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

CONCEPT BOX

The explanation by 'Abdu'l-Bahá continues in this chapter, and is also an integral part of what is called by 'Abdu'l-Bahá (in Verse 6) the 'Most Conclusive Proof'. This can be found in books such as 'Thief in the Night' written by Hand of the Cause William Sears and is also presented in a comprehensive summary form in the final appendix of this book.

COMMENTARY ON THE FIRST SIX VERSES
BY 'Abdu'l-Bahá

    We have before explained that what is most frequently meant by the Holy City, the Jerusalem of God, which is mentioned in the Holy Book, is the Law of God. It is compared sometimes to a bride, and sometimes to Jerusalem, and again to the new heaven and earth. So in chapter 21, verses 1, 2 and 3 of the Revelation of St. John, it is said: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God."

    Notice how clear and evident it is that the first heaven and earth signify the former Law. For it is said that the first heaven and earth have passed away and there is no more sea -- that is to say, that the earth is the place of judgment, and on this earth of judgment there is no sea, meaning that the teachings and the Law of God will entirely spread over the earth, and all men will enter the Cause of God, and the earth will be completely inhabited by believers; therefore, there will be no more sea, for the dwelling place and abode of man is the dry land. In other words, at that epoch the field of that Law will become the pleasure-ground of man. Such earth is solid; the feet do not slip upon it.

    The Law of God is also described as the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. It is evident that the New Jerusalem which descends from heaven is not a city of stone, mortar, bricks, earth and wood. It is the Law of God which descends from heaven and is called new, for it is clear that the Jerusalem which is of stone and earth does not descend from heaven, and that it is not renewed; but that which is renewed is the Law of God.

    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Some Answered Questions,
    page 77)
Bible verses in the 'Abdu'l-Bahá quotes, below in the first six verses, are in italic.

In Verse 3, 'Abdu'l-Bahá explains about the great red dragon, the seven heads and the ten horns in relationship to the Ummayad who dominated the Islámic Religion for one hundred and fifty years.

Bible Verses

[1] And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

V.1 The Law of God is also compared to an adorned bride who appears with most beautiful ornaments, as it has been said in chapter 21 (verse 2) of the Revelation of St. John: "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." And in chapter 12, verse 1, it is said: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." This woman is that bride, the Law of God that descended upon Muhammad. The sun with which she was clothed, and the moon which was under her feet, are the two nations which are under the shadow of that Law, the Persian and Ottoman kingdoms; for the emblem of Persia is the sun, and that of the Ottoman Empire is the crescent moon. Thus the sun and moon are the emblems of two kingdoms which are under the power of the Law of God. Afterward it is said: "upon her head is a crown of twelve stars." These twelve stars are the twelve Imams, who were the promoters of the Law of Muhammad and the educators of the people, shining like stars in the heaven of guidance.

[2] And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

V.2 Then it is said in the second verse: "and she being with child cried," meaning that this Law fell into the greatest difficulties and endured great troubles and afflictions until a perfect offspring was produced -- that is, the coming Manifestation, the Promised One, Who is the perfect offspring, and Who was reared in the bosom of this Law, which is as its mother. The child Who is referred to is the Báb, the Primal Point, Who was in truth born from the Law of Muhammad -- that is to say, the Holy Reality, Who is the child and outcome of the Law of God, His mother, and Who is promised by that religion, finds a reality in the kingdom of that Law; but because of the despotism of the dragon the child was carried up to God. After twelve hundred and sixty days the dragon was destroyed, and the child of the Law of God, the Promised One, became manifest.

[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.

