MENU:  HOME » Religion » Revelation: Content : Next Chapter

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


The Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ (as stated in verse 1) is given to John (as also stated in verse 1) in symbolic prophecy (as explained to John in verse 20) about Christ's return as the One Who 'was' is' and 'is to come'. The concept of the "return" of Christ being Baha'u'llah is introduced in verse 13 (One 'like' the Son of man), and in effect the whole book is therefore actually being revealed by Christ in His 'return' identity as Bahá'u'lláh.

The Trumpet (verse 10) is Symbolic of the Pen of the Manifestation of God and in this case is Bahá'u'lláh, who from the throne of Jesus (Verse 4) and Bahá'u'lláh (Rev.4:2) is the Speaker throughout the Book of Revelation and consequently is recognized as such in the commentary column throughout this book. This may at first be difficult to accept by those who already have a preconceived idea as to the meaning of the Book of Revelation but understanding of the explanations given with each verse throughout the Book will open one's eyes to what is in fact the central purpose of the Book of Revelation - the recognition of Christ as Bahá'u'lláh in His Return.

The central idea in this book is of course that the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh are the Return of Christ and that all that is said of Christ is said of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh - and vice versa, for in Spirit They are One as they are also One with all of the other Manifestations of God.

The mystery of the Seven Churches to which John is told to write (in Verse 11) are symbolic archetypes of seven historical Prophetic Revelations or Religions of God that have appeared on this planet, as will be explained in detail in the following chapters.

The two Religions of Fulfillment (Bábí and Bahá'í) are the subject of The Book of Revelation in the uniting of the Nine Religions and hence the title of this book - Nine United.

    "The number nine which in itself is the number of perfection is considered by the Bahá'ís as sacred because it is symbolic of the perfection of the Bahá'í Revelation which constitutes the ninth in the line of existing religions, the latest and fullest Revelation which mankind has ever known. The eighth is the religion of the Báb, and the remaining seven are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islám, and the religion of the Sabeans. These religions are not the only true religions that have appeared in the world, but are the only ones still existing. There have always been divine Prophets and Messengers, to many of whom the Qur'án refers. But the only ones existing are those mentioned above."
    (From letter written on behalf of the Guardian
    to an individual believer, July 28, 1936:
    Bahá'í News, No. 105, February 1937,
    p. 2)
    (Lights of Guidance,
    p. 414)

Bible Verses

[1] The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.1 The Book of Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ from God. It was sent to His angel and given to John. The purpose is to show us ‘what is to shortly come to pass’ or 'quickly come to pass' once the 'the last days' have begun. Previously, this has concerned some people about the accuracy of the Book of Revelation because they have felt that it dealt with the time immediately following John's lifetime.

However, Chapter Five explains that until the "One to Come", opens this book no one will understand it. After it is open the time is short for this prophecy to come to pass. We call this the last days of an "old" cycle and the beginning of a New Cycle. As such it is a very important time that all the Prophets of the past looked forward to and that is why the Book of Revelation was written about it and is such an important Book.

[2] Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

V.2 John made a record of all that was told and all that he saw. It is considered a testimony of Jesus Christ, and the Word of God. John was told to write to the seven churches, which are the seven religions of the world.

[3] Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

V.3 Not many want to read this book, because it is full of symbols. When we are given the means to decipher the symbols and receive the meaning, then is when we are told to watch as ‘the time is at hand.’ We are told that those who read it (the verses) will be blessed.

[4] John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

V.4 John is to write to the seven churches where he had been teaching in Asia. These are in Turkey, which may have been a part of Greece at the time. John was in Patmos a small island in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Turkey. The towns named are now in ruins mostly, no longer significant, so we take the names as symbols. They each have a meaning that is an attribute, which can be related to each of the major religions of the world. So the ‘churches’ are these religions, which are very significant. He tells them that the message is from Him ‘which is, which was, and which is to come’; because each one is identified with Him Who is, was, and to come with the Seven Spirits before His Throne.
    XXXIV. Know thou assuredly that the essence of all the Prophets of God is one and the same. Their unity is absolute. God, the Creator, saith: There is no distinction whatsoever among the Bearers of My Message. They all have but one purpose; their secret is the same secret. To prefer one in honor to another, to exalt certain ones above the rest, is in no wise to be permitted. Every true Prophet hath regarded His Message as fundamentally the same as the Revelation of every other Prophet gone before Him. The measure of the revelation of the Prophets of God in this world, however, must differ. Each and every one of them hath been the Bearer of a distinct Message, and hath been commissioned to reveal Himself through specific acts. It is for this reason that they appear to vary in their greatness.It is clear and evident, therefore, that any apparent variation in the intensity of their light is not inherent in the light itself, but should rather be attributed to the varying receptivity of an ever-changing world. Every Prophet Whom the Almighty and Peerless Creator hath purposed to send to the peoples of the earth hath been entrusted with a Message, and charged to act in a manner that would best meet the requirements of the age in which He appeared. God's purpose in sending His Prophets unto men is twofold. The first is to liberate the children of men from the darkness of ignorance, and guide them to the light of true understanding. The second is to ensure the peace and tranquillity of mankind, and provide all the means by which they can be established.
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh)

