Chapter 11-15
THE APOCALYPSE: An exegesis of the Book of Revelation
by Robert F. Riggs



CHAPTER 11- THE COURSE OF ISLAMDOM:

SYNOPSIS:
This and the following two chapters describe events meaningful to Islamdom.

The chapter opens with a warning to John that Jerusalem will be under the dominion of Gentiles until the year 1260 of the Muslim lunar calendar. But during that time, the spiritual Holy of Holies will be left intact, and the perfections of the souls within that spiritual temple should be measured with a spiritual measure.

God, through Baha'u'llah, tells John that He will confer the power of prophecy to His two Witnesses, Muhammad and 'Ali, for all those 1260 lunar years. They will have the same Prophethood as Moses and Aaron.

After they have completed their work, the loathsome House of Umayyah will ascend from the pit of theological error and destroy all the good works that Muhammad and 'Ali will have accomplished. Nevertheless, the outward body of observances of Islam will be kept alive, even though the living spirit will have left the Faith.

But in the year 1260 of the Muslim calendar, the Religion of God will be 'resurrected,' and Muhammad and 'Ali will be re- Manifested in the Persons of the Bab and his leading disciple, Quddus. Great fear and frenzied excitement will seize the Muslim world. Both the Bab and Quddus will be martyred and ascend to heaven in 'clouds of glory' in the presence of their enemies.

After their Ascension, and during the Dispensation of the Bab, a great earthquake will shake Shiraz, the Bab's birthplace. 7-thousand people will be killed.

The Bab's Advent marks the second Woe. The third Woe, the Advent of Baha'u'llah, will follow very shortly after the second.

True to the promise of the angel of Baha'u'llah in Chapter 10, the blast of the seventh heralding angel announces the Kingdom of God on earth. The heavenly Temple is opened, and John sees that the Ark of the Covenant still exists in the spiritual realm.

The Covenant will be broken once again.

 

MEASURING THE TEMPLE OF GOD:
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months .
-Rev 11:1-2

The mighty angel of Chapter 10 is still speaking to John.{1} As explained previously, the Arabic name of the mighty angel is 'Baha'u'llah,' which translates into English as 'The Glory of God.' On earth He is also called the 'King of Glory,' and in the angelic realm of Daniel and the Apocalypse, He is sometimes called 'Michael.'{11}

The "reed" ("cane" in REB) is the rod of the Divine Shepherd, used to guide the weak. John is instructed to use it as a cubit to discover the conditions, perfections, behavior and attributes of those who are to dwell inside the Holy of Holies. But he is told that the court of the temple, that is, the physical temple, is to be overrun by the Gentiles for 42 "months."

We recall that a 'prophetic month' equals 30 calendar years. Thus 42 'months' are 1260 calendar years. Since the prophecy concerns Islamdom, and since the lunar calendar is to be used in that realm, the period of time is to be 1260 lunar years as measured in the Muslim calendar. 1260 AH {2} is identical to 1844 CE , the date of the Declaration of the Bab and the second Woe. The Bab declared the end of the Dispensation of Muhammad.

John is being told that the holy city Jerusalem and the material Holy of Holies is to be given to the Gentiles for the duration of the Dispensation of Muhammad, but that the spiritual Holy of Holies is to left inviolate.

When Jerusalem was taken by the great Caliph Umar in 637 CE, the Christian Bishop Sophronius placed a condition upon the bloodless surrender of Jerusalem- that the Jews must be strictly excluded from the Holy Land. In principle, Umar agreed to this condition, but permitted about 70 Jewish families to remain as residents. In the year 1260 AH, the Edict of Toleration was promulgated by the Ottoman Turks, allowing the Jews to legally reenter the Holy Land, thereby ending the 'time of the Gentiles.' Throughout this period the spiritual Holy of Holies, that is, the Law of God, was respected and left inviolate.

On a more mundane level. Umar erected a shrine (the Dome of the Rock) over the Rock Moriah, the physical location of the Holy of Holies, for the exclusive use of Muslim worshippers. Also, he left the inside of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to Christian worship, while the outer court of the church was given to Muslim worship.

THE TWO WITNESSES :
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days , clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. -Rev 11:3-5

[REB: 4 "They are the two olive trees and the two lamps that stand in the presence of the Lord of the earth.]

God will confer the power of prophecy to His two Witnesses, Muhammad and 'Ali, for 1260 lunar years , terminating at the year 1844 CE. Their teachings will not seem to be new: Muhammad's spiritual laws (brotherly love, humility, reverence, justice, etc.) will correspond to those of the Gospel, while most of the laws relating to the material world (fasting, forms of worship and prayer, marriage, divorce, etc.) will correspond to those of the Pentateuch. Therefore, their teachings will be clothed in old raiment (sackcloth).

Muhammad and 'Ali are to be God's sources of spiritual sustenance and light, like olive oil that is both a food and a fuel for lamps. If anyone shall try to harm His two Witnesses, fiery words of the Lord will issue from their mouths and their enemies will be put to flight.

In this chapter we experience the influence of Gemini, The Twins, one of the astrological pillars of the square earth during the Age of Pisces.

THEIR POWERS:
These have the power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have the power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
-Rev 11:6

Muhammad will have the same Prophethood as Moses, while 'Ali will be delegated the same power as Aaron {3}. Thus, jointly, they will have the power to cut off the rain of heavenly bounty {4}; to turn the waters of spiritual life into death blood {5}; and to smite the world with various plagues as often as they will {6}.

THE BEAST FROM THE BOTTOMLESS PIT:
7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and kill them. -Rev 11:7

[REB: 7 "... will wage war on them and will overcome and kill them.]

We have already had a portent of these events when we discovered some of the nefarious tactics of the Umayyah in Chapter 9. Muhammad had prophesied:

"We will bring to them a beast from the earth. It will speak to them, for mankind would not be convinced of our signs." -Qur'an 27:82

After Muhammad and 'Ali will have performed all that which God has commanded them to do, the House of Umayyah will ascend out of the pit of error, determined to destroy the Revelation of Muhammad and the Reality of 'Ali. They will succeed in their designs and gain the victory, so that the virtues and perfections diffused by the power of these two Witnesses shall be entirely dispelled.

THE 'BODIES' OF THE TWO WITNESSES LIE 'DEAD':
8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts to one another: because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. -Rev 11:8-10

[REB: 8 "Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, whose name in prophetic language is Sodom, or Egypt, ...]

A 'prophetic day' is also a 'time,' and a 'time' is 360 calendar years. Therefore 3 1/2 "days" are 1260 calendar years .

The Religion of God will lie as a dead body without spirit in the region of the Middle East that is under the control of the Umayyah. The region will become the land of Sodom (sin) and Egypt (materialism). The nations, tribes, and peoples of Islamdom will make a spectacle of the Religion of God, clinging to the outward appearances by not allowing the "body" of observances to be destroyed. This they will do for 1260 lunar years, the entire Dispensation of Muhammad. The other peoples of the earth, including the branches of Christendom, will rejoice to see the corruption of morals that will infect the peoples of Islamdom; they will assist each other (give gifts) in their struggles with Islamdom, because the powerful utterances of Muhammad and 'Ali had been a torment to them.

