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


When an old system is cast away and a new system takes its place, there are often major upheavals. The time of a major transition for the human race is its passing from adolescence onto adulthood which is the 'Time of Fulfillment' of the prophecies of all the religions. In this chapter there are described the trials and tribulations associated with this transition.

Oftentimes the themes of The Book of Revelation are repeated back and forth between the various chapters. There are a variety of references to the Seven Churches (Religions) as Seven Candlesticks, Seven Angels, and their Seven Messages (Thunders) and Books, and the Sealing of those Books (Seven Seals) and the opening and removing of the Seven Seals. Rather than a lineal presentation, the reading of the Book of Revelation is often more like looking at a hologram - where one can walk around it and see it from different sides. Each part contains a bit of the whole - but if one recognizes that the Seven Voices, Angels, etc. are the Seven Major Religions of the World, then they can understand the various references to them such as that all of their prophecies were "sealed" until the time of "the end" or the "Time of Fulfillment".

There is always a direct connection in the symbolism of the Seven Angels, Seven Trumpets, Seven Seals, Seven Vials and so forth, with each of the specific Seven Religions, but the archetypes are also universal in their application to all the religions both individually and collectively.

Although still in the heavenly realm Bahá'u'lláh holds the Book, which is the New Revelation, and the Báb is qualified to open the seals. With a New Revelation, the old ways must be cast away. The Báb gives us the promise of a new 'spiritual beginning' to come, to be brought about by Bahá'u'lláh. However the change brings many upheavals.

This chapter of the Book of Revelation contains what are referred to as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. These have raised a very frightening image in the eyes of many, and rightfully they should. The imagery of the white, red, black and pale horses have been depicted in various ways and often as famine, war, disease (pestilence, plague, or today even bio/chem warfare) and death (which often follow in that order) - but here we shall look upon them in a somewhat broader interpretation which explains not only the events - but also the cause of the events.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are discussed in more detail in the appendix at the end of this chapter.

Bible Verses

[1] And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.1 John saw the Báb open one of the seals, and he heard the noise of thunder brought on by the Great Message the Báb has to offer. We recognize the Lamb as being the Báb because He is the Return of Christ (which is identified by Christians as being the Lamb). All the Manifestations of God are the One and the Same. The First and Last. The Only. Even as Bahá'u'lláh said:

    XLVII. If ye be intent on crucifying once again Jesus, the Spirit of God, put Me to death, for He hath once more, in My person, been made manifest unto you.
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh)
He opens the first seal and the 'first beast' says "come and see". The "beasts" as pointed out in Chapter Four, are rulers that will become champions of His Cause.

The first seal, though associated with the Sabean Religion, it being the oldest religion and most anciently widespread among the native peoples of the earth, is universal in its application.

[2] And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

V.2 John saw a white horse; this is a symbol of the teaching work by all the religions of the world, as going forth to conquer. Though this horse is white, a sign of pure source, its rider's crown is not golden, which indicates that at 'the Time of the End' the religious teachers are not divinely inspired. The rider has a bow but not an arrow, which indicates that the teachings, because of man-made doctrine and ideologies, are no longer effective and are not reaching the hearts of mankind. The teaching work is not bringing the love and human kindness, honesty and spirituality towards all, as God demands. This is quite evident when we look at our world to-day.
[3] And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

V.3 Again, as the Báb opens the seal the 'second beast' says "come and see." The second seal is associated with the Second Angel and the Hindu Religion, which in its long history has tales of many epic battles, such as found in the Bhagavad Gita.
[4] And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

V.4 The red horse of war, while having universal significance may well have special significance to the Hindus in the 'last days' because of their conflict with Pakistan and possession by both of the great nuclear sword. While the world has been plagued by war for centuries, their intensity and ferocity has been moving towards an even greater affliction, great tribulation, and time of trouble.

    ". affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be."
    Mark 13:19
    a "great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
    Matthew 24:21
    "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time:"
    Daniel 12:1
    (King James Bible)
[5] And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

V.5 The Third Seal and the Third Angel is associated with the Jewish Faith. The horse of the Third Seal is black; the rider has a pair of balances which symbolize judgment and the legal system, and it is evident that in the western world law has long had its foundation in the Old Testament of the Jews and the Ten Commandments.

