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


This chapter is about Fulfillment- but also about Destiny in that it explains that each dispensation has its termination and that in a thousand years another great (but lesser) catastrophe will take place with the coming of the next Manifestation.

The fulfillment of the archetype of the 'beast' or The Great Red Dragon, of this day, and that which causes war on this planet is International Anarchism, the political theory holding that all forms of international authority are unnecessary and undesirable and advocating solely the voluntary cooperation and free association of sovereign nations.

What will bring about the thousand years of the Millennium or what the Bahá'ís call the Lesser (political) Peace is mankind's unconsciously implementing Bahá'u'lláh's Teachings in the Greater Plan of God.

    It beseemeth all men, in this Day, to take firm hold on the Most Great Name, and to establish the unity of all mankind. There is no place to flee to, no refuge that any one can seek, except Him. Should any man be led to utter such words as will turn away the people from the shores of God's limitless ocean, and cause them to fix their hearts on anything except this glorious and manifest Being, that hath assumed a form subject to human limitations -- such a man, however lofty the station he may occupy, shall be denounced by the entire creation as one that hath deprived himself of the sweet savors of the All-Merciful.
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 203)
    It must, however long and tortuous the way, lead, through a series of victories and reverses, to the political unification of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, to the emergence of a world government and the establishment of the Lesser Peace, as foretold by Bahá'u'lláh and foreshadowed by the Prophet Isaiah. It must, in the end, culminate in the unfurling of the banner of the Most Great Peace, in the Golden Age of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    Citadel of Faith,
    p. 33)
    First: It is incumbent upon the ministers of the House of Justice to promote the Lesser Peace so that the people of the earth may be relieved from the burden of exorbitant expenditures. This matter is imperative and absolutely essential, inasmuch as hostilities and conflict lie at the root of affliction and calamity.

    Second: Languages must be reduced to one common language to be taught in all the schools of the world.

    Third: It behoveth man to adhere tenaciously unto that which will promote fellowship, kindliness and unity.

    Fourth: Everyone, whether man or woman, should hand over to a trusted person a portion of what he or she earneth through trade, agriculture or other occupation, for the training and education of children, to be spent for this purpose with the knowledge of the Trustees of the House of Justice.

    Fifth: Special regard must be paid to agriculture. Although it hath been mentioned in the fifth place, unquestionably it precedeth the others. Agriculture is highly developed in foreign lands, however in Persia it hath so far been grievously neglected. It is hoped that His Majesty the Shah -- may God assist him by His grace -- will turn his attention to this vital and important matter.

    Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 90)
    How unspeakably glorious are the signs, the tokens, the revelations, and splendors which He, Who is the King of Names and Attributes, hath destined for that City! The attainment unto this City quencheth thirst without water, and kindleth the love of God without fire. Within every blade of grass are enshrined the mysteries of an inscrutable Wisdom, and upon every rose-bush a myriad nightingales pour out, in blissful rapture, their melody. Its wondrous tulips unfold the mystery of the undying Fire in the Burning Bush, and its sweet savors of holiness breathe the perfume of the Messianic Spirit. It bestoweth wealth without gold, and conferreth immortality without death. In each one of its leaves ineffable delights are treasured, and within every chamber unnumbered mysteries lie hidden. They that valiantly labor in quest of God, will, when once they have renounced all else but Him, be so attached and wedded unto that City, that a moment's separation from it would to them be unthinkable. They will hearken unto infallible proofs from the Hyacinth of that assembly, and will receive the surest testimonies from the beauty of its Rose, and the melody of its Nightingale. Once in about a thousand years shall this City be renewed and readorned  

    That City is none other than the Word of God revealed in every age and dispensation. In the days of Moses it was the Pentateuch; in the days of Jesus, the Gospel; in the days of Muhammad, the Messenger of God, the Qur'án; in this day, the Bayan; and in the Dispensation of Him Whom God will make manifest, His own Book -- the Book unto which all the Books of former Dispensations must needs be referred, the Book that standeth amongst them all transcendent and supreme.