THEIR 'REVIVAL':
And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. -Rev 11:11

In the year 1260 AH, the Divine teachings, heavenly virtues, perfections, and spiritual bounties of Muhammad and 'Ali will be renewed by the appearance of the Bab and Quddus. Great fear will seize the populace.

The relationship between the Bab and His young Apostle, Quddus, was the same as that between Muhammad and 'Ali, or Moses and Aaron. Although the Bab had 18 Apostles, called 'Letters of the Living,' Quddus was the Bab's most devoted Apostle and next in spiritual rank beneath the Bab. The Religion of God was renewed by the Bab with the help of Quddus and His other Apostles during a six-year ministry from May 23, 1844 until His public Martyrdom at midday, July 9, 1850. His public declaration that He was the One foretold by numerous prophecies of Islam and other Faiths, and that He was the Forerunner of the Promised One of All Ages (Baha'u'llah) caused great fear among the Muslims, leading to armed attacks, confiscation of property, torture, and martyrdom of tens of thousands of His devotees.

THEY ASCEND 'IN A CLOUD':
And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. -Rev 11:12

The voice from the invisible heaven called the Bab and Quddus to ascend in a 'cloud of glory.' The Bab was publicly martyred by a regimental firing squad on July 9, 1850. The smoke from the 750 fire arms was so dense that it blotted out the light of the sun at noontime. (Miraculously, the first regiment of Christian soldiers were unable to hit their mark, fulfilling the Bab's own prophecy that no one would be able to take His life until His full testimony had been completed.) After being tortured to death, the body of Quddus was destroyed by fire. Multitudes of enemies witnessed their fates, many testifying to their greatness and perfection.

A GREAT EARTHQUAKE:
And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. -Rev 11:13

Indeed, there were two earthquakes during the "Hour" of the Bab: the first occurred the day after His Martyrdom and shook Istanbul, the seat of the caliphate. The earthquake of verse 13 destroyed much of Shiraz, the birthplace of the Bab. This second earthquake occurred about one year prior to the Advent of Baha'u'llah.

THE SECOND WOE IS PAST:
The second woe is past, and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
-Rev 11:14

The Hour of the Bab is past. The Hour of Baha'u'llah will follow very shortly.

Again we see the influence of Gemini in the Twin Manifestation, the Bab and Baha'u'llah. The Advent of Baha'u'llah occurred in the year Nine of the Babi Dispensation. Shortly after Baha'u'llah received His Revelation, some close confidants were informed of the Great Announcement. The Babi Dispensation lasted another ten years, after which Baha'u'llah made a public Declaration of His mission in the Garden of Paradise, in the proximity of ancient Babylon and modern Baghdad.

There is great mystery here. For the first time in recorded history, the Dispensations of two Manifestations overlapped in mundane time. Also astonishing is the very short period between the Ascension of the first Twin and the Advent of the second Twin.

Two mystic numbers are expressed in the Twinship: Nine and Nineteen. Besides Nine being the year of His Advent, Nine is the gematrical value of the word 'Baha',' and is the seal of Baha'u'llah.

The number Nineteen is especially associated with the Bab, since He and His Apostles numbered 19, and His Dispensation lasted 19 years. Nineteen is also the 'mystery of the Qur'an.' Through modern, computer-aided research, it has been discovered that the Qur'an conceals the number 19 in such recondite abundance, that the Divine inspiration of the Qur'an can hardly be doubted.

THE SEVENTH TRUMPET BLAST:
15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.
-Rev 11:15

[REB: 15 .... 'Sovereignty over the world has passed to our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign for ever.']

During the Age of Pisces, the world was under the dominion of venomous forces represented by the Four Horses of the Apocalypse: perversion of the Religion of God, warmongering, economic injustice, and un-Godliness. Now, in the Age of Leo-Aquarius, the sovereignty will pass to God the Father and His Anointed One. Unlike former prophetic Cycles, the Cycle initiated by Baha'u'llah will encompass all the Ages of the zodiac. {12}

The word 'Christ' is possibly the least understood word in the lexicon. 'Christos' is the Greek equivalent of 'Messiah,' ( Heb. 'Mashgiah') meaning, literally, 'Anointed.' Originally, the term meant simply a king, and was a Jewish regal title. In the messianic period at the close of the Age of Aries, it gradually became identified with the King of the Age of Redemption, and was applied to Jesus of Nazareth by the early Christians.{7}

Of course we are interested in the term as used in the Apocalypse, realizing that God can 'anoint' whomsoever He chooses. A powerful clue is given in Isaiah {8}, where the Lord 'anoints' king Cyrus of Persia, "before whom doors will be opened and no gates barred." (REB) Like David, Cyrus had the power to open a new door of history, and it is in this sense that the term 'Christ' is correctly applied to Jesus and to all of the Lord's 'Anointed.' The 'Return of Christ' means the 'return' of the Perfect Holy Mirror, the One who will reflect the attributes of God and thereby renew the Ages.

The Bab opened a new door of history and is, therefore, a 'Christ.' But the title is applicable to each and every Manifestation of God, and is applicable to Baha'u'llah as well. We find Baha'u'llah instructing: "Make this known unto them [the servants of God], that nothing whatsoever may shut them out from Thy Beauty, in these days whereon the Christ exclaimeth: 'All dominion is thine O Thou Begetter of the Spirit [Jesus]'...' -BH {9}

GOD IS PRAISED:
And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. -Rev 11:16-18

With the seventh trumpet blast, the Lord of the Age will assume power in the name of God. The twice-twelve Elders of the Age of Aquarius-Leo, who are seated around the throne of Baha'u'llah, prostrate themselves before Him and give thanks to God, Who is eternal, and never dies, in spite of His seeming death in times of great personal distress and corruption of the world of man. Now, the Lord will assume power over the earth, and reward each man and woman according to that which they truly deserve. The nations and peoples of the world who oppose Baha'u'llah will be angry, because God's teachings do not agree with what they expected through their own idle fancies and vain imaginings. All who fail to follow His precepts and commands will be deprived of everlasting bounty, and veiled from the light of the Sun of Reality. The righteous will be distinguished by endless bounty, making them shine on the horizon of eternal honor. The spiritually dead will be deprived, making manifest the blindness of the blind, and the ignorance of the people of error.

GOD'S SANCTUARY IS OPENED:
19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven , and there was seen in the temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
-Rev 11:19

[REB: 19 God's sanctuary in heaven was opened, and within his sanctuary was seen the ark of his covenant. ...]

John sees that the true sanctuary of God is in heaven, not on the Rock Moriah, and that the spiritual Ark of the Covenant still resides there, as it always has. When the Temple of God in heaven is opened, the Divine teachings will be diffused in all directions. The Book of His Testament and the Epistle of the Covenant will be reestablished. There will be a great storm of the spirit. There will flash the lightnings of the anger and wrath of God. The thunder of the violation of the Covenant will resound, and an earthquake of doubts will shake the world of man. A hail of torments will beat upon the violators of the Covenant, and even those who professed belief will fall into trials and temptations.

The physical Temple was destroyed by Titus in 70 CE. The cherished Ark of the Covenant had mysteriously disappeared many centuries earlier, and its fate is not known to this day. {10}

The Covenant was again violated by the 'archbreaker' Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, a half-brother of 'Abdu'l-Baha.