The problem for the 'End of Times' is that the law has become legalisms. Just as the teachers of the white horse taught dogmatisms - and the emotions of warriors of the red horse led to war - these black robed "justices" or judges of the black horse are also faulty in that their balances promote legalisms rather than justice.

    Ye will most certainly be called upon to answer for His trust on the day when the Balance of Justice shall be set, the day when unto everyone shall be rendered his due, when the doings of all men, be they rich or poor, shall be weighed.
    The Summons of the Lord of Hosts,
    p. 189,
    Suriy-i-Mulúk / Surih of the Kings:11)
[6] And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

V.6 At the 'time of the end' there is great concern among all the rulers regarding the economic situation, which has a predominant involvement of the legal systems. The specific values of the penny (coinage / currency) and the measures are relative. In these days many have noted the world concern about oil and there is widespread prejudiced resentment regarding the prominence of members of the Jewish Religion in the monetary and legal systems. Altogether the Lord's blessings of bounty and plenty on this earth have been turned into deprivation and poverty for many.

The Voice from Heaven we usually identify with Bahá'u'lláh.

[7] And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

V.7 The Báb opened the fourth seal, specifically related to the Fourth Angel and the Zoroastrians, but again universal in application, and John heard the fourth ruler say "come and see". The 'beasts' as mentioned here and in the next verse, and indeed generally throughout the Book of Revelation refers to rulers and those with sovereignty.

[8] And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

V.8 The horse that he saw is pale, which indicates that it has become anemic of spiritual power, and indeed of all the Seven Religions we do find the Zoroastrians with fewest followers at 'the time of the end'. While, as discussed at Rev.19:18, the Zoroastrians did have a particular association with death, it is the universal application in the "last days" to the people of the whole world to their being killed by the sword, or with hunger and starvation, and terrible sicknesses, especially in a fourth part of the world - therefore in what has been called the Third World countries or the undeveloped countries.

[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.

[12] And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

V.12 The sixth seal, of the Sixth Angel of Christianity, is now open. Earthquakes are also mentioned in Rev.8:5, Rev.11:13, Rev.11:19, and Rev.16:18. Earthquakes were also particularly pointed out as a sign of the "time of the end" by Jesus in Matthew, Mark 13:8, and Luke 21:11.
    Matthew 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
People have often seen external events as fulfillment of these prophetic signs. For example, a dark day happened on May 19, 1780 at 10 a.m., (and in other years as well) which created quite a stir, as people at that time were aware of this prophecy. A great earthquake happened in Lisbon, Portugal in 1775, killing over 60,000 people, and was widely related to this Bible prophecy.

A longer historical view may well give new external meanings to the prophecies but we must always remember that it is the internal meanings that are of the greater significance. Earthquakes in the prophecies spiritually symbolize major disrupting changes in the social and religious orders and the Sun and Moon symbolize Powers and Institutions both Heavenly and earthly.

[13] And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

V.13 In 1833 there was a greater shower of falling stars than was ever recorded in the past or since. These heavenly events have both external and spiritual meanings. They were noted also at the time of Jesus with the star of Bethlehem.

    'Have the stars fallen?' Say: 'Yea, when He Who is the Self-Subsisting dwelt in the Land of Mystery (Adrianople). Take heed, ye who are endued with discernment!' All the signs appeared when We drew forth the Hand of Power from the bosom of majesty and might.
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,
    p. 132)
However, as always it is the internal spiritual meanings that are of the greater significance.
    O King! The stars of the heaven of knowledge have fallen, they who seek to establish the truth of My Cause through the things they possess, and who make mention of God in My Name. And yet, when I came unto them in My glory, they turned aside. They, indeed, are of the fallen. This is, truly, that which the Spirit of God (Jesus Christ) hath announced, when He came with truth unto you, He with Whom the Jewish doctors disputed, till at last they perpetrated what hath made the Holy Spirit to lament, and the tears of them that have near access to God to flow.
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,
    p. 48)
    The path hath become smooth, the way straightened, the carpet of the Kingdom is spread, the Tabernacle hath been elevated upon the Hill of Might, the powers of heaven have been shaken, the corners of the earth have quaked, the sun has been darkened, the moon ceased to give light, the stars have fallen, the nations of the earth have lamented, and the Son of Man hath come upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and He hath sent His angels with the sound of the great trumpet, and no one knows the meaning of these emblems save the wise and informed.
    Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá v1,
    p. 145)
    And now, concerning His words: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven." By these words it is meant that when the sun of  the heavenly teachings hath been eclipsed, the stars of the divinely-established laws have fallen, and the moon of true knowledge -- the educator of mankind -- hath been obscured; when the standards of guidance and felicity have been reversed, and the morn of truth and righteousness hath sunk in night, then shall the sign of the Son of man appear in heaven. By "heaven" is meant the visible heaven, inasmuch as when the hour draweth nigh on which the Day-star of the heaven of justice shall be made manifest, and the Ark of divine guidance shall sail upon the sea of glory, a star will appear in the heaven, heralding unto its people the advent of that most great light. In like manner, in the invisible heaven a star shall be made manifest who, unto the peoples of the earth, shall act as a harbinger of the break of that true and exalted Morn. These twofold signs, in the visible and the invisible heaven, have announced the Revelation of each of the Prophets of God, as is commonly believed.
    The Kitáb-i-Íqán,
    p. 61)
[14] And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

