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Who is the Messiah?

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January 31st, 2015
Teachings / By

I remember reading some astonishing facts published by mathematician Peter Stoner about the probabilities of any one person fulfilling even a small number of the biblical prophecies concerning the Messiah. They were mind boggling. The chance of one single man fulfilling only 48 Messianic prophecies found in the Tanakh (Old Testament) would be 1 in 10×157! That is 1 followed by 157 zeros!

Yeshua however, fulfilled not just the 48 specifically Messianic prophecies—He fulfilled more than 324 individual prophecies that related to the Messiah! Math not being my gift, the first calculation was amazing enough for me. The probability of 324 prophecies being fulfilled by any ONE MAN must be a number beyond comprehension for anyone! 

Although I already “knew that I knew that I knew” that Yeshua was the Messiah of Israel, this little mathematical study was another powerful confirmation.

To the Jewish People, this is more than a matter of random interest. The Messiah has been prophesied in Scripture with great specificity, though sometimes hidden and sometimes allegorical and poetic, beginning with Genesis 3:15.

MESSIANIC PROPHESIES 

Here is a list of important Messianic prophecies that were fulfilled by Yeshua with their corresponding New Testament references:

  • Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem
    Micah 5:2; fulfilled in Matt. 2:1-7; John 7:42; Luke 2:4-7
  • 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
  • Messiah is to enter Jerusalem on a donkey
    Zechariah 9:9; fulfilled in Luke 35-37; Matthew 21:6-11
  • 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
  • Messiah is to be sold for 30 pieces of silver
    Zechariah 11:12; fulfilled in Matthew 26:15; 27:3
  • The money for which Messiah is sold is to be thrown “to the potter” in God’s house
    Zechariah 11:13; fulfilled in Matthew 27:5-7
  • Messiah is to be born of a virgin
    Isaiah 7:14; fulfilled in Matthew 1:18-2:1; Luke 1:26-35
  • Messiah is to be hated without cause
    Isaiah 49:7; Psalm 69:5; fulfilled in John 15:24-25
  • Messiah is to be silent before His accusers
    Isaiah 53:7; fulfilled in Matthew 27:12
  • Messiah is to be executed by crucifixion, by having His hands and feet pierced
    Psalm 22:16; fulfilled in John 19:28
  • Messiah is to be given vinegar to quench His thirst
    Psalm 69:22; fulfilled in Matthew 27:34
  • Messiah is to be executed without having a bone broken
    Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:21; fulfilled in John 19:33-36
  • Messiah is to be buried with the rich when dead
    Isaiah 53:9; fulfilled in Matthew 27:57-60
  • Messiah is to be raised from the dead
    Isaiah 53:9-10; Psalm 2:7; 16:10; fulfilled in Matthew 28:1-20; Acts 2:23-36;13;33-37; 1 Corinthians 11:4-6
  • 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 5:27, 28

SCIENCE SPEAKS

In his book, Science Speaks, mathematician Peter Stoner says that by applying the modern science of probability to just eight of these prophecies, the chance of fulfilling all eight is one in 100,000,000,000,000,000. 

In order to comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates:

…we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly. Blindfold a man and tell him that 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 just 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… This means that the fulfillment of just eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those [eight] prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 10^17 of being absolute.”

THE JEWISH SCRIPTURES

Yeshua said to them, “This is what I meant when I was still with you and told you that everything written about me in the Torah, the Prophets and the Psalms had to be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds, so that they could understand the Scriptures, telling them, “Here is what it says: the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day; and in his name repentance leading to forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed to people from all nations, starting with Jerusalem.” Luke 24:44-47 CJB

Many learned Jewish men and women have come to faith in the last 40 years simply by reading their Tenakh (Old Testament). Some were reading through to equip themselves to dispute a child that had come to believe in Yeshua (Jesus), which was a very shocking and horrifying concept to them. In studying the Messianic prophecies, they found Mashiach! 

Some, like Sharon Allen, were Orthodox and did not surrender easily to the authority of the Scriptures, but sought the help of Orthodox Jewish Rabbis and Leaders to help her find alternate understandings of the Scriptures to no avail. The authority of the text spoke undeniably for the Messiahship of Yeshua.

Some have been survivors of the Holocaust, and barely could believe in the God of Israel any longer. One thing they were sure of, Christ and Christianity was against the Jews and they could never forgive! This is the story of Rose Price, who came to know the love of God through her Messiah the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua!

Study the prophecies yourself and ponder the mathematical probability of just one person fulfilling even a few of these specific prophecies. Even more importantly, be intellectually honest and open to truth. Pray. Ask the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob if Yeshua, Jesus, is the Messiah of Israel. He will answer you and lead you into all truth.

EVIDENCE FROM OTHER SOURCES

We’ve seen a few important examples of who the Prophets said the Messiah would be, and who Yeshua Himself said He was and is. But does other evidence exist? How can we be sure He is the Messiah and this isn’t a giant hoax?

Let’s examine a few historical facts:

  1. The historian Josephus wrote about Jesus and His crucifixion in his work, Testimonium Flavianum: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct to this day.”
  2. His grave was sealed by a Roman official to prevent anyone from stealing His body and creating a resurrection hoax.
  3. Although guarded by the world’s best soldiers, who would be put to death if they fell asleep on watch, the tomb was found to be empty and His wrappings were stacked neatly inside.
  4. Many people saw Him alive after His death.

Statements Yeshua (Jesus) made about Himself:

  • Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)
  • The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:8)
  • “…the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” (Mark 2:10, Luke 5:24)
  • You are right in saying I am [the Son of God].” (Luke 22:70)
  • I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” (John 11:25)
  • I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my words, he will never see death.” (John 8:51)
  • No one takes (my life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my father.” (John 10:18)
  • My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28)
  • I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
  • I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes to the father except through me.” (John 14:6)

A Few Verses from the Book of Romans:

  • Romans 3:23 says not one person is righteous. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Everyone is a sinner. No one can make it to Heaven alone. We need help, and that help comes from Yeshua, Jesus.
  • Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, or separation from God. That means when you sin, you earn death and distance from God.
  • Romans 10:13 says all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.

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CHANGE OF LIFE

If you want to enter into a relationship with Yeshua (Jesus), simply pray this prayer:

“God, I know I am a sinner and I am sorry for the sins I have committed. I know my sins put distance between us, and I know I cannot save myself. Only Your Son, Yeshua, can save me and eliminate the distance between us. I believe He is Your Son, who died for my sins and rose from the dead. I receive Him as my Savior and accept Your offer of forgiveness and everlasting life. Thank you, Father. In the Name of Yeshua I pray. Amen.”

In John 7:17, He said, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on My own.” Yeshua offers Himself as a gift to anyone who trusts Him. (John 20:24-31) We pray you come to trust Him soon! Please let us know how we can help you in your search for truth.

Join us as we worship our Messiah today!

Bibliography: 

Stoner, Peter W. Science Speaks. Chicago: Moody Press, 1963, pp 100-107

Jonathan Bernis
A Jewish Believer in Yeshua (Jesus), Jonathan Bernis is President & CEO of Jewish Voice Ministries International (JVMI). Jonathan has worked on the forefront of world evangelism since 1984, taking the Good News of Israel’s Messiah to the far reaches of the earth, to the Jewish People, and also to the Nations.
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