(by David Limbaugh) – If I had to single out one thing that played the greatest role in initially convincing me of the Bible’s authenticity and the truth of Christianity, I’d choose the Old Testament prophecies*, especially those concerning the Messiah. The specificity of some of the individual prophecies* is [powerful proof], but the odds against so many of them being fulfilled in the person of Christ by coincidence are utterly breathtaking. [*A prophecy is a prediction inspired by God.]
In about 700 B.C., the Prophet Isaiah specifically named the king (Cyrus) who would rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, some 114 years before Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it and some 150 years before Persia conquered the Babylonians and its king (Cyrus) issued the decree to rebuild the Temple. Josh McDowell summarized it this way: “Thus Isaiah predicted that a man named Cyrus, who would not be born for about 100 years, would give the command to rebuild the Temple which was still standing in Isaiah’s day and would not be destroyed for more than 100 years.”
Biblical scholar J. Barton Payne cited 574 Old Testament verses containing messianic prophecies, and countless others have listed and explained them, but my favorite compilation is by McDowell, who highlights some 60 of them as unmistakable predictions. Let me give you just a sampling with the humble suggestion that you read and contemplate these verses yourselves.
The Messiah would:
It was also prophesied that the Messiah would:
McDowell notes that the Old Testament was completed in about 450 B.C., but if you won’t accept that, you can verify that the Septuagint (Greek translation) was begun during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.), which means the Hebrew version had to have been completed at least 250 years before Christ was born.
He also notes that while it’s true that Jesus could have arranged to fulfill some of these prophecies, He could not have orchestrated the place, time and manner of His birth, that He would be betrayed, the manner of His death, people’s reactions to His crucifixion, the piercings and the burial. The statistical odds that any man might have fulfilled all eight of those prophecies, let alone 61 (or 574) of them, are 1 in 10 to the 17th power.
If you’re not yet amazed, study Daniel 9:24-27, which many believe predicts, to the precise year, the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
Who do you say that He is?
Originally published December 27, 2010. Reprinted here on December 18, 2014, for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from David Limbaugh.com.
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