Day 8: The World’s Most Prophetic Book – Part 3b

The evidence you never heard.

Bible References (NIV)

Devotional

How well do you think you could predict five unusual things that would happen in the coming week? Studies on the work of psychics have shown that it’s possible to achieve about an 8% accuracy rate through some intelligent guessing while also speaking in generalisations. In contrast, the Bible’s predictions are not generalisations. Specific details are predicted, requiring specific fulfilments — while what hangs in the balance is the trustworthiness of the book as a revelation from God.

In today’s video clip you’ll hear about some calculations a mathematics professor had his students do on the improbability of Jesus fulfilling some of the many predictions that he did fulfil. However, the most surprising thing in this study is the ‘condition’ that Jesus had to plausibly fulfil ALL the predictions, or he wasn’t the Messiah. It’s an impossible standard — only unless God does exist and really had told the prophets in advance what was going to happen!

To note it, there are predictions about the Messiah that Jesus hasn’t yet fulfilled. The Bible explains the Messiah to be both a ‘suffering servant’ and a ‘conquering King’. Jesus explained that he would come back a second time as the ‘conquering King’. There is, therefore, a reasonable explanation as to why he hasn’t yet ‘ruled the world’. Yet with 127 specific predictions fulfilled already (as per the work of the scholar J. Barton Payne), it’s an unparalleled miracle! He couldn’t have controlled where he was born. He couldn’t have controlled whose descendant he was. These aren’t things that can be fabricated!

Your Bible reading today included Psalm 22. The first words are the same words Jesus said when on the cross — which you also read. (“My God, why have you forsaken me?”) Back then the Psalms weren’t numbered, so Psalms were referred to instead by their first sentence. Jesus wasn’t therefore saying “My God, why have you forsaken me?” He was actually saying “Psalm 22”. But why would he say that? Here are some of the reasons.

-Verse 1 – In fulfilment, Jesus was considered forsaken.
-Verse 6 – Jesus was despised.
-Verse 7 – Jesus was mocked and insulted.
-Verse 8 – Onlookers said, “Let the Lord rescue him’ (Matthew 27:41-43; Luke 23:35)
-Verse 13 – Jesus endured a torture, including a whipping.
-Verse 15 – Jesus is known to have been thirsty while dying.
-Verse 16 – Remarkably, Jesus died through the piercing of his hands and feet – fulfilling a prediction written before crucifixion was invented.
-Verse 17 – Regarding his ‘bones being on display’ and people ‘gloating’ – Jesus was hung naked on the cross.
-Verse 18 – Incredibly, lots were cast by the soldiers to decide who would get to keep Jesus’ garments.
-Verse 19– Jesus kept his faith in God, knowing he would be delivered.
-Verse 26 – While the result of his sufferings has indeed already affected the nations of the world, the true fulfilment of that last prediction is probably speaking of a future time.

That’s why Jesus said, “Read Psalm 22”!

What a truly powerful thing to say right as he suffered, dying due to piercing, while onlookers gloated and mocked, and soldiers cast lots for his clothes!

Video clip: The World’s Most Prophetic Book – Part 3b — 3mins

Reflection questions

  • Revision: According to Professor Stoner’s students, what was the probability of 8 selected predictions of the coming Messiah coming about by chance? (1 in 10 to the power of 17)
  • Revision: When considering the 100+ predictions there are about the promised Messiah, how many does a person need to plausibly fulfil to be the Messiah, and why? (not just some — he had to fulfil them all)
  • What does the miracle of fulfilled prophecy in the Bible tell us about the Bible, and also about Jesus?
  • What examples from amongst these various predictions might you be able to take and show someone else, to open a conversation about who might sit behind this book?

For prayer

“Thank you, God, for gifting us chapters like Isaiah 52 and Psalm 22. We are humbled and amazed. Thank you for having a plan in this world, despite our sin and the mess our choices have made. Our eyes get caught up in the troubles. These evidences that you really do have a plan give us a reason to hold hope. Thank you.”

related topics

coming up in our next devotion

Day 9: The World’s Most Prophetic Book – Part 3c

Despite the evil and suffering of our world, the fulfilled predictions show us that God does still have a plan and is in control. Put differently, there is hope! God isn’t freaking out, as if he had lost control of his creation. Despite our evils, God has a plan that is still going to work.

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