### Jesus the Messiah? What are the odds, mathematically?

# What are the Odds?

Professor of mathematics, Peter Stoner (June 16, 1888 – March 21, 1980), gave 600 students a math probability problem that would determine the odds for one person fulfilling eight specific prophecies. (This is not the same as flipping a coin eight times in a row and getting heads each time.) First the students calculated the odds of one person fulfilling all the conditions of *one* specific prophecy, such as being betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver. Then the students did their best to estimate the odds for all of the eight prophecies combined.

According to the Hebrew requirement that *a prophecy must have a 100 percent rate of accuracy*, the true Messiah of Israel must fulfill them all or else he is not the Messiah. So the question that either vindicates Jesus or makes him culpable for the world’s greatest hoax is, did he fit and fulfill these Old Testament prophecies?

Let’s look at two of the specific prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament.

1.

“You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.”(Micah 5:2, NLT)2.

“The Lord himself will choose [a] sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel-‘God is with us.’”(Isaiah 7:14, NLT)

The students calculated that the odds against one person fulfilling all eight prophecies are astronomical-one in ten to the 21st power (10^{21}). To illustrate that number, Stoner gave the following example: “First, blanket the entire Earth land mass with silver dollars 120 feet high. Second, specially mark one of those dollars and randomly bury it. Third, ask a person to travel the Earth and select the marked dollar, while blindfolded, from the trillions of other dollars.”^{¹}

It’s important to note that Stoner’s work was reviewed by the American Scientific Association, which stated, *“The mathematical analysis … is based upon principles of probability which are thoroughly sound, and Professor Stoner has applied these principles in a proper and convincing way.”* ^{²}

Bible scholars tell us that nearly 300 references to 61 specific prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The odds against one person fulfilling that many prophecies would be beyond all mathematical possibility. It could never happen, no matter how much time was allotted. One mathematician’s estimate of those impossible odds is *“one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion.” ^{³
}*

Source: from http://y-jesus.com/what-are-the-odds/