MENU:  HOME » Religion » Revelation: Content : Previous Chapter : Next Chapter

The Book of Revelation
Chapter Two
One Bahá'í's Concept

CONCEPT BOX

Here Bahá'u'lláh addresses the first and most ancient of the Seven Churches (Religions) and He approves (commends) it for what it has attained - and condemns those things in which they have fallen short. For each of the seven religions, in turn, He will repeat this pattern of commending (praising) some aspect of the religion, condemning some other aspect of the religion, concluding with a threat or promise and a refrain.

    "As to the religion of the Sabeans very little is known about the origins of this religion, though we Bahá'ís are certain of one thing that the founder of it has been a Divinely-sent Messenger. The country where Sabeanism became widespread and flourished was Chaldea, and Abraham is considered as having been a follower of that Faith."
    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian
    to an individual believer,
    November 10, 1939)
    (Lights of Guidance,
    p. 502)
Indeed, among the Sabeans, Abraham is considered to be the founder of their faith.
    Amongst the great prophets was His Holiness Abraham who, being an iconoclast and a herald of the oneness of God, was banished by the people from his native land.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Bahá'í Scriptures,
    p. 388)
The Sabean Religion

There still remains a group of the loyal followers of the Sabean Religion near Baghdád in Iraq. Although they feel that their numbers are dwindling since they do not permit conversions to their religion and one must be born into it. They have about 80,000 members in Iraq and another group of 15,000 in southern Iran, and some very small numbers in the US and elsewhere. They fit in with the Islámic world by adopting the Islámic customs and Arab language, and they are accepted by the Iraqi people.

The Sabean book is called Kanza Rama, which is said to transmit the sayings of the ancient Prophets of Seth, Abraham and others lost to time. The group in Iraq call themselves 'Mandaean Sabeans' and they have adopted the teachings regarding baptism from John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Christian religion, in which they see baptism in playing a major role in purifying the soul.

It is interesting that the Bible does not identify John the Baptist as being Jewish but says that he followed what we identify with many ancient Sabean practices in his living close to nature in the wild. Some also feel that he should be identified with the Essene sect and the first chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke has the lengthy account of John's birth to the Priest Zacharias and Elisabeth, a cousin of the Virgin Mary. It is difficult to tell how much of the original teachings of Sabeans remain because the religion is ancient and has now interacted with so many other religions.

The Native Religions

One thesis of this book is that the Sabean religion is the foundation or First Religion to the First Peoples (the Native Peoples) throughout the world and particularly in regards to the Indians of North America. While references to water, a central factor in the Sabean religion, are prominent in regards to the third religion (in the order of the seven religions being discussed here), acceptance of the Sabean Religion as having been the first of the present day religions has been the practice of other Bahá'í writers such as Hand of the Cause William Sears (Release the Sun, p. 231) and is our practice in this book.

    "It is possible the Indians of the Americas were influenced in the remote past by Prophets in Asia. But again, as there is nothing in our teachings about it we cannot do more than speculate."
    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi
    to an individual believer, November 25, 1950)
    (Lights of Guidance, #1576)
Further, there is reason to believe from the Book of Genesis in the Bible that all the present religions are descended from Abraham because it repeatedly says that all the nations of the earth shall be blessed of Him:
    12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram.
    12:3 in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

    18:18 .Abraham .all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him.

    22:15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven.
    22:18 .in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

    26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

The role and importance of the Native Peoples and their spiritual teachings is a prominent theme in the Bahá'í Faith.
    "The original population of the United States was very dear to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's heart, and He foretold for the Indians a great future if they accepted and became enlightened by the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.

    "To believe in the Mouthpiece of God in His Day confers very great blessings, not only on individuals, but on races, and He hopes that you who are now numbered amongst the followers of Bahá'u'lláh will give His Message to many more of your tribe, and in this way hasten for your people a bright and happy future."

