MENU:  HOME » Renewal » Revelation Content » Nine Angels

The Buddhist Religion
One Bahá'í's Concept from
The Book of Revelation

Chapter Three

CONCEPT BOX

The Buddhist religion is another religion that appeared centuries before Christianity. For a great part of the world's population this religion was the culmination of the religious traditions that were not a part of the Judaic, Christian, Islámic lineage.

Buddhism sprung out of Hinduism in the same way that Christianity sprung out of Judaism. While Christianity spread to what we call the "West", Buddhism spread to what we call the "Far East". Eastern and Western culture appear as the two great cultural distinctions to be harmonized now "in the Days of Fulfillment" into one universal whole.

    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?
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    Japan Will Turn Ablaze,
    p. 45)
The Buddhist religion (and Confucius) are dealt with in much more detail in Chapter Nine and in the concept box at its beginning.

BUDDHIST

THE GREEK WORD SARDIS MEANS "LACK OF ZEAL"

500 B.C

REVEALER BUDDHA

Bible Verses

[1] And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

One Bahá'í's Concept

Sardis - Buddhist - Comentary

V.1 John is told to write to the angel (star) of the church of Sardis. Pillars still remain there of a great Greek temple. Sardis was the capital of the great ancient kingdom of Lydia, at one time known for its wealth. This is also a place where John had taught. The symbolic meaning of the Greek word Sardis is 'Lack of Zeal'.

This fifth religion is associated with the Buddhist Faith whose the prophet is Gotama Buddha. He who has the seven stars, and the seven churches, (the seven Spirits of God) in his hand is Bahá'u'lláh the latest Revealer, who has come to unite all the previous seven religions with the two (Bábí and Bahá'í) for this day and age.

Commends:

He tells them that He knows their works,

Condemns:

however although they feel alive in this life, but are really spiritually dead.

    The founder of Buddhism was a wonderful soul. He established the Oneness of God, but later the original principles of His doctrines gradually disappeared, and ignorant customs and ceremonials arose and increased until they finally ended in the worship of statues and images.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Some Answered Questions,
    p. 165)

[2] Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

V.2 He tells them to be watchful, and to strengthen and hold onto the spiritual side of their life, as their works have not been perfect. Buddhism has not been a religion of "good works" as have those religions in the Judaic, Christian, Islámic tradition. We hear of the latter's humanitarian efforts in such things as the Magen David Adom Society, Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations. For centuries there have been Christian hospitals, orphanages, schools, universities and other charitable institutions in Buddhist countries but one seldom hears of a Buddhist hospital or such in places like Africa or South America. There seems to have been a dearth of Buddhist missionary zeal.
    The real teaching of Buddha is the same as the teaching of Jesus Christ. The teachings of all the Prophets are the same in character. Now men have changed the teaching. If you look at the present practice of the Buddhist religion, you will see that there is little of the Reality left.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    'Abdu'l-Bahá in London,
    p. 63)
    The Jews call that reality Moses, the Christians Christ, the Mussulmans Mohammed, the Buddhists Buddha and the Zoroastrians Zoroaster. Now mark well that none of these religionists have ever seen the founders; they have only heard his name. Could they overlook these names they would at once realize that all believe in a perfect reality which is an intermediary between the Almighty and the creatures.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Divine Philosophy,
    p. 155)

[3] Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

V.3 He tells them to remember how their Revealer came to them, and watch for Him coming the same way.

The Threat:

If they don't watch the new message will come quietly like a thief, at a time they are not expecting it. Most Buddhists expect the return of the Fifth Buddha or what they call the Maitreya.

    He (Bahá'u'lláh) was equally in no doubt about the role which He had been called upon to play in human history. As the Manifestation of God to the age of fulfillment, He is the one promised in all the scriptures of the past, the "Desire of all nations," the "King of Glory." To Judaism He is "Lord of Hosts"; to Christianity, the Return of Christ in the glory of the Father; to Islam, the "Great Announcement"; to Buddhism, the Maitreya Buddha; to Hinduism, the new incarnation of Krishna; to Zoroastrianism, the advent of "Sháh-Bahram."
    (Bahá'í International Community,
    1992 May 29, Statement on Bahá'u'lláh)
    Those who accept him (the Messiah) shall rejoice. And those who deny him shall tremble.And the warriors (teachers) shall march under the banner of Maitreya.'