[5] And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

V.5 Jesus is a Faithful Witness, and the ‘first begotten of the dead’. He is called the Prince of kings. We all know how much this Gentle Person suffered, so that we through His word, and because He died for us, would receive life and His love and guidance.

    Those souls who are not vivified and attracted by the Holy Spirit, are accounted among the dead, because their souls are deprived of the breath of the Holy Spirit, and these persons after physical death are in a certain condition, having feeling and discernment in their environment, but in comparison with the pure souls who have been vivified by the Holy Spirit, they are as dead and deprived.
    Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá v3,
    p. 670)
For a discussion of the concept of 'begotten' see the Note at the end of this chapter.

[6] And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

V.6 Through Christ, God gave us special teachers; ministers and priests who studied the writings, helped the poor in spirit, and became teachers of His word. The Testimony given to Christ from God will last forever. To grasp the importance of the Book of Revelation, one needs to grasp the importance of its Revealer (Jesus Christ) to the whole universe and all of eternity.

[7] Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

V.7 The coming "with clouds" or "in the clouds" does not have a literal meaning. It means that men's minds are "clouded" in recognizing The Promised One. This is the verse where Christ first introduces about His Return as Bahá'u'lláh.
    In the first Gospel according to Matthew it is recorded:
    . they shall see the Son of man coming
    in the clouds of heaven
    with power and great glory. .
    Inasmuch as the Christian divines have failed to apprehend the meaning of these words, and did not recognize their object and purpose, and have clung to the literal interpretation of the words of Jesus, they therefore became deprived of the streaming grace of the Muhammadan Revelation and its showering bounties. The ignorant among the Christian community, following the example of the leaders of their faith, were likewise prevented from beholding the beauty of the King of glory,.
    The Kitáb-i-Íqán,
    p. 26)
A new Revealer always brings a new wave of Spirit, which we see. We see technology growing in leaps and bounds, and in almost every aspect of life there is change. What is missing is that mankind has not caught the spiritual message, so we see crime, immorality, wars, etc This is what causes the kindreds of the earth to wail as the spiritual powers are released.

[8] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

V.8 In this verse Christ is saying He is the beginning and the ending; the Alpha and the Omega. This goes beyond the human concept of beginning and end. Thus it is saying that ‘Before Abraham was, I am,' and that not only was it He (Christ) in the previous cycle but that He is also the same Spirit to come in Bahá'u'lláh. Christ is telling that His present dispensation is to end but that He will still be present in the New Dispensation as He was present in all the former Dispensations. Again the expression given in verse four, ‘Which is, which was, which is to come,’ ending with ‘the Almighty' in this verse, reinforces that point.

[9] I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

V.9 John introduces himself, saying that he is our brother, and He like us, has a lot of tribulation in his teaching work, and that he is a devout follower of Jesus. He is on a small island called Patmos which was at the time a part of Greece.

[10] I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.

V.10 John was in the ‘Spirit’. He had a vision, and heard a great voice: like a Trumpet. The trumpet is a symbol of the One to come.
    Verily We have sounded the Trumpet which is none other than My Pen of Glory, and lo, mankind hath swooned away before it, save them whom God pleaseth to deliver as a token of His grace. He is the Lord of bounty, the Ancient of Days.
    Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 61)

[11] Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

V.11 The voice of the Trumpet tells John that He, like Christ, is The Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. He is the One chosen by God for this day and Age. It is the Trumpet that tells John to write to the churches.
    Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He Who is the All-Merciful hath directed His steps towards the Ridvan and entered it. Guide, then, the people unto the garden of delight which God hath made the Throne of His Paradise. We have chosen thee to be our most mighty Trumpet, whose blast is to signalize the resurrection of all mankind.
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 30)
[12] And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks

V.12 John sees the churches as seven golden candlesticks. The word Golden means ‘Divine’. The churches are the world’s great religions.
    Say: 'The stunning trumpet blast hath been loudly raised, and the Day is God's, the One, the Unconstrained.'
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,
    p. 132)
[13] And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

V.13 In the midst of the golden candlesticks John sees the One who is the Trumpet and that He is 'like unto the Son of man'. The emphasis is on 'like' because this is Christ in His new attire. This is ‘The Glory of God’, told about so many times in both the Old and the New Testament. God is ‘Unknowable’ and only through one ‘Christ like’ could we understand. The Arabic word for The Glory of God is ‘Bahá'u'lláh.’
    ."the incomparable figure of Bahá'u'lláh, transcendent in His majesty, serene, awe-inspiring, unapproachably glorious." He Whom, He Himself testifies, the Prophets and Messengers addressed, on the eve of His Declaration, as "O Most Great Mystery, Tabernacle of Immortality!"
    (Ministry of the Custodians,
John saw him wearing a long cloak, and a ‘golden’ sash, which signifies His Divine nature.
[14] His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

V.14 His hair has become white, which happened when Bahá'u'lláh was age 32 and in prison: this prison was very foul and conditions terrible, however it was the concern about His Forerunner being killed that brought anguish to His soul
    .“iniquities which had riddled the breast of the Báb with bullets, had bowed down Bahá'u'lláh, and turned His hair white, and caused Him to groan aloud in anguish”.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    The Promised Day is Come,
    "His eyes were as a flame of fire", He alludeth but to the keenness of sight and acuteness of vision of the Promised One, Who with His eyes burneth away every veil and covering,.
    Gems of Divine Mysteries: Verse 75)

[15] And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

    As to the words "brass-like were His feet", by this is meant His constancy upon hearing the call of God that commandeth Him: "Be thou steadfast as thou hast been bidden."[Qur'án (Koran) 11:112] He shall so persevere in the Cause of God, and evince such firmness in the path of His might, that even if all the powers of earth and heaven were to deny Him, He would not waver in the proclamation of His Cause, nor flee from His command in the promulgation of His Laws.
    Gems of Divine Mysteries: Verse 76)

[16] And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

V.16 John tells us that he saw the seven stars, the Revealers of the seven religions, in Bahá'u'lláh's right hand. John said that His countenance was bright like the noon day sun, and out of His mouth His words were as a two-edged sword.

The symbolism of a two edged sword is something that cuts two or both ways. For good and evil. This has often been the case of religion which has been a great force for good in establishing societies, but as we read about it in the following chapters religion sometimes becomes inverted and darkened through dogmatism to become very much a force of evil.

[17] And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

V.17 John was overwhelmed. Bahá'u'lláh told him not to fear - and told him also Who He was, “ the first and the last”. This means the latest manifestation of God, or the latest Revealer, identified before as the ‘Alpha and Omega’. He is like Christ, and all the previous Messengers of God as well as Those to come.

    Wert thou to consider in this station the last of them to be the first, or conversely, thou wouldst indeed be speaking the truth, as hath been ordained by Him Who is the Wellspring of Divinity and the Source of Lordship: .
    Gems of Divine Mysteries: Verse 45)

[18] I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

V.18 He told John that He will live forever, like those before Him - Moses, Krishna, Jesus etc. He also said that He had the keys of Heaven and Hell and death. This is very powerful, and means that in this Day and Age, God is working through Bahá'u'lláh.
    From time immemorial He hath been veiled in the eternity of His Essence and concealed in the infinitude of His own Being. And when He purposed to manifest His beauty in the kingdom of names and to reveal His glory in the realm of attributes, He brought forth His Prophets from the invisible plane to the visible, that His name "the Manifest" might be distinguished from "the Hidden" and His name "the Last" might be discerned from "the First", and that there may be fulfilled the words: "He is the First and the Last; the Seen and the Hidden; and He knoweth all things!" Thus hath He revealed these most excellent names and most exalted words in the Manifestations of His Self and the Mirrors of His Being.
    Gems of Divine Mysteries: Verse 46)

[19] Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

V.19 Bahá'u'lláh is now telling John to write about what he has seen, the things we see happening now and the future for the religions of the world.