    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh,
    CXXV p. 268)

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)
[4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

V.4 In the sequence of the seven religions in order, this is the specific reference to Jesus and Christianity. It speaks of the opposition that His Return will arouse from the beast (antichrists) and how there were many martyrs who had sought to follow and spread His Teachings. Those who oppose Him in His Return are seen as having 'the mark of the beast' and often sit in judgment upon the thrones of authority. As explained previously this mark of the beast is symbolic of their character of opposition. Eventually, the Millennium of Peace or what some call the Kingdom of God on Earth will be established.

John saw thrones, and those that sat upon them. Thrones are the administrative centers such as the hierarchy of each religion and those who sit upon them have the authority to interpret meanings of Scripture for their flock to follow. Although this is necessary, mistakes are possible when the ministers and priests of any religion administer the religious laws and practices - which they consider best for their flock.

In the Christian religion, many followers went against the teachings of the Pope and were admonished for it, as history shows. Some lives were lost and many suffered in other ways. The 'Word of God' mentioned in this verse stands for all the Holy Writings of all religions, as there is only one God. Every religious system is meant to bring guidance, spirituality and wisdom with laws during its dispensation.

    Not one single Manifestation of Holiness hath appeared but He was afflicted by the denials, the repudiation, and the vehement opposition of the people around Him. Thus it hath been revealed:
      [Qur'án 36:30] "O the misery of men! No Messenger cometh unto them but they laugh Him to scorn."
    Again He saith:
      [Qur'án 40:5] "Each nation hath plotted darkly against their Messenger to lay violent hold on Him, and disputed with vain words to invalidate the truth."
      The Kitáb-i-Íqán,
      p. 4)

[5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

V.5 The rest of the 'spiritually dead' are those that will make the choice not to worship God, or to recognize His Manifestation, during this next period of a thousand years.

The rest of the dead does not refer to people who have lived in the past, or even just those living in the present. It refers to the people who will be born and die during the next thousand years that fail to recognize the Manifestation of God for this Day and Age.

    Look they to return, once they are gone? Nay, by Him Who is the Lord of Lords! save on the Day of Judgement, the Day whereon the people shall arise from their graves and be asked of their legacy.
    The Summons of the Lord of Hosts,
    p. 135
    Suriy-i-Haykal / Surih of the Temple /
    Násiri'd-Dín Sháh / Lawh-i-Sultán:271)
Many people think that the resurrection refers to the physical body. However it refers to the spirit. Each physical body must die and each body disintegrates or decomposes. The spirit referred to here is the human spirit which remains in the 'spirit of deadness' if it doesn't progress and is unaware of the spiritual growth that is necessary.

Many people will still refuse to follow the teachings of the Manifestation of God, not only for this Day, but also for all the Prophets of the past and possibly for those of the future.

    And the Resurrection hath dawned, and the Hour hath struck, and the Path hath been drawn straight, and the Balance hath been set up, and all upon the earth have been gathered together -- but still the people see no sign of the way.
    [Qur'án (Koran) 34:39]
    Be thou assured in thyself that verily, he who turns away from this Beauty hath also turned away from the Messengers of the past and showeth pride towards God from all eternity to all eternity.
    (Tablet of Ahmad,
    Bahá'í Prayers,
    p. 211)
[6] Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

V.6 There are no 'priests' as such in the Bahá'í Faith but the ones who have taken part in the teaching work hold the station of those called 'priests of God and of Christ'.

Since independent investigation of the writings is one of the principles of the Faith, priesthood has been abolished along with rituals such as baptism, communion and confession of sins. Each Manifestation has the right to make these changes.

