straight down. What I want to believe is that the Lord of the Universe is great enough and powerful enough and "over-all" enough to make the walls fall down according to His will. Period. This omnipotent God spoke creation into being. Do I need an earthquake to believe that the walls of Jericho could fall? If someone claims to need scientific proof for any or all "miracles" described in the Bible, then that person will not have true faith. Consider Hebrews 11:1 – "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Consider Jesus, speaking to Thomas who demanded to see the risen Christ with his own eyes – "Jesus said to him, 'Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'" Even if every physical miracle in the Bible could be scientifically explained, from the archeology of the Hittites and the walls of Jericho to the existence of man-swallowing sized sea creatures in the days of Jonah to the provision of food for 5,000 men on a hillside, the one miracle that you will never be able to explain to me scientifically is my own salvation. Is it possible to believe that the Scriptures are scientifically provable and valid, yet not accept salvation in faith? I wonder if there are people "out there" who can accept every single piece of textual evidence that the Scriptures are true and valid, but at the same time will never accept that salvation is available to them, personally, and that this salvation is possible because our God can do it. Again, let me emphasize that I am not arguing the need for apologetics. It is a Biblical command to always be "ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you" (I Peter 3:15). But is it acceptable to say that there are certain things that I believe, certain things in which I have hope, simply because I do? - Lou Ann M. Aepelbacher, Deo Volente

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“Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Romans 8:28 MSG