If I were to ask you if you thought that it was possible to predict what would happen 483 years from now or 173 880 days exactly, and to be able to identify a specific person as well as the specific events that would take place. What would you say? Probably No! I mean which human being could possibly know something that far into the future. Yet this is exactly what Daniel, a prophet of God, predicted. Without going into all the details Daniel essentially predicted the exact day, 483 years earlier, that Jesus Christ would ride into Jerusalem and allow Himself to be called “King of Israel”. The prophecy continued to also describe the destruction of the city and the Jewish Temple, which happened in A.D. 70 under the Romans. In fact, 120 Old Testament prophecies concern the first coming of Messiah, written before 450 B.C. were fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. 48 major prophecies were very clearly directed at the Messiah; no one else in history could “fit the shoe” so perfectly. This is not mere coincidence; the law of probability is against it.
According to research done by Ralph O. Muncaster in his excellent book “A skeptics search for God”, if you take the 30 major prophecies concerning the Messiah for example 1) the Bethlehem birth, 2) the timing of entry into Jerusalem, 3) the triumphal entry as king on a donkey, 4) the betrayal by a friend for 30 pieces of silver, 5) the piercing of hands and feet, 7) identifying the place of crucifixion, and 8) no bones broken, the chances of these being fulfilled by one man is 1 in 10110! I’m not a mathematician and these big numbers confuse me. So let’s make this practical and understandable. I owe this next illustration to a friend and Bible teacher of mine David Brown. Let’s suppose that it were possible to cover South Africa 5 cm deep with only two Rand coins. What would the chances be if you marked one of those coins with red paint, put it somewhere in the country, and sent a blind man to find it? The chance that the red coin will be the first one that he picks up is 1 in 1017. And that’s just the probability of Jesus Christ fulfilling eight prophecies.
There is nothing else like Bible prophecy in any ancient or modern literature or in any other religion! Bible prophecy is useful for many reasons. Here are six specific reasons why studying Bible prophecy is profitable:
- Daniel 2:28 – It convinces us that there is a God.
- Daniel 9:2 – Past fulfillments teach us to interpret prophecy literally in the future.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – Gives us a tool to comfort each other.
- 1 John 3:2-3, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11 – Gives us a motivation for purity.
- Acts 17:30-31 – Gives us a great evangelistic tool.
- Titus 2:13 – It gives us hope in a hopeless age.
The accurate fulfillment of the prophecies of Christ’s first coming point us to the certainty the 300 prophecies of His second coming will also be fulfilled. Because the prophecies of his first coming were fulfilled literally we can expect the prophecies of his second coming to also be fulfilled literally. Yet while these prophecies and their literal fulfillment may fascinate our curiosity and challenge our minds, they are ultimately intended to bring us to a personal point of faith in Jesus.
Friends we live in the present and the Bible says “…now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Tomorrow is not a guarantee from God that you and I will be alive on planet earth. If you haven’t made peace with God today make that decision before its too late. The Bible says that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Call on Him today by placing your trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).