    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi
    to an individual believer,
    December 21, 1947)
    (Lights of Guidance,
    p. 530)
    "If the light of Divine Guidance enters properly into the lives of the Indians, it will be found that they will arise with a great power and will become an example of spirituality and culture to all of the people in these countries.
    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi
    to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central America and Mexico,
    August 22, 1957)
    (Lights of Guidance,
    p. 599)
The contributions to science and mankind's intellectual accomplisments by each of the past religions has been very great and this applies no less to the Sabean Religion.
    Every one of the eminent divines both studies and teaches the science of logic, although they consider its founder to have been a Sabean. Most of them have insisted that if a scholar has thoroughly mastered a variety of sciences but is not well grounded in logic, his opinions, deductions and conclusions cannot safely be relied upon.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    The Secret of Divine Civilization,
    p. 31)

SABEAN

THE GREEK WORD EPHESUS MEANS "PALE"

4000 to 5000 B.C.

REVEALER ABRAHAM
(according to current adherents of the Sabean religion)

Bible Verses

[1] Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

One Bahá'í's Concept

Ephesus - Sabean - Commentary

V.1 John is told to write to the angel of the church of Ephesus. Ephesus is the name of one of the towns in Turkey where John had been teaching the Christian Faith. Most realize that the ruins are no longer significant as a church, however the name is significant, as the meaning of the word is 'Pale'. Since this is a Christian book, many would like to attribute 'Pale' to a Christian congregation, however it also relates to one of the religions of the world. This is the attribute that describes the Sabean Religion, believed to have existed since 5000 B.C. It is the oldest religion of the seven. The people who continue to refer to themselves as Sabeans, in Iraq and Iran, believe that Abraham was a founder of their religion and that John the Baptist was a Sabean.

Bahá'u'lláh, God's Manifestation for this day, is the one holding the seven stars in His right hand. The stars symbolize the seven Revealers, or Prophets that God sent to the world to guide the people of the world, and the candlesticks symbolize the world religions, thus bringing them together in unity. He is the 'Trumpet' the great voice speaking to us through 'His' writings: 'His' Pen, Bahá'u'lláh says, is God's Pen.

[2] I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

V.2 He Commends:

The Sabean Religion is an archetype for all the very ancient Native Religions throughout the world although it may be speculative that it is their actual source. These religions feel a particular attachment to nature and patience and attachment to truth is a particular hallmark about them.

For many long centuries the followers of the Native Religions have sought the Great Spirit. Many religious teachers have come to them claiming to be spiritual leaders (apostles) but the Natives have found them not to have the true spirit.

[3] And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

    "It is a great mistake to believe that because people are illiterate or live primitive lives, they are lacking in either intelligence or sensibility. On the contrary, they may well look on us with the evils of our civilization, with its moral corruption, its ruinous wars, its hypocrisy and conceit, as people who merit watching with both suspicion and contempt. We should meet them as equals, well-wishers, people who admire and respect their ancient decent, and who feel that they will be interested as we are in a living religion and not in the dead forms of present-day churches.
    (From letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi
    to the Comite Nacional de Ensenanza Bahá'í para los Indigenas de Sur America,
    September 21, 1951)
    (Lights of Guidance,
    p. 523)

[4] Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

V.4 He Condemns:

Like all religions, the Native religions have let dogma, superstition and vain imaginings creep into their original spiritual teachings.

[5] Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

V.5 He is asking them to consider where they have erred, and to return to the spirit of their original teachings.

The Threat:

The threat is that He will remove their religion entirely, if they don't heed His warning.

[6] But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

V.6 He commends that they hate the wrong doing of the Nicolatians, a group of people who are a symbol for those who arise actively against religion. In truth and point of fact there are few Native People anywhere in the world who are atheists.

[7] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

V.7 The Refrain:

"He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches:" The hope is that they will acquire a perceptive eye, and a hearing ear, so that the veils will be removed and they will understand the message that Bahá'u'lláh brings.

The Promise:

The promise is "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Meaning that they will recognize the Manifestation of God, which is the "Tree of Life".

