A few of the world's 7 million+ Bahá'ís
This article is about --140-- pages long (depending on the browser and printer you use). It is not copyrighted. It represents the views and opinions of its author and is NOT an official Baha'i publication. You are free to make copies and distribute or publish this article without permission from the author.~Darrick T. Evenson.
Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins and mine~indeed all the sins of mankind~ upon the Cross of Calvary, and is the Very Savior of Man?
SO DO WE!
Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, born of a virgin by a miraculous act of God?
SO DO WE!
Do you believe that Jesus arose from the dead, appeared to His disciples, and ascended into Heaven to be at the right-hand of the Father?
SO DO WE!
Who are "WE"?
We are the Bah*aacute;'ís ("Bah-highz"); the followers of Bahá'u'lláh ("Bah-HAH-o-LAH").There are over 7 million of us in over 200 countries and territories in the world today.
The Spirit of Truth
Q. Who is this Bahá'u'lláh?
A. He is THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH that Jesus promised His disciples would come and teach us "all things" as pertaining to the Kingdom of God on earth!
The Lord of the Vineyard
He is the 'Lord of the Vineyard' that Jesus said would come to the Vineyard (The Holy Land) sometime after the "Son" was sent to the Vineyard and rejected and killed (Mark 12:1-9). In Jesus' Parable of the Lord of the Vineyard He says that Servants (Prophets) shall be sent to the Vineyard and be beaten, and some killed, then the Lord of the Vineyard would sent "His only beloved Son" to the Vineyard, and He would be rejected and killed, then the 'Lord of the Vineyard' (the Father) would come Himself to the Vineyard. Baha'u'llah identified Himself as the Manifestation of God Who came in the station of the "Father". He was exiled from His native Persia (Iran) to Baghdad, then to Turkey, and finally to the prison city of Akka; in what is now northern Israel. He pitched His tent upon Mount Carmel in the years 1890-91; which signified that the "Kingdom of the Father" had come. In Hebrew, CARM-EL means "Vineyard of God".
Baha'i Faith=Millennial Kingdom
The Baha'i Faith is not a "Church", but an independent World Religion. It seeks to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The Baha'i Faith accepts Jesus Christ as "the Very Savior of Man". It accepts the Bible as the "Word of God", but not the only Word of God. It accepts Christianity as a True Religion, but not the only True Religion; nor the last Revelation of God for mankind.
Baha'is believe that Baha'u'llah is the Manifestation of God for OUR DAY; meaning our time. We believe He is our "Heavenly Father" come in the flesh; just as the Son did. They believe that the Baha'i Faith is the "Kingdom of the Father" that Jesus spoke about, and that is mentioned in His prayer "Our Father in Heaven, holy be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven."(Luke 11:2 etc.).
Just about ALL Christians believe that JESUS shall come and reign for 1000 years over His Kingdom (referred to often as "The Millennial Kingdom"), but Jesus nowehere says this! The Bible doesn't say this! Jesus preached that the "Father's Kingdom" would come, and it has!
Jesus~the Son of God
Baha'is also accept Jesus as a Manifestation of God and the Only Virgin-born Son of God, but not the ONLY Son of God. Even Adam is referred to as "the Son of God". (Luke 3:38). Jesus is the only Son of God we know of to be born of a virgin. Hense, He is God's Only Virgin-born Son, but not His only Son. All the Manifestations of God are the Sons of God.
Even Paul writes that there are "Sons of God" other than Jesus:
"For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the Sons of God." (Romans 8:10)Adam, in the Gospel of Luke, is called "the Son of God" (Luke 3:38). Jesus is not the "ONLY" Son of God, but the Only Virgin-born Son of God. In that respect He is unique among the Sons of God.
Baha'is are those who not only accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but they also accept Baha'u'llah as the promised "Spirit of Truth" Who was to come and teach us "all things" pertaining to the Kingdom of God the Father.
There are Baha'is in just about every country on the globe. They belong to almost every ethnic group. Most of them are former Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Nestorians, Jacobites, Coptics, Anglicans, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentecostals, Christadelphians, Mormons, Muslims, Methodists, Hindus, Sihks, Jains, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, New Agers, Pagans, Wiccans, Animists, Atheists, and Agnostics. They have heard the Words of Baha'u'llah being recited, and they have recognized the Father's Voice and have responded to His call to become "quickeners of mankind".
Salvation for all Humanity
The Message of Baha'u'llah is that Mankind is unjust and sinful and will incure the Wrath of God upon this planet unless the Justice of God is established worldwide.
Humanity's only future and hope as a living species upon this planet is the establishement of the World Order of Baha'u'llah; otherwise known as The New Jerusalem.
The Baha'i Faith is not a sect, or cult, or anti-Christian conspiracy. It is nothing more or less than the fulfillment of Bible prophecy concerning the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth.
A Brief History of the Baha'i Faith
About 600 years after Jesus a Prophet arose in Arabia named Muhammed. He was a pious man who worked as a traveling merchant. During His travels He met many Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Gnostics, and Hanifs (pure monotheists). He decided to be a Haneef; a pure worshipper of the One God. This enraged the members of His clan, the Quraysh, because they were the keepers of the Ka'aba; the cubic temple built by Abraham, but it became filled with idols. Muhammed hated idols. Yet, he became known as "Amin" (Arabic: "Faithful and True One") because of His honest business dealings.
Muhammad used to fast, pray, and meditate for days and weeks at a time in a cave in a hill near His home in Mecca. One night as He was meditating a man appeared in the cave and shouted "RECITE!" Muhammad though the "man" was a thief; because He entered the cave unannounced. Muhammad thought the man was a thief in the night. The "man" again said to Muhammad "RECITE!" Muhammad thought He meant "READ" (the word for read and recite are the same in Arabic) and told the man He couldn't read. The man shouted again, "RECITE!" Muhammad became perturbed and ran out of the cave, but then He saw the man standing in the air on the horizon everywhere He looked. He knew this was an Angel and not a man.
The Angel (later identified as the Archangel Gabriel) told Muhammed to "Recite" the Verses of God that the Holy Spirit would inspired Him with. From that day on Muhammed would go into trances and begin to recite an esquisite poetry in Arabic; one so rhythmic and exalted that~when heard by Arabic speakers~it brings them to tears. In Arabic, the word for "The Reciting" is "Al-Qur'an". His divinely-inspired poems were remembered by His followers, written down, and collected into one volume that became known as the Qur'an ("Khoor-rahn"). Over a billion people today believe that Muhammed was a true Prophet of God. Over 7 million of them are Baha'is.
The Prophet gathered around followers; known as "Muslims". He said that the religion He espoused was "Islam"; the Arabic word for "peaceful submission". Islam was the "peaceful submission" of one's will to the Will of God. A "Muslim" meant a "peaceful submitter" to His Will.
The pagan Arabs hated the Muslims and fought with them whenever they had a chance, but the Muslims (always outnumbered) won most of the battles; led by the Prophet carrying a bow and arrow (Muhammed was an archer). The Prophet went about conquering pagan Arab tribes, and making alliances with Arab Jewish tribes. He protected Christians, and never fought against them.
The Prophet's first convert and most dedicated follower was 'Ali Ibn~Talib; his cousin and the husband of His daughter Fatimah. At Muhammed's death there arose a controversy as to who would succeed Him. Muhammed said that He was the "seal of the Prophets" and no Prophet would succeed Him. Even though 'Ali was to be His rightful and legal successor, the majority of Muslims voted and chose an older and (they thought) wiser Muslim to be the "Khaleef" ("Successor") of the Prophet. Eventually 'Ali was made Khaleef, but he was opposed by an evil group of Gnostics who became Muslim in name only: the Ummayids. They decided to kill 'Ali and his sons; so they and their sons would rule the Muhammedan Empire. They suceeded in killing 'Ali, and they also eventually killed his sons Hasan and Husayn. The sons of Hasan went into hiding in Peria; beyond the rule of the Ummayyids.
The followers of 'Ali in Persia and southern Iraq became known as the "Party of 'Ali'"; or the "Partisans" (Arabic: "Shi'a") for short. 'Ali and his firstborn male descendants became known as the Imams ("Leaders") of Shi'a Islam. The Muslims who did not follow 'Ali or his party became known as Sunni ("Soonee") Muslims.
There were 12 Imams in Shi'a Islam. The 12th Imam was known as the Imam Mahdi (Leader Rightly-Guided). He disappeared soon after becoming Imam, but Shi'a prophecies said he would appear in the Last Days; to prepare the way for the return of Jesus, and to establish justice in the world.
In 1844, in Shiraz, Persia (Iran), 'Ali Muhammed Shirazi (a descendant of Muhammed and 'Ali) proclaimed that He was the promised Imam Mahdi of Islam. He called Himself "Al Bab"; which means "The Gate" of God. At first, many Mullas (clergymen) accepted His claims, but then He began to teach things which are considered "heretical" in Islam. He taught that Jesus was the "Son of God", that He was crucified (Muslims believe another man was crucifixed in His place). He taught that women should not wear veils. He taught many things that Orthodox Muslims considered heretical and evil. He was opposed, and was imprisoned and tortured. The Mullas (Muslim clerics) persecuted His disciples, and had many of them arrested an tortured. Two young Babis whose parents were killed tried to assasinate the Shah of Iran (who refused to protect the Babis), and shot him while he was riding on his horse. But their pistols carried only bird-shot. Enraged, the Shah ordered the arrest of all Babis; who then armed and tried to defend themselves and their families. About 20,000 of His followers~called Babis ("bah-beez")~were killed.
In 1850 The Bab was taken to Tabriz (northwestern Iran) and tied up in a public square to be executed. The Muslim clerics brought in an Armenian company of riflemen to execute Him; because Shi'a Muslim prophecies said that the Imam Mahdi would be killed by Muslims, and the clerics did not want the Babis to claim The Bab's death a "fulfillment of prophecy". The 750 Armenian riflemen fired, and when the smoked cleared, The Bab was gone! The bullets had severed His robes. He was found later back in His cell; finishing one last epistle to His followers.
The Bab was executed and the Babis were persecuted by the Shi'a Muslims
The Armenian Christian regiment considered it a miracle and sign from God and utterly refused to fire upon The Bab again. So, a Muslim regiment had to be brought in. They fired, and The Bab was dead.
The remains of The Bab, and His disciple who was killed with Him, were secretly hid by the Babis, and then, after most of the Babis became Baha'is, the remains were taken to Akka, in northern Palestine (now Israel). Eventually, a beautiful shrine was built upon the northern slopes of Mt. Carmel; called The Shrine of The Bab; which remains today a major Baha'i Holy Place, and one of Israel's greatest tourist attractions.
The Shrine of The Bab on Mt. Carmel in Haifa
One of The Bab's main disciples was Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri; a Persian of royal birth who was a descendant of King David as well as King Cyrus of Persia. The Bab gave each of His disciples new names. Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri became known as Baha'u'llah ("bah-hah-o-lah"); which in Arabic means "THE GLORY OF GOD". He was known as "The Father of The Poor" because of His great charity and concern for them. He was arrested and put into the 'Black Pit' of Tehran; the most fowl prison in all of Persia. After four months in the Black Pit, Baha'u'llah was exiled with His family and other Babis to Baghdad, in what was then part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
The Bab said that He was just a forerunner of One greater than Himself; Whom He called "He Whom God Would Make Manifest". In 1863 Baha'u'llah announced to the other Babis in Baghdad that He was "He Whom God Would Make Manifest". Most of the Babis knew of His wisdom and miracles already, and readily accepted His claim. They became known as Baha'is ("bah-highz"); the followers of BAHA'U'LLAH.
The Baha'is began to convert Shi'a Muslims in Baghdad, and this enraged the local Muslim clerics. So, they petitioned the Sultan of Turkey, and Baha'u'llah and His followers were exiled again; this time to Adrianople (Erdine), and then again to the prison city of Akka, in Palestine (now northern Israel).
Baha'u'llah was a political prisoner, but He became well-beloved by the people of Akka; because of His charity, kindness, and His miracles. The Muslims thought He was a Muslim holy man.
From 1868 to 1874 Baha'u'llah wrote epistles to the Pope, the Emperor of Russia,the Queen of England, the Kings of France and Austria, and well as others. He prophecied of them and their kingdoms, and His prophecies were all fulfilled. He announced to them that He was the Father come down to earth. He was the Promised One. He instructed that the remains of The Bab be entombed in a special shrine on the northern slopes of Mount Carmel. Such a shrine remains today, and is one of Israel's major tourist attractions.
In the years 1308 A.H. (1890-91 A.D.) Baha'u'llah pitched His tent upon Mount Carmel, and revealed the Tablet of Carmel; signifying that the "Lord of the Vineyard" had come and that the "Kingdom of the Father" had been established. Baha'u'llah wrote:
"The Most Great Law is come, and the Ancient Beauty ruleth upon the Throne of David." (Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, p.89
An 1868 passport photo of Baha'u'llah
Note: Baha'is are forbidden to keep photos of Baha'u'llah because His Face is considered too holy to be displayed commonly. His Face is shown here because most readers of this article are not Baha'is, and would be curious to know of His features.
Baha'u'llah was a descendant of King David via a daughter of a Jewish Exilarch who married a Persian prince.
Baha'u'llah died in 1892. At the time of His death many angels were seen and heard circling around His mansion in Bahji; circling it in a great heavenly chorus. His mansion at which remains to this day the most sacred Shrine in the Baha'i World.
The entrance to the Shrine of Baha'u'llah at Bahji
Baha'u'llah's successor was His Son Abbas Effendi; who became known as 'Abdu'l-Baha (Arabic: "Servant of Glory"). 'Abdu'l-Baha was knighted by the British in 1920 for His work among the poor and dying. He was the "Mother Teresa" of His day. He washed and fed and clothed and cared for the sick, diseased, and dying; even those their own families would not care for.
When American and British Baha'is came to visit 'Abdu'l-Baha in Akka they asked what they could do to serve God. 'Abdu'l-Baha replied they should go upstairs and wash and feed the sick and dying; because when they served them they were serving God.
Many of the American and British Baha'is who visited 'Abdu'l-Baha were wealthy (in a day when travel was extremely costly). 'Abdu'l-Baha would personally serve the Baha'is; often serving their black servants (who came along on the trip)first.
'Abdu'l-Baha traveled to Europe and to the United States in the years 1910 to 1912. He prophesied of World War I. He was entertained by the elite of Europe. While in England they purchased for Him a first-class ticket on a new luxury ship headed for America. He sold the ticket back to the steamship company, gave most of the money to the poor, and bought a much less expensive ticket on a ship far less luxurious. His firstclass ticket was for the maiden voyage of the Titanic.
'Abdul-Baha visited Baha'is in New York City, Maine, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. He spoke before Christians, Unitarians, Theosophists, Jews, Mormons, and agnostics. He told Christians that they expected Christ to return in "the glory of His Father", and that He had returned! He told Unitarians that they wanted World Peace and Race Unity, but these could not be achieved without the Hand of God, and the Hand of God was working through the Baha'i Faith. He told Theosophists that they if they believed there was no religion higher than "truth" then they should become Baha'is; because it was the latest edition of "Truth". He told Jews that they needed to accept Jesus as "the very Saviour of man" and not cling to the traditions and explanations of their fathers. He told agnostics that materialism was not the key to happiness in this life, and it would prove to be unrewarding in the Afterlife; for this life was only a preparation for the Afterlife. He told all who would listen that they needed to end racism, and love all peoples and races no matter their color or nationality or class. He told all who would listen that the mission of Baha'u'llah was to unite mankind into an international brotherhood of man in which peace, justice, equality, and harmony would reign.
'Abdu'l-Baha was a man known to have never angered. He was known for His charity, care for the poor and dying, and kindness everywhere. Baha'is believe He was a "Perfect Man"; a human being Who was not a Manifestation of God nor even a lesser Prophet, but One Who achieved perfection in morality (this is why Baha'is use capitals in reference to Him). He passed away in 1921.
Sir Abbas Effendi 'Abdu'l-Baha (1844-1921)
The successor of 'Abdu'l-Baha was His grandson Shoghi Effendi Rabbani; who was also the great-grandson of The Bab. Shoghi Effendi became the "Guardian" of the Baha'i Faith. He worked tirelessly for many years to organize and promote the Baha'i Faith throughout the world. Although not considered to be a "Prophet" by Baha'is, Shoghi Effendi correctly predicted the Second World War, race riots in America, the Internet, as well as things still in the future such as mankind's first contact with intelligent life on other worlds.