    Ballou and Spiegelberg in The Bible of the World, point out that according to the sacred scripture of the East, Maitreya is 'the compassionate Buddha who is to come in the distant future. Foretold by Gautama, as Christ foretold his second coming.'

    Maitreya, the Buddha of 'universal fellowship' was expected to appear to the West of India and to the East of Israel. Persia, the home of Bahá'u'lláh, lies between them. His message is one of "universal fellowship" and the union of religions, nations, and races.

    Isaiah also foretold the day when all the earth would hear the Messiah's teaching:

    Isaiah 18:3 'All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains.'

    (William Sears,
    Thief in the Night
    Part 3,
    p. 143)

[4] Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

V.4 The Reward:

He says that there are a few who have not defiled their garments (of yellow) and are still faithful, who shall walk with Him in white, symbolizing their righteousness.

    In former days, in the time of the Buddha and Zoroaster, civilization in Asia and in the East was very much higher than in the West and ideas and thoughts of the Eastern peoples were much in advance of, and nearer to the thoughts of God than those of the West.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    'Abdu'l-Bahá in London,
    p. 69)
    The teaching of Buddha was like a young and beautiful child, and now it has become as an old and decrepit man. Like the aged man it cannot see, it cannot hear, it cannot remember anything. Why go so far back? Consider the laws of the Old Testament: the Jews do not follow Moses as their example nor keep his commands. So it is with many other religions.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    'Abdu'l-Bahá in London,
    p. 64)

[5] He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

V.5 The Promise:

'He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment (a pure soul); and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels.'

    Light is good in whatsoever lamp it is burning! A rose is beautiful in whatsoever garden it may bloom! A star has the same radiance if it shines from the East or from the West. Be free from prejudice, so will you love the Sun of Truth from whatsoever point in the horizon it may arise! You will realize that if the Divine light of truth shone in Jesus Christ it also shone in Moses and in Buddha. The earnest seeker will arrive at this truth. This is what is meant by the 'Search after Truth'.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Paris Talks,
    p. 137)

[6] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches

V.6 The Refrain:

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

    My hope is that thou wilt acquire a perceptive eye, a hearing ear, and that the veils will be removed from thy sight.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá,
    p. 50)

Chapter Six

Bible Verses

[9] And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

V.9 With the opening of the Fifth Seal, associated with the Fifth Angel of the Buddhist Faith, John saw 'under the altar' all the souls of the martyrs of the past, those who have been killed because of their allegiance to their Faith's wanting tolerance, Justice and love of mankind.

A curiosity of the Buddhist religion is what people of the West have referred to as ancestor worship. This concept has arisen regarding them because of the practice of many in keeping on the family altar or in their local church the dust from the cremated remains of their families. These are often kept in urns or packages wrapped in bright silk. When a family moves or changes churches they take the packages with them and they are placed on shelves around and behind the altar in the new church. The concept of kinship across generations is also found in the Bahá'í Teachings.

    IT is seemly that the servant should, after each prayer, supplicate God to bestow mercy and forgiveness upon his parents. Thereupon God's call will be raised: 'Thousand upon thousand of what thou hast asked for thy parents shall be thy recompense!' Blessed is he who remembereth his parents when communing with God. There is, verily, no God but Him, the Mighty, the Well-Beloved.
    (The Bab,
    Selections from the Writings of the Báb,
    p. 94)
    The statement that God may forgive a soul because of kinship to a believer is explicit in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh. In one of His Tablets (5. Bahá'u'lláh, Ma'idiy-i-Asamani, vol. IV, p. 173) He states that one of the special bounties of God in this Dispensation is that in the next world His forgiveness and mercy will surround the souls of those who although bearing no allegiance to His Cause, are related to a believer, provided they have done no disservice to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, nor caused any harm to His loved ones during their lives.

    This bounty is especially true of parents who do not embrace the Faith. In a Tablet (6. Bahá'u'lláh, Iqtidarat, p. 225) Bahá'u'lláh states that in this Revelation God has vouchsafed a special bounty to those believers whose parents are untouched by the light of the Faith. He affirms that in the next life God will illumine the souls of the parents through His favours and mercy. In one of His Tablets (7. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Ma'idiy-i-Asamani, vol. II, p. 12) Abdu'l-Bahá writes that the believers should earnestly pray for the souls of their departed non-Bahá'í parents. They should tearfully supplicate God for His forgiveness and carry out acts of beneficence on their behalf so that God may, through His grace, enable their souls to progress in His spiritual worlds.

