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Jewish Awareness Ministries
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Israel's Messenger, Messianic Prophecies,
by Stan Rosenthal
Creating a doctrinal statement or declaration of faith for either a church or Para-church organization is without a doubt, a serious task. Over my many years in the ministry, I have had both the opportunity and privilege to help do just that in both churches and Jewish Mission Ministries. I highly recommend that “everyday nonprofessional Christians” engage in preparing their own belief system. A great beginning place would be to evaluate your own local church’s or denomination’s articles of faith with which you are affiliated. Afterwards, or in conjunction with, compare the mission boards you or your church may be supporting. Pay close attention to all biblical support for belief in the various doctrines being presented. Do not simply accept them on face value, without your personal scrutiny. That means read and interact with them all!
It is exceedingly vital to remember that the end result of your mission should be the creation of the foundation or confirmation of your belief system. It should touch every part of your life. Think of it as a mighty oak tree which has grown very massive with various and sundry branches, all drawing its sustenance from the tree’s roots. Every facet of the Christian’s present day walk, as well as their future plans, needs to be a direct outgrowth of their roots, their belief system.
Almost every doctrinal statement or document of faith implemented by a Christian church or ministry starts with their acceptance in and commitment to the Bible. This common practice of placing the Scriptures at the forefront of their belief system is easy to understand; for all that is declared in this faith document sprouts forward from this Holy Writ, the Bible. It is, therefore, the bedrock, the foundation, the root system that provides and directs the path that the believing child of God is to pursue. It calls for a Christian’s allegiance, loyalty and commitment.
The Stakes are Extremely High
Christian apologetics, a discipline presenting evidence for the validity of biblical Christianity, must begin with the authenticity of the Bible. For if this unique book fails to uphold all that it claims to be, then, it is at best a fictitious storybook and at worst a sham, leading people astray by creating a false system of hope. It would leave humanity in the same hopeless situation that every other man-made religious system contends with, floundering for provable or defensible answers regarding the existence and purpose of human life; where did we come from, why are we here, and where are we going?
The Bible consists of 66 books in total, 39 from the Hebrew Tenach (Old Testament), and 27 from the Greek New Testament (New Covenant). It presents itself as the only bastion of truth in matters of eternal consequence which are the greatest need of mankind.
True biblical Christianity depends upon, and in fact, demands a personal faith belief system (cf. Hebrews 10:23; 11:6). It is faith that is required to believe in the deliverance from the penalty of sin, the confident hope of eternal life in the very presence of God in heaven in lieu of everlasting damnation in hell (cf. John 3:16-18; Ephesians 2:8-9; Matthew 25:31-46). Faith is required to believe in the existence of one and only one true living personal God (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4; Exodus 20:2-23; Isaiah 46:9). It is faith that enables one to believe that God created everything that exists out of nothing that pre-existed (Gen.1; Heb. 11:1,3.) Faith is compulsory to believe that God alone enjoys the unique attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence and eternality (cf. Jeremiah 32:17; 1 John 3:20; Psalm 90:2, 139:7-8).
Whereas the faith described herewith calls for believing in something that cannot be verified according to empirical evidence and testing, there is however, sufficient basis to embrace and believe these and many more biblical doctrines to be truthful and life-changing.
An Argument for the Genuineness of the Bible
Humanity’s uniqueness to reason rationally and logically encourages one to begin their pursuit of the validity of the Bible with recognized established truths, then move from the known to the unknown. From these acknowledged specifics or details, foundations are formed and built upon. Such are the circumstances involving the unshakeable proofs of ancient biblical prophecies fulfilled exactly as God’s inspired penman foretold in advance. The length of time between the Hebrew Prophets’ predictions and their fulfillment spanned a short few years all the way to several millennia. They began near the end of the third millennium BC and reached all the way to the early years of the third millennium AD. (cf. Genesis 49:10; Ezekiel 36:19-24)
Included in these many hundreds of already fulfilled prophecies are many concerning individuals, numerous nations, and a various selection of events. From within these, there are those considered minor, as well as those which appear to loom as giants in the sphere of proof texts for the validity of the Bible. Mind you, all fulfilled prophecy is important in providing evidence for the authenticity of the Scriptures. That being stated, there are, however, two distinctive and specific categories of fulfilled prophecies that are gargantuan in scope. They seem to be standing aloft the roof tops demanding acknowledgment and recognition. Even a modest glance insists there is much more to them than meets the eye. The first has to do with the “chosen people of God”, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, also referred to as the nation of Israel. The second has to do with the unique person the Bible references as the promised Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, particularly as it relates to His incarnation, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection, also known collectively as His first coming.