The Guardian foretold of many things, including (many believe), the Internet. On the 11th of March 1936 he wrote:
"A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity." (The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p.203)The Guardian warned the Baha'is against racism, classism, nationalism, and communism. He forbade them to drink alcohol, to engage in fornication (sex outside of marriage), to engage in homosexual acts, to perform or have abortions, to backbite or gossip, to oppose legal governments, to engage in politics (except for voting), to kill animals needlessly, to kill or harm other humans except in self-defense, etc. He admonished them to work for race unity and the end of prejudice of all kinds, the equality of men in women in all occupations and stations of life, the inclusion of women in government, and the inclusion of Baha'is in the United Nations and other humanitarian and philanthropic organizations and movements.
Shoghi Effendi was not a "Perfect Man" by any means. He is considered to be just an ordinary human being with an extraordinary sacred role. But he was "under the shadow" of Baha'u'llah, and his interpretations are considered infallible. He died in 1957.
Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957)
The Universal House of Justice
In 1963 the Universal House of Justice was established by Baha'is in Haifa, Israel. It is the Governing Body of the Baha'i Faith worldwide. It has 9 Members which are elected every 5 years by delegates chosen by each National Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is. Baha'is consider the "House" to be guided by the Holy Spirit; under the shadow of Baha'u'llah, but only in their collective pronouncements.
The 9 Members of the House are not considered to be Prophets lesser or otherwise; nor even "Seers" and certainly not "Perfect Men". They are merely ordinary Baha'is whom other Baha'is believe have the knowledge, commitment, education, experience, and faith to carry-out the duties of the House.
The Seat of the Universal House of Justice is a large Greek-columned building located in the Baha'i World Centre, on the northern slopes of Mount Carmel, in Haifa, Israel.
Seat of the Universal House of Justice
Members of the House do not "campaign" to be elected; this is forbidden. Rather, they are Baha'is who have become known because of their extraordinary service to the Cause of God.
The Universal House of Justice (1963)
The Manifestations of God
Baha'is believe in certain Major Prophets they refer to as "Manifestations of God". They include:
Baha'is believe that in one sense all of these Manifestation of God are equal, but in another sense they have various ranks or stations. All of them had unique missions to perform on earth.
Baha'u'llah~Our Father in Heaven
Baha'is believe that Baha'u'llah is our "Heavenly Father". He is God the Father. Baha'is do not believe that the Essence of God can incarnate. However, Baha'is believe that Baha'u'llah is the Manifestation of the "Father"; just as Yeh'o'shua (Jesus' true name) was the Manifestation of the "Son". The relationship of the Messengers of God with the Son (Jesus) and the Father (Baha'u'llah) is explained in Jesus' Parable of the Lord of the Vineyard in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 12.
The Word of God
Baha'is believe that the Bible is the Word of God, but not the only Word of God. Baha'is accept the Qur'an and the Holy Writings (Baha'i books of scripture) as the Word of God along with the Bible.
Heaven and Hell
Baha'is do not believe that "Heaven" or "Hell" are literal geographical places, but conditions of the soul. When we die we go on to the next World. If our souls have the condition of Heaven then the next world will appear as Heaven. If our soul in this life is in the condition of Hell then the next world will appear as Hell.
Baha'is believe that "Hell" is a condition of the soul, but that even the most evil souls can (but not necessarily will) progress in the Afterlife and change their condition from "Hell" to "Heaven". This change does not take place by merely "wishing" for the change, but when a soul begins to sincerely repent and take upon itself spiritual qualities. Evil men may outwardly appear "righteous" in this dimension, but in the next world spirituality cannot be faked or fabricated. Only those souls that truly have a desire to repent and serve God instead of "Self" will make progress in the Afterlife.
Paradise and Hell are conditions of the soul with become manfest in the Afterlife
"O Son of Man!9 Sacred Duties
Baha'is basically have 9 sacred duties:
*Worshipping only the One True God.
The 9-Pointed Star
A popular Baha'i symbol is the 9-pointed star. It represents the number 9; which for Baha'is is sacred. In Arabic, the letter B (Bah) has the value of 2, and the letter H (Hah) has the value of 7. 2 + 7 = 9. The letters B and H make the sound of "Baha"; which in Arabic means "Glory". Baha'is are the follower of BAHA.
BAHA means Glory.
BAHA'I means belonging to Glory.
Jesus said the "Son of Man" would come "in the Glory of His Father". In Arabic, Baha'u'llah means "The Glory of God (the Father)".
Paul wrote that there are 9 Gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8-10), and that there are 9 fruits of a Spirit-filled Believer (Galatians 5:22-23). The number 9 is the signature of the Holy Spirit.
Baha'i Houses of Worship
Baha'i Houses of Worship are nine-sided, and have 9 entrances. They are places of prayer, meditation, singing the praises of the Lord (without musical instruments), and the reciting of the Word of God. The Baha'i Temple in New Delhi, India, is a magnificent structure that receives more visitors per year than any other religious structure.
The Baha'i "Lotus Temple" near New Delhi, India
Eventually, Baha'i Houses of Worship (of various sizes) will be built in every city and town; with hospices, humanitarian centers, and schools surrounding them.
But today, Baha'is meet in the homes of other Baha'is for worship and social meetings, or in small buildings called "Baha'i Centers".
The 19-Day Feasts
19 is also a sacred number with Baha'is. The Baha'i year is divided into 19 months of 19 days each. Baha'is meet every 19 days for the "19-Day Feast"; sort of an Agape Feast for Baha'is. During the Badi Month of 'Ala (19 days) Baha'is fast during the daylight hours and break the fast at night during communal meals.
Jesus~The Very Savior of Man
Unlike Muslims, Baha'is DO believe that Jesus is the "Son of God". Like Muslims, they believe He was virgin-born. Like Muslims, they believe in His miracles. Unlike Muslims, they believe He was crucifixed and rose from the dead. Baha'is believe that Jesus is "the very Savior of man". (Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.63)
Baha'is believe that Jesus' mission was to offer Himself "as a ransom for the sins and iniquities of all mankind." (Gleanings, p.100). The mission of Baha'u'llah, however, was to unite Humanity into the literal Kingdom of God the Father on earth; otherwise known as the New Jerusalem.
Christians the world over believe that God's Kingdom will be established when Christ comes to rule as "King of kings" and "Lord of lords". Baha'is believe He has already returned: in the Person of Baha'u'llah.
To understand how Jesus could return "in" the Person of Baha'u'llah one must only continue reading.
Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957 A.D.) was the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith. He was the grandson of 'Abdu'l-Baha and the great-grandson of Baha'u'llah. His interpretations of the Faith are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and thus binding upon all Baha'is everywhere. Regarding Christianity he wrote:
"As to the position of Christianity, let it be stated without any hesitation or equivocation, that is divine origin is unconditionally acknowledged, that the Sonship and Divinity of Jesus Christ are fearlessly asserted, that the divine inspiration of the Gospel is fully recognized,....The Founder of the Christian Faith is designated by Baha'u'llah as the 'Spirit of God', is proclaimed as the One Who 'appeared out of the breath of the Holy Ghost,' and is even extolled as the 'Essence of the Spirit.' His mother is described as 'that veiled and immortal, that most beauteous countenance,' and the station of her Son eulogized as the 'station which hath been exalted above the imaginings of all that dwell on the earth,'...." ( The Promised Day is Come, pp.109-10)
The Son of God
Besides being a Manifestation of God, Baha'is also believe that Jesus was the "Son of God" and, as 'Abdu'l-Baha (Baha'u'llah's eldest son and Exemplar of the Faith) said, He was "the very Savior of man". (The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp.62-3).
Baha'u'llah calls Jesus:
Jesus was unique among the Sons of God in that He was born of a virgin.
Louis G. Gregory, an African-American Baha'i who visited 'Abdu'l-Baha in Haifa, Israel, with a small group of American Baha'is, asked Him about Jesus' standing and station among the Manifestations of God. He is what Mr. Gregory recorded:
'Abdu'l-Baha: "Jesus is the Perfect Mirror, in which the bounties and Perfections of God are reflected. Jesus is not separate from God, since His is the perfection of Divine Knowledge."
The Three Ranks of the Manifestations
Baha'u'llah wrote that all the Manifestations of God were of equal rank in the Station of Essential Unity:
It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the Cause of God, Who have appeared clothed in divers attire. If thou wilt observe with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold them all abiding in the same tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith. Such is the unity of those Essences of Being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable splendour! Wherefore, should one of these Manifestations of Holiness proclaim saying: 'I am the return of the Prophets," He verily, speaketh the truth. In like manner, in every subsequent Revelation, the return of the former Revelation is a fact, the truth of which is firmly established." (Gleanings, pp. 51-2)Yet Baha'u'llah speaks of another Station, the Station of Distinction:
"The other station is the station of distinction, and pertainieth to the world of creation, and the limitations thereof. In this respect, each Manifestation of God hath a distinct individuality, a definitely prescribed mission, a predestined revelation, and specially designated limitations. Each of them is known by a different name, characterized with a particular Revelation. Even as He saith: 'Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel the others. To some God hath spoken, some He hath raised and exalted. And to Jesus, Son of Mary, We gave manifest signs, and We strengthened Him with the Holy Spirit.' It is because of this difference in station and mission that the words and utterances flowing from these Wellsprings of Divine knowledge appear to diverge and differ. Otherwise, in the eyes of them that are initiated into the mysteries of Divine Wisdom, all Their utterances are, in reality, but the expressions of one Truth." (Gleanings, p.52)The Holy Qur'an ("khoor-ran"), the Holy Book of Islam, says in one verse that no distinction should be made between the Messengers of God:
"No distinction do We make between any of them." (Qur'an 2:136)Yet in another verse it says that the Messengers of God do not all have equal rank (station):
"Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel the others. To some God hath spoken, some He hath raised and exalted. And to Jesus, Son of Mary, We gave manifest signs [miracles], and We strengthened Him with the Holy Spirit." (Qur'an 2:253)
Baha'u'llah taught that all the Manifestation of God have _two stations_:
'Abdu'l-Baha taught that there were essentially three ranks among the Manifestations of God:
"You have asked me two questions: That if the same Spirit is manfest in all the Manifestations and Prophets, then what is the distinction or difference between Christ (or rather Jesus) and the other Prophets; also between Father and Son? Know that the human spirit is one, but it manifests itself in various members of the body in a certain (measure or) form. The human spirit is existent in the sight (eyes); it is also existent in the brain, which is the location of great functions and powers; it is also existent in the heart, which organ is largely connected with the brain of the center of the mind, and the heart, of that center which is connected with the brain, has a distinct and separate function, effect, and appearance. In this connection, the hair and nails have no command (or direct feeling). Figuratively speaking, the Father is the center of the brain and the Son is the center of the heart; the rest of the Prophets are members and parts." (Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha, pp.102-3)
Notice the three ranks:
In Jesus' Parable of the Lord of the Vineyard (Mark chapter 12) a man (the Father) plants a vineyard and rented it to husbandmen. Then the Father sends His servants (messengers) to tell the husbandmen(uninspired religious leaders) to clean up His vineyard and to prepare it for harvest. The husbandmen beat the servants (messengers) and send them back to the Lord of the Vineyard. Then the Lord of the Vineyard sends his only Son to the vineyard, and the hirelings kill the Son. Jesus said:
"6 Having yet therefore one Son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my Son.The Vineyard is the Holy Land. The Holy Land is otherwise known as "Israel" or "Palestine". The "man" is the Father who had but one beloved Son. The servants that the "man" sends are the Prophets of Israel. The Husbandmen are uninspired religious leaders, and they beat the Servants (Prophets) and chase them away. The only beloved Son is Jesus who was killed by the Husbandmen (the uninspired religious leaders). Jesus said that the "Lord of the Vineyard" will come Himself to the Vineyard and prepare it for harvest.
Jesus said that the Father Himself would come to this Earth! Specifically, the Holy Land!
Baha'u'llah was a native of Persia (Iran). He was exiled to Baghdad in 1853, and then to Turkey, and finally to the Holy Land in 1868. Baha'u'llah did not go to the Holy Land of His own free will, but was exiled there as a political prisoner.
But the Bible says "God is Spirit" (John 4:24). God the Father is pure Spirit, and can't incarnate as a man!
* Was not Jesus a "Spirit" before His incarnation?
Was not Jesus "God"?
Was not God then a "God-Man"?
Is not Christ still a Spirit?
Baha'is do not believe that Jesus still has a physical body, but that He can, as an omnipotent Spirit, appear as a man and materialize a body any time He wishes to; just as angels do, or as the LORD did when He appeared to Abraham and ate with Him in the heat of the day (Genesis 18:8).
A "spirit" has no body or form, but the Holy Spirit can appear as a perfect man when the need arises.
JESUS said (and He cannot lie) that the FATHER shall become incarnate on this Earth (and be sent to or go to the Holy Land) as 'The Lord of the Vineyard'!
The Essence of God did not incarnate, but the "Son" did! So did the "Father".
Think about that for a moment.
The famous 19th century British Orientalist, Professor Edward G. Browne of Cambridge University, lived in Persia for one year and met many Babis and Baha'is. One day in the city of Yezd he had a conversation with the Baha'i poet 'Andalib. Here is a portion of that conversation:
'Andalib: "How is it that the Jews, although in expectation of their Messiah, failed to recognize him in the Lord Jesus?"Christians all over the world expect the Son, Jesus, to return. Yet, Jesus Himself declared that the Father, the Lord of the Vineyard, Himself would come to this Earth! Specifically, the Holy Land ("The Vineyard of God")!
When Jesus (the Son) became incarnate (was born of a human woman) He said "I am in the Father and the Father is in me?" (John 14:11).
What did He mean by that?
The Father was in Jesus! And when the Father Himself would come, as Lord of the Vineyard, Jesus would be in Him!
This a a great Mystery, but it is the Truth.
If the Son of God can become a God-Man, so can His Father!
And He did!
He was born Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri; a descendant of the House of David and the Kings of Persia. He became known as Baha'u'llah: the "Glory of Allah". He was sent to the Holy Land (Vineyard) as a prisoner of the Sultan of Turkey. In the year 1890 He pitched His tent upon Mount Carmel (in Hebrew CARM-EL means "Vineyard of God"). In 1891 He recited the Tablet of Carmel, which was His Great Announcement to the World that the Kingdom of the Father had come.
Notice the three ranks, or stations, mentioned in Jesus' Parable of the Lord of the Vineyard:
The ARC of the Baha'i World Centre, on the northern slopes of Mt. Carmel, Haifa, Israel
The Sect of the Nazarenes
In the Gospels Jesus is called "Jesus of Nazareth" but also "Jesus the Nazarene". The Greek term Iesou tou Nazaraiou is translated "Jesus of Nazareth" and simply means Jesus was from the city of Nazareth. The Greek term Iesou Nazaraios is translated "Jesus the Nazarene" and DOES NOT MEAN "Jesus from Nazareth", but rather "Jesus the Nazorean".
The Nazoreans were a sect of Jews considered to be heretics, or cultists, by the Orthodox Jews. Here are some Evangelical Christian and Messianic Jewish comments on the Nazoreans:
"The pre-Christ sect of Mt. Carmel Nazoreans brought forth John the Baptist and Yeshua (Essene Jesus)." ( Jesus on the Web~Legacy, p.2 online)Jesus was born into a sect called the Notsrim in Hebrew, Nazoreans in Aramaic, Nasara'i in Arabic, or the "Nazarenes" we find in our English Bibles. The city of "Nazareth" was founded by members of the sect of the Nazarenes, but their real headquarters was a Temple on top of Mount Carmel; where the Carmelite Monastary currently is located.
The Nasara'i had as part of their Holy Books the Aramaic work titled The Gospel According to the Hebrews; which says that the Father appeared as a divine cloud at Jesus' baptism, and descended upon Him, and Jesus became the "rest" (resting place) of the Father at that time. (New Testament Apocrypha 1:164) Thus, the Father was literally "in" the Son during Jesus' three-year ministry.
The Nazarenes (Nasara'i) were a sect of Essenes who married (unlike the Essenes along the Dead Sea who did not marry). The name "Essene" is Greek, and comes from the Aramaic word "Oseen"; which meant "Doers" of the Law of Moses. Paul wrote:
"For it is not the hearers of the Law that are just before God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified." (Romans 2:13)James, the brother of Jesus, wrote:
"But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22)The Nazarenes and other Essenes considered the Pharisees (who spent their lives memorizing the Law and arguing over it) to be "hearers" of the Law but not "Doers" of it.
