Progressive Revelation and Prophecy

iBrian

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Something I would very much like to ask our Bahai members is with regards to the issue of Progressive Revelation and Prophecy.

First of all, with Progressive Revelation, does this apply only to the Abramic theological line - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - or is it embracing of all cultures?

And how do members of the Bahai Faith overcome the differences inherent with the differing Abramic traditions? Especially in terms of revelation?

Central to this question is really the issue of Prophecy - in which case: is Prophecy regarded as alive and well, ie, Progressive Revelation continues to this day - and if so, how do those of the Bahai Faith differentiate Divine Prophecy from background noise?

I presume that the line of prophecy did not end with Bab/Bahaullah?

Does that therefore mean that Bahais accept that there are modern day prophets, and if so, are there any particular ones they make note of?
 
Greetings Brian,

I'll do my best at answering some of these questions one by one, but as we'll see they actually tie in together very nicely!

I said:
First of all, with Progressive Revelation, does this apply only to the Abramic theological line - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - or is it embracing of all cultures??

Just to rehash for those who don't know, we believe God proressively reveals His will to mankind through the Prophets. These include Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha, Moses, Christ, Muhammed and of course The Bab and Baha'u'llah. That is, we accept both Abrahamaic and Eastern religions as Divinely Inspired.

I said:
And how do members of the Bahai Faith overcome the differences inherent with the differing Abramic traditions? Especially in terms of revelation?

We believe the foundations of each of these religions are One. That there a some small differences between them reflects the needs and capacity of the people to whom it is revealed, which is influenced by time and place. For example, while the Old Testament from some 3000 years ago teaches that one who steals should have their hand chopped off, this teaching evidently has no place in today's society!

I said:
Central to this question is really the issue of Prophecy - in which case: is Prophecy regarded as alive and well, ie, Progressive Revelation continues to this day - and if so, how do those of the Bahai Faith differentiate Divine Prophecy from background noise?

Prophecy is alive and well! This is where it all ties together. We believe Baha'u'llah fulfills all the prophecies regarding the coming of the Promised One who would bring an era of peace to mankind. To Hindu's He fulfills the prophecy of the Kalki Avatar, to Buddhists He is Maitreya, to Zoroastarians He is the "World-Renovator" and to Christians and Muslims He is Christ returned! An incredible claim, but one which we believe passes every test of authenticity and is confirmed by Holy Scriptures.

I said:
I presume that the line of prophecy did not end with Bab/Bahaullah?

Does that therefore mean that Bahais accept that there are modern day prophets, and if so, are there any particular ones they make note of?

We believe that God will continue to reveal His will to mankind until the "end that hath no end". Baha'u'llah stated however, that there would be no further revelation after Him "ere the expiration of a full one thousand years". As such, despite the good-works of many of those who claim prophethood in this day, we don't accept their claim.

Hope that helps answer your questions... I expect there are even more questions that have arisen now though!

Warmest greetings,
Ocean Drop

PS - Forgive me if there's a tired tone.. it's Bahai Fasting time!
 
About progressive revelation and prophecy

Hi, there! :)

In the Baha'i view, Divine Revelation will NEVER end, and there will always be more Divine Messengers to come!

But They generally appear only every 500-1,000 years, and there is none here now, nor will there be for many centuries to come.

We see ALL the great religions as legitimate and God-sent, and have no problem with the differences between religions, as the Baha'i scriptures explain:

"There can be no doubt whatever that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source, and are the subjects of one God. The difference between the ordinances under which they abide should be attributed to the varying requirements and exigencies of the age in which they were revealed. All of them, except a few which are the outcome of human perversity, were ordained of God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose. Arise and, armed with the power of faith, shatter to pieces the gods of your vain imaginings, the sowers of dissension amongst you. Cleave unto that which draweth you together and uniteth you."
(Gleanings, page 217)

Best,

Bruce
 
Dear Brian,

First of all, I want to thank you for setting up this board. It is very much appreciated.

I said:
Something I would very much like to ask our Bahai members is with regards to the issue of Progressive Revelation and Prophecy.

First of all, with Progressive Revelation, does this apply only to the Abramic theological line - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - or is it embracing of all cultures?

