Part One

ON THE INFLUENCE OF THE PROPHETS
IN THE EVOLUTION OF
HUMANITY

1

 
2


1

NATURE IS GOVERNED BY ONE UNIVERSAL LAW

 
3

Nature is that condition, that reality, which in appearance consists in life and death, or, in other words, in the composition and decomposition of all things.    
This Nature is subjected to an absolute organization, to determined laws, to a complete order and a finished design, from which it will never depart--to such a degree, indeed, that if you look carefully and with keen sight, from the smallest invisible atom up to such large bodies of the world of existence as the globe of the sun or the other great stars and luminous spheres, whether you regard their arrangement, their composition, their form or their movement, you will find that all are in the highest degree of organization and are under one law from which they will never depart.    
But when you look at Nature itself, you see that it has no intelligence, no will. For instance, the nature of fire is to burn; it burns without will or intelligence. The nature of water is fluidity; it flows without will or intelligence. The nature of the sun is radiance; it shines without will or intelligence. The nature of vapor is to ascend; it ascends without will or intelligence. Thus it is clear that the natural movements of all things are compelled; there are no voluntary movements except those of animals and, above all, those of man. Man is able to resist and to oppose Nature because he discovers the constitution of things, and through this he commands the forces of Nature; all the inventions he has made are due to his discovery of the constitution of things. For example, he invented the telegraph, which is the means of communication between the East and the West. It is evident, then, that man rules over Nature.  
4

Now, when you behold in existence such organizations, arrangements and laws, can you say that all these are the effect of Nature, though Nature has neither intelligence nor perception? If not, it becomes evident that this Nature, which has neither perception nor intelligence, is in the grasp of Almighty God, Who is the Ruler of the world of Nature; whatever He wishes, He causes Nature to manifest.    
One of the things which has appeared in the world of existence, and which is one of the requirements of Nature, is human life. Considered from this point of view man is the branch; nature is the root. Then can the will and the intelligence, and the perfections which exist in the branch, be absent in the root?    
It is said that Nature in its own essence is in the grasp of the power of God, Who is the Eternal Almighty One: He holds Nature within accurate regulations and laws, and rules over it. 1 1. On the idea of God, cf. "The Divinity Can Only Be Comprehended through the Divine Manifestations," p. 146; and "Man's Knowledge of God," p. 220.

The reader will there see that the Bahá'í Faith has not an anthropomorphic conception of God, and that if it employs a customary terminology, it is careful to explain its symbolic meaning.

 

2

PROOFS AND EVIDENCES OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD

 
5

One of the proofs and demonstrations of the existence of God is the fact that man did not create himself: nay, his creator and designer is another than himself.    
It is certain and indisputable that the creator of man is not like man because a powerless creature cannot create another being. The maker, the creator, has to possess all perfections in order that he may create.    
Can the creation be perfect and the creator imperfect? Can a picture be a masterpiece and the painter imperfect in his art? For it is his art and his creation. Moreover, the picture cannot be like the painter; otherwise, the painting would have created itself. However perfect the picture may be, in comparison with the painter it is in the utmost degree of imperfection.    
The contingent world is the source of imperfections: God is the origin of perfections. The imperfections of the contingent world are in themselves a proof of the perfections of God.    
For example, when you look at man, you see that he is weak. This very weakness of the creature is a proof of the power of the Eternal Almighty One, because, if there were no power, weakness could not be imagined. Then the weakness of the creature is a proof of the power of God; for if there were no power, there could be no weakness; so from this weakness it becomes evident that there is power in the world. Again, in the contingent world there is poverty; then necessarily wealth exists, since poverty is apparent in the world. In the contingent world there is ignorance; necessarily knowledge exists, because ignorance is found; for if there were no knowledge, neither would there be ignorance. Ignorance is the nonexistence of knowledge, and if there were no existence, nonexistence could not be realized.  
6

It is certain that the whole contingent world is subjected to a law and rule which it can never disobey; even man is forced to submit to death, to sleep and to other conditions--that is to say, man in certain particulars is governed, and necessarily this state of being governed implies the existence of a governor. Because a characteristic of contingent beings is dependency, and this dependency is an essential necessity, therefore, there must be an independent being whose independence is essential.    
In the same way it is understood from the man who is sick that there must be one who is in health; for if there were no health, his sickness could not be proved.    
Therefore, it becomes evident that there is an Eternal Almighty One, Who is the possessor of all perfections, because unless He possessed all perfections He would be like His creation.    
Throughout the world of existence it is the same; the smallest created thing proves that there is a creator. For instance, this piece of bread proves that it has a maker.    
Praise be to God! the least change produced in the form of the smallest thing proves the existence of a creator: then can this great universe, which is endless, be self-created and come into existence from the action of matter and the elements? How self-evidently wrong is such a supposition!    
These obvious arguments are adduced for weak souls; but if the inner perception be open, a hundred thousand clear proofs become visible. Thus, when man feels the indwelling spirit, he is in no need of arguments for its existence; but for those who are deprived of the bounty of the spirit, it is necessary to establish external arguments.    

3

THE NEED OF AN EDUCATOR

 
7

When we consider existence, we see that the mineral, vegetable, animal and human worlds are all in need of an educator.    
If the earth is not cultivated, it becomes a jungle where useless weeds grow; but if a cultivator comes and tills the ground, it produces crops which nourish living creatures. It is evident, therefore, that the soil needs the cultivation of the farmer. Consider the trees: if they remain without a cultivator, they will be fruitless, and without fruit they are useless; but if they receive the care of a gardener, these same barren trees become fruitful, and through cultivation, fertilization and engrafting the trees which had bitter fruits yield sweet fruits. These are rational proofs; in this age the peoples of the world need the arguments of reason.    
The same is true with respect to animals: notice that when the animal is trained it becomes domestic, and also that man, if he is left without education, becomes bestial, and, moreover, if left under the rule of nature, becomes lower than an animal, whereas if he is educated he becomes an angel. For the greater number of animals do not devour their own kind, but men, in the Sudan, in the central regions of Africa, kill and eat each other.    
Now reflect that it is education that brings the East and the West under the authority of man; it is education that produces wonderful industries; it is education that spreads great sciences and arts; it is education that makes manifest new discoveries and institutions. If there were no educator, there would be no such things as comforts, civilization or humanity. If a man be left alone in a wilderness where he sees none of his own kind, he will undoubtedly become a mere brute; it is then clear that an educator is needed.  
8

But education is of three kinds: material, human and spiritual. Material education is concerned with the progress and development of the body, through gaining its sustenance, its material comfort and ease. This education is common to animals and man.    
Human education signifies civilization and progress-- that is to say, government, administration, charitable works, trades, arts and handicrafts, sciences, great inventions and discoveries and elaborate institutions, which are the activities essential to man as distinguished from the animal.    
Divine education is that of the Kingdom of God: it consists in acquiring divine perfections, and this is true education; for in this state man becomes the focus of divine blessings, the manifestation of the words, "Let Us make man in Our image, and after Our likeness." 1 This is the goal of the world of humanity. 1. Cf. Gen. 1:26.  
Now we need an educator who will be at the same time a material, human and spiritual educator, and whose authority will be effective in all conditions. So if anyone should say, "I possess perfect comprehension and intelligence, and I have no need of such an educator," he would be denying that which is clear and evident, as though a child should say, "I have no need of education; I will act according to my reason and intelligence, and so I shall attain the perfections of existence"; or as though the blind should say, "I am in no need of sight, because many other blind people exist without difficulty."    
Then it is plain and evident that man needs an educator, and this educator must be unquestionably and indubitably perfect in all respects and distinguished above all men. Otherwise, if he should be like the rest of humanity, he could not be their educator, more particularly because he must be at the same time their material and human as well as their spiritual educator--that is to say, he must teach men to organize and carry out physical matters, and to form a social order in order to establish cooperation and mutual aid in living so that material affairs may be organized and regulated for any circumstances that may occur. In the same way he must establish human education--that is to say, he must educate intelligence and thought in such a way that they may attain complete development, so that knowledge and science may increase, and the reality of things, the mysteries of beings and the properties of existence may be discovered; that, day by day, instructions, inventions and institutions may be improved; and from things perceptible to the senses conclusions as to intellectual things may be deduced.  
9

He must also impart spiritual education, so that intelligence and comprehension may penetrate the metaphysical world, and may receive benefit from the sanctifying breeze of the Holy Spirit, and may enter into relationship with the Supreme Concourse. He must so educate the human reality that it may become the center of the divine appearance, to such a degree that the attributes and the names of God shall be resplendent in the mirror of the reality of man, and the holy verse "We will make man in Our image and likeness" shall be realized. 1 1. Cf. Gen. 1:26.  
It is clear that human power is not able to fill such a great office, and that reason alone could not undertake the responsibility of so great a mission. How can one solitary person without help and without support lay the foundations of such a noble construction? He must depend on the help of the spiritual and divine power to be able to undertake this mission. One Holy Soul gives life to the world of humanity, changes the aspect of the terrestrial globe, causes intelligence to progress, vivifies souls, lays the basis of a new life, establishes new foundations, organizes the world, brings nations and religions under the shadow of one standard, delivers man from the world of imperfections and vices, and inspires him with the desire and need of natural and acquired perfections. Certainly nothing short of a divine power could accomplish so great a work. We ought to consider this with justice, for this is the office of justice.  
10

A Cause which all the governments and peoples of the world, with all their powers and armies, cannot promulgate and spread, one Holy Soul can promote without help or support! Can this be done by human power? No, in the name of God! For example, Christ, alone and solitary, upraised the standard of peace and righteousness, a work which all the victorious governments with all their hosts are unable to accomplish. Consider what was the fate of so many and diverse empires and peoples: the Roman Empire, France, Germany, Russia, England, etc.; all were gathered together under the same tent--that is to say, the appearance of Christ brought about a union among these diverse nations, some of whom, under the influence of Christianity, became so united that they sacrificed their lives and property for one another. After the time of Constantine, who was the protagonist of Christianity, divisions broke out among them. The point is this, that Christ united these nations but after a while governments became the cause of discord. What I mean is that Christ sustained a Cause that all the kings of the earth could not establish! He united the various religions and modified ancient customs. Consider what great differences existed between Romans, Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Israelites and other peoples of Europe. Christ removed these differences and became the cause of love between these communities. Although after some time governments destroyed this union, the work of Christ was accomplished.    
Therefore, the Universal Educator must be at the same time a physical, human and spiritual educator; and He must possess a supernatural power, so that He may hold the position of a divine teacher. If He does not show forth such a holy power, He will not be able to educate, for if He be imperfect, how can He give a perfect education? If He be ignorant, how can He make others wise? If He be unjust, how can He make others just? If He be earthly, how can He make others heavenly?  
11

Now we must consider justly: did these Divine Manifestations Who have appeared possess all these qualifications or not? 1 If They had not these qualifications and these perfections, They were not real Educators. 1. Divine Manifestations are the founders of religions. Cf. "Two Classes of Prophets," p. 164.  
Therefore, it must be our task to prove to the thoughtful by reasonable arguments the prophethood of Moses, of Christ and of the other Divine Manifestations. And the proofs and evidences which we give are not based on traditional but on rational arguments.    
It has now been proved by rational arguments that the world of existence is in the utmost need of an educator, and that its education must be achieved by divine power. There is no doubt that this holy power is revelation, and that the world must be educated through this power which is above human power.    

4

ABRAHAM


[Abraham], Epistle to the Son of the Wolf; Gleanings From The Writings Of Bahá'u'lláh; The Kitáb-i-Aqdas; The Kitáb-i-Íqán; The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, 3, 4
12

One of those Who possessed this power and was assisted by it was Abraham. And the proof of it was that He was born in Mesopotamia, and of a family who were ignorant of the Oneness of God. He opposed His own nation and people, and even His own family, by rejecting all their gods. Alone and without help He resisted a powerful tribe, a task which is neither simple nor easy. It is as if in this day someone were to go to a Christian people who are attached to the Bible, and deny Christ; or in the Papal Court--God forbid!--if such a one were in the most powerful manner to blaspheme against Christ and oppose the people.    
These people believed not in one God but in many gods, to whom they ascribed miracles; therefore, they all arose against Him, and no one supported Him except Lot, His brother's son, and one or two other people of no importance. At last, reduced to the utmost distress by the opposition of His enemies, He was obliged to leave His native land. In reality they banished Him in order that He might be crushed and destroyed, and that no trace of Him might be left.    
Abraham then came into the region of the Holy Land. His enemies considered that His exile would lead to His destruction and ruin, as it seemed impossible that a man banished from His native land, deprived of His rights and oppressed on all sides--even though He were a king --could escape extermination. But Abraham stood fast and showed forth extraordinary firmness--and God made this exile to be to His eternal honor--until He established the Unity of God in the midst of a polytheistic generation. This exile became the cause of the progress of the descendants of Abraham, and the Holy Land was given to them. As a result the teachings of Abraham were spread abroad, a Jacob appeared among His posterity, and a Joseph who became ruler in Egypt. In consequence of His exile a Moses and a being like Christ were manifested from His posterity, and Hagar was found from whom Ishmael was born, one of whose descendants was Muhammad. In consequence of His exile the Báb appeared from His posterity, 1 and the Prophets of Israel were numbered among the descendants of Abraham. And so it will continue for ever and ever. Finally, in consequence of His exile the whole of Europe and most of Asia came under the protecting shadow of the God of Israel. See what a power it is that enabled a Man Who was a fugitive from His country to found such a family, to establish such a faith, and to promulgate such teachings. Can anyone say that all this occurred accidentally? We must be just: was this Man an Educator or not? 1. The Báb's descent was from Muhammad.
13

Since the exile of Abraham from Ur to Aleppo in Syria produced this result, we must consider what will be the effect of the exile of Bahá'u'lláh in His several removes from Tihrán to Baghdád, from thence to Constantinople, to Rumelia and to the Holy Land.
God Passes By, p. 107
 
See what a perfect Educator Abraham was!    

