Jesus promised that he would return with a new name, and he associated that name with the “city of God,” the “new Jerusalem.”  

This city is also associated with the name of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith. The name Baha’u’llah literally means “the glory of God.” This passage from the Baha’i teachings explains the symbolism of the holy city:

… what the Sacred Scriptures most often mean by the Holy City or divine Jerusalem is the religion of God, which has at times been likened to a bride, or called “Jerusalem”, or depicted as the new heaven and the new earth…

Clearly, the New Jerusalem which descends from heaven is not a city of stone and lime, of brick and mortar, but is rather the religion of God which descends from heaven and is described as new. For it is obvious that the Jerusalem which is built of stone and mortar does not descend from heaven and is not renewed, but that what is renewed is the religion of God. – Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, newly revised edition, pp. 76-77.

Jesus promised in Revelation 3:13:

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God.  And I will write on him My new name.

Jesus gives us the sign of his new name in the same verse. He says that it will be the name of “the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven …”

Later, in Revelation 21:10—in the only other verse that refers to a New Jerusalem descending out of heaven—God shows John that great city, and discloses its sacred name:

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.

“Having the glory of God,” refers directly to Baha’u’llah.  

Then Revelation 21:23 says that this “city” does not need the light of the sun or the moon, “for the glory of God illuminated it.” That verse says the light of “the glory of God” is the same as the light of Christ:  “The Lamb is its light.”

In the early Arabic translations of the Bible, the phrase “the glory of God” in Revelation 21:10 was rendered as “Baha’u’llah.”  

Perhaps the clerics who originally translated the Bible into Arabic found that this was Baha’u’llah’s title, so they changed the Arabic words in future translations. In any event, in modern Arabic translations of the Bible a different word than “baha” has been substituted for “glory.” The earliest Arabic translation of the Bible shows that verse from the Revelation of John, and mentions Baha’u’llah by name.

It disturbs some people that Baha’u’llah can also be rendered as Baha Allah; because they automatically associate “Allah” with the Muslim name for God. This is inaccurate. There are tens of millions of Arabic-speaking Christians–Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants of all denominations–and all of them, Baptists, Adventists, Nondenominational–refer to God as “Allah.” There is no other word for “God” in the Arabic tongue. One hundred percent of Arabic-speaking Christians pray to Allah. To them, Jesus Christ is Ibn’Allah–The Son of Allah, the Son of God; and the Holy Spirit is Allah Al-Ruh Al-Quds. When Roman Catholics who speak Arabic recite the Hail Mary, they refer to Mary the Mother of Christ in these words, “Holy Mary, Mother of Allah, pray for us sinners …”

After hearing about this prophecy, many people have waited for this promised holy city to somehow appear in the sky. However, the Bible describes the holy city in Revelation 21:16 as being twelve thousand furlongs (1,380 miles) on each side. In that same verse, the literal description depicts a perfect cube: “Its length, breadth, and height are equal.”

Should we take that literally? Well, the diameter of the earth is about eight thousand miles. Each side of this cubical “holy city,” if understand it literally, would be about one-sixth of that diameter. Try to imagine such a cube, resting on the globe of the Earth. First, cubes cannot rest on spheres, because cubes have flat sides, and spheres are curved.  Second, the height of this vast city would reach out into space, far beyond Earth’s atmosphere, well beyond the Space Shuttle’s orbit.

By giving such fantastic dimensions, God clearly intends for us to understand the greatness of the proportions of this holy city symbolically: as a new spiritual habitation for the entire human race, a dwelling place for the souls, in the revelation of Baha’u’llah.

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BahaiTeachings.org or any institution of the Baha’i Faith.

2 Comments

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  • Monib Kouchekzadeh
    Jun 16, 2017
    Haifa is the New Jerusalem, which happens to be the location of the Baha'i World Centre and HAIFA can be found in the center of BAHA'I FAITH = BA(HAI-FA)ITH - which is a very cool coincidence :)
  • Melanie Black
    Jun 14, 2017
    This makes a lot of sense to me. What I like about the Baha'i revelation is that, in its richness, there is so much knowledge to make sense out of all the old prophecies from other Holy Books. Thank you.