V.3 Verses 3 "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth." These signs are an allusion to the dynasty of the Umayyads who dominated the Muhammadan religion. Seven heads and seven crowns mean seven countries and dominions over which the Umayyads had power: they were the Roman dominion around Damascus; and the Persian, Arabian and Egyptian dominions, together with the dominion of Africa -- that is to say, Tunis, Morocco and Algeria; the dominion of Andalusia, which is now Spain; and the dominion of the Turks of Transoxania. The Umayyads had power over these countries. The ten horns mean the names of the Umayyad rulers -- that is, without repetition, there were ten names of rulers, meaning ten names of commanders and chiefs -- the first is Abu Sufyan and the last Marwan -- but several of them bear the same name. So there are two Muaviya, three Yazid, two Walid, and two Marwan; but if the names were counted without repetition there would be ten. The Umayyads, of whom the first was Abu Sufyan, Amir of Mecca and chief of the dynasty of the Umayyads, and the last was Marwan, destroyed the third part of the holy and saintly people of the lineage of Muhammad who were like the stars of heaven.

[4] And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

V 4. "And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour the child as soon as it was born." As we have before explained, this woman is the Law of God. The dragon was standing near the woman to devour her child, and this child was the promised Manifestation, the offspring of the Law of Muhammad. The Umayyads were always waiting to get possession of the Promised One, Who was to come from the line of Muhammad, to destroy and annihilate Him; for they much feared the appearance of the promised Manifestation, and they sought to kill any of Muhammad's descendants who might be highly esteemed.

[5] And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

V.5 "And she brought forth a man child, Who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron." This great son is the promised Manifestation Who was born of the Law of God and reared in the bosom of the divine teachings. The iron rod is a symbol of power and might -- it is not a sword -- and means that with divine power and might He will shepherd all the nations of the earth. This son is the Báb.

"And her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne." This is a prophecy of the Báb, Who ascended to the heavenly realm, to the Throne of God, and to the center of His Kingdom. Consider how all this corresponds to what happened.

[6] And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

V.6 "And the woman fled into the wilderness" -- that is to say, the Law of God fled to the wilderness, meaning the vast desert of Hijaz, and the Arabian Peninsula.

"Where she had a place prepared of God." The Arabian Peninsula became the abode and dwelling place, and the center of the Law of God.

"That they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." In the terminology of the Holy Book these twelve hundred and sixty days mean the twelve hundred and sixty years that the Law of God was set up in the wilderness of Arabia, the great desert: from it the Promised One has come. After twelve hundred and sixty years that Law will have no more influence, for the fruit of that tree will have appeared, and the result will have been produced.

Consider how the prophecies correspond to one another. In the Apocalypse, the appearance of the Promised One is appointed after forty-two months, and Daniel expresses it as three times and a half, which is also forty-two months, which are twelve hundred and sixty days. In another passage of John's Revelation it is clearly spoken of as twelve hundred and sixty days, and in the Holy Book it is said that each day signifies one year. Nothing could be clearer than this agreement of the prophecies with one another. The Báb appeared in the year 1260 of the Hejira of Muhammad, which is the beginning of the universal era-reckoning of all Islám. There are no clearer proofs than this in the Holy Books for any Manifestation. For him who is just, the agreement of the times indicated by the tongues of the Great Ones is the most conclusive proof. There is no other possible explanation of these prophecies. Blessed are the just souls who seek the truth. But failing justice, the people attack, dispute and openly deny the evidence, like the Pharisees who, at the manifestation of Christ, denied with the greatest obstinacy the explanations of Christ and of His disciples. They obscured Christ's Cause before the ignorant people, saying, "These prophecies are not of Jesus, but of the Promised One Who shall come later, according to the conditions mentioned in the Bible." Some of these conditions were that He must have a kingdom, be seated on the throne of David, enforce the Law of the Bible, and manifest such justice that the wolf and the lamb shall gather at the same spring.

And thus they prevented the people from knowing Christ.

END OF 'Abdu'l-Bahá's EXPLANATION
(Some Answered Questions, p. 82)

[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.7 Michael the Archangel is mentioned several times in the Bible. Each time a Manifestation comes from God with the New Law there are forces that rise against it. The situations to protect this New Message are known in heaven, and conditions are met so that with His angels He protects this New Law. This is a great unseen power that creates opportunities for spreading the Message. Major events happen which make for such a change. The dragon is a symbol of the power which the Archangel must battle; first in Heaven. A heavenly and earthly example of this is shown by the Edict of Toleration (1844) which was granted to the Jewish people for their return to Isreal. The Islámic heirarchy would not have allowed the establishment of the world centre of the Bahá'í Faith on Mount Carmel to happen, but this Divinely decreed event made it possible.