5

MOSES


[Moses], Epistle to the Son of the Wolf; Gleanings From The Writings Of Bahá'u'lláh; The Kitáb-i-Aqdas; The Kitáb-i-Íqán; Prayers and Meditations; The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys, p. 17, p. 36; Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, 2, 3, 4
14

Moses was for a long time a shepherd in the wilderness. Regarded outwardly, He was a Man brought up in a tyrannical household, and was known among men as One Who had committed a murder and become a shepherd. By the government and the people of Pharaoh He was much hated and detested.    
It was such a Man as this that freed a great nation from the chains of captivity, made them contented, brought them out from Egypt, and led them to the Holy Land.    
This people from the depths of degradation were lifted up to the height of glory. They were captive; they became free. They were the most ignorant of peoples; they became the most wise. As the result of the institutions that Moses gave them, they attained a position which entitled them to honor among all nations, and their fame spread to all lands, to such a degree indeed that among surrounding nations if one wished to praise a man one said, "Surely he is an Israelite." Moses established laws and ordinances; these gave life to the people of Israel, and led them to the highest possible degree of civilization at that period.    
To such a development did they attain that the philosophers of Greece would come and acquire knowledge from the learned men of Israel. Such an one was Socrates, who visited Syria, and took from the children of Israel the teachings of the Unity of God and of the immortality of the soul. After his return to Greece, he promulgated these teachings. Later the people of Greece rose in opposition to him, accused him of impiety, arraigned him before the Areopagus, and condemned him to death by poison.  
15

Now, how could a Man Who was a stammerer, Who had been brought up in the house of Pharaoh, Who was known among men as a murderer, Who through fear had for a long time remained in concealment, and Who had become a shepherd, establish so great a Cause, when the wisest philosophers on earth have not displayed one thousandth part of this influence? This is indeed a prodigy.    
A Man Who had a stammering tongue, Who could not even converse correctly, succeeded in sustaining this great Cause! If He had not been assisted by divine power, He would never have been able to carry out this great work. These facts are undeniable. Materialist philosophers, Greek thinkers, the great men of Rome became famous in the world, each one of them having specialized in one branch of learning only. Thus Galen and Hippocrates became celebrated in medicine, Aristotle in logic and reasoning, and Plato in ethics and theology. How is it that a shepherd could acquire all of this knowledge? It is beyond doubt that He must have been assisted by an omnipotent power.    
Consider also what trials and difficulties arise for people. To prevent an act of cruelty, Moses struck down an Egyptian and afterward became known among men as a murderer, more notably because the man He had killed was of the ruling nation. Then He fled, and it was after that that He was raised to the rank of a Prophet!    
In spite of His evil repute, how wonderfully He was guided by a supernatural power in establishing His great institutions and laws!    

6

CHRIST


[Christ], Epistle to the Son of the Wolf; Gleanings From The Writings Of Bahá'u'lláh; The Kitáb-i-Aqdas; The Kitáb-i-Íqán; Prayers and Meditations; Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, 2, 3, 4
16

Afterward Christ came, saying, "I am born of the Holy Spirit." Though it is now easy for the Christians to believe this assertion, at that time it was very difficult. According to the text of the Gospel the Pharisees said, "Is not this the son of Joseph of Nazareth Whom we know? How can He say, therefore, I came down from heaven?" 1 1. Cf. John 6:42.  
Briefly, this Man, Who, apparently, and in the eyes of all, was lowly, arose with such great power that He abolished a religion that had lasted fifteen hundred years, at a time when the slightest deviation from it exposed the offender to danger or to death. Moreover, in the days of Christ the morals of the whole world and the condition of the Israelites had become completely confused and corrupted, and Israel had fallen into a state of the utmost degradation, misery and bondage. At one time they had been taken captive by the Chaldeans and Persians; at another time they were reduced to slavery to the Assyrians; then they became the subjects and vassals of the Greeks; and finally they were ruled over and despised by the Romans.    
This young Man, Christ, by the help of a supernatural power, abrogated the ancient Mosaic Law, reformed the general morals, and once again laid the foundation of eternal glory for the Israelites. Moreover, He brought to humanity the glad tidings of universal peace, and spread abroad teachings which were not for Israel alone but were for the general happiness of the whole human race.    
Those who first strove to do away with Him were the Israelites, His own kindred. To all outward appearances they overcame Him and brought Him into direst distress. At last they crowned Him with the crown of thorns and crucified Him. But Christ, while apparently in the deepest misery and affliction, proclaimed, "This Sun will be resplendent, this Light will shine, My grace will surround the world, and all My enemies will be brought low." And as He said, so it was; for all the kings of the earth have not been able to withstand Him. Nay, all their standards have been overthrown, while the banner of that Oppressed One has been raised to the zenith.  
17

But this is opposed to all the rules of human reason. Then it becomes clear and evident that this Glorious Being was a true Educator of the world of humanity, and that He was helped and confirmed by divine power.    

7

MUHAMMAD


[Muhammad], Epistle to the Son of the Wolf; Gleanings From The Writings Of Bahá'u'lláh; The Kitáb-i-Aqdas; The Kitáb-i-Íqán; Prayers and Meditations; The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys; Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, 2, 3, 4
18

Now we come to Muhammad. Americans and Europeans have heard a number of stories about the Prophet which they have thought to be true, although the narrators were either ignorant or antagonistic: most of them were clergy; others were ignorant Muslims who repeated unfounded traditions about Muhammad which they ignorantly believed to be to His praise.    
Thus some benighted Muslims made His polygamy the pivot of their praises and held it to be a wonder, regarding it as a miracle; and European historians, for the most part, rely on the tales of these ignorant people.    
For example, a foolish man said to a clergyman that the true proof of greatness is bravery and the shedding of blood, and that in one day on the field of battle a follower of Muhammad had cut off the heads of one hundred men! This misled the clergyman to infer that killing is considered the way to prove one's faith to Muhammad, while this is merely imaginary. The military expeditions of Muhammad, on the contrary, were always defensive actions: a proof of this is that during thirteen years, in Mecca, He and His followers endured the most violent persecutions. At this period they were the target for the arrows of hatred: some of His companions were killed and their property confiscated; others fled to foreign lands. Muhammad Himself, after the most extreme persecutions by the Qurayshites, who finally resolved to kill Him, fled to Medina in the middle of the night. Yet even then His enemies did not cease their persecutions, but pursued Him to Medina, and His disciples even to Abyssinia.  
19

These Arab tribes were in the lowest depths of savagery and barbarism, and in comparison with them the savages of Africa and wild Indians of America were as advanced as a Plato. The savages of America do not bury their children alive as these Arabs did their daughters, glorying in it as being an honorable thing to do. 1 Thus many of the men would threaten their wives, saying, "If a daughter is born to you, I will kill you." Even down to the present time the Arabs dread having daughters. Further, a man was permitted to take a thousand women, and most husbands had more than ten wives in their household. When these tribes made war, the one which was victorious would take the women and children of the vanquished tribe captive and treat them as slaves. 1. The Banú-Tamím, one of the most barbarous Arab tribes, practiced this odious custom.  
When a man who had ten wives died, the sons of these women rushed at each other's mothers; and if one of the sons threw his mantle over the head of his father's wife and cried out, "This woman is my lawful property," at once the unfortunate woman became his prisoner and slave. He could do whatever he wished with her. He could kill her, imprison her in a well, or beat, curse and torture her until death released her. According to the Arab habits and customs, he was her master. It is evident that malignity, jealousy, hatred and enmity must have existed between the wives and children of a household, and it is, therefore, needless to enlarge upon the subject. Again, consider what was the condition and life of these oppressed women! Moreover, the means by which these Arab tribes lived consisted in pillage and robbery, so that they were perpetually engaged in fighting and war, killing one another, plundering and devastating each other's property, and capturing women and children, whom they would sell to strangers. How often it happened that the daughters and sons of a prince, who spent their day in comfort and luxury, found themselves, when night fell, reduced to shame, poverty and captivity. Yesterday they were princes, today they are captives; yesterday they were great ladies, today they are slaves.  
20

Muhammad received the Divine Revelation among these tribes, and after enduring thirteen years of persecution from them, He fled. 1 But this people did not cease to oppress; they united to exterminate Him and all His followers. It was under such circumstances that Muhammad was forced to take up arms. This is the truth: we are not bigoted and do not wish to defend Him, but we are just, and we say what is just. Look at it with justice. If Christ Himself had been placed in such circumstances among such tyrannical and barbarous tribes, and if for thirteen years He with His disciples had endured all these trials with patience, culminating in flight from His native land--if in spite of this these lawless tribes continued to pursue Him, to slaughter the men, to pillage their property, and to capture their women and children--what would have been Christ's conduct with regard to them? If this oppression had fallen only upon Himself, He would have forgiven them, and such an act of forgiveness would have been most praiseworthy; but if He had seen that these cruel and bloodthirsty murderers wished to kill, to pillage and to injure all these oppressed ones, and to take captive the women and children, it is certain that He would have protected them and would have resisted the tyrants. What objection, then, can be taken to Muhammad's action? Is it this, that He did not, with His followers, and their women and children, submit to these savage tribes? To free these tribes from their bloodthirstiness was the greatest kindness, and to coerce and restrain them was a true mercy. They were like a man holding in his hand a cup of poison, which, when about to drink, a friend breaks and thus saves him. If Christ had been placed in similar circumstances, it is certain that with a conquering power He would have delivered the men, women and children from the claws of these bloodthirsty wolves. 1. To Medina.
21

Muhammad never fought against the Christians; on the contrary, He treated them kindly and gave them perfect freedom. A community of Christian people lived at Najrán and were under His care and protection. Muhammad said, "If anyone infringes their rights, I Myself will be his enemy, and in the presence of God I will bring a charge against him." In the edicts which He promulgated it is clearly stated that the lives, properties and honor of the Christians and Jews are under the protection of God; and that if a Muhammadan married a Christian woman, the husband must not prevent her from going to church, nor oblige her to veil herself; and that if she died, he must place her remains in the care of the Christian clergy. Should the Christians desire to build a church, Islám ought to help them. In case of war between Islám and her enemies, the Christians should be exempted from the obligation of fighting, unless they desired of their own free will to do so in defense of Islám, because they were under its protection. But as a compensation for this immunity, they should pay yearly a small sum of money. In short, there are seven detailed edicts on these subjects, some copies of which are still extant at Jerusalem. This is an established fact and is not dependent on my affirmation. The edict of the second Caliph 1 still exists in the custody of the orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, and of this there is no doubt. 2 1. Of Umar.

