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

CONCEPT BOX

This chapter deals with the religion that is to come 'hereafter': the Fulfillment of the previous religions. In the Bahá'í Writings there are often references to the Revealers as 'Trumpets', and the Revealers as sitting on Thrones. Two Trumpets being blown would therefore be two Revealers - one after the other.

    "And the trumpet shall be blown, and those who are in the heavens and in the earth shall swoon, save whom God pleases. Then it shall be blown again, and, lo! they shall stand up and look on. And the earth shall beam with the light of its Lord, and the Book shall be set forth, and the prophets and martyrs shall be brought; and it shall be decreed between them in truth, and they shall not be wronged!"
    (The Qur'án [Koran] Sura 39 - The Troops)
The Báb, Mírzá 'Alí-Muhammad, was born in the city of Shíráz Persia, October 20, 1819. He declared His mission in 1844. There was a lot of excitement as the One who became known as the Báb already had wisdom, eloquence, great knowledge and courage. This chapter describes the problems of the world at that time, which will continue until the new Twin Manifestations of God (the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh) are recognized.

It is eight years (1852) after the Báb's declaration (1844), before the person to be Bahá'u'lláh finds out who He Himself is. Another eleven years will go by before Bahá'u'lláh declares His mission (1863).

The 'beasts' mentioned in this chapter have often been perceived in a negative light, whereas here a positive sense of worthiness is shown. In this regards there is discussion of the nature of symbols in the appendix at the end of this chapter.

Bible Verses

[1] After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.1 "A door was opened in heaven." The Voice of the Trumpet called John to 'Come, I will show you things which must come shortly. The Book of Revelation gives new meaning to religion, bringing new concepts, also a history that is truly amazing as it is right on with the times of this century. We would not have understood if the book had been open before this era.

The Door that was opened is the Báb. (The meaning of the word 'Báb' is 'Gate'). He opens a new cycle, and is the forerunner for the new age. He tells of things to come and foretells that the Promised one, promised in all the Holy Scriptures would come in 19 years. The Báb's voice, also a Trumpet, tells John that He also will reveal what is to come.

    The trumpet asketh: 'Hath the Bugle been sounded?' Say: 'Yea, by the King of Revelation!, when He mounted the throne of His Name, the All-Merciful.'
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,
    p. 132)

[2] And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

V.2 John immediately was 'in the spirit' like a vision. A throne was set up in Heaven, a place of high authority, and he observed One that sat on the throne: 'Bahá'u'lláh'. Only those who recognize Bahá'u'lláh and the New Name will accept that interpretation.

[3] And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

V.3 The 'One on the throne' was described as 'to be looked upon as a Jasper stone'. The ancient Jasper is green and clear, a symbol of clarity. The Sardine stone is milk white and a symbol of purity. There is a rainbow around His throne, made up of seven prismatic colors - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The rainbow is a symbol of the seven religions of the world. The different colors when brought together make up one ray of light. When you study all the religions you understand better the one in which you were raised. Together they give a beautiful message with a much fuller meaning of truth, and together they bring unity.

The Emerald is green, which symbolizes Springtime: This is the beginning of a new day, a new cycle, a new age.

[4] And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

V.4 Around the throne or 'station of divine authority' sat 24 elders or disciples. They had spiritual authority and were clothed in white - meaning with righteousness and purity. There were twelve disciples, both for Christ, and Muhammad. The Báb's disciples are called 'Letters of the Living' and Bahá'u'lláh's disciples are called Hands of the Cause. 'Golden' is always a sign of Divine authority.

Regarding the four and twenty elders:

    The Master ('Abdu'l-Bahá) in a Tablet, stated that they are the Báb, the 18 Letters of the Living and five others who would be known in the future. So far we do not know who these five other are."
    (From a letter written
    on behalf of the Guardian
    to an individual believer, July 22, 1934:
    Bahá'í News, No. 171, November 1944,
    p. 2)
    (Lights of Guidance,
    p. 507)
For more about the four and twenty elders look at Rev.11:16.
[5] And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

V.5 These lightnings and thunderings and voices are the great disturbances caused by the message that the new Prophet brings. Always there are great storms of opposition and violence, mostly from the leaders of religion and the political leaders. The Seven Spirits, like lamps burning with the love of God are the Seven Angels or Prophets of the seven great religions of the world to which this new message is directed.

[6] And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

V.6 Before the throne was a sea of glass, which is a clear vision of truth without the flaw or blemish of man-made doctrine. The four rulers (beasts) had 'eyes' which represent knowledge of things before and after.

[7] And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

V.7 Four beasts are described: the first is like a lion, ferocious, the second like a calf, calm, the third like a face of a man, and the fourth like a flying eagle.
    .the four beasts, or creatures, as explained by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in a tablet to a German believer, represent the first four rulers who will arise to spread the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh over the whole world, as the good king of India, King Asoka, organized Buddhism as the state religion in 264 B.C. and promulgated it actively throughout Asia and Emperor Constantine spread Christianity throughout Europe.
    (Ruth Moffett,
    New Keys to the Book of Revelation
    p.20)
The Zoroastrian Faith also became known only after the king promoted it.