CHAPTER 12- THE TRAVAIL OF THE WORD:

SYNOPSIS:
This chapter reveals the travail of the Law of God during the Dispensation of Muhammad. {1} The constellation Virgo (the Virgin) is seen in the heavens. Besides representing the parallel cults of Mary and Fatima during the Age of Pisces-Virgo, she represents the Law of God during the Dispensation of Muhammad.

John also sees the constellation Draco (the Dragon), blood- colored to symbolize war. It is identified as the illegitimate caliphate initiated by the House of Umayyah that conquers 7- dominions and has 10 un-repeated names, destroys one-third of the saintly lineage of Muhammad, and keeps a watchful eye to prevent the rebirth of the true Law of God.

Nevertheless, the Law delivers a child, the Twelfth Imam, who disappears mysteriously without a trace. The Twelfth Imam is destined to 're-appear' as the Bab in the year 1260 AH.

In the meantime, the Law will find refuge in the remote wilderness areas of Arabia where she is to be kept alive and well until the Advent of the Bab.

John then witnesses a great spiritual 'war' in the heavens, symbolically represented by astrological constellations such as Leviathan, Hercules, Leo and Scorpio. Michael, the angel representing, Baha'u'llah, the Lion of Judah, wins in the conflict over the evil forces of the Dragon, [who is actually under the control of Scorpio, the Serpent of Genesis]. Again, the significance of this triumph is recounted- since it foretells the Kingdom of God on earth.

The House of Umayyah and their successors in the Muslim world, seeing that they have lost the spiritual war, persecute the remaining devotees of the true Law. Scorpio, no longer a dominant force in the heavens, is replaced by the astrological sign Flying Eagle. The "great Eagle" 'assists' the Law of God by 'flying her' into the wilderness for her safety during the 1260 'days' until her child, the Twelfth Imam can reenter the world as the Bab. The influence of the great Eagle is experienced on earthly plane as Muhammad; his two wings are 'Ali and Fatima.

 

THE WOMAN IN THE SUN:
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun , and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
-Rev 12:1-2

Here we see the constellation Virgo, one of the pillars of

the square earth during the Age of Pisces. In Christendom, Virgo was manifested as the cult of Mary, the mother of Jesus. In Islamdom, Virgo was manifested as the cult of Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad and the wife of 'Ali. In this chapter, Virgo has yet another meaning- the Law of God. She is clothed in the sun, a symbol of Persia, and has the moon, a symbol of Turkey, beneath her feet. The twelve stars are the Twelve Holy Imams of Islam.

According to Shi'ah belief, the Twelve Imams were the rightful spiritual leaders of Islamdom, their progenitors being 'Ali and Fatima. The first eleven Imams are known to have been martyred, but the Twelfth Imam mysteriously disappeared while still a child in the year 260 AH.

Various prophecies portended that the Twelfth Imam would 'return' in the year 1260 AH ( = 1844 CE). In fulfillment of these prophecies, the youthful Bab appeared in that year, claiming to be the Return of the Twelfth Imam. Thus, the "child" in verse 2 is both the Twelfth Imam and his 're-appearance' in the human temple of the Bab.

THE RED DRAGON IN HEAVEN:
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns , and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
-Rev 12:3-4

Another stellar constellation, the Dragon (Draco) is introduced. The Dragon is located near the north celestial pole. In verse 3, the Dragon has the color of war, and is identifiable as the House of Umayyah through his descriptors:

A 'head' is that on which a crown is placed, that is, a dominion. The Umayyah ruled 7 dominions:
1. the Roman-Byzantine dominion around Damascus (Palestine and part of Syria);
2. the dominion of Sassanid Persia (Iran, Mesopotamia, and part of Syria);
3. the dominion of Egypt;
4. the dominion of Africa (Tunis, Morocco and Algeria);
5. the dominion of Arabia;
6. the dominion of Andalusia (Spain); and
7. the dominion of Turkestan-Transoxania (Sogdiana).

A 'horn' is a 'handle,' that is, a name. The Umayyah had 15 commanders and chiefs, but only ten UN-REPEATED names. These names were
1. Abu-Sufyan,
2. Mu'awiya,
3. Yazid,
4. Marwan,
5. 'Abd al-Malik,
6. al-Walid,
7. Sulayman,
8. Umar (II),
9. Hisham, and
10. Ibrahim.

The "tail of the dragon" is the last of the Umayyad chiefs, Marwan II, who destroyed one-third of the 'heavenly stars' (saintly lineage) of Muhammad. The Umayyah were ever watchful to prevent the recurrence of the Law of God.

THE BIRTH OF THE MAN CHILD:
And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled unto the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days .
-Rev 12:5-6

The Law of God is manifested as the Twelfth Imam, who is "caught up unto God" beyond the reach of the caliphate. The Bab, the 'Return of the Twelfth Imam', is destined to have power over all nations, ruling them with a "rod of iron," just as Muhammad had done. The Law of God 'flees' into the vast desert wilderness of Hijaz and the Arabian peninsula, where she will be kept alive and safe until 1260 AH, the date of the Return.

THE WAR IN HEAVEN:
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought with his angels, 8 and prevailed not; neither was there place found anymore in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
-Rev 12:7-9

[REB: 7-8 ".... The dragon with his angels fought back, but was too weak, and they lost their place in heaven."]

The 'war in heaven' involves several constellations, among them: The Water Serpent or Leviathan (Hydra), Hercules (the Kneeler), and the Man With the Serpent (Ophiucus-Serpens).

Leviathan is adjacent to the Lion (Leo) in the heavens, while Hercules kneels with his club raised over the head of the Dragon.

Ophiucus is in mortal combat with the Serpent, which is adjacent to the Scorpion.

Verse 7 equates the Dragon, the Serpent, the Devil and Satan as the same evil force in different guises, represented by the Scorpion, the "horned snake on the path" {2}. Michael, the "Great Captain" {3}, commands the righteous forces in the epic conflict, and is represented by the Lion.

The Precession of the Equinoxes is accompanied by another phenomenon: the Precession of the Poles. When the Great Pyramid of Giza was built at the dawn of the Age of Aries, Thuban in the Dragon was the north star. Now, two astrological Ages later, the Dragon has lost his eminence in the northern sky to be replaced by the Little Bear. Also, the Scorpion is to be replaced by the Flying Eagle in the new heaven.

THE VICTORY OF MICHAEL:
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
-Rev 12:10-11

With the overthrow of the caliphate, the Anointed One, Baha'u'llah, will be able to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. The false accuser of the true Muslims (who are the spiritual brothers of true Christians), will have been divested of his title 'The Successor' to Muhammad. This will be made possible by the Sacrifice of the Lamb Consummate, the Bab. He and His devotees, numbering in the tens-of-thousands, will be put to death; but even under the most horrible of tortures, they will not waver in their testimony to the Cause of God.

"WOE" TO THE EARTH:
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
-Rev 12:12

Again we see the influence of Pisces in the metaphor of the inhabitants of the 'sea' of humanity.

PERSECUTION OF THE HEAVENLY WOMAN:
And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time , from the face of the serpent.
-Rev 12:13-14

[REB: 14 ".... where she was to be looked after for three and a half years, ...]