2. Cf. Jurjí Zaydán's Umayyads and Abbasids, trans. D. S. Margoliouth.

 
Nevertheless, after a certain time, and through the transgression of both the Muhammadans and the Christians, hatred and enmity arose between them. Beyond this fact, all the narrations of the Muslims, Christians and others are simply fabrications, which have their origin in fanaticism, or ignorance, or emanate from intense hostility.  
22

For example, the Muslims say that Muhammad cleft the moon, and that it fell on the mountain of Mecca: they think that the moon is a small body which Muhammad divided into two parts and threw one part on this mountain, and the other part on another mountain.    
Such stories are pure fanaticism. Also the traditions which the clergy quote, and the incidents with which they find fault, are all exaggerated, if not entirely without foundation.    
Briefly, Muhammad appeared in the desert of Hijáz in the Arabian Peninsula, which was a desolate, sterile wilderness, sandy and uninhabited. Some parts, like Mecca and Medina, are extremely hot; the people are nomads with the manners and customs of the dwellers in the desert, and are entirely destitute of education and science. Muhammad Himself was illiterate, and the Qur'án was originally written upon the bladebones of sheep, or on palm leaves. These details indicate the condition of the people to whom Muhammad was sent. The first question which He put to them was, "Why do you not accept the Pentateuch and the Gospel, and why do you not believe in Christ and in Moses?" This saying presented difficulties to them, and they argued, "Our forefathers did not believe in the Pentateuch and the Gospel; tell us, why was this?" He answered, "They were misled; you ought to reject those who do not believe in the Pentateuch and the Gospel, even though they are your fathers and your ancestors."    
In such a country, and amidst such barbarous tribes, an illiterate Man produced a book in which, in a perfect and eloquent style, He explained the divine attributes and perfections, the prophethood of the Messengers of God, the divine laws, and some scientific facts.  
23

Thus, you know that before the observations of modern times--that is to say, during the first centuries and down to the fifteenth century of the Christian era--all the mathematicians of the world agreed that the earth was the center of the universe, and that the sun moved. The famous astronomer who was the protagonist of the new theory discovered the movement of the earth and the immobility of the sun. 1 Until his time all the astronomers and philosophers of the world followed the Ptolemaic system, and whoever said anything against it was considered ignorant. Though Pythagoras, and Plato during the latter part of his life, adopted the theory that the annual movement of the sun around the zodiac does not proceed from the sun, but rather from the movement of the earth around the sun, this theory had been entirely forgotten, and the Ptolemaic system was accepted by all mathematicians. But there are some verses revealed in the Qur'án contrary to the theory of the Ptolemaic system. One of them is "The sun moves in a fixed place," which shows the fixity of the sun, and its movement around an axis.2 Again, in another verse, "And each star moves in its own heaven." 3 Thus is explained the movement of the sun, of the moon, of the earth, and of other bodies. When the Qur'án appeared, all the mathematicians ridiculed these statements and attributed the theory to ignorance. Even the doctors of Islám, when they saw that these verses were contrary to the accepted Ptolemaic system, were obliged to explain them away. 1. Copernicus.

2. Cf. Qur'án 36:37.

3. Cf. Qur'án 36:38.

 
It was not until after the fifteenth century of the Christian era, nearly nine hundred years after Muhammad, that a famous astronomer made new observations and important discoveries by the aid of the telescope, which he had invented. 1 The rotation of the earth, the fixity of the sun, and also its movement around an axis, were discovered. It became evident that the verses of the Qur'án agreed with existing facts, and that the Ptolemaic system was imaginary. 1. Galileo.
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In short, many Oriental peoples have been reared for thirteen centuries under the shadow of the religion of Muhammad. During the Middle Ages, while Europe was in the lowest depths of barbarism, the Arab peoples were superior to the other nations of the earth in learning, in the arts, mathematics, civilization, government and other sciences. The Enlightener and Educator of these Arab tribes, and the Founder of the civilization and perfections of humanity among these different races, was an illiterate Man, Muhammad. Was this illustrious Man a thorough Educator or not? A just judgment is necessary.    

8

THE BÁB


[The Báb], Epistle to the Son of the Wolf; Gleanings From The Writings Of Bahá'u'lláh; The Kitáb-i-Aqdas; The Kitáb-i-Íqán; Prayers and Meditations; Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh; God Passes By, First Period; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, 2, 3, 4
25

As for the Báb--may my soul be His sacrifice!--at a youthful age, that is to say, when He had reached the twenty-fifth year of His blessed life, He stood forth to proclaim His Cause. 1 It was universally admitted by the Shí'is that He had never studied in any school and had not acquired knowledge from any teacher; all the people of Shíráz bear witness to this. Nevertheless, He suddenly appeared before the people, endowed with the most complete erudition. Although He was but a merchant, He confounded all the 'ulamá of Persia. 2 All alone, in a way which is beyond imagination, He upheld the Cause among the Persians, who are renowned for their religious fanaticism. This illustrious Soul arose with such power that He shook the supports of the religion, of the morals, the conditions, the habits and the customs of Persia, and instituted new rules, new laws and a new religion. Though the great personages of the State, nearly all the clergy, and the public men arose to destroy and annihilate Him, He alone withstood them and moved the whole of Persia. 1. The Báb is here designated by His title Hadrat-i-'Alá, His Supreme Highness; but for the convenience of the reader we shall continue to designate Him by the name under which He is known throughout Europe--i.e., the Báb.

2. Doctors of the religion of Islám.


["This illustrious Soul..."] The Dawn-Breakers p. 514 footnote #18
 
Many 'ulamá and public men, as well as other people, joyfully sacrificed their lives in His Cause, and hastened to the plain of martyrdom.    
The government, the nation, the doctors of divinity and the great personages desired to extinguish His light, but they could not do so. At last His moon arose, His star shone forth, His foundations became firmly established, and His dawning-place became brilliant. He imparted divine education to an unenlightened multitude and produced marvelous results on the thoughts, morals, customs and conditions of the Persians. He announced the glad tidings of the manifestation of the Sun of Bahá to His followers and prepared them to believe.  
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The appearance of such wonderful signs and great results; the effects produced upon the minds of the people, and upon the prevailing ideas; the establishment of the foundations of progress; and the organization of the principles of success and prosperity by a young merchant, constitute the greatest proof that He was a perfect Educator. A just person will never hesitate to believe this.    

9

BAHÁ'U'LLÁH


[Bahá'u'lláh], Epistle to the Son of the Wolf; Gleanings From The Writings Of Bahá'u'lláh; The Kitáb-i-Aqdas; The Kitáb-i-Íqán; Prayers and Meditations; Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh; The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys, p. 16, p. 20, p. 29, p. 43, p. 59; God Passes By, Second Period; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, 2, 3, 4
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Bahá'u'lláh 1 appeared at a time when the Persian Empire was immersed in profound obscurantism and ignorance and lost in the blindest fanaticism. 1 Jamál-i-Mubárak, the Blessed Beauty, the title which is here given to Bahá'u'lláh. He is also called Jamál-i-Qidám, the Preexistent, or Ancient Beauty. But we shall designate Him as Bahá'u'lláh, the title by which He is known in the West.
[Arabic/Persian Titles of Baha'u'llah], The Kitáb-i-Aqdas; The Revelation Of Baha'u'llah, vol.2 p. 186-187), Audio: as read by Nina Vazin
 
In the European histories, no doubt, you have read detailed accounts of the morals, customs and ideas of the Persians during the last centuries. It is useless to repeat them. Briefly, we will say that Persia had fallen so low that to all foreign travelers it was a matter of regret that this country, which in former times had been so glorious and highly civilized, had now become so decayed, ruined and upset, and that its population had lost its dignity.    
It was at this time that Bahá'u'lláh appeared. His father was one of the viziers, not one of the 'ulamá. As all the people of Persia know, He had never studied in any school, nor had He associated with the 'ulamá or the men of learning. The early part of His life was passed in the greatest happiness. His companions and associates were Persians of the highest rank, but not learned men.    
As soon as the Báb became manifested, Bahá'u'lláh said, "This great Man is the Lord of the righteous, and faith in Him is incumbent upon all." And He arose to assist the Báb and gave many proofs and positive evidences of His truth, in spite of the fact that the 'ulamá of the state religion had constrained the Persian government to oppose and resist Him and had further issued decrees ordering the massacre, pillage, persecution and expulsion of His followers. In all the provinces they began to kill, to burn, to pillage the converts and even to assault the women and children. Regardless of this, Bahá'u'lláh arose to proclaim the word of the Báb with the greatest firmness and energy. Not for one moment was He in concealment; He mixed openly with His enemies. He was occupied in showing forth evidences and proofs and was recognized as the Herald of the Word of God. In many changes and chances He endured the greatest misfortunes, and at every moment He ran the risk of being martyred.  
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He was put into chains and confined in an underground prison. His vast property and inheritance were pillaged and confiscated. He was exiled four times from land to land and found rest only in the "Greatest Prison." 1 1. Exiled first to Baghdád, then to Constantinople, then to Adrianople, He was imprisoned in Akká (Acre), "the Greatest Prison," in 1868.
The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, 2, 3, 4
 
In spite of all this He never ceased for one instant His proclamation of the greatness of the Cause of God. He manifested such virtue, knowledge and perfections that He became a wonder to all the people of Persia. So much so that in Tihrán, Baghdád, Constantinople, Rumelia, and even in Akká, every one of the learned and scientific men who entered His presence, whether friend or enemy, never failed to receive the most sufficient and convincing answer to whatever question was propounded. All frequently acknowledged that He was alone and unique in all perfections.    
It often happened that in Baghdád certain Muhammadan 'ulamá, Jewish rabbis and Christians met together with some European scholars, in a blessed reunion: each one had some question to propose, and although they were possessed of varying degrees of culture, they each heard a sufficient and convincing reply, and retired satisfied. Even the Persian 'ulamá who were at Kárbilá and Najaf chose a wise man whom they sent on a mission to Him; his name was Mullá Hasan 'Amú. He came into the Holy Presence, and proposed a number of questions on behalf of the 'ulamá, to which Bahá'u'lláh replied. Then Hasan 'Amú said, "The 'ulamá recognize without hesitation and confess the knowledge and virtue of Bahá'u'lláh, and they are unanimously convinced that in all learning he has no peer or equal; and it is also evident that he has never studied or acquired this learning; but still the 'ulamá say, 'We are not contented with this; we do not acknowledge the reality of his mission by virtue of his wisdom and righteousness. Therefore, we ask him to show us a miracle in order to satisfy and tranquilize our hearts.'"  
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Bahá'u'lláh replied, "Although you have no right to ask this, for God should test His creatures, and they should not test God, still I allow and accept this request. But the Cause of God is not a theatrical display that is presented every hour, of which some new diversion may be asked for every day. If it were thus, the Cause of God would become mere child's play.    
"The 'ulamás must, therefore, assemble, and, with one accord, choose one miracle, and write that, after the performance of this miracle they will no longer entertain doubts about Me, and that all will acknowledge and confess the truth of My Cause. Let them seal this paper, and bring it to Me. This must be the accepted criterion: if the miracle is performed, no doubt will remain for them; and if not, We shall be convicted of imposture." The learned man, Hasan 'Amú, rose and replied, "There is no more to be said"; he then kissed the knee of the Blessed One although he was not a believer, and went. He gathered the 'ulamá and gave them the sacred message. They consulted together and said, "This man is an enchanter; perhaps he will perform an enchantment, and then we shall have nothing more to say." Acting on this belief, they did not dare to push the matter further. 1 1. The penetrating judgment of Bahá'u'lláh upon this occasion overcame the malignity of His enemies, who, it was certain, would never agree in choosing what miracle to ask for.
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This man, Hasan 'Amú, mentioned this fact at many meetings. After leaving Kárbilá he went to Kirmansháh and Tihrán and spread a detailed account of it everywhere, laying emphasis on the fear and the withdrawal of the 'ulamá.    
Briefly, all His adversaries in the Orient acknowledged His greatness, grandeur, knowledge and virtue; and though they were His enemies, they always spoke of Him as "the renowned Bahá'u'lláh."    
At the time when this great Light suddenly arose upon the horizon of Persia, all the people, the ministers, the 'ulamá and men of other classes rose against Him, pursuing Him with the greatest animosity, and proclaiming "that this man wishes to suppress and destroy the religion, the law, the nation and the empire." The same was said of Christ. But Bahá'u'lláh alone and without support resisted them all, without ever showing the least weakness. At last they said, "As long as this man is in Persia, there will be no peace and tranquillity; we must banish him, so that Persia may return to a state of quietude."    
They proceeded to use violence toward Him to oblige Him to ask for permission to leave Persia, thinking that by this means the light of His truth would be extinguished, but the result was quite the contrary. The Cause became magnified, and its flame more intense. At first it spread throughout Persia only, but the exile of Bahá'u'lláh caused the diffusion of the Cause throughout other countries. Afterward His enemies said, "'Iráq-i-'Arab 1 is not far enough from Persia; we must send him to a more distant kingdom." This is why the Persian government determined to send Bahá'u'lláh from 'Iráq to Constantinople. Again the event proved that the Cause was not in the least weakened. Once more they said, "Constantinople is a place of passage and of sojourn for various races and peoples; among them are many Persians." For this reason the Persians had Him further exiled to Rumelia; but, when there, the flame became more powerful, and the Cause more exalted. At last the Persians said, "Not one of these places is safe from his influence; we must send him to some place where he will be reduced to powerlessness, and where his family and followers will have to submit to the direst afflictions." So they chose the prison of Akká, which is reserved especially for murderers, thieves and highway robbers, and in truth they classed Him with such people. But the power of God became manifested: His word was promulgated, and the greatness of Bahá'u'lláh then became evident, for it was from this prison and under such humiliating circumstances that He caused Persia to advance from one state into another state. He overcame all His enemies and proved to them that they could not resist the Cause. His holy teachings penetrated all regions, and His Cause was established. 1. 'Iráq; as opposed to that district of Írán known then as 'Iráq-i-Azam and now called Arák.
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Indeed, in all parts of Persia His enemies arose against Him with the greatest hatred, imprisoning, killing and beating His converts, and burning and razing to the ground thousands of dwellings, striving by every means to exterminate and crush the Cause. In spite of all this, from the prison of murderers, highway robbers and thieves, it became exalted. His teachings were spread abroad, and His exhortations affected many of those who had been the most full of hatred, and made them firm believers. Even the Persian government itself became awakened and regretted that which had arisen through the fault of the 'ulamá.  
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When Bahá'u'lláh came to this prison in the Holy Land, the wise men realized that the glad tidings which God gave through the tongue of the Prophets two or three thousand years before were again manifested, and that God was faithful to His promise; for to some of the Prophets He had revealed and given the good news that "the Lord of Hosts should be manifested in the Holy Land." All these promises were fulfilled; and it is difficult to understand how Bahá'u'lláh could have been obliged to leave Persia, and to pitch His tent in this Holy Land, but for the persecution of His enemies, His banishment and exile. His enemies intended that His imprisonment should completely destroy and annihilate the blessed Cause, but this prison was in reality of the greatest assistance and became the means of its development. The divine renown of Bahá'u'lláh reached the East and the West, and the rays of the Sun of Truth illuminated all the world. Praise be to God! though He was a prisoner, His tent was raised on Mount Carmel, and He moved abroad with the greatest majesty. Every person, friend or stranger, who came into His presence used to say, "This is a prince, not a captive."    
Upon His arrival in prison 1 He addressed an epistle to Napoleon, 2 which He sent through the French ambassador. The gist of it was, "Ask what is Our crime, and why We are confined in this prison and this dungeon." Napoleon made no reply. Then a second epistle was issued, which is contained in the Súriy-i-Haykal. 3 The epitome of it is: "Oh Napoleon, as thou hast not listened to My proclamation, and as thou hast not answered it, thy dominion will before long be taken away from thee, and thou wilt be utterly destroyed." This epistle was sent to Napoleon by post, through the care of Cesar Ketaphakou, 4 as was known to all the companions of His exile. The text of this warning reached the whole of Persia, for it was at that time that the Kitáb-i-Haykal was spread in Persia, and this epistle was among the contents of this book. This happened in A.D. 1869, and as this Súriy-i-Haykal was circulated in Persia and India and was in the hands of all believers, they were waiting to see what would come to pass. Not long after, in A.D. 1870, the war between Germany and France broke out; and though no one at that time expected the victory of Germany, Napoleon was defeated and dishonored; he surrendered to his enemies, and his glory was changed into deep abasement. 1. Adrianople.