And how do members of the Bahai Faith overcome the differences inherent with the differing Abramic traditions? Especially in terms of revelation?
As for your question. Members of all religious backgrounds (including Native cultures) have embraced the Baha'i Faith because they recognize Baha'u'llah as the promised redeemer in their own scriptures. But not only that, when they accept Baha'u'llah their vision widens and they recognize the messengers of all other religions as links in the unfolding plan of God. They are enabled to connect the dots between the various religions. Man is fallible and we have a tendancy to over-analyze & over-complicate things. When we accept Baha'u'llah, the veil is lifted, and we recognize that the differences that appear on the surface are in reality easily explained. (deserves separate post)

(Even former atheists have recognized the truth of God's existence through Baha'u'llah and embraced His Cause.)


The following lengthy quotation from Shoghi Effendi lists some of the expectations Baha'u'llah has fulfilled.

"To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the "Everlasting Father," the "Lord of Hosts" come down "with ten thousands of saints"; to Christendom Christ returned "in the glory of the Father," to Shí'ah Islám the return of the Imám Husayn; to Sunní Islám the descent of the "Spirit of God" (Jesus Christ); to the Zoroastrians the promised Sháh-Bahrám; to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna; to the Buddhists the fifth Buddha...

In the name He bore He combined those of the Imám Husayn, the most illustrious of the successors of the Apostle of God--the brightest "star" shining in the "crown" mentioned in the Revelation of St. John--and of the Imám `Alí, the Commander of the Faithful, the second of the two "witnesses" extolled in that same Book. He was formally designated Bahá'u'lláh, an appellation specifically recorded in the Persian Bayán, signifying at once the glory, the light and the splendor of God, and was styled the "Lord of Lords," the "Most Great Name," the "Ancient Beauty," the "Pen of the Most High," the "Hidden Name," the "Preserved Treasure," "He Whom God will make manifest," the "Most Great Light," the "All-Highest Horizon," the "Most Great Ocean," the "Supreme Heaven," the "Pre-Existent Root," the "Self-Subsistent," the "Day-Star of the Universe," the "Great Announcement," the "Speaker on Sinai," the "Sifter of Men," the "Wronged One of the World," the "Desire of the Nations," the "Lord of the Covenant," the "Tree beyond which there is no passing." He derived His descent, on the one hand, from Abraham (the Father of the Faithful) through his wife Katurah, and on the other from Zoroaster, as well as from Yazdigird, the last king of the Sásáníyán dynasty. He was moreover a descendant of Jesse, and belonged, through His father, Mírzá Abbás, better known as Mírzá Buzurg--a nobleman closely associated with the ministerial circles of the Court of Fath-`Alí Sháh--to one of the most ancient and renowned families of Mazindarán.

To Him Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, had alluded as the "Glory of the Lord," the "Everlasting Father," the "Prince of Peace," the "Wonderful," the "Counsellor," the "Rod come forth out of the stem of Jesse" and the "Branch grown out of His roots," Who "shall be established upon the throne of David," Who "will come with strong hand," Who "shall judge among the nations," Who "shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips slay the wicked," and Who "shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." Of Him David had sung in his Psalms, acclaiming Him as the "Lord of Hosts" and the "King of Glory." To Him Haggai had referred as the "Desire of all nations," and Zachariah as the "Branch" Who "shall grow up out of His place," and "shall build the Temple of the Lord." Ezekiel had extolled Him as the "Lord" Who "shall be king over all the earth," while to His day Joel and Zephaniah had both referred as the "day of Jehovah," the latter describing it as "a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers." His Day Ezekiel and Daniel had, moreover, both acclaimed as the "day of the Lord," and Malachi described as "the great and dreadful day of the Lord" when "the Sun of Righteousness" will "arise, with healing in His wings," whilst Daniel had pronounced His advent as signalizing the end of the "abomination that maketh desolate."

To His Dispensation the sacred books of the followers of Zoroaster had referred as that in which the sun must needs be brought to a standstill for no less than one whole month. To Him Zoroaster must have alluded when, according to tradition, He foretold that a period of three thousand years of conflict and contention must needs precede the advent of the World-Savior Sháh-Bahrám, Who would triumph over Ahriman and usher in an era of blessedness and peace.

He alone is meant by the prophecy attributed to Gautama Buddha Himself, that "a Buddha named Maitreye, the Buddha of universal fellowship" should, in the fullness of time, arise and reveal "His boundless glory." To Him the Bhagavad-Gita of the Hindus had referred as the "Most Great Spirit," the "Tenth Avatar," the "Immaculate Manifestation of Krishna."

