Read what Peter Stoner, in his book, Science Speaks says about these Bible prophecies.
Prophecies of the Coming Messiah
by Dr. Jack MacArthur
The Old Testament is divided into three great periods: the Mosaic, the Davidic, and the Messianic. The Mosaic Period gives us the great germ of all that later unfolds in the perfect and fragrant bloom of Christ, the “Rose of Sharon,” the “Lily of the Valley.” Its prophecies branch out into particulars which tell us that not only Abraham’s seed, but all the families of the earth are to be blessed in this Coming One. He is to be a prophet like unto Moses, yet clothed with higher authority and gifted with higher wisdom. He is to be a lawgiver, a leader, a ruler, and a redeemer.
In the Davidic Period, the same One is to be a king of war as David, yet a prince of peace as Solomon. His kingdom, however, is to be without succession and without end, which could be true only of a royal order higher than human. In the Messianic Psalms, various aspects of the dignity and divinity of this coming King are set forth.
The Messianic Period is represented by the book of Isaiah, the richest mine of Messianic prophecy in the entire Old Testament. The 40th through 60th chapter is one continuous Messianic poem, in which Christ is depicted in His three offices as Prophet, Priest and King. The prophecies of Isaiah set forth for all ages the character and career of this Servant of God.
Isaiah 9:6, written in 700 B.C., prophesies that a God-child would be born: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful [literally, “Miracle”], Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” The Gospel of John relates the fulfillment: “In the beginning was the Word [Christ], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us …” (John 1:1, 14)
Isaiah 7:14 gives the amazing prophecy that this God-child would be born of a virgin: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” In Matthew 1:18-25 we read that Christ was indeed born of a virgin, named Mary, and that the Holy Spirit (God Himself) was His Father. If it is argued that this prediction of the virgin birth of our Lord was addressed only to the faithless Ahaz, Isaiah 7:13 makes it clear that this prediction was addressed to the whole “house of David.” It was a continuing prophecy addressed to the Davidic family.
Micah 5:2 predicts that the God-man would be born in Bethlehem: “But thou, Bethlehem…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.” Matthew 2 tells of the visit of the Magi (Zoroastrian astrologers who were evidently acquainted with Old Testament prophecy) to Jerusalem, inquiring, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” The answer was prompt and decisive: “In Bethlehem of Judea; for thus is it written by [through] the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah; for out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people, Israel” (Matthew 2:5,6). Here is a definite prediction, definitely understood and just as definitely fulfilled. That it was made in the year 700 B.C. precludes human sagacity. What led Micah to select this one little village among the thousands of Judah? Who could accurately foretell what would take place in any obscure town 700 years after his time? There is only one answer: Micah was divinely inspired by the Spirit of God.
The phrase in Micah’s prophecy, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” cites the pre-existence of Christ. In John 8:42 Jesus declared that He lived before coming to earth as a man. In John 17:5 He prayed, “…O Father, glorify thou me with…the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”
Jesus’ forerunner was also foretold in Scripture, 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; behold he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 40:3: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” In Matthew 3:1,2 we read, “John the Baptist [came preaching] in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
In 500 B.C. the Prophet Zechariah predicted that Christ would enter Jerusalem as a King riding on an ass: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, behold thy King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation, lowly, and riding upon an ass…upon a colt, the foal of an ass” (Zechariah 9:9). Matthew 21 tells us that this was exactly how Jesus entered Jerusalem.
Zechariah further predicted that Christ would be sold by His enemies for thirty pieces of silver: “And I said unto them, if ye think good, give me my price, and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver” (Zechariah 11:12). Matthew 26:14, 15 tells us, “Then…Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they bargained with him for thirty pieces of silver.”
At approximately this same date, 500 B.C., Zechariah prophesied that the smiting of the Shepherd (Christ) would cause the sheep to scatter: “… smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered …” (Zechariah 13:7). After Jesus was seized by His enemies, Matthew tells us, “Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56).
Psalm 35:11 predicts, concerning Messiah, “False witnesses did rise up: they laid to my charge things that I knew not.” Matthew records the fulfillment: “Now the chief priests, and elders…sought false [witnesses] against Jesus to put him to death” (Matthew 26:59.