2. Napoleon III.

3. One of Bahá'u'lláh's works written after His declaration.

4. Son of a French Consul in Syria with whom Bahá'u'lláh had friendly relations.

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Tablets 1 were also sent to other kings, and among them was the letter to H. M. Násiri'd-Dín Sháh. In that epistle Bahá'u'lláh said, "Have Me summoned, gather the 'ulamá, and ask for proofs and arguments, so that the truth and falsehood may become known." H. M. Násiri'd-Dín Sháh sent the blessed epistle to the 'ulamá and proposed to them that they should undertake this mission, but they dared not do so. Then he asked seven of the most celebrated among them to write an answer to the challenge. After some time they returned the blessed letter, saying, "This man is the opposer of religion and the enemy of the Sháh." His majesty the Sháh of Persia was much vexed, and said, "This is a question for proofs and arguments, and of truth or falsehood: what has it to do with enmity to the government? Alas! how much we respected these 'ulamá, who cannot even reply to this epistle." 1. Name given to the epistles of Bahá'u'lláh.  
Briefly, all that was recorded in the Tablets to the Kings is being fulfilled: if from the year A.D. 1870 we compare the events that have occurred, we will find everything that has happened has appeared as predicted; only a few remain which will afterward become manifested.  
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So also foreign peoples, and other sects who were not believers, attributed many wonderful things to Bahá'u'lláh. Some believed that He was a saint, 1 and some even wrote treatises about Him. One of them, Siyyid Dávúdí, a Sunnite savant of Baghdád, wrote a short treatise in which he related certain supernatural acts of Bahá'u'lláh. Even now, in all parts of the East, there are some people who, though they do not believe in His manifestation, nevertheless believe Him to be a saint and relate miracles attributed to Him. 1. Valí.  
To sum up, both His antagonists and His partisans, as well as all those who were received in the sacred spot, acknowledged and bore witness to the greatness of Bahá'u'lláh. Though they did not believe in Him, still they acknowledged His grandeur, and as soon as they entered the sacred spot, the presence of Bahá'u'lláh produced such an effect on most of them that they could not utter a word. How many times it happened that one of His most bitter enemies would resolve within himself, "I will say such and such things when I reach His presence, and I will dispute and argue thus with Him," but when he entered the Holy Presence, he would become amazed and confounded, and remain speechless.    
Bahá'u'lláh had never studied Arabic; He had not had a tutor or teacher, nor had He entered a school. Nevertheless, the eloquence and elegance of His blessed expositions in Arabic, as well as His Arabic writings, caused astonishment and stupefaction to the most accomplished Arabic scholars, and all recognized and declared that He was incomparable and unequaled.    
If we carefully examine the text of the Torah, we see that the Divine Manifestation never said to those who denied Him, "Whatever miracle you desire, I am ready to perform, and I will submit to whatever test you propose." But in the Epistle to the Sháh, Bahá'u'lláh said clearly, "Gather the 'ulamá, and summon Me, that the evidences and proofs may be established." 1 1. Cf. p. 30, n.1. In giving such importance to this example of the good sense of Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá means to emphasize the uselessness of miracles as a proof of the truth of the Manifestations of God. Cf. "Miracles," p. 100.
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For fifty years Bahá'u'lláh faced His enemies like a mountain: all wished to annihilate Him and sought His destruction. A thousand times they planned to crucify and destroy Him, and during these fifty years He was in constant danger.    
In this day Persia is in such a state of decadence and ruin that all intelligent men, whether Persians or foreigners, who realize the true state of affairs, recognize that its progress, its civilization and its reconstruction depend upon the promulgation of the teachings and the development of the principles of this great Personage.    
Christ, in His blessed day, in reality only educated eleven men: the greatest of them was Peter, who, nevertheless, when he was tested, thrice denied Christ. In spite of this, the Cause of Christ subsequently permeated the world. At the present day Bahá'u'lláh has educated thousands of souls who, while under the menace of the sword, raised to the highest heaven the cry of "Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá"; 1 and in the fire of tests, their faces became illuminated like gold. Then reflect what will take place in the future. 1. A cry used as a declaration of faith by the Bahá'ís, literally, "Oh Thou the Glory of Glories!"  
Finally, we must be just and acknowledge what an Educator this Glorious Being was, what marvelous signs were manifested by Him, and what power and might have been realized in the world through Him.    

