We deal with this question everyday. Is Jesus who He says He was? How can we know for sure? Turns out, He is who He says He is and it is very easy to prove using the same method science uses to test other theories and laws. But, let's take a step back and see some interesting numbers first. Buckle Up!!!!
In 285 B.C., Ptolemy Philadelphus II employed seventy scholars to translate the Old Testament, or The Tenach, into the Greek language. They finished in the year 270 B.C. Now, this is an historical fact and there are many copies today that are easily found. However, that is not the point of this. When Jesus was born about 2,000 years ago, the Septuagint, as it is called and is just a fancy name for 70, had already been in print for some 270 years, give or take. Why is this significant? In the Old Testament, there are some 365 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in the New Testament. What makes it so incredible is the fact that these prophecies were in black and white, or in print in the Septuagint, about 270 years before Jesus actually stepped foot as a man on this planet. So what's the big deal? Glad you asked.
If we can prove Jesus is who He says He is, then we can gladly accept what He said while here because it was written and we have copies today. How in the world can we prove this? Again, glad you asked. Let's work with some numbers and see what the odds are.
If I flip a coin, the odds are 1 chance in 2 that when the coin lands, it will be heads. Since there are two sides to the coin, there are two ways for it to land so there is a 1 in 2 chance it will be heads when it lands. Get it? With that in mind, if I have a room of 100 people which has 60 men and 40 women standing in it, the odds of me selecting a woman at random without looking, is a 40% chance. The reason is there are 40 women so I would have a 40% chance to pick one out of 100. If the same room of people consisted of 60 right handed people and 40 left-handed people, the odds of pulling a left-handed woman from the crowd with one pick is 16%. You take the 40% chance of picking a woman and multiply it by the 40% chance of picking a left-handed person. This gives you the 16% chance of picking a left-handed woman with the first pick randomly. Understand? In composite numbers, you are simply multiplying the odds.
Now, what if we were to take 8 simple prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in the New Testament that were written in the Old Testament and printed in the Septuagint some 270 years before He was born as a man. What are the odds that one man can fulfill 8 of these with about 365 prophecies to choose from?
Keep in mind that these are 8 very simple prophecies that He fulfilled. Some of the prophecies are very complex or have many parts, so for our purposes, we wanted to take 8 of the simplest ones to make a point.
1. Micah 5:2 - But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, 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.
The first one here prophecies that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem. What are the odds of someone being born in Bethlehem over the last 2,000 years or so? We have to do a little thinking so here it goes. The population in Bethlehem is around 7,000 people. This is about what it was when Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph, and has never been over 10,000 people at one time. We have to have an average of what the world's population has been over the last 2,000 years. Average has been about 1 billion at one time. That is less than today but more than back then. Now we take the number drawn out. However, instead of using zeros, we will use the math term "to the power of". This will make it easier to figure our numbers. Using the average of 10,000 for the population of Bethlehem and the average of 1,000,000,000 population of the world over 2,000 years, there is a 10,000 in 1,000,000,000 chance of being born in Bethlehem over the last 2,000 years. Taking the two numbers in order, 10,000 would look like 10 to the 4th power and 1,000,000,000 would look like 10 to the 9th power. The "power" represents the zeros in the original numbers. Now you simply subtract the first number, the average population of Bethlehem from the second number, the average population of the world and we would get our odds of Jesus being born in Bethlehem. It would be 1 chance in 10 to the 5th. Sounds difficult but the more we do them, the easier they will become.
2. Zechariah 9:9 - 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, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
How many people over the last 2,000 years have presented themselves as king while riding on a donkey? I'd say very few, but let's say less than 1:100. That is being very generous.
3. Zechariah 11:12 - 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.
How many people over the last 2,000 years have been sold out for exactly 30 pieces of silver? Less than 1: 1,000 would be very generous.
4. Zechariah 11:13 - And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
In Matthew 27:6-8, we see Judas trying to give the money back to the Pharisees and them refusing to accept it back so he throws it on the floor of the temple, the same place he received the money. The Pharisees, having great accountants, figured they could keep blood money if spent on expenses for the temple. They were in charge of pauper (poor people) burials so they purchased a field owned by the potter to bury the dead and the potter ends up with the money. The precision of this prophecy is three-fold. There are 30 pieces of silver, the location of the transaction is the temple, and the potter ends up with the money.