    (Adib Taherzadeh,
    The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh v 2,
    p. 466)
Universally, the 'last days' has been one of great religious martyrdom throughout the world. The fate of the Jewish religion, in relationship to the 'last days' is particularly known as regards the holocaust in Germany. But it is not just the Jewish, Christian and Islámic martyrs, but also the Hindus, and Buddhists by the millions in Tibet, China and elsewhere in the Far East. The Bábí and Bahá'í martyrs, have also received great recognition in their struggle with the forces of the dying previous systems to bring higher ideals of love, tolerance, justice, morality, and all the spiritual values to humanity.
[10] And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth.

V.10 All the martyrs have asked when the justice that they have sought will be established. They are looking not for revenge but justification in the fulfillment of what they have stood for. They are asking, "How long before God establishes His Kingdom on Earth".

In their decay, the religions became the cause of religious fanaticism (the white horse), terrible wars (the red horse), unjust societies (the black horse), and economic oppression (the pale horse), which can also be viewed as -intolerance (religious, national, racist), wars (local and world wide), tyranny (non-justice), and poverty (economic / environmental imbalance world-wide).

[11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

V.11 The white robes are given unto them as a sign of their purity - which is a requirement for martyrdom. The martyrs are told to wait for another season as there would be more martyrs to come and in their quest for religious freedom there have been many Buddhist martyrs as well as martyrs of other Faiths.

The Bábí martyrs, 20,000 followers who were killed because they refused to recant their Faith, are added to those under the altar (Rev.6:9), that is to say those who have been martyred in previous religions. The Cause of the Báb, being next, thus fulfils this verse.

There have been martyrs in the past - and unfortunately, there will be many more in the future. The spiritual education of mankind is a long and difficult process and the tests and trials of those who work for the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth is a mark of their worthiness.

Chapter Nine
CONCEPT BOX

The first half of this chapter deals with the Fifth Angel - which is the Buddhist Religion and the second half (starting in verse 13) with the Sixth Angel - which is the Angel of the Christian Religion.

The furtherest extension, and latest historically, of Buddhism was to Japan and it was here that the Buddhist East and Christian West would eventually most dramatically interface. Japan, although it had at one time, well after the 13th century travels of Marco Polo to China, been opened by the Jesuits to Christianity in 1542 it had later completely isolated itself from the West until Commodore Perry sailed into its harbor in 1854. Thus began the current interface, almost 150 years ago, between the Buddhist East and the Christian West.

The interface between the Buddhist East and the Christian West was to be a dramatic one that would change the fortunes of all mankind for all time. For this reason it holds such a prominent position in the Book of Revelation.

    Buddha had disciples and he wished to send them out into the world to teach, so he asked them questions to see if they were prepared as he would have them be. "When you go to the East and to the West," said the Buddha, "and the people shut their doors to you and refuse to speak to you, what will you do?" -- The disciples answered and said: "We shall be very thankful that they do us no harm." -- "Then if they do you harm and mock, what will you do?" -- "We shall be very thankful that they do not give us worse treatment." -- "If they throw you into prison?" -- "We shall still be grateful that they do not kill us." -- "What if they were to kill you?" the Master asked for the last time. "Still," answered the disciples, "we will be thankful, for they cause us to be martyrs. What more glorious fate is there than this, to die for the glory of God?" And the Buddha said: "Well done!"

    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    'Abdu'l-Bahá in London,
    p. 64)
    Japan hath made wonderful progress in material civilization, but she will become perfect when she also becometh spiritually developed and the power of the Kingdom becometh manifest in her.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá',
    Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá' v3,
    p. 564)
    If you look at the present practice of the Buddhist religion, you will see that there is little of the Reality left. Many worship idols although their teaching forbids it.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    'Abdu'l-Bahá in London,
    p. 63)
    One will encounter a little difficulty in the beginning of the establishment of the Cause of God in that country, but later it will become very easy, for the inhabitants of Japan are intelligent, sagacious and have the power of rapid assimilation.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá v3,
    p. 564)
    The people of Japan are intelligent but they are in need of a leader that he may awaken them.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá' in,
    Japan Will Turn Ablaze,
    p. 5)
    "O God! The darkness of contention, strife and warfare between the religions, the nations and peoples has beclouded the horizon of Reality and hidden the heaven of Truth. The world is in need of the light of Guidance. Therefore, O God, confer Thy favor, so that the Sun of Reality may illumine the East and the West."
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá's prayer for Japan in,
    Japan Will Turn Ablaze,
    p. 50)
Note on China

The religion or philosophy of China is a combination of the teachings of The Tao, Confucius, and the Buddha.

