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

CONCEPT BOX

This chapter is the continuing story of what happened to the Islámic Faith. In the West people know little of its history, and have often seen little significance of its destiny in relation to world events. However, the events in the closing decades of the 20th century should have given them a new awareness.

There are many speculations among Christians regarding the seven horned and ten crowned beast or government that is described in this chapter. There are numerous speculations about the many alliances of governments such as the UN, NATO and the USSR and others that have appeared in the world. Some persons have felt they have seen the fulfillment of these verses in specific countries or alliances. In point of fact we may stand too close to the current events and the long arm of history may view our modern speculations quite differently.

The central error arises in trying to use the Book of Revelation as a Book of Prophecy rather than as a Book of Proof. Mind you - Its Prophetic Accuracy is Its Proof! But, the thing about sealed prophecies is that their details cannot be understood - until after they occur! Those who do try to use prophecy as a form of specific fortune, or future telling, only end up deceiving themselves.

The proof of the prophecy is when it has occurred. Then one can believe in the thing that it has foretold because then one can see that it was accurately foretold. Therefore it is that The Book of Revelation is a Book of Proof about the Manifestation of God for this Day and Age.

    Know thou that the ear of man hath been created that it may hearken unto the Divine Voice on this Day that hath been mentioned in all the Books, Scriptures, and Tablets.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,
    p. 2)
    "He that was hidden in the Treasury of Knowledge, and inscribed by the Pen of the Most High in His Books, and His Scriptures, and His Scrolls, and His Tablets, is come!"
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,
    p. 177)
    XVI. The allusions made in the Scriptures have been unfolded, and the signs recorded therein have been revealed, and the prophetic cry is continually being raised.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh)
    Say: O people, if ye judge fairly and equitably, ye will testify to the truth of whatsoever hath streamed forth from the Most Exalted Pen. If ye be of the people of the Bayan, the Persian Bayan will guide you aright and will prove a sufficient testimony unto you; and if ye be of the people of the Qur'án, ponder ye upon the Revelation on Sinai and the Voice from the Bush which came unto the Son of Imran [Moses].
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 52)
    We have also heard a number of the foolish of the earth assert that the genuine text of the heavenly Gospel doth not exist amongst the Christians, that it hath ascended unto heaven. How grievously they have erred! How oblivious of the fact that such a statement imputeth the gravest injustice and tyranny to a gracious and loving Providence! How could God, when once the Day-star of the beauty of Jesus had disappeared from the sight of His people, and ascended unto the fourth heaven, cause His holy Book, His most great testimony amongst His creatures, to disappear also? What would be left to that people to cling to from the setting of the day-star of Jesus until the rise of the sun of the Muhammadan Dispensation? What law could be their stay and guide? How could such people be made the victims of the avenging wrath of God, the omnipotent Avenger? How could they be afflicted with the scourge of chastisement by the heavenly King? Above all, how could the flow of the grace of the All-Bountiful be stayed? How could the ocean of His tender mercies be stilled? We take refuge with God, from that which His creatures have fancied about Him! Exalted is He above their comprehension!
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Kitáb-i-Íqán,
    p. 89)

Bible Verses

[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.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.1 John saw himself standing on a beach and seeing a beast rise out of the sea. We relate to the Umayyad Dynasty this beast, the great red dragon, with its seven heads (countries) and ten horns (leaders), as described here and in Chapters Eleven and Twelve. The tribe existed at the time of Muhammad.

John was standing on the sand which relates to the great multitude of people, told about in Genesis:

    32:12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
[2] And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

V.2 John describes this beast as a leopard, with feet like a bear, and his mouth like a lion. The changed teachings of the Islámic hierarchy, gave this beast his power, his seat, and great authority. The Islámic Religion, the Faith of Muhammad is now described as a beast with these animalistic qualities. The ideas of deceit, intrigue, hatred and malice spread to other countries. For interest, beasts of the same qualities are described in the book of Daniel as discussed in the appendix at the end of this chapter.

    DANIEL
    7:3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

    7:4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.

    7:5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

    7:6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

    7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

    7:8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

    7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

    7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgement was set, and the books were opened.

