To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the "Everlasting
Father," the "Lord of Hosts" come down "with ten thousands
of saints"; to Christendom Christ returned "in the glory of the
Father," to Shi'ah Islam the return of the Imam Husayn; to Sunni Islam the
descent of the "Spirit of God" (Jesus Christ); to the Zoroastrians the
promised Shah-Bahram; to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna; to the
Buddhists the fifth Buddha.
In the name He bore He combined those of the Imam Husayn, the most
illustrious of the successors of the Apostle of God - the brightest "star"
shining in the "crown" mentioned in the Revelation of St. John - and
of the Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, the second of the two "witnesses"
extolled in that same Book. He was formally designated Baha'u'llah, an
appellation specifically recorded in the Persian Bayan, signifying at once the
glory, the light and the splendor of God, and was styled the "Lord of
Lords," the "Most Great Name," the "Ancient Beauty,"
the "Pen of the Most High," the "Hidden Name," the "Preserved
Treasure," "He Whom God will make manifest," the "Most Great
Light," the "All-Highest Horizon," the "Most Great Ocean,"
the "Supreme Heaven," the "Pre-Existent Root," the "Self-Subsistent,"
the "Day-Star of the Universe," the "Great Announcement,"
the "Speaker on Sinai," the "Sifter of Men," the "Wronged
One of the World," the "Desire of the Nations," the "Lord of
the Covenant," the "Tree beyond which there is no passing." He
derived His descent, on the one hand, from Abraham (the Father of the Faithful)
through his wife Katurah, and on the other from Zoroaster, as well as from
Yazdigird, the last king of the Sasaniyan dynasty. He was moreover a descendant
of Jesse, and belonged, through His father, Mirza Abbas, better known as Mirza
Buzurg - a nobleman closely associated with the ministerial circles of the Court
of Fath-'Ali Shah - to one of the most ancient and renowned families of
To Him Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, had alluded as the "Glory
of the Lord," the "Everlasting Father," the "Prince of
Peace," the "Wonderful," the "Counsellor," the "Rod
come forth out of the stem of Jesse" and the "Branch grown out of His
roots," Who "shall be established upon the throne of David," Who "will
come with strong hand," Who "shall judge among the nations," Who "shall
smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips slay
the wicked," and Who "shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and
gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
Of Him David had sung in his Psalms, acclaiming Him as the "Lord of Hosts"
and the "King of Glory." To Him Haggai had referred as the "Desire
of all nations," and Zachariah as the "Branch" Who "shall
grow up out of His place," and "shall build the Temple of the Lord."
Ezekiel had extolled Him as the "Lord" Who "shall be king over
all the earth," while to His day Joel and Zephaniah had both referred as
the "day of Jehovah," the latter describing it as "a day of
wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day
of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the
trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers."
His Day Ezekiel and Daniel had, moreover, both acclaimed as the "day of the
Lord," and Malachi described as "the great and dreadful day of the
Lord" when "the Sun of Righteousness" will "arise, with
healing in His wings," whilst Daniel had pronounced His advent as
signalizing the end of the "abomination that maketh desolate."
To His Dispensation the sacred books of the followers of Zoroaster had
referred as that in which the sun must needs be brought to a standstill for no
less than one whole month. To Him Zoroaster must have alluded when, according
to tradition, He foretold that a period of three thousand years of conflict and
contention must needs precede the advent of the World-Savior Shah-Bahram, Who
would triumph over Ahriman and usher in an era of blessedness and peace.
He alone is meant by the prophecy attributed to Gautama Buddha Himself,
that "a Buddha named Maitreye, the Buddha of universal fellowship"
should, in the fullness of time, arise and reveal "His boundless glory."