V.14 The heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together, is telling us that the old world order will be replaced by a new order.
    Hereby we bear witness, that the path is lifted up in truth, the balance is laid in Justice,.the heavens rolled together as a scroll."
    (Bahá'í Scriptures,
    p. 203)
Every mountain and island will be moved out of their places, which indicates that institutions, which are like mountains will be changed, and the islands which divide us, such as traditions and denominational differences, which are causing confrontation, will also be moved out of their places.

    'Yea, more; the mountains have been scattered in dust; by Him the Lord of attributes!'
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,
    p. 132)
    "As you see the mountains and think of them as solid, but they shall pass away as the passing of the clouds."
    (Qur'án (Koran) 78:20)
The world is in a state of transition, and whatever events take place in the external world - it is the internal spiritual significances that are important.

[15] And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid them selves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

V.15 Great fear will come to the leaders and those in high places, as well as every ordinary person. Many fear the loss of wealth and belongings, and most likely of life itself.

One can have expectations such as they will. Some may see that people will have to hide for the fear of radiation or nuclear weapons. We always understand prophecies better - after they are past. Whatever the meaning it is said that the people of the earth, including those of influence will experience tremendous fear, and will hide in terror.

    The Plain is disclosed, and mankind is sore vexed and fearful. Earthquakes have broken loose, and the tribes have lamented, for fear of God, the Lord of Strength, the All-Compelling.
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,
    X. In the Book of Isaiah it is written: "Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty." No man that meditateth upon this verse can fail to recognize the greatness of this Cause, or doubt the exalted character of this Day -- the Day of God Himself. This same verse is followed by these words: "And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that Day." This is the Day which the Pen of the Most High hath glorified in all the holy Scriptures. There is no verse in them that doth not declare the glory of His holy Name, and no Book that doth not testify unto the loftiness of this most exalted theme. Were We to make mention of all that hath been revealed in these heavenly Books and holy Scriptures concerning this Revelation, this Tablet would assume impossible dimensions. It is incumbent in this Day, upon every man to place his whole trust in the manifold bounties of God, and arise to disseminate, with the utmost wisdom, the verities of His Cause. Then, and only then, will the whole earth be enveloped with the morning light of His Revelation.
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh)
[16] And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

V.16 They want the rocks to fall, to surround them from danger. The chastisement of God will be recognized as just that. Finally people will understand that God is All Powerful and many will wish to escape from the power of His wrath.
    Milestones of historic significance have been successively reached and rapidly left behind. A still stonier stretch of road now lies before them. Rumblings of catastrophes yet more dreadful agitate with increasing frequency a sorely stressed and chaotic world, presenting a challenge to grapple with the unfinished tasks, a challenge graver and still more pressing than any hitherto experienced.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    Citadel of Faith,
    p. 60)
    .the overwhelming accretion of strength to the arch enemy of the system championed by the American Union in consequence of the re-alignment of the powers in the Asiatic continent and particularly in the Far East -- these have, moreover, contributed their share, in recent years, to the deterioration of a situation which, if not remedied, is bound to involve the American nation in a catastrophe of undreamed-of dimensions and of untold consequences to the social structure, the standard and conception of the American people and government.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    Citadel of Faith,
    p. 126)
    The present world unrest, symptom of a world-wide malady, . must needs culminate in that world catastrophe out of which the consciousness of world citizenship will be born, a consciousness that can alone provide an adequate basis for the organization of world unity, on which a lasting world peace must necessarily depend, the peace itself inaugurating in turn that world civilization which will mark the coming of age of the entire human race.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    Messages to America,
    p. 22)
[17] For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

V.17 The 'Great Day of Wrath' will come. The world can not go on in its present state.

