The Mission of Bahá’u’lláh

Bahá’u’lláh declared, plainly and repeatedly, that He was the long-expected educator and teacher of all peoples, the channel of a wondrous Grace that would transcend all previous outpourings, in which all previous forms of religion would become merged, as rivers merge in the ocean. He laid a foundation which affords a firm basis for Unity throughout the whole world and the inauguration of that glorious age of peace on earth, goodwill among men, of which prophets have told and poets sung. Search after truth, the oneness of mankind, unity of religions, of races, of nations, of East and West, the reconciliation of religion and science, the eradication of prejudices and superstitions, the equality of men and women, the establishment of justice and righteousness, the setting up of a supreme international tribunal, the unification of languages, the compulsory diffusion of knowledge — these, and many other teachings like these, were revealed by the pen of Bahá’u’lláh during the latter half of the nineteenth century in innumerable books and epistles several of which were addressed to the Kings and Rulers of the world. His message, unique in its comprehensiveness and scope, is wonderfully in accord with the signs and needs of the times. Never were the new problems confronting men so gigantic and complex as now. Never were the proposed solutions so numerous and conflicting. Never was the need of a great world teacher so urgent or so widely felt. Never, perhaps, was the expectancy of such a teacher so confident or so general.

Fulfillment of Prophecies

Abdu’l-Bahá writes: –

When Christ appeared, twenty centuries ago, although the Jews were eagerly awaiting His Coming, and prayed ever day, with tears, saying: “O God, hasten the Revelation of the Messiah,” yet when the Sun of Truth dawned, they denied Him and rose against Him with the greatest enmity, and eventually crucified that divine Spirit, the Word of God, and named Him Beelzebub, the evil one, as is recorded in the Gospel. The reason for this was that they said: “The Revelation of Christ, according to the clear text of the Torah, will be attested by certain signs, and so long as these signs have not appeared, whoso layeth claim to be a Messiah is an impostor. Among these signs is this, that the Messiah should come for an unknown place, yet we all know this man’s house in Nazareth, and can any good thing come out of Nazareth? The second sign is that He shall rule with a rod of iron, that is, He must act with the sword, but this Messiah has not even a wooden staff. Another of the conditions and signs is this: He must sit upon the throne of David and establish David’s sovereignty. Now, far from being enthroned, this man has not even a mat to sit on. Another of the conditions is this: the promulgation of all the laws of the Torah; yet this man has abrogated these laws, and has even broken the sabbath day, although it is the clear text of the Torah that whosoever layeth claim to prophethood and revealeth miracles and breaketh the sabbath day, must be put to death. Another of the signs is this, that in His reign justice will be so advanced that righteousness and well-doing will extend from the human even to the animal world — the snake and the mouse will share one hold, and the eagle and the partridge one nest, the lion and the gazelle shall dwell in one pasture, and the wolf and the kid shall drink from one fountain. Yet now, injustice and tyranny have waxed so great in his time that they have crucified him! Another of the conditions is this, that in the days of the Messiah the Jews will prosper and triumph over all the peoples of the world, but now they are living in the utmost abasement and servitude in the Empire of the Romans. Then how can this be the Messiah promised in the Torah?

In this wise did they object to that Sun of Truth, although that Spirit of God was indeed the One promised in the Torah. But as they did not understand the meaning of these signs, they crucified the Word of God. Now the Bahá’ís hold that the recorded signs did come to pass in the Manifestation of Christ, although not in the sense which the Jews understood, the description in the Torah being allegorical. For instance, among the signs is that of sovereignty. For Bahá’ís say that the sovereignty of Christ was a heavenly, divine, everlasting sovereignty, not a Napoleonic sovereignty that vanisheth in a short time. For well-nigh two thousand years this sovereignty of Christ hath been established, and until now it endureth, and to all eternity that Holy Being will be exalted upon an ever-lasting throne.

In like manner all the other signs have been made manifest,but the Jews did not understand. Although nearly twenty centuries have elapsed since Christ appeared with divine splendor, yet the Jews are still awaiting the coming of the Messiah and regard themselves as true and Christ as false. — Written by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for this chapter.

Had the Jews applied to Christ He would have explained to them the true meaning of the prophecies concerning Himself. Let us profit by their example, and before deciding that the prophecies concerning the Manifestation of the Latter-Day Teacher have not been fulfilled, let us turn to what Bahá’u’lláh Himself has written regarding their interpretation, for many of the prophecies are admittedly “sealed” sayings, and the True Educator Himself is the only One Who can break the seals and show the real meaning contained in the casket of words.

Bahá’u’lláh has written much in explanation of the prophecies of old, but it is not on these that He depends for proof of His Prophethood. The sun is its own proof, to all that have the power of perception. When it rises we need no ancient predictions to assure us of its shining. So with the Manifestation of God when He appears. Were all the former prophecies swept into oblivion, He would still be His own abundant and sufficient proof to all whose spiritual sense are open.