About 700 B.C. Isaiah wrote prophetically of the humiliation of the Messiah: “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6). Matthew writes, “Then they spat in his face, and buffeted him, and others smote him with the palms of their hands…” (Matthew 26:67)
Isaiah 53:7 poignantly pictures the Messiah standing silent before His accusers. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.” Matthew 27:12 confirms the fulfillment. “And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.”
Josh McDowell, in his book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, tells us that 29 prophecies from the Old Testament, which speak of the betrayal, trial, death, and burial of our Lord, spoken at various times by many different voices during the five centuries from 100 to 500 B.C., were literally fulfilled in Jesus Christ in one 24-hour period of time.
In connection with Christ’s passion, the inspired Prophet Isaiah wrote, “… he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5,6). Matthew confirmed the fulfillment of this prediction when he quoted the words of our Lord—“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Peter further confirmed it when he said, “Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree…” (I Peter 2:24).
Again, Isaiah predicted of Christ, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem his stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4). Matthew beautifully tells of Christ’s fulfillment of the first part of this prophecy during His healing ministry on earth; “…he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick, That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah, the prophet, saying, He himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:16, 17). Physical disease in itself is not necessarily the result of personal sin; it is one of the tragic results of man’s original sin and his fall (Rom. 5:12). Thus, Isaiah 53:5,6 prophesies that our Lord would bear our sins on the cross. His death was substitutionary and atoning.
One thousand years before Christ, the Psalmist predicted that our Lord would fall beneath the weight of His cross. His knees would become weak; His flesh would fail. Psalm 109:24, 25: “My knees are weak thr9ough fasting, and my flesh faileth of fatness. I became also a reproach unto them; when they looked upon me, they shook their heads.” John tells us, “And he, bearing his cross, went forth…” (John 19:17). Matthew gives us further word that His strength gave out. “And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; him they compelled to bear his cross” (Matthew 27:32).
Psalm. 22:15 is an amazing prophecy concerning the Messiah: “they pierced my hands and my feet.” A prophecy yet to be fulfilled says, concerning Israel and its Messiah, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10). When these prophecies were written, no one was executed in any manner which involved “piercing of hands and feet.” The Encyclopedia Americana records that crucifixion as a mode of punishment for crime was a part of the Roman system of jurisprudence. The Hebrews inflicted the death penalty by stoning. But when Palestine became a Roman territory, the Hebrews were compelled to adopt the Roman method of crucifixion, No life could be taken supposedly without Roman permission, and all executions were supposed to be carried out by the Roman government. Evidently this was not rigidly enforced, because Stephen was stoned, and there were no recriminations following his death. So Luke 232:33 tells us, “And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, [or the skull], there they crucified him…”
A fascinating prophecy in Isaiah 53 reads, “… because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors …” It is affirmed in Mark 15:28: “And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.” Matthew 27:38 relates how this prophecy was fulfilled: “Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one of the right hand, and another on the left.” It is amazing that Isaiah should predict that the child who was in reality the Mighty God, would as a man die the death of a criminal among criminals! The only possible explanation is that his message was inspired of God, for no man would have been so presumptuous.
In Psalm. 22:8 the Psalmist predicted that the Messiah would be mocked because of His trust in God, who would be challenged to deliver Him. Matthew records this exact picture in perfect fulfillment. “Likewise also the chief priests, mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others, himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him, for he said, I am the Son of God” (Matthew 27:41-43)
In the same Psalm, the Messiah declares, “…they look and stare upon me” (Vs. 17). Matthew 27:36 reports this actually happening: “And sitting down they watched him there” as He was writhing in agony of the world’s sin.
Speaking for the Messiah, the Psalmist then prophesies that men would “… part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture” (Psalm 22:18). John 19:23,24 answers; “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part, and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said, therefore, among themselves, Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be…” How could the Psalmist have known this would happen a thousand years before Jesus Christ was born? There is only one answer: his words were inspired by God.
At approximately the same date, the Psalmist boldly declared that men would give the Messiah gall and vinegar to drink, while in His death agony (Psalm 69:21). The Apostle John tells us, “After this Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar; and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth” (John 19:28, 29). This was usually given because of its supposed anesthetic effect. Given to criminals, it was an act of kindness; given to the righteous Savior, it was an insult, after what they had done to Him.