10

TRADITIONAL PROOFS EXEMPLIFIED FROM THE BOOK OF DANIEL

 
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Today, at table, let us speak for a little of proofs. If you had come to this blessed place in the days of the manifestation of the evident Light, 1 if you had attained to the court of His presence, and had witnessed His luminous beauty, you would have understood that His teachings and perfection were not in need of further evidence. 1. Bahá'u'lláh.  
Only through the honor of entering His presence, many souls became confirmed believers; they had no need of other proofs. Even those people who rejected and hated Him bitterly, when they had met Him, would testify to the grandeur of Bahá'u'lláh, saying, "This is a magnificent man, but what a pity that he makes such a claim! Otherwise, all that he says is acceptable."    
But now, as that Light of Reality has set, all are in need of proofs; so we have undertaken to demonstrate rational proofs of the truth of His claim. We will cite another which alone is sufficient for all who are just, and which no one can deny. It is that this illustrious Being uplifted His Cause in the "Greatest Prison"; 1 from this Prison His light was shed abroad, His fame conquered the world, and the proclamation of His glory reached the East and West. Until our time no such thing has ever occurred. 1. Akká.  
If there be justice, this will be acknowledged; but there are some people who, even if all the proofs in the world be adduced before them, still will not judge justly!    
Thus nations and states with all their strength could not resist Him. Verily, single and alone, imprisoned and oppressed, He accomplished whatever He desired.  
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I do not wish to mention the miracles of Bahá'u'lláh, for it may perhaps be said that these are traditions, liable both to truth and to error, like the accounts of the miracles of Christ in the Gospel, which come to us from the apostles, and not from anyone else, and are denied by the Jews. Though if I wish to mention the supernatural acts of Bahá'u'lláh, they are numerous; they are acknowledged in the Orient, and even by some non-Bahá'ís. But these narratives are not decisive proofs and evidences to all; the hearer might perhaps say that this account may not be in accordance with what occurred, for it is known that other sects recount miracles performed by their founders. For instance, the followers of Brahmanism relate miracles. From what evidence may we know that those are false and that these are true? If these are fables, the others also are fables; if these are generally accepted, so also the others are generally accepted. Consequently, these accounts are not satisfactory proofs. Yes, miracles are proofs for the eyewitness only, and even he may regard them not as a miracle but as an enchantment. Extraordinary feats have also been related of some conjurors.    
Briefly, my meaning is that many wonderful things were done by Bahá'u'lláh, but we do not recount them, as they do not constitute proofs and evidences for all the peoples of the earth, and they are not decisive proofs even for those who see them: they may think that they are merely enchantments.    
Also, most of the miracles of the Prophets which are mentioned have an inner significance. For instance, in the Gospel it is written that at the martyrdom of Christ darkness prevailed, and the earth quaked, and the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the dead came forth from their graves. If these events had happened, they would indeed have been awesome, and would certainly have been recorded in the history of the times. They would have become the cause of much troublings of heart. Either the soldiers would have taken down Christ from the cross, or they would have fled. These events are not related in any history; therefore, it is evident they ought not to be taken literally, but as having an inner significance. 1 1. Cf. "Miracles," p. 100.
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Our purpose is not to deny such miracles; our only meaning is that they do not constitute decisive proofs, and that they have an inner significance.    
Accordingly, today, at table, we will refer to the explanation of the traditional proofs which are in the Holy Books. Until now, all that we have spoken of are rational proofs.    
The state in which one should be to seriously search for the truth is the condition of the thirsty, burning soul desiring the water of life, of the fish struggling to reach the sea, of the sufferer seeking for the true doctor to obtain the divine cure, of the lost caravan endeavoring to find the right road, of the lost and wandering ship striving to reach the shore of salvation.    
Therefore, the seeker must be endowed with certain qualities. First of all, he must be just and severed from all else save God; his heart must be entirely turned to the supreme horizon; he must be free from the bondage of self and passion, for all these are obstacles. Furthermore, he must be able to endure all hardships. He must be absolutely pure and sanctified, and free from the love or the hatred of the inhabitants of the world. Why? because the fact of his love for any person or thing might prevent him from recognizing the truth in another, and, in the same way, hatred for anything might be a hindrance in discerning truth. This is the condition of seeking, and the seeker must have these qualities and attributes. Until he reaches this condition, it is not possible for him to attain to the Sun of Reality.  
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Let us now return to our subject.    
All the peoples of the world are awaiting two Manifestations, Who must be contemporaneous; all wait for the fulfillment of this promise. In the Bible the Jews have the promise of the Lord of Hosts and the Messiah; in the Gospel the return of Christ and Elijah is promised.    
In the religion of Muhammad there is the promise of the Mihdí and the Messiah, and it is the same with the Zoroastrian and the other religions, but if we relate these matters in detail, it would take too long. The essential fact is that all are promised two Manifestations, Who will come, one following on the other. It has been prophesied that in the time of these two Manifestations the earth will be transformed, the world of existence will be renewed, and beings will be clothed in new garments. Justice and truth will encompass the world; enmity and hatred will disappear; all causes of division among peoples, races and nations will vanish; and the cause of union, harmony and concord will appear. The negligent will awake, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dumb will speak, the sick will be cured, the dead will arise. War will give place to peace, enmity will be conquered by love, the causes of dispute and wrangling will be entirely removed, and true felicity will be attained. The world will become the mirror of the Heavenly Kingdom; humanity will be the Throne of Divinity. All nations will become one; all religions will be unified; all individual men will become of one family and of one kindred. All the regions of the earth will become one; the superstitions caused by races, countries, individuals, languages and politics will disappear; and all men will attain to life eternal, under the shadow of the Lord of Hosts.    
Now we must prove from the Holy Books that these two Manifestations have come, and we must divine the meaning of the words of the Prophets, for we wish for proofs drawn from the Holy Books.  
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A few days ago, at table, we put forth rational proofs establishing the truth of these two Manifestations.    
To conclude: in the Book of Daniel, from the rebuilding of Jerusalem to the martyrdom of Christ, seventy weeks are appointed; for by the martyrdom of Christ the sacrifice is accomplished and the altar destroyed. 1 This is a prophecy of the manifestation of Christ. These seventy weeks begin with the restoration and the rebuilding of Jerusalem, concerning which four edicts were issued by three kings. 1. See Dan. 9:24.  
The first was issued by Cyrus in the year 536 B.C.; this is recorded in the first chapter of the Book of Ezra. The second edict, with reference to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, is that of Darius of Persia in the year 519 B.C.; this is recorded in the sixth chapter of Ezra. The third is that of Artaxerxes in the seventh year of his reign--that is, in 457 B.C.; this is recorded in the seventh chapter of Ezra. The fourth is that of Artaxerxes in the year 444 B.C.; this is recorded in the second chapter of Nehemiah.    
But Daniel refers especially to the third edict which was issued in the year 457 B.C. Seventy weeks make four hundred and ninety days. Each day, according to the text of the Holy Book, is a year. For in the Bible it is said: "The day of the Lord is one year." 1 Therefore, four hundred and ninety days are four hundred and ninety years. The third edict of Artaxerxes was issued four hundred and fifty-seven years before the birth of Christ, and Christ when He was martyred and ascended was thirty-three years of age. When you add thirty-three to four hundred and fifty-seven, the result is four hundred and ninety, which is the time announced by Daniel for the manifestation of Christ. 1. Cf. Num. 14:34.
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But in the twenty-fifth verse of the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel this is expressed in another manner, as seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; and apparently this differs from the first saying. Many have remained perplexed at these differences, trying to reconcile these two statements. How can seventy weeks be right in one place, and sixty-two weeks and seven weeks in another? These two sayings do not accord.    
But Daniel mentions two dates. One of these dates begins with the command of Artaxerxes to Ezra to rebuild Jerusalem: this is the seventy weeks which came to an end with the ascension of Christ, when by His martyrdom the sacrifice and oblation ceased.    
The second period, which is found in the twenty-sixth verse, means that after the termination of the rebuilding of Jerusalem until the ascension of Christ, there will be sixty-two weeks: the seven weeks are the duration of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which took forty-nine years. When you add these seven weeks to the sixty-two weeks, it makes sixty-nine weeks, and in the last week (69-70) the ascension of Christ took place. These seventy weeks are thus completed, and there is no contradiction.    
Now that the manifestation of Christ has been proved by the prophecies of Daniel, let us prove the manifestations of Bahá'u'lláh and of the Báb. Up to the present we have only mentioned rational proofs; now we shall speak of traditional proofs.    
In the eighth chapter of the Book of Daniel, verse thirteen, it is said: "Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?" Then he answered (v. 14): "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed"; (v. 17) "But he said unto me ... at the time of the end shall be the vision." That is to say, how long will this misfortune, this ruin, this abasement and degradation last? meaning, when will be the dawn of the Manifestation? Then he answered, "Two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Briefly, the purport of this passage is that he appoints two thousand three hundred years, for in the text of the Bible each day is a year. Then from the date of the issuing of the edict of Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem until the day of the birth of Christ there are 456 years, and from the birth of Christ until the day of the manifestation of the Báb there are 1844 years. When you add 456 years to this number it makes 2300 years. That is to say, the fulfillment of the vision of Daniel took place in the year A.D. 1844, and this is the year of the Báb's manifestation according to the actual text of the Book of Daniel. Consider how clearly he determines the year of manifestation; there could be no clearer prophecy for a manifestation than this.  
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In Matthew, chapter 24, verse 3, Christ clearly says that what Daniel meant by this prophecy was the date of the manifestation, and this is the verse: "As He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?" One of the explanations He gave them in reply was this (v. 15): "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)." In this answer He referred them to the eighth chapter of the Book of Daniel, saying that everyone who reads it will understand that it is this time that is spoken of. Consider how clearly the manifestation of the Báb is spoken of in the Old Testament and in the Gospel.  
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To conclude, let us now explain the date of the manifestation of Bahá'u'lláh from the Bible. The date of Bahá'u'lláh is calculated according to lunar years from the mission and the Hejira of Muhammad; for in the religion of Muhammad the lunar year is in use, as also it is the lunar year which is employed concerning all commands of worship.    
In Daniel, chapter 12, verse 6, it is said: "And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and that when He shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished." 1 1. Cf. Dan. 12:6-7.  
As I have already explained the signification of one day, it is not necessary to explain it further; but we will say briefly that each day of the Father counts as a year, and in each year there are twelve months. Thus three years and a half make forty-two months, and forty-two months are twelve hundred and sixty days. The Báb, the precursor of Bahá'u'lláh, appeared in the year 1260 from the Hejira of Muhammad, by the reckoning of Islám.    
Afterward, in verse 11, it is said: "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolation be set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." 1 1. The reference appears in verses 11 and 12.  
The beginning of this lunar reckoning is from the day of the proclamation of the prophethood of Muhammad in the country of Hijáz; and that was three years after His mission, because in the beginning the prophethood of Muhammad was kept secret, and no one knew it save Khadíjah and Ibn Nawfal. 1 After three years it was announced. And Bahá'u'lláh, in the year 1290 from the proclamation of the mission of Muhammad, caused His manifestation to be known. 2 1. Varaqat-Ibn-Nawfal, Khadíjah's cousin.

2. The year 1290 from the proclamation of the mission of Muhammad was the year 1280 of the Hejira, or 1863-64 of our era. It was at this epoch (April 1863) that Bahá'u'lláh, on leaving Baghdád for Constantinople, declared to those who surrounded Him that He was the Manifestation announced by the Báb. It is this declaration which the Bahá'ís celebrate by the Feast of Ridván, this name being that of the garden at the entrance of the city, where Bahá'u'lláh stayed during twelve days, and where He made the declaration.

