In the two millennia since His birth, many people have asked “Who is Jesus Christ of Nazareth?”

And, quite often, writers and speakers–and believers in all walks of life–emphasize the question with the adverb: “Who was, and is He, really?”

In one of his final projects, the late Dr. Tom Horn joined with his co-author daughters Donna Howell and Allie Anderson, forming a family collaboration to create the three-volume set, The Mystery of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation–Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

The authors describe their series as “a comprehensive study of the person and the work of Jesus Christ.” They delve deeply into His life, incorporating stories and information from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the book of Revelation–for which they offer “clear-cut, comprehensible explanations behind even the most enigmatic and hard-to-understand symbols that anyone can read and understand.”

Founder of Skywatch Ministries and the author of more than 20 books, Horn was a longtime popular radio and television commentator, especially on matters of prophecy.

In their joint project, Horn and his daughters focused not only on mysteries surrounding Jesus’ years on Earth, and what they describe as “the real and often misunderstood purpose” of His eventful three-and-a-half-year ministry, but also on overlooked biblical stories, such as the multiple ways that Jesus made personal appearances on Earth–called Christophanies–prior to His birth through the virgin Mary.

The trio went back in time, examining original Hebrew and Greek texts for largely hidden revelations, such as the “social and political events (which) transpired during the inter-testamental period that led to a movement of numerous ‘false messiahs,’ whose military pursuits splintered the Jews into various disjointed sects–each with misguided documented messianic expectations.”

During appearances on Watchman on the Wall, the daily outreach program of Southwest Radio Ministries and, Howell described to host Dr. Larry Spargimino the process through which the book series was created.

“It took about three months of literally around-the-clock, 24-hour writing. I had very little sleep,” Howell said. “But, for the most part, the material did flow.”

She stresses that the reality of a pastor who wants to preach from every book of the Bible, and show how Jesus appears in each book, was “really heavy on my heart in the beginning… I’m not trying to sell a book here, but any pastor out there that is running low on material–and they have little time for sermon prep–this series will actually help them with a million sermon outlines.”

Spargimino points out that the books extensively examine the mathematical probability of Jesus fulfilling the prophecies which foretold of Him, either by accident or coincidence.

And, using scientific mathematics, Howell proceeds to dispel the oft-repeated axiom that belief in God and science cannot “coexist.”

“A lot of people will involve the supernatural acts of Christ when they consider this question, and whereas that is a beautiful and faithful thing to do, that doesn’t really reach the secular crowd, which doesn’t believe in the supernatural aspect of His ministry years anyway,” Howell says.

“So what I did was I kind of took a little bit of a Lee Strobel and Peter Stoner approach, where I stripped the supernatural out of that. Now, what that means is that reduces it down to something called basic calculable axioms. That’s a very fancy-pants word, but basically what that means is historical things we know to have been true.”

Formerly an investigative journalist–and atheist–Strobel is now a Christian, and the best-selling author of books including The Case for Christ and Is God Real? Stoner was the chairman of the mathematics and astronomy department at Pasadena City College in the 1950s, who wrote the seminal volume Science Speaks, in which he applied the rules of probability and statistics to the Scriptures.

Howell explains her own calculations.

“So you start with the number of Jews born in the Palestine area, in the Israel area at the time that Jesus was born, and you have approximately 400,000 Jews. You take the fact that most of them were known, owned slaves, and that reduces it down to less than half, around the 150,000 mark.

“Then you have to look at the other historical facts like that Jesus had a Bethlehem birth. He was of the line of David. He died on the cursed pole as foreshadowed in the Old Testament. He had no broken bones, which is extremely unusual. He had pierced hands, feet and sides–all these things that were said of Him. And when you start to calculate these basic calculable axioms, you get down less and less and less,” Howell says.

“A mathematician in this case would have to: Number one, narrow down the number of possible candidates from those basic calculable axioms that we’ve just discussed; number two, calculate the probability statistics of a man who died in this exact manner when it was not the norm; number three, add the prophecy into the equation involving other potential prophetic fulfillments.

“And finally, calculate the possibility that all of this happened just like that by some freak fluke accident by the same individual who also just happened to claim that he was the Messiah. So the survey says, ‘Jesus was exactly who he claimed to be.’

“To share a short excerpt from Strobel’s The Case for Christ, involving the mathematics on this, he says: ‘The coincidence of Christ accidentally fulfilling only eight of the Old Testament prophecies is’—listen to this number—‘one chance in 100 million billion.’ That number is millions of times greater than the total number of people who’ve ever walked the planet,” Howell says.