    Confucius became the cause of civilization, advancement and prosperity for the people of China.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá v2,
    p. 469)
It is said that Napoleon once remarked that China is a sleeping giant and that when it awakes it will move the world. This is certainly true of it spiritually. China has recently struggled spiritually through the atheistic period of the Mao revolution but its destiny remains to awaken and move the world spiritually.
    Under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen, the Chinese people had already thrown off the decadent imperial regime that had compromised the country's well-being, and were seeking to lay foundations of a rebirth of that country's greatness.
    (Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice,
    Century of Light,
    p. 44)
China is a particularly blessed land.
    A proverb says: "Wisdom has lighted on three things: the hand of the Chinese, the brain of the Frank, and the tongue of the Arab."
    (Marzieh Gail,
    Six Lessons on Islám)
    'Abdu'l-Bahá often spoke in most hopeful words' of its (China's) brilliant future and of the spiritual capacity of its people'.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    26 January 1923
    letter to individual believer
    Compilation on China, 1986)
    Quoted in:
    "The Chinese Religion and the Bahá'í Faith"
    p. vii
    'Abdu'l-Bahá remarked of China that it 'ranks foremost among all nations in material, cultural and spiritual resources' and that its 'future is assuredly bright'.
    Shoghi Effendi,
    letter to the Bahá'ís of the East,
    23 January 1923.
    Quoted in:
    "The Chinese Religion and the Bahá'í Faith"
    p. vii
'Abdu'l-Bahá further stated:
    The Chinese people are most simple-hearted and truth-seeking. In China one can teach many souls and train and educate such divine personages that each one of them may become the bright candle of the world of humanity. Truly, I say, the Chinese are free from any deceit and hypocrisies and are prompted with ideal motives. Had I been feeling well I would have taken a journey to China myself!
    'Abdu'l-Bahá cited in Star of the West, vol. 13, p. 185.
    The original text of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's words is not available.
    Quoted in:
    "The Chinese Religion and the Bahá'í Faith"
    p. vii
Indeed, there are many places in the Bahá'í Writings where 'Abdu'l-Bahá longs for teachers to arise and to spread the Message in China and Shoghi Effendi envisions:
    .a momentous development paving the way for the eventual introduction of the Faith into the far-flung Chinese mainland and, beyond it, to the extensive territories of Soviet Russia.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    Japan Will Turn Ablaze,
    p. 85)
will result in the:
    .future spiritual conquest of the main body of the yellow race on the Chinese mainland --
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    Letters from the Guardian
    to Australia and New Zealand,
    p. 138)
    Should the Truth of the Bahá'í Faith be widely disseminated among the Chinese people, it will naturally lead to the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. Should everybody again exert his efforts towards the extension of this beneficient influence throughout the world, it will then bring about world peace and the general welfare of humanity.
    (From Rev. K. T. Chung's Preface
    to the Chinese version of Dr. Esslemont's Book.)
    found in:
    (Misc Bahá'í,
    Appreciations of the Bahá'í Faith,
    p. 44)
As of yet, the struggle to awaken the Far East to the Bahá'í call, has met considerable resistance.
    China, despite its ancient civilization and its sense of itself as the "Middle Kingdom", had become the hapless victim of plundering by Western nations and by its modernizing neighbour Japan.
    (Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice,
    Century of Light, p. 3)
    341.5 The population of Asia and Australasia is well over half the world population. The area includes Asiatic USSR and mainland China, accounting for more than one thousand million souls who are, for the most part, untouched by the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Obviously present conditions in these areas call for the exercise of the utmost wisdom and circumspection. Yet this vast segment of humanity cannot be ignored.
    (Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986
    Compiled by Geoffry W. Marks
    Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, 1986)
    As Bahá'ís, we have been entrusted with the responsibility  of taking the message of Bahá'u'lláh to all of mankind, but only a comparatively small beginning has yet been made to take the teachings to the vast population of China. The Universal House of Justice feels that this task must be regarded as one of the highest priorities for the entire Bahá'í world.
    April 19, 1989
    (The Universal House of Justice,
    A Wider Horizon,
    Selected Letters 1983-1992, p. 208)
    9.25 Gradually, too, the message of the Faith began to find a welcome in many parts of China and among Chinese populations abroad. Bahá'í literature was translated into Mandarin, university audiences in many Chinese cities extended invitations to Bahá'í scholars, a Centre for Bahá'í Studies was established at the prestigious Institute of World Religions in Beijing, which operates within the Academy of Social Sciences, and many Chinese dignitaries have been generous in their appreciation of the principles they discover in the Writings. In light of the high praise of the Master for Chinese civilization and its role in humanity's future, one begins to anticipate the creative contribution that believers from this background will make to the intellectual and moral life of the Cause in the years ahead.
    (Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice,
    2001,
    Century of Light, p. 107)
For over a decade now there has been:
    .the establishment of a branch of the Bahá'í International Community's Office of Public Information in Hong Kong in anticipation of the time when the Faith can be proclaimed on the mainland of China.
    (Ridvan 1989
    The Universal House of Justice,
    A Wider Horizon, Selected Letters 1983-1992,
    p. 209)
But, the Bahá'í Writings foresee that the struggle to gain China will remain arduous:
    We cannot believe that as the Movement grows in strength, in authority and in influence, the perplexities and the sufferings it has had to contend with in the past will correspondingly decrease and vanish. Nay, as it grows from strength to strength, the fanatical defendants of the strongholds of orthodoxy, whatever be their denomination, realizing the penetrating influence of this growing Faith, will arise and strain every nerve to extinguish its light and discredit its name. For has not our beloved 'Abdu'l-Bahá sent forth His glowing prophecy from behind the prison walls of the citadel of 'Akká - words so significant in their forecast of the coming world turmoil, yet so rich in their promise of eventual victory: -

