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The End of the World—and a New Beginning

Deshon Fox | Dec 11, 2014

PART 1 IN SERIES The End is at Hand

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Deshon Fox | Dec 11, 2014

PART 1 IN SERIES The End is at Hand

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

In the Biblical book of Mark we find an intriguing exchange on this question between Christ and his disciples as Christ sits upon the Mount of Olives.

Bewildered by Christ’s prophecy concerning the destruction of the temple, the disciples pressed Jesus for a date for when the destruction would occur. In a well-known response, Christ outlines a series of events that would occur before the end of the world. These events included such things as false prophets deceiving the faithful, wars and rumors of wars, famine, pestilence, and earthquakes. Moreover, Christ promises that His gospel would be preached in all the world to all nations before the end comes:

Jesus said to them: Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. – Mark 13: 5-8.

Jesus and the PhariseesThese intriguing passages grip the mind and cause us to feel a sense of foreboding about the end of the world. But could the end Christ spoke about in the gospels have already come and gone, and could we now live in a new period of human existence? Could the “birth pains” Christ describes symbolize the world’s tremendous travail during the past two centuries?

At first this doesn’t seem possible. The end means the end; not an event that anyone could miss. Endings are cataclysmic, climactic, and final—or is that so? Can any of us pinpoint the exact moment that childhood ends and adolescence begins? Endings always mark the beginning of a new, entirely different experience. However, they often happen in a very subtle way, unassuming and easily missed.

The Baha’i Faith teaches that the end-time prophecies found in the Bible and in other Holy Books concern the cycle of divine guidance the Creator provides humankind. Those cycles, and the divine messengers that bring them, usher in the dawning places (“the beginning”) of God’s new revelation to humanity. They also confer the supreme divine authority while on earth (“the end”); and act as doors to the heavenly realm, bridges to a deeper awareness of the soul’s eternal connection to its Creator.

Baha’is look at it this way–whenever a new prophet and messenger comes to us from the heavenly kingdom, we experience the end of the previous cycle of divine guidance and, simultaneously, the beginning of a new cycle. Endings and beginnings always go hand-in-hand:

Know that the return of Christ for a second time doth not mean what the people believe, but rather signifieth the One promised to come after Him. He shall come with the Kingdom of God and His Power which hath surrounded the world. This dominion is in the world of hearts and spirits, and not in that of matter…Verily Christ came with His Kingdom from the beginning which hath no beginning, and will come with His Kingdom to the eternity of eternities, inasmuch as in this sense “Christ” is an expression of the Divine Reality, the simple Essence and heavenly Entity, which hath no beginning nor ending. It hath appearance, arising, manifestation and setting in each of the cycles. – Abdu’l-Baha, quoted by Dr. J. E. Esselmont in Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 224.

Understood in this light, we can appreciate Christ’s end-time prophecies as recorded in the gospels in a profound new way.

We have definitely experienced “wars and rumors of wars”—the two world wars in the twentieth century, and the Cold War after them, fit that description perfectly. Famines have certainly claimed the lives of countless human beings. We have undergone a multitude of ravaging earthquakes. It would appear that the “end” these signs point to has already occurred.

So what happens after the “end of the world”? Does life suddenly roll up into a ball of nothingness–or is there, as with every ending, a simultaneous new beginning?

The Baha’i teachings tell us that the end of the world Christ prophesies means the end of one divine cycle and the beginning of the new one destined to fulfill it.

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Comments

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  • Nick Panagopoulos
    Oct 7, 2017
    -
    It should be pointed out that the original Greek does not translate into "the end of the world". This is a leftover from the King James version. The Greek text reads " to telos tou aion" which can be properly translated as "the end of the age" or "era".
    Cheers
    • Deshon Fox
      Nov 21, 2017
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      Thank you for sharing that.
  • Francisco Carvalho
    Oct 4, 2017
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    Great article! However, Bahá'u'lláh came before the two world wars and the cold war... What did you mean?
  • Sheila Guttman
    Jan 9, 2017
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    Fantastic article Mr.Fox
    • Deshon Fox
      Nov 21, 2017
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      Thank you Sheila
    • Deshon Fox
      Nov 21, 2017
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      Thank you!
  • Mar 16, 2015
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    Dear Deshon, thanks for your belief and your description as you take the meaning of the wrong, Christ promise will never lie, you can study the bible and it meaning properly not quote it and prefer to your holy bible and your belief. Blood moon will occure, sun will resist to shine, nation again to another nation, it a long story to talk about it. Here the simple sign to look at. The bible mention the war of Ammagetton, does it happen before?..Hell no, you dont understand that, we still facing the war of Ammagetton, war between Isreal and USA. ... Obama and UN will attack Isreal, that what the bible mention. But before that the rapture will happen. Every christian still cant wait because it too close, what you mention is a strong delusion about Christ. This is the worse generation than ever in the history..
    Read more...
    • Unaloto Aho
      Oct 4, 2017
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      Simione Langi, the war of armageddon that the bible talk about is a spiritual war that have been going on for a while. It is not with observation as most Christian thinked. There was no America in more than a thousand years from Jesus time, and Israel was already destroyed and the Jews were banished from the Holy Land for more than a thousand years until the time of the Bahais when the Jews finally went back home and I dont think anything will move them out of their land again. Obama is gone and America wont fight Israel. Wake ...up bro and re-think about your bible interpretation.
      Read more...
  • Dec 13, 2014
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    A focused article. I enjoy reading it. Your hypocritical comparison of Christians and the Bahi Faith is balanced. Thank you.
  • Dec 12, 2014
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    Hello Deshon wonderful.... of course even Billy Graham preached that it was the End of the Age not the END of the world.... cheers!
  • Dec 12, 2014
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    Dear Deshon
    Authors who ask questions are the best. Vis-a-vis questions in your penultimate paragraph I've just Googled without success Abdu'l-Baha's words below. The problem is I'm now relying on my mangled memory:
    'The Day of Judgment and End of the World are terms common to all religions. When the people do not find the literal fulfillment of for example Biblical prophecies they turn away from the new Manifestation and persecute Him. These phrases refer to the times when the Manifestations of God actually lived on Earth. At these times the old order changed and most men were found wanting.'
    ...
    I'd bet London to a brick were Baha'is allowed to wager that some where in all that I've erred regarding grammar or wording???
    Hell, as a kid when teacher started on about 'grammar' I though she said 'grandma'
    Baha'i love
    Paul
    Read more...
    • Deshon Fox
      Nov 21, 2017
      -
      LOL! Indeed, thanks for sharing!
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