[8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

V.8 The dragon ( the opposition force) did not prevail in Heaven, as it was not acceptable.

[9] The great dragon, also called the 'Devil' and 'Satan' was cast to the world, with his dark angels. There are many deceits of Satan such as materialism, nationalism, racism politicism, immorality and so forth. The great deceit is that the religionists feel that their religion is right to the exclusion of the others.

V.9 The great dragon also called 'the devil' being cast into the earth with his angels is symbolic of the many deceits of Satan such as materialism, nationalism, racism, politicalism, immorality and so forth but here we examine a particular one, which is that great deceit that each religion is the only true religion.
    Religionists have anathematized religionists, each considering the other as deprived of the mercy of God, abiding in gross darkness and the children of Satan. For example, the Christians and Muslims considered the Jews satanic and the enemies of God. Therefore, they cursed and persecuted them. Great numbers of Jews were killed, their houses burned and pillaged, their children carried into captivity. The Jews in turn regarded the Christians as infidels and the Muslims as enemies and destroyers of the law of Moses. Therefore, they call down vengeance upon them and curse them even to this day.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    The Promulgation of Universal Peace,
    p. 266)

[10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

V.10 The Voice from Heaven is identified with Bahá'u'lláh. The battle always exists in the souls of men between being deceived by evil in this world or instead turning to the Pure Teachings of the Manifestation of their Day and Age. Because men will always have free will that battle will always continue - but those who have turned to the Manifestation, to the Teachings, begin to understand the Laws of God and the Words of Christ regarding the search for the Promised On; and then the accuser (the power of deception) is cast down.
    .how could this people be justified in rejecting the Revealer and Author of so many volumes of verses, and follow the sayings of him who hath foolishly sown the seeds of doubt in the hearts of men, and who, Satan-like, hath risen to lead the people into the paths of perdition and error?
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Kitáb-i-Íqán,
    p. 220)
    Say: The Evil One hath appeared in such wise as the eye of creation hath never beheld. He Who is the Beauty of the All-Merciful hath likewise been made manifest with an adorning the like of which hath never been witnessed in the past. The Call of the All-Merciful hath been raised, and behind it the call of Satan. Well is it with them who hearken unto the Voice of God, and turn their faces towards His throne to behold a most holy and blessed Vision. For whoso cherisheth in his heart the love of anyone beside Me, be it to the extent of a grain of mustard seed, shall be unable to gain admittance into My Kingdom. To this beareth witness that which adorneth the preamble of the Book of Existence, could ye but perceive it.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Summons of the Lord of Hosts,
    p. 53
    Suriy-i-Haykal / Surih of the Temple:99)
    In another Tablet, He (Bahá'u'lláh) says: "O Kazim, close thine eye to the people of the world; drink the water of knowledge from the heavenly cup bearers, and listen not to the nonsensical utterances of the manifestations of Satan, because the manifestations of Satan are occupying today the observation posts of the glorious path of God, and preventing the people by every means of deception and ruse."
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Bahá'í World Faith,
    p. 431)
    In another Tablet, He (Bahá'u'lláh) says: "Endeavor to your utmost to protect yourselves, because Satan appears in different robes and appeals to everyone according to each person's own way, until he becomes like unto him -- then he will leave him alone."
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Bahá'í World Faith,
    p. 431)
    Indeed the actions of man himself breed a profusion of satanic power. For were men to abide by and observe the divine teachings, every trace of evil would be banished from the face of the earth. However, the widespread differences that exist among mankind and the prevalence of sedition, contention, conflict and the like are the primary factors which provoke the appearance of the satanic spirit. Yet the Holy Spirit hath ever shunned such matters. A world in which naught can be perceived save strife, quarrels and corruption is bound to become the seat of the throne, the very metropolis, of Satan.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 176)
    We conclude Our argument with His words -- exalted is He --
      "And whoso shall withdraw from the remembrance of the Merciful, We will chain a Satan unto him, and he shall be his fast companion."[Qur'án (Koran) 43:36.]
      "And whoso turneth away from My remembrance, truly his shall be a life of misery." [Qur'án (Koran) 20:124]
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Kitáb-i-Íqán,
    p. 256)

