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Religion

When a Holy Messenger Proclaims a New Message

Christopher Buck | Oct 16, 2022

PART 74 IN SERIES Figuring Out Prophecy

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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Christopher Buck | Oct 16, 2022

PART 74 IN SERIES Figuring Out Prophecy

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

When a holy messenger proclaims a new message to humanity, that message often arrives in different forms and modes, just as it has in Baha’u’llah’s revelation. Let’s examine some of those modes.

RELATED: Baha’u’llah’s Nine Modes of Discourse – Including Prophecies

Picking up where we last left off in Part 72, here we’ll look at some examples of five of Baha’u’llah’s “nine modes” of revelation found in his last major work, the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

5. Laws and Ordinances: Baha’u’llah’s The Kitab-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book is Baha’u’llah’s repository of laws, as well as being Baha’u’llah’s single most important work as well. Here are some prime “Laws and Ordinances” set forth in Baha’u’llah’s Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, which speak for themselves:

“Revile ye not one another. We, verily, have come to unite and weld together all that dwell on earth. Unto this beareth witness what the ocean of Mine utterance hath revealed amongst men, and yet most of the people have gone astray. If anyone revile you, or trouble touch you, in the path of God, be patient, and put your trust in Him Who heareth, Who seeth. He, in truth, witnesseth, and perceiveth, and doeth what He pleaseth, through the power of His sovereignty. He, verily, is the Lord of strength, and of might. In the Book of God, the Mighty, the Great, ye have been forbidden to engage in contention and conflict. Lay fast hold on whatever will profit you, and profit the peoples of the world. Thus commandeth you the King of Eternity, Who is manifest in His Most Great Name. He, verily, is the Ordainer, the All-Wise.

And yet again in another connection: “Beware lest ye shed the blood of any one. Unsheathe the sword of your tongue from the scabbard of utterance, for therewith ye can conquer the citadels of men’s hearts. We have abolished the law to wage holy war against each other. God’s mercy hath, verily, encompassed all created things, if ye do but understand.”

6. Fundamental Tenets and Principles: In Part 71, we pointed to Baha’u’llah’s Tablets of Baha’u’llah Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas (also published as Fountain of Wisdom: A Collection of Writings from Bahaʼu’llah) as an excellent resource for accessing some of Baha’u’llah’s fundamental tenets and principles, broadly defined. Here is an example of a passage that outlines some of those principles from Baha’u’llah’s Epistle to the Son of the Wolf:

These words have streamed from the pen of this Wronged One in one of His Tablets: “The purpose of the one true God, exalted be His glory, hath been to bring forth the Mystic Gems out of the mine of man—they Who are the Dawning-Places of His Cause and the Repositories of the pearls of His knowledge; for, God Himself, glorified be He, is the Unseen, the One concealed and hidden from the eyes of men. Consider what the Merciful hath revealed in the Qur’an: No vision taketh in Him, but He taketh in all vision, and He is the Subtile, the All-Informed!”

That the divers communions of the earth, and the manifold systems of religious belief, should never be allowed to foster the feelings of animosity among men, is, in this Day, of the essence of the Faith of God and His Religion. These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source, and are rays of one Light. That they differ one from another is to be attributed to the varying requirements of the ages in which they were promulgated.” 

7. Prophecies: Previously I cited Baha’u’llah’s famous words to Cambridge Professor Edward Granville Browne on April 16, 1890 as one of Baha’u’llah’s most well-known prophecies, quoted at the very end of the open letter addressed by the Universal House of Justice, in October, 1985, “To the Peoples of the World”: “These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come.” (See also the article: “Scholar Meets Prophet,” https://bahai-library.com/buck_ioannesyan_scholar_prophet.)