    "How great, how very great is the Cause; how very fierce the onslaught of all the peoples and kindreds of the earth! Erelong shall the clamor of the multitude throughout Africa, throughout America, the cry of the European and of the Turk, the groaning of India and China be heard from far and near. One and all they shall arise with all their power to resist His Cause. Then shall the Knights of the Lord, assisted by grace from on high, strengthened by faith, aided by the power of understanding and reinforced by the legions of the Covenant, arise and make manifest the truth of the verse: 'Behold the confusion that hath befallen the tribes of the defeated!'"

    Dearly beloved friends, upon us devolves the supreme obligation to stand by His side, to fight His battles and to win His victory. May we prove ourselves worthy of this trust.
    Your true brother,
    SHOGHI
    Haifa, Palestine
    February 12, 1927

    (Shoghi Effendi,
    Extracts from the USBN)

[1] And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.1 The fifth angel sounded:

The fifth angel is the angel of the Buddhist religion. The Star of this religion of the Compassionate Buddha, the Great Teacher of love and tolerance, fell as did the other religions. Particularly in China, where the state philosophy became that of atheistic communism. Buddhist countries saw great military conflicts. The Japanese, in particular, became noted for their war making inclinations.

    Hence, it is clear and manifest that by the words ".the stars shall fall from heaven" is intended the waywardness of the divines, and the annulment of laws firmly established by divine Revelation, all of which, in symbolic language, have been foreshadowed by the Manifestation of God.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Kitáb-i-Íqán,
    p. 41)
    Stranger even than this episode is the fact that the government of Japan was in the beginning subject to and under the protection of China, and that now for some years, Japan has opened its eyes and adopted the techniques of contemporary progress and civilization, promoting sciences and industries of use to the public, and striving to the utmost of their power and competence until public opinion was focused on reform. This government has currently advanced to such a point that, although its population is only one-sixth, or even one-tenth, that of China, it has recently challenged the latter government, and China has finally been forced to come to terms. Observe carefully how education and the arts of civilization bring honor, prosperity, independence and freedom to a government and its people.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    The Secret of Divine Civilization,
    p. 111)
[2] And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

V.2 Japan became the focus of the great technological force that was to forever change the destiny of mankind. The following amazing prophecy about the Atomic Bomb was given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in San Francisco in 1912, to the Japanese Ambassador Viscount Arakawa, upon whose country the first atomic bomb would be dropped.