"O Son of Dust!The Pharisees considered it blasphemy to say the Messiah would be the Son of God. The Essenes believed that the Messiah would indeed be "the Son of God". In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the holy writings of the Essenes at Qumran on the Dead Sea, it says that the Messiah "shall be called the Son of God" (Dead Sea Scrolls 4Q:246)
Jesus, in His Parable of the Lord of the Vineyard in Mark chapter 12 (and elsewhere), said that the Father would come to the Vineyard after the Son was sent, rejectd, and killed. The Father would come just as the Servants (Prophets) and the Son (Jesus) came! All the prophets of Israel, and Jesus, was born of a woman and mortal! The Father could come to Israel, and He would be born of a woman, and mortal!
The late Enoch Olinga, a Baha'i Hand of the Cause of God (apostle) and martyr for the Faith, said in 1980:
"These are the days that have witnessed the coming of the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of the Vineyard. We're all familiar with the story in the Bible, the parable where it says that Jesus Christ taught that there was once upon a time a lord or a kind who had a vineyard which had had left in the hands of his servants or workmen. This story is very familiar. Shoghi Effendi said it is important to know that the Lord Jesus Christ was referring to Baha'u'llah, the Lord of the Vineyard, Who will come. As Baha'is we know that He has come. He has come to bring love, peace, unity." ( A Life of Service, p.1 online)
The Very Savior of Man
'Abdu'l-Baha, the Interpreter and Exemplar of the Faith, declared that Jesus was "the very Savior of man" (Promulgation, p.63). What does this mean? 'Abdu'l-Baha (pronounced "obdul-bah-hah") also said of Jesus:
"He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the One that will give unto him that is athirst of the Fountain of the water of life and bestow upon the sick the remedy of true salvation." (Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, pp.12-13)'Abdu'l-Baha also said:
This is the real atonement that His Holiness Christ made--He sacrificed Himself for the life of the world." (Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p.543)
His Father, Baha'u'llah, wrote:
Know thou that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with such a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things.***Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of peversity and ignorance. Through Him, the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened, and the soul of the sinner sanctified." ( Gleanings, pp.85,86)For Baha'is, Jesus' death not only saves our souls, but infuses into the dying Cosmos a fresh capacity of life.
Baha'u'llah also wrote of Jesus:
God had asked Abraham to sacrifice his firstborn son as a sign of Jesus' coming sacrifice "as a ransom for the sins and iniquities of all the peoples of the earth" (Gleanings, p.76).
The Truth About End-Times Doctrines
Evangelicals Christians are fascinated by the Apocalypse (Book of Revelations). They believe that:
*7 years before the Second Advent the False Prophet (of the Apocalypse) will arise and be the "front man" or "PR man" for the End-Times Anti-christ.
*The end-times Anti-christ shall be a political leader; either the head of the European Union, or the "New World Order"; which shall somehow be divided into 10 regions or divisions.
*At this time, a Third Jewish Temple will be rebuilt upon the Temple-Mount in Jerusalem (Evangelicals don't know that the Third Temple was built in the days of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and defiled by him).
*The man who is to become known as "The Anti-christ" will be the head of the European Union, or perhaps a 10-divisioned "New World Order". He will mark everyone with "666" (the number of his name") on their right-hands or forehead; either a literally tatoo or a computer-chip imbedded under the skin which somehow relates to "666". All those who refuse the mark will be put to death.
*At one point the Anti-christ will walk into a rebuilt Jewish Temple, and walk into the Holy of Holies (Most Holy Place) of the Temple and proclaim himself "God" and demand to be worshipped. The False Prophet will make the "image" (statues) of the Anti-christ appear to speak; thus making the Pagan peoples of the world (i.e. all non-Christians) worship the "image" of the Anti-christ. This will mark the beginning of a 7-year period leading to the Second Advent (i.e. return of Christ in the "clouds of heaven" and "in the glory of His Father").
*Either at the beginning (pre-trib), or the middle (mid-trib) or the end (post-trib) of this 7-year period, God will rapture ("catch-away") all true Christians (i.e. all truly born-again Evangelical Christians); meaning they will one day simply "disappear". This means that all true Christians will "disappear" and invisibly meet with Jesus in the clouds of the sky. Some Evangelicals (those not truly born-again but either pretend to be or think they are but are not) shall be "left behind". They shall refuse the 'Mark' and be persecuted. Many shall be killed, but others shall flee to the mountains and hide.
*For 42 Months (3 1/2 years) of these 7-years all who refuse the Mark ("666") shall be great persecuated; this being the "Great Tribulation".
*During the 7-years God shall send 7 plagues; known as the "7-Bowl Judgment". The 7 Plagues are mentioned in the Book of Revelations chapter 6 through 8:1. Seven vials (bowls) filled with the "Wrath of God" will be poured out upon the earth during the 7 "last years" before the Second Advent when Jesus returns "in the clouds of Heaven" and "in the glory of His Father".
*Jesus will return in a sky with clouds over Jerusalem, and descend upon the Mount of Olives; which will split and form a valley. He will walk through the East Gate of the city, kill the False Prophet and the Anti-christ, and take His seat in the Temple and rule, with the surviving Christians who shall be "changed" in a "twinkling of an eye" from mortals to immortals, and they will reign with Him over the earth for 1000 years.
These are known as "End-Times" doctrines.
Most Evangelical ("Bible-believing") Christians today believe in what is called "Dispensationalism". This was a term invented by a Englishman named John Darby; in the late 19th century. Darby was a founder of the Plymouth Brethren; a small sect of Christians who first met in Plymouth, England. They were known as "Dissenters"; because they dissented from the Church of England. They considered all Christian churches of the day "corrupt", and simply met as Christian "Brethren" (brothers and sisters) to obey the Gospel as they found it recorded in the Bible.
John Darby read a book by a man named "Rabbi Ben-Ezra"; who claimed to be a Spanish Jew who converted to Protestantism. Ben-Ezra had taken a number of Bible verses from various locations in the Bible, and put them together to form an End-Times prophecy scenario in which the False Prophet and the Anti-christ would appear 7-years before the second advent of Christ. This was a radically new interpretation of Bible prophecy in Darby's day. Yet, he read it, and accepted it as true. In Darby's day, all Protestants believed that the "False Prophet" of the Apocalypse (Book of Revelations) was Muhammad; the founding-prophet of Islam. They all believed that the "Anti-Christ" was the Papacy! This is what the Protestant Reformers had taught, and all Protestants simply accepted what they taught as "Gospel Truth".
Yet, this Rabbi Ben Ezra was saying that the False Prophet and the Anti-christ (Man of Sin) of the Apocalypse had yet to come. John Darby accepted this. Darby also taught that God had divided human history into a number of Dispensations. He called the time of Adam and Eve, before they partook of the Forbidden Fruit, the "Dispensation of Innocence". He called the time when Israel was under the Law of Moses the "Dispensation of Law". He called the Dispensation of Christianity the "Dispensation of Grace"; because Christians were saved by "grace" and not by the works of the Law. Eventually, Darby's teachings became known as "Dispensationalism".
In Darby's day there was a group of Christians known as the "Irvingites"; the followers of Edward Irving, who had been a Church of England minister. Irving read the works of the "Rabbi Ben Ezra" and left the Church of England and founded the Catholic Apostolic Church; a denomination which had new apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers; according to the New Testament church pattern. Some of the "prophets" were female. One prophetess that the Irvingites accepted was Margaret MacDonald. In one of her visions, she claimed all true believers (i.e. the Irvingites) would one day disappear and meet Jesus in a cloudy sky before the Great Tribulation would occur. John Darby accepted her visions; although he never joined the Irvingites.
The belief that one day all true Christians would "disappear" and meet Jesus invisibly in the clouds of the sky is today called the "Rapture" or sometimes the "Secret Rapture". Many Evangelical Christians believe that the "secret rapture" will take many millions of true born-again Christians to meet Jesus invisibly in a cloudy sky, but millions will be "left-behind" because, although they called themselves "born-again Christians" they had never really been born-again, and so they were left-behind.
"At the time of the Reformation, the first Protestants widely believed and taught that the Papacy was antichrist, and the Roman Church the Harlot System of Revelation 17. It therefore became necessary for certain Romish theologians to take the pressure off the Pope by inventing a new school of prophetic interpretation known as Futurism. It was a Jesuit priest named Ribera (1537-1591) who first taught that the events prophesied in the books of Daniel and Revelation would not be fulfilled until three and a half years at the end of the age when an individual world dictator called Anti-Christ would arise."
Pastor CSJ Claasen:
"The Church of the Middle Ages knew of no secret catching away. To them the BOOK OF REVELATION was historical; the Antichrist being the Papacy. Thus taught Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin, Zwingli, Wyclif, Tyndale, Canmer, Latimer and Ridley.
The Rapture Theory invented by Ribera, in his attempt to prevent Catholics from becoming Protestants, was later championed by another Jesuit priest: Emmanuel Lacunza. He wrote a book in Spanish in 1812 that taught that the Pope was not the Antichrist (as ALL Protestants then believed), but the Antichrist and the False Prophet would appear 7 years before Christ returns, and the 7-year period would be the 'Great Tribulation'. Lacunza knew that Protestants would NEVER accept his views if he wrote under his true name as a Jesuit priest. So, he wrote under the name of "Rabbi Ben-Ezra"; claiming to be Jewish rabbi who converted to Protestantism.
That of course...was a grand lie!
An Anglican (Church of England) minister named Edward Irving accepted the views of "Rabbi Ben-Ezra", and even translated his book into English in 1827. Irving later left the Church of England and founded the Catholic Apostolic Church in 1830. This Church claims to be the only true Christian church on earth; with modern apostles, prophets, evangelists, etc.
One "prophetess" that Irving promoted with Margaret Macdonald; a young Scottish woman who fell into trances and claimed heavenly visions. In several of them she "confirmed" the new Rapture doctrine, and the other doctrines put-forth by "Rabbi Ben-Ezra". Macdonald also prophecied that the Rapture and Second Coming would occur in her lifetime.
One Englishman who read Irving's translation of Ben-Ezra's (i.e. Lacunza's) book was John Darby (1800-1882). He was the founder of the Plymouth Brethren; a British Evangelical Christian fellowship. Darby became convinced of "Ben-Ezra's" interpretation of the Book of Revelations, and he traveled throughout Great Britain and North America promulgating the new "Rapture" doctrine and the new doctrines that "The Beast", "The Antichrist", and the "Great Tribulation" would take place 7-years before Christ's Return.
Most Christian pastors and evangelists at that time did not accept Darby's views. Yet, he made converts. One convert was Cyrus I. Scofield (1843-1921); who published the "Scofield Reference Bible". Scofield claimed to be a bible scholar and often wrote as "Dr. Scofield". These claims were later proved false. He actual had no formal training in seminary or Biblical languages. Yet, he produced a Reference Bible that became extremely popular with Pentecostal Christians, and then eventually with Evangelical Christians in North America and then around the world. His Bible was essential a King James Bible with his own "footnotes" where he popularized Darby's doctrines (called "Dispensationalism" today because Darby taught that God had divided human history into various "Dispensations"). Of course, Darby's interpretations were based upon "Rabbi Ben-Ezra's" book that Edward Irving had translated from Spanish into English. Scofield accepted these end-times scenarios as valid, and popularized them in his Scofield Reference Bible. He later helped to start the Dallas Theological Seminary; the very "center" of Dispensationalist theology.
Cyrus I. Scofield
Eventually, the new "Rapture" doctrine and the new "End-Times" doctrines became very popular among Pentecostal Christians, and then among all Evangelical Christians of North America. Missionaries from Evangelical churches spread these new doctrines around the world.
Today, MOST Evangelical Christians the world over believe in the "Rapture", and that the Beast, the False Prophet, and the Antichrist have not yet appeared, but will appear 7-years before Christ returns. Many believe that when Jesus appears "in the clouds of heaven" (i.e. a cloudy sky) then all true born-again Christians will be "raptured" to the cloudy-sky to meet Him "in the air". Airplanes piloted by born-again Christians will crash. Cars and buses driven by born-again Christians will also crash.
An Evangelical view of Jesus coming in a cloudy-sky to rapture all true Christians
Other Evangelicals believe that the Rapture won't be "secret" at all.
Baha'is do not believe in the popular Evangelical "Rapture" doctrine; other than certain saints and mystics can indeed "meet the Lord in the air" (2 Thessalonians 4:17), but this refers to mystical states and visions and not the literal physical body being transported. This also may explain NDEs (near-death experiences) where people claim to see a Light and meet with Jesus and loved ones then return to their physical bodies.
In fact, this is what Paul was referring to:
"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep [died], lest you sorrow as others who have no hope [of seeing their dead loved-ones again] . For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from haven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NKJV)
Believers of Darby's and Scofield's "dispensationalist" interpretation of the End-Times believe that they will be 'raptured' bodily into the sky to meet Jesus somewhere in a cloudy sky.
But the Greek doesn't say that.
The Greek says "meet the Lord in the air. The word "air" in Greek is "aer". It is never used to mean the "sky". The Greek word for "sky" is "ouranos". The word "aer" in Greek refers to the unseen world that surrounds us, and the word "ouranous" refers to the sky; where the birds fly and the clouds hang.
The Greeks believed that the 'aer' was the Unseen World. They could feel the wind, but couldn't see it. They knew that something was there to breathe in and out, and it was unseen. So, by "aer" they meant the spiritual world, and Paul uses that to designate the Unseen World. Baha'is believe that the spiritual Worlds of God are not beyond the clouds in the sky or beyond the planets, but in fact right here and in fact everywhere the material creation is, but in other dimensions; unseen dimensions.
Often English Bibles will translate two different Greek words into one English word. This causes confusion, and has led to many misinterpretations of scripture. For example, English Bibles translate "aer" (unseen realm) and "ouranos" (sky/realm of the stars) BOTH into "air", but clearly they are referring to two different things:
"...cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air [aer]." (Acts 10:12)
"...the fowls of the air [ouranos]." (Acts 22:23)
Evangelical Christian scholar David B. Curtis writes:
"The word 'air' is another word for heavenly or spiritual realm." ( Up, Up and Away-The Rapture, p.14 online)
Paul was saying to Christians, 'Don't be sad about your loved ones who have passed away as do the pagans who don't have a hope of the resurrection as we do. We shall meet with them when the Lord returns with the voice of the Archangel in the spiritual realm.'
Loved ones meet again in Paradise
Paul wrote that he "knew a man" 14 years before he wrote his epistle ????? who was "raptured" ("caught up") to the "third Heaven" and heard words it was not lawful to utter.(??????????). This confirms the Baha'i belief that "rapture" is referring to one's soul, or ethereal body, being "caught up" in vision, and not to one's physical body being jolted up into a cloudy sky.
In most parts of the world, the sky is not cloudy.
Baha'is do not believe that the resurrection is a PHYSICAL event that occurs in the physical plane (dimension), but it is a spiritual event that occurs in the spiritual realm, or Unseen World; otherwise known as "Paradise". Baha'is believe that the resurrection occurs when another Manifestation of God appears on earth. Thus, the righteous dead that lived during the Dispensation of Moses were resurrected with Christ. The true Christians who had died during Jesus' dispensation were resurrected when Muhammad came; in the Unseen World.
Baha'is believe that the next Manfestation of God after Jesus was the Prophet Muhammad . Muhammad came with "the voice of the Archangel Gabriel". The Angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammed in a cave in a hill near Mecca, and said to Him "Recite!". From then, Muhammad recited the Verses of God that the archangel revealed to Him, and that became known as the Qur'an ("Khoor-ran").
The Resurrection takes place in the Unseen World; not the physical world, but the Unseen World can be "seen" in visions.
The Rapture doctrine invented by Christopher Ribera, expounded upon by "Rabbi Ben-Ezra" (Emmanuel Lacunza), preached by Edward Irving and John Darby, promulgated by Cyrus Scofield, and believed by most Evangelical Christians today is not the true rapture doctrine of the Bible, but an invention of uninspired men.
*The Ancient Christians believed that the "False Prophet" was Simon Magus. They called Jesus "The True Prophet" and Simon "The False Prophet". They believed that the 'Mark' of the Beast was the 'stamp' of the Emperor's image on coins. The right-hand was the business-hand (coin was exchanged, the left hand being the toilet hand). People also paid "head-tax" using the marked coins. There was no income tax, but a "head-tax". They believed that the 'Number of the Beast' ("666") was Neron Kesar in Hebrew Gematria. Nero's Latin gematria is "616", and this is why the oldest Latin manuscripts of the Apocalypse have "616" instead of "666". They also believed that the Beast with 7 heads and 10 horns referred to the Roman Empire; founded on 7 hills, and that had 10 Ceasars until the time the Apocalyse was written. The Woman Riding the Beast was apostate Israel; doing business with (i.e. "whoring with") the Beast (Romans) for material riches.