[3] And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

V.3 In 650 AH after Muhammad died, trouble erupted over who was to be the leader. Ali was the one Muhammad had chosen to be his successor, however since it was not put in writing, fighting began between Ali, Mu'ávíyyih, and one called Amur. Three fanatical zealots, who after discussion about the ambitions of these three, decided just to destroy all three. One went to Damascus, and there gave Mu'ávíyyih what was believed to be a fatal blow.

[4] And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

V.4 The dragon is an illusion to the Umayyads and the beast is Mu'ávíyyih. The people worshipped (served) the Umayyads and gave power to Mu'ávíyyih. In the battle described in the previous verse, the wound was serious, however Mu'ávíyyih's life was saved, which was like a miracle to the people. They felt he had some sort of spiritual power that none could make war with him. At the same time one of the zealots gave a fatal blow to Ali, which was more serious, as Ali died three days later. The other zealot's blow hit the wrong person, who also died. Amur was saved. Mu'ávíyyih engendered bitter hatred against Ali, the one who Muhammad wanted for His successor. Throughout the rule of the Umayyad Caliphs, which continued for centuries, Ali's name was never mentioned in the Mosques without curses. (661-749 C.E.) Therefore, .

[5] And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

V.5 Power was given to Mu'ávíyyih to become the leader of the Islámic Faith, and his line continued many years. The Abbasid dynasty finally took over, who continued the same corruption for the remainder of the 42 months. (42 x 30 days per month) until year 1260 of the Islámic calendar or 1844 on the Christian calendar. (See appendix on 'The Most Conclusive Proof')
[6] And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

V.6 Throughout the Arabian Peninsula intense spiritual darkness and utmost ignorance had prevailed among the inhabitants before Muhammad came. Muhammad brought them out of this darkness; however Mu'ávíyyih who began the Umayyad dynasty, which later became the Abbasid dynasty, and continued the darkness. The intrigues, deceit, political and religious corruption, wars and fanatical atrocities, brought its spiritual downfall.

[7] And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

V.7 It was given to Mu'ávíyyih to make war with the saints. Both the Umayyad and the Abbasid dynasties were guilty of killing and corruption. They searched the political landscape for signs of one of Ali's descendants, (as described by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Chapter 11), looking for the one promised by Muhammad, the one who might be the twelfth Imam, who would take away their power. Over the years twelve such holy souls, those who had the potential for being that person were killed.

[8] And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

V.8 Those who dwell on the earth, are accepting the Islámic Faith as a major religion of the world, even with the faults of its followers. (As we remember from the first chapters - the followers of all the religions had shortcomings.) The Islámic hierarchy, the leaders who were responsible for the slayings of the Báb and His followers are not written in the 'Book of Life'.
    Let none, in this Day, hold fast to aught save that which hath been manifested in this Revelation. Such is the decree of God, aforetime and hereafter -- a decree wherewith the Scriptures of the Messengers of old have been adorned. Such is the admonition of the Lord, aforetime and hereafter -- an admonition wherewith the preamble to the Book of Life hath been embellished, did ye but perceive it. Such is the commandment of the Lord, aforetime and hereafter; beware lest ye choose instead the part of ignominy and abasement. Naught shall avail you in this Day but God, nor is there any refuge to flee to save Him, the Omniscient, the All-Wise. Whoso hath known Me hath known the Goal of all desire, and whoso hath turned unto Me hath turned unto the Object of all adoration. Thus hath it been set forth in the Book, and thus hath it been decreed by God, the Lord of all worlds.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Kitáb-i-Aqdas: Verse 138)

[9] If any man have an ear, let him hear.

V.9 This verse says:"If any man have an ear, let him hear." The importance of the Message, to mankind, is found in the following verse.
    Therefore we must thank God that He has created for us both material blessings and spiritual bestowals. He has given us material gifts and spiritual graces, outer sight to view the lights of the sun and inner vision by which we may perceive the glory of God. He has designed the outer ear to enjoy the melodies of sound and the inner hearing wherewith we may hear the voice of our creator.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Bahá'í World Faith,
    p. 267)
[10] He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

V.10 "He that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity: he that killeth with a sword, must be killed with the sword." After been given this quote, all countries should take note before they decide to invade another country. The Abbasid dynasty deceitfully invited the remaining Umayyads to a feast, for the purpose to kill them. Only one member escaped assassination. So the Umayyad dynasty suffered the same blow that they inflicted upon the rightful successors at the beginning of the Islámic religion. (The Abbasid dynasty lasted from 749 to 1258 A.H.)