    The essence of the meaning is that those servants who are born of and quickened by the spirit and breath of the appearances of holiness in every Manifestation, to them can be attributed life, resurrection, and entrance into the Paradise of divine love; while to others is ascribed death, heedlessness, and entrance into the fire of unbelief and divine wrath.
    Bahá'í Scriptures,
    p. 31)
    Concerning the resurrection of Christ, he wishes to call your attention to the fact that in this as well as in practically all the so-called miraculous events recorded in the Gospel we should, as Bahá'ís, seek to find a spiritual meaning and to entirely discard the physical interpretation attached to them by many of the Christian sects. The resurrection of Christ was, indeed, not physical but essentially spiritual, and is symbolic of the truth that the reality of man is to be found not in his physical constitution, but in his soul.
    (From a letter written to an individual believer
    on behalf of the Guardian, August 14, 1934,
    Lights of Guidance,
    p. 492)
[7] And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

V.7 While the Cycle of Fulfillment begun by the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh will last for over 500,000 years the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh will end sometime after a thousand years and another Manifestation will appear to bring new laws and new teachings to fit the changing times and conditions of mankind.

All things in the world eventually decay and have to be renewed or replaced and this applies also to institutions and religion. It will also apply to the Bahá'í Faith. When religion loses its spiritual vitality that is when the old Satan (materialism, immorality, religious intolerance, war) reappears.

Each Prophet of God foretells of the One to come after Him and each has given signs of His coming, however we usually do not recognize these signs unless we search, keep an open mind and ask for guidance.

    'Whoso layeth claim to a Revelation direct from God, ere the expiration of a full thousand years, such a man is assuredly a lying impostor.'

    The meaning of this is that any individual who, before the expiry of a full thousand years -- years known and clearly established by common usage and requiring no interpretation -- should lay claim to a Revelation direct from God, even though he should reveal certain signs, that man is assuredly false and an impostor.

    quoted and explained by 'Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá,
    p. 67)
[8] And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

V.8 In a thousand years the satanic attitudes will again deceive the nations. At that time the number of people in the world will be a multitude 'as the sand of the sea'.

John compares the time of the future Manifestation to the time of Gog, the king of Magog, which is told about in Ezekiel Chpt 38 and 39 (which also describes the time of the lesser Great Destruction that is to occur after a thousand years and at the end of the Bahá'í Dispensation).

    The Universal House of Justice, which the Guardian said would be regarded by posterity as "the last refuge of a tottering civilization," is now, in the absence of the Guardian, the sole infallibly guided institution in the world to which all must turn, and on it rests the responsibility for ensuring the unity and progress of the Cause of God in accordance with the revealed Word.
    (The Universal House of Justice,
    Wellspring of Guidance,
    Messages 1963-1968,
    p. 90)
[9] And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

V.9 Those of satanic spirit will go out into the breadth of the earth, to circle the camp of the saints and their beloved city, however God will intervene.

There are many physical things that we might speculate about that time as regards the fire from heaven, since already today we have such things as satellites, and there are even intimations in the Writings that there may be space travel by that time, but the important thing is to look for the spiritual meanings.

    Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction.
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,
    p. 14)
[10] And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

V.10 This verse is actually foretelling the fulfillment of the Bahá'í Faith in 1,000 years (see verse seven above). The Teachings of each religion are absorbed by mankind during the dispensation of the Manifestation of God that brings them and then reach their culmination at the beginning of the time of the next Manifestation of God.

The distinguishing spiritual teaching of Bahá'u'lláh is the Unity of Religion and it is this that is necessary to establish the Most Great Peace. Regrettably, it may well take mankind long centuries to learn the lesson and it will only be in response to the disasterous effects of its final rebellion that the desired goal will be achieved.