CONCEPT BOX

The Hindu Religion is also very ancient and there is nothing dogmatic in the Bahá'í Teachings saying whether it or the Sabean Religion is the older. Historians and students of comparative religion may dispute as to just which is the oldest religion. Both of their histories are lost in antiquity and the Bahá'í Writings themselves are silent on the subject.

    "With reference to your question concerning the Sabean and Hindu religions; there is nothing in the Teachings that could help us in ascertaining which one of these two Faiths is older. Neither history seems to be able to provide a definite answer to this question. The records concerning the origin of these religions are not sufficiently detailed and reliable to offer any conclusive evidence on this point."
    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi
    to an individual believer, November 9, 1940:
    Extracts from Guardian's letters on Hinduism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism and Related Subject, Op. cit.)
    (Lights of Guidance,
    p. 502)
    "There are no dates in our teachings regarding the actual dates of the Prophets of the Adamic Cycle, so we cannot give any. Tentatively we can accept what historians may consider accurate. Naturally the dates referring to Muhammad, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh we are sure of."
    (November 25, 1950
    to an individual believer)
    (Lights of Guidance,
    p. 503)
Nevertheless, the Bahá'í Teachings have the highest regard for Krishna, the founder of the Hindu religion.
    Blessed souls -- whether Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius or Muhammad -- were the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity. How can we deny such irrefutable proof? How can we be blind to such light?
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    The Promulgation of Universal Peace,
    p. 346)
    The Message of Krishna is the message of love. All God's prophets have brought the message of love. None has ever thought that war and hate are good. Every one agrees in saying that love and kindness are best.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Paris Talks,
    p. 35)
    [Bahá'u'lláh was].to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna;.To Him the Bhagavad- Gita of the Hindus had referred as the "Most Great Spirit," the "Tenth Avatar," the "Immaculate Manifestation of Krishna."
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    "God Passes By", rev. ed.
    (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987),
    pp. 94-95)
    'The Bahá'í view of 'reincarnation' is essentially different from the Hindu conception. The Bahá'ís believe in the attributes and qualities, but maintain that the essence or the reality of things cannot be made to return. Every being keeps its own individuality, but some of his qualities can be transmitted. The doctrine of metempsychosis upheld by the Hindus is fallacious.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    To an individual believer, March 27, 1938)
    (Lights of Guidance,
    p. 536)
Possibly the most difficult concept for most people to understand in the Bahá'í Teachings is the one that is both most central and unique to it and that is the concept of the "Manifestation of God". Not a 'reincarnation' as understood by many Hindus nor even an 'incarnation' as thought of by many Christians. Rather a finite reflection of the Infinite God, the analogy often being given of that of a distant star appearing in the mirror of a telescope. The image in the telescope is all that we know or see of the star but certainly not the star itself. Appearing night after night in the telescope mirror. Never the exact same light but always from the same source representative of the same star.

    The Jews await the Messiah, the Christians the return of Christ, the Muslims the Mahdi, the Buddhists the fifth Buddha, the Zoroastrians Shah Bahram, the Hindoos the reincarnation of Krishna, and the Atheists - a better social organization! Baha'o'llah represents all these, and thus destroys the rivalries and the enmities of the different religions; reconciles them in their primitive purity, and frees them from the corruption of dogmas and rites.
    (Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá v1,
    p. vii)

HINDU

THE GREEK WORD SMYRNA MEANS "PERSECUTED"

2000-3000 B.C.

REVEALER KRISHNA

Bible Verses

[8] And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

Smyrna - Hindu - Commentary

V.8 John is told to write to the angel of the church of Smyrna. This is also a place where John had been teaching in Greece (now Turkey). Smyrna is now in ruins, but the word has the meaning 'Persecuted', a symbol that relates to the Hindu Faith. The prophet of the Hindu religion is Krishna, and is one of the stars in the right hand (Rev. 2:1) of Bahá'u'lláh, bringing all the religions together.

