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Against All Odds - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
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August 3, 2023 6:00 am

Against All Odds - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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August 3, 2023 6:00 am

From a mathematical perspective, the likelihood that any one person would fulfill even a few Old Testament prophecies was almost zero. But as Skip shares today, Jesus’ life defied all the odds.

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The odds of one man fulfilling just eight of those predictions is 1 in 10 to the 17th power.

If you know math, you know that's a pretty sizable number. From a mathematical perspective, the likelihood that any one person would fulfill even a few Old Testament prophecies was almost zero. But as Skip shares today on Connect with Skip Heite, Jesus' life defied all the odds. But first, we want to tell you about a powerful resource that'll help you answer some of the toughest questions about the life, ministry, and divinity of Christ. Josh McDowell has written books that rank among the best-selling Christian works of all time. Now, with his son, Sean, Josh has released Evidence for Jesus. God gave us our mind and our heart to work in unity.

To what? To glorify Him. The Bible, I call it fact, fiction, or fallacy. I want to answer two questions about the Bible. This is what I struggle with as a non-believer. One, is what we have written down the same as what was written down 2,000 years ago, or has it been changed?

Second, was what was written down true? In Evidence for Jesus, Josh and Sean McDowell have adapted and updated the Evidence for Jesus section from their classic apologetics book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, into a concise, readable, and accessible resource for those seeking answers about Jesus. This powerful new resource is our thanks for your gift of $50 or more to support the broadcast ministry of Connect with Skip Heitzig.

Josh and Sean McDowell make a powerful team. If you have questions about Jesus or know someone who does, this book is perfect. So get your copy of Evidence for Jesus today when you give a gift of $50 or more. Evidence for Jesus is our thanks for helping us expand the reach of the teachings on Connect with Skip.

Give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Did you know that you can now connect with Pastor Skip and this ministry via text messaging? Simply text connect to 74759 to join the group. When you do, you'll receive a free digital booklet call, Are We Living in the Last Days? Get a glimpse into the last days and how you can be ready for them.

So text connect to 74759 today. Now we're in Luke 24 as we go to Skip for the conclusion of his message, Against All Odds. It says, beginning at Moses, that's the first five books of those is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. That's where he began.

Moses, then all the prophets. So I imagine that he began probably around Genesis chapter three. And he said, hey, guys, remember that prediction that a seed is going to be born, a child is going to be born, who's going to crush the head of the serpent?

That's me. He probably went over to Genesis 22. Remember when Abraham sacrificed almost his son Isaac on Mount Moriah? Well, the mountain he was almost sacrificed on, the very mountain I was sacrificed on.

And he may have even pointed out what we've pointed out to you. In Genesis 22, God says to Abraham, take now your son, your only son, Isaac. He had two sons by that time, not one. But he refers to him as his only son, whom he loves. The very first time love is ever used in the Bible, it is used of a father sacrificing his only son on the same mountain Jesus would be sacrificing. Imagine being a disciple and having that be unfolded to you. He would have stopped at Exodus chapter 12, the story of the Passover lamb, the blood covering the lintels and doorposts, all figurative of him. He would have mentioned the Levitical sacrifices of the Old Testament, the tabernacle layout, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, all being fulfilled in him. Unquestionably, he would have mentioned Numbers 21, because he does in John chapter 3, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, the Son of Man must be lifted up. He would have mentioned, no doubt, Psalm 2 and Psalm 16 and Psalm 22, which gives a detailed description of death by crucifixion hundreds of years before crucifixion was even invented. Certainly, he would have mentioned Isaiah chapter 7. A virgin will conceive and bear a son, and you will call his name Immanuel, which is God with us. And two chapters later, he would have made mention of Isaiah chapter 9, for unto us a child is born, right? You know that one? Unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, and his name will be Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

He would have unfolded that to all of them. Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expound all the things concerning himself. Let me ask you a question. How impressive is prophecy? See, that was a question that changed my life.

When I was a young believer, and I was attacked by agnostic and atheistic professors where I was going to school, and I was surrounded in the medical profession by all sorts of cynics and critics, it was this study that made my faith ironclad. First of all, do you know how much of your Bible is prophetic, is prophetic literature? You know how much is prophecy? One-fourth. One-fourth of that Bible you have is about things in the future that have been fulfilled or are still waiting for their fulfillment.

One-fourth. To be exact, 26.8% if you were to tally up all the verses is prophetic. Now anybody can make predictions.