[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.

V.11 This verse tells of another beast which is described as a lamb with two horns (leaders). The kingdom of Media, (later Northwest Persia) and Persia are symbolized as a ram. Daniel described it as a strong ram, however this verse describes it as a lamb that does not have the same strength. This was indeed its condition in the 19th century at the time of the appearance of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh.

Mírzá Taqí Khán, the prime minister, had the same type of power and image as the first beast, Mu'ávíyyih. He had the same lust for wealth which they both sought to achieve through intrigue, deceit and murder.

[12] And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

V.12 These political leaders, with the qualities as the Umayyad dynasty, were intent on eliminating this new religious group. When the Muhammad Sháh, (1835-48 C.E.) died, the prince Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, (1848-96 C.E.), at the age of 17, became the Sháh. It was perhaps because of his youth that he relied upon the 'iron hearted' prime minister Mírzá Táqi Khán to administer his affairs.

It had been Násiri'd-Dín, who while still a prince, that presided over the Báb's trial in Tabríz. Later, as Sháh, he was convinced that his prime minister, the above Mírzá Táqi Khán, had special mystical powers, and let him arrange the execution of the Báb, and it was Mírzá Táqi Khán that ordered a firing squad containing 750 men with their muskets to execute the Báb.

[13] And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

V.13 Sam Khán a Christian, was the commander of guard ordered to carry out the execution of the Báb. He was seized with fear in case his act would provoke the wrath of God. The Báb gave him the following assurance:
    "Follow your instructions, if your intention be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you of your perplexity."
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    God Passes By,
    p. 52)
So dense was the smoke that the sky was darkened. When the smoke cleared the multitude watching were astounded as the Báb was missing, only His companion remained standing unhurt. A frenzied search for the Báb found Him in His cell unhurt and unruffled.

Sam Khán, the commander of the guard, instantly resigned from his post and likewise ordered his men to leave. The Báb and His companion again were suspended to the wall by another regiment that was brought forward. This time their bodies were riddled with bullets, but their faces hardly touched.

At the moment the shots were fired, a dark whirlwind of dust covered the city, putting the city in darkness. In Shíráz an earthquake happened which put the city in turmoil. A falling wall killed Two hundred and fifty men of the firing squad. The remaining five hundred men were put before a firing squad three years later, and the prime minister, Mírzá Táqi Khán, who had ordered the Báb's execution, was himself later ordered executed by the Sháh.

[14] And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

V.14 The mangled bodies were thrown to the edge of a moat outside the city gate, with forty guards doing a watch. In the middle of the following night a follower of the Báb found the bodies, and was able to remove them to a safe place. They were later placed in a special wooden casket and hidden.

Since the prophecy in the Qur'án (Koran) said 'the bodies would be preserved from beasts of prey and all creeping things'; the Mulláhs had to lie, and the deceit put forth was that they claimed was the bodies had been carried away by wild animals.

There is again a curious symmetry of this in the history of the Báb and that of Jesus and the soldiers at His tomb.

[15] And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

V.15 The 'image of the beast' shows its power: Aug 15, 1852: A reign of terror struck the Bábí community. Much to the distress of Bahá'u'lláh, a half-demented youth without sound judgment instigated a senseless act. He posed as an innocent bystander and fired a weapon like a pellet gun at the Sháh as he emerged on horseback on his morning promenade.

The insane attack brought on retribution against the Bábís that was atrocious and unbelievable. Bodies were mutilated, eyes were gouged out, teeth were pulled out, some shod with horse shoes and forced to run, flesh gorged out and burning candles stuck into the flesh, women and children seen with strings of flesh hanging like ribbons, it goes on and on, as twenty thousand Bábís were eventually killed. This was the great massacre of Tihrán "as a day perhaps unparalleled in the history of the world."

[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

V.16 At one time a poll tax was levied against non-Muslims living in Islámic territories. Only those allowed to pay this tax and members of the Islámic religion were allowed to do business. Those not having these privileges dubbed it the 'mark of the beast.' Since the majority of the Persians denied the followers of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh of any rights, they like other non-Muslims, were deprived.

[17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

V.17 No one could buy or sell if they did not pay this tax, and since only followers of 'the beast' could get this privilege, it is explained that those not qualified dubbed it as the 'mark of the beast'.