[20] The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

V.20 The mystery of the seven stars and the seven golden candlesticks is that the candlesticks are the religions of the world, and the seven stars, are their angels or Messengers from God.

The theme regarding the Seven Churches is very much developed in the next two chapters of the Book of Revelation.

Appendix Chapter One
Note On: Christian Theology "Only Begotten Son"

There are many points of Christian Theology that are dogmatically recited by some individuals when presented with new ideas about religion. We will briefly examine one such idea here. You have undoubtedly often heard the expression

"Jesus is the only begotten son of God."
What does that mean to you in light of the expession that He is the "first begotten of the dead"? (Rev.1:5) Indeed, what does 'begotten' mean to you?

The term 'begotten' most basically means that a child was conceived from the father's sperm. That would be the difference between a "begotten son" and an "adopted son". In the ancient Greek pantheon the gods had supposedly come down to earth and copulated with women and their off-spring were therefore "god begotten". The writers of the Christian Scriptures were at pains to attribute that status and privilege only to Jesus.

In modern technology to begotten from a particular father means to have come from his sperm, perhaps even by artificial insemination. However, the concept that Jesus was in any such sense "begotten" was disturbing to the Muslims and others. While this has become a dogmatic perception among some in this day it was not a part of early Christian Theology. For example - the Nicene Creed reads:

    And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
There you will note that He was "begotten of the Father before all worlds", well before the time of His birth from Mary. Another interesting point is that the Bible says in Hebrews:

    11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
    11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

so that we have it saying that Isaac was the only begotten son of Abraham, but in Chronicles 1 it says:
    1:28 The sons of Abraham; Isaac, and Ishmael.
and further on:
    1:32 Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine: she bare Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.
and of course there was his son by Keturah (which explains Ishmael):
    16:11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
The only point of all this, is that in the Bible saying that Isaac was the "only begotten son" of Abraham - something different must be meant from that meaning attributed to it by those who dogmatically state the phrase.

Christians, Muslims and Bahá'ís all accept the virgin birth of Jesus.

    "First regarding the birth of Jesus Christ. In the light of what Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá have stated concerning this subject it is evident that Jesus came into this world through the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit, and that consequently His birth was quite miraculous. This is an established fact, and the friends need not feel at all surprised, as the belief in the possibility of miracles has never been rejected in the Teachings. Their importance, however, has been minimized."
    (From a letter dated December 31, 1937
    written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer)
    (Lights of Guidance,
    p. 489)
Bahá'u'lláh, perhaps in alluding to the next Manifestation, states:
    Cry out before the gaze of the dwellers of heaven and of earth: I am the Maid of Heaven, the Offspring begotten by the Spirit of Baha. My habitation is the Mansion of His Name, the All-Glorious. Before the Concourse on high I was adorned with the ornament of His names. I was wrapt within the veil of an inviolable security, and lay hidden from the eyes of men. Methinks that I heard a Voice of divine and incomparable sweetness, proceeding from the right hand of the God of Mercy, and lo, the whole Paradise stirred and trembled before Me, in its longing to hear its accents, and gaze on the beauty of Him that uttered them. Thus have We revealed in this luminous Tablet, and in the sweetest of languages, the verses which the Tongue of Eternity was moved to utter in the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá'.
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 283)
However, the Bahá'í Writings strongly state:
    Thou art God, that there is no God but Thee, the One, the Incomparable, the Ever-Abiding, that Thou dost not beget, neither art Thou begotten, that Thou hast no offspring, no partner, nor is there any protector against humiliation but Thee, and Thou art the Lord of all worlds.
    (The Báb,
    Selections from the Writings of the Báb,
    p. 197)
    "Let the Surih of Tawhid be translated, so that all may know and be fully persuaded that the one true God begetteth not, nor is He begotten."
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,
    p. 41)
In literal interpretations of the mentioned verses, as with many others, those who follow dogmatic beliefs fail to find the true spiritual import of the meaning of the Word of God. While on this point, as others, the Bahá'ís accept the accuracy and truth of the Bible statements, it is the erroneous, dogmatic, and oftentimes shrill and intolerant interpretations, by some Christians, that they reject.

Another matter of interest is that while Matthew Chapter One goes into some length about the relationship of Jesus to David it is again noted that Jesus was born of a virgin and was therefore perhaps in some sense 'adopted' into the lineage rather than 'begotten' into it.

MENU:  HOME » Religion » Revelation: Content : Next Chapter