Getting them fulfilled is quite another category, especially as you add detail. See, if you predict something, and then you add a detail, and another detail, and another detail, now you are entering the realm of compound probability that that thing could ever come to pass. I'm going to mention a name, and some of you are familiar, some of you probably are not familiar unless you only read about her, but in the 1950s and 60s, there was a pretty famous psychic in America named Jean Dixon. And Jean Dixon made several predictions, and she was catapulted into international status and fame, because supposedly she made the prediction of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I say supposedly. It really wasn't that. What she actually said in 1956 to Parade Magazine in an interview is that the next president will be democratic and will die in office.

That's what she said. Now, what are the chances three and a half years before an election cycle that a democrat will win? 50%. There's only two parties back then that would have any merit. What are the odds in that time era that any president would die in office? In the 50s and 60s, it's estimated it was 40% are the odds, because the president was largely unprotected like he is today.

And number two, in that century, three presidents had died in office. So together, it was 20% chance that it could happen. It was one in five, those were the odds, one in five that that could happen. So just making that statement, everybody oohed and awed at Jean Dixon. What they failed to recognize are all of the false prophecies she made. That is the thing she predicted that she got wrong. For example, she predicted World War III would start in 1954.

We're still waiting for that to happen. She predicted that Jacqueline Kennedy, the wife of JFK, would never remarry. And she did. She predicted the Panama Canal treaties would not be approved. They were. She predicted the Russians would be the first to the moon. They weren't. She made a number of predictions that fell flat and were simply not true.

So when you compare that to the kind of prophecy we're talking about in the Bible and the odds, there's no comparison. Let's just say, for example, I had in my pocket 10 pennies, 10 coins. I don't. I have mints. But let's say I had 10 coins, 10 pennies, and they were marked, all of them consecutively, one through 10. So they're lying in my pocket, and I make a prediction that I'm going to reach in my pocket, randomly pick out a coin, and it's going to be the coin marked number one. My odds are one in 10 because there's 10 coins. Now, if I put it back and I make a prediction that I'm going to reach in my pocket and by random, pick out coin marked number two, now my odds are exponentially decreased.

It is now one in 100 that I could do number one and then number two. And if I make the prediction that I'm going to reach in my pocket 10 times and pull them out in consecutive order, one, two, three, four, all the way to 10, my odds of doing that are one in 10 billion that that could happen. That would be mighty amazing forecasting to be able to pull that off. Did you know that there are over 300 prophecies concerning Jesus Christ in the Old Testament? You see, in the Old Testament, the prophets, Moses and the prophets, like it says here, made a prediction that in the future, God will enter human history in time and space as a man. He would be the fulfillment of the expectations of Messiah, the Christ, Messiah, the Christ, the Jewish Messiah. He will be Immanuel, that is God with us. And there are many prophecies about where he would be born, what he would go through, what his circumstances would be like. So I'm going to read you 16 of them. I'm not going to give you 300. We'd be here for months.

You'd be going, I'm hungry. Here's 16 notable ones. That he would be born of a virgin.

That narrows down to a small degree. Isaiah 7, 14. That he'd be born in Bethlehem, Micah, chapter 5, verse 2. That he would be born of the tribe of Judah, Genesis 49, 10. That his ministry would begin in Galilee, Isaiah, chapter 9, verse 1.

That he would work miracles, Isaiah 35, 5 and 6. That he would enter Jerusalem on a donkey, Zechariah 9, 9. That he would be betrayed by a friend, Psalm 41, verse 9.

That he'll be sold for 30 pieces of silver, Zechariah 11, 12. That he would be wounded and bruised, Isaiah 53, 5. That his hands and feet would be pierced, Psalm 22, 16. That he'd be crucified with thieves, Isaiah 53, 12. His garments would be torn and lots cast for them, Psalm 22, 18. That his bones would not be broken, Psalm 34, 20 and Psalm 22. That his side would be pierced, Zechariah 12, 10. That he would be buried in a rich man's tomb, Isaiah 53, 9.

And that he would rise from the dead, Psalm 16, verse 10. Now what is the likelihood of any one person fulfilling all of those things? Because some of those predictions are impossible to manage. You can't decide where you're going to be born. You can't decide in advance who your mom's going to be, what truth is there.

What tribe you're going to be born into. You can't do that. Well, this is something that a mathematics professor years ago and many since have looked at. They've, from their background, studied mathematical probability of anybody fulfilling those predictions.

