Faith Encouragement: Predictions About The Messiah

Predictions About The Messiah

1. Virgin woman becomes pregnant.

(Isaiah 7:14) "All right then, the Lord himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel -- 'God is with us.'". It of course is no sign if a virgin gets pregnant and gives birth by sexual relations. Therefore that is not what Isaiah is talking about. He is talking about a pregnancy not from man but from God. In this day and age when fertilizing an egg and placing it back in the womb is possible, consider what a small thing it would be for God to fertilize an egg in utero. The fact that this baby within her did not come from relations with a man is clear from the Bible and from her fiancé’s reaction. For example, when the angel tells Mary that she is to have a baby, Mary asks how can this be, since she has never had sex: Luke 1:34 "Mary asked the angel, 'But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.' " That this baby was not from her fiancé is clear by Joseph’s reaction to the news from Mary that she is pregnant. Matt. 1:18-19 "Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly." This was kind of Joseph, as the usual penalty for sex out of wedlock, which Mary did not do, but would be accused of, was stoning. God had to speak to him in a dream to convince him to marry Mary.

Matt. 1:20 "As he (Joseph) considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. 'Joseph, son of David,' the angel said, 'do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit.' "

The chance for a virgin birth in that age was zero. However, for purposes of this discussion, let's just consider the chances that a single Jewish girl with marked chaperoning would allow herself to be inseminated by someone other than her fiancé, which would clearly put her at high risk for stoning. That probability is reasonably less than 1% at that time in history.


2. The first child of this unmarried pregnant girl will be a boy.

(Isaiah 7:14) "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel (meaning 'God with us')." The probability of Jesus being born male is estimated at 1 in 2.


3. The Messiah should be born in Bethlehem.

Micah 5:2 "But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

That this is not just any ruler or leader is spoken of as seen in the statement "whose goings forth have been spoken from of old, from everlasting." King David’s coming was not spoken of beforehand, and he was the arguably the greatest king in the history of Israel. The probability of Jesus being born in Bethlehem, a city of less than 20,000 in a nation of millions at the time is estimated as 20,000/2,000,000 or 1 in 100.



4. The Messiah will come when the Jewish temple is intact.

Malachi 3:1 "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in."

Daniel 9:26 "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary."

Given that Daniel prophesied this in about 580 BC, and noting the temple was intact only from 540 BC through 70 AD, (610 years out of 2578 years since the prophecy), the chance that Jesus could fulfill this criteria given approximately an even Jewish birth rate over the years would be 610/2578.



5. The messiah will be from the tribe of Judah and line of David.

Many references. One example is in Jeremiah 23:5 "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment on the earth".

Probability of being from any of the 12 tribes is 1 in 12, but David is 11 generations removed from Judah. Assuming only 2 male offspring at every generation, each with their own lineage, the probability of any Jew being from the line of David would be 1/12 (tribe of Judah) X ½ X ½ X ½ X ½ X ½ X ½ X ½ X ½ X ½ X ½ X ½ or 1/ 49152 or .0000203 or .00203 %. Lets assume generously that the line of David was much more favorable for survival, and it relatively over represented. If was assumed the line of David was 100 times more productive than other genealogies. That still leaves a probability of being from the line of David of 100/49152 or 1 in 500.



Combined probability of prophecies that Jesus had no control over:

1/100 (Unmarried mother pregnant) X ½ (Firstborn son) X 1/100(Bethlehem birth) X 1/4 (Jewish Temple Intact) X 1/500 Tribe of Judah& Line of David = 1/40,000,000



Prophecies that Jesus could have some degree of control over.

"A child will be born that will be called Wonderful, counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He will be ruler forever." Isaiah 9:7 This verse clearly speaks of a child, that eventually will be called mighty God and Prince of Peace. To understand this is to understand the virgin birth of Jesus that God came in the form of Jesus born of a woman. It also speaks of him being ruler forever, so it must be speaking of a spiritual kingdom, as no king or family line of kings can rule forever. The history of Israel also indicates that in a line of kings, many are wicked. If we consider the probability only that Jesus would eventually be called the Prince of Peace and mighty God and not forgotten after so many years we can generously say the probability would be 1 in 1,000,000.

The power of the messiah will be through his words, not military action: He will not be a zealot in the sense of advocating overthrow of Rome. Isaiah 11:4-5. "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked" Jesus clearly avoided any connection or identification with the Zealots. He told his followers to put away their swords when he was captured before crucifixion. At this point in the history of Israel to have a leader arouse the people and not be a zealot is inconceivable with the harshness of Roman rule, but lets generally say the probability of Jesus being a non-zealot leader is 0.2.

The messiah will not be from the usual priestly tribe of Israel but will be considered a priest. (Psalm 110:1-7) "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." (Melchizedek was a great priest in the past for Israel, but was not of the usual priestly line) Jesus was from the tribe of Judah, not the priestly tribe. To be considered priest and not be from the priestly tribe has almost never occurred in the history of Israel. EP = .2 

The joint probability of fulfilling just the last 3 prophecies would be .000001 X .2 X 2 = .00000004 or 1 in every 25,000,000 times.


Now consider the probability of Jesus both fulfilling 5 prophecies he could not control (1/40,000,000) X the probability of fulfilling 3 of the prophecies he could not control (1/25,000,000). This equals 1/1,000,000,000,000. Consider that over 6,000 or so years of recorded history an estimated 2,000,000,000 Jews have lived, and there is a 1 in 1,000,000,000,000.000 chance that any Jewish boy would be able to fulfill the 8 prophecies. (There are more than 50 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled)


Additional Information 

Instead of a social outcast, this male child shall be called God with us. <.01%.

Even to consider a child being looked on with great favor born under such circumstances would be < .01% conservatively.

The messiah will be wounded and killed for our wrongdoing or sin and God is in control of this. Isaiah 53:5 "But he was wounded for our transgressions... And with his stripes we are healed. " 53:6 "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." 53:10 "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin. " Jesus dying for us makes no sense unless he is God in the flesh, as otherwise he would merely a man doing so. Jesus clearly knew he would suffer and die. Matthew 16:21 "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go into Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." With most Jewish leaders expecting a military messiah, for Jesus to come with a concept of suffering for us would have a probability of less than 1 in 10 reasonably.

Therefore we consider this both irrefutable evidence for the Old and New Testament, evidence not seen in any other book of any other faith, but also evidence that whatever Jesus said should be considered carefully.

Primary Reference: McDowell J: A Ready Defense. Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1993 Pgs 209-214

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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