To Him Jesus Christ had referred as the "Prince of this world," as the "Comforter" Who will "reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment," as the "Spirit of Truth" Who "will guide you into all truth," Who "shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak," as the "Lord of the Vineyard," and as the "Son of Man" Who "shall come in the glory of His Father" "in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory," with "all the holy angels" about Him, and "all nations" gathered before His throne. To Him the Author of the Apocalypse had alluded as the "Glory of God," as "Alpha and Omega," "the Beginning and the End," "the First and the Last." Identifying His Revelation with the "third woe," he, moreover, had extolled His Law as "a new heaven and a new earth," as the "Tabernacle of God," as the "Holy City," as the "New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." To His Day Jesus Christ Himself had referred as "the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory." To the hour of His advent St. Paul had alluded as the hour of the "last trump," the "trump of God," whilst St. Peter had spoken of it as the "Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." His Day he, furthermore, had described as "the times of refreshing," "the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy Prophets since the world began."

To Him Muhammad, the Apostle of God, had alluded in His Book as the "Great Announcement," and declared His Day to be the Day whereon "God" will "come down" "overshadowed with clouds," the Day whereon "thy Lord shall come and the angels rank on rank," and "The Spirit shall arise and the angels shall be ranged in order." His advent He, in that Book, in a Súrah said to have been termed by Him "the heart of the Qur'án," had foreshadowed as that of the "third" Messenger, sent down to "strengthen" the two who preceded Him. To His Day He, in the pages of that same Book, had paid a glowing tribute, glorifying it as the "Great Day," the "Last Day," the "Day of God," the "Day of Judgment," the "Day of Reckoning," the "Day of Mutual Deceit," the "Day of Severing," the "Day of Sighing," the "Day of Meeting," the Day "when the Decree shall be accomplished," the Day whereon the second "Trumpet blast" will be sounded, the "Day when mankind shall stand before the Lord of the world," and "all shall come to Him in humble guise," the Day when "thou shalt see the mountains, which thou thinkest so firm, pass away with the passing of a cloud," the Day "wherein account shall be taken," "the approaching Day, when men's hearts shall rise up, choking them, into their throats," the Day when "all that are in the heavens and all that are on the earth shall be terror-stricken, save him whom God pleaseth to deliver," the Day whereon "every suckling woman shall forsake her sucking babe, and every woman that hath a burden in her womb shall cast her burden," the Day "when the earth shall shine with the light of her Lord, and the Book shall be set, and the Prophets shall be brought up, and the witnesses; and judgment shall be given between them with equity; and none shall be wronged." "
-Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p 94-96

Sorry so long.

Loving Greetings, Harmony
 
9Harmony said:
Dear Friends,

Here is a link for a website which explains how Baha'u'llah fulfills the prophecies of various religions.

I hope it may be useful.

http://bci.org/prophecy-fulfilled/

Loving Greetings, Harmony

I'm quite familiar with this site... just like to point out that there's a few errors on it and it doesn't represent the official Baha'i view. For example, Christians should ignore anything there relating Isaiah 53 to Baha'u'llah, as this refers to Christ's first coming. For every bad point though this site makes atleast 20 good ones.

Ocean Drop
 
Hi, Ocean. :)

You are perfectly free to decide that the Isaiah 53 prophecies refer to Christ rather than to Baha'u'llah, just as we may decide the opposite. Individual Investigation of Truth is, after all, a central Baha'i principle!

And I will simply point out that there are many other Biblical prophecies of Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith, including a really spectacular one in Isaiah 35!

Best,

Bruce
 
Hi Bruce,

While there are various passages in Isaiah that refer to Baha'u'llah, Isaiah 53 unquestionably refers to Christ's first coming. The Bahai sites that try to apply it to Baha'u'llah are following the error made by William Sears in "Thief in the Night". This point made the book lose credibility to a lot of Christians. There are numerous reasons why Isaiah 53 doesn't apply to Baha'u'llah, most notably... Baha'u'llah wasn't "cut off" and also, the Book of Acts (8) makes reference to Isaiah 53 and applies it to Christ. Like I said though, there are some passages in Isaiah that refer to Baha'u'llah, but 53 is a no-go.

Warmest,
Ocean Drop
 
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