Krishna is 'the first and last' meaning that He is the same spirit of all the Revealers from God. Each and Every Prophet is both the First and the Last (and all in between) "always having been" as when Jesus said "Before Abraham was, I Am" and always being the last or latest as well as those to come. In the same spirit of Krishna, 'Bahá'u'lláh' has returned, as the 'last', and is again alive, giving guidance to the world.

    Wert thou to consider in this station the last of them to be the first, or conversely, thou wouldst indeed be speaking the truth, as hath been ordained by Him Who is the Wellspring of Divinity and the Source of Lordship: "Say: Call upon God or call upon the All-Merciful: by whichsoever name ye will, invoke him, for He hath most excellent names."
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Gems of Divine Mysteries: Verse 45)
All the Prophets for all the religions state that They are the same Spirit as the Messengers of the past, and also of the future. Like teachers in school They know the amount that the pupils can understand. Each Prophet brings different rules for the times, however each time They build upon the same message of love and spirituality.

    For they are all but one person, one soul, one spirit, one being, one revelation. They are all the manifestation of the "Beginning" and the "End," the "First" and the "Last," the "Seen" and "Hidden" -- all of which pertain to Him Who is the innermost Spirit of Spirits and eternal Essence of Essences. And were they to say: "We are the servants of God," this also is a manifest and indisputable fact. For they have been made manifest in the uttermost state of servitude, a servitude the like of which no man can possibly attain.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Kitáb-i-Íqán,
    p. 179)
    John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
    (King James Bible)

[9] I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

V.9 He Commends:

We may observe the economic poverty in India, the world's largest democracy, but it is a country of rich spiritual traditions. He says that He knows their works and their tribulations. He commends Hindus for their richness in spirit because of their tribulations.

He Condemns:

Although some might on the basis of this verse be inclined to assign the Second Angel to the Jewish Church, we need not put too much emphasis on the word "Jews" in either this verse or later in Rev. 3:9, because within the context of the scripture it simply means those who claim to be religious but are hypocritical. This is blasphemous because it dishonors God in vainly appealing to His Name when the true feeling is not in the heart. Those in any of the religions who wish to appear "religious" - following the Will of God - but who are actually following their own desires are servants of Satan.

[10] Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

V.10 The Threat:

He tells them not to fear what they will have to suffer. He said they would have tribulation for ten days. (In Ezekiel 4:6 it says each day signifies a year, which may make it a period of time of ten years.) We are all aware of the troubles of India especially with their neighboring country Pakistan. He says that 'the devil' shall cast some in prison. This could be trying times, but He tells them to have faith.

The Promise:

Those who remain faithful will receive a crown of life.

[11] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

V.11 The Refrain:

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: The angel is telling them to listen to what Bahá'u'lláh is telling them.

The Promise:

"He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." The first death is the death of the body. The second death would be death of the spirit - or failure to recognize the Manifestation. When one discovers the new 'light of the age' a new life begins.

    The first life, which pertaineth to the elemental body, will come to an end, as hath been revealed by God: "Every soul shall taste of death." But the second life, which ariseth from the knowledge of God, knoweth no death, as hath been revealed aforetime: "Him will We surely quicken to a blessed life."
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Gems of Divine Mysteries: Verse 65)

CONCEPT BOX

This is a third contender for being the oldest among this list of "seven" religions. However, the fact that Abraham is designated in the scriptures of the Jews as a Prophet does not make him Jewish, anymore than the fact that He is included in the Christian Bible makes Him Christian.

Some may feel that the description of the second church (designated in this book as being the Hindu Religion) and its name indicating the "persecuted" applies more to the Jews and that the fact that Jews are mentioned by name in regards to the second church identifies it even more closely with them. The Bahá'í teachings hold no dogmatic response to such perceptions and since the experience of each religion is an archetype for each of the other religions there will be merit in all those views.