This guy that I'm mentioning is named Peter Stoner, professor emeritus of mathematics, Pasadena College and later on, Westmont University in Santa Barbara. And he decided to write a book called Science Speaks, I have a copy at home, Science Speaks, a little book where he looks at 48 predictions that Jesus fulfilled, 48 out of the 300. And it's about the odds of that happening.

So this is what he begins with. The odds of one man fulfilling just eight of those predictions is one in 10 to the 17th power. If you know math, you know that's a pretty sizable number.

And so he illustrates how big of a number and what the odds are. It's so big that it's like this. If you took the state of Texas, any Texans here? You got a big state. It takes like two days to drive through your state. And that's the speed limit.

I mean, maybe you could go faster, I don't know, but it's a big state. If you took the state of Texas and filled the state of Texas two feet thick with silver dollars, pre-marked one of them, so the whole state is filled with silver dollars, pre-mark one of them, put a little black mark on one of them, blindfold a man, send him through the state of Texas, you can go as long and as far as you want, but you select the one that I have pre-selected, blindfolded. Those odds of doing that would be the same odds of one man historically all fulfilling eight prophecies, one in 10 to the 17th power. Then he goes, wow, now what would it be for one man to fulfill 16 prophecies? Remember, I just read you 16 of them. What are the odds of one man fulfilling those 16?

Ready? One in 10 to the 45th power. In his book, he illustrates, but you can't use the state of Texas, you can't even use the United States, so he says, imagine you create with your silver dollars a metal ball of solid silver. It would be so big that from the center of that sphere to the circumference of that sphere would be the distance the earth is from the sun times 30. So it's 93 million miles times 30, that's the distance from the center to the circumference. In other words, we're dealing with a metal ball of silver dollars that in diameter is five billion, 580 million miles in diameter.

You get my picture? Okay, pre-mark your silver dollar and send that dude in there. The odds of him finding the pre-marked one as a blindfolded man would be the same odds that Jesus fulfilled 16 predictions. Said Stoner, and I quote, we find the chance that one man fulfilling all 48 prophecies is one in 10 to the 157th power, end quote.

And he does illustrate it in the book, but he has to use electrons and I won't belabor it. This is the stuff, when I was struggling with my early faith, when I studied fulfilled prophecy, it moved me toward an ironclad faith in Christ. For anybody to walk away and go, well, you know, the Bible, this is just a good guess.

Oh, that's kind of nice. It's like they don't have an IQ to say that. I mean, when you study this, there's no way to explain the Bible's ability to predict the future unless we see God as the author or the one who superintended the writing. Because the prediction is so precise, it's undeniable. Bible prophecy isn't a good guess.

It always has multiple contingencies and multiple features that cannot be known and cannot be controlled. And it's simply a proof of divine authorship. Now when I read that, I was amazed.

And then I remember thinking, and I still think, you know, I really shouldn't be amazed. Because the Bible so often says that God knows everything, right? He's omniscient.

That's the word. He's omniscient. He knows everything. He knows everything. He knows future things. No wonder Jesus said to his critics, search the scriptures for in them you think that you have eternal life, but these are they which testify about me. Did you know that when the prophets said those things, they didn't always understand what they were writing?

You know that, right? They made a lot of predictions, some about events that would happen in the short term, other events that would happen in the long term, about cities, about nations, about governments, etc. But many of them about this one person sandwiched in between all of them. So they didn't always understand what was going on. Listen to what Peter says. First Peter chapter one, verse 10, the prophets prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you, even though they had many questions as to what it could all mean. They wondered what the spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ's sufferings and his great glory afterwards. They wondered when and to whom all of this would happen. See the prophets were like archers. They were shooting their arrows of prophecy into the sky. They didn't really know where they were going to land. So Isaiah shot up his arrows of truth in Ezekiel and Daniel and Jeremiah and Zechariah. And those arrows of truth went up into the sky, out of sight, over the horizon.

They didn't know where they landed. But what I want you to know is simply this, 300 plus arrows all landed on one person. And that is against all odds. Now having covered that, let's finish this off. We go from a sorrowful walk to a scriptural talk to a satisfied flock.

This really helps these characters. Verse 28, then they drew near to the village where they were going and he indicated, Jesus, that he would have gone further. But they constrained him saying, abide with us for it is toward evening and the day is far spent. And he went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass as he sat at the table with them that he took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew him. And he vanished from their sight, oh man, anticlimactic.