Happenstance, or coincidence, as a valid consideration to explain these prophecies is simply out of the question. Any reasonable person will admit that fulfillment of the great number of biblical prophecies accompanied by minute details over a prolonged period of time without even one mishap must be more than just an accident or quirk. In fact, as you will see, it can only be understood as God Himself revealing future realities by the use of His sovereign and divine attributes afore mentioned.
Unquestionably, the fulfilled prophecies relating to Israel and the Jewish people can easily in and of themselves, substantiate the validity of the Bible. However, for this treatise, we will explore the impact of Messianic prophecies brought to fruition in the person of Jesus. These precise predictive revelations demonstrate that the “Jesus of Nazareth”, as found in the New Testament, and only he, could authoritatively claim Messiahship for Himself. They also underscore the miraculous nature of these prophecies and as well their definitive origin. Let it be known, there is no one in heaven, nor on the earth, or in the seas, or beneath the earth, other than true Deity that is remotely capable of this action.
The Science of Probability Speaks
The science of probabilities seeks to determine the chance that a given event will occur. Both the value and accuracy of this science has been accepted and well established. As an example consider the whole field of insurance. Its very existence and livelihood is dependent upon the use of statistical probabilities.
In 1958 Moody Press published a book titled “Science Speaks”, authored by Peter Stoner. The book set out to provide proof that God is, and that His revelation to mankind contained in the Bible is authentic and can be trusted as the inspired Word of God. It is a masterpiece in the field of biblical probabilities. Mr. Stoner’s credentials are impressive. He was Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College; Chairman of the science division, Westmont College; Professor Emeritus of Science, Westmont College; Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Astronomy, Pasadena City College.
A major aspect of his research established the following probabilities of the chances that scores, even hundreds of predictions concerning the Messiah found in the Hebrew Scriptures could possibly find fulfillment in one person many centuries into the future.
After he and his students examined eight different Messianic prophecies, they concluded that the chance of one man fulfilling all eight was one in 10^17. This is the number 10 to the 17th power or the number 10 followed by 17 zeros. He then gave the following illustration of the magnitude of such a large number. He said that if you took 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of the state of Texas, they would cover the whole state two feet deep. After marking one of these silver dollars and placing it in the mix, stir the whole mass thoroughly. Then blindfold a man and tell him he must pick up one silver dollar and say this is the one. What chance would he have of getting it right? Just the same chance that the prophets would’ve had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.
In another calculation, he investigated the probability of forty-eight prophecies being fulfilled in one person. He found the number to be 10^157. That’s right; the chance of this taking place is the number 10 with 157 zeroes to one for all 48 to be fulfilled on one person. To make sure that his readers grasped the enormousness of this figure, he gave the following illustration. It would take 2.5 times 10^15 of electrons laid side by side to make 1 inch. If you counted 250 of these electrons each minute, and counted day and night, it would still take 19 million years just to count a line of electrons 1 inch long. Then he said, let’s mark one of these electrons and mix them thoroughly, then blindfold a man and let him try to find the right one. What chance has he of finding the right one? Just the same chance the prophets would’ve had of writing these 48 prophecies and having them all come true in one man.
Just imagine what the chance of the 300 or more biblical Messianic prophecies fulfilled in Jesus would yield. It would go off the charts. It would virtually be impossible to accomplish. It would demand one who had the ability and power to carry out his proclaimed declarations. It would have to be one who had insights deriving from his total knowledge of all things throughout all of history, past, present and future. It would call for an individual who was able to be everywhere at the same time, all the time, to see what was taking place. In other words it would truly have to be God.
“I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: … yea, I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it” (Isaiah 46:9-11)
It is this God that permeates the whole of the Bible. It is recorded within this Holy Writ that He stated:
“Thus says the Lord” over 400 times.
“The word of the Lord came to” over 100 times.
“Thus shall you say to” forty-three times.
“Hear the word of the Lord” thirty-seven times.
“Speak to… saying” fourteen times.
Prophecy proves the validity of the Bible. Exhibiting one’s faith is putting one’s trust in God’s Word. It can be trusted!
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