    "Scientific discoveries have increased material civilization. There is in existence a stupendous force, as yet, happily undiscovered by man. Let us supplicate God, the Beloved, that this force be not discovered by science until spiritual civilization shall dominate the human mind. In the hands of men of lower nature, this power would be able to destroy the whole earth."
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Japan Will Turn Ablaze,
    p. 51)
    Split the atom's heart, and lo!
    Within it thou wilt find a sun.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Seven Valleys,
    p. 12)
The spiritual meaning of this verse is of even greater significance to mankind. From the pit came smoke, which is more dense than clouds of the mind, which kept people from following the true teachings of the Buddha. The sun and air were darkened, which means the spirituality of the religion was gone.
    The symbolic term "smoke" denotes grave dissensions, the abrogation and demolition of recognized standards, and the utter destruction of their narrow-minded exponents. What smoke more dense and overpowering than the one which hath now enshrouded all the peoples of the world, which hath become a torment unto them, and from which they hopelessly fail to deliver themselves, however much they strive? So fierce is this fire of self burning within them, that at every moment they seem to be afflicted with fresh torments.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Kitáb-i-Íqán,
    p. 76)
[3] And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

On the literal side, we also saw the painful result of the smoke that arose from the pit of hell when the Atomic bomb was dropped. This peculiar smoke contained particles of radioactivity material whose bite was as dreadful as the scorpions of the earth.

    Strange and astonishing things exist in the earth but they are hidden from the minds and the understanding of men. These things are capable of changing the whole atmosphere of the earth and their contamination would prove lethal.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 69)
Out of the smoke came locusts, which are much like grasshoppers, but they strip all vegetation as they go. Since they travel in great hordes, it is devastating, as the crops are completely destroyed. The armies of Japan, China, Korea and Vietnam, and elsewhere in the Far East, became like great hordes of locusts as the gun barrels of defending forces melted in their efforts to stop them.
    The smoke of corruption hath enveloped the whole world in such wise that naught can be seen in any direction save regiments of soldiers and nothing is heard from any land but the clashing of swords.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 39)
[4] And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

V.4 While those who remain alive in the spiritual teachings of their religion (the green grass and trees) will not be spiritually harmed, it is those that have become spiritually dead that will be harmed.

Although in some religions people put a mark on their foreheads (not a Bahá'í practice) what is meant is a spiritual reference. More importantly what one should really note here is that while many people have concerned themselves about a supposed literal 'mark of the beast' in this case the mark on the forehead is viewed in a very positive light. The essential point however, is that in neither case is it a physical mark but rather the expression is used to denote the nature of their character.

    These are they who are blessed by the Concourse on high, who are glorified by the denizens of the everlasting Cities, and beyond them by those on whose foreheads Thy most exalted pen hath written: "These! The people of Baha. Through them have been shed the splendors of the light of guidance." Thus hath it been ordained, at Thy behest and by Thy will, in the Tablet of Thine irrevocable decree.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 83)
    We, verily, have chosen courtesy, and made it the true mark of such as are nigh unto Him. Courtesy is, in truth, a raiment which fitteth all men, whether young or old. Well is it with him that adorneth his temple therewith, and woe unto him who is deprived of this great bounty.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Summons of the Lord of Hosts,
    p. 71
    Suriy-i-Haykal / Surih of the Temple /
    Napoleon III:137)
The seal of God is deep down commitment to His teachings; The spiritual teachings give direction for living the life.
    CXXX. Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 285)
[5] And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

V.5 The prophecies of the Book of Revelation are fulfilled over a period of time and a part of the problem in writing about it is that even after the seals have been opened there are aspects that are still in the process of being fulfilled and therefore we will not be able to understand them until after they have been fulfilled. In a literal sense we may observe that the smoke (radiation) from nuclear weapons does persist with some intensity for a period of about five months and that very often for many it is a serious but not fatal torment.

Prophetic statements of time are often symbolic. As seen in 'The Most Conclusive Proof' (see appendix by that name) five months, really means 150 years, arrived at by multiplying 5 months times the 30 days in a month and considering each of the resulting 150 days as representing a year. The difficulty then comes in determining the starting point of the time period. Once an event has occurred one can then count backwards from the event to the what was the concealed reference and in that way see the prophecy as a "proof".

