Temple Baptist Church - 12-22-2013
Matthew 1:18-25 (vs. 22-23)
A. When reading the Old Testament, we find the foretelling or prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. It does us well to remember that the Old Testament was written over a period of 1,500 years by app. 40 authors. Most of the authors of these books did not know each other now did they own the entire scripture at the time of their writing.
2. Each of the books of the Old Testament is completely in agreement and without contradiction. One significant reason why prophecy is an indication of divine authorship and, therefore trustworthy, is found in the perfection of the fulfilment of prophecy.
3. The Old Testament is historically correct, geographically correct, physiologically correct, medically correct, scientifically correct, and prophetically correct!
4. People who choose to reject the bible have not read and studied the bible!
B. My message for this morning is not about the perfection and reliability of the Scripture but about the minute probability of fulfillment concerning the coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. People have made predictions for years with the vast majority failing. The impossibility of predictions coming true finds it basis in the unknown. In order to predict correctly, so many factors come into play because we do not know how the world will be, how the technology will increase, etc.
2. Prophecy is different from prediction. Prediction is a forecast made by those who calculate the parameters of a subject and evaluate the odds that certain things will com to pass. A classic example is the weather forecast. 40% chance of rain becomes the possibility of 60% that it will not.
3. Prophecy is a different story. The ancient Pharaohs of Egypt had a saying: “So shall it be written and so shall it be done.” Thus is prophecy: once written, it is to fulfilled without exception!
C. I want to look at the probability of Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies by chance instead of divine purpose. Jewish bible scholar, Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889), a convert to Christianity, wrote a classic work affirming that there are 456 passages in the Old Testament that directly refer to the Messiah. I will not try to name them all but will use a few to make my point.
1. 700 years before the birth of Christ, Micah prophesied the exact city that He would be born in.
2. 1000 years before the birth of Christ, David prophesied of the manner of death of Christ with the death of crucifixion unknown to him.
3. 530 years before the birth of Christ, Daniel prophesied the specific date of the First Advent.
4. 400 years before the birth of Christ, Malachi prophesied of His forerunner, John the Baptist.
5. The Old Testament prophesied of Christ being God in the flesh; virgin born; sinlessly perfect; the death of innocent children-Rachel weeping for her children; living in Egypt; being betrayed by a friend; coming into Jerusalem riding upon an ass; beaten with stripes; having His beard plucked; spit upon; bearing His cross; dying between two thieves; that the soldiers would gamble for His clothing; would not rend His garment; not one bone would be broken when the breaking of the legs was common during crucifixion; buried in a rich man’s grave; resurrected from the dead; and the list could go on.
D. It may be possible for an imposter to fake one or two, maybe even three of these prophecies but these which I have mentioned much less all 456? If there were only 50 such prophecies, what would be the likelihood of one man fulfilling them? What if there were only 20 such prophecies, what would be the likelihood? 45x in the Gospels and Acts the scriptures said that it was “fulfilled” concerning Jesus Christ.
E. Peter Stoner, Professor Emeritus of Science at Westmont College, used the science of probability to determine the chance that these prophecies could all occur in one person. The value and accuracy of the science of probability has been well established. Professor Stoner, calculated the probability of one man fulfilling the major prophecies concerning the Messiah and submitted his figures for review to a committee of the American Scientific Affiliation. Upon examination, they verified that his calculations were dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented (Peter Stoner, Science Speaks, Chicago: Moody Press, 1969, 4). I have all of the computations that were mathematically derived from this study at the end of this message but I want to just give the “gist” of it. If you would like to see it all, I have the notes.
1. The mathematical conclusion was that for the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem was one in 300,000. That is just the fulfillment of one prophecy.
2. After studying just 8 different prophecies, they conservatively estimated that the chance of one man fulfilling all 8 was one in 10^17 or one with 17 zeros behind it. That is 100 quadrillion! Suppose that we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. That is 268,820 square miles! They would cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would've had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom (Idem, 106-107).
3. In another calculation, Stoner used 48 prophecies (Idem, 109) (even though he could have used Edersheim's 456), and arrived at the extremely conservative estimate that the probability of 48 prophecies being fulfilled in one person is the incredible number 10^157. (ten unquinquagintillion – un-quin-qua-gin-tillion) Again, 45x the Bible uses the word “fulfilled” when speaking of the life of Christ.
4. Electrons are very small objects. They're smaller than atoms. It would take 2.5 TIMES 10^15 of them, laid side by side, to make one inch. Even if we 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 one-inch long (Stoner, op. cit, 109).
5. God so thoroughly vindicated Jesus Christ that even mathematicians and statisticians, who were without faith, had to acknowledge that it is scientifically impossible to deny that Jesus is the Christ.
F. What about the coming of the Messiah? The most prophesied event in the Bible is that of the birth of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. The first man was given this blessed hope in Genesis 3:15, four thousand years before His birth.
1. He was and is the Hope of mankind. The promised Savior!
2. He was and is the Hope of Israel. The promised King!
3. He was and is the Hope of the Church. The Promised Eternal Bridegroom!
G. The Old Testament saints looked forward to the coming of the promised “Seed” with as much anticipation as the New Testament saints look back to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with exaltation.
1. The Jews still place notes into the “Wailing Wall” and pray for the promised Messiah, realizing that He is their only Hope! He came unto His own and was rejected. Israel missed their Messiah but He will come again to His people.
2. We, as New Testament saints look back with thrill and wonder that God so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son to die in our place. I am glad that I know who Jesus is! He is more than just a prophet, He is the Son of God: almighty Jehovah God born in the flesh! God help us to never lose that!
H. There are literally hundreds of prophetic verses that deal with the first coming of Christ with each being filled in the smallest detail. Not one prophecy, given thousands of years before His coming, failed! What a blessed Book the Bible is! What a wonderful God our Heavenly Father is! What a Saviour!
I. I want to look at several aspects of the prophecy of Christ this morning.
1. He was born the right person! Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
a. A Prophet - Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
b. A Priest - Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
c. A King - 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.
2. He was born for the right reason! Galatians 4:4-5 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
a. He was born to provide a Saviour - Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
b. He was born to fulfill the Scripture - Matthew 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
c. He was born to give us Hope - Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
3. He was born at the right time and place! Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
a. His birth was on time. Daniel 9:24-27 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
b. His birth was in the right place. 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.
Matthew 2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
John 7:42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
4. He was born in the right way! Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
a. He was born of the woman’s seed. Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
b. He was born to a virgin girl. Luke 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5. He lived, died, resurrected, and is coming again in the right way! 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
a. He was the only begotten Son of God. Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
b. He was the sinless Son of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
c. He was the sacrificial Son of God. John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
d. He is the risen Son of God. Matthew 28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
e. He is the coming Son of God. Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Conclusion: Again, this morning, all I can say is “Hallelujah! What a Saviour! Have you received Christ, God’s perfect Gift to fallen man?
John 1:11-14 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.