Faith Encouragement: New Testament Predictions

New Testament Predictions

1. Jerusalem will be surrounded and destroyed, including children within her walls.

Luke 19:41-44 "But as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, he began to cry. 'I wish that even today you would find the way of peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from you. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you. They will crush you to the ground and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you have rejected the opportunity God offered you.' " This was spoken by Jesus about AD 30. In AD 70 the Romans surrounded and besieged Jerusalem, destroying Jerusalem and all its inhabitants, including children. Note Jerusalem had been conquered before, and the Jews taken as slaves, but never before had such mass slaughter been recorded. More than 500,000 reportedly perished in this event. Chances of correctly predicting the destruction of Jerusalem along with the slaughter of children is likely less than 1 in 5.

 

 

2. The Jewish temple in Jerusalem will be completely leveled.

Matthew 24:1-2 "As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he told them, 'Do you see all these buildings? I assure you, they will be so completely demolished that not one stone will be left on top of another!'" With the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, the temple itself was a particular target and all stones were removed such that none were left standing. Killing all inhabitants of Jerusalem was extreme, but to go to the trouble of completely leveling the temple with its huge stones is a lot of additional trouble. To level house size stones with such mortar would require special heating methods we understand to loosen the mortar. Probability, even given destruction of Jerusalem by an angry Roman emperor is approximated as 1 in 2.

 

 

3. Jesus predicted judgment upon Capernaum, Korazin and Bethsaida on the sea of Galilee (sea of Tiberias) and remained silent about Tiberias.

Matthew 11:20-24 "Then Jesus began to denounce the cities where he had done most of his miracles, because they hadn't turned from their sins and turned to God. ' What horrors await you Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have sat in deep repentance long ago, clothed in sackcloth and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. I assure you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on the judgment day than you! And you people of Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in Sodom, it would still be here today. I assure you, Sodom will be better off on the judgment day than you.' "

An earthquake destroyed Capernaum about AD 400. Its ruins have been a site of excavation. Bethsaida and Korazin are no longer found on the north rim of the Sea of Galilee, and only their approximate site remains. Tiberias is standing today, well populated. If one was to attempt to predict decline or advancement of cities, the probability of being right for any given city would be approximately 3 in 10 for declining and 7 in 10 for advancement. In a world with increasing population there would be reason in general for cities to advance in size. Therefore, out of 4 cities on the sea of Galilee, to predict correctly the decline of 3 cities and to be correctly silent on the fate of a 4th (Tiberias) would happen 3/10 X 3/10 X 3/10 X 7/10 of the time = 189/10,000 = .019 = 1.9%. Note we are also not talking about the mere decline of cities, but rather the complete loss of two cities, including their original site, and the complete ruin of a third city.

 

 

4. Jesus predicted His death in Jerusalem and that he would be crucified. Matthew 16:21 Matthew 26:2

Matt. 16:21 "From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that he had to go to Jerusalem, and he told them what would happen to him there. He would suffer at the hands of the leaders and the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, and he would be raised on the third day."

Matt 26:1-2 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these saying, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Attempted murder occurred several times during Jesus' ministry at the hands or direct participation of Chief Priests and Scribes. Note, although Jesus was hated by many of the Chief Priests and Scribes, they would not wish to be associated with his death directly. Rather they would prefer to have him stoned for blasphemy unofficially by a mob out of the city of Jerusalem. Indeed in Nazareth some tried to throw Jesus off the top of a hill to his death, accusing him of blasphemy, but he eluded them (Luke 4:29). To be able to correctly predict the city of your death and manner of your death at that time when surrounded by many who would stone you anytime and anywhere appears to have a probability of only 1 in 5 or so.

 

5. Jesus predicted, with time-of-day accuracy, that his chief disciple Peter would deny him. 

Luke 22:34 "But Jesus said, 'Peter, let me tell you something. The rooster will not crow tomorrow morning until you have denied three times that you even know me.' "

Estimate a 1 in 24 probability of predicting when his trial would end, a 1 in 3 probability that Peter would follow him to the trial location and a 1 in 100 chance that Peter would deny knowing him 3 times after drawing his sword to protect him . This is estimated at 1 in 7200.

 

 

6. Jesus predicted that his words will not pass away.

Luke 21:33 "Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will remain forever." A bold statement from an itinerant Jewish carpenter. Yet his words are preserved with more accuracy than anyone in history prior to the invention of the printing press. Assume that Jesus' words had more chance of being preserved due to his spiritual leadership position and that within his generation there were 1000 Jewish leaders and perhaps 20,000 spiritual leaders from all faiths. The probability that Jesus' words would be preserved more than any leader of his day would be 1 in 20,000.

The joint probability that these predictions made by Jesus (the only ones made) would all be true is equal to the product of their individual probabilities as well.

The probability that Jesus’ predictions would come to pass without error is estimated conservatively as .00000000000264, or much less than 1 in a billion. 

K. Dean Reeves, M.D. is a physician and medical researcher in the area of pain caused by arthritis, chronic sprains and chronic strains. His private practice is located in the greater Kansas City area of Roeland Park, Kansas.  He collaborates in research with other locations across the country and internationally, and is licensed in the states of Kansas and Missouri.

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Dr. K. Dean Reeves

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