*During the Middle-ages the Roman Catholic Church did many questionable things in the name of religion. This led many people to leave it. They became known as "Protestants" because they were Roman Catholics who "protested" the abuses of Papal power and authority. Protestants believed as Eternal-Bible-Truth that the Papacy was "The Antichrist" and Muhammad "The False Prophet" of Revelations (The Apocalyse).
*To counter the popular belief that the Papacy was the Anti-christ, a Jesuit Catholic priest invented an end-times anti-Christ scenario; where the Anti-Christ would come 7 years before Jesus' return; fronted by the False Prophet. He wrote a book under the pseudonym of "Rabbi Ben Ezra"; claiming to be a former Jew who converted to Protestantism. The Jesuit priest had hoped to destroy the Protestant belief that the Papacy was the Anti-Christ. For the most part, it worked (although it took centuries). Today, only a very small minority of Protestants believe that the Papacy is the Anti-christ.
*The "Rabbi Ben Ezra's" book was translated into English by Edward Irving; a Church of England minister who formed his own church. A woman in that church claimed to be a prophetess, and her "visions" and "revelations" confirmed "Ben Ezra's" writings. This was the very beginning of the "Rapture" doctrine; that millions of Christians would one day "vanish" into thin air; to meet Jesus in a cloudy sky. The woman, Margaret Macdonald, later recanted. Yet, her "rapture" legacy continues.
*John Darby, a member of the Plymouth Brethren (small Christian sect in the South of England) read Irving's translation of "Ben Erza's" book, and believed it. He began to preach this interpretation; calling it "Dispensationalism".
*Darby traveled to America and preached Dispensationalism. Most Protestant ministers at the time rejected every word; continuing to believe that the Papacy was the Anti-Christ. However, Darby did get recruits. One was Cyrus Schofield; who wrote a Bible commentary that eventually became commonly-used among most Protestants (now called "Evangelicals") in North America. These North American Evangelicals spread Dispensationalism around the globe via thousands of missionaries and via Christian television programs. Today, 95% of Evangelical Christians believe in the "Rapture" and the coming "False Prophet" and end-times "Anti-christ" first formulated by "Rabbi Ben Ezra".
*Thanks to Scofield (his Bible commentary and the Dallas Theological Seminary he founded) and others who came after him, and American Evangelical missionaries and satellite television, Dispensationalism has become extremely popular among Evangelicals worldwide.
*Today, books like The Late-Great Planet Earth and the Left Behind series is making Dispensationalism more and more popular, and more and more accepted as "Eternal Bible Truth" by Evangelical Christians everywhere.
The Baha'is, on the other hand, have beliefs much closer to the ancient Christians on the subject of the False Prophet, the Anti-christs, the Rapture, and the End-Times.
The Man of Sin/Lawlessness
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians living in Thessalonia the following:
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him;Thanks to John Darby and Cyrus Schofield, and those that popularized their interpretations, most Evangelical Christians today believe that Paul here is referring to the End-Times Anti-christ. This is a man who shall sit in the rebuilt Jewish Temple and proclaim himself "God". At that point, he will command that everyone be marked on the right-hand or forehead with a "666"; in order to buy or sell. By this time, Evangelicals believe, all true Christians will have been "raptured" into heaven. But those luke-warm Christians and pseudo-Christians (in name only) and everyone else will either receive the 'mark' or be killed. All will receive the 'mark' ("666") except those Evangelicals who were "left behind" when the truly born-again Evangelical were raptured (disappeared). They will then realize they had not truly been "born-again". They will refuse the 'mark', and many will die. Many will go into hiding.
The "Man of Sin" (also called "Man of Lawlessness" is described by the prophet Daniel in The Book of Daniel:
*He will have no desire for women. (Dan. 11:37)
*He will honor the "god of fortresses [forces]" (Dan. 11:38)
*He will have authority. (Dan. 7:20)
*He will be shrewd, deceitful, powerful. (Dan. 8:28)
Many preterists (Christian scholars who believe that the Apocalypse is speaking of things at the time John wrote it) believe the "Man of Sin" is the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
Hadrian's full name was Publius Aelius Hadrianus. He was a homosexual ("no desire for women"), and had a well-known affair with a handsome teen named Antonious (who later was drowned in the Nile). Hadrian had been a very successful Tribune (general) in the Roman Army. Although married (a political move~not for love), he had no children, but adopted. He was known to be very shrewd, cunning, and used strategem (deceit) to defeat enemies.
The image of Hadrian on a Roman coin
Like all Roman Emperors after 44 A.D., his image (bust or statute) was worshipped, and he was thought of as a "living god".
Hadrian was a traveling emperor. He traveled all throughout the empire. He visited Judea, and found that the Jews had rebuilt part of the city. The Jewish Temple had been completely destroyed in 70 A.D.; during the First Jewish Revolt. Hadrian ordered that a the temple be rebuilt, and that a statue of himself be erected to stand in the Holy Place of the Temple. To the Jews this was utter blasphemy! He also ordered that the Jewish rebuilt part of the city be torn down, and that Jerusalem be rebuilt as "Aelia Capitolina" (i.e. "Aelius' Capitol"). He forbade Jews to step foot into the city on pain of death. He also renamed Judea "Syria Palaestina". He also commanded that the Jews could no longer practice circumcision, keep the Sabbath day, or engage in Jewish feasts.
Hadrian's abominations prompted the Jews to revolt a second time; this being the Second Jewish Revolt (the first occurred from 67-70 A.D. when the Temple of Herod was burned to the ground). At the head of this second revolt was Simon Bar Kochba; who proclaimed he was the "Messiah" who would drive out the Romans. Almost all Jews in Judea followed him. For 42 months during 132-135 A.D. the war continued; until finally the Jewish forces were completely defeated, and the Jews dispersed from the Holy Land completely. This was the beginning of the "Jewish Diaspora". The Jews would not have a homeland again until 1948.
The ancient Christian historian Eusebius wrote that Hadrian "erected a temple to Jupiter upon the site of the Jewish temple and caused an image of himself to be set up in the pat which answered to the Most Holy Place." (Ecclesiatical History 1:23)
The Jewish Temple was divided into the Court of the Gentiles (where all Jews), the Court of Levites (where only Levites and Priests could go), and the Most Holy Place, or Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest could enter. Hadrian had built a temple to Jupiter, placing a statue (image) of himself standing in the Most Holy Place. The Jews knew that Hadrian (like all Ceasars after Augustus) claimed to be a "god", and his image in the Most Holy Place was for the Jews the same as if he proclaimed himself the Most High God; for the Holy Place was the earthly abode of Jehovah. During the first and second Jewish Temples it housed the Ark of the Covenant. The Presence of Jehovah on earth was considered to be on the Mercy Seat; which was just above the lid of the Ark; between the two Cherubim.
By placing his image in the Holy Place, Hadrian was identifying himself (in the minds of the Jews) with GOD! The Jews revolted, but they were defeated by the Roman Legions; after millions were killed.
Jesus told His disciples (about 32 A.D.):
"And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst [of the city] depart out. (Luke 21:20) When you therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, standing in the Holy Place. Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.(Matthew 24:15) For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."(Matthew 24:21)Jesus told His disciples that the Adomination of Desolation (Greek: "the abomination which makes desolate") would "stand in the Holy Place" of the Temple, and then Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies. He warned His disciples in the City and in Judea to flee to the mountains when they heard that the Adomination of Desolation was standing in the Holy Place of the temple.
When Hadrian allowed the building of a third Jewish temple, the Jews thought that they would be able to continue their daily and yearly sacrifices. But, instead, Hadrian had defiled the Temple by dedicating it to Jupiter, and then standing a statue of himself in the Most Holy Place. Hadrian probably identified himself as Jupiter.To the Jews, this was an abomination, so they revolted against the Romans a second time. The false messiah Simon bar Kochba led them. But the Jewish Christians (called "Nasara'i") did not follow Simon, but did as Christ had said, and fled to the mountains of Jordan and Lebanon. They thus escaped the 42-month "great tribulation"; in which millions of Jews had died, and the rest were sold into slavery or scattered. The Jews would not have a homeland again until 1948.
Most Evangelicals do not realize that a third Jewish Temple was already built (and defiled). The Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor, destroyed the third Temple because it was considered "defiled"; because it was dedicated to Jupiter, and had the image of Hadrian standing in the Holy Place. The Temple Mount today is actually the remains of this temple; not the temple in Jesus' day.
Because of Dispensationalist teachings, most Evangelicals today expect a third Jewish Temple to be rebuilt according to it's former glory.
The Second Jewish Temple ("Temple of Herod")
The only problem is that the location for the Jewish Temple is now occupied by the Dome of the Rock; the third most holy site of Islam. In the 4th century the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine, destroyed the Temple of Jupiter that Hadrian had constructed on the site of the old Jewish Temple of Herod (the Second Temple). What remained was only a flat area known today as the "Temple Mount". In the late 7th century, Muslims conquered Jerusalem (renamed by Emperor Constantine) and renamed it "The Holy City". They built a dome over a rock which stuck out from the temple mount; which Muslims came to believe was the rock which the Prophet Muhammed ascended to heaven during a "night journey". Later, the dome was covered with gold. It became known as the "Dome of the Rock". Near this was built the Al-Aqsa Mosque; both of which remain today on the Temple Mount.
The Dome of the Rock
A few Orthodox Jews plan to built a Third Temple and renew the daily sacrifices as proscribed in the Torah. But there is much opposition to this; because the entire Temple Mount is controlled and operated by Muslims, and they consider the entire mount most sacred. They won't accept a Jewish Temple built beside it on the mount; much less the destruction of the Dome of the Rock or the Al-Aqsa Mosque! Jews are only allowed to pray along the outside of it; along the Western Wall (called "The Wailing Wall"). They are not allowed to set foot on the Temple Mount (which Muslims call Haram al-Sharif-"The Noble Sactuary") itself; because it is considered holy Muslim ground.
The entire Islamic world (over 1 billion and counting) would spill its combined blood long before the Dome of the Rock is destroyed in order to build a third Jewish Temple.
The Temple Mount as it stands today
Evangelicals are confident that an earthquake, a tornado, or simply the decree of the Anti~christ will make way for the building of the Third Jewish Temple. Then, the Anti~christ will enter the Temple and proclaim himself "God" and command everyone to be marked with a "666" (either a literal mark or a computer chip installed) on the forehead or right-hand.
Many historians and scholars, however, feel that Paul was referring to a Roman Emperer who would be the catalyst for the "Day of Christ"; which referred NOT to the "Second Advent"; but to a day of great destruction in Judea as Christ had foretold in Matthew chapter 24; when he warned His disciples to "flee" to the mountains. And Christians did flee, and they escaped being killed by the Roman Legions or becoming slaves of the Romans after the war ended in 135 A.D.
In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, Paul was telling Christians not to be troubled about the "Day of Christ" (when Jesus prophecied of the first holocaust among the Jews) was at hand, but first must come a "falling away" (Greek: apostasis-which means "rebellion") and the "man of sin" (Greek: "lawlessness") be revealed; the "son of perdition". The term "son of perdition" in Hebrew is "beni Belial"; which is a reference to a man, or men, who are rebellious and sexually deviant. Hadrian was a homosexual; which was considered an "abomination" (foul and disgusting thing) in the Law of Moses. He also demanded~like Nero and other ceasars~that his image (statue) be worshipped. When Hadrian placed his statue in the Holy Place, this was, for the Jews, the same as if he identified himself with GOD.
Christians in Thessalonia believed that the "Day of Christ" as "close at hand", and wanted to bring their loved ones (many early Greek-speaking Christians were Jews) out of Judea. Paul was saying, 'Don't let any man deceive you that the Day of Christ is here. That day will not come until the Jews openly rebel, and the Man of Lawlessness is revealed'.
That occurred; in the years 132-135 A.D.; with the Second Jewish Revolt.
Most Evangelical Christians believe that the "falling away" is a apostasy of "the Church"; meaning that many Evangelicals will abandon "Bible-truth" for "doctrines of the devil". While the Latin word apostasia means "to fall away from a standing position" the original Greek, in which the apostle Paul wrote, says apostasis; which comes from the Greek words aposta ("to rebel") and histanai ("to stand, to place"), and it means simply "to stand in rebellion". The Jews stood in rebellion against the Romans, and this is what Paul was referring to when he wrote that before the "Day of Christ" there would be a "falling away" before the "Man of Sin" was revealed. And all of this happened in the secound century A.D. The Christians fled and were saved from the great Tribulation; which destroyed Jerusalem, killed millions of Jews, and destroyed the Temple.
Evangelical Christians who await the building the of third Jewish temple must be told that it was already built in the 2nd century A.D., defiled by the "man of sin", and later destroyed by a Christian Roman emperor. The only reason they believe otherwise is because of writings of "Rabbi Ben Erza" and the men who popularized his interpretations.
The third Temple, the Abomination of Desolation, the Great Tribulation, have already happened just as Jesus prophecied!
Baha'u'llah and The Spirit of the Antichrist
Baha'is do not believe that all Christians will someday suddenly "disappear". They do not believe in one End-Times Antichrist who will stamp everyone on the forehead or right-hand with "666"; nor install some computer chip under their skin.
Baha'is do not believe that "The Beast" is the European Union, the UN, a computer in Belgium, nor some future "revived Roman Empire".
Baha'is don't believe the "False Prophet" of Revelations is the Prophet Muhammad (as the Reformers did) nor some man in the future.
Baha'is DO believe that the Spirit of Antichrist is still in the world today! Just as the Spirit of Christ "anoints" certain Manifestations of God, so certain men arise with the Antichrist-spirit who oppose Them.
Baha'is believe that every Manifestation of God has one main "adversary". In Hebrew, the word for adversary is "satan". Each Manifestation of God has an "adversary" or "satan" that opposes Him. For Jesus, it was Simon Magus. For Muhammad, it was Mu'awiya (661-680 A.D.). for The Bab, it was Mirza Aqasi; the Chancellor of Persia. For Baha'u'llah, it was Siyyid Muhammad Isfahani.
Muslim prophecies speak of Al-Dajjal ("The Liar"). The Dajjal would come in the last days and oppose Isa (Jesus) when He returns, but Isa would destroy him. The Dajjal would be blind in one eye. He would have the name of the Prophet (i.e. "Muhammad"), and be from Isfahan, in Iran.
During the time of The Bab, the Antichrist was the Chancellor of Persia; Hajj Mirza Aqasi. He did everything he could to lie about the Babis ("baubeez"), the followers of The Bab, and persecute them.
Over 20,000 Babis became martyrs. Babi men, women, and sometimes children were killed. Many Babi men were tortured by having the soles of their feet cut off and forced to run over stones, or having cuts made in their flesh and inserting burning candles into them. Entire Babi families had their throats cut by Shi'ite Muslim mobs enraged by anti-Baha'i Mullas (clergymen). Mirza Aqasi did all in his power to encourage this. The Bab wrote to the Shah (King) of Persia, the following before He was killed:
"Doest thou imagine him whom thou has appointed Chanceller in thy Kingdom to be the best leader and the best supporter? Nay, I swear by thy Lord. He will bring thee into grievous trouble by reason of that which Satan instilleth in his heart, and verily, he himself is Satan.
Siyyid Muhammad Isfahani was a disciple of The Bab, and became the follower of Baha'u'llah's half-brother Yahya (called Sub-i-Azal= "The Dawn of Eternity"). Because of the lies of this man, many Baha'is were killed. He wanted power for himself, and he wanted to control Yahya; to be the 'power' behind the throne. He wanted Yahya to lead the Babis, and saw Baha'u'llah as his only hinderance to control. He lied to Yahya; causing him to reject his illustrious Brother. He lied to the Turkish authorities; causing them to persecute the Baha'is; the followers of Baha'u'llah. He was blind in one eye. He was eventually killed by seven Baha'is whose relatives he had killed via his lies.
Whatever man arises to become the main adversary ("satan") of the Manifestation of God is in fact "Satan" (the Devil) for that Dispensation (the period of time in which the Holy Law of a particular Manifestation reigns). In the time of Adam (Whom Baha'is accept as a Manifestation of God), there was one who opposed Him. The Bible calls him a "serpent" with the power of speech. The Hebrew word for "serpent" is nachash: which can be translated as "snake" or "serpent" or "shaman" (witch-doctor). It literally means "to hiss/whisper". In ancient Arabia, shamans were called by various terms. If you used a shaman to help you, he was called a Kahen, but if a shaman was used to oppose you he was called a Shaitan ("adversary"). When in trances they "hissed"; so they were called "Hissers" ("serpents").
