Thornton Chase, the First Western Baha'i, in his Study
Copyright © 2010 Baha'i National Archives, Wilmete, Used With Permission

Thursday, January 5, 2012

These Perspicuous Verses

- Baha'u'llah's announcement that the prophecies in the Holy Books are fulfilled.


(work in progress)




In many of His Writings, Baha'u'llah announces that He has fulfilled the prophecies of all religions:  




"Verily, He Who was hidden in the knowledge of God and is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures hath appeared."


"He Whose advent hath been foretold in the heavenly Scriptures is come"


"He, in truth, hath come unto the world in His most great glory, and all that hath been mentioned in the Gospel hath been fulfilled.


"The Comforter Whose advent all the scriptures have promised is now come that He may reveal unto you all knowledge and wisdom.


"He that was hidden in the Treasury of Knowledge, and inscribed by the Pen of the Most High in His Books, and His Scriptures, and His Scrolls, and His Tablets, is come!
One of the most well-known of  Baha'u'llah's Tablets on this theme is found in both the Tablet of Ishraqat ("Splendors") and in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, addressed to one of the great oppressors of His faith. 


This Tablet begins with these words:



Among others, these perspicuous verses have, in answer to certain individuals, been sent down from the Kingdom of Divine knowledge: "O thou who hast set thy face towards the splendors of My Countenance! Vague fancies have encompassed the dwellers of the earth and debarred them from turning towards the Horizon of Certitude, and its brightness, and its manifestations and its lights. Vain imaginings have withheld them from Him Who is the Self-Subsisting. They speak as prompted by their own caprices, and understand not. Among them are those who have said: 'Have the verses been sent down?' Say: 'Yea, by Him Who is the Lord of the heavens!' 'Hath the Hour come?' 'Nay, more; it hath passed,  by Him Who is the Revealer of clear tokens! Verily, the Inevitable is come, and He, the True One, hath appeared with proof and testimony. The Plain is disclosed, and mankind is sore vexed and fearful. Earthquakes have broken loose, and the tribes have lamented, for fear of God, the Lord of Strength, the All-Compelling.' Say: 'The stunning trumpet blast hath been loudly raised, and the Day is God's, the One, the Unconstrained.' 'Hath the Catastrophe come to pass?' Say: 'Yea, by the Lord of Lords!' 'Is the Resurrection come?' 'Nay, more; He Who is the Self-Subsisting hath appeared with the Kingdom of His signs.' 'Seest thou men laid low?' 'Yea, by my Lord, the Exalted, the Most High!' 'Have the tree-stumps been uprooted?' 'Yea, more; the mountains have been scattered in dust; by Him the Lord of attributes!'
I have not included the entire tablet, because the Universal House of Justice has asked that Baha'i writers not publish the entire text of Baha'i Scriptures they are commenting on.  In this Day we have only the Text itself, without full annotations, so the people can read for themselves without the imposition of the views of others.  You can read the entire Tablet, at the links above to the Ishraqat and Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, and I'll have the link again at the end of this post.



It should be noted that the word "perspicuous," which rhymes with the word "conspicuous," means something that is clearly expressed and easily understood. The original words Shoghi Effendi here translates as "perspicuous verses," he has also translated as "words of consummate power and wisdom" and as "firm and conclusive verses".



This Tablet contains a number of the signs of the end times:


THE HOUR


Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth (John 5:28)



And that "the Hour" will indeed come - there is no doubt of it - and that God will wake up to life those who are in the tombs (Quran 22:7)


THE MOUNTAINS SCATTERED IN DUST; THE PLAIN
And they will ask thee of the mountains: Say: my Lord will scatter them in dust; and he will leave them a level plain (Quran 20:106)


the day when We cause the mountains to pass away, and thou seest the earth a levelled plain (Qur'an 18:47)


And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:9)

The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works. He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.
(Psalms 104:31)




Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed (Isaiah 40:4)




THE VERSES HAVE BEEN SENT DOWN
Now have we sent down to you manifest signs [verses] Qur'an 24:34


THE INEVITABLE
The 56th Surih of the Qur'an is The Inevitable, and begins, "When the inevitable event comes to pass"


EARTHQUAKES HAVE BROKEN LOOSE
there shall be earthquakes in diverse places (Mark 13:8)


Verily, the earthquake of the last Hour will be a tremendous thing! (Qur'an 22:1)


STUNNING (OR DEAFENING) TRUMPET-BLAST
Hence, bethink yourselves of the Last Hour, when the trumpet of judgment shall be sounded with a single blast, and the earth and the mountains shall be lifted up and crushed with a single stroke! And so, that which must come to pass will on that day have come to pass; and the sky will be rent asunder (Qur'an 69:13)

But when the stunning trumpet-blast shall arrive,
On that day shall a man fly from his brother,
And his mother and his father,
And his wife and his children (Qur'an 80:34)



THE CATASTROPHE
22:1 Catastrophe


THE RESURRECTION
22:7-10 Resurrection


THE SELF-SUBSISTING
20:110 The Self-Subsisting (i.e. God) will appear


MEN LAID LOW
69:7 Men will be laid low


TREE-STUMPS UPROOTED
54:20 and 69:7 Tree stumps will be uprooted


THE BALANCE IS SET
55:6-9 Balance is set (also see Isaiah 40:12-15). (I understand this to mean when a scale is calibrated; the Prophet and His Book are that by which all else is measured.)