[8] And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

V.8 The four rulers (beasts) are described as each having six wings which represent the power to spread the faith rapidly. They have eyes that can see within, representing the ability to see future implications and past development with understanding and insight. They rest neither day nor night, and praise God, who was, (the Revealers of the past) and is, (the Revealers at present) and is to come (the Revealers of the future). God is always there to guide mankind.

[9] And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

V.9 The four rulers are followers of the New Prophet, who give thanks and honour. They are very devoted to the One on the throne, who is Bahá'u'lláh'.

[10] The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

V.10 The disciples cast their crowns before the throne, meaning they recognize the high authority of the two new Prophets of God. They are all very humble individuals willing to sacrifice their lives for Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb, the Twin Manifestations of God for this day and age.

[11] Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

V.11 Thou art worthy, O Lord for the honour, and power. God has created mankind to worship Him.

    The banner of the Holy Spirit is uplifted, and men see it, and are assured with the knowledge that this is a new day. This is a new cycle of human power. All the horizons of the world are luminous, and the world will become indeed as a garden and a paradise. It is the hour of unity of the sons of men and of the drawing together of all races and all classes.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    'Abdu'l-Bahá in London,
    p. 19 )

Chapter Four Appendix
Various Symbols in the Book of Revelation

Symbolism

In the Book of Revelation there are numerous mentioning of:

    angels
    beasts
    horns
    crowns
    dragons
    'mark of the beast'
Wherever mentioned they most often each time have the same meaning as where they are mentioned before.

As discussed in the first chapters there were:

    SEVEN churches along with
    SEVEN candlesticks
    SEVEN Stars
    SEVEN Angels and the
    SEVEN Colors of the Rainbow
which all represent the
    Seven Major Religions in the World
and their
    Seven Prophets / Revealers / Manifestations.
This theme is continued in Chapter 5
    Rev. 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Here the:
    SEVEN horns and
    SEVEN Eyes and the
    SEVEN Spirits are again the
      Seven Major Religions of ALL the earth
    and their
      Seven Prophets / Revealers / Manifestations.
    sent forth by God.

    In Chapter Nine

      Rev. 9:13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
      Rev. 9:14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
the four horns come from the Golden Altar
and are related to the four Angels (Religions / Revealers) of the Euphrates area
which is to say to the:
    Sabean
    Jewish
    Zoroastrian and
    Islámic religions
The beasts are
    rulers such as kings
    or sometimes governments themselves
    with the heads and horns representing the kings or rulers
    sometimes with crowns and sometimes without
    depending upon their authority
    as described in the particular verses.
Sometimes the beasts are to be praised
as pointed out in the commentary on Rev. 4:7
and at other times they are to be condemned
as in the following verses and
this becomes more understandable when one sees that
they are different beasts under different circumstances.

The reference to the 'mark of the beast' is a reference to its character. The nature of its character is to be found both in its forehead (thoughts) and in its hand (actions). This applies to all believers, as to which 'mark' (character) that they may have. Actual examples are discussed in related chapters ( Rev.13:16,17 - Rev.14:9,11 - Rev.15:2 - Rev.19:20 - Rev.20:4) but this is a spiritual explanation of the subject as compared to the concern that many people currently have about being branded or implanted with a computer chip.

Sometimes the beast is identified with the dragon, which is always identified with evil, the serpent, Satan. In the archetype of the Islámic Faith as addressed in the Book of Revelation Chapter 12:3 and 13:1 and 13:11 it is identified with the decline of Islám.

    12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
    Rev. 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
    Rev. 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
The woman is the Law of God and when it (she) is profaned she is referred to as having become scarlet (seated upon a scarlet beast - profaned religion) and full of names of blasphemy or having become a whore.
    Rev. 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
The wilderness is important here in Rev. 17:3 as it relates to a world wide place. The 'spirit' is of the same beast of the seven heads and ten crowns as in Chapter 13:1 and here has encircled the world, but in a profaned manner.
    Rev. 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
    Rev. 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
    Rev. 17:16 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.
And so it has been in the history of the world, that the beasts (governments, rulers, leaders) have been associated with the woman (the Law of God in the seven Divinely Revealed Religions) but have profaned and destroyed her true spirit making her into a whore.

One can see much symbolism in the interaction among the seven profaned heads, and it would be possible to go into elaborate detail regarding the ten horns in that three of the major religions split into two major antagonistic branches that contended not only with the Law, but with each other, therefore making up ten horns for the seven heads of the profaned beast of religion. Some of the religious leaders not only condone but often encourage the warring of their followers against other cultures and religions and even against other branches of their own religions.

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