Again, today, many people concern themselves about "the mark of the beast" and their have been many explanations of what this archetype may symbolize. Some have seen in it the tattooing of the Jews in the concentration camps and others fear the use of implanted computer chips. The external events, of past and future, have not the same importance of the significance that is involved in the earth's spiritual destiny.

[18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

V.18 For years, people have pondered this verse trying to figure out who this person could be. The concept of name is very often a cloud to people trying to understand these verses. Literal letters and sounds are not what is important because these change in language from culture to culture and from age to age. What is important are "qualities" as designated by names.

Here are two approaches within the archetype of this applying, as have all the verses so far, to the Islámic Faith

In the year 666 Mu'ávíyyih, the first Caliph to take over the lead of the Islámic Faith after the passing of Muhammad, ordered the sacking of Medina - the City of the Prophet and the burial place of Muhammad. Mu'ávíyyih tried to make Damascus the center of the Islámic Faith, but the people would not let this happen. It is the significance of that date

And here is another approach:

Since Herod died in 4 B.C. when Christ was born and given that there is no year zero in the Christian calendar - this would add five years to the calendar so that Mu'ávíyyih who rose to power in 661 A.H., with five years added to the date that would have actually been year 666 A.H.

In the appendix to Chapter Fourteen - there is further discussion of the number 666.

Chapter Thirteen Appendix
The Book of Daniel
Chapter 7

There is an apparent parallel between Revelation Chapter 13 and Daniel Chapter 7. Daniel had a vision and a dream. Many of the prophecies in the Bible are archetypes and consequently each of us apply them to our own situation and experiences.

Note:
See Revelation Chapter 12: V.3 for the link to ‘horns’ and ‘heads’. In “Some Answered Questions” p. 79 'Abdu'l-Bahá describes the horns as leaders and heads of countries.

Bible Verses

7:2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.2 He talks about ‘four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea’ This is about a prophecy of future times, which is now our time, of four strong countries, of the ‘great sea’, most of these countries have had great opportunities, great gifts from God and great leaders in the past, and a promise of great leaders in the future.

7:3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.3 Daniel saw four great beasts come up from the sea. The beasts are representative of four powers or countries and their spheres of influence. These four powers are very different from each other and in many ways antagonistic towards one another.

7:4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.4 In this verse Daniel describes the first country. Its character was like a lion, (often a symbol for England and its Commonwealth) which is strong, forceful, bold and fierce. The eagle’s wings also identifies this with the U.S.A. which is in a sense a descendant of the Lion. The prophecy is that the wings will be plucked, then this lion, these countries will become humble, and their governments will become just and fair.

7:5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.5 The next power or country is described as a bear, one that tears meat apart, and is strong. The bear is a symbol of Russia and its sphere of influence which was the USSR. The historical violence and conflict that has happened in this sphere is well known.

7:6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V. 6 The leopard, a symbol of China and in actuality the Far Eastern sphere which does indeed have four separate wings and heads. The three beasts named so far are certainly the world dominating powers.

7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V. 7 The fourth beast is diverse from the others because it is not a country in itself but rather is composed of the leaders (horns) of others.

7:8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V. 8 Some have identified this conglomeration with European Union and others with the United Nations and still other alliances such as in the Middle East and Far East. As an archetype it can certainly be seen as representative of the variety and fluidity of political interactions taking place today. A longer view of history will solidify the symbolism in the minds of humanity.

7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V. 9 There is no question but that we live in a time of dramatic change. Not just technological change but also social and spiritual change in which the old systems and thrones are being cast down. This verse in describing the ‘Ancient of Days’ is referring to Bahá'u'lláh, often called Ancient of Days as He brings the same message of spirituality as did former Messengers of God to all mankind. His Being is a garment of purity. His hair did coincidently turn white while he was a young man in a prison dungeon. His throne being like a fiery flame and His wheels like burning fire, describes His Teachings.

7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V. 10 In His writings He talks about the burning fire as not only one of chastisement, but also it is a flame of love for those that follow His teachings. His teachings for justice, love and obedience to the Laws of God will encircle the world, bringing peace and understanding to all mankind. The changes in the world are very great, and changing rapidly as we watch the old ways disappearing and new ways taking place.

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