    "In the beginning of every Revelation adversities have prevailed, which later on have been turned into great prosperity." "Say: O people of God! Beware lest the powers of the earth alarm you, or the might of the nations weaken you, or the tumult of the people of discord deter you, or the exponents of earthly glory sadden you. Be ye as a mountain in the Cause of your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Glorious, the Unconstrained." "Say: Beware, O people of Bahá, lest the strong ones of the earth rob you of your strength, or they who rule the world fill you with fear. Put your trust in God, and commit your affairs to His keeping. He, verily, will, through the power of truth, render you victorious, and He, verily, is powerful to do what He willeth, and in His grasp are the reins of omnipotent might." "I swear by My life! Nothing save that which profiteth them can befall My loved ones. To this testifieth the Pen of God, the Most Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Best Beloved." "Let not the happenings of the world sadden you. I swear by God! The sea of joy yearneth to attain your presence, for every good thing hath been created for you, and will, according to the needs of the times, be revealed unto you." "O my servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes.
    The Advent of Divine Justice,
    p. 81, 82)

Chapter Six Appendix
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse arose out of Four Institutions that were originally established to bring order and benefit to mankind but whose forms had now become old and decrepit. These four were:

    • Religion
        (which became religionism and dogmatism)
    • Government
        (which became tyranny and militarism)
    • Justice Systems
        (which became legalistic systems of lawyers and courts)
    • Economic systems
        (which became struggles between greedy Capital and impoverished Labor)
Bahá'u'lláh points out how it is that while all of these institutions are good and necessary, when executed in balance according to the directions of the Revealers of the Religions, they become sources of evil when carried to excess.
    It is incumbent upon them who are in authority to exercise moderation in all things. Whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence. Consider for instance such things as liberty, civilization and the like. However much men of understanding may favourably regard them, they will, if carried to excess, exercise a pernicious influence upon men
    The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 113)
    The civilization, so often vaunted by the learned exponents of arts and sciences, will, if allowed to overleap the bounds of moderation, bring great evil upon men. Thus warneth you He Who is the All-Knowing. If carried to excess, civilization will prove as prolific a source of evil as it had been of goodness when kept within the restraints of moderation. Meditate on this, O people, and be not of them that wander distraught in the wilderness of error. The day is approaching when its flame will devour the cities, when the Tongue of Grandeur will proclaim: "The Kingdom is God's, the Almighty, the All-Praised!"
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 342)
    If a thing is carried to excess, it will prove a source of evil. Consider the civilization of the West, how it hath agitated and alarmed the peoples of the world. An infernal engine hath been devised, and hath proved so cruel a weapon of destruction that its like none hath ever witnessed or heard. The purging of such deeply-rooted and overwhelming corruptions cannot be effected unless the peoples of the world unite in pursuit of one common aim and embrace one universal faith. Incline your ears unto the Call of this Wronged One and adhere firmly to the Lesser Peace.
    Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 69)
It is the beasts of the earth (rulers - governments) that bring these tragedies of war, hunger, poverty and terrible health conditions. The opening of each seal is the releasing of the Spiritual Power that changes the world and some of its institutions. It is necessary that the old institutions that have gone astray, be destroyed as described in this chapter, in order to make way for the new. Thus we see with the:

    • White Horse of Religion
        (some Mullahs in Islám, some Rabbis in Judaism, and some preachers in Christianity teaching dogmatism and intolerance and even hatred for other religions)
    • Red Horse of Government
        (popular political leaders such as Hitler exciting excessive patriotism and advocating militarism)
    • Black Horse of Justice Systems
        (lawyers and courts which provided mercy and escape for the wealthy but were unaffordable for the poor)
    • Economic systems
        (the means of making a few people extremely wealthy but which left much of mankind impoverished )
It was these Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse that destroyed the old system, through their intolerance, indifference, injustice, and greed - bringing death, disease, and poverty to the whole of mankind.

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