There is no one "Satan". The "satans" (Hebrew: "adversaries") are the adversaries of the Manifestations of God. The Qur'an says:
"And they followed what the Shaitans chanted of sorcery in the reign of Solomon; and Solomon disbelieved not, but the Shaitans disbelived by teaching people sorcery;...." (2:102)The Shaitans (adversaries) refer to those who rise up to oppose the Manifestations of God. They also refer to the "Sorcerers" (called "Whisperers" in Hebrew) who worshipped the serpent-god in ancient times (and still do today in many countries). The Hebrew word for "serpent" is NAKHASH; which is the same word for "sorcerer"; it means "One Who Hisses". The shamans would "hiss" when they went into trances or cast spells. Still today, sorcerers in Haiti, and in Brazil and Africa, and among the Yazidi of Iraq, and elsewhere, will go into trances in order to become "possessed" by the serpent-diety (called "Damballa" among many other names), and they will literally "hiss" and crawl like snakes!
The "shaitans" ALSO refer to the rebellious Ego (Self) we all have within us. Our "spirits" always follow God, but our "soul" (self/ego) is a rebel against God. When Peter tried to stop Jesus from surrending Himself to the Sanhedrin (to be crucified for the sins and iniquities of all mankind) Jesus said to him: "Get thee behind me Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men." (Matthew 16:23). Was Peter "Satan"? For that moment he was; for his "lower nature" tried to prevent Jesus from His appointed task as the "Lamb of God" which takes away the sins of the World. Peter was worried more about losing his position as chief disciple, rather than Jesus' death.
In Matthew chapter 4, verses 1 through 11, we read that the Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to "be tempted of the Devil", and that He fasted 40 days and nights. The Gospels say He was "tempted" by Satan; who offerred Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth if He would just worship him. Most Christians (especially Evangelical Christians) believe that the Devil appeared to Jesus, and took Him to the pinnacle of the Temple saying, "If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down", and showed him all the word's kingdoms; offering them if he would only worship Satan. Baha'is, on the other hand, believe that Satan was Jesus' own Nafs (Ego/Self/Lower-Nature) that tempted Him to avoid the Cross and rule the world with His unlimited power as a Manifestation of God and the Son of God. Jesus overcame this temptation, and accepted the Cross.
Satan tempting Jesus with the kingdoms of the world
For Baha'is then, Satan is very close to each of us! Indeed, he is our Self; our Ego/Id/Nafs/Lower-Nature that exists in all of us and tempts us moment-by-moment to rebel against God.
Baha'u'llah has written:
"The Evil One is lying in wait, ready to entrap you. Gird yourselves against his wicked devices, and ,led by the light of the name of the one true God, deliver yourselves from the darkness that surroundeth you. Center your thoughts in the Well-Beloved, rather than in your own selves." (Gleanings, p.168)All the Manifestations of God have both a Divine and a human nature. Baha'u'llah wrote:
"When I contemplate, O My God, the relationship that beindeth Me to Thee, I am moved to proclaim to all created things: Verily, I AM God; and when I consider My own self, lo, I find it coarser than clay!" (The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p.234)When Jesus said to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" (Matt. 16:23)he was speaking to Peter's Nafs (self/ego/id/lower-nature). The Nafs is our Satan! It is the only "Satan" we have.
This is not to say "There is no Satan". Of course there is! And he is closer to us than most of us think!
The ills of human nature, and the world-at-large, are directly tied to Self. Racism is about Self. Nationalism is about Self. Elitism is about Self. Materialism is about Self. War is often about megalomaniacs (self-worshippers) trying to glorify their own image and "Self". Dictators fight for more power; to build their own egos, at the expense of the innocent. Some people love money and material things because it builds their "Self" esteem. Others take drugs, and become involved in crime, because they have a low "Self" esteem and they believe that drugs or better material things will help build a high "Self" esteem.
Many religions and philosophies of today teach that the "Self" is Divine; even "God":
"The mind, or the Self, is divine." (The Humanities Handbook, p.229 online)Atheists
"God is the SELF projected onto reality...." (Positive Atheism's big List of Quotations, p.7 under "U" online)Theosophists
"God is your Self." (Questions We All Ask, No.7 online)Rosicrucians
"God is your Self." (Understanding the Body, Tape 13, side 1, p.4 online)New Pagans
"They believe in only one god. That god is the Self." (Holy Mass-Holy Innocents: The Holy Sacrifice verses Human Sacrifice, p.2 online)Wiccans
"The Self is divine." (The Five Points of Wiccan Belief, p.3 online)Satanists
"...the self is divine." (Satanic Perspective: Literal vs. Symbolic, p.2 online)Jungians
"God is the Self." (Islands~Seizing the Ox, part 16,p.4 online)New Agers
"When you meditate, you discover your self again and realize that your Self is God who resides within you." (Talking With the Angels, p.2 online)Eckists
"God is the Self within the heart,...." (Stranger By The River, p.14)Adaivita Vendantists
"Your Self is God, and your Self is Guru." (Sri Swamiji Speaks, p.1 online)On the other hand, the Revelations of God (Sabeanism, Judaism, Buddhism, Vaishnavism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Islam, the Babi Faith, and the Baha'i Faith) all teach just the opposite of what the Gnostics teach about "Self". They all teach that the "self" is Satan himself!
"When one is released from the prison of self, that is, indeed, freedom! For self is the greatest prison. When this release takes place, one can never be imprisoned." (Paris Talks, p.50)Shoghi Effendi wrote:
"The only people truly free of the 'dross of self' are the Prophets, for to be free of one's ego is a hall-mark of perfection.***It is the Nafs ("Self" with a large "S") that must burn in the Afterlife if we are to be made ready to journey through the Worlds of God. If we can overcome and subdue our Self to the Will of God in this life, then there is no need to burn it away (as dross is burned away to purify gold) in Hell-fire in the Afterlife.
The self is the adversary (Heb: "Satan" or Arabic: "Shaitan") of the spirit. The "self" is our lower nature, and our "spirit" is our higher nature.
Indeed, it could be said there there are only TWO religions: the religion which says that the "Self" is "God", and the Religion of God which says that the "self" is Satan!
Some religions and philosophies teach that the "Self" is divine; indeed the "Self" is the same as "God". These religions and philosophies speak much about "self-love" and "self-realization" and "self-fulfillment". To worship one's "Self" they say, is to worship "God". All of these religions and philsophies are ultimately tied to Gnosticism.
Researcher Maureen Roberts writes:
"The various Gnostic systems vary in terms of detail, but the basic elements in common to them all are, firstly, the belief that the self is divine,...." (Keat's Gnostic Vision of Soul-Making, p.2 online)The ancient Christian historian Eusebius wrote, and many Bible scholars (especially the Preterists) know, that Simon Magus was "The False Prophet" of the Apocalypse (The Book of Revelations). He is mentioned in the Book of Acts as the one who tried to buy the power of Jesus to heal and work miracles from the Apostles, but was rebuked by Peter. Simon was a "Magus" who turned to the "dark side".
Simon Magus is called the father of Gnosticism. The symbol of Gnosticism is the serpent which swallows it's tail.
Here are some movements which were inspired by Gnosticism:
*Racism orginated with the Gnostics; who believed the Jehovah was the evil creator-god. To Gnostics, darkness and matter were "evil", but light and spirit were "good". The darker the skin and hair and eyes the more "matter" a race had, and thus the more "evil" and "lower" it was!
* The Nazi Party was founded by members of a Gnostic secret cult called the Thule Society. Here was their symbol:
* The Communist Party was founded by Socialists who were influenced by the Gnostics; especially the Cathari of the middle-ages. The first Socialists were members of a Gnostic body called the "Grand Orient of France"; whose symbol was the Blazing Red Star of Gnosis...
The Symbol of the Grand Orient
The symbol of the Socialist International (the worldwide Socialist movement which still exists today) is a fist clutching a red rose. The red rose was the symbol of Mani; a 3rd century Gnostic "prophet" who taught that Jehovah was an evil Archon.
The Gnostics believed that Lucifer was the "God of Light"; or the positive aspect of the Cosmos, and Jehovah represented the "God of Darkness", or the negative aspect of the Cosmos. They saw "Lucifer" and "Jehovah" as the two equal aspects of the Cosmos; constantly at war with each other. They were the 'light' and 'dark' side of the same 'Force'.
*The most popular Gnostic writer of modern times was Helena Blavatsky; a Russian medium who tried to popularize Gnostic thought to the masses. She wrote:
"The appellation Satan (in Hebrew Adversary) belongs by right to the first and cruelist 'Adversary' of all other Gods--JEHOVAH; not to the Serpent which spoke only words of sympathy and Wisdom." (The Secret Doctrine 3:386)
Blavatsky taught that Jehovah was the "true satan" and Lucifer was the "God of light" in opposition to the evil Jehovah. She started a Theosophical magazine in Longdon, England, in 1888 called LUCIFER. Her disciple Alice Bailey started Lucifer Trust in 1938; now called Lucis Trust. The emblem of Helena P. Blavatsky included the swastika and the Oroboros ("Red Dragon of Wisdom": the symbol of Gnosis)...
*The Assassins ("Hashish-eaters") of Iran and Egypt belonged to a Gnostic society of Muslims called the Ismailis. They used suicide assassins full of hashish to get rid of all who opposed them. Some researchers seem direct connections between the Assassins and the modern Islamic extremist societies; who again use "suicide" assassins to try to create war between Jews and Muslims and Muslims and Christians.
*The Ku Klux Klan was founded by men who belonged to a secret order called the Knights of the Golden Circle; a Gnostic society formed by Albert Pike (who was also a founder of the Ku Klux Klan as well as a Confederate general).
Pike's famous work Morals and Dogma contain many Gnostic ideas and teacings. Pike is purported to have said:
"If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay [Jehovah]~whose deeds prove his cruelty, perfidy and hatred of man, barbarism and repulsion of science,~would Adonay and his priests culminate him? Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god, for the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the Absolute can only exists as two gods; darkness being necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive. Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is heresy; and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay [Jehovah], God of Light and Godd of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil." (Occult Theocrasy, pp.220-221)In Gnosticism, there are Two Principles in eternal struggle with each other; Light and Dark, or Spirit and Matter. Both are equal. Gnostics and other occultists often refer to the Spirit or Principle of Light as "Lucifer". They consider Jehovah, or the God of the Bible, to be the evil principle.
Pike was a member of the Grand Orient of France; the largest Gnostic society at that time; a society whose members continued the ancient shamanistic practices and beliefs...
A Grand Orient convocation
The Conferderate States of America was founded by men who belonged to one or more Gnostic societies.
*The Muslim Brotherhood, which sponned the current anti-Semitic and anti-American terrorist groups around the world, was founded by a Gnostic "Muslim" in Egypt in the 1920s. One former Muslim Brotherhood leader, Sami al-Joundi, wrote:
"We were racists. We admired the Nazis. We were immersed in reading Nazi literature and books...." (Militant Palestinian & Islamic Organizations, p.2 online)The propaganda of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, and other such groups is essentially the same as the Nazis of Germany and the White-Supremacist groups of Europe and the United States! Researchers have found many direct connections and networking between all these groups. White-supremacist groups use Gnostic symbols as well as beliefs; such as the Jews are the children of Cain, and that Cain was the illigetimate offspring of Eve and Satan, etc. These beliefs can be found in ancient Gnostic literature.
Why are the Nazis, the Islamic militants, the White-supremacists, and the occultists all teaching the same things?
This is no mere coincidence!
The late Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, Shoghi Effendi, called Racism, Nationalism, and Communism the "three false gods" of the modern age. All three movements were founded by Gnostics or men heavily influenced by Gnosticism. Shoghi Effendi had warned Americans of what lay ahead in the future. One Baha'i reported him saying:
"With a glint of sarcasm in his voice he denounced the so-called American security in giant skyscrapers and collossal edifices. With a swift movement of his hand, he demonstrated how quickly these institutions could be swept away in seconds. How foolish of the Americans, he stated, for them to regard their security in these 'Towers of Babel'." (William Allison Notes, p.1, Baha'i Academics Library online)
Regarding Baha'u'llah, Shoghi Effendi wrote:
"Ezekiel had extolled Him as the 'Lord' Who 'shall be king over all the earth,' while to His day Joel and Zephaniah had both referred as the 'day of Jehovah,' the latter describing it as 'a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.'" (God Passes By, p.95)Gnosticism still "thrives" today; under many different guises and names!
The "false gospels" Paul warned Christians about were the Gnostic gospels; which presented "Another Gospel" and "Another Jesus". The Gnostics believed that Yehovah was an evil creator-god, and that Jesus came to liberate mankind from the rule of this evil deity.
The Forces of Darkness have current control of this planet.
In the Book of Revelations John sees Michael the Archangel doing battle with the "Dragon" and his angels. Michael the Archangel and his angels (messengers) defeat the "Dragon" and his "angels" and the "Dragon" and his angels are cast out of Heaven...
For Baha'is, Michael the Archangel is Baha'u'llah; Who casts the "Dragon" (Gnosticism) out of "Heaven" (the "high places" of power and authority on earth).
'Abdu'l-Baha, the Eldest Son of Baha'u'llah and Interpeter of the Faith, declared:
"The Lord of Hosts hath descended with the Army of Light and angels of heaven and depressed the armies of darkness." (Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p.289)'Abdu'l-Baha sometimes addressed Baha'is as "O Army of God!" (Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p.69).
Shoghi Effendi, the grandson of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Guardian of the Faith, wrote:
"Evidences of increasing hostility, persistent machinations within, foreshadowing dire contests destined to range the Army of Light against the forces of darkness, both secular and religious, predicted in unequivocal language by 'Abdu'l-Baha,...." (Messages to the Baha'i World: 1950-1957, p.123)Baha'u'llah is Michael the Archangel. The Baha'is are His Heavenly Army. The "Forces of Darkness" have already been identified. They will use lies to try to turn the religious masses (Muslim/Christian/Hindu/etc.) against the Army of Light. They will try to get the Muslims to fight the Christians and the Jews, and the Christians against the Jews, and the Jews against the Christians and the Muslims, and the Muslims against the Hindus, and the Hindus against the Muslims and Christians, and all of them against the Baha'is. They will have successes! They will win many battles! Many Baha'is will die at the hands of people who think they are doing God a service by killing Baha'is (this is already happening in Iran and other places)! The Baha'is will not fight back; at least not with conventional weapons. Their only weapon will be TRUTH. The Baha'is will suffer greatly, but the final victory will be with the Army of Light.
The Spirit of Antichrist is much more frightening that some World Dictator who stamps everyone with "666"! The Spirit of Antichrist is not one man, but thus cannot be killed. The Spirit of Antichrist can only be "bound", and the Mission of Baha'u'llah is to bind this spirit and cast it from the earth. Only then will true World Peace and the Justice of God be firmly established.
The Great Tribulation
Thanks to the writings of the "Rabbi Ben Ezra" (i.e. Lacunza) and to the work of John Darby and Cyrus Schofield, most Evangelical Christians on earth today believe that the End-Times Antichrist will appear 7 or 3 1/2 years before the Second Coming. He promoter and "PR man" will be the False Prophet. Either at the beginning or in the middle of the final 7-year period will be the "Great Tribulation"; where everyone will receive the 'Mark of the Beast' on their right-hand or forehead (perhaps an imbedded computer chip) and won't be able to buy or sell without it. Christians (i.e. evangelical Christians) will refuse to worship the Image of the Beast, and be persecuted.
Some hold to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view; that Christians will escape the 7 (or 3 1/2 year) Great Tribulation by being "raptured" up to meet Jesus in a cloudy sky. Some hold to the Mid-Tribulation view in which Christians will be raptured in the middle of the tribulation. Still others hold to the Post-Tribulation view in which Christians will go through the entire 7-year Great Tribulation, and be raptured at the end of it. These three views are known as Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, and Post-Trib.
A small minority (perhaps 3%) of Evangelical Christians are known as "Preterists"; from the Latin word preter which means "before". Many of these are Bible scholars and historians. They believe that the Great Tribulation occurred during the two Jewish Revolts against Rome. Most of them believe that the first Beast of the Apocalyse is pagan Rome, the image of the Beast was Nero's statues, the 'mark' (Greek: "stamp") of the Beast his image stamped upon coins, the number of the Beast (666) refers to Nero, that the False Prophet was Simon Magus, etc.
Jesus actually prophesied of the "tribulation" in Matthews chapter 24. And The Book of Revelations actually mentions "42 months" of tribulation.