With the demise of the Scorpion, the Flying Eagle will become the pillar of the new Age to come. Meanwhile, on the earthly plane, the Law of God is given the assistance of 'Ali and Fatima, the two 'wings' of the "great eagle" Muhammad. After the diversion of the past several verses, it is again explained that the Law of God will find a place of refuge in the vast desert wilderness of Hijaz and Arabia until 3 1/2 'times.' Since a 'time' is 360 lunar years, the date in the Muslim lunar calendar is 1260 AH .

(The period of 3 1/2 times is also specified in Daniel.{4})

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. And the earth helped the woman and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. -Rev 12:15-16

The House of Umayyah attempts to deceive the world with a flood of false propaganda (tainted water) concerning the Revelation of Muhammad. But the vast desert and its hardy peoples prevent the Law of God from being destroyed.

Astrologically, Virgo was on 'dry land' during the Age of Aries. The Precession threatened to send her to the 'waters below.' However, she safely became the pillar at the Fall equinox during the Age of Pisces.

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. -Rev 12:17

Failing to destroy the Law of God, the Umayyah attempt to destroy those who believe in the true Message of the Prophet.

A true Muslim follows God's commandments as revealed in the Qur'an, and bears witness to the Reality of Jesus Christ. In Sura 5, God says:

And when I taught thee (Jesus) the Scripture, and Wisdom, and the Law, and the Evangel: .... and thou didst heal the blind and the leper, by my leave; and when, by my leave, thou didst bring forth the dead; and when I withheld the children of Israel from thee, when thou hadst come to them with clear tokens: and such of them as believed not said, "This is nought but plain sorcery;" And when I revealed unto the Apostles, "Believe on me and my Sent One (Jesus)," they said, "We believe; and bear thou witness that we are Muslims." -Qur'an 5:110-111 [Rodwell translation]




CHAPTER 13- THE RISE OF THE CALIPHATE:

SYNOPSIS:
This chapter describes the rise of the illegitimate caliphate following the murder of 'Ali.

John sees the House of Umayyah as a 'beast,' rising from the abyss, and now crowned with a 'name of blasphemy.' He also sees that the empire created by the Umayyah resembles past empires in the region in various ways.

John learns that the House of Umayyah is destined to be nearly destroyed, leaving only one dominion, Spain, under their reign. [Curiously, the Cordoban caliphate, to be re-constituted under their House in Spain, will also have ten un-repeated names of chiefs.] The oecumene is amazed at their great military prowess that seems to come from Satan himself. Their House will be noted for their ungodliness, but the dynasties they spawn by their illegitimate usurpation of the caliphate will continue to have political power for the entire duration of Muhammad's Dispensation, ending in the year 1260 AH (1844 CE).

All the oecumene, excepting only those people who are truly righteous, will admire the House of Umayyah.

Nevertheless, the House of Umayyah will be overthrown by yet another 'beast,' the House of 'Abbas. The new regime will be every bit as powerful as its predecessor. It will govern the empire, except for Spain, with such great severity that the oecumene will prefer the neo-Umayyad dynasty in Spain over the 'Abbasids. The 'Abbasid period will exhibit great technical and scientific skills.{1} The House of 'Abbas will resemble its predecessor in many ways, as if it were the mirror image of the House of Umayyah.

The financial strength of the House of 'Abbas will rest upon the hypocritical collection of two taxes imposed on non-Muslims, the poll and business taxes.

The reader is invited to guess the name of blasphemy. If he succeeds in this pastime, he will discover that the literal value of the name is 666. The solution to the riddle is 'The Caliph.'

THE FIRST BEAST WITH THE 'NAME OF BLASPHEMY':
1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. -Rev 13:1

[NIV: 1 And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea ...]

The Dragon, aka Satan the Deceiver, waits near the sea of humanity during the Age of Pisces, ready to give his power to the House of Umayyah, the beast that will control seven dominions and will have ten un-repeated names. The Umayyah will gain control of the caliphate and will bear a name of blasphemy, 'The Caliph.'

The name means 'The Successor to Muhammad,' and was a sacred title. This supreme office combined both the temporal and spiritual authority in early Islamdom. To assume the title illegitimately was and is an act of blasphemy.

THE BEAST DESCRIBED:
And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
-Rev 13:2

The terms leopard, bear and lion refer to a prophecy in Daniel.{2} In Daniel's prophecy, the leopard represents the empire of Alexander the Great; the bear represents the empire of Media-Persia; the lion represents the empire of Chaldea (neo-Babylonia.)

The Umayyad empire resembled Alexander's in its extent, prosperity, and the leopard-like alacrity of its conquests. However, its true strength lay in its control of Media-Persia, the reticent bear. In its roaring boasts, it resembled a lion {3}, and had its capital within the confines of old Chaldea.

THE WOUNDED HEAD THAT HEALED:
And I saw one of its heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. -Rev 13:3

The 'accursed Umayyah' were overthrown by the 'Abbasids in 749 CE. The destruction of the Umayyah seemed total, but one of the Umayyah, 'Abd Al-Rahman, known as the 'Falcon of the Quraysh,' managed to escape to Andalusia (Spain), where he set up a neo-Umayyad dynasty, the Cordoban Caliphate, that lasted for another three centuries. Thus Andalusia was the wounded head that healed.

The ten horns were also healed. The Cordoban Caliphate came to an end in 1031 after it had spawned 18 neo-Umayyad Caliphs. Yet, again, it had only 10 un-repeated names:
1. Abd Al-Rahman
2. Hisham
3. Hakam
4. Muhammad
5. Munzir
6. Abdullah
7. Hijib Al-Mansur
8. 'Abdu'l-Malik
9. Al-Mahdi and
10. Sulayman.

THE END DATE OF BEASTLY POWER:
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months .
-Rev 13:4-5

A 'prophetic month' is 30 years. Therefore forty-two 'months' is 1260 years.

The oecumene will admire the caliphate, whose power seems to rest upon an alliance with the Devil. The military prowess of the caliphate will be leopard-like, resembling that of Alexander the Great. Although the office of the caliphate will be occupied by several dynasties, the fraud initiated by the Umayyah will continue for the entire Dispensation of Muhammad, until 1260 AH.

The impression made by the caliphate upon the rest of the World was profound and sometimes baleful. Dark Age Christendom initiated a series of countermeasures in an attempt to overtake the technology and military power of Islamdom. In the shadowy recesses of the council chambers of that era, it is difficult to see what actually transpired, but the elimination of the 'human spirit' as a third part of Man has already been alluded to. Some historians see an abrupt shift away from spirituality in the West and towards a more materialistic society. Other historians discern the seeds of material progress in the 9th century that would flower in the 11th.

And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. -Rev 13:6-8

The Umayyah were noted for their hypocrisy, economic and social injustice, and their luxurious lives dedicated to the pleasures of the flesh. They suppressed the descendants of Muhammad and the Holy Imams, and dominated a vast array of peoples covering most of the oecumene. Their military power was supreme.

The "Lamb" represents the principle of Sacrifice that has existed since the beginning of time, necessary for the renewal of the Ages and the manifestation of a higher reality. Regardless of which CONSTELLATION appears at the Spring equinox, it is said that Spring always appears under the SIGN of Aries. Thus, symbolically, the Lamb has always been 'slain' to permit a new Age to commence.