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11

COMMENTARY ON THE ELEVENTH CHAPTER OF THE REVELATION OF ST. JOHN

 
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In the beginning of the eleventh chapter of the Revelation of St. John it is said:    
"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."    
This reed is a Perfect Man Who is likened to a reed, and the manner of its likeness is this: when the interior of a reed is empty and free from all matter, it will produce beautiful melodies; and as the sound and melodies do not come from the reed, but from the flute player who blows upon it, so the sanctified heart of that blessed Being is free and emptied from all save God, pure and exempt from the attachments of all human conditions, and is the companion of the Divine Spirit. Whatever He utters is not from Himself, but from the real flute player, and it is a divine inspiration. That is why He is likened to a reed; and that reed is like a rod--that is to say, it is the helper of every impotent one, and the support of human beings. It is the rod of the Divine Shepherd by which He guards His flock and leads them about the pastures of the Kingdom.    
Then it is said: "The angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein"--that is to say, compare and measure: measuring is the discovery of proportion. Thus the angel said: compare the temple of God and the altar and them that are praying therein--that is to say, investigate what is their true condition and discover in what degree and state they are, and what conditions, perfections, behavior and attributes they possess; and make yourself cognizant of the mysteries of those holy souls who dwell in the Holy of Holies in purity and sanctity.  
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"But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles."    
In the beginning of the seventh century after Christ, when Jerusalem was conquered, the Holy of Holies was outwardly preserved--that is to say, the house which Solomon built; but outside the Holy of Holies the outer court was taken and given to the Gentiles. "And the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months"--that is to say, the Gentiles shall govern and control Jerusalem forty and two months, signifying twelve hundred and sixty days; and as each day signifies a year, by this reckoning it becomes twelve hundred and sixty years, which is the duration of the cycle of the Qur'án. For in the texts of the Holy Book, each day is a year; as it is said in the fourth chapter of Ezekiel, verse 6: "Thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year."    
This prophesies the duration of the Dispensation of Islám when Jerusalem was trodden under foot, which means that it lost its glory--but the Holy of Holies was preserved, guarded and respected--until the year 1260. This twelve hundred and sixty years is a prophecy of the manifestation of the Báb, the "Gate" of Bahá'u'lláh, which took place in the year 1260 of the Hejira of Muhammad, and as the period of twelve hundred and sixty years has expired, Jerusalem, the Holy City, is now beginning to become prosperous, populous and flourishing. Anyone who saw Jerusalem sixty years ago, and who sees it now, will recognize how populous and flourishing it has become, and how it is again honored.  
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This is the outward meaning of these verses of the Revelation of St. John; but they have another explanation and a symbolic sense, which is as follows: the Law of God is divided into two parts. One is the fundamental basis which comprises all spiritual things--that is to say, it refers to the spiritual virtues and divine qualities; this does not change nor alter: it is the Holy of Holies, which is the essence of the Law of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá'u'lláh, and which lasts and is established in all the prophetic cycles. It will never be abrogated, for it is spiritual and not material truth; it is faith, knowledge, certitude, justice, piety, righteousness, trustworthiness, love of God, benevolence, purity, detachment, humility, meekness, patience and constancy. It shows mercy to the poor, defends the oppressed, gives to the wretched and uplifts the fallen.    
These divine qualities, these eternal commandments, will never be abolished; nay, they will last and remain established for ever and ever. These virtues of humanity will be renewed in each of the different cycles; for at the end of every cycle the spiritual Law of God--that is to say, the human virtues--disappears, and only the form subsists.    
Thus among the Jews, at the end of the cycle of Moses, which coincides with the Christian manifestation, the Law of God disappeared, only a form without spirit remaining. The Holy of Holies departed from among them, but the outer court of Jerusalem--which is the expression used for the form of the religion--fell into the hands of the Gentiles. In the same way, the fundamental principles of the religion of Christ, which are the greatest virtues of humanity, have disappeared; and its form has remained in the hands of the clergy and the priests. Likewise, the foundation of the religion of Muhammad has disappeared, but its form remains in the hands of the official 'ulamá.  
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These foundations of the Religion of God, which are spiritual and which are the virtues of humanity, cannot be abrogated; they are irremovable and eternal, and are renewed in the cycle of every Prophet.    
The second part of the Religion of God, which refers to the material world, and which comprises fasting, prayer, forms of worship, marriage and divorce, the abolition of slavery, legal processes, transactions, indemnities for murder, violence, theft and injuries--this part of the Law of God, which refers to material things, is modified and altered in each prophetic cycle in accordance with the necessities of the times.    
Briefly, what is meant by the term Holy of Holies is that spiritual Law which will never be modified, altered or abrogated; and the Holy City means the material Law which may be abrogated; and this material Law, which is described as the Holy City, was to be trodden under foot for twelve hundred and sixty years.    
"And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three-score days, clothed in sackcloth." 1 These two witnesses are Muhammad the Messenger of God, and 'Alí, son of Abú Tálib. 1. Rev. 11:3.  
In the Qur'án it is said that God addressed Muhammad, the Messenger of God, saying: "We made You a Witness, a Herald of good news, and a Warner"--that is to say, We have established Thee as the witness, the giver of good tidings, and as One bringing the wrath of God. 1 The meaning of "a witness" is one by whose testimony things may be verified. The commands of these two witnesses were to be performed for twelve hundred and sixty days, each day signifying a year. Now, Muhammad was the root, and 'Alí the branch, like Moses and Joshua. It is said they "are clothed in sackcloth," meaning that they, apparently, were to be clothed in old raiment, not in new raiment; in other words, in the beginning they would possess no splendor in the eyes of the people, nor would their Cause appear new; for Muhammad's spiritual Law corresponds to that of Christ in the Gospel, and most of His laws relating to material things correspond to those of the Pentateuch. This is the meaning of the old raiment. 1. This sentence is the Persian translation of the Arabic text of the Qur'án which has been quoted.
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Then it is said: "These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth." 1 These two souls are likened to olive trees because at that time all lamps were lighted by olive oil. The meaning is two persons from whom that spirit of the wisdom of God, which is the cause of the illumination of the world, appears. These lights of God were to radiate and shine; therefore, they are likened to two candlesticks: the candlestick is the abode of the light, and from it the light shines forth. In the same way the light of guidance would shine and radiate from these illumined souls. 1. Rev. 11:4.  
Then it is said: "They are standing before God," meaning that they are standing in the service of God, and educating the creatures of God, such as the barbarous nomad Arab tribes of the Arabian peninsula, whom they educated in such a way that in those days they reached the highest degree of civilization, and their fame and renown became worldwide.    
"And if any man would hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies." 1 That is to say, that no one would be able to withstand them, that if a person wished to belittle their teachings and their law, he would be surrounded and exterminated by this same law which proceedeth out of their mouth; and everyone who attempted to injure, to antagonize and to hate them would be destroyed by a command which would come out of their mouth. And thus it happened: all their enemies were vanquished, put to flight and annihilated. In this most evident way God assisted them. 1. Cf. Rev. 11:5.
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Afterward it is said: "These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy," 1 meaning that in that cycle they would be like kings. The law and teachings of Muhammad, and the explanations and commentaries of 'Alí, are a heavenly bounty; if they wish to give this bounty, they have power to do so. If they do not wish it, the rain will not fall: in this connection rain stands for bounty. 1. Rev. 11:6.  
Then it is said: "They have power over water to turn it to blood," 1 meaning that the prophethood of Muhammad was the same as that of Moses, and that the power of 'Alí was the same as that of Joshua: if they wished, they could turn the water of the Nile into blood, so far as the Egyptians and those who denied them were concerned--that is to say, that that which was the cause of their life, through their ignorance and pride, became the cause of their death. So the kingdom, wealth and power of Pharaoh and his people, which were the causes of the life of the nation, became, through their opposition, denial and pride, the cause of death, destruction, dispersion, degradation and poverty. Hence these two witnesses have power to destroy the nations. 1. Cf. Rev. 11:6.  
Then it is said: "And smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will," 1 meaning that they also would have the power and the material force necessary to educate the wicked and those who are oppressors and tyrants, for to these two witnesses God granted both outward and inward power, that they might educate and correct the ferocious, bloodthirsty, tyrannical nomad Arabs, who were like beasts of prey. 1. Cf. Rev. 11:6.  
"And when they shall have finished their testimony" 1 means when they should have performed that which they are commanded, and should have delivered the divine message, promoting the Law of God and propagating the heavenly teachings, to the intent that the signs of spiritual life might be manifest in souls, and the light of the virtues of the world of humanity might shine forth, until complete development should be brought about among the nomad tribes. 1. Rev. 11:7.
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"The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them": 1 this beast means the Umayyads who attacked them from the pit of error, and who rose against the religion of Muhammad and against the reality of 'Alí--in other words, the love of God. 1. Cf. Rev. 11:7.  
It is said, "The beast made war against these two witnesses" 1--that is to say, a spiritual war, meaning that the beast would act in entire opposition to the teachings, customs and institutions of these two witnesses, to such an extent that the virtues and perfections which were diffused by the power of those two witnesses among the peoples and tribes would be entirely dispelled, and the animal nature and carnal desires would conquer. Therefore, this beast making war against them would gain the victory--meaning that the darkness of error coming from this beast was to have ascendency over the horizons of the world, and kill those two witnesses--in other words, that it would destroy the spiritual life which they spread abroad in the midst of the nation, and entirely remove the divine laws and teachings, treading under foot the Religion of God. Nothing would thereafter remain but a lifeless body without spirit. 1. Cf. Rev. 11:7.  
"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." 1 "Their bodies" means the Religion of God, and "the street" means in public view. The meaning of "Sodom and Egypt," the place "where also our Lord was crucified," is this region of Syria, and especially Jerusalem, where the Umayyads then had their dominions; and it was here that the Religion of God and the divine teachings first disappeared, and a body without spirit remained. "Their bodies" represents the Religion of God, which remained like a dead body without spirit. 1. Rev. 11:8.
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"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." 1 1. Rev. 11:9.  
As it was before explained, in the terminology of the Holy Books three days and a half signify three years and a half, and three years and a half are forty and two months, and forty and two months twelve hundred and sixty days; and as each day by the text of the Holy Book signifies one year, the meaning is that for twelve hundred and sixty years, which is the cycle of the Qur'án, the nations, tribes and peoples would look at their bodies--that is to say, that they would make a spectacle of the Religion of God: though they would not act in accordance with it, still, they would not suffer their bodies--meaning the Religion of God--to be put in the grave. That is to say, that in appearance they would cling to the Religion of God and not allow it to completely disappear from their midst, nor the body of it to be entirely destroyed and annihilated. Nay, in reality they would leave it, while outwardly preserving its name and remembrance.    
Those "kindreds, people and nations" signify those who are gathered under the shadow of the Qur'án, not permitting the Cause and Law of God to be, in outward appearance, entirely destroyed and annihilated--for there are prayer and fasting among them--but the fundamental principles of the Religion of God, which are morals and conduct, with the knowledge of divine mysteries, have disappeared; the light of the virtues of the world of humanity, which is the result of the love and knowledge of God, is extinguished; and the darkness of tyranny, oppression, satanic passions and desires has become victorious. The body of the Law of God, like a corpse, has been exposed to public view for twelve hundred and sixty days, each day being counted as a year, and this period is the cycle of Muhammad.  
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The people forfeited all that these two persons had established, which was the foundation of the Law of God, and destroyed the virtues of the world of humanity, which are the divine gifts and the spirit of this religion, to such a degree that truthfulness, justice, love, union, purity, sanctity, detachment and all the divine qualities departed from among them. In the religion only prayers and fasting persisted; this condition lasted for twelve hundred and sixty years, which is the duration of the cycle of the Furqán. 1 It was as if these two persons were dead, and their bodies were remaining without spirit. 1. Another name for the Qur'án, signifying the Distinction.  
"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." 1 "Those who dwelt upon the earth" means the other nations and races, such as the peoples of Europe and distant Asia, who, when they saw that the character of Islám was entirely changed, the Law of God forsaken-- that virtues, zeal and honor had departed from among them, and that their qualities were changed--became happy, and rejoiced that corruption of morals had infected the people of Islám, and that they would in consequence be overcome by other nations. So this thing has come to pass. Witness this people which had attained the summit of power, how degraded and downtrodden it is now. 1. Cf. Rev. 11:10.
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The other nations "shall send gifts to one another," meaning that they should help each other, for "these two prophets tormented them that dwelt upon the earth"-- that is, they overcame the other nations and peoples of the world and conquered them.    
"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 that saw them." 1 Three days and a half, as we before explained, is twelve hundred and sixty years. Those two persons whose bodies were lying spiritless are the teachings and the law that Muhammad established and 'Alí promoted, from which, however, the reality had departed and only the form remained. The spirit came again into them means that those foundations and teachings were again established. In other words, the spirituality of the Religion of God had been changed into materiality, and virtues into vices; the love of God had been changed into hatred, enlightenment into darkness, divine qualities into satanic ones, justice into tyranny, mercy into enmity, sincerity into hypocrisy, guidance into error, and purity into sensuality. Then after three days and a half, which by the terminology of the Holy Books is twelve hundred and sixty years, these divine teachings, heavenly virtues, perfections and spiritual bounties were again renewed by the appearance of the Báb and the devotion of Jináb-i-Quddús. 2 1. Cf. Rev. 11:11.

2. Hájí Mullá Muhammad-Aliy-i-Barfurushi, one of the chief disciples of the Báb and one of the nineteen Letters of the Living.

 
The holy breezes were diffused, the light of truth shone forth, the season of the life-giving spring came, and the morn of guidance dawned. These two lifeless bodies again became living, and these two great ones--one the Founder and the other the promoter--arose and were like two candlesticks, for they illumined the world with the light of truth.
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"And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven," 1 meaning that from the invisible heaven they heard the voice of God, saying: You have performed all that was proper and fitting in delivering the teachings and glad tidings; you have given My message to the people and raised the call of God, and have accomplished your duty. Now, like Christ, you must sacrifice your life for the Well-Beloved, and be martyrs. And that Sun of Reality, and that Moon of Guidance, 2 both, like Christ, set on the horizon of the greatest martyrdom and ascended to the Kingdom of God. 1. Rev. 11:12.

2. The Báb and Jináb-i-Quddús.

 
"And their enemies beheld them," 1 meaning that many of their enemies, after witnessing their martyrdom, realized the sublimity of their station and the exaltation of their virtue, and testified to their greatness and perfection. 1. Rev. 11:12.  
"And the same hour there was a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand." 1 1. Cf. Rev. 11:13.  
This earthquake occurred in Shíráz after the martyrdom of the Báb. The city was in a turmoil, and many people were destroyed. Great agitation also took place through diseases, cholera, dearth, scarcity, famine and afflictions, the like of which had never been known.    
"And the remnant was affrighted and gave glory to the God of heaven." 1 1. Cf. Rev. 11:13.  
When the earthquake took place in Fárs, all the remnant lamented and cried day and night, and were occupied in glorifying and praying to God. They were so troubled and affrighted that they had no sleep nor rest at night.  
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"The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly." 1 The first woe is the appearance of the Prophet, Muhammad, the son of 'Abdu'lláh--peace be upon Him! The second woe is that of the Báb--to Him be glory and praise! The third woe is the great day of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts and the radiance of the Beauty of the Promised One. The explanation of this subject, woe, is mentioned in the thirtieth chapter of Ezekiel, where it is said: "The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Howl ye, Woe worth the day! For the day is near, even the day of the Lord is near." 2 1. Rev. 11:14.

2. Ez. 30:1-3.

 
Therefore, it is certain that the day of woe is the day of the Lord; for in that day woe is for the neglectful, woe is for the sinners, woe is for the ignorant. That is why it is said, "The second woe is past; behold the third woe cometh quickly!" This third woe is the day of the manifestation of Bahá'u'lláh, the day of God; and it is near to the day of the appearance of the Báb.    
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever." 1 1. Rev. 11:15.  
The seventh angel is a man qualified with heavenly attributes, who will arise with heavenly qualities and character. Voices will be raised, so that the appearance of the Divine Manifestation will be proclaimed and diffused. In the day of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts, and at the epoch of the divine cycle of the Omnipotent which is promised and mentioned in all the books and writings of the Prophets--in that day of God, the Spiritual and Divine Kingdom will be established, and the world will be renewed; a new spirit will be breathed into the body of creation; the season of the divine spring will come; the clouds of mercy will rain; the sun of reality will shine; the life-giving breeze will blow; the world of humanity will wear a new garment; the surface of the earth will be a sublime paradise; mankind will be educated; wars, disputes, quarrels and malignity will disappear; and truthfulness, righteousness, peace and the worship of God will appear; union, love and brotherhood will surround the world; and God will rule for evermore--meaning that the Spiritual and Everlasting Kingdom will be established. Such is the day of God. For all the days which have come and gone were the days of Abraham, Moses and Christ, or of the other Prophets; but this day is the day of God, for the Sun of Reality will arise in it with the utmost warmth and splendor.  
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"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." 1 1. Rev. 11:16-17.  
In each cycle the guardians and holy souls have been twelve. So Jacob had twelve sons; in the time of Moses there were twelve heads or chiefs of the tribes; in the time of Christ there were twelve Apostles; and in the time of Muhammad there were twelve Imáms. But in this glorious manifestation there are twenty-four, double the number of all the others, for the greatness of this manifestation requires it. These holy souls are in the presence of God seated on their own thrones, meaning that they reign eternally.  
These twenty-four great persons, though they are seated on the thrones of everlasting rule, yet are worshipers of the appearance of the universal Manifestation, and they are humble and submissive, saying, "We give thanks to Thee, O Lord God Almighty, Which art, and wast, and art to come, because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power and hast reigned"--that is to say, Thou wilt issue all Thy teachings, Thou wilt gather all the people of the earth under Thy shadow, and Thou wilt bring all men under the shadow of one tent. Although it is the Eternal Kingdom of God, and He always had, and has, a Kingdom, the Kingdom here means the manifestation of Himself; 1 and He will issue all the laws and teachings which are the spirit of the world of humanity and everlasting life. And that universal Manifestation will subdue the world by spiritual power, not by war and combat; He will do it with peace and tranquillity, not by the sword and arms; He will establish this Heavenly Kingdom by true love, and not by the power of war. He will promote these divine teachings by kindness and righteousness, and not by weapons and harshness. He will so educate the nations and people that, notwithstanding their various conditions, their different customs and characters, and their diverse religions and races, they will, as it is said in the Bible, like the wolf and the lamb, the leopard, the kid, the sucking child and the serpent, become comrades, friends and companions. The contentions of races, the differences of religions, and the barriers between nations will be completely removed, and all will attain perfect union and reconciliation under the shadow of the Blessed Tree. 1. i.e., His most complete manifestation.
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"And the nations were angry," for Thy teachings opposed the passions of the other peoples; "and Thy wrath is come" 1--that is to say, all will be afflicted by evident loss; because they do not follow Thy precepts, counsels and teachings, they will be deprived of Thy everlasting bounty, and veiled from the light of the Sun of Reality. 1. Rev. 11:18.  
"And the time of the dead, that they should be judged" means that the time has come that the dead 1--that is to say, those who are deprived of the spirit of the love of God and have not a share of the sanctified eternal life--will be judged with justice, meaning they will arise to receive that which they deserve. He will make the reality of their secrets evident, showing what a low degree they occupy in the world of existence, and that in reality they are under the rule of death. 1. Rev. 11:18.
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"That Thou shouldst give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great" 1--that is to say, He will distinguish the righteous by endless bounty, making them shine on the horizon of eternal honor, like the stars of heaven. He will assist them by endowing them with behavior and actions which are the light of the world of humanity, the cause of guidance, and the means of everlasting life in the Divine Kingdom. 1. Cf. Rev. 11:18.  
"And shouldst destroy them which destroy the earth" 1 means that He will entirely deprive the neglectful; for the blindness of the blind will be manifest, and the vision of the seers will be evident; the ignorance and want of knowledge of the people of error will be recognized, and the knowledge and wisdom of the people under guidance will be apparent; consequently, the destroyers will be destroyed. 1. Rev. 11:18.  
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven" 1 means that the divine Jerusalem is found, and the Holy of Holies has become visible. The Holy of Holies, according to the terminology of the people of wisdom, is the essence of the Divine Law, and the heavenly and true teachings of the Lord, which have not been changed in the cycle of any Prophet, as it was before explained. The sanctuary of Jerusalem is likened to the reality of the Law of God, which is the Holy of Holies; and all the laws, conventions, rites and material regulations are the city of Jerusalem-- this is why it is called the heavenly Jerusalem. Briefly, as in this cycle the Sun of Reality will make the light of God shine with the utmost splendor, therefore, the essence of the teachings of God will be realized in the world of existence, and the darkness of ignorance and want of knowledge will be dispelled. The world will become a new world, and enlightenment will prevail. So the Holy of Holies will appear. 1. Rev. 11:19.
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"And the temple of God was opened in heaven" 1 means also that by the diffusion of the divine teachings, the appearance of these heavenly mysteries, and the rising of the Sun of Reality, the doors of success and prosperity will be opened in all directions, and the signs of goodness and heavenly benedictions will be made plain. 1. Rev. 11:19.  
"And there was seen in His temple the ark of His Testament" 1--that is to say, the Book of His Testament will appear in His Jerusalem, the Epistle of the Covenant 2 will be established, and the meaning of the Testament and of the Covenant will become evident. The renown of God will overspread the East and West, and the proclamation of the Cause of God will fill the world. The violators of the Covenant will be degraded and dispersed, and the faithful cherished and glorified, for they cling to the Book of the Testament and are firm and steadfast in the Covenant. 1. Rev. 11:19.