The important concept is that the Book of Revelation is addressed to all the religions of the world. Many of those other religions existed centuries before the Christian religion and were the only known religions in large portions of the world for centuries after the Christian religion came into existence. Nevertheless, the followers of those religions were and are a part of God's creation and He would not leave them without spiritual guidance anymore than they would be left without the other essentials of life. The ancient religions continue to this day. Each one built beneficial societies and was a part of the progressive development of mankind.

JEWISH

THE GREEK WORD PERGAMOS MEANS "POPULAR"

1250 BC

REVEALER MOSES

Bible Verses

[12] And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

Pergamos - Jewish - Commentary

V.12 John is told to write to the angel of the church of Pergamos. Pergamos was a small town where John had been teaching. It was a principal center for worship and popular because of the Temple of Asclepius, which was supposed to offer healing. The word Pergamos means 'Popular'. The town is in total ruins, so we consider this a symbol. The word 'Popular' is related to the Jewish Faith. It should be noted that Bahá'u'lláh says these things with a sharp sword with two edges meaning that He clearly divides the truth as shown in both His approval and criticism in the next verses.

The angel (star) is the prophet Moses. It should be noted that for each church (religion) it is the "Angel" (Prophet / Revealer / Manifestation of God) that is addressed and not some small town's church congregation.

The One (Bahá'u'lláh) with the "with the two edged sword" was mentioned in (Rev.1:16) and discussed in the associated verses.

[13] I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

V.13 He Commends:

He commends them for their works and holding fast to His name.

    From . the history of the Jewish people we learn that the foundation of the religion of God laid by Moses was the cause of their eternal honor and national prestige, the animating impulse of their advancement and racial supremacy and the source of that excellence which will always command the respect and reverence of those who understand their peculiar destiny and outcome.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    The Promulgation of Universal Peace,
    p. 364)
For those who have suffered poverty, they have received spiritual richness. We think of those who have stood up under Satanic tribulations down through the ages, especially in Germany during the holocaust. To this day they are still surrounded by powers of opposition, in a situation that could be called the seat of Satan. Even with all the opposition, this religion is very strong, and very well respected.

God reminds them that He has not forgotten about Antipas who was martyred. This is a clear message that nothing can be hidden from God.

[14] But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

V.14 He Condemns:

He condemns them for their worship of idols and following the doctrine of Balaam. The idols are not physical figures but symbols of materialism and worldliness.

Balaam was a high priest who went against the Israelites. Balac (also spelled Balak) was a king, who by following Balaam cast a stumbling block before the Israelites for riches. Balak is a symbol of gold and materialism.

[15] So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

V.15 The Nicolaitans are a group that went against religion, and strangely even in Israel today most Jews call themselves "non religious". Many of the leaders of thought in atheism have been Jewish. While the Jews have been a very intellectual and well educated people they are condemmed for this worldly intellectualism in contrast to the followers of the Sabean Religion (of Native People) who were praised (Rev.2:6) for their opposition to the Nicolaitan atheistic beliefs.

[16] Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

V.16 The Threat:

He is asking them to listen to His new message, and says that if they do not, He will come quickly with the "sword of His mouth", which means that until they recognize His new religious teachings they will have tribulation.

[17] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

V.17 The Refrain:

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches:" He tells them to listen to what the Spirit is saying.

The Promise:

"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."

The promise is very great. The hidden manna is the teachings for the unity and love of mankind, and the white stone is a symbol of spiritual life. The new name is Bahá'u'lláh, a gift to those who recognize the new Manifestation for this age.

CONCEPT BOX

One of the astonishing things that one should note in going through the "Messages" to the "Seven Churches" is how each part of the message fits the nature and particular characteristic of one of the World's Seven Major Historical Religions and how each of "Seven Churches" (religions) addressed appeared in the same order in history as they repeatedly appear in that same order in the Book of Revelation.

It is also interesting to note that just as the John the Baptist and the Sabean religion was mentioned in connection with Jesus in the Bible, so also was the Zoroastrian religion in that the "Three Wise Men", that "came from the East" at His birth, are reputed to have been Zoroastrian kings. As one delves into these histories, other similar connections are found.

