In making our “Case for Christ” we are currently looking at evidence for the reliability, historicity and inerrancy of the New Testament. Using the acronym MAPS-S our case can be made based on five categories of Biblical evidence:
From last week:
1. Manuscript evidence includes over 24,000 early New Testament documents with which textual critics can compare, and scholars have given the transmission from originals a 99.5% accuracy rate. Keep in mind that anyone can take versions of the New Testament we use today and go back to the original Greek language and check the translations because there are roughly 6000 early Greek manuscripts to do this with. No other book of antiquity even comes close to this level of verifiable reliability.
2. Archeological evidence includes over 25,000 finds that support people, places and events recorded in the Bible. No archeological find has ever discounted a Biblical report. Archeology, in many ways, gives additional credibility to the manuscript evidence. The Bible has been used by scholars worldwide as a source in historical and archeological research.
This week we are looking at a third category of evidence that has, in many personal testimonies, been the deciding factor for becoming a Christian:
No other book or person has the amazing prophetic accuracy that the Bible has! Prophecy is the most compelling evidence for the accuracy, inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible. Of the 26 other “so called” religious books not one has prophetic predictive accuracy.
- The mark of true prophecy is 100% accuracy.
- 27% of the Bible contains predictive prophecy.
- The Bible’s prophecy has been 100% accurate.
Skeptics often say things like: “Couldn’t a group of Christians have just thought up these prophecies and then placed them in the Bible after the fact or, couldn’t Jesus have attempted on his own to fulfill these prophecies?”
Answer: NO WAY
The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm the Old Testament prophecies are not made up:
- The Dead Sea Scrolls contain the entire Old Testament (except the book of Esther) and a complete copy of Isaiah, dated between 200 and 100 BC, as well as all the other prophets and prophecy passages. This dating makes it impossible that someone made it up.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls match our Old Testament today with over 95% accuracy (any errors are grammatical, spelling or word order and nothing in meaning or doctrine is affected).
- Jesus or His followers could not have planned prophecies and their fulfillment concerning specific circumstances of his life, for example:
- The place and circumstances of His birth
- The time in which He lived
- The exact details of His death
There are over 300 incidental and specific prophecies in the Old Testament that were literally fulfilled in life of Jesus—how does that look mathematically?
- If even 8 of these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus it would statistically be equivalent to 1 chance in 10 to the 17th power
- That is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000!
- For fulfillment of 48 prophecies it would be 1 in 10 to the 157th power
- That is 1 in 10 with 150 zeros after it!!
- We don’t even know what to call the number to describe the fulfillment of all 300!!!
Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; “I am” God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established and I will accomplish all My good pleasure; -Isaiah 46: 9-10
God has given us so much evidence in both nature and in His Word so that if we are willing to search for Him we could find Him. In fact He has made it plain for us to see His work and hear His message (see Romans 1).
Josh McDowell has spent his life studying the Bible and practicing Christian Apologetics, listen to what he has to say concerning prophecy:
Here are some examples of those Messianic prophecies fulfilled in Jesus:
|Seed of a women and virgin birth||Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14||Matthew 1:1; 18; 24-25; Luke 1:26-35|
|Seed of Abraham||Genesis 22:18||Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16|
|Seed of Isaac||Genesis 21:12||Luke 3:23, 34|
|From the line of Jacob/Israel||Genesis 28:4; 13-15; Numbers 24:17||Luke 2:23, 34|
|Tribe of Judah||Genesis 49:10||Luke 3:23, 33|
|Jesse’s line||Isaiah 11:1||Luke 2:23, 32|
|Born in Bethlehem||Micah 5:2||Matthew 1:18, 24-25; Luke 1:26-35|