2. One of the works of Bahá'u'lláh, in which He expressly points to 'Abdu'l-Bahá as being the One to Whom all must turn after His death.

 
"And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail," 1 meaning that after the appearance of the Book of the Testament there will be a great storm, and the lightnings of the anger and the wrath of God will flash, the noise of the thunder of the violation of the Covenant will resound, the earthquake of doubts will take place, the hail of torments will beat upon the violators of the Covenant, and even those who profess belief will fall into trials and temptations. 1. Rev. 11:19.
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COMMENTARY ON THE ELEVENTH CHAPTER OF ISAIAH

 
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In Isaiah, chapter 11, verses 1 to 10, it is said: "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."    
This rod out of the stem of Jesse might be correctly applied to Christ, for Joseph was of the descendants of Jesse, the father of David; but as Christ found existence through the Spirit of God, He called Himself the Son of God. If He had not done so, this description would refer to Him. Besides this, the events which he indicated as coming to pass in the days of that rod, if interpreted symbolically, were in part fulfilled in the day of Christ, but not all; and if not interpreted, then decidedly none of these signs happened. For example, the leopard and the lamb, the lion and the calf, the child and the asp, are metaphors and symbols for various nations, peoples, antagonistic sects and hostile races, who are as opposite and inimical as the wolf and lamb. We say that by the breath of the spirit of Christ they found concord and harmony, they were vivified, and they associated together.  
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But "they shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." These conditions did not prevail in the time of the manifestation of Christ; for until today various and antagonistic nations exist in the world: very few acknowledge the God of Israel, and the greater number are without the knowledge of God. In the same way, universal peace did not come into existence in the time of Christ--that is to say, between the antagonistic and hostile nations there was neither peace nor concord, disputes and disagreements did not cease, and reconciliation and sincerity did not appear. So, even at this day, among the Christian sects and nations themselves, enmity, hatred and the most violent hostility are met with.    
But these verses apply word for word to Bahá'u'lláh. Likewise in this marvelous cycle the earth will be transformed, and the world of humanity arrayed in tranquillity and beauty. Disputes, quarrels and murders will be replaced by peace, truth and concord; among the nations, peoples, races and countries, love and amity will appear. Cooperation and union will be established, and finally war will be entirely suppressed. When the laws of the Most Holy Book are enforced, contentions and disputes will find a final sentence of absolute justice before a general tribunal of the nations and kingdoms, and the difficulties that appear will be solved. The five continents of the world will form but one, the numerous nations will become one, the surface of the earth will become one land, and mankind will be a single community. The relations between the countries--the mingling, union and friendship of the peoples and communities--will reach to such a degree that the human race will be like one family and kindred. The light of heavenly love will shine, and the darkness of enmity and hatred will be dispelled from the world. Universal peace will raise its tent in the center of the earth, and the blessed Tree of Life will grow and spread to such an extent that it will overshadow the East and the West. Strong and weak, rich and poor, antagonistic sects and hostile nations--which are like the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and kid, the lion and the calf--will act toward each other with the most complete love, friendship, justice and equity. The world will be filled with science, with the knowledge of the reality of the mysteries of beings, and with the knowledge of God.  
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Now consider, in this great century which is the cycle of Bahá'u'lláh, what progress science and knowledge have made, how many secrets of existence have been discovered, how many great inventions have been brought to light and are day by day multiplying in number. Before long, material science and learning, as well as the knowledge of God, will make such progress and will show forth such wonders that the beholders will be amazed. Then the mystery of this verse in Isaiah, "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord," will be completely evident.    
Reflect also that in the short time since Bahá'u'lláh has appeared, people from all countries, nations and races have entered under the shadow of this Cause. Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hindus and Persians all associate together with the greatest friendship and love, as if indeed these people had been related and connected together, they and theirs, for a thousand years; for they are like father and child, mother and daughter, sister and brother. This is one of the meanings of the companionship of the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, and the lion and the calf.  
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One of the great events which is to occur in the Day of the manifestation of that Incomparable Branch (Bahá'u'lláh) is the hoisting of the Standard of God among all nations. By this is meant that all nations and kindreds will be gathered together under the shadow of this Divine Banner, which is no other than the Lordly Branch itself, and will become a single nation. Religious and sectarian antagonism, the hostility of races and peoples, and differences among nations, will be eliminated. All men will adhere to one religion, will have one common faith, will be blended into one race, and become a single people. All will dwell in one common fatherland, which is the planet itself. Universal peace and concord will be realized between all the nations, and that Incomparable Branch will gather together all Israel, signifying that in this cycle Israel will be gathered in the Holy Land, and that the Jewish people who are scattered to the East and West, South and North, will be assembled together.    
Now see: these events did not take place in the Christian cycle, for the nations did not come under the One Standard which is the Divine Branch. But in this cycle of the Lord of Hosts all the nations and peoples will enter under the shadow of this Flag. In the same way, Israel, scattered all over the world, was not reassembled in the Holy Land in the Christian cycle; but in the beginning of the cycle of Bahá'u'lláh this divine promise, as is clearly stated in all the Books of the Prophets, has begun to be manifest. You can see that from all the parts of the world tribes of Jews are coming to the Holy Land; they live in villages and lands which they make their own, and day by day they are increasing to such an extent that all Palestine will become their home.  
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COMMENTARY ON THE TWELFTH CHAPTER OF THE REVELATION OF ST. JOHN

 
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We have before explained that what is most frequently meant by the Holy City, the Jerusalem of God, which is mentioned in the Holy Book, is the Law of God. It is compared sometimes to a bride, and sometimes to Jerusalem, and again to the new heaven and earth. So in chapter 21, verses 1, 2 and 3 of the Revelation of St. John, it is said: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God."    
Notice how clear and evident it is that the first heaven and earth signify the former Law. For it is said that the first heaven and earth have passed away and there is no more sea--that is to say, that the earth is the place of judgment, and on this earth of judgment there is no sea, meaning that the teachings and the Law of God will entirely spread over the earth, and all men will enter the Cause of God, and the earth will be completely inhabited by believers; therefore, there will be no more sea, for the dwelling place and abode of man is the dry land. In other words, at that epoch the field of that Law will become the pleasure-ground of man. Such earth is solid; the feet do not slip upon it.  
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The Law of God is also described as the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. It is evident that the New Jerusalem which descends from heaven is not a city of stone, mortar, bricks, earth and wood. It is the Law of God which descends from heaven and is called new, for it is clear that the Jerusalem which is of stone and earth does not descend from heaven, and that it is not renewed; but that which is renewed is the Law of God.    
The Law of God is also compared to an adorned bride who appears with most beautiful ornaments, as it has been said in chapter 21 of the Revelation of St. John: "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." 1 And in chapter 12, verse 1, it is said: "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." This woman is that bride, the Law of God that descended upon Muhammad. The sun with which she was clothed, and the moon which was under her feet, are the two nations which are under the shadow of that Law, the Persian and Ottoman kingdoms; for the emblem of Persia is the sun, and that of the Ottoman Empire is the crescent moon. Thus the sun and moon are the emblems of two kingdoms which are under the power of the Law of God. Afterward it is said: "upon her head is a crown of twelve stars." These twelve stars are the twelve Imáms, who were the promoters of the Law of Muhammad and the educators of the people, shining like stars in the heaven of guidance. 1. Rev. 21:2.  
Then it is said in the second verse: "and she being with child cried," meaning that this Law fell into the greatest difficulties and endured great troubles and afflictions until a perfect offspring was produced--that is, the coming Manifestation, the Promised One, Who is the perfect offspring, and Who was reared in the bosom of this Law, which is as its mother. The child Who is referred to is the Báb, the Primal Point, Who was in truth born from the Law of Muhammad--that is to say, the Holy Reality, Who is the child and outcome of the Law of God, His mother, and Who is promised by that religion, finds a reality in the kingdom of that Law; but because of the despotism of the dragon the child was carried up to God. After twelve hundred and sixty days the dragon was destroyed, and the child of the Law of God, the Promised One, became manifest.  
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Verses 3 and 4. "And there appeared a great 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." 1 These signs are an allusion to the dynasty of the Umayyads who dominated the Muhammadan religion. Seven heads and seven crowns mean seven countries and dominions over which the Umayyads had power: they were the Roman dominion around Damascus; and the Persian, Arabian and Egyptian dominions, together with the dominion of Africa--that is to say, Tunis, Morocco and Algeria; the dominion of Andalusia, which is now Spain; and the dominion of the Turks of Transoxania. The Umayyads had power over these countries. The ten horns mean the names of the Umayyad rulers--that is, without repetition, there were ten names of rulers, meaning ten names of commanders and chiefs--the first is Abú Súfyán and the last Marván--but several of them bear the same name. So there are two Muáviyá, three Yazíd, two Valíd, and two Marván; but if the names were counted without repetition there would be ten. The Umayyads, of whom the first was Abú Súfyán, Amír of Mecca and chief of the dynasty of the Umayyads, and the last was Marván, destroyed the third part of the holy and saintly people of the lineage of Muhammad who were like the stars of heaven. 1. Cf. Rev. 12:3-4.
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Verse 4. "And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour the child as soon as it was born." 1 As we have before explained, this woman is the Law of God. The dragon was standing near the woman to devour her child, and this child was the promised Manifestation, the offspring of the Law of Muhammad. The Umayyads were always waiting to get possession of the Promised One, Who was to come from the line of Muhammad, to destroy and annihilate Him; for they much feared the appearance of the promised Manifestation, and they sought to kill any of Muhammad's descendants who might be highly esteemed. 1. Cf. Rev. 12:4.  
Verse 5. "And she brought forth a man child, Who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron." This great son is the promised Manifestation Who was born of the Law of God and reared in the bosom of the divine teachings. The iron rod is a symbol of power and might--it is not a sword-- and means that with divine power and might He will shepherd all the nations of the earth. This son is the Báb.    
Verse 5. "And her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne." This is a prophecy of the Báb, Who ascended to the heavenly realm, to the Throne of God, and to the center of His Kingdom. Consider how all this corresponds to what happened.    
Verse 6. "And the woman fled into the wilderness"-- that is to say, the Law of God fled to the wilderness, meaning the vast desert of Hijáz, and the Arabian Peninsula.    
Verse 6. "Where she had a place prepared of God." 1 The Arabian Peninsula became the abode and dwelling place, and the center of the Law of God. 1. Cf. Rev. 12:6.
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Verse 6. "That they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." In the terminology of the Holy Book these twelve hundred and sixty days mean the twelve hundred and sixty years that the Law of God was set up in the wilderness of Arabia, the great desert: from it the Promised One has come. After twelve hundred and sixty years that Law will have no more influence, for the fruit of that tree will have appeared, and the result will have been produced.    
Consider how the prophecies correspond to one another. In the Apocalypse, the appearance of the Promised One is appointed after forty-two months, and Daniel expresses it as three times and a half, which is also forty-two months, which are twelve hundred and sixty days. In another passage of John's Revelation it is clearly spoken of as twelve hundred and sixty days, and in the Holy Book it is said that each day signifies one year. Nothing could be clearer than this agreement of the prophecies with one another. The Báb appeared in the year 1260 of the Hejira of Muhammad, which is the beginning of the universal era-reckoning of all Islám. There are no clearer proofs than this in the Holy Books for any Manifestation. For him who is just, the agreement of the times indicated by the tongues of the Great Ones is the most conclusive proof. There is no other possible explanation of these prophecies. Blessed are the just souls who seek the truth. But failing justice, the people attack, dispute and openly deny the evidence, like the Pharisees who, at the manifestation of Christ, denied with the greatest obstinacy the explanations of Christ and of His disciples. They obscured Christ's Cause before the ignorant people, saying, "These prophecies are not of Jesus, but of the Promised One Who shall come later, according to the conditions mentioned in the Bible." Some of these conditions were that He must have a kingdom, be seated on the throne of David, enforce the Law of the Bible, and manifest such justice that the wolf and the lamb shall gather at the same spring.  
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And thus they prevented the people from knowing Christ.    

