Baha'u'llah's message to the Christians

I have made a podcast of this blog entry, which you can download. It's 22 minutes long.


The music used in the podcast is by Kevin MacLeod and is taken from the site, which contains royalty-free music. The file used here is "Overture", which is found in the New Age Piano section.

This message is addressed to the followers of Jesus Christ.

My name is Alison Marshall and I am a Baha'i. That means I am a follower of a person named Baha'u'llah. The name 'Baha'u'llah' is an Arabic title that means 'Glory of God'.

The reason I am addressing you is because Baha'u'llah has a very important message for the peoples of the world, including the world's Christians. He said that he was the one that Jesus promised would come in the last days, who would throw human affairs into commotion and judge everyone. Baha'u'llah makes this proclamation in many places in his writings. I will read you one of these passages.

"O peoples of the earth! We sent forth him who was named John to baptize you with water, that your bodies might be cleansed for the appearance of the Messiah. He, in turn, purified you with the fire of love and the water of the spirit in anticipation of these Days whereon the All-Merciful hath purposed to cleanse you with the water of life at the hands of His loving providence. This is the Father foretold by Isaiah, and the Comforter concerning Whom the Spirit had covenanted with you. Open your eyes, O concourse of bishops, that ye may behold your Lord seated upon the Throne of might and glory." (Summons of the Lord of Hosts, page 63, paragraph 122)

As a follower of Baha'u'llah, I am duty-bound to pass this proclamation on to you. In fact, it is my greatest honour to do so. Humanity has waited for thousands of years for this day; there is nothing more important for the world than the coming of the Day of Judgement. And yet, the Lord has given the privilege of making this announcement to servants who are nobodies on earth. You might be thinking: 'Who is this Alison Marshall that she should be telling me that this is the Judgement Day?' The answer is: she is a nobody, but that doesn't matter. Those who followed Jesus were nobodies too, only fishermen. The Lord doesn't use the powerful on earth to proclaim his faith.

I expect you find it impossible to believe that we could be living in the Day of Judgement without you knowing about it. How could you possibly not know something as important as that? Well, think about it. Think about how things were just after Jesus was crucified. Despite the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Jesus's life and the public way in which he was tried and killed, how many people were aware of who he was? How many people put two and two together and realised that the Messiah had lived and walked among them and then died? He'd done all that under their very noses and in a very public way and yet it didn't make any difference to the number of people who realised what was happening. There was never any mass enlightenment. In fact, after Jesus's death, there was only a small group of believers left, and was it over to them to proclaim to the whole world what had passed most people by.

And so I am asking you to listen to me. It may be a bitter pill to swallow, but the truth is that history has repeated itself. The one that Jesus promised would come to earth from heaven, and would reveal the things that Jesus was unable to say, has been and gone, and very few people are aware of this. It has been left to those who are willing to continue, despite the adverse circumstances, to carry on spreading the message to an apathetic people.

And I ask you not to reject what I have to say out of hand. This is what the Jews did with Jesus and it was a big mistake. It lead them to miss one of the most important events in humanity's religious history. You can hear the Apostles in the Book of Acts proclaiming the faith of Jesus, saying: 'Hey, the Messiah has been and gone. You had him killed.' And the reply is: 'What, you mean that troublemaker and heretic, who wouldn't obey the law of Moses and claimed to be the son of God?' You see, to the vast majority of Jews at the time, this is all Jesus was - a nutter who made outrageous claims. They never gave the matter a second thought.

Listen to Baha'u'llah again:

"Say: O peoples of all faiths! Walk not in the ways of them that followed the Pharisees and thus veiled themselves from the Spirit [that is, Jesus]. They truly have strayed and are in error. The Ancient Beauty is come in His Most Great Name, and He wisheth to admit all mankind into His most holy Kingdom. The pure in heart behold the Kingdom of God manifest before His Face. Make haste thereunto and follow not the infidel and the ungodly. Should your eye be opposed thereto, pluck it out. Thus hath it been decreed by the Pen of the Ancient of Days, as bidden by Him Who is the Lord of the entire creation. He, verily, hath come again that ye might be redeemed, O peoples of the earth. Will ye slay Him Who desireth to grant you eternal life? Fear God, O ye who are endued with insight." (Summons of the Lord of Hosts, page 63, paragraph 123)

One of the themes that Baha'u'llah stresses in his writings goes like this. The people long for the Promised One to come. For years, they pray, 'when will you return, when will you return?' They do this all their lives; in fact, for centuries, generation after generation does it. And yet, look at the way Jesus was treated when he did come! He got a very bad reception indeed! He was mercilessly abused by people who hated him, and he was finally condemned and killed as though he was a common criminal! The irony of it!