One way to search for Baha’u’llah’s prophecies is to use the keyword “erelong” which, in investigating Baha’u’llah’s Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, produces such results as this, which is a prophecy regarding the future of Tehran, Baha’u’llah’s birthplace:

Now, however, the following verse hath been sent down: … “Rejoice with great joy, O Land of Ta (Ṭihran), for God hath made thee the dayspring of His light, inasmuch as within thee was born the Manifestation of His glory. Be thou glad for this name that hath been conferred upon thee—a name through which the Daystar of grace hath shed its splendor, through which both earth and heaven have been illumined. Erelong will the state of affairs within thee be changed, and the reins of power fall into the hands of the people. Verily, thy Lord is the All-Knowing. His authority embraceth all things. Rest thou assured in the gracious favor of thy Lord. The eye of His loving-kindness shall everlastingly be directed towards thee. The day is approaching when thy agitation will have been transmuted into peace and quiet calm. Thus hath it been decreed in the Wondrous Book.”

RELATED: Exploring the Multiple Ways the Prophets Speak to Us

8. Discourses: In Part 71, mention was made of Baha’u’llah’s The Tabernacle of Unity as an excellent source for Baha’u’llah’s various discourses on a wide array of topics. Think of a “discourse” as an “explanation,” and consider this example of a discourse, found in Baha’u’llah’s Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, where Baha’u’llah explains the best way for the establishment of world peace:

We pray God—exalted be His glory—and cherish the hope that He may graciously assist the manifestations of affluence and power and the daysprings of sovereignty and glory, the kings of the earth—may God aid them through His strengthening grace—to establish the Lesser Peace. This, indeed, is the greatest means for insuring the tranquillity of the nations. It is incumbent upon the Sovereigns of the world—may God assist them—unitedly to hold fast unto this Peace, which is the chief instrument for the protection of all mankind. It is Our hope that they will arise to achieve what will be conducive to the well-being of man. It is their duty to convene an all-inclusive assembly, which either they themselves or their ministers will attend, and to enforce whatever measures are required to establish unity and concord amongst men. They must put away the weapons of war, and turn to the instruments of universal reconstruction. Should one king rise up against another, all the other kings must arise to deter him. Arms and armaments will, then, be no more needed beyond that which is necessary to insure the internal security of their respective countries. If they attain unto this all-surpassing blessing, the people of each nation will pursue, with tranquillity and contentment, their own occupations, and the groanings and lamentations of most men would be silenced. We beseech God to aid them to do His will and pleasure. He, verily, is the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, and the Lord of this world and of the world to come. It would be preferable and more fitting that the highly honored kings themselves should attend such an assembly, and proclaim their edicts. Any king who will arise and carry out this task, he verily will, in the sight of God, become the cynosure of all kings. Happy is he, and great is his blessedness!

9. Prayers and Meditations: Baha’u’llah’s Prayers and Meditations, compiled and translated by Shoghi Effendi and first published in 1938, may be the fullest collection of Baha’i prayers and meditations available in English. Here is a passage from one of several prayers revealed in Baha’u’llah’s Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, specifically meant for the enlightenment of the world’s political and religious leaders:

At this moment it behooveth us to turn unto the Desired One, and cleave unto these most sublime words: “O God, my God! Thou hast lighted the lamp of Thy Cause with the oil of wisdom; protect it from contrary winds. The lamp is Thine, and the glass is Thine, and all things in the heavens and on earth are in the grasp of Thy power. Bestow justice upon the rulers, and fairness upon the divines. Thou art the All-Powerful, Who, through the motion of Thy Pen, hast aided Thine irresistible Cause, and guided aright Thy loved ones. Thou art the Possessor of power, and the King of might. No God is there but Thee, the Strong, the Unconstrained.”

See also: “Bahá’í Prayers for Good Governance,” https://bahai-library.com/buck_prayers_good_governance.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these articles on Baha’u’llah’s “nine modes” of revelation, and that you will find this approach useful and enriching when you read from the great ocean of Baha’u’llah’s revelation. Let’s conclude with a statement by Baha’u’llah on this very topic:

We have revealed Our verses in nine different modes. Each one of them bespeaketh the sovereignty of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. A single one of them sufficeth for a proof unto all who are in the heavens and on the earth; yet the people, for the most part, persist in their heedlessness. Should it be Our wish, We would reveal them in countless other modes.

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