THE STARS WILL FALL
81:2 Stars will fall


3:11 and 45:4 Those endued with discernment


7:105 and 20:23 Drew forth His hand


THE CRIER WILL CRY OUT
50:40 The Crier will cry out


THE PROMISED TIME
21:103 The promised time will come


52:45 The day when men will swoon away


20:102 There will be a blast on the Trumpet


DARKNESS WILL BE CHASED AWAY BY THE LIGHT OF DAWN
81:18 Darkness chased by light of the dawn


36:51 Trumpet will blast, dead will speed from their graves


THE HEAVENS WILL BE CLEFT ASUNDER
25:27 and 55:37 and 77:9 Heavens will be cleft asunder


MEN GATHERED TOGETHER
11:105 Men will be gathered together


THE WICKED WILL BE GATHERED TOGETHER BLIND
20:102 The day when the wicked will be gathered together, blind




25:11 Gardens in Paradise / mystic roses
39:71-72 Unbelievers/ impious burn in hell (also see Matthew 13:50)


These are all signs of the Judgment Day, the Last Day, the Promised Day, the Day when God will come to the earth. As Baha’u’llah says on p. 132, “all the signs appeared.” And I understand that to be His message in this Tablet.


Also, on p. 212 of God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi quotes a Tablet from Baha’u’llah in which He states that He designated His Tablets to the Kings by these names – Trumpet, Bugle, Catastrophe, Plain, etc., and that he wrote these in the shape of the human temple (GPB p. 213), which He identifies with the Temple in Zechariah (6:12-13) that is built by the “Man whose name is the Branch” which in this instance, as in Isaiah 4:2, refers to Baha’u’llah. Also, Isaiah 11:1-10 says the “resting-place” of the Branch will be glorious.



A number of these terms refer to Baha'u'llah's Tablets to the Kings and Rulers of the earth:



 Baha'u'llah refers to a number of prophecies, from the Old and New Testaments, and from the Qur'an.  Among them are these:
"Never since the beginning of the world," Bahá'u'lláh Himself affirms, "hath the Message been so openly proclaimed." "Each one of them," He, specifically referring to the Tablets addressed by Him to the sovereigns of the earth -- Tablets acclaimed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá as a "miracle" -- has written, "hath been designated by a special name. The first hath been named 'The Rumbling,' the second 'The Blow,' the third 'The Inevitable,' the fourth 'The Plain,' the fifth 'The Catastrophe,' and the others 'The Stunning Trumpet-Blast,' 'The Near Event,' 'The Great Terror,' 'The Trumpet,' 'The Bugle,' and the like, so that all the peoples of the earth may know, of a certainty, and may witness, with outward and inner eyes, that He Who is the Lord of Names hath prevailed, and will continue to prevail, under all conditions, over all men." The most important of these Tablets, together with the celebrated Suriy-i-Haykal (the Surih of the Temple), He, moreover, ordered to be written in the shape of a pentacle, symbolizing the temple of man, and which He identified, when addressing the followers of the Gospel in one of His Tablets, with the "Temple" mentioned by the Prophet Zechariah, and designated as "the resplendent dawning-place of the All-Merciful," and which "the hands of the power of Him Who is the Causer of Causes" had built.  (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 212)
THE SPLENDORS OF MY COUNTENANCE
The original Arabic word here translated as splendors is anwar, sometimes written anvar (this is a difference between Persian and Arabic pronunciation).


HORIZON OF CERTITUDE
Afaq al-yaqeen. “Afaq” here translated as “horizon” is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as firmament, Dayspring, heaven, orient, fountain, realm, apex, dawning-place, daystar, meridian splendor, heights, high summit, sanctuary, kingdom.  Yaqeen, which is related to the word “iqan,” here translated as “certitude,” is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as absolute certitude, positive knowledge, assurance.


AND ITS BRIGHTNESS, AND ITS MANIFESTATIONS AND ITS LIGHTS
In the original, these words rhyme: Ishraqat, zuhurat, anvarat.


HIM WHO IS THE SELF-SUBSISTING
One of the titles of God, Qayyum. As Siyyid Kazim admonished his disciples before the Advent of the Bab, “Verily I say, after the Qá'im the Qayyum will be made manifest.” (The Dawn-Breakers, p. 41) The Short Obligatory Prayer ends with the word Qayyum.


PROMPTED BY THEIR OWN CAPRICES
Shoghi Effendi also translates this word, prompted by their own desires, prompted by their vain imaginings.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the wonderful work you have shared online!

    Can you give the source for "the Universal House of Justice has asked that Baha'i writers not publish the entire text of Baha'i Scriptures they are commenting on". I remember reading something about this, but so far I can't locate where.

    Also, just wanted to make sure you recall the book entitled 'These Perspicuous Verses,' by Robert McLaughlin, published in 1982 by George Ronald, in case it may be of use to you.

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  2. Hi Pablo, I recall reading this letter from the House to Baha'i publishers more than a decade ago, but I regret that I do not know where it is -- maybe it's on bahai-library.com and you might save yourself some time and ask Jonah if it's there. The policy is a way of clearing away people's misconceptions that prevent human beings from directly encountering the Word of God. I regret that my notes above, since they are just the starting point for discussion, are not as useful as they might be if I pulled everything together; but I just don't have time. I do have a copy of Mr McLaughlin's book, thanks for the suggestion. I met him in 1973 when he gave a talk with the Nakhjavanis at UMASS Amherst about the plans for the development of the Arc on Mount Carmel. - Brent

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