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Dr. Grady Davis


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Mathematical Probabilities
of Fulfilled Prophecies

Adapted from Evidence that Demands a Verdict
by Josh McDowell, 1979 edition, pages 166,167

Number of details 
in a prophecy
Chance of fulfillment
1 detail 
 2 details 
 3 details 
 4 details 
 5 details 
6 details 
 7 details 
 8 details 
 9 details 
10 details 

11 details 
12 details 
13 details 

14 details 
15 details 
16 details 
17 details 
18 details 
19 details 
20 details 
21 details 
22 details 
23 details 
24 details 
25 details 
26 details 
27 details 
28 details 
29 details 
30 details 
31 details 
32 details 
33 details 
34 details 
35 details 

36 details 
37 details 
38 details 
39 details 
40 details 
41 details 
42 details 
43 details 
44 details 
45 details 
46 details 
47 details 
48 details 
49 details 
50 details 
51 details 
52 details 
53 details 
54 details 
55 details 
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
= 1 chance in
............................  2
............................  4
............................  8
...........................  16
...........................  32
...........................  64
.........................  128
.........................  256
.........................  512
......................  1,024
......................  2,048
......................  4,096
......................  8,192
.....................  16,348
.....................  32,768
.....................  65,536
...................  131,072
...................  262,144
...................  524,288
.................  1,048,576
.................  2,097,152
.................  4,194,304
.................  8,388,608
...............  16,777,216
...............  33,544,432
...............  67,108,864
.............  134,217,728
.............  268,435,456
.............  536,870,912
...........  1,013,741,824
...........  2,147,483,648
...........  4,294,967,296
...........  8,589,934,592
.........  17,179,869,184
.........  34,359,738,368
.........  68,719,476,736
........  137,438,953,472
........  274,877,906,944
........  549,755,813,888
.....  1,099,511,627,776
.....  2,199,023,255,552
.....  4,398,046,511,104
.....  8,796,093,022,208
...  17,592,186,044,416
...  35,184,372,088,832
...  70,368,744,177,664
..  140,737,488,355,328
..  281,474,976,710,656
..  562,949,953,421,312

In another article on this site we have discussed 61 major Messianic Prophecies fulfilled in Yeshua Ha'Natseret. In this article we will demonstrate the mathematical probably that Yeshua’s fulfillment of just these 61 prophecies proves with absolute certainly that Yeshua, and only Yeshua, is the Messiah of Israel.

A common objection to using fulfilled prophecy to demonstrate that Yeshua is the Messiah is that “you could find at least some of these prophecies fulfilled in Kennedy, King, Nasser, etc.”

While it may be true that you could find one or two prophecies fulfilled in other men, you most certainly could not find more than a very few. In this article we will conclusively demonstrate that you absolutely, positively will not find any man except Yeshua who has fulfilled all these 61 major prophecies. (We won’t bother to extrapolate the mathematical probability of any one man fulfilling 324 prophecies; the number is beyond the capacity of the human mind to comprehend.) In fact, if you can find someone other than Yeshua, either living or dead, who can fulfill only half of the predictions concerning Messiah that are given in Messiah in Both Testaments by Fred John Meldau, the Christian Victory Publishing Company of Denver is ready to give you a $1,000 reward. There are a lot of men in the universities who could some extra cash, but the offer has been standing for nearly 30 years without a single taker!

H. Harold Hartzler, of the American Scientific Affiliation, Goshen College, in the foreword of Peter Stoner's book, Science Speaks, writes: “The manuscript for Science Speaks has been carefully reviewed by a committee of the American Scientific Affiliation members and by the Executive Council of the same group and has been found, in general, to be dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented. The mathematical analysis included is based upon principles of probability which are thoroughly sound and Professor Stoner has applied these principles in a proper and convincing way.”

The following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner’s work in Science Speaks to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. The analysis is concerned with the following eight prophecies:

1. Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; fulfilled in Matt. 2:1-7; John 7:42; Luke 2:47).

2. Messiah is to be preceded by a Messenger (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; fulfilled in Matthew 3:1-3; 11:10; John 1:23; Luke 1:17).