In the Baha'i Dispensation, the names in the Book of Life are written by the Center of the Covenant, 'Abdu'l-Baha, the 'Most Great Branch' from the 'pre-existent root.' {4}

A LAW OF DIVINE RETRIBUTION:
If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and faith of the saints.
-Rev 13:9-10

[REB: 10 .... This calls for the endurance and faithfulness of God's people.]

John learns the Law of Divine Retribution that will destroy the beast. The Umayyah continued to decay in spirituality and power, eventually experiencing the same fate that they had meted out to others. Except for 'Abd Al-Rahman, the Umayyah were hunted down and executed. Even the corpses of their dead Caliphs, except for the pious Umar II, were exhumed and desecrated.

THE SECOND BEAST:
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
-Rev 13:11-12

The second beast is the House of 'Abbas. It will come to power on the ruins (earth) of the first beast, and will have two names (horns) of power: 'The Caliph' and 'The Sultan.' {5} It, too, will utter preposterous lies and blasphemies. By comparison, the revived neo-Umayyad dynasty in Spain will seem far less aggressive and more palatable to Christendom; Western civilization will gain much from its relations with Muslim Spain.

THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST:
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by the sword, and did live.
-Rev 13:13-14

At its apex, the 'Abbasids exercised all the power of the Umayyah, and revived the dying empire that had been mortally wounded and yet lived on in Spain. The 'Abbasid period, commemorated in the fable 'The Arabian Nights,' is noteworthy for its advanced science and technology. Very early they learned the use of gunpowder and Greek fire, employing spectacular devices in warfare such as burning globes and javelins that were propelled over long distances.

The 'image' which the 'Abbasids created was their imitation of the Umayyah. Not only did they imitate them in their outward trappings and lifestyle, their history imitated the Umayyah as well. Both came to power by deception and fraud. Both occupied the caliphate for about a century, and both kept in power through terror and intrigue. Both began their careers enjoying a vast empire, yet each ended up in control of a single domain.{6}

Curiously, both the neo-Umayyad and 'Abbasid Caliphs continued the pattern of 10 un-repeated names. From their usurpation of power in 750 until their loss of power to the Turks in 861, the 'Abbasid Caliphs bore ten names:

Also, the first Turkish dynasty, the Seljuks, who seized the caliphate from the 'Abbasids in 861, might be said to have produced a line of potentates with 10 un-repeated names, although the last years of their sovereignty were confused by pretenders to the office. The mainstream Seljuk Caliphs bore the following names:

With the fall of the Seljuks, the pattern of ten horns seems to have been broken. After the fall of the 'Abbasids and before the Turks imposed their rule on North Africa, there was a power vacuum that permitted the independent and brilliant Fatimid Caliphate to flourish from 909 until 1171. This caliphate, centered at Cairo, claimed a line of descent from the House of 'Ali through the Sixth Imam. The Fatimids fared better: they begot 14 Caliphs with 14 un-repeated names. Nor did the final Turkish dynasty, the Ottoman, exhibit the ten horn pattern. From 1230 until the destruction of the caliphate in 1924, the Ottomans begot 32 Caliphs, again with 14 un-repeated names.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast , that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. -Rev 13:15

The second beast, the House of 'Abbas, was able to revive the image of the first beast, the House of Umayyah, so that it seemed to be alive again. The 'Abbasids enforced their new regime with great severity, ruthlessly murdering even those who had helped them to gain power.

THE TWO STIGMATA:
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save that he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. - Rev 13:16-17

[REB: 17 and no man was allowed to buy or sell unless he bore this beast's mark, either name or number.]

The 'marks' or stigmata were two taxes imposed on non-Muslims. The 'kharaj' was a business and land tax imposed on the working ('right') hand; the 'jizya' was a poll tax imposed on the 'forehead.' Trading was forbidden by non-Muslims unless they had paid either the poll tax (assessed by the 'name' of their Faith) or the business tax (assessed by the 'number' of their business). Originally, the modest kharaj and jizya were intended as benign symbols of religious tolerance and as gentle encouragement to convert to Islam. Under the Umayyad and 'Abbasid Caliphs, the kharaj and jizya were radically transformed into sources of great personal wealth and were used as capital for imperial expansion. Many non-Muslims fled the realm of the beast to avoid paying these taxes.

A TEST OF INTELLECTUAL SKILL:
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six . -Rev 13:18

[REB: 18 (This calls for skill; let anyone who has intelligence work out the number of the beast, for the number represents a man's name, and the numerical value of its letters is six hundred and sixty-six.)

The reader of the Apocalypse is challenged to work out the gematrical value of the 'name of the beast.' From verse 1, we understand that it is a title, since it rests upon "seven heads." Also, the title must be sacred, since its expropriation by the beast was an act of blasphemy. And, since the text of the Apocalypse is in Koine Greek, the answer should be in Koine.

From the various clues in this and other chapters of the Apocalypse, we guess that the solution is probably 'The Caliph.' We test this conjecture by transliterating the Arabic name into Koine to determine whether its gematrical value is, indeed, 666.

We must define certain transcriptions for the purpose of presenting the result in English letters:

ARABIC KOINE GEMATRICAL VALUE TRANSCRIPTION
Al (definite article) Omicron

70

'O

Kef Kappa (soft)

20

K

alif alpha

1

a

lam double lambda (hard)

60

ll

ye epsilon + iota (diphthong)

15

ei

fe phi

500

ph

Transcribed: The Caliph = 'O Kalleiph

Gematrical value: 70 + 20 + 1 + 60 + 15 + 500 = 666

There are several other concurrences that lend credence to this solution. A few will be noted here, while some others will be noted where appropriate.

a. The date of the usurpation of the caliphate by the House of Umayyah was 661 CE. Most biblical scholars, in agreement with the Gospel of Matthew, place the Birth of Jesus sometime prior to the death of Herod the Great who died in the year 4-5 BCE. Placing the 'true' historical date of His Birth at about 5 BCE, and accounting for the missing zeroth year in BOTH the Christian and common calendars, {7} places the origin of the illegitimate caliphate at about 666 'ANNO DOMINI.'

b. The Arabic equivalent of the Anglo-Saxon name 'God' is ''Allah.' In the Arabic gematria, ''Allah' has the value 66. The number '6' is deemed to be the 'number of mediation' by numerologists. Thus '666' has as one of its meanings, 'The Mediator to 'Allah.' The illegitimate caliphate blasphemously claimed that role to be their own.

c. In itself, the number '666' suggests 'successorship,' since 600 is the decadal successor of 60, and 60 is the decadal successor of 6.

d. Attempts to transliterate the Greek number 666 into Arabic produce words meaning 'the spy' or 'the sensual.' Both appellations are descriptive of the Houses of Umayyah and 'Abbas.

Before leaving the subject, there is one more possible clue, derived from numerology, that might be apparent in the number 666. Besides being the 'number of mediation,' 6 is also called the 'number of beauty.' The Greek word for 'beauty' is 'kallos.' Thus, if one makes this connection, the first four letters are common to the words 'kallos' and 'kalleiph.'




CHAPTER 14- THE WORLD-STAGE IS SET:

SYNOPSIS:
Chapter 14 sets the world stage for the Advent of Baha'u'llah, the World Judge and Savior. But first, those with the seal of God are introduced.

