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Probably two of the worst things a Christian can say to someone from another faith are: “You have joined forces with the Beast!” or “You follow a False Prophet!”
Traditional biblical interpretations view the beast as a symbol for institutionalized authority a nation, government or empire. The Book of Revelation mentions two “evil beasts,” and many Bible interpreters have an unfortunate tendency to equate the beasts with an Antichrist. As we have shown, however, there is no single antichrist and the beast is not a person. Who then are they?
Baha’is view the Bible as providing a detailed prophetic description of three major Revelations that have occurred since the time of Jesus — the Revelations of Muhammad, the Bab and Baha’u’llah. (For a more detailed interpretation of how the Bible prefigures these religions, see my book The Three Days of God). Baha’is believe these biblical beasts are allegorical descriptions of the organized forces that always oppose new revelations. Symbolically, the first beast refers to the armies that opposed Muhammad. These armies, and the men who led them, usurped Muhammad’s authority, killed his chosen heir and many of his followers, and in the process corrupted and virtually destroyed Islam from within. The second beast, which, the Bible reminds us is in the image of the first, represents, I believe, the individuals and institutions that have risen to challenge the spirit of the teachings brought by the newest Founders of great Faiths: the Bab and Baha’u’llah. That second beast lives still in the form of virulent and violent opposition to progressive Baha’i teachings and to those that champion them.
Finally we must deal with the notion of a “false prophet.” The world has witnessed, of course, hundreds, if not thousands of false prophets since the time of Christ. However, one biblical reference to a false prophet comes at the time when the Promised One will appear. The Book of Revelation records that as the Promised One, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords appears, the seer says:
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceiveth them that received the mark of the beast, and them that worship its image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. – Rev 19:1920.
These references to the beast and the false prophet only become known after the appearance of the Promised One — and by their opposition to Him. If the beast refers to those that rise up against the Bab and Baha’u’llah and (equally important) those who are moved by the spirit of unity stirring in our new age, the false prophet may simply refer to those who prophecy against the Chosen Ones of God for this age and their teachings.
In their attempts to discredit the Chosen Ones of our age and their teachings, opponents of the Baha’i Faith have and will try to malign the character of the Faith, accusing it of promoting “sinfulness.” Those who have studied the Baha’i teachings, however, universally recognize the high standards of purity and holiness championed by the Baha’is. Thus the argument is defeated by the logic of Jesus: “A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.” If the devil is now preaching morality and holiness, he is a strange devil indeed!
Perhaps the most telling argument against those who will oppose the Baha’i Faith is that they can produce no Promised One. Prophecy demands that if there is to be an antichrist, beast, or false prophet, the Promised One must have appeared as these characters only become known by opposition to the Promised One. Some Christians will maintain that the Promised One appeared two thousand years ago — but this ignores the mountains of evidence that Christ would return and the hundreds of proofs that Baha’is advance that the Promised Day has come. It also asks us to disregard our obvious worldwide need for redemption.
Baha’is will undoubtedly suffer more attacks in the future from those who summon passions against them. Baha’is will bear the cross that others create. It is an ancient pattern. Baha’is accept the reality of persecution as an inevitable part of growth. In the battle to come, many Baha’is will surely fall to fear and persecution. But, many more will rise, so that the light of the Promised Day will be made known and peace and justice will reign.
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