3. Messiah is to enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; fulfilled in Luke 35-37; Matthew 21:6-11).

4. Messiah is to be betrayed by a friend (Psalms 41:9; 55:12-14; fulfilled in Matthew 10:4; 26:49-50; John 13:21).

5. Messiah is to be sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; fulfilled in Matthew 26:15; 27:3).

6. The money for which Messiah is sold is to be thrown “to the potter” in G-d’s house (Zechariah 11:13; fulfilled in Matthew 27:5-7).

7. Messiah is to be silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; fulfilled in Matthew 27:12).

8. Messiah is to be executed by crucifixion as a thief (Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 53:5,12; fulfilled in Luke 23:33; John 20:25; Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27,28).

Stoner says that by applying the modern science of probability to just these eight prophecies, “… We find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in  1017.” That would be one in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order for us to be able to comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that:

“… we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two 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 of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote in their own wisdom.

“Now these prophecies were either given by inspiration of G-d or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 1017 of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ [Mashiach].

“This means that the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that G-d inspired the writing of those [eight] prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 1017 of being absolute.” [Stoner, Peter W. Science Speaks. Chicago: Moody Press, 1963, pp 100-107.]

Stoner considers 48 prophecies and says, “… We find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10157.

“This is a really large number and it represents an extremely small chance. Let us try to visualize it. The silver dollar, which we have been using, is entirely too large. We must select a smaller object. The electron is about as small an object as we know of. It is so small that it will take 2.5 times 1015 of them laid side by side to make a line, single file, one inch long. If we were going to count the electrons in this line one inch long, and counted 250 each minute, and if we counted day and night, it would take us 19,000,000 years to count just the one-inch line of electrons. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and we tried to count them it would take us, counting steadily 250 each minute, 19,000,000 times 19,000,000 times 19,000,000 [nineteen million times nineteen million times nineteen million] or 6.9 times 1021 years.

“With that introduction, let us go back to our chance of 1 in 10157. Let us suppose that we are taking this number of electrons, marking one, and thoroughly stirring it into the whole mass, then blindfolding a man and letting him try to find the right one. What chance has he of finding the right one? What kind of a pile will this number of electrons make? They make an inconceivably large volume.” [ibid., pp 109,110]

The chances of finding the correct electron out of the pile of electrons that Stoner uses for this last illustration is something on the order of picking one single correct electron out of all of the electrons in all the known mass of the entire known universe.

Such is the chance of any one man fulfilling any 48 prophecies. Yet Yeshua Ha'Natseret fulfilled not just 48 prophecies, not just 61 prophecies, but more than 324 individual prophecies that the Prophets wrote concerning the Mashiach.

  The notation 10
157 is the representation of the number 1 followed by 157 zeros, and it looks like this:

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000000,000,000,000,000.

  This is approximately the total number of electrons in all the mass of the known universe. 

Evidence that Demands a Verdict
Josh McDowell

  From the Publisher
  • Is the Christian faith built upon good solid evidence?

  • Can the Bible withstand the onslaught of the most scholarly skeptics?

  • Is the Bible a reliable historical record?

  • Was the resurrection a hoax or one of the greatest historical events?

  • Were the events surrounding the life of Jesus Christ accurately foretold centuries before his birth?

  • Why was Jesus Christ profoundly different from any other man who ever lived?

There are answers—scholarly, intelligent, well-grounded answers. Answers backed by solid evidence. Answers that span over six thousand years of history. Answers which will satisfy anyone who is willing to honestly weigh the evidence.

The Prophets Still Speak: Messiah in Both Testaments
Fred J. Meldau

  Format: Paperback, 91pp.
ISBN: 0915540428
Publisher: Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Incorporated, The
Pub. Date: December  1988

Originally published under the title Messiah in Both Testaments, The Prophets Still Speak identifies some of the major messianic prophecies of the Old Testament and shows their New Testament fulfillment in Christ. This book is exciting, informative, life-transforming; a tremendous evangelistic tool to use in sharing the gospel with Jew and Gentile alike. It has been translated into Russian for use with immigrants from the former Soviet Republics.

Science Speaks
by Peter W. Stoner

Availability: This title is currently out of print. However, you can probably still buy it used. Last price found: $59.95 Click here to search Amazon's used books.


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