If one were to speculate that the point of reference were the beginning of Japan's interaction with the West, in 1854, then the completion of the time period would be in 2004 which lies beyond the time of this writing and would therefore be pure speculation. From the Bahá'í timetable the base year is usually 1844 with declaration of the Báb, but then we add to that the 'year 9' which brought us to the declaration of Bahá'u'lláh, and 150 years added to that again brings us into the current time frame. A few years one way or the other may not be that significant in speaking of times that are a century long, or a thousand years long, or as in this case a century and a half in duration.

Whatever may be the fulfillment of these prophetic verses, there is no doubt but that they are indicative of the interesting times in which we live and that they may be warning of a grevious catastrophe still to befall Japan and mankind.

[6] And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

V.6 If these verses are seen as a description of events still to come at the time that this book is being written, then this could be also interpreted as a literal description of the horrors that modern warfare can impose and what may occur in a nuclear catastrophe so terrible that it has been speculated that the living will envy the dead.
    Where canst thou find refuge now? Who shall protect thee from the dreadful scourge of thy Lord, the All-Compelling? There is no haven for thee in this Day, O ungodly doubter!" Whereupon the agony of death seized him and he saw no more. Thus did We lay hold on him in Our wrathful anger, and severe is thy Lord in His punishment.

    Then an angel from the right hand of the Throne summoned him: "Behold the angel of affliction. Is there any place to flee to save hell, wherein the heart boileth?" And the angel of chastisement received his spirit, and a voice proclaimed: "Enter the bottomless pit which hath been promised in the Book, and whose existence thou didst day and night deny!"

    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Summons of the Lord of Hosts,
    p. 178,
    Lawh-i-Fu'ád:11)
    My only joy in this swiftly-passing world was to tread the stony path of God and to endure hard tests and all material griefs. For otherwise, this earthly life would prove barren and vain, and better would be death.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá,
    p. 226)
    If he becomes the center of the imperfections of the world of humanity, death is better than life, and nonexistence better than existence.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    The Promulgation of Universal Peace,
    p. 53)
[7] And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

V.7 From a spiritual perspective we can see these armies (like hordes of locusts) prepared for battle, were deceptive. They are described as having crowns, but their crowns were 'like' gold, meaning that they felt that they had authority from God, however they were mistaken. Divine authority, is always symbolized by a golden crown. In this verse they are described as locusts, but it says they have faces of men. Literal interpretations of this are left for the appendix at the end of this chapter.
    Say: None shall be secure this Day from the decree of God. This indeed is a grievous Day. We point out to them those that led them astray. They see them, and yet recognize them not. Their eyes are drunken; they are indeed a blind people. Their proofs are the calumnies they uttered; condemned are their calumnies by God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. The Evil One hath stirred up mischief in their hearts, and they are afflicted with a torment that none can avert. They hasten to the wicked, bearing the register of the workers of iniquity. Such are their doings.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 41)
[8] And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.

V.8 Again, a literal interpretation is left for the appendix at the end of the chapter but from a spiritual point of view that they had hair like women, would mean that they appeared placid in their deception, while 'teeth of lions' denotes strength of their intent. This is very descriptive of the Maoist cultural revolution in China.
[9] And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.

V.9 While these verses permit very graphic literal interpretations as presented in the appendix to this chapter they are also equally adaptable to spiritual meanings which are even deeper. The breastplates of iron here represent strength and the overwhelming sound of wings that of intense energy and activity. All of which can be seen in the action of societies which exert political power over the people without the essence of spiritual justice.

[10] And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.