|Preceded and announced by one like Elijah who would live in the wilderness||Malachi 3:1; 4:5||Matthew 3:3; 11:10; John 1:23; Luke 1:17|
|Would be presented with gifts||Psalm 72:10||Matthew 2:1|
|Children would be killed||Jeremiah 31:15||Matthew 2:16|
|Ministry begins in Galilee||Isaiah 9:1||Matthew 4:12-17|
|Ministry peaks in Jerusalem; Messiah rides in on a donkey and appears boldly in the Temple||Daniel 9; Zechariah 9:9; Haggai 2:7; Malachi 3:1||Matthew 21:12; Luke 19:35-37|
|Will heal the blind, deaf, lame and raise the dead||Isaiah 35:5-6||All though-out the Gospel records—especially answered in Luke 7:22-23|
|Will teach the people using parables||Psalm 78:2||All though-out the Gospel records—John 5:5-9; 9:6-11; 11:43-47 etc.|
|He would have zeal for God’s house, the Temple||Psalm 69:9||John 2:15-16|
|A Light to the Gentiles||Isaiah 60:3||Acts 13:47-48|
|Rejected by His own people; will be a stumbling block||Psalm 118:22||Romans 9:32-33; 1 Peter 2:7|
|He is the Son of God||Psalm 2:7; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; 2 Samuel 7:12-16||Matthew 3:17; 16:16; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35; 22:70; Acts 13:30-33; John 1:24, 49|
|He pre-existed His birth||Micah 5:2; Psalm 102:25; Proverbs 8:22-23; Isaiah 9:6-7; 41:4; 44:6; 48:12||John 1:1; 17:5, 24; Colossians 1:17; Revelation 1:1-2; 1:17; 2:8; 8:58; 22:13|
|He would be called Lord||Psalm 110:1; Jeremiah 23:6||Matthew 22:43-45; Luke 2:11|
|He would be called Immanuel||Isaiah 7:14||Matthew 1:23|
|He would be a Prophet||Deuteronomy 18:18||Matthew 21:11|
|He would be a Priest||Psalm 110:4||Hebrews 3:1|
|He would be a Judge||Isaiah 33:22||John 5:30|
|He would be a King||Psalm 2:6||Matthew 27:37|
|He would receive a special anointing by the Holy Spirit||Isaiah 11:12||Matthew 3:16|
|Betrayed by friend for 30 pieces of silver that is thrown on the Temple floor and used to buy a Potter’s field||Psalm 43:9; 55:12-14; Zechariah 11:12-14||Matthew 10:4; 27:3-10|
|Sheep (followers) struck and scattered; forsaken by His disciples||Isaiah 53; Zechariah 13:7||Mark 14:50|
|Oppressed and falsely accused by malicious witnesses, but would not defend Himself||Isaiah 53:7; Psalm 35:11; 38:13||Matthew 26:59-60|
|Hated by mankind, mocked, beaten, whipped and crushed for transgressions of mankind—He would bear and make intersession though He had done no wrong.||Psalm 22:7-8; Isaiah 53:2-12||Matthew 26:67; 27: 26-29; John 19:11|
|Disrobed and had clothes gambled away||Isaiah 53:12||Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27|
|Executed with criminals||Isaiah 52:12||Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27|
|Hands and feet pierced for our transgression||Isaiah 53:5; Psalm 22:16||Luke 23:33; John 20:25|
|Strength drained, extremely thirsty, heart broken with grief||Psalm 22:14-15||John 19:28|
|He would be offered gall and vinegar||Psalm 69:21||Matthew 27:24|
|Would plead for mercy for His accusers||Isaiah 53:12||Luke 23:24|
|Friends would stand from far away||Psalm 38:11||Luke 23:49|
|People would stare and shake their heads||Psalm 109:25; Psalm 22:17||Matthew 27:39; Luke 23:35|
|Will ask God why He is forsaken||Psalm 22:1||Matthew 27:46|
|Will commend Himself to God (give up His spirit)||Psalm 31:5||Luke 23:46|
|His bones would not be broken||Psalm 34:20||John 19:33|
|His side would be pierced||Zechariah 12:10||John 19:34|
|Darkness will fall over the land||Amos 8:9||Matthew 27:45|
|Would be with a rich man in His death||Isaiah 53:9||Matthew 27:57-60|
|Would be resurrected from the dead||Psalm 16:10; 30:3; 41:10;118:17; Hosea 6:2||Matthew 28:6; Acts 2:31|
|He would ascend||Psalm 68:18||Acts 1:9|
|He would sit at the right hand of God||Psalm 110:1||Mark 16:19; Acts 2:34-25; Hebrews 1:3|
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star (Jesus, Messiah) rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21
Watch this entertaining 4 minute clip on Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecy:
Additional Reference: “Jesus on Trial” by David Limbaugh
Join us next week as we continue our Case for Christ using MAPS-S!
You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in! Join us as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.
Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.
Please let me know what you think: Give feedback, ask questions or send concerns in the comment section of the blog.