What does this mean?
Christian Preterists believe it refers to the two Jewish Revolts against Rome; each lasting 42 months (3 and 1/2 years). The Evangelical Christian Heart of Wisdom series says:
"After Jesus' time, in 66 A.D., the Jewish Revolt against Rome broke out. The Roman Army destroyed Jerusalem, killed over 1 million Jews, took about 100,000 into slavery, and destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. The second revolt took place between 132 and 135 A.D. A half-million Jews were killed; thousands were sold in to slavery or taken into captivity. The rest were exiled from Palestine and scattered throughout the known world in what is called the 'Diaspora' [Greek: dispersion]." (Heart of Wisdom Unit Studies, The Jewish Revolts, p.1 online)Two periods of great tribulation for the Jews are recorded; both lasting 42 months. During the first one the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was utterly destroyed by the Romans; who left not one stone upon another (thus fulfilling one of Jesus' prophecies concerning the Temple). The second revolt led to the Jews being taken from Palestine and scattered throughout Europe and the Middle-East; only to be gathered again back to the Holy Land in recent times (which fulfilled the prophecies of Baha'u'llah).
The leader of the second revolt was Simon Bar Kochba. He arose in 132 A.D. and said "I am the Messiah" (Talmud, Sanhedrin 93b). The Jewish clergy accepted him as the Messiah, and most of the Jews followed their leaders. The Nasara'is (Jewish Christians) did not accept Simon Bar Kochba, and they were pesecuted by him and his followers. They escaped to Syria and other Near Eastern countries. Simon Bar Kochba failed to drive out the Romans and was killed. The Jews were made slaves and scattered. The Jews still today refer to Simon Bar Kochba ("Simon Son of the Star") as "Simon Bar Koziba" ("Simon Son of the Lie"); referring to his false claim of messiahship that proved disasterous for the Jewish people and nation.
The Jewish priests (Sadducees) and doctors of the law (Pharisees) were deceived. They called Jesus a "deceiver" but they themselves were later deceived by Simon Bar Kochba; which they later discovered after millions died, he was killed, and the Jews were dispersed from the Holy Land. And the common people simply followed their religious leaders; which led to their deaths slavery by the Romans, and the end of their nation until 1948.
A small percentage of Evangelical Christians (most of them Seventh-day Adventists) believe in what the old Protestants believed; that the Antichrist was the Papacy, the "Beast" the Roman Catholic Church, the "False Prophet" Muhammed, etc. Seventh-day Adventists believe the "Mark" of the Beast is worshipping on Sunday instead of Saturday; the true Sabbath day (in their view).
The Battle of Armageddon
The Apocalypse (Book of Revelations) says in chapter 16 that "all nations" would meet at "Armageddon" to do final battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. Most Evangelical Christians (at least in North America) believe that just before the return of Christ in His Glory there will be the "Battle of Armageddon". Thanks to John Darby, Cyrus Scofield, and other "Dispensationalist" preachers and writers such as Hal Lindsey (author of The Late Great Planet Earth and many other works) most Evangelical Christians believe that there shall be in the last days a "7-year period" of Great Tribulation. Before this period there shall arise two men: the False Prophet and the Antichrist. The False Prophet will be the "PR Man" for the Antichrist. The man who will be Antichrist will be some sort of political leader; perhaps the head of the European Union.
Evangelical Christian author Hal Lindsey (whose books have sold in the hundreds of millions) wrote in the 1970s that the European Union (then with 10-members) was the "Beast" with "10 horns" in The Book of Revelations (Apocalyse). He wrote that the end-times Antichrist would be the head or president of the EU, and he would arrange a peace treaty with Israel and the Arabs. Then, he would make statues of himself and demand to be "worshipped", and the False Prophet would cause everyone to "worship" the "image of the Beast" (i.e. the Antichrist's image).
35 million copies sold in 54 languages
Lindsey wrote that before the 7-year "Great Tribulation" all true Christians (i.e. true Evangelical Christians) would be "raptured" from the earth; this being known as the "Pre-Trib Rapture". One day people would wake up and notice MILLIONS of people missing! Lukewarm Evangelical Christians (i.e. those who call themselves "Born-again Christians" but haven't really been "born-again") will be "left behind" to realize their state and "go through" the Great Tribulation. After the Rapture the newspapers and television reports will speculate that either aliens did it, or Mother Earth had gotten rid of people it didn't want (i.e. because Evangelical Christians were anti-environment).
Lindsey and other "End-Time Preachers" (as they are called) write that during the 7-year (or 3 1/2 year) tribulation period the Beast (Antichrist) shall cause everyone to be marked on the right-hand or forehead with a "666"; either as a literal mark, or perhaps a computer barcode. Nobody would be able to buy or sell without the 'mark'. Only those Christians "left-behind" will refuse the mark; realizing they had not yet been 'born-again' and that the mark was in fact the 'Mark of the Beast'. They shall be persecuted by the Beast (Antichrist). All other peoples will worship the Beast (Antichrist); believing he is God in the flesh because of his seeming wisdom and miraculous powers.
Lindsey wrote during the 1970s that the Second Coming of Christ would occur "one generation" after the Jews returned to the Holy Land; based upon a combination of Old Testament prophecies concerning the return of the Israelites to the Holy Land and Jesus' words in Matthew chapter 24 that "this generation shall not pass away until all these things shall be fulfilled." (Matthew 24:34). The Bible identifies one "generation" as 40 years. Lindsey wrote that the Bible prophesy that the Jews would return to the Holy Land occurred in 1948; with the founding of the state of Israel. He wrote that the Rapture would occur just before the 7-year Tribulation period; thus 1948 + 40 years - 7 years = 1981. The Pre-Trib Rapture of all Christians (except those 'left behind') would occur in 1981.
Lindsey wrote that the Arabs would break the Peace Treaty with Israel, and that China and the Soviet Union (whom Lindsay incorrectly identifies as "Gog" and "Magog") would invade Israel from the North and East; China bringing 200 million troops. The Arab countries would join with the Soviet Union and China. The EU (under the Antichrist's leadership) would betray the agreement with Israel, and join the others against Israel and America. America and Israel would fight alone against the world! The final battle with all the armies of all the nations of the world (including the 200 million Chinese troops) would take place in the Valley of Jezreel; otherwise known as Armageddon. Nuclear bombs would wipe-out the Chinese and most of the others, and Israel would defeat whoever was left. Just as the war would end, Jesus would appear in a cloudy sky over Jerusalem, and descend upon the Mount of Olives. The mount would cleave into two; forming a valley. Then Jesus would enter Jerusalem as "King of kings and Lord of lords"; to reign over the earth for 1000 years. Near the end of the 1000 years "Satan" would be loosed "for a season" and their again would be war and conflict. At this point, God decides to destroy the earth by fire; which is the end of wicked humanity. All Christians (i.e. born-again Evangelical Christians) are "saved" in Heaven for all eternity; to sing praises to the Lord unendingly. All other souls (Hindus,Muslims,Catholics,Buddhists,Sikhs,Jains,Atheists,Animists,Mormons,Liberal Protestants,Baha'is,New Agers,etc.) will burn in Hell for all eternity without end or mercy.
Lindsey had been a river-boat captain who later decided to become a minister. He enrolled in and graduated from the Dallas Theological Seminary; which was founded by Cyrus I. Scofield; disciple of John Darby, and self-proclaimed and self-taught "Bible Scholar".
No other person ever popularized the Dispensationlist views of Darby and Scofield as did Hal Lindsey.
However....all was NOT well in Paradise!
After 1981 came and went without any "rapture" Lindsey recalculated, and said that the Jews "really" didn't return to Israel until they had conquered and reunited all of Jerusalem; which occurred during the 1967 "6-Day War". Thus, if one takes 1967 + 40 years ("one generation" according to the Bible) - 7 years (tribulation period) then the pre-Trib Rapture MUST occur in the year 2000 (1967+40-7=2000).
Also, Lindsey wrote that the Antichrist would be the head of the European Union since the Apocalypse said that the "Beast" had "10 horns". However, by 1989 the EU had 15 members, and now projects 25 members by 2005 and 28 members by 2010! Was the "Beast" growing more "horns" the John (author of the Apocalypse) didn't know about? [;~)]
After the year 2000 came and went with no pre-Trib Rapture, Lindsey began suggesting that a "generation" according to the Bible was really "70 years" and not 40 after all! Whoever is reading this after the year 2030 please let us know if the Rapture happened! [;~)].
Today, other "Prophecy Teachers" are writing books and producing high-budget and high-quality films which combine the "Dispensationalism" of John Darby and Cyrus Schofield along with warnings about the "New World Order" as the "Reign of Antichrist". Now Evangelical Christians were being told that the False Prophet will prepare the way for the Antichrist; who shall be the head of the evil NEW WORLD ORDER which was somehow divided into 10 "departments" (to make it 'fit' with the description of the Beast in the Apocalyse having 10 horns). Most of the new "Prophecy Teachers" are not setting "dates", but hint that these things are "near".
After Hal Lindsey other "Prophecy Teachers" arose espousing the same Darby/Scofield/Lindsey worldview. In the 1990s Tim LaHaye, an Evangelical Christian "Prophecy Teacher", wrote a series of novels titled Left Behind; a fictional story about those Evangelical Christians not "raptured" along with the rest. It toes the Dispensationalist party-line. After tens of millions of copies of the books were sold, a film was released by the same title.
The Baha'is, on the other hand, do not believe in any physical rapture of the physical body into a physical heaven! The "Rapture" as Paul spoke of it referred to one's "soul" being raptured; which can take place "in the body" (in a mystical experience) or "out of the body" (at death).
Baha'is don't believe in any one End-Times Antichrist who shall come and be head of the EU or some 10-divisioned "New World Order". Baha'is believe that there arises one main "opposer" of every Manifestation of God. In Jesus' day, it was Simon Magus. In the day of Baha'u'llah, it was Siyyid Muhammed Isfahani; the one-eyed "Liar" ("Dajjal" in Arabic)whose lies caused many innocent Baha'is to be killed.
Of course, Baha'is believe that the "Spirit of Antichrist" is alive and well and living on planet earth! Racism, nationalism, communism, and many other "isms" partake of this evil spirit. There is no one man or organization controlling it all in "smoked-filled back rooms", but many Gnostic and Gnostic-inspired organizations "network" and spread their teachings outwardly in many different forms; very often to people and groups who would never think of becoming Gnostics themselves and would never believe that they have been duped into believing Gnostic principles!
For Baha'is, "Armageddon" is symbolic of the final struggle between the Forces of Darkness and the Army of Light.
The Greek word "Armageddon" is a tranliteration of the Hebrew "Har-Megiddo"; which means "Hill of the Place of Troops"; a small hill overlooking the Valley of Jezreel in Northern Israel. Mount Megiddo was the scene of many battles in ancient times. The entire Mount is no larger than a football field; it could not contain the "combined armies of the world" in one final battle! Even the Valley of Jezreel is too small for that!
The Mound of Megiddo is too small for a literal all-nations Battle of Armageddon
The Apocalypse (Book of Revelations) contains symbols! The Beast is a symbol of the pagan Roman Empire; the Beast with 7 heads and 10 horns that arose from the Sea represented the City of Rome which was built on 7 hills, and the Empire which arose in order to control the "sea trade routes" in the Mediterranean. The "10 horns" represent the 10 Ceasars who ruled from Augustus (recognized as the first Emperor of Rome) to Titus; the Roman Emperor who burned Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple to the ground. John the Revelator saw that the Ceasars would hate the Woman (Jerusalem "playing the harlot" with Rome and other pagan 'kings'):
"And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked. And shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire." (Rev. 17:16-18)The 'Mark of the Beast' was the "stamp" of the image of Ceasar that was contained on every Roman coin. People in the Empire could not buy or sell without paying their head tax and their business (right-hand) tax; which had to be paid in Roman coin. Roman coins were "stamped" with the image of Ceasar on them. The Greek does not say "mark" but "stamp".
The number 666 referred to the name of the "Beast": in John's time it was NERON KESAR in Hebrew. In Hebrew NERON KESAR equaled "666". Using Latin letters instead of Greek letters, the number of NERO CEASAR equals "616", and, in the oldest Latin manuscripts of the Apocalypse (Revelations), the number of the Beast is indeed "616".
The "False Prophet" who "gave power" to the Beast by causing his "image" to speak was Simon Magus; an "enchanter" (hypnotist) who enchanted people to think the statues of Nero could move and speak. Simon Magus proclaimed that "he" was the Christ! He and his followers were rewarded by Nero and other ceasars while at the same time the ceasars persecuted and killed Christians.
The Antichrists were those who had, in Jesus' day and thereafter, said, "I am Christ"; like Simon Bar Kochba who proclaimed himself messiah and persecuted the Christians; only to be killed by the Roman legions.
Almost everything in the Apocalyse is a "symbol". A "symbol" is not real, but something that represents something else this is real. The symbol of Armageddon in Revelations chapter 16 is a symbol of the "final conflict" between the Forces of Darkness and the Army of Light.
For Baha'is, the Battle of Armageddon does have a beginning! On Oct. 26, 1912, 'Abdu'l-Baha was in Sacramento California addressing the Baha'is of California. He said:
"We are on the eve of the battle of Armageddon. The time is two years hence, when only a spark will set aflame the whole of Europe.***By 1917 kingdoms will fall and cataclysms will rock the earth." (Baha'u'llah & The New Era, p.243)All historians know that World War I began when Gavrillo Princip, a Bosnian Serb and member of a secret order called "The Black Hand" assassinated the crown prince Ferdinand of Austria. The Austrian-Hungary Empire had annexed Bosnia from the Turks in 1908. The independent nation of Serbia wanted Bosnia for itself; since many Serbs lived in Bosnia. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and Russia came to the defense of Serbia against Austria-Hungary. Germany came to the defense of Austria-Hungary. Great Britain and France had a pact with Russia, and declared war against Germany and Austria-Hungary. The Turkish Ottomon Empire sided with Germany. The first "World War" had begun. By 1917 the "kingdoms" of Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, and the Ottomon Empire had fallen. During this time, the greatest cataclysm since the Black Plague, the Spanish Influenza, had claimed 50 million lives in addition to tens of millions lost in the war.
The Battle of Armageddon began in 1914, but in continues today! The Second World War, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the African wars, the wars in Bosnia and Serbia, and in the Holy Land, the terrorist attacks against the U.S., are all just local "events" in the final battle!
And the battle continues! The Battle of Armageddon, the final conflict between the Forces of Evil and the Armies of Light on this planet, will continue until the establishment of the the Most Great Peace; at which time the World Order of Baha'u'llah will be firmly established.
The Army of Light wants to establish a New World Order of Peace, Justice, and Equality for all! It is the Forces of Darkness that want to oppose the New World Order, and this is why they demonize it and try to get Muslims and Christians and others to fight against it; thinking they are doing God a service thereby.
The symbol for the World Order of Baha'u'llah in the Apocalypse is the City of New Jerusalem which descends from Heaven upon the earth. The City of Peace; with 12 gates, and 12 foundation~stones.
Muhammad In The Bible
Baha'is accept the Prophet Muhammad (May Peace Be Upon Him!) as a true Prophet and Messenger of God; evan a Manifestation of God. Baha'is are not "Muslims"; because they do not accept Him as the Messenger of God for our Day; nor do they accept the Qu'ran as God's Final Revelation to man (as Muslims do).
The Prophet Muhammed
(His nickname was "Amin" which means "Faithful and True")
Baha'is see Islam much as Christians see Judaism. As Judaism prepared the way for Christianity, so Islam prepared the way for the Baha'i Faith. As the clerics of Judaism persecuted the Christians, so the clerics of Islam persecuted (and continue to persecute) the Baha'is.
History truly repeats itself.
Muhammad was a Prophet "like unto Moses". The LORD told Moses:
"What they say is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like unto you among their brothers; I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to My words that the Prophet speaks in My Name, I will Myself call him to account." (Deuteronomy 18:17-19)
The "brothers" (Hebrew: "close relatives") of the Israelites were the Ishmaelites (Bedouins); the descendants of Abraham and Hagar the Egyptian. Muhammad was an Ishmaelite.