Here's how Baha'u'llah puts it: "Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times, yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how frequently have they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow, and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment, and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face - the face of God Himself." (Kitab-i-Iqan, page 4, paragraph 3)

And so my challenge to you is this: I am sure that you sincerely desire the return of Jesus on the Judgement Day, and imagine that when he does appear, you'll be the first to believe in him. But will you? If the past is anything to go by, then your chances of recognising him aren't good at all. Most people didn't recognise Jesus. So how are you going to be different? I expect you haven't really thought about it. You just assume that it'll all work out on the day. But what does Jesus say about his coming? It's described in Matthew, chapter 24, verses 42 to 44: "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (New International Version) This passage supports the point Baha'u'llah is making ? that most people are caught out when a prophet of God comes. They don't recognise him and they turn away from him.

Bottom line is this: you can't expect to cruise through life and, at the same time, get wind of important events that God is orchestrating in human affairs. Prophets come and go while most of humanity is none the wiser. These things aren't reported in the mainstream media. If this issue is important to you, then you have to do some real digging and think outside the square. And you have to be ready to bear the brunt of other people's criticism. People are comfortable in their own little ways; they don't want to be challenged and they'll criticise you for breaking free of the mould.

Can you imagine the courage of those who supported Jesus when everyone else opposed him? His fiercest opponents were the Jewish leaders. They stood to lose a lot. If everyone followed Jesus, where would that leave them? They would lose money, power, status, authority, everything. Were they going to just sat back and say: 'Hey, that's fine, we believe in Jesus'? Of course not. And so they opposed him and appealed to cultural and religious concepts to convince the people that Jesus was bad and should die. And the people, who were steeped in the traditions, went along with it. Just think about the guts a person needed to swim against the tide.

But, in addition to superhuman courage, that person would need to be able to think outside the religious and cultural context they lived in. For example, Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath because he healed a person on Sunday. But, he argued, the Jewish leaders thought nothing of circumcising a boy on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders constantly appealed to the importance of obeying the law. Jesus appealed to love. He operated in a different religious framework to them; he worked outside the square.

And so, by relying on what you already know, you are most likely not going to recognise Jesus's return. By living your life out in a sleepy hollow of religious conventionalism, you're gonna miss the important divine drama. The good news won't get reported in your cul-de-sac. The thief will come and your house will get broken into. You have to make an effort to investigate the issue with an open mind and not rely on what others tell you is right - especially not religious leaders, for they have a great deal to lose if Jesus has returned.

I ask you then to listen to Baha'u'llah's proclamation again and investigate his claims fairly. Much depends on it:

"The King of Glory proclaimeth from the tabernacle of majesty and grandeur His call, saying: O people of the Gospel! They who were not in the Kingdom have now entered it, whilst We behold you, in this day, tarrying at the gate. Rend the veils asunder by the power of your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Bounteous, and enter, then, in My name My Kingdom. Thus biddeth you He Who desireth for you everlasting life. He, verily, is potent over all things. Blessed are those who have recognized the Light and hastened unto it. They, verily, dwell in the Kingdom, and partake of the food and drink of God's chosen ones.

We behold you, O children of the Kingdom, in darkness. This, verily, beseemeth you not. Are ye, in the face of the Light, fearful because of your deeds? Direct yourselves towards Him. Your All-Glorious Lord hath blessed His lands with His footsteps. Thus do We make plain unto you the path of Him Whom the Spirit prophesied. I, verily, bear witness unto Him, even as He hath borne witness unto Me. Verily, He said: "Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." In this day, however, We say: "Come ye after Me, that We may make you to become quickeners of mankind." Thus hath the decree been inscribed in this Tablet by the Pen of Revelation."

(Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pages 66-67, paragraphs 128-129)

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