John then hears the new song, sung by the twice-72 multitudes, the firstfruits from all Ages and nations who are to be redeemed in the Aquarian Age. To be rescued, they must accept the redeeming grace of the Sacrificial Hero, regardless of the Age and the name by which he is called. Another requirement is that they must not be seduced by a counterfeit of the true Word of God.

Then John sees a sequence of 3 warning angels, [probably] representing 3 of the Warners, Manifestations who warned of the coming of the Divine Reaper and World Redeemer. The first three may be Krishna, Buddha, and Muhammad.

The Divine Reaper is then introduced, followed by a fourth angel [Jesus Christ?], who asks Baha'u'llah to reap the harvest

of the Ages. The Divine Reaper is followed by a fifth angel, who ALSO has the power to reap the harvest of the Ages. This is clearly the Bab. Finally, a sixth angel, the altar angel [Zoroaster?] of Rev 8:3, is re-introduced who asks the Bab to cast in his sickle also.

The chapter ends with a riddle to test the reader's spiritual insight and intellectual credulity. The solution to this riddle is 49-lunar years, the duration of Divine Revelation at the opening of the Aquarian Age.

 

THE LAMB ON ZION:
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads . -Rev 14:1

The verse recalls Chapter 7 in which twice-72 multitudes of God's servants, from all Ages, races and nations are to be found acceptable to God the Father in the new Age of Leo-Aquarius.

The word 'Zion' has several meanings. Physically, it was the site of the royal palace of David and Solomon's Temple. Because of this association, the word has come to mean the imaginary 'center' of Jewish national life, and even the Jewish people themselves. On the religious plane, 'Zion' stands for the Jewish Theocracy of God, the aspiration of the ancient Jewish devotees, that once established, would set the Model for the establishment of a World Theocracy.

The Lamb is seen standing on 'Zion,' meaning that the Lamb is manifested in the physical world and fulfills the ancient aspirations of the Jewish people to establish a Model Theocracy.

The Apocalypse tells us several things about the Lamb. For one, it has "seven horns and seven eyes" (5:6) and represents the "Seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." During the Age of Leo-Aquarius, it stands in the midst of the throne and four beasts, and has been 'slain ' since the foundation of the world

(13:8). In 13:11 we have learned that a lamb has two 'horns,' and thus has two names of power. In 5:12 we learn that the Lamb has been 'slain,' and yet we find the Lamb alive and well in 14:1.

The astrological aspects of the Lamb have already been discussed. In the heavens, the Lamb is the sign of Aries that has always been 'sacrificed' to make way for a new Age. Also we have discussed the necessity of a Sacrifice on the earthly plane to correspond to the heavenly sacrifice, invariably represented by a Sacrificial Hero, whose earthly name is discoverable in every Dispensation.

But what are the two names of power implied by 13:11? They must be 'The Successor' and the 'The Sovereign,' the very names blasphemously usurped by the beast of the Apocalypse. 'Ali was the Sacrificial Hero of the Dispensation of Muhammad. As The Successor, His rightful role was to have been the Successor to Muhammad; as The Sovereign, His role was to have been the Center of the Covenant.

In the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah, we have twice-twelve Elders seated around the throne, and thus there are two members of every station in the zodiacal wheel. The Bab, after fulfilling the role of the Lamb during His own Dispensation, has become one of the Pillars of the new Age- the 'Water Bearer.' Then who are the two Sacrificial Heroes who will bear the title of 'Lamb' during the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah? There are two such Heroes, one has been sacrificed, while the other remains alive and well to "stand on Zion" in 14:1. The Lamb who was 'slain' was Mirza Mihdi, the 'Purest Branch.' The Lamb who remains alive and well is 'Abdu'l-Baha, the 'Most Great Branch.' As 'Ali was supposed to have done during the Dispensation of Muhammad, 'Abdu'l-Baha bears two titles; he is the Successor to Baha'u'llah and the Center of the Covenant. -SE {1}

'Abdu'l-Baha is shown alive on Zion with those who have the seal of his natural and spiritual Father, Baha'u'llah. As prophesied by the Jewish prophets of old, the Model Theocracy, is to be established in the Holy Land. "Out of Zion hath gone forth the Law of God, and Jerusalem, and the hills and the land thereof, are filled with the glory of His Revelation." -BH {2}

As the Manifestation of the Father, Baha'u'llah is the spiritual Father of the other Manifestations of the past. Baha'u'llah reveals, "In this most mighty Revelation, all the Dispensations of the past have attained their highest, their final consummation." "He it is," referring to Himself, "Who in the Old Testament hath been named Jehovah, Who in the Gospel hath been designated as the Spirit of Truth, and in the Qur'an acclaimed the Great Announcement." "But for Him, no Divine Messenger would have been invested with the robe of prophethood, nor would any of the sacred scriptures have been revealed." "Be fair, ye peoples of the world, is it meet or seemly for you to question the authority of one Whose presence 'He Who conversed with God' (Moses) hath longed to attain, the beauty of Whose countenance 'God's Well-beloved' (Muhammad) had yearned to behold, through Whose potency the 'Spirit of God' (Jesus) ascended to heaven, for Whose sake the 'Primal Point' (the Bab) offered up His life?" -BH {3}

"Concerning the Manifestations that will come down in the future 'in the shadows of the clouds,' know verily that in so far as their relation to the source of their inspiration is concerned, they are under the shadow of the Ancient Beauty (Baha'u'llah). In their relation, however, to the age in which they appear, each and every one of them 'doeth whatsoever He willeth." -AB {4}

THE NEW SONG IS SUNG AGAIN:
2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sang as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could hear that song but the hundred and forty four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
-Rev 14:2-3

[REB: 2 I heard a sound from heaven like a mighty torrent or a great peal of thunder: what I heard was like harpists playing on their harps. 3 They were singing a new song before the throne and the four living creatures and the elders, and no man could learn it except the hundred and forty-four thousand ransomed from the earth.]

The voices of the twice-72 multitudes from all Ages and cultures who have been found acceptable to God sing out the Leo- Aquarian message, but only the redeemed can understand or learn it. {5}

The City of Baha', like 'Zion,' is a MODEL Theocracy. In the Apocalypse, it is called the New Jerusalem. Only the twice-72 multitudes who are 'redeemed from the earth' will be its firstfruits. It is NOT, therefore, a 'world government' and has no secular aspirations.

These are they which are not defiled with women: for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. -Rev 14:4-5

Those 'clerics' who sell a counterfeit of the true Word of God in order to acquire material wealth are likened to harlots. To become defiled by harlots means to become willingly seduced by the fraud.

The Sacrificial Hero has had many names and appears in a different physical body with a new name in each Dispensation. In one Dispensation, the Lamb is Jesus Christ; in another He is the Bab, or 'Abdu'l-Baha. The undefiled will follow the Lamb in every Age and Dispensation. The firstfruits are the first to hear the new Song and to follow the new Law. Their mouths will not spread false doctrine.

THE FIRST SUPPORTING ANGEL:
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
-Rev 14:6-7

Once again we are reminded [by Krishna? {6}] that the Good News is a wellspring of guidance available in every Age; it is eternal and not limited to any special people or culture. The Judgement is a two-edged sword: it is a punishment for the defiled and a salvation for the innocent.