The Parsee Zoroastrian religion is often associated in the Book of Revelation with the Sun. Sometimes people have erroneously been referred to as Sun Worshippers. The religion is located mainly in Persia which is now modern day Iran.

ZOROASTRIAN

THE GREEK WORD THYATIRA MEANS "SACRIFICE"

900-1000 B.C.

REVEALER ZOROASTER

Bible Verses

[18] And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

Thyatira - Zoroastrian - Commentary

V.18 John is told to write to the angel (star) of the church of Thyatira. Thyatira is now in ruins, but a small commercial center called Akhisar is in its place. When John was teaching there, apparently there was a woman who led church members away with her evil influences, who earned the code name 'Jezebel' (see V.20).

The Greek word Thyatira symbolizes 'sacrifice' which we relate to the Zoroastrian Faith. Zoroaster like Jesus, the 'Son of God' is given a description of eyes like unto a flame of fire. He could read your very soul and His feet are like fine brass -meaning that He was firm in His mission as a Messenger from God in spite of tribulations. He, like Bahá'u'lláh, is the same Spirit that is for all the Major Prophets or what are now called Messengers from God or Manifestations of God.

[19] I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

V.19 He Commends:

He knows their works and commends the Zoroastrians for their charity, service, faith, and patience. He especially commends them for their works. The Zoroastrians are a very close-knit community in which they support one another.

[20] Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

V.20 He Condemns:

He condemns them for following in lustful inclinations away from the truth that He compares to Jezebel, the temptress of the Bible, who calls herself a prophetess to commit fornication. This is a symbol here of their misdeeds. Those who do not repent, He promises great tribulation.

[21] And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

V.21 Because Persia was where both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh appeared there was a great opportunity for the followers of the Zoroastrian religion to recognize them, and indeed a few did, but on the whole, just as the Jews failed to recognize Jesus during His presence so did the Zoroastrians fail to recognize the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh when They walked among them.
    To His Dispensation the sacred books of the followers of Zoroaster had referred as that in which the sun must needs be brought to a standstill for no less than one whole month. To Him Zoroaster must have alluded when, according to tradition, He foretold that a period of three thousand years of conflict and contention must needs precede the advent of the World-Savior Shah-Bahram, Who would triumph over Ahriman and usher in an era of blessedness and peace.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    God Passes By,
    p. 95)

[22] Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

V.22 The Threat:

He is giving a warning to those who commit adultery, which is called the way of Jezebel, and which is therefore materialism and immorality. He says that those who follow this path will suffer great tribulation if they don't reform their ways.

    As regards the inculcation of morality and the development of human virtues, there is no difference whatsoever between the teachings of Zoroaster, Jesus and Bahá'u'lláh.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    The Promulgation of Universal Peace,
    p. 168)

[23] And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

V.23 He says that He will kill their children with death, which means spiritual death. He searches the hearts, we are judged by our works, not our words. Indeed, although even more historically recent than either the Jewish or the Hindu Faiths - the Zoroastrian Faith is much fewer in number and relatively little heard of today. It does no proselytizing and dies off with its children.

[24] But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

V.24
    This physical world of man is subject to the power of the lusts, and sin is the consequence of this power of the lusts, for it is not subject to the laws of justice and holiness. The body of man is a captive of nature; it will act in accordance with whatever nature orders. It is, therefore, certain that sins such as anger, jealousy, dispute, covetousness, avarice, ignorance, prejudice, hatred, pride and tyranny exist in the physical world. All these brutal qualities exist in the nature of man. A man who has not had a spiritual education is a brute.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Some Answered Questions,
    p. 119)

[25] But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

V.25 He tells them to hold fast to the teachings of Zoroaster, until they receive the new message that He, Bahá'u'lláh will bring.