The Qu'ran confirms that Muhammad was the Prophet like unto Moses:
"We have sent to you (Arabs) a Messenger (Muhammad) as a witness over you, even as We sent to Pharaoh a Messenger (Moses)." (Qur'an 73:15)
Moses and Muhammad were alike in ten ways:
1. Both were Prophets and the Heads of State of Their peoples.
2. Both were born of a natural father.
3. Both received their call on a mountain.
4. Both led men into battle.
5. Both names begin with "M".
6. Both were exiled. Moses to Midian, and Muhammed to Madina.
7. Both were married and had children.
8. Both produced Books of Law: Moses the Torah, and Muhammad the Qur'an.
9. Both led their Communities in the desert.
10. Both died and were not resurrected three days later.
Jesus was never a Head-of-State. He was not born of a natural father. He did not receive His call on a mountain. He never led men into battle. His name does not begin with "M". He was never exiled. He never married nor begot children. He never led His community in the desert. He never authored a Book of Holy Law. He was raised from the dead after three days.
Jesus CANNOT BE "That Prophet". Only Muhammad can!
Peter was not saying Jesus was "that Prophet", only that He would RETURN with "That Prophet".(Acts 3:22). He did.
The Jews expected 3 to come:
1. The Messiah (Christ)
3. "That Prophet" like unto Moses
When the priests and Levites approached John the Baptist they asked him if he was the Christ, or Elias (Greek for "Elijah") or "That Prophet":
And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou THAT PROPHET? And he answered, No." (John 1:19-21)
John was not the Messiah. He was not PHYSICALLY Elijah. The Jews believed that Elijah did not die but was caught up bodily in a fiery-chariot, and they expected him to come down from Heaven in his literal physical body. John the Baptist denied he was Elijah. This was true. He was not LITERALLY Elijah come down from Heaven. He was not the reincarnation of Elijah either. But he came "in the spirit and power" of Elijah.
Baha'is believe that Elijah died, and Elisha (his disciple) saw Elijah IN VISION being carried up into Heaven by a chariot of fire. This was a VISION, and not a literal "physical" event.
John the Baptist denied he was "That Prophet". This was the nickname the Jews gave for "that prophet like unto Moses" Who was to come.
Christians don't accept Muhammad was a true Prophet because not long after Muhammad had died (in the late 7th century) Muslim armies fought against Christendom (Catholic Europe). The Popes called Muhammad "The False Prophet" of the Book of Revelations. Later the Reformers (who considered the Popes to be Antichrists) "casually" accepted this view, and continued to believe that Muhammad was "The False Prophet" even though a Pope (whom they considered to be Antichrist) was the first to designate Him as such. Later (as we have seen) Evangelical Christianity abandoned the belief that the Pope was Antichrist, and the belief that Muhammad was "The False Prophet" of the Book of Revelations. The False Prophet had to come right before the End-Times Antichrist. Muhammad could not be "The False Prophet" because He died in the 7th century!
However, at the same time, they retained the belief that Muhamamd was "a false prophet" but not "ThE False Prophet".
Don't feel bad if you're confused: SO WERE THE PROTESTANT REFORMERS!
Muhammad was NOT a "false prophet"! He was a true Prophet. He IS, in fact, mentioned in the Book of Revelations:
"And I saw, and behold, a white horse, and its rider had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer." (Rev. 6:2)
The one called 'Faithful and True' would ride a white hourse and conquer pagan nations to establish the Justice of God.
It is admitted by all historians that:
1) Muhammad worn a white turban that resembled a crown (a middle-eastern crown). The eminent Evangelical Christian scholar E.B. Elliot (1793-1875) speaks of the turbans of the Bedouins:
"And let me add, in regard to turban-crown, it happens very singurlarly that Ezekiel (13:42) describes the turbans of the Sabean or Keturite Arabs under this precise appellation: 'Sabeans from the wilderness, which put beautiful crowns upon their heads'....Of the four peculiar things that they were wont in a national proverb to specify bestowed by God upon the Arabs, the first was that their turbans should be to them instead of diadems." (The Symbols of the Fifth Trumpet Analyzed To Shew The Origin of the First Woe, p.2 online)
A Muslim commentatory writes:
"The Gospel refers to him also as he who wears a crown. What is meant here by crown is turban, and it is the Arabs who have worn headcovers with a wrapper around them since ancient times." (Proofs of Muhammad's Prophethood in the New and Old Testament, p.4 online)
2) Muhammad road on a white Arabian stallion (horse).
3) Muhammad made war upon Pagan tribes and nations and conquered them. He made war to "establish righteousness" just as the Book of Revelations says.
4) Arabs had given names, but they were most known by was their nickname. Muhammad's nickname was "Amin"; which is Arabic for "Faithful and True".
5) Contrary to popular belief, Muhammad did not wield a sword. Rather, He was an archer. He carried a bow and arrows:
"Muhammad spent his youth mostly pasturing sheep and goats. He once went on a cravan to Bostra in Syria and was noted by the Christian hermit Bahira. In Mecca a sacrilegious war occurred after a trecherous murder. In the earlier battles Muhammad was too young to fight, but he gathered enemy arrows and gave them to his Quraysh uncles to shoot back. In the last battle when he was about twenty, Muhammad did shoot arrows for the Hashim clan at the enemy and was praised for his valor." (Muhammad and the Spread of Islam, p.1 online)
Some modern Christian artists depict Jesus returning on a white horse with a crown on his head and carrying a bow (or a sword) but there is nothing in the Bible to justify this view. The Rider on the White Horse does not refer to Jesus, but to Muhammad.
Jesus and His Apostles spoke Syriac (Aramaic); not Hebrew. Jesus says that He would send the "Comforter" to help them. In Syriac Bibles, the word for "Comforter" is "Manhamanna"; which means "Praised One". In Arabic, a language closely related to Syriac, the word for "Manhamanna" is "Muhammad".
Most Christians have never bothered to crack open a copy of the Qur'an. They believe that Muhammad was "a false prophet" simply because that is what they were taught by their pastors or other Christians. Few know the truth; that the tradition that Muhammad was a false prophet began with a Roman Catholic Pope angered at Muslims armies attacking Christendom LONG AFTER the Prophet Muhammad was dead!
The Prophet Muhammad in fact NEVER attacked Christians! On the contrary, He protected them! The Prophet Muhammed led Muslim armies against PAGAN Arabs! Isaiah wrote:
"The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: she shall cry, rea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies." (Isaiah 42:13)One Muslim commentary writes:
"Muhammad did go forth as a mighty prophet of Allah, did stir up jealousy among the most influential and dominating tribe of the pagan Arabs in Arabia. Finally with a war cry and roar, Muhammad did prevail upon the enemies of the Lord--the idolaters, fulfilling the above prophecy." (Did Jesus and Isaiah PROPHESY the coming of Muhammad? p.3 online)The fact that later Muslim armies attacked Christian cities is the fault of the evil Umayyid Caliphs (the second "BEAST" which arose from the land), and not the Prophet Muhammad! Baha'is believe that Muhammad's true successors were the Shi'ite Imams; not the Caliphs. Evil men have done evil in the name of Islam; just as evil men have done evil in the "name" of Christianity.
The Miracles of Muhammed
The Prophet Muhammed also performed miracles. Most of these had to do with water. Muhammed lived in a harsh desert where water often meant the difference between life and death. He performed no miracle unless there was an absolute necessity to do so. One of His companions named Abdullah reported one of these:
"Once we were with Allah's Apostle on a journey, and we ran short of water. He said, 'Bring the water remaining with you.' The people brought a utensil containing a little water. He placed his hand in it and said, 'Come to the blessed water, and the blessing is from Allah.' I saw the water flowing from among the fingers of Allah's Apostle, ...." (Sahih al-Bukhari 4.56.779)Muhammed did many miracles when His companions were out of water or running out of water; similar to Moses when He performed miracles with water in the desert of Sinai when the Israelites needed water to live. In another miracle His companions had only a mouthful of water left. Muhammed drank it, swished the water around in His mouth, and then spit it out in such great abundance that many large water-skins were filled; saving the large company of Muslims from daying of thirst (Bukhari 4.56.777).
The "Prophet Like Unto Moses" did miracles like unto Moses!
Moses bringing water pouring from a rock in the desert.
Of course, many Christians will simply "dismiss" the miracles of Muhammed with a wave of a hand, saying, "Oh! Well, we can trust the miracles of Jesus but these are all mere stories!" Others will say, "If Muhammed did any miracles, they were done with the power of Satan!" When Jesus performed miracles, the Pharisees and Sadducees said He did so with the help of the "Prince of the Devils".
Christians reject the Qur'an as the Word of God NOT because of what it actually says, but because of what Muslims say it says; how they interpret it! The Baha'i interpertations of the Qur'an are often very different from the Muslim interpretations, but Baha'is still believe the Qur'an is the "Word of God". The Qur'an were the divine poems that the Angel Gabriel had revealed to Muhammed. They are actually the divine poems of Gabriel!
Gabriel is the Holy Spirit!
Many Christians assume that the Qur'an contradicts the New Testament.
The Qur'an does NOT contradict the New Testament; only interpretations of the Qur'an do. True, Orthodox Islam rejects Jesus as the "Son of God", but the Shi'ite Imams (like the Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq) called Jesus "The Son of God". Baha'is believe that Jesus is "The Son of God". Not the "only" Son of God, but the Only Virgin-born Son of God. The Qur'an says that Allah did not "beget" a Son, but the New Testament calls Jesus the "Only Begotten Son".
How can this contradiction be explained?
First of all, the term "Only Begotten Son" is a mistranslation that all Evangelical Christian Bible-scholars admit! The Greek word translated for centuries as "Only Begotten Son" is Monogenes, and means "Only (Mono) Kind (Genes)". It does not mean "only", but only (mono) kind (genes). The reason why monogenes was mistranslated as "Only Begotten" is because of the error of an ancient Christian scribe.
St. Jerome was a Latin Christian who knew the Greek language, but did NOT know it well! He thought monogenes meant "Only Begotten" because he thought "genes" meant "Begotten". He was mistaken. The Greek word for "begotten" is "gennao". The term monogennao DOES NOT APPEAR in any ancient manuscript of the Greek New Testament. The Latin word for monogenes is unicus ("unique"), but Jerome translated monogenes into the Latin word unigenitus ("only begotten"). St. Jerome wrote the first Latin Bible which was called the Vulgate (385 A.D.). After that time, all Christians in the West began to refer to Jesus as the "Only Begotten" Son of God!
Of course, Bible scholars today recognize Jerome's honest mistake. In the newer translations of the New Testament, such as the New International Version, Jesus is never called the "Only Begotten" but rather the "Unique" or "One of a kind" Son of God.
The Aramaic New Testament (the language Jesus and His apostles spoke was Aramaic) calls Him not the "Only Begotten" but "ehadaya"; which means "most beloved son" and "heir". It has no meaning of "to beget" or "begotten" whatsoever. Also, it cannot mean "only son".
When Christians first read the Qur'an they thought it blasphemy because it denies that God (Allah) "begot" Jesus! It says:
"It is not befitting to Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter He only has to say 'BE' and it is." (19:35)The Qur'an says that Allah is "He Who begets not nor is begotten." Christians agree that God was never begotten, but they insisted that God the Father "begot" Jesus. Why? Because their Bibles called Jesus the "Only Begotten". Because the Qur'an denied that Jesus was the "Only Begotten", the Qur'an was designated a "false book", and Muhammed was designated a "false prophet".
All this because Jerome has mistraslated the Greek word "monogenes" into "Only Begotten" instead of what it really meant: "Unique/One-of-a-Kind".
Jesus was not the "Only" Son of God (Adam is called "The Son of God" in Luke 1:38). Jesus was the "unique" Son of God in that He alone was born of a virgin.
And Jesus IS "unique". He was the ONLY Son of God to be born of a virgin. God did not "beget" Jesus; He only said 'BE' and Jesus was created in the womb of Mary.
All Evangelical Christians agree with that! God the Father did not physically sire Jesus (as men sire sons), but merely willed it and it was! The Qur'an says that Allah said "Be!" and Jesus was created in Mary's womb.
The Qur'an upholds the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, and all of His miracles. The Qur'an seems to deny the Deity of Christ, calling Jesus "only the Messenger of God"(Qur'an 4:171). This is because Jesus has not one but "two" natures. He was both a Messenger of God, and the WORD of God made flesh. This is true for all Manifestations. The New Testament emphasizes His Divine-nature, and the Qur'an emphasizes His human-nature.
All of the Manifestations of God has two natures; one Divine, and one human. The Divine Nature is God, but the human nature is not. In His Divine Nature Jesus was the unique Son of God. In His human nature, Jesus was a Prophet; a Messenger of God.
Muhammed was "That Prophet" like unto Moses Who would arise among the "brethren" (Ishmaelites) of the Israelites. He was the one "Faithful and True" in the Book of Revelations Who would be a "man of war" and conquer and defeat the idolaters (pagan) in order to establish God's justice. The Qur'an is the "Recital" of the Angel Gabriel Who revealed it to Muhammed. The words of the Angel Gabriel are the words of the Holy Spirit, and thus Scripture.
The Signs in the Heavens
Jesus said that before the coming of "the Son of Man" there would be certain 'signs in the heavens':
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." (Mattew 24:29)Jesus was referring to prophecies of the prophet Joel, who wrote:
"The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come." (Joel 2:31)The Apostle John, in his Book of Revelations, 6th chapter, wrote:
"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind." (Revelation 6:12-13)Most Christians believe that these 'signs' have not yet occurred. A few Christians, the Seventh-day Adventists, and a few others, believe they already have occurred.
Adventist Christian author Glen Walker has written:
"These are the opening signs announcing that Jesus would come again soon. First the earth shook mightily--this was commonly called the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755. It was the most terrible earthquake every recorded. It involved most of Europe and Africa and even reach America, Great Britain, and Ireland. It covered more than four million square miles.Nelson's New Loose-leaf Encyclopedia says:
"The Lisbon earthquake, which occurred on November 1, 1755, is the most notable earthquake in history."The Lisbon earthquake was not the strongest nor did it kill the most people (it killed 60,000). It was the only earthquake ever recorded to be felt around the world!
The Dark Day of May 19, 1780, was not an eclipse! Scientists still can't explain it. At noonday the Sun turned black, and the Moon appeared blood-red.
The last 'sign' was the falling of the stars. It says in the Apocalypse:
"And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig free casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken of a might wind." (Rev. 6:13)When figs became ripe they drop from a fig tree straight down to the earth. However, in a windstorm, a fig tree will "cast" unripe fruit in many different directions.
Night of the Falling Stars
The Rev. Henry Ward wrote a letter to the New York Journal of Commerce which appeared Nov. 14, 1833, in which he said:
"Here is the exactness of the prophet [Joel]. The falling stars did not come, as if from several trees shaken, but from one: whose which appeared in the East fell toward the East; those which appeared in the North fell toward the North; those which appeared in the West fell toward the West, and those which appeared in the South fell toward the South (for I went out of my residence into the park); and they fell, not as the ripe fruit falls. Far from it. But they flew, they WERE CAST, like the unripe fruit, descending; and in the multitude falling some cross the tracks of others, as they are thrown with more or less force." (Signs of the Times, Oct. 11, 1843).A few days later, Elijah H. Burritt wrote to the same publication, stating that the events of Novemeber 13th reminded him of "the awful gradeur of the image employed in the Apocalypse, upon the opening of the sixth seal, when 'the stars' of heaven fall." (The Geography of the Heavens, p.163).
Christians throughout the world believe that these 'signs' must take place before Christ can return "in the Glory of the Father". Some Christians expect the literal "stars" to fall to earth; all the billions of suns (many of whom are much larger than our Sun) to fall upon the earth. Some expect the Moon to turn literally into blood! Others expect no such literal fulfillment.
Baha'i Hand of the Cause (apostle) William Sears writes of these historic 'signs in the heavens' and how many Bible prophecies are fulfilled in the Baha'i Faith, in his popular book Thief in the Night; available at many Baha'i Centers or via Baha'i Booksource International on the Internet.
Baha'is believe that every 'Sign of God' (a holy Verse in Scripture, a prophecy, a Biblical story, etc.) has "one and seventy meanings"; all of which are true. This means every 'sign' has "1" literal meaning and "70" (a great multitude) of esoteric or "inner" meanings. Baha'u'llah explains many "inner" meanings of the 'signs in the heavens' in His Book of Certitude.
In The Clouds of Heaven
To most Christians, His return "in the Glory of God" and in "the clouds of Heaven" refers to Him coming in the literal "clouds" of the sky; spitting fireballs upon the wicked, and with tens of thousands of angels blowing their trumpets...
However, this presents the following 'problems':
*Most areas of the earth have skies that are not cloudy.
*The earth is round, therefore if Jesus descends in a cloudy-sky over Jerusalem, He won't be seen (much less recognized) by anyone except those in Jerusalem.