Just when they get it, bye, voom. And they said to one another, did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us on the road? And while he opened the scriptures to us, and so they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem and found the eleven. And those who were with them gathered together saying, the Lord is risen indeed and has appeared to Simon. Then they told about the things that happened on the road and how he was known to them in the breaking of bread. Don't you find it interesting that they get to this little place and Jesus acts like he'd keep going? It's like, see ya.

Have a nice meal. Just keep like he's gonna keep walking. They had to like, wait, wait, don't go, please stay with us. That's what it means when it says they constrained him. I find that fascinating.

And I see that as a principle. Jesus will never force himself on anyone. He's the perfect gentleman. He works by invitation only. He said, behold, I stand at the door and I knock.

If you'll open the door, I'll come in. They invited him in. And then when he left them, they looked at each other and said, wow, didn't our hearts burn within us? They got heartburn. The good kind. The scriptural kind.

The kind I pray we'd all get. Now this burning of heart, notice they didn't say, didn't our hearts burn within us as we were talking to him in prayer, or didn't our hearts burn within us as he gazed into our eyes? No, it says, didn't our hearts burn within us as he spoke to us, as he spoke to us. Their hearts burned when they stopped talking and they started listening to what he had to say to them.

It's very important to make a note of that. What does it mean, this burning of heart? It is simply a statement of description that means a new understanding of old things. A new understanding of old things. It's like something you've read before and then the light comes on and you go, oh, wow, I get it. Oh, that's so good.

That's so rich. See Jesus didn't tell them anything they didn't know. They'd heard these scriptures growing up.

They were Jewish boys raised in the synagogue. They'd heard the prophets and Moses all their lives, but not like this. It was like new stuff to them. It's exactly what happened to me when I saw Jesus fulfilled in the prophetic scriptures against all odds. It set my heart on fire. It set my heart on fire. I was intellectually satisfied.

I was spiritually satisfied. And you know, every now and then I'll meet somebody who says, yeah, you know, I've heard this. I've heard this before.

Oh, really? You've heard about? Yeah, I've heard all this. I've heard this before. And so, yeah, you're really excited about it right now, aren't you? You've heard it before.

So what? Well, I want something new. I want a new revelation. You don't need a new revelation. You need a new application of the old revelation. That's what caused their hearts to burn within them. You need the same old scriptures, but opened up in a way that you understand it and you'll hear his voice speaking. It will set your heart ablaze as it did theirs. Now I want to close with this question. A God who is this accurate, this detailed, and this good at what he does, do you think he deserves your trust?

So if you think about the new year and you think about the fear and all the things that we all live with as humans, I want you to put that in perspective with what we have just studied. A God this detailed, this precise, this good at what he does, do you think he can handle your finances? Do you think he can handle your family, your future, your medical troubles, all the stuff, the relationships that you freak out about?

Do you think the safest place is to put them in his hands and to leave them there? If he can do that, your life is like, I think God has it, right? I think I got you covered, God would say. I'm good. I don't need your help. I'm good. Just give it to me, trust me, look to me, lean on me, put a smile back on your face, step back, a little spring back in your step, because I'm going to manage just fine. Just trust me.

That's where a study like this ought to leave us. I'll tell you what, it set my heart on fire and I hope it does yours. Skip Heitig with a message from his series, Against All Odds.

Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now let's go in the studio with Skip and Lenny with news about a trip to Israel you can take. I'm guessing that many of you have thought about, talked about, maybe even dreamed about visiting Israel.

Well, let's make that happen. Lenny and I are taking a tour group to Israel next summer in 2024. And I can't wait. We'll start in Tel Aviv, head north to Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, and the Jordan River. We'll spend several days in Jerusalem and see the Garden of Gethsemane, the Upper Room, and so much more. And we'll wrap it all up with a swim in the Dead Sea. Now I've been to Israel many times, like over 40. In fact, I can honestly say, though, that visiting the places where the Scriptures unfolded, where Jesus lived out his earthly ministry. It never gets old.

No, it doesn't. The incredible sightseeing will be punctuated by times of worship and teachings that you'll never forget. And Jeremy Camp and Adi Camp will be with us to lead worship. Make plans to join us next summer in Israel. See the itinerary and book this Israel tour with Skip Heitig and Jeremy Camp today at inspirationcruises.com slash C-A-B-Q. Join us again tomorrow as Skip begins a message all about God's sovereignty and the perfect connection. Connect with Skip Heitig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-03 06:58:57 / 2023-08-03 07:09:12 / 10

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