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How do we explain the fulfilled prophecies written in the Old Testament? Were they all just lucky despite the outrageous odds?

The Old Testament contains many prophecies regarding the promised Messiah. The actual number of prophecies is debatable and is argued to be in the hundreds:

Regarding the specific number of promises about the Messiah, there is a wide divergence of opinion. Rabbinical writings refer to 456 separate Old Testament passages used to refer to the Messiah and messianic times (Edersheim, 710-41). One Christian scholar lists 127 personal messianic prophecies (Payne, 667-68). The differences are due to the way in which the New Testament refers to the Old Testament promises. There are direct messianic prophecies (e.g., Micah 5:2; Zech. 9:9); typical messianic prophecies, utilizing an immediate referent in the prophet’s day which pointed to the ultimate referent (e.g., the sacrificial levitical system); and applications of Old Testament concepts to the Messiah (e.g., the reference Matthew 2:23 makes to the prophets saying: “He will be called a Nazarene.”) If we limit ourselves to the direct messianic prophecies just mentioned, a conservative number would be around 65 

– William Varner, The Messiah: Revealed, Rejected, Received (Bloomington, Ind.: Author House, 2004),

Example prophecies are:

He would be preceded by a messenger (Malachi 3:1)

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

​He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (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.

​How did Jesus fulfill these prophecies when the odds are outrageous?


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