    The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion. War shall cease   between nations, and by the will of God the Most Great Peace shall come; the world will be seen as a new world, and all men will live as brothers.
    'Abdu'l-Bahá in London,
    p. 19)
    Be kind to all around and serve one another; love to be just and true in all your dealings; pray always and so live your life that sorrow cannot touch you. Look upon the people of your own race and those of other races as members of one organism; sons of the same Father; let it be known by your behaviour that you are indeed the people of God. Then wars and disputes shall cease and over the world will spread the Most Great Peace."
    'Abdu'l-Bahá in London,
    p. 83)
    We have enjoined upon all mankind to establish the Most Great Peace -- the surest of all means for the protection of humanity.
    Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 125)
    1.180 Now that ye have refused the Most Great Peace, hold ye fast unto this, the Lesser Peace, that haply ye may in some degree better your own condition and that of your dependents.
    The Summons of the Lord of Hosts,
    p. 93,
    Suriy-i-Haykal / Surih of the Temple /
    Queen Victoria:180)
    Prejudices of any kind are the destroyers of human happiness and welfare. Until they are dispelled the advancement of the world of humanity is not possible, yet racial, religious and national bias are observed everywhere. For thousands of years the world of humanity has been agitated and disturbed by prejudices. As long as it prevails, warfare, animosity and hatred will continue. Therefore if we seek to establish peace we must cast aside this obstacle, for otherwise agreement and composure are not to be attained.
    Bahá'í World Faith,
    p. 240)
    . Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come
    The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. viii)
[11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

V.11 John saw the great white throne and the one sitting on it, referring to Bahá'u'lláh: The corruptions of earth are floating away, as the people will now have no part of it.
    Concerning thy vision of the angels surrounding the great white throne: This "throne" is the body of the Greatest Name.
    Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá v3,
    p. 681)
[12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

V.12 John saw the great and the small, those who were spiritual dead, stand before God. Now the writings of Bahá'u'lláh are open and those that understand are in another book - 'The book of Life'. The dead (dead in spirit) are those who are unwilling to accept the message of Bahá'u'lláh and they are judged by their works.
    If love, friendship, association and unity be established among the believers, the door of all significances will be opened and each believer of God will be able to explain and interpret all of the holy Books.

    O believers! The tests of God are very severe; you should beseech and cry unto Him that you may be firm and steadfast during all temptations.

    Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá v3,
    p. 647)
    Now Bahá'ís all over the East read the Bible and understand its spiritual teaching. Bahá'u'lláh spread the Cause of Christ and opened the book of the Christians and Jews. He removed the barriers of names. He proved that all the divine Prophets taught the same reality and that to deny One is to deny the Others, for all are in perfect oneness with God.
    The Promulgation of Universal Peace,
    p. 212)
    XCII. The Book of God is wide open, and His Word is summoning mankind unto Him. No more than a mere handful, however, hath been found willing to cleave to His Cause, or to become the instruments for its promotion. These few have been endued with the Divine Elixir that can, alone, transmute into purest gold the dross of the world, and have been empowered to administer the infallible remedy for all the ills that afflict the children of men. No man can obtain everlasting life, unless he embraceth the truth of this inestimable, this wondrous, and sublime Revelation.
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh)
[13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

    When a dead body is thrown into the ocean, the waves will throw it back upon the shore. So it is with the Ocean of Truth - it will not accept a dead body, and if a believer has not these bounties of God, the sea will roll until he is finally cast out.
    Bahá'í Scriptures,
[14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

V.14 To be resurrected means to find new spiritual life and to come forth from the grave of materialism and irreligion. This spiritual life is deliverance from death and hell.
    Say: The shout hath been raised, and the people have come forth from their graves, and arising are gazing around them. Some have made haste to attain the court of the God of Mercy, others have fallen down on their faces in the fire of Hell, while still others are lost in bewilderment. The verses of God have been revealed, and yet they have turned away from them. His proof hath been manifested and yet they are unaware of it.
    The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 100)
[15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

V.15 Whatsoever was not found in the book of life, will be cast into the lake of fire.
    XVIII. As for them who have disbelieved in Him, they shall be in the shadow of a black smoke. "The Hour" hath come upon them, while they are disporting themselves. They have been seized by their forelock, and yet know it not.
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh)

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