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The Book of Revelation
One Bahá'í's Concept


A Common Understanding about the Book of Revelation

Most people see the Book of Revelation as a 'Book of Prophecy' written only for Christians and only about Jesus Christ and the future of His Church. These people would of course say that the Book is addressed to all people in the world in the sense that they feel all people should become Christians. However, according to this common view the Book is either addressed to the specific small churches named in it, or sometimes the churches are considered archetypes of any Christian congregations that have the described characteristics. From this common point of view the Book of Revelation certainly is not specifically addressed to the other major religions in the world and certainly not specifically to the Islámic Faith.

From the Book of Revelation the common viewpoint often has expectations for the "Last Days" that involve the rising of what is sometimes seen as an institution but more often as a particular individual known as the Anti-Christ who is identified with the number 666. There is also concern about a thing called the "mark of the beast" and that people may be required to take this as a symbol in their hand or on their forehead and that without it they will not be permitted to trade. There is speculation among some today that this may be a computer chip. References to the Lamb are interpreted as being Jesus Christ and the bride is most often thought to be His Church.

There is expected to be a great battle called Armageddon, sometimes viewed as being between kingdoms or governments of this world and sometimes viewed as involving heavenly armies. Afterwards there is expected to occur a thousand years of peace during which, at sometime within that time frame, the graves are supposed to open and the dead return. There are variations as regarding expectations of timing with some variants including what is called the 'rapture' with certain chosen souls being 'translated' up into heaven. Sometimes the specific number of 144,000 is associated with these 'chosen' ones. Again with variations as to timing, Jesus is expected to return, most often physically, and oftentimes as coming down on a cloud. Eventually, in a thousand years, there is another battle with Satan, and then all matters are settled finally.

That stated above, with numerous variations, is a general overall view of the commonly accepted plot of the Book Revelation. No matter how literal some interpreters may be about certain subjects, such as the graves opening, Jesus coming down on a cloud, 666 and its identification with Anti-Christ, the meaning of "the mark of the beast" and so forth - all will say some things are symbolic - such as "the dragon", and do not expect an 'actual' dragon. The variations between interpretations as to what is symbolic and what is literal - varies greatly.

A New Understanding about the Book of Revelation

Within the paradigm presented here, The Book of Revelation is much more significant than the Christians imagine because it is truly a Message from Jesus about the coming of God's Kingdom on Earth to the whole earth and all the peoples in it. In this viewpoint God has always loved all His children and has always provided all of them with all the necessities of food, air, water, parents and most important of all - spiritual guidance.

The spiritual guidance that God has provided to people in other cultures and other parts of the world has been through Teachers, Revealers, Prophets - what the Bahá'í's call Manifestations of God - to those people and cultures in the world. There were seven Major Religions in the world prior the Bábí / Bahá'í Revelation and it is these seven religions that are addressed in The Book of Revelation as Seven Churches, Seven Golden Candlesticks, Seven Angels and so forth.

The religion that came immediately after the Christian religion was the Islám and for this reason a large part of The Book of Revelation deals with the Islám. This is as difficult news for most Christians to hear as it is for Jews to hear that it is Jesus that was prophesized about in the Old Testament. Muslims of course accept this fact more readily because they do believe in Jesus and His prophesying about the coming of Muhammad.

The problem for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike is the idea that the balance of The Book of Revelation is about the establishment of Kingdom of Heaven, Zion, the New Jerusalem, through the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. Followers of former faiths always give different interpretations to the Scriptures, very often in some literal sense. How the verses are to be correctly understood are of course explained throughout this book.

The Book of Revelation as a 'Book of Proof'

Rather than so much as viewing The Book of Revelation as a 'Book of Prophecy' it is viewed here as a 'Book of Proof'. The thing that 'proves' The Book of Revelation is of course that it was prophetic - that it did foretell the coming of the Islám and what would happen to it, and that it did foretell the coming of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. But the point is that these things were understood after the event and not before. The fact that its Truth can be see after the event, and that it had been prophesized beforehand (once the sealed books are opened and the meanings are understood) is what makes it valuable as a guide to recognizing its Message.

The Message of The Book of Revelation is a pointer to recognize the Return of Jesus in His new guise with His New Name. The intent of the Old Testament was for the Jews to recognize Jesus, the intent of the New Testament was for the Jews and Christians to recognize Muhammad and the intent of the Qur'án (Koran) and The Book of Revelation is for the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims, and the followers of all the Seven Religions in the world to recognize the Fulfillment of the promise in all their Books of the coming of the Lord of Hosts when there would be One Fold and One Shepherd.

We are in the midst of the time of Fulfillment and so consequently the full meaning of some of the prophecies, especially as to any literal sense, has not yet been opened to us. Nevertheless, sufficient has now become apparent for us to recognize the Manifestations for this Day and Age. The importance of the Old Testament was to point to the New. The importance of the Gospel was to point to the Qur'án. And the importance of them all was to point to the Writings / Scriptures revealed for this Day and Age by the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh - and from whence we are to get our guidance for today and tomorrow beyond the expected Catastrophe in the glorious subsequent centuries that will see mankind's further spiritual, social, intellectual and technological development.

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