What are the chances that someone other than Jesus of Nazareth could be the Messiah, the Savior of the world? As we approach the Christmas Season, let us examine a few reasons why Christians believe that only Jesus of Nazareth could be the Messiah.
First, consider that his birthplace, Bethlehem in Judea, was predicted by the prophet Micah approximately 750 years ahead of time.* Out of literally thousands of hamlets, villages, towns and cities then existing in the ancient world, Micah “just happened” to pick not only “Bethlehem,” but he even specified which Bethlehem when he correctly predicted it to be Bethlehem in the region of Ephrathah nearby to Jerusalem. Why specify the region? Because there were two Bethlehems in Israel at the time. This should not be considered strange when we consider our American context, for example when we talk about going to “Columbus,“Do we mean Columbus, Ohio; Columbus, Indiana; or Columbus, Georgia? Or even Bellefontaine: Bellefontaine, Ohio or Bellefontaine, Missouri? Now perhaps a skeptic might want to argue that Micah was just “lucky” when he happened to pick the correct Bethlehem. However, the Bethlehem he picked is the locale of the tribe of Judah and family of Jesse, the father of King David, the city known as the “City of David.” Think about playing “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” when we were children. Our chances of getting the tail correctly pinned, being blindfolded, were better than Micah’s if in fact, he was merely making a blind guess out of all the towns in Israel, let alone all the towns in the whole wide world in his day.
Second, consider the timing of Jesus’ birth, as given to the prophet Daniel in a dream as a young man, and as given by the angel Gabriel to Daniel in a separate disclosure when he was a very old man.** As a young man Daniel was tasked by the king of Babylon to correctly interpret a dream that troubled the king greatly, one that his own wisemen*** could not interpret even under pain of death. Daniel correctly told the king that three world kingdoms, beginning with his own, would rise and fall, and that during the time of the fourth world kingdom, a fifth kingdom, of divine origin, would arise without any fanfare among men, but would eventually grow and fill the entire world, while the manmade world kingdoms, which history documents as neo-Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, rose and fell, while the Kingdom of Messiah Jesus continues to grow and grow and grow from generation to generation. Also consider that the angel Gabriel was very specific when he tied the public advent of “Messiah the Prince” to a Persian king’s decree to use Persian money to finance the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its Temple and telling Daniel that “69 weeks” (of years: 69x7=483 years) would elapse between the decree and the public advent of Messiah. Guess what: History shows that a Persian king did ratify an earlier rebuilding decree in 458 B.C., and that Jesus was publicly unveiled as the Messiah at the Jordan River in A.D. 27, 485 years after the decree, very shortly after the completion of the 69 weeks of years.
So, just what are the chances someone else is the Messiah? Merry Christmas!
**Cf. Daniel 2; 9-20-27
***Magoi in the book of Daniel: Magi in the Gospel of Matthew in the Christmas narrative. Think of We Three Kings of Orient Are.
Pastor Marshall Pierson