Note.--In these last conversations 'Abdu'l-Bahá wishes to reconcile in a new interpretation the apocalyptic prophecies of the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims, rather than to show their supernatural character. On the powers of the Prophets, cf. "The Knowledge of the Divine Manifestations," p. 157; and "Visions and Communication with Spirits," p. 251.
   

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SPIRITUAL PROOFS

 
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In this material world time has cycles; places change through alternating seasons, and for souls there are progress, retrogression and education.    
At one time it is the season of spring; at another it is the season of autumn; and again it is the season of summer or the season of winter.    
In the spring there are the clouds which send down the precious rain, the musk-scented breezes and life-giving zephyrs; the air is perfectly temperate, the rain falls, the sun shines, the fecundating wind wafts the clouds, the world is renewed, and the breath of life appears in plants, in animals and in men. Earthly beings pass from one condition to another. All things are clothed in new garments, and the black earth is covered with herbage; mountains and plains are adorned with verdure; trees bear leaves and blossoms; gardens bring forth flowers and fragrant herbs. The world becomes another world, and it attains to a life-giving spirit. The earth was a lifeless body; it finds a new spirit, and produces endless beauty, grace and freshness. Thus the spring is the cause of new life and infuses a new spirit.    
Afterward comes the summer, when the heat increases, and growth and development attain their greatest power. The energy of life in the vegetable kingdom reaches to the degree of perfection, the fruit appears, and the time of harvest ripens; a seed has become a sheaf, and the food is stored for winter. Afterward comes tumultuous autumn when unwholesome and sterile winds blow; it is the season of sickness, when all things are withered, and the balmy air is vitiated. The breezes of spring are changed to autumn winds; the fertile green trees have become withered and bare; flowers and fragrant herbs fade away; the beautiful garden becomes a dustheap. Following this comes the season of winter, with cold and tempests. It snows, rains, hails, storms, thunders and lightens, freezes and congeals; all plants die, and animals languish and are wretched.  
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When this state is reached, again a new life-giving spring returns, and the cycle is renewed. The season of spring with its hosts of freshness and beauty spreads its tent on the plains and mountains with great pomp and magnificence. A second time the form of the creatures is renewed, and the creation of beings begins afresh; bodies grow and develop, the plains and wildernesses become green and fertile, trees bring forth blossoms, and the spring of last year returns in the utmost fullness and glory. Such is, and such ought to be, the cycle and succession of existence. Such is the cycle and revolution of the material world.    
It is the same with the spiritual cycles of the Prophets--that is to say, the day of the appearance of the Holy Manifestations is the spiritual springtime; it is the divine splendor; it is the heavenly bounty, the breeze of life, the rising of the Sun of Reality. Spirits are quickened; hearts are refreshed and invigorated; souls become good; existence is set in motion; human realities are gladdened, and grow and develop in good qualities and perfections. General progress is achieved and revival takes place, for it is the day of resurrection, the time of excitement and ferment, and the season of bliss, of joy and of intense rapture.    
Afterward the life-giving spring ends in fruitful summer. The word of God is exalted, the Law of God is promulgated; all things reach perfection. The heavenly table is spread, the holy breezes perfume the East and the West, the teachings of God conquer the world, men become educated, praiseworthy results are produced, universal progress appears in the world of humanity, and the divine bounties surround all things. The Sun of Reality rises from the horizon of the Kingdom with the greatest power and heat. When it reaches the meridian, it will begin to decline and descend, and the spiritual summer will be followed by autumn, when growth and development are arrested. Breezes change into blighting winds, and the unwholesome season dissipates the beauty and freshness of the gardens, plains and bowers--that is to say, attraction and goodwill do not remain, divine qualities are changed, the radiance of hearts is dimmed, the spirituality of souls is altered, virtues are replaced by vices, and holiness and purity disappear. Only the name of the Religion of God remains, and the exoteric forms of the divine teachings. The foundations of the Religion of God are destroyed and annihilated, and nothing but forms and customs exist. Divisions appear, firmness is changed into instability, and spirits become dead; hearts languish, souls become inert, and winter arrives--that is to say, the coldness of ignorance envelops the world, and the darkness of human error prevails. After this come indifference, disobedience, inconsiderateness, indolence, baseness, animal instincts and the coldness and insensibility of stones. It is like the season of winter when the terrestrial globe, deprived of the effect of the heat of the sun, becomes desolate and dreary. When the world of intelligence and thought has reached to this state, there remain only continual death and perpetual nonexistence.  
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When the season of winter has had its effect, again the spiritual springtime returns, and a new cycle appears. Spiritual breezes blow, the luminous dawn gleams, the divine clouds give rain, the rays of the Sun of Reality shine forth, the contingent world attains unto a new life and is clad in a wonderful garment. All the signs and the gifts of the past springtime reappear, with perhaps even greater splendor in this new season.  
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The spiritual cycles of the Sun of Reality are like the cycles of the material sun: they are always revolving and being renewed. The Sun of Reality, like the material sun, has numerous rising and dawning places: one day it rises from the zodiacal sign of Cancer, another day from the sign of Libra or Aquarius; another time it is from the sign of Aries that it diffuses its rays. But the sun is one sun and one reality; the people of knowledge are lovers of the sun, and are not fascinated by the places of its rising and dawning. The people of perception are the seekers of the truth, and not of the places of its appearance, nor of its dawning points; therefore, they will adore the Sun from whatever point in the zodiac it may appear, and they will seek the Reality in every Sanctified Soul Who manifests it. Such people always attain to the truth and are not veiled from the Sun of the Divine World. So the lover of the sun and the seeker of the light will always turn toward the sun, whether it shines from the sign of Aries or gives its bounty from the sign of Cancer, or radiates from Gemini; but the ignorant and uninstructed are lovers of the signs of the zodiac, and enamored and fascinated by the rising-places, and not by the sun. When it was in the sign of Cancer, they turned toward it, though afterward the sun changed to the sign of Libra; as they were lovers of the sign, they turned toward it and attached themselves to it, and were deprived of the influences of the sun merely because it had changed its place. For example, once the Sun of Reality poured forth its rays from the sign of Abraham, and then it dawned from the sign of Moses and illuminated the horizon. Afterward it rose with the greatest power and brilliancy from the sign of Christ. Those who were the seekers of Reality worshiped that Reality wherever they saw it, but those who were attached to Abraham were deprived of its influences when it shone upon Sinai and illuminated the reality of Moses. Those who held fast to Moses, when the Sun of Reality shone from Christ with the utmost radiance and lordly splendor, were also veiled; and so forth.  
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Therefore, man must be the seeker after the Reality, and he will find that Reality in each of the Sanctified Souls. He must be fascinated and enraptured, and attracted to the divine bounty; he must be like the butterfly who is the lover of the light from whatever lamp it may shine, and like the nightingale who is the lover of the rose in whatever garden it may grow.    
If the sun were to rise in the West, it would still be the sun; one must not withdraw from it on account of its rising-place, nor consider the West to be always the place of sunset. In the same way, one must look for the heavenly bounties and seek for the Divine Aurora. In every place where it appears, one must become its distracted lover. Consider that if the Jews had not kept turning to the horizon of Moses, and had only regarded the Sun of Reality, without any doubt they would have recognized the Sun in the dawning-place of the reality of Christ, in the greatest divine splendor. But, alas! a thousand times alas! attaching themselves to the outward words of Moses, they were deprived of the divine bounties and the lordly splendors!    

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TRUE WEALTH

 
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The honor and exaltation of every existing being depends upon causes and circumstances.    
The excellency, the adornment and the perfection of the earth is to be verdant and fertile through the bounty of the clouds of springtime. Plants grow; flowers and fragrant herbs spring up; fruit-bearing trees become full of blossoms and bring forth fresh and new fruit. Gardens become beautiful, and meadows adorned; mountains and plains are clad in a green robe, and gardens, fields, villages and cities are decorated. This is the prosperity of the mineral world.    
The height of exaltation and the perfection of the vegetable world is that a tree should grow on the bank of a stream of fresh water, that a gentle breeze should blow on it, that the warmth of the sun should shine on it, that a gardener should attend to its cultivation, and that day by day it should develop and yield fruit. But its real prosperity is to progress into the animal and human world, and replace that which has been exhausted in the bodies of animals and men.    
The exaltation of the animal world is to possess perfect members, organs and powers, and to have all its needs supplied. This is its chief glory, its honor and exaltation. So the supreme happiness of an animal is to have possession of a green and fertile meadow, perfectly pure flowing water, and a lovely, verdant forest. If these things are provided for it, no greater prosperity can be imagined. For example, if a bird builds its nest in a green and fruitful forest, in a beautiful high place, upon a strong tree, and at the top of a lofty branch, and if it finds all it needs of seeds and water, this is its perfect prosperity.  
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But real prosperity for the animal consists in passing from the animal world to the human world, like the microscopic beings that, through the water and air, enter into man and are assimilated, and replace that which has been consumed in his body. This is the great honor and prosperity for the animal world; no greater honor can be conceived for it.    
Therefore, it is evident and clear that this wealth, this comfort and this material abundance form the complete prosperity of minerals, vegetables and animals. No riches, wealth, comfort or ease of the material world is equal to the wealth of a bird; all the areas of these plains and mountains are its dwelling, and all the seeds and harvests are its food and wealth, and all the lands, villages, meadows, pastures, forests and wildernesses are its possessions. Now, which is the richer, this bird, or the most wealthy man? for no matter how many seeds it may take or bestow, its wealth does not decrease.    
Then it is clear that the honor and exaltation of man must be something more than material riches. Material comforts are only a branch, but the root of the exaltation of man is the good attributes and virtues which are the adornments of his reality. These are the divine appearances, the heavenly bounties, the sublime emotions, the love and knowledge of God; universal wisdom, intellectual perception, scientific discoveries, justice, equity, truthfulness, benevolence, natural courage and innate fortitude; the respect for rights and the keeping of agreements and covenants; rectitude in all circumstances; serving the truth under all conditions; the sacrifice of one's life for the good of all people; kindness and esteem for all nations; obedience to the teachings of God; service in the Divine Kingdom; the guidance of the people, and the education of the nations and races. This is the prosperity of the human world! This is the exaltation of man in the world! This is eternal life and heavenly honor!  
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These virtues do not appear from the reality of man except through the power of God and the divine teachings, for they need supernatural power for their manifestation. It may be that in the world of nature a trace of these perfections may appear, but they are unstable and ephemeral; they are like the rays of the sun upon the wall.    
As the compassionate God has placed such a wonderful crown upon the head of man, man should strive that its brilliant jewels may become visible in the world.