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Bible prophecy & the second coming
by Reverend Howard Ray Carey

The fulfillment of prophecy can differ from what is expected.

Biblical prophecy should not always be considered a prognostication in the literal sense. These prophecies are often only symbolic illustrations. One of the most prominent Old Testament predications about the coming of Christ is found in Is. 9:6 & 7: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore."

Quite clearly this was a prophecy foretelling the coming of a new ruler, a king, whom the people thought would sit upon the throne of David. Instead this ruler came as a carpenter and teacher. He did not assume the throne. In fact, He was condemned as a criminal and then crucified. It would have to be said, therefore, that the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfill symbolically: Jesus manifested a *spiritual* kingship.

It was also prophesied in Is. 7:14 that his name would be Immanuel, whereas he was given the name Jesus. This, too, was fulfilled in a symbolic way, for Immanuel means God within us.

These examples are given to alert one to the reality of the fulfillment of prophecy - - that often it is very different from what is expected. For instance, in relation to the prophecies of the Second Coming: if one believes it will take place in a predetermined manner, then one can be fooled if events unfold otherwise. Nevertheless, many of the predictions about the Second Coming are being fulfilled, even if in an unexpected manner. The prediction that Christ would come "on the clouds of heaven" (Mt.24:30) has already been fulfilled, but in a far different way than expected. In July 1977, having created for Himself an adult physical body, and having left His ancient retreat in the Himalayas, the Christ flew to London in a jet plane, thus fulfilling the Biblical prophecy of returning "on the clouds of heaven.

It was also prophesied, in I Thes. 5:2 and II Peter 3:10, that He would come "like a thief in the night, when least expected." This also has been fulfilled. For while there has been expectancy among many that He would come at some point in the future, most people did not expect Him in 1977.

In Revelation (1:7) there is also a prophecy which says, "every eye shall see him." And in Matthew (24:27) there is a verse which says, "As the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the son of man." To what do these prophecies refer? They are pointing to events on the Day of Declaration, when the Christ will speak to all humanity over international radio and television and, like a worldwide extension of Pentecost, will hear Him in their own language.

The warning given in Mt. 24:23-26 about false Christs has been truly needed. It tells us not to rush here or there when told that Christ has come. There have been many false Christs and many false alarms. In accordance with this prophecy, it is to be noted that Benjamin Creme has never given an address, saying to go and look for Him there. In fact, Creme has said it is wise not to believe what he says with a blind-faith attitude, but to weigh it with one's own intuition. Jesus' words in Lk. 12:57 again apply: "Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?"

This article is a chapter from The Joy of Christ's Coming This book by the late Rev. Howard Ray Carey was published by Share International Foundation in 1988. It is not currently available in hard copy form. Copyright Share International Foundation.  Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard version unless otherwise indicated. 

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005