To Him the Bhagavad-Gita of the Hindus had referred as the "Most Great
Spirit," the "Tenth Avatar," the "Immaculate Manifestation
To Him Jesus Christ had referred as the "Prince of this world,"
as the "Comforter" Who will "reprove the world of sin, and of
righteousness, and of judgment," as the "Spirit of Truth" Who "will
guide you into all truth," Who "shall not speak of Himself, but
whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak," as the "Lord of the
Vineyard," and as the "Son of Man" Who "shall come in the
glory of His Father" "in the clouds of heaven with power and great
glory," with "all the holy angels" about Him, and "all
nations" gathered before His throne. To Him the Author of the Apocalypse
had alluded as the "Glory of God," as "Alpha and Omega," "the
Beginning and the End," "the First and the Last." Identifying
His Revelation with the "third woe," he, moreover, had extolled His
Law as "a new heaven and a new earth," as the "Tabernacle of God,"
as the "Holy City," as the "New Jerusalem, coming down from God
out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." To His Day
Jesus Christ Himself had referred as "the regeneration when the Son of Man
shall sit in the throne of His glory." To the hour of His advent St. Paul
had alluded as the hour of the "last trump," the "trump of God,"
whilst St. Peter had spoken of it as the "Day of God, wherein the heavens
being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat."
His Day he, furthermore, had described as "the times of refreshing," "the
times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all
His holy Prophets since the world began."
To Him Muhammad, the Apostle of God, had alluded in His Book as the "Great
Announcement," and declared His Day to be the Day whereon "God"
will "come down" "overshadowed with clouds," the Day whereon
"thy Lord shall come and the angels rank on rank," and "The
Spirit shall arise and the angels shall be ranged in order." His advent He,
in that Book, in a surih said to have been termed by Him "the heart of the
Qur'an," had foreshadowed as that of the "third" Messenger, sent
down to "strengthen" the two who preceded Him. To His Day He, in the
pages of that same Book, had paid a glowing tribute, glorifying it as the "Great
Day," the "Last Day," the "Day of God," the "Day
of Judgment," the "Day of Reckoning," the "Day of Mutual
Deceit," the "Day of Severing," the "Day of Sighing,"
the "Day of Meeting," the Day "when the Decree shall be
accomplished," the Day whereon the second "Trumpet blast" will be
sounded, the "Day when mankind shall stand before the Lord of the world,"
and "all shall come to Him in humble guise," the Day when "thou
shalt see the mountains, which thou thinkest so firm, pass away with the passing
of a cloud," the Day "wherein account shall be taken," "the
approaching Day, when men's hearts shall rise up, choking them, into their
throats," the Day when "all that are in the heavens and all that are
on the earth shall be terror-stricken, save him whom God pleaseth to deliver,"
the Day whereon "every suckling woman shall forsake her sucking babe, and
every woman that hath a burden in her womb shall cast her burden," the Day "when
the earth shall shine with the light of her Lord, and the Book shall be set, and
the Prophets shall be brought up, and the witnesses; and judgment shall be given
between them with equity; and none shall be wronged...
To attempt an exhaustive survey of the prophetic references to
Baha'u'llah's Revelation would indeed be an impossible task. To this the pen of
Baha'u'llah Himself bears witness: "All the Divine Books and Scriptures
have predicted and announced unto men the advent of the Most Great Revelation.
None can adequately recount the verses recorded in the Books of former ages
which forecast this supreme Bounty, this most mighty Bestowal."
In conclusion of this theme, I feel, it should be stated that the
Revelation identified with Baha'u'llah abrogates unconditionally all the
Dispensations gone before it, upholds uncompromisingly the eternal verities they
enshrine, recognizes firmly and absolutely the Divine origin of their Authors,
preserves inviolate the sanctity of their authentic Scriptures, disclaims any
intention of lowering the status of their Founders or of abating the spiritual
ideals they inculcate, clarifies and correlates their functions, reaffirms their
common, their unchangeable and fundamental purpose, reconciles their seemingly
divergent claims and doctrines, readily and gratefully recognizes their
respective contributions to the gradual unfoldment of one Divine Revelation,
unhesitatingly acknowledges itself to be but one link in the chain of
continually progressive Revelations, supplements their teachings with such laws
and ordinances as conform to the imperative needs, and are dictated by the
growing receptivity, of a fast evolving and constantly changing society, and
proclaims its readiness and ability to fuse and incorporate the contending sects
and factions into which they have fallen into a universal Fellowship,
functioning within the framework, and in accordance with the precepts, of a
divinely conceived, a world-unifying, a world-redeeming Order.