Over the last month or more I have had three people write and ask if I will share what I did with the Messianic prophecies in the *God’s Awesome Book* series on the website. So I have concluded that it is the best focus for this next series of Nuggets. Therefore I am starting a series of Nuggets investigating the mathematical probability of a series of Messianic prophecies. We will look at a series of selected prophecies related to the Coming Messiah which are quantifiable. I will attempt to calculate for each prophecy the probability of that particular prophecy coming to pass and being fulfilled by one person, namely Jesus of Nazareth. At the end of the series we will extend the concept still further and I will demonstrate something truly astounding to you, leaving you in no doubt that Jesus is who He claims to be.

## Prophecy One: Out of Bethehem

Out of Bethlehem in Judah will come the ruler of Israel.

Micah 5:2

That is a very specific prophecy. The name of the town is mentioned. All we have to do is find the population of Bethlehem at a point in time and the corresponding population of Israel. Let’s have a look at it and see if we can apply a quantifiable figure in terms of the probability of this prophecy coming true.

The average population of Bethlehem is said to be about 2,000 people at and before the time of Christ. If we look at the population of Israel at one point in time in the book of Numbers it is recorded at 2,500,000 at a time when Bethlehem was around 2,000 people. If we look at that it gives us a probability of 1 in 1,250 people. Now we are assuming that the Messiah of Israel will come out of Israel. Some people have said shouldn’t you be dealing with the whole population of the world? Perhaps, but that would inflate the probability disproportionately. Furthermore, is it not reasonable to assume the Messiah of Israel will come from Israel? We have already been told the ruler of Israel will come from Bethlehem, in Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel as a whole. So let’s just keep our focus on Israel.

I want to be as conservative as possible so nobody can say I have inflated the figures for effect. So I will prune them back, let’s allow a probability of 1 in 1,000. There is one chance in 1,000 of the Messiah coming out of Bethlehem. That is not allowing for the probability over time! In other words, one person out of all the ones who have ever lived in Israel over history, because Jesus could have come in this century or any other century.

Let’s look at the probability for the ruler of Israel coming out of Bethlehem today, just to test our figure. The population of Bethlehem in the year 2004 was 61,000 people. The population of Israel at that time was 6,800,000 so we have a probability of 1 in 111. In 2004 the percentage of Jewish citizens in Bethlehem was only 25% of the total population, giving a figure of 15,250 people. Which when set against the total population gives us a probability of 1:446. In saying this I am making an assumption that the Jewish Messiah would be a Jew.

The ratio of Jewish citizens in Bethlehem has been steadily declining since the year 2000. The latest news is that the percentages or both Jews and Christian in Bethlehem has fallen still further as there has been a mass exodus from the city. No one will give an estimate or even educated guess as to what the figure would be. The current population of Israel in 2021 was 8,825,415. The figure for the population of Bethlehem in that year according to the last available census figures is 29,019. This would yield a probability ratio of 1:300.

This means our figure of 1:1,000 is in the ball park but maybe a little high. However given all the factors involved it is probably a good figure to use to equate with the historical accuracy at the time of Christ. I am also interested in rounding the figures as much as possible to make the comparisons standard across the board.

So the probability for the Micah prophecy: “The ruler of Israel will come out of Bethlehem in Judah” is **1:1000**

Its sad that there is a mass exodus from Bethlehem, harder for the ones left behind.

Yes it is sad that there has been a mass exodus of Jewish citizens from Bethlehem and you are right in saying that such an exodus makes it harder for the Jews who may remain. The reason is the fact that Bethlehem in located in the West Bank where there are tensions between Palestinians and the Jews. Such tensions are the main contributing factor to the decline in the percentage of Jews still living in Bethlehem.