- The Old Testament has at least 48 specific prophecies about the Messiah (or, according to some counts, perhaps up to 60). These are specific prophecies, and do not include foreshadowings and typologies of Christ, which are even more abundant in the Old Testament. Each of these prophecies was written down hundreds of years before the time of Christ, thus disallowing any possibility of later Christians retrojecting content about Jesus into Old Testament texts.
- As an example, we'll assess eight major messianic prophecies:
1) Micah 5:2 - the Messiah will come from Bethlehem
2) Malachi 3:1 - the Messiah will be preceded by a messenger
3) Zech. 9:9 - the Messiah enters Jerusalem on a donkey
4) Ps. 41:9 - the Messiah betrayed by a friend who shares bread with him
5 & 6) Zech. 11:12-13 - the Messiah's betrayal is paid with thirty pieces of silver, which are then thrown down in the temple and used to pay for a potter's field
7) Isaiah 53 - the Messiah, in his act of vicarious suffering, will be silent at his trial
8) Ps. 22:16 (cf. Is. 53) - the Messiah's hands and feet will be pierced (crucified as a criminal)
In the results of a statistical study on these eight prophecies, researchers (using the most conservative metrics) found that the probability that any person living between the time of the Old Testament and now could fulfill these eight was just one in ten to the seventeenth power (the same probability as picking a single coin out of the entire state of Texas laid knee-deep in coins). If 48 specific prophecies about Christ are included, the probabilities grow even more wild, to one in ten to the 157th power (far less than the chance of choosing one precise atom out of all the atoms in the universe). Thus, the fact that a person (namely, Jesus) fulfilled these prophecies in precise and specific ways means that he is the Messiah, and no one else could conceivably ever fulfill them as completely as he has.