Taking all aspects into account here, how many people have had this happen to them over the last 2,000 years? Probably none, but let's be generous and say 1:100,000.
5. Zechariah 13:6 - And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
This one is very in depth and tricky. When reading this our first reaction is that it is pointing to the nail scars from the crucifixion. However, He wasn't crucified in the "house of His friends". In John 20:25-29, Jesus comes to the upper room after His resurrection and sees all His disciples except Thomas. Later the disciples see Thomas and excitedly tell him about Jesus appearing to them. Thomas tells them that he will believe their story when he puts his hands in the scars of Jesus' hands and the hole in His side. This is where the term "doubting Thomas" comes from. Jesus appears again in the upper room. This time Thomas is there and Jesus confronts Him with love.
While the nails were painful, the worst was His friend's doubt. How may people have had this experience over the last 2,000 years? Less than 1:1,000 is VERY generous.
6. Isaiah 53:7 - He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
How many prisoners, over the last 2,000 years, accused of a capital crime have made no defense for themselves and remained silent? Less than 1:1,000 is generous. I would be screaming to the top of my lungs.
7. Isaiah 53:9 - And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
How many people, over the last 2,000 years, have died among the wicked and were buried with the rich; other than attorneys? Ha Ha Let's just say 1:1,000 is very generous.
8. Psalm 22:16 - For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
The interesting thing here is David wrote this about 700 years before the Persians invented crucifixion. The means of death by the Jews was stoning at the time of these events. How many people, taken at random over the last 2,000 years, have died by piercing their hands and their feet? 1:10,000 is very generous indeed.
Doing the math as laid out in the first prophecy above, you have 1 chance in 10 to the 28th power of one person fulfilling all 8 of these prophecies. If you divide by the population, it gives you a number of 1 chance in 10 to the 17th power. How big is that number? While it is a 10 with 17 zeros, it is easier to get a visual. We will use silver dollars. If we have a bucket of 100 silver dollars and paint one red, what are the odds that you pull the red one out with the first pick? You have one chance in a hundred. So to have 10 to the 17th power of silver dollars, we are going to need a really large bucket. Turns out, we would need a bucket the size of Texas; one that is 2 feet deep. Remember you only have one chance to pull the red one out first shot. A bucket the size of Texas two feet deep and you only get one chance to reach into it and pull out the red one. Those are the odds of one person fulfilling just 8 of the simplest prophecies using very generous numbers.
What if we doubled it? What then? Take 16 and let's use the same likelihood of probability. The odds are 1 chance in 10 to the 45th power. You take 10 to the 28th power twice and divide by the population. How big is this number? If you painted one silver dollar and put it in a bucket with this amount of silver dollars, You would need to build a bucket with a radius of the earth to sun times 30.
Let's do one more to make it interesting. What would be the odds of one person fulfilling just 48 of the 365 prophecies foretold in the Old Testament? Also, remember they were in print in the Septuagint 270 years before Jesus was even born. You take 10 to the 28th power times 6 and divide by the population and that gives you the odds of 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power. How big is this number? Well, turns out that silver dollars are two large. What is the smallest thing in our universe? The atom. If you took every atom in the universe, which the general consensus is that there are 10 to the 66th power of atoms, that still isn't even half of our number. If you made a ball of atoms with every atom in the universe for every atom in the universe, that is 10 to the 132nd power. We are still a ways off. If you did this exercise for every second the universe has been in existence, you still come up short. Remember that science says the universe is 15 billion years old. Do you get the point?
Now, let's put it into science parameters. Emile Borel was a French mathematician. He is famous for a lot of mathematical laws. However, we will zero in on Borel's Law or The Theory of Absurdity. He states that any event with the probability of 1 chance in 10 to the 50th power of occurring is considered absurd. This is why when you have a DNA test, they don't say you might be, but you are. Is there a chance you are not? Yes. However, because of Borel's Law, you are.
Now, applying Borel's Law, which is accepted in science every day, let's look at how just 48 of the 360 prophecies fulfilled gave us such astronomical numbers that it is IMPOSSIBLE for Jesus to not be whom He says He is. Using the very science law that is used everyday, Jesus Christ is WHO HE SAYS HE IS! Any questions?