THE SECOND SUPPORTING ANGEL:
And there followed another angel , saying, Babylon is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. -Rev 14:8

The next angel [Buddha?] informs us of the downfall of 'Babylon.' The word 'Babylon' (Heb 'Bab-el') means literally 'Gate of God.' 'Jerusalem' means literally 'Sacred Peace.' Both names are sacred and symbolize the City of the Word of God. The Word of God, though originally the Holy City, through corruption, becomes the Wicked City. '

How the faithful city has played the whore!" REB: Isaiah 1:8

Jerusalem is transformed into Babylon and vice versa as the Holy City decays and is renewed in successive Dispensations.

The use of Babylon as a symbol of the corrupted Word is based upon the story of the Tower of Babel.{7} It was at this place that the babble of tongues was supposed to have originated. It requires the addition of only a single letter to convert Bab-el = Gate of God, into Bal-bel = Confusion.

Baha'u'llah reveals that the corruption of the Word of God does not result from the conscious falsification or forgery of the Sacred Texts, but from misinterpretation through idle imaginings and vain desires. {8}

Old Testament prophecies foretell that in the last days the Word will be renewed at Babylon.{19} But Jeremiah prophesied that the site of old Babylon will be a ruin. Baha'u'llah revealed His mission and renewed the Word at the new Babylon, modern Baghdad, in 1863. The word 'Baghdad' means literally 'Gift of God.'

THE THIRD SUPPORTING ANGEL:
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation: and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. -Rev 14:9-10

The third angel [Muhammad?] warns those who willingly accept the validity of the Umayyad and 'Abbasid dynasties, and those who willingly pay the taxes that are the hidden agenda of the caliphate. They shall receive spiritual torments that cannot be extinguished; their sufferings will be witnessed by the immaculate souls in heaven in the presence of 'Ali, the Sacrificial Hero.

And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. -Rev 14:11-12

[REB: 12 This calls for the endurance of God's people, all those who keep his commandments and remain loyal to Jesus.]

When the illegitimate caliphate conquered the oecumene, non-Muslim devotees such as Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and Sabaeans, were given three choices: pay the business and head taxes, leave the domain of the Muslim empire, or declare their allegiance to Islam. Failure to choose one of these three distasteful alternatives placed the devotee at great risk to person or property.

Those who chose the last alternative, who pretended to be Muslims, were called the Mawali (Clients). The Mawali, who "received the mark of his name," are also condemned, since their acceptance of Islam was not based upon a sincere belief in the teachings of the Prophet but was simply a matter of expediency. In their failure to flee the Empire, Christian Mawali became disloyal to Jesus and willing allies of the Caliph. Young male Mawali often became warriors in the Muslim army.

'Fire and brimstone' describes the unquenchable and agonizing spiritual torment of remoteness from God. "Separation from Thee, O Source of everlasting life, hath well nigh consumed me, and my remoteness from Thy presence hath burned my soul."

"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 others are lost in bewilderment." "They hasten forward to Hell fire, and mistake it for light." "Smoke" is an obvious sign of spiritual torment. "The moon of idle fancy hath been cleft, and the heaven hath given out a palpable smoke." "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?" -BH {9}

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. -Rev 14:13

To 'die in the Lord' means to die from self in order to live in God. "He who hath attained this station is sanctified from all that pertains to the world ... This is the plane whereon the vestiges of all things are destroyed in the traveler, and on the horizon of eternity the Divine Face riseth out of the darkness, and the meaning of 'All on the earth shall pass away, but the face of thy Lord ...' is made manifest." -BH {10}

The 'Spirit' is that Source of Divine power that transforms mere humans into sons of God, and lifts the worldly wayfarer from the abode of dust to the heavenly homeland. The 'dead in the Lord' of the last days will be instrumental in bringing forth the Revelation of Baha'u'llah.

ONE LIKE THE SON OF MAN:
14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man , having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. -Rev 14:14

[NIV: 14 .... , and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man."]

Baha'u'llah, the King of Glory and the Divine Reaper, is described as one like a Son of Man, descending to earth on a heavenly throne.

This echoes verse 1:12 {11} in which one "like a son of man" comes with the "clouds of heaven." We have already discussed the symbolism of clouds as representing glory, trouble, bounty and veiled obscurement. The meaning of the 'Son of Man' may require further explanation.

The title was based upon the concept of a Divine prototype or primordial Man. According to this belief, the true home of Man is in heaven. At each Advent, God sends a Messenger, a Son of Man, to redeem mortal man from his prison of worldliness and to renew human history.{12}

The Son of Man also calls himself the Shepherd, the Truth, the Light, and other titles familiar to readers of the New Testament. The concept of Man was important in Hebrew and Gnostic theology and was even incorporated in the FOURTH ECLOGUE of Virgil. In many ways, the concept resembles that of the Avatar of Hindu theology, and implies a cyclicity of history that can also be inferred from astrological theology.

In the first century BCE, the return of the Son of Man was widely anticipated. With his Advent, Jesus claimed the title as his own, and prophesied another return of the "Son of Man in the glory of his Father." {14} But the modifying phrase 'one like unto' in verse 14:14 suggests that the title 'Son of Man' will no longer be understandable in its original context at the end of the Piscean Age. Indeed, today the title is not generally understood, and most Christians would claim that the title belongs exclusively to Jesus Christ.

It might be argued that the title does not rigorously apply to Baha'u'llah, since He is not the Manifestation of the Son, but of the Father. {15}

THE FOURTH SUPPORTING ANGEL:
And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud. Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap : for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. -Rev 14:15-16

The next angel requests Baha'u'llah to 'thrust in his sickle and reap.' Mankind is likened to a vineyard as in the parable of Jesus Christ. The parable of the vineyard is found in all three synoptic Gospels.

In the Matthew (REB) version {13}, Jesus tells of a landowner of a vineyard who lets it out to tenant vine-growers and goes abroad. When the harvest season approaches, the landowner sends his servants to the tenants to collect the produce that is due to him. Each of his servants are abused, some killed. Finally he sends his son, who is also killed. When the Lord of the Vineyard returns from abroad, he will 'bring those bad men to a bad end' and 'hand the vineyard over to other tenants'.

The Lord of the Vineyard, the owner of the vineyard of Man, lets out His vineyard to the priesthood [tenant vine-growers]. He disappears from the scene [goes abroad]. When the end of the Dispensation arrives [the harvest season approaches], the Lord sends his Messengers [servants] to the priesthood to collect the souls of his devotees [produce] that is due to Him. Each of his Messengers are abused, some killed. Finally he sends His son [Jesus Christ], who is also killed. When the Lord of the Vineyard [Baha'u'llah] returns from abroad, he will 'bring those bad men to a bad end' and abolish the former priesthood' [hand the vineyard over to other tenants].

The World Center of the Faith of Baha'u'llah is located on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. The word 'Carmel' means the 'Vineyard of God,' and may be mystically correlated with the parable of Jesus. Other prophecies in the Bible suggest that Carmel will be connected with Baha'u'llah. For example, in Isaiah, {16} the 'Rod out of the stem of Jesse,' and the 'Scion from the root of Jesse' refer to Baha'u'llah; the 'Branch' refers to 'Abdu'l-Baha; the 'holy mountain' refers to Carmel.