    Only those will attain to the knowledge of the Word of God that have turned unto Him, and repudiated the manifestations of Satan.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Kitáb-i-Íqán,
    p. 122)

    Also He (Bahá'u'lláh) says: "The greatest of degradation is to leave the Shadow of God and enter under the shadow of Satan."
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Bahá'í World Faith
    p. 434)

[11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

V.11 The blood of the Báb, the Lamb who was martyred in His seventh year of His Mission created such a spirit in his followers that they spread His Teachings. Although the Islámic clergy thought His death would put an end to the Bábí Faith, it only made it grow stronger. The clergy was frustrated, that their scheme did not work. The Faith has spread around the world with even greater rapidity than Christianity initially spread. The similarities between the Missions of The Báb and that of Christ are remarkable.

[12] Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

V.12 Rejoice for the New Law has come, however, the 'devil with great wrath 'is still with us for a short time. There is great danger, as you can see the rage that is going on to this day. At the same time we see new growth, people are looking for spiritual truths, justice and peace. The dragon represents religious leaders that, as everyone can see, are not following the Laws of God given to them in their Scriptures.
    Each one of the divine religions considers itself as belonging to a goodly and blessed tree, the tree of the Merciful, and all other religious systems as belonging to a tree of evil, the tree of Satan. For this reason they heap execration and abuse upon each other. This is clearly apparent in books of historical record and prevailed until the time of the appearance of Bahá'u'lláh.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    The Promulgation of Universal Peace,
    p. 266)

[13] And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

V.13 When the dragon, called Satan and the Devil, saw that he was cast into the earth he persecuted the Law of God, (symbolized as the woman). Islámic clergy wanted to keep the new religion of God from being known. They even wanted it eliminated. Many Bahá'ís have given up their lives through martyrdom in Iran and many, to this day, are kept in prison because they refuse to recant their faith.

[14] And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

V.14 The woman was given two wings of a great eagle to fly to the wilderness, so that the Law of God (the woman) was protected. The prophecy is given again: a time 1, and times 2, and 1/2 a time totals to 3 1/2, which again works out to 1260 years or 1844 A D.

The 'Law of God' was to be protected. The Woman (The Law of God) was restored on May 23rd, 1844, when the Báb declared His Mission. The prophecies of the Qur'án and Bible had been protected, and were manifested.

The Faith spread to America in 1892, and in two years four people became interested. By 1900 there were 700 members. Today there are millions, and Bahá'í's believe that in the future centuries there will be hundreds of millions and eventually billions of the followers of all the religions who will be guided by the Light of Christ, The Báb, and Bahá'u'lláh.

[15] And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

V.15 The serpent, jealously guarding its power with a flood of accusations and deceit, tried to wipe out the New Law of God. Both the Sunni and the Shiite sects persecuted the members of the Bábí and the Bahá'í Faith. Bahá'u'lláh, because of his father's high level in government, was given some protection although He suffered greatly including being thrown into a dungeon with heavy chains around his neck, then being sadly banished from Persia (Iran) to Iraq and finally to 'Akká in Syria (now Israel) where the Bahá'í Faith world headquarters are now established on Mount Caramel.