V.10 Once again we have the five month figure and while it may be seen as a conflict that some effect of lasts five months it is also (either alternatively or simultaneously) possibly code for activity that covers a 150 year period, the conclusion of which we have not seen yet.
[11] And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

V.11 The king of the bottomless pit is called Abaddon in Hebrew, and Apollyon in Greek: Both mean 'Destruction' and there is no doubt but that these verses forebode a period of destruction both physically and spiritually. Indeed, the last century has seen both physical destruction, such as had not occurred in all the previous centuries combined, and spiritual destruction with the rise of godlessness (repudiation of belief in God) and extremes of immorality and spiritual uncleanliness that the world has no record of having occurred before.
    CXII. Behold the disturbances which, for many a long year, have afflicted the earth, and the perturbation that hath seized its peoples. It hath either been ravaged by war, or tormented by sudden and unforeseen calamities. Though the world is encompassed with misery and distress, yet no man hath paused to reflect what the cause or source of that may be. Whenever the True Counsellor uttered a word in admonishment, lo, they all denounced Him as a mover of mischief and rejected His claim. How bewildering, how confusing is such behavior! No two men can be found who may be said to be outwardly and inwardly united. The evidences of discord and malice are apparent everywhere, though all were made for harmony and union. The Great Being saith: O well-beloved ones! The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. We cherish the hope that the light of justice may shine upon the world and sanctify it from tyranny.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 218)
[12] One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

V.12 A detailed discussion of 'The Three Woes' is to be found in the concept box at the end of the previous chapter (Chapter Eight). Here it may be seen as that the woe that befell the Buddhist religion in the Far East is to be followed by woes that will befall the sixth and seventh religions - therefore the Christian and Islámic countries, respectively.

Chapter Fourteen

Bible Verses

[17] And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

V.17 Another angel appeared from the same temple, this one in the order of religions being that of the Buddhist Religion, and curiously He also has a sharp sickle as we note in current events that the nuclear threat now also comes from that part of the world.
    A process, God-impelled, endowed with measureless potentialities, mysterious in its workings, awful in the retribution meted out to every one seeking to resist its operation, infinitely rich in its promise for the regeneration and redemption of human kind, had been set in motion.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    God Passes By,
    p. 402)

Chapter Sixteen

Bible Verses

[10] And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,

V.10 The Fifth Angel poured the vial on the seat of the beast - the Persian Islámic hierarchy who brought darkness to Iran when the Faith was banned and persecuted as they tried to extinguish the Spiritual Light that had dawned there. The Fifth Angel being associated with the Buddhist Faith and the Far East may yet have some interaction and involvement in bringing the vial of destruction to Iran.
    "In the tenth verse, the 'seat of the beast' means the king of Persia, seated on his throne, upon whom the cup of the fifth angel was poured."

[11] And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

V.11
    "But the people were not admonished by all the calamities which occurred."
That is to say they were completely immersed instead in their rebellion against the true principles of religion and so were not awakened by the calamities. The same applies today, in that people are completely immersed in today's materialism and immorality and in effect curse God for not having organized the world to their liking.

Chapter Twenty
Bible Verses

[1] And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.1 This is the Fifth Angel and related to the Buddhist Religion. He was given the key to the bottomless pit to open it in (Rev.9:1) and it is also mentioned again in (Rev.9:11) with the reference to destruction. Finally, the great pit is to be closed. The great power of God has changed the attitude of people.

[2] And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

V.2 The angel laid hold onto the dragon, (described as the 'Devil' and 'Satan'). The dragon is anarchic (uncontrolled sovereign) international governments. This old serpent will be bound for a thousand years. We have discussed at length the relationship between the Buddhist Religion and nuclear war and this is indication that after the final battle of the Great War of Armageddon weapons of mass distruction such as nuclear will not be used again for a thousand years.

Technology has changed to such an extent that we all recognize that this is now 'a new era', however many don't relate it to the fact that this is the time promised in all the holy books, for the renewal of religion.

    For while the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh will last for at least one thousand years, His cycle will extend still farther to at least 500,000.
    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian
    to an individual believer, November 14, 1935:
    Bahá'í News. No. 102. August 1936, pp. 2-3
    Lights of Guidance,
    p. 475)
[3] And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

V.3 The dragon, again anarchic international governments, will be cast into the bottomless pit, and kept quiet, so that the nations will no longer be deceived. However towards the end of the thousand years, there will appear similar animosities and intolerances, and along with them another though lesser catastrophe, such that humanity will finally turn unto that which Bahá'u'lláh has established. 'Abdu'l-Bahá explains:

    This Cause is great, its powers are growing and its signs are dazzling. It shall continue in elevation, exaltation, growth, promulgation and promotion until it shall reach the apex of its glory in one thousand years.
    (Bahá'í Scriptures p.472)

MENU:  HOME » Renewal » Revelation Content » Nine Angels