*For Jesus to descend in a cloud, even with 10,000 angels, and been seen "by every eye" then He must descend hundreds of thousands of times in hundreds of thousands of locations on the earth in order to "all eyes to see him". Still then, how will "all eyes" see him when some will be in the bellies of ships, others in mines, others in houses, etc.
Evangelical Christians believe that Jesus will return "in the clouds of Heaven"; the clouds of Heaven meaning the "a cloudy sky".
Baha'is, however, don't see it that way! They believe that Jesus returing "in the clouds" refers to the "clouds of heaven"; which were NOT the white puffy clouds of the sky, but the KABOD-I-YEHWEH: the "Glory of God" clouds which were the earthly theophanies of GOD THE FATHER.
Jesus would return "IN" God the Father!
How is this possible?
With God, all things are possible!
If God the Father could be "in" Jesus 2000 years ago, then Jesus could come "in" God the Father.
The Three Wise Men
Jesus likened the coming of "the Son of Man" to the advent of the Three Wise Men.
"For as the lightning cometh out the East, and shineth even unto the West, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matt. 24:27)
The only time the Bible mentions "light" that comes out of the East and goes unto the West is when the "Star of Bethlehem" appeared in the East and guided the "three wise men" to baby Jesus in Bethlehem.
In the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy it says:
"And it came to pass, when the Lord Jesus was born at Bethlehem of Judea, in the time of King Herod, behold, Magi came from the East to Jerusalem, as Zeraduscht [Zoroaster] had predicted, and there were with them gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." (7:1)"When the Wise Men found Jesus they worshipped Him and gave Him gifts. On the other hand, the Jews were awaiting the Messiah, but when He appeared as Jesus the vast great majority of them rejected and crucified Him! Why did the followers of a non-biblical prophet (Zoroaster) locate and worship Christ when the followers of the biblical prophets (the Jews) failed to recognize Him?
Was Zoroaster a false prophet? How could a false prophet predict the coming of the Savior?
Jesus said that the Son of Man would come like the Three Wise Men who came from the East to the West; guided by a shining star. Jesus also said that the Kingdom of Heaven would be "hidden" in three measures of meal until it was "leavened" (fully established).
The Three Maja'i see His Star in the East
Baha'is believe that Three Messengers of God came after Jesus:
1) Muhammad (570-643 A.D.)
2) The Bab (1819-1850 A.D.)
3) Baha'u'llah (1817-1892 A.D.)
Like the Three Wise Men (also known as the "Magi"~pronounced "Maja'i") two came from Persia, and one from Arabia. Muhammad came from Arabia, but The Bab and Baha'u'llah came from Persia.
These Three Messengers are the "Three Measures of Meal" that Jesus spoke about. These are the "Three Angels" of Revelations chapter 14! In Hebrew "angel" is "malakh", and means "Messenger".
Many a young child has asked in Sunday School, "Who were the Magi?" They are usually told, "They were astrologers!" or "They were Kings!" or "Don't worry about it!"
The Magi were actually Zoroastrian priests. The Greek calls them "Magoi"; the plural of "Magos" or "Magus". A Magus was not only a priest, but an official of Persia when it was ruled by Zoroastrian kings. Magus also existed in Babylon (now Iraq). Daniel was made the Rab Mag (Chief Magus) by the Babylonian King (Daniel chapter 5).
Ancient Christian tradition calls the Three Wise Men Belthazzar, Gaspar, and Melchior. Two were Persian, and one was Arabian. They were Zoroastrian Magoi.
Zoroaster was an ancient Persian prophet. Baha'is accept Him as a Manifestation of God; equal to Muhammed or The Bab or Moses, etc. He taught the worship of the One True God Who was called "Ahura Mazda"; which means "Wise Lord". Zoroaster wrote:
"The two primeval Spirits who are twins were revealed to me while in a sleep. Their ways of thinking, speaking, and behaving are two; the good and the evil. And between these two Ways the Wise Men have rightly chosen, and not the foolish ones." (Gathas Y30:3-4)
The Prophet Zoroaster
Zoroastrian prophecy tells of three Saviors or Sayoshants who would come and save Mankind. The Magus of Babylon (of whom Daniel was once their chief) combined these Zoroastrian prophecies with the Jewish prophecies concerning the Messiah ben Joseph, and they came to the conclusion that the Messiah, the King of the Jews, would be born when certain stars were in the constellation of Leo (the Lion).
The Magi saw the Messiah's star in the East
Christians are told that the Bible, and the Bible alone is the "Word of God".
But that would mean that Zoroaster is a false prophet!
Do YOU believe that the Magi (the three wise men) were followers of a false prophet ? How could the prophecies of a "false" prophet send them directly to the Christ child when the Jews (who poured over their prophecies of the Messiah every day) failed to recognize Him?
The only conclusion there can be is this:
*Zoroaster was a TRUE Prophet of God! But He was not a "biblical" prophet. He revealed the Word of God!
*The Bible IS the "Word of God". But is is NOT His "only" Word!
Jesus Returns in the Glory of His Father
Jesus said the "Son of Man" would come "in the glory of His Father" (Matthew 16:27). In Arabic, Baha'u'llah means "The Glory of God (the Father)".
Jesus would return "in" His "Glory".
In Arabic, the word for "glory" is "BAHA".
Jesus would return IN "The Glory of God".
In Arabic, "The Glory of God" is Baha'u'llah.
Jesus would return "IN" Baha'u'llah!
While Jesus was on earth 2000 years ago He told His disciples that GOD THE FATHER was "in" Him!
Philip said to him,As the "Father" was "in" the Son 2000 years ago, so the "Son" was "in" the Father when He came to this earth as BAHA'U'LLAH.
The Son of Man was to come "in the clouds of heaven". This refers to the "glory clouds" (the pillar of smoke by day and the pillar by fire by night) that led Israel and filled the Tabernacle. The "clouds of heaven" do NOT refer to to clouds of the sky. In the Old Testament, the "clouds of heaven" were called "The Glory of Yehweh [God]", or, in Arabic Bibles, "BAHA'U'LLAH".
Two thousands years ago the Father was manifest "in" the Son. A century ago, the Son became manifest "in" the Father. Jesus, the Spirit of God, returned in the Manifesation of God the Father on earth! The theophanies of God the Father on earth in the Old Testament were called "The Glory of the LORD". Or, in Arabic Bibles, they were called "Baha'u'llah".
The Father was IN the Son, and the Son was IN the Father. They are One.
Yeh'o'shua (Jesus) is the Messiah ben Joseph: the First Anointed One. He was the Suffering Messiah. Baha'u'llah is Messiah ben David: the Second Anointed One. He was the Reigning Messiah. They are the "Two Olive Branches" of Zechariah 4:12!
They are the "two anointed ones" (messiahs/christs) of Zechariah chapter 4.
The White Stone/New Name
The Apocalypse (Book of Revelations) speaks that those Christians who "overcome" will be given "hidden manna" plus a "white stone" with a "new name" in it:
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;Baha'i author Robert F. Riggs writes:
"The Bab presented His followers and Baha'u'llah with a scroll often called the 'White Stone' on which He inscribed a pentacle (five-pointed star) with 360 derivatives of the word 'BAHA'. The scroll represented a revealtion of the name of the New Manifestation to follow Him. Only those who accept the Baha'i Revelation will understand the meaning of the New Name." (Apocalypse Unsealed, p.69)The New Jerusalem
In The Book of Revelations the Beloved Apostle John has a vision of a city that comes down from Heaven:
The city is foursquare, and it has 12 Gates. John writes:
"21:2 And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.***According to John, New Jerusalem is 12,000 furlongs (stadia) in width, 12,000 furlongs in bredth, and 12,000 furlongs in height. Taking a literal interpretation (as Hal Lindsay and other End-Times/Prophecy preachers do), then the City of New Jerusalem will be some sort of giant "space ship" that lands upon the Earth.
The size of a literal New Jerusalem
Baha'is do not interpret New Jerusalem as a literal space-cit--1500 miles square and 1500 miles tall--which lands upon the earth. Rather, Baha'is see it as the World Order of Baha'u'llah; which is based upon the 12 Heavenly Principles which Baha'u'llah revealed.
New Jerusalem ("City of Peace")
John was a Jew, and he was using the Jewish science of numbers called "Gematria".
John wrote that the heavenly city was 12,000 fulongs in length, width, and heighth. Using Gematria, we come to this:
12,000 X 12,000 X 12,000= 1728[ with the 9 zeros removed]= 1+7+2+8= 18= 1+ 8 = 9.
In Revelations chapter 7 John sees 12,000 out of each of the 12 Tribes of Israel (144,000) being sealed. Later, John writes that "the Father's name" was written on their foreheads (Rev. 1:14).Again, using the science of Gematria, we come to this:
12 X 12,000= 144,000= 1+4+4+0+0+0= 9.
The Gematria meaning of 144,000 is "9".
It means all those who are "sealed" to Eternal Life (not a literal 144,000) and have the Father's Name written on their foreheads (i.e. they are servants to the Father) shall be sealed with "9" and recognized by the number "9".
The symbol of the Baha'i Revelation is the 9-pointed star. The name BAHA is Arabic for "GLORY", and consists of the letter BA (2) and the letter HA (7); which equals 9.
"These are they who are blessed by the Concourse on High, who are glorified by the denizens of the everlasting Cities, and beyond them by those on whose foreheads Thy most exalted Pen hath written, 'These! The People of Baha!'" (Baha'i Prayers, 178:8)
"I will write upon him My New Name." (Rev. 3:12)
John was giving readers gematric clues to identify not only Nero, but to identify the esoteric meaning of the New Jerusalem and the 144,000.
The People of BAHA (Ba+Ha=9); those that recognize that Jesus has returned in "The Glory of God" the Father, have entered the New Jerusalem.
He who has eyes, let him see!
Jesus' name in Greek is IESOUS, and equals 888: 8 + 8 + 8 = 24 = 2 + 4 = 6. The number 6 is the number of Man. The number of the Beast is 666 which is a negative number because it is associated with evil. Thus i"666" is 6 - 6 - 6 = -6; the opposite of 6. The number of Christ is 6, and the number of Antichrist is -6.
The Glory of God the Father
Shoghi Effendi wrote of Baha'u'llah:
"To Him Jesus Christ had referred to as the 'Prince of this world,' as the 'Comforter' Who will 'reprove the would of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,' as the 'Spirit of Truth' Who 'will guide you into all truth,' Who 'shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak,' as the 'Lord of the Vineyard,' and as the 'Son of Man' Who 'shall come in the glory of His Father' 'in the clounds of heaven with power and great glory,' with 'all the holy angels' about Him, and 'all nations gathered before His Throne." (God Passes By, p.93)The purpose of the Baha'i Faith is to establish the World Order of Baha'u'llah; otherwise known as the Heavenly or New Jerusalem. In the Book of Revelations the Apostle John sees a city descend from heaven to the earth. This city has 12 gates and 12 foundationstones (12 X 12= 144= 1+4+4= "9"). John wrote:
"...and the city had no need of the sun or moon to shine upon it for THE GLORY OF GOD is its light;..." (Rev. 221:23)The Glory of God was the GLORY CLOUD; the presence of the FATHER on earth. Baha'u'llah (which means The Glory of God [the Father] in Arabic) claimed to be God the Father and that the Son was "in" His Person. The name BAHA equals "9".
The World Order of Baha'u'llah will establish Universal Peace on this planet
New Jerusalem is the heavenly "City of Peace" which descends from heaven to the Earth. This symbolically represents the World Order of Baha'u'llah; based upon the 12 Principles of the Faith. The World Order of Baha'u'llah shall be the Kingdom of God upon Earth, and it shall save Humanity as a whole~as a living species~from total self-destruction. This is why Shoghi Effendi called Baha'u'llah the "Savior of the whole human race" and that the Faith's "aim is the salvation, through unification, of the entire planet." (The Promised Day is Come, pp.114,116).
The collective sins of Humanity has made it ripe for the Wrath of God upon it. Baha'u'llah wrote:
"The time for the destruction of the world and its people hath arrived. The hour is approaching when the most great convulsion will have appeared. The promised day is come, the day when tormenting trials will have surged about your heads, and beneath your feet, saying: 'Taste ye what your hands have wrought!' Soon shall the blasts of His chastisement beat upon you, and the dust of hell enshround you. The day is approaching when its flame will devour the cities, when the Tongue of grandure will proclaim: 'The Kingdom is God's, the Almighty, the All-Praised!' The day will soon come, whereon they will cry out for help and receive no answer. The day is approaching when the wrathful anger of the Almighty will have taken hold of them. He, verily, is the Omnipotent, the All-Subduing, the Most Powerful. He shall cleanse the earth from the defilement of their corruption, and shall give it for an heritage unto such of His servants as are nigh unto Him." (The Promised Day is Come, pp.3-4)
Mankind has earned itself the Wrath of God. Abortion on demand, sexual perversion, the destruction of the environment for the purpose of gain, greed and corruption in business and government, the extremes of poverty and wealth, starvation in a world of plenty, wars, illegal drugs, gangs, racial,religious, and ethnic hatred and conflict, etc. All these things have earned Humanity the Wrath of a Just and Angry God.
The 7-Bowl Judment
God is Merciful, and has provided a means of escaping His Righteous Wrath!
At least one of the 7-Bowls has already been poured out upon mankind! The invasions of the barbarians seeking Roman coin (i.e. tormenting those with the 'Mark' of the Beast). The Vandals, Visigoths, Huns, and others tormented the Romans for hundreds of years; all seeking Roman coins (i.e. coins with the image of the Emperor stamped upon them). Millions were tortured and died. Thousands of Roman cities and villages went up in flame. Rome itself was ravaged and burned numerous times. Later, the Black Plague killed a third of all who lived in Europe.
Some believe that the World Wars were also Bowls filled with the Wrath of God being poured out.
Could Humanity survive all 7 Bowls being poured out? Read and ask yourself that question.
But mankind does not have to suffer God's Righteous Wrath, nor self-destruction! God has provided a way to save Humanity as a whole; that is the World Order of Baha'u'llah otherwise known as The New Jerusalem. If Humanity builds the New Jerusalem, based upon the 12 Principles of the Faith, then Humanity will be saved.
Jesus=Personal Savior=Savior of the Soul.
Baha'u'llah=World Redeemer=Redeemer of the Whole.
They are the Father and the Son.
Will Humanity survive or will Humanity be utterly destroyed?
God's Wrath upon an unjust planet
That all depends on if Humanity recognizes Baha'u'llah and obey's His Holy Laws and builds the New Jerusalem (the World Order of Baha'u'llah) as He has outlined in His Writings. Only then will Humanity be spared from the "Third Woe".
Humanity actually has a choice. To be saved, or to become extinct as a living species; To establish peace and use the resources now spent on war and luxury to help the needed and colonize new worlds, or will Humanity incure the Wrath of an Angry and Just God?.
That is Humanity's choice.
The choice is ours to make.
Will we make the right choice?
Will Humanity be destroyed by Fire (the "Final Doom")?
Jesus is the Son. He is the Messiah ben Joseph.
Baha'u'llah is the Father. He is the Messiah ben David.
They are ONE.
Jesus is Lord! The Son of God! The Very Savior of Man! The Redeemer of Souls!
Baha'u'llah is the Heavenly Father! The Spirit of Truth! The World Redeemer!
They are the "Father" and the "Son".
They are ONE!
"Howbeit when he, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH is come, he will guide you unto all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify Me..." (John 16:12-14)
"Verily, He Who is THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH is now come to guide you unto all truth. He speaketh not as prompted by His own Self, but as bidden by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Say, this is the One Who hath glorified the Son and hath exalted His Cause." (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p.12)Amen!
THE LORD OF THE VINEYARD HAS COME!
THE FATHER HAS COME!
CHRIST HAS RETURNED "IN" THE GLORY OF HIS FATHER!
ALL CHRISTIAN HOPES AND PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE SECOND ADVENT AND THE COMING OF THE NEW JERUSALEM HAVE....BEEN...FULFILLED!!!
It is time for Christians to recognize The Spirit of Truth that Jesus said would come to teach us "all things" pertaining to the Kingdom of God and the Salvation of the Human Family. You owe it to Jesus to investigate this Truth for yourselves. You owe it to your children and generations not yet born on this planet. Please, come hear Him! Come to a Baha'i Fireside and listen to His Words being recited in prayers. You will KNOW THEN **if*** HE _is_ Whom He claims to be!
You MUST come and hear His Words and prayers being recited!
Then you will know that the Father, The Lord of the Vineyard, has come!
The Spirit of Truth has come...