Psalm 22:1 records the awesome cry: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 records the fulfillment: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a lour voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” During this moment the God-man was feeling the forsakenness that men experience who die in the rejection of God’s love and grace. But the Psalm makes it clear that He was not forsaken of God, for we read in verse 24:”…he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, neither hath he hidden his face from him; but when he cried unto him, heard.” Undoubtedly, this cry must have recalled to the minds of some of the Jews within hearing the cry of Psalm 22, and perhaps it occurred to them that this prophecy was being fulfilled in their presence as Jesus was crucified!
Psalm 31:5 predicted that the Messiah would cry out, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit …” Luke 23:46 records that at the end of His long agony Jesus uttered these very words as a direct fulfillment of the prophecy.
One of the most amazing Messianic prophesies, found in Psalm 34:20, was that none of His bones would be broken. It was the custom following crucifixion that if by sundown those who were hanging on crosses were still alive, their legs were broken to hasten death. But, as the Apostle John informs us, “…when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they broke not his legs …” (John 19:33).
Psalm. 38:11 predicted that the Messiah’s friends and kinsmen would stand aloof from His “sore” (His suffering). The fulfillment is described in Luke 23:49): “And all his acquaintances, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.
Psalm 22:14 tells us that the Messiah’s heart would be broken: “… my heart is like wax; it is melted within me.” John 19:34 records: “But one of the soldiers, with a spear, pierced His side, and immediately came there out blood and water.” Physicians explain that this is a sign that Christ’s heart had indeed ruptured within Him. Jesus literally died with a broken heart.
Amos 8:9 foretells the sun’s setting at noon and the earth’s becoming dark on a clear day, which occurred when Jesus was crucified. Matthew 27:45: “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.” The Jews reckoned twelve hours from sunrise to sunset, which would make the sixth hour near noon, and the ninth hour about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. How could Amos have known this eight centuries before it happened? There is only one answer: he knew it because God knew it, and he wrote what God moved him to write.
Seven hundred years before it was fulfilled from the cross, the Prophet Isaiah wrote how the dying Messiah would make intercession for His murderers (Isaiah 53:12). Luke 34:34 records Jesus’ prayer: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Again, Isaiah prophesied, “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death …” (Isaiah 53:9). Matthew details the fulfillment: “The thieves also, who were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth” (Matthew 27:44). Then, in verses 57-60, he relates that Christ made His grave with the rich: “…there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who … begged the body of Jesus.” “And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb …”
Christ’s resurrection is seen in the amazing prophecy of Psalm 16:10. “For thou wilt not leave my soul in sheol, neither wilt thou permit thine Holy One to see corruption.” The Apostle Peter quoted these words in Acts 2:29-31: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch, David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his [David’s] loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne. He, seeing this before, spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hades, neither his flesh did see corruption.” Indeed, Christ’s body saw no corruption, for on the third day He rose literally, physically, and bodily from the dead!
As Peter declared, we have “a more sure word of prophecy” unto which we should all take heed. No one can begin to explain the hundreds of amazingly accurate Messianic prophecies fulfilled to the letter in Jesus Christ without admitting the divine authorship of the Word of God.
Peter Stoner, in his book, Science Speaks, tells us that using the modern science of mathematical probability, in reference to only eight prophecies concerning the Messiah, the probability that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophesies, is 1 in 1017. That would be 1 chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000.
To help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that we take 1017 silver dollars and spread them out on the face of Texas. They would cover the entire state two feet deep. Now put a mark on just one of those silver dollars, then mix the whole mass up thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and instruct him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up that one silver dollar and say that it is the right one.
What chance would he have of finding the right one? The same chance that the Old Testament prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having the come true in any one man, providing they wrote in their own wisdom.
These prophecies, then, were either given by inspiration of God, or the prophets just wrote them from their own imagination. In such case they had just 1 chance in 1017
of having them come true in any one man. But they all were realized in Jesus Christ!
And not only eight prophecies, but hundreds more!
Taken from The Biblical Evangelist edited by Dr. Robert L. Sumner