“Now he gets it backed up by Peter Stoner here… and listen to this number: ‘The probability of fulfilling only 48 prophesies was one chance in a trillion,’ ” she says, quoting Stoner, emphasizing the number as she repeats it 13 times to reach the actual probability equation–a trillion times 13 trillion.

“At this point you look at scholars who say that Jesus may have fulfilled upwards of 550 prophecies, and that’s a conservative number. At this point, it takes more faith not to believe that Jesus was exactly what he said he was,” Howell says.

The author believes greater understanding can be gained through the study of extra-biblical and apocryphal books which were written around the time of Christ, which she says give fresh insight on New Testament characters, including their true identities and reputations, and how all of that affects proper biblical interpretation.

Additionally, Jesus appears in all 66 books of the Bible—including the small and often neglected book of Ruth, she says.

“There is a foreshadowing of Christ in Boaz. He blesses Ruth to freely gather from his harvest. He tells her to enjoy the company of the other Israelite women at the site, and informs her that he’s already instructed the men that she’s to be left alone. He’s a total protector of her.

“If you listen real close, you’ll absolutely see that his entire story mirrors, ‘Truly I say unto you, in as much as you’ve done it unto the least of these my brothers, you’ve done it unto me,’ which are the words of Christ directly,” Howell says.

“But this is not even the best part. It goes into something so big and so deep and most readers miss it. First of all, Ruth finds out that Boaz is the kinsman redeemer, which comes from the Hebrew word goel. This is one who passed property ownership on to younger generations. If a property owner couldn’t afford to buy back his property because he’s fallen on tough times financially or he has leveraged or mortgaged it, the goel bought the property back to keep it in the family.

“Now, Boaz was Ruth’s goel, her kinsman redeemer. The scroll that was written up, the terms of the sale and the rights of the property and the rights of the goel were written on a piece of parchment… signed inside and out by multiple witnesses, according to Jeremiah 32:11. Then a seal was placed on the outside which could not be broken by anybody except a kinsman redeemer,” Howell says.

“In Revelation 5:1-4: ‘And I John saw in the right hand of him’—God is who he’s talking about—‘that sat on the throne with a scroll written and on the backside sealed with seven seals. I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose the seven seals thereof.’

“This scroll was the scroll of revelation that talks about the terms of our salvation. John goes on to say ‘No man in heaven nor on earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the scroll neither to look thereon, and I wept much, because no man was worthy to open the scroll or to read or to look thereon.’

“Prior to Christ there was no person in history that would ever be worthy to redeem humanity. Nor has any other human person ever been kinsman to God. Consider Jesus in this moment: He’s not only kinsman to God, He’s kinsman to humanity because He is God and human.”

Howell describes the continuing scene in Revelation, and one of the elders present—a witness present at the time the scroll was sealed—said ‘weep not, behold the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has prevailed to open the scrolls and loosen the seals…’ and the Lamb takes the scroll, and the elders fell down before Him, singing a new song of praise, and every living creature, both in heaven and on Earth, worshipped the Lamb.

“Jesus is the only entity in the Earth who is literally kinsman to God and to humanity. Without His blood-bought purchase, our destiny would be no more glorious than to remain spiritually lethargic while we wandered the corners of the Earth, belonging to no one other than the prince of the power of the air and awaiting just death and judgment,” Howell says.

“Jesus’ gentle and loving interactions with the human race never once requires that we look back to what the world tried to make of us. He is the kinsman redeemer of humanity.

“The foreshadowing is completely missed here. Ruth and Boaz had Obed and they had Jesse, who has David. Of course, this is the David, the greatest king of Israel, the very man whose legacy would point by the title to the Son of David, which eventually arrives in the form of the Messiah­—Christ of the roots.

“Jesus is in the bloodline which would produce the Davidic king of the Jews… who would later carry out His own Boaz story of redemption to all mankind,” Howell says.

“You cannot weave these elements by mere imagination. The Word is so beautiful, so wonderfully, infinitely beautiful in its extension of love and grace to us from the very beginning.” 




Jon Ruetz

Senior Writer, Prophecy in the News Magazine

Jon Ruetz is a former newspaper reporter and editor, author and longtime journalism teacher. He now writes for the Prophecy in the News magazine and is spearheading SWRC’s new audiobooks branch.