[26] And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

V.26 The Promise:

"He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him I will give power over the nations:"

Bahá'u'lláh is a descendant of Zoroaster, so the power refers to Him, especially when it says He rules with a rod of iron.

    A great Bahá'í scholar, Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl, through extensive historical research has verified that Bahá'u'lláh was descended from Zoroaster and the Sasaniyan kings of Persia, thereby fulfilling certain traditions that the great Redeemer of mankind would be of pure Persian lineage. Bahá'u'lláh was also descended from Abraham through His third wife Katurah, thus uniting in His own person two branches of the Aryan and Semitic religions.
    (Adib Taherzadeh,
    The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh v 1,
    p. 7)

[27] And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

V.27 Besides here, the ruling with a rod of iron is mentioned in Psalms 2:9, and Rev.12:5 and Rev.19:15. It is of course not a literal refererence. The problem for many people in recognizing their Lord has been that they have taken the Scriptures in a literal sense. Consider this sign and some of the reasons why the Jews rejected Christ.
    When Christ appeared, twenty centuries ago, although the Jews were eagerly awaiting His Coming, and prayed every day, with tears, saying: 'O God, hasten the Revelation of the Messiah,' yet when the Sun of Truth dawned, they denied Him and rose against Him with the greatest enmity, and eventually crucified that divine Spirit, the Word of God, and named Him Beelzebub, the evil one, as is recorded in the Gospel. The reason for this was that they said: 'The Revelation of Christ, according to the clear text of the Torah, will be attested by certain signs, and so long as these signs have not appeared, whoso layeth claim to be a Messiah is an impostor. Among these signs is this, that the Messiah should come from an unknown place, yet we all know this man's house in Nazareth, and can any good thing come out of Nazareth? The second sign is that He shall rule with a rod of iron, that is, He must act with the sword, but this Messiah has not even a wooden staff. Another of the conditions and signs is this: He must sit upon the throne of David and establish David's sovereignty. Now, far from being enthroned, this man has not even a mat to sit on. Another of the conditions is this: the promulgation of all the laws of the Torah; yet this man has abrogated these laws, and has even broken the sabbath day, although it is the clear text of the Torah that whosoever layeth claim to prophethood and revealeth miracles and breaketh the sabbath day, must be put to death. Another of the signs is this, that in His reign justice will be so advanced that righteousness and well-doing will extend from the human even to the animal world -- the snake and the mouse will share one hole, and the eagle and the partridge one nest, the lion and the gazelle shall dwell in one pasture, and the wolf and the kid shall drink from one fountain. Yet now, injustice and tyranny have waxed so great in His time that they have crucified Him! Another of the conditions is this, that in the days of the Messiah the Jews will prosper and triumph over all the peoples of the world, but now they are living in the utmost abasement and servitude in the empire of the Romans. Then how can this be the Messiah promised in the Torah?'
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá,
    p. 44)

[28] And I will give him the morning star.

V.28 The morning star is the light that precedes the new day. Since The Báb preceded Bahá'u'lláh, He is referred to here as the 'morning star'. The Zoroastrian Faith flourished at the time of Christ in Persia, which is now Iran. The Báb was born in Persia in 1819 near the birthplace of Zoroaster.
    His Holiness the Báb gave the glad tidings concerning the appearance of the Manifestation of God, and His Holiness, the Blessed Perfection, was the Promised One of all the nations and religions. The Báb was the Morning Star heralding the glorious Dawn of the Sun of Reality. Now all of us are under Its shadow and receive the refulgent bestowals from It.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'í Scriptures,
    p. 284)

[29] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. V.29 The Refrain:

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: Bahá'u'lláh tells them to listen to the new message.

    He (Zoroaster) foretold that a period of three thousand years of conflict and contention must needs precede the advent of the World-Saviour Sháh-Bahram, Who would triumph over Ahriman and usher in an era of blessedness and peace.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    God Passes By,
    p.95)

MENU:  HOME » Religion » Revelation: Content : Previous Chapter : Next Chapter