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

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Day of God Himself

In the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an are promises that God Himself will come to the earth. Baha'u'llah both fulfills and explains the meaning of this.

In the Book of Revelation we read:

"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God." (Revelation 21:3)

In Isaiah we read (and many Christian study Bibles star this verse as a prophecy that God Himself will come to earth)

"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God." (Isaiah 35:1-2. Another example is in Isaiah 40:10)

Baha'u'llah quotes this verse and says of it and other verses from Isaiah,

"These passages stand in need of no commentary. They are shining and manifest as the sun, and glowing and luminous as light itself. Every fair-minded person is led, by the fragrance of these words, unto the garden of understanding, and attaineth unto that from which most men are veiled and debarred."
(Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 146)

This is one of the prophecies that foretells His name - "as shining and manifest as the sun."

Isaiah not only states that the "glory of the Lord" will come to Carmel - but even specifies the neighborhood. The original Hebrew says "the Hadar of Carmel" shall see "the Hadar of God". ("Hadar" can be translated as glory, excellence, splendor, or beauty). Baha'u'llah, the Splendor of God will come to the Hadar of Carmel - and the Baha'i Holy Places are in the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa.

There is a famous verse from the Qur'an in which Muhammad states that He is the Seal of the Prophets, and Muslims mistakenly believe that this means that no other Prophet will ever come to the earth. As Baha'u'llah points out, this verse in the Qur'an is followed by the promise that the people will "meet God." Here is the verse:
"Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Apostle of God, and the seal of the prophets: and God knoweth all things. O Believers! remember God with frequent remembrance, and praise Him morning and evening. He blesseth you, and His angels intercede for you, that He may bring you forth out of darkness into light: and Merciful is He to the Believers. Their greeting on the day when they shall meet Him shall be 'Peace!'" (Qur'an 33:40)
Baha'u'llah writes,
"Know then that the paradise that appeareth in the day of God surpasseth every other paradise and excelleth the realities of Heaven. For when God - blessed and glorified is He - sealed the station of prophethood in the person of Him Who was His Friend, His Chosen One, and His Treasure amongst His creatures, as hath been revealed from the Kingdom of glory: 'but He is the Apostle of God and the Seal of the Prophets', He promised all men that they shall attain unto His own presence in the Day of Resurrection. In this He meant to emphasize the greatness of the Revelation to come, as it hath indeed been manifested through the power of truth. And there is of a certainty no paradise greater than this, nor station higher, should ye reflect upon the verses of the Qur'án. Blessed be he who knoweth of a certainty that he shall attain unto the presence of God on that day when His Beauty shall be made manifest."
(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 42)

That is, the Qur'an does not expressly state that another Prophet will come after Muhammad -it says that the earth will receive the Presence of God or will "meet" God, a promise made throughout the Qur'an - these verses are compiled by Baha'u'llah here:

All the Holy Books promise that God Himself will come to the earth. This is also related to the promise that the Messiah will say one word, and that word will cause the religious leaders to flee. That word is explained here:

As Baha'u'llah repeatedly states He is not claiming to be God. These promises are solely to emphasize the greatness of His Revelation. When Muslims object, He explains that He wants "Divinity" to be understood in the same way it is used in the Qur'an and Islamic Traditions .

It seems that God ran out of superlatives, and saying it this way was the best way of communicating the greatness of this Revelation.
This is the “Day of God” promised in the Holy Books, Revelation 16:14, II Peter 3:10-11, Qur'an 14:5.

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