[16] And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

V.16 Although the flood of accusations against the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh caused hardship and lamentation, it did not stop the growth of the Faith.
    Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,
    p. 14)

[17] And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

V.17 The dragon is angry with the woman (law of God ) and wants to make war with her seed. The remnant of her seed is The Báb, a descendant of Muhammad, who fulfilled the prophecy of Muhammad. He and Christ had very similar lives, and both gave the same testimony.
    In His day Christ was called Satan, Beelzebub, but hear the bells now ringing for Him! He was the Word of God and not Satan. They mocked Him, led Him through the city upon a donkey, crowned Him with thorns, spat upon His blessed face and crucified Him, but He is now with God and in God because He was the Word and not Satan. Fifty years ago no one would touch the Christian Bible in Persia. Bahá'u'lláh came and asked, "Why?" They said, "It is not the Word of God." He said, "You must read it with understanding of its meanings, not as those who merely recite its words." Now Bahá'ís all over the East read the Bible and understand its spiritual teaching. Bahá'u'lláh spread the Cause of Christ and opened the book of the Christians and Jews. He removed the barriers of names. He proved that all the divine Prophets taught the same reality and that to deny One is to deny the Others, for all are in perfect oneness with God.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    The Promulgation of Universal Peace,
    p. 212)

Chapter Twelve Appendix
The Anti-Christ

The term 'antichrist' does not appear in the Book of Revelation. It does appear in the Bible in the New Testament.

Many Christians identify the antichrist with the beast or Dragon mentioned in the Book of Revelation - and also with the number 666 as discussed in the Appendix at the end of Chapter 13.

    There are many strange interpretations of the "Beast with the number 666". However, according to Shoghi Effendi, it was Mu'ávíyyih who desecrated the Shine at the birthplace of Muhammad in Mecca and ordered the sacking of Medina, the burial place of the Prophet. He tried to make Damascus the Kaaba of the Islámic world. This dastardly event, foretold by Christ (in the book of Revelation 13:15 (sic) [actually 13:4-7]) more than 500 years before, occurred in 666.A.D.
    (Ruth J. Moffett,
    New Keys to the Book of Revelation
    Chapter 13 p. 78)
    [This may be a verbal message,
    and a pilgrims note to Ruth
    as she made many trips
    to talk to Shoghi Effendi
    to discuss the meanings of the Book of Revelation.]
The 'great red dragon' (Rev. Chapters 12,13,16,20) as well as the 'beast with seven heads and ten horns' (Rev. Chapters 12, 13, 17) is identified in the Bahá'í Writings with the Umayyads [since the dragon is identified at the outset in Rev.12:3 as 'having seven heads and ten horns'] and that is the identification given to it by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Rev.12:3. It is also identified in Rev.11:7 as 'the beast from the bottomless pit'.

However, one should consider that the description is that of an archetype and that one might apply the archetype to many situations, just as they might variously apply the appellation 'antichrist'.

    We do not believe in Anti-Christ in the sense the Christians do. Anyone who violently and determinedly sought to oppose the Manifestation could be called an "anti-Christ," such as the Vazir in the Báb's day, Haji Mirza Aqasi.
    (Shoghi Effendi, High Endeavours - Messages to Alaska,
    p. 69)
The Christians, the Muslims, and the Bahá'ís all believe in an 'antichrist', or more accurately, 'antichrists' as explained in the Bible.

    1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

    1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

    1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

    2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

Here are some references to 'antichrists' in the Bahá'í literature.
    If, according to Karim Khan, the Báb and his followers are infamous and impious, for the Bábís, Karim Khan is the Anti-Christ or Dajjal foretold by Muhammad." [(A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," II, p. 31.)] 
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    The Dawn-Breakers,
    p. 46)
    Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahani, the Anti-Christ of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh.
    (Adib Taherzadeh,
    The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh v 3,
    p. 23 and p. 56)
In conclusion, we can therefore say that there have been many antichrists in the past, and unfortunately there will undoubtedly be many in the future, but there is no one antichrist any more than there is one satan or devil as thought by many Christians. Whether or not future events will provide instances that particularly deserve the appellation will have to wait until they occur in order to make that determination.

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