In verse 14:14 above, an angel prompts the Divine Reaper to reap the harvest of the Ages. Based upon the parable of the vineyard, that angel is probably Jesus Christ. {17}

THE FIFTH AND SIXTH SUPPORTING ANGELS:
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. -Rev 14:17-18

The angel with the sickle also has the power to reap the harvest of the Ages; He clearly represents the Bab. The altar angel with the power over fire, is probably Zoroaster.{17} The Zoroastrian Faith is noted for its fire altars, and is centered in that part of Persia where the Bab was manifested. Also, in verse 2:28, Zoroaster is connected with the "morning star," the Herald of a 'new Day.'

A TEST OF CREDULITY:
And the angel thrust his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. -Rev 14:19-20

[NIV: 20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.]

Once again, the credulity of the literalist is put to the test! The literal conversion of 1,600 stadia is a distance of about 180 statute miles. The metrical height of a horse's bridle is about 60 inches. No other dimensions are given, but optimistically assuming a width of the sea of blood to be only one mile, the volume of this sea would require the deaths of about 60 times the total number of men, women and children existing on the surface of today's earth.

Verse 20 must be recognized for what it is- a riddle. In order to solve it, we first recognize that 1,600 is 40-times-40. The number 40 appears many times in the Bible to signify extreme tests of long duration. The squaring of a number is its 'perfection.' A stadium was an ancient measure of the earth's surface. So, one implication of the riddle is that earthbound humanity 'outside the city' of the renewed Word of God (the New Jerusalem) will experience extreme spiritual tests over a long period of time.

Now consider the height of a horse's bridle. Astrological constellations are frequently involved in the Apocalypse. In this instance, the constellation of Pegasus, the Flying Horse, is suggested by the verse. Pegasus has 7 'spans' of stars between its hoof and its jaw. With this hint, we recall that the canonical height of a horse's bridle is 7-spans, where a span is the distance across the stretched hand of an adult, about 9 English inches. Remembering that 7 is the number of trial and punishment, again we see that extreme tests of the spirit await those excluded from the New Jerusalem.

But why is the riddle expressed as a 'space of 1,600-times-7' ? Look again. The archetypal value of 1,600 is also 7. {18} Thus the occult dimension of the riddle is a 'space of 7-times-7.' 7-times-7 equals 49. This is the period of Divine Revelation, from the Declaration of the Bab in 1260 AH and ending with the Ascension of Baha'u'llah in 1309 AH, a space of 7-times-7, or 49 lunar years.

There are other correlations suggested by the riddle. 40 lunar years was the span of time of the Ministry of Baha'u'llah. The span of time from the Declaration of the Bab until the Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha was 70-and-7 solar year, styled by Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian, as the Heroic Age of the Baha'i Faith.




CHAPTER 15- HIS NAME REVEALED:

SYNOPSIS:
The world stage has been set in Chapter 14. In this Chapter, the name of the Leading Actor is announced.

7 more angels are introduced; these are the plague angels who will support the Divine Reaper in the great drama of the End of the Age.

Those of the Piscean Age who managed to overcome the wicked cunning of the Houses of Umayyah and 'Abbas are extolled. John sees them standing in triumph as the choir on the Celestial Pavilion and singing the eternal song, the Message from God, the same song that was sung by Moses and Jesus during their own Dispensations.

The sanctuary of the Tent of Testimony, alas, still existing in the heavenly realm, is opened. The Glory of God, Baha'u'llah, is also seen to exist in the sanctuary. Smoke from his power, just as it did in ancient days, fills the Temple, and no one is able to enter the Temple until the 7 plague angels empty their vials onto the earth.

 

THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUE ANGELS ARE INTRODUCED:
And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. 2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of gold.
-Rev 15:1-2

[REB: 2 ... those who had been victorious against the beast, its image, and the number of its name.]

Once again John is permitted to observe the sea of glass that represents the outermost surface of the firmament, the Celestial Pavilion. This time it is mingled with fire to symbolize the wrath of God and the Last Judgement. The angels have the number 7, symbolic of trials and punishments. Verse 2 extols those inhabitants of the heavenly realm who have overcome the false doctrine of the Houses of Umayyah and 'Abbas (the beast and its image), and the blasphemous deception of wrongly-guided Caliphs (the number of its name).

THEY SING THE ETERNAL MESSAGE:
3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb , saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4 Who shalt not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
-Rev 15:3-4

[REB: 3 ...; just and true are your ways, O King of the ages.]

The song of Moses and the Lamb is the eternal Message, the Word of God, renewed and readorned in every 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'an; in this day, the Bayan (Book of the Bab); and in the Dispensation of Him Whom God will make manifest (Baha'u'llah), 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." -BH {1}

Verse 4 reflects the prophesies in Isaiah {2} regarding the glorious abode of the Rod out of the stem of Jesse, Baha'u'llah.

THE HEAVENLY TENT IS OPENED:
5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues , clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. -Rev 15:5-7

[REB: 5 ... the sanctuary of the heavenly Tent of Testimony was opened, ...]

John sees that the Tent of Testimony, authorized by Moses, still persists in the heavenly realm, although its existence on the earthly plane had long since faded. The sanctuary was that portion of the tent where people were allowed to assemble and worship. The Holy of Holies, in the shape of a perfect cube {3}, contained the Ark of the Covenant and was reserved as the special abode of Jehovah.

In a deeper sense, the 'Tabernacle' is the Revelation of God descended upon man in the Temple of the Manifestation. "These Tabernacles of Holiness, these Primal Mirrors which reflect the light of unfading glory, are but the expressions of Him Who is the Invisible of the Invisibles." "Aid me, O my Lord, to surrender myself wholly to Thy Will, and to arise and serve Thee, for I cherish this earthly life for no other purpose than to compass the Tabernacle of Thy Revelation and the Seat of Thy Glory." -BH {4}

The seven plague angels are protected by golden girdles, a symbol of a new Faith. Their white linens symbolize cleanliness and holiness.

SMOKE FROM THE GLORY OF GOD:
8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God , and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
-Rev 15:8

[REB: 8 The sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, ...]

Verse 8 alludes to an ancient supernatural event that occurred during the reign of Solomon: {6}

..; and the house was filled with the cloud of the glory of the Lord. The priests could not continue to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. -REB: 2 Chron 5:13-14

"The symbolic term 'smoke' denotes grave dissensions, the abrogation and demolition of recognized standards, and the utter destruction of their narrow-minded exponents." -BH {5} It is this 'smoke' issuing from the spiritual power of Baha'u'llah, the Glory of God, that must be dissipated from the 'sanctuary' before the peoples of the world will be allowed to enter and worship Jehovah by His new name, Baha'. The seven last plagues must be released before the smoke can be dissipated.

In Greek, 'Glory of God' has a literal value of 1389, which has an archetypal value of 3. In Arabic, 'Baha'u'llah' has a literal value of 75, which also has an archetypal value of 3. The Greek word for 'Glory' has a literal value of 135 with an archetypal value of 9, identical to the literal value of Baha'.




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Robert Riggs is a member of the Baha'i Faith living in the United States. Much of the material on this homepage consists of extracts from existing Baha'i publications, but also included are a number of insights and comments about prophecies which are entirely the author's own understanding and, as such, do not necessarily represent the official position of the Baha'i Faith or its teachings.