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Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
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Pages 211-212

Chapter 13: Prophecies Fulfilled by the Bahá’í Movement

As to the Manifestation of the Greatest Name (Bahá’u’lláh): this is He Whom God promised in all His Books and Scriptures, such as the Bible, the Gospels and the Qur’án.—‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ.

Interpretation of Prophecy

The interpretation of prophecy is notoriously difficult, and on no subject do the opinions of the learned differ more widely. This is not to be wondered at, for, according to the revealed writings themselves, many of the prophecies were given in such a form that they could not be fully understood until the fulfillment came, and even then, only by those who were pure in heart and free from prejudice. Thus at the end of Daniel’s visions the seer was told:—
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. … And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.—Daniel xii, 4–9.
If God sealed up the prophecies until the appointed time, and did not fully reveal the interpretation even to the prophets who uttered them, we may expect that none but the appointed Messenger of God will be able to break the seal and disclose the meanings concealed in the casket of the prophetic parables. Reflection on the history of prophecies and their misinterpretation in previous ages and dispensations, combined with the 212 solemn warnings of the prophets themselves, should render us very chary of accepting the speculations of theologians as to the real meaning of these utterances and the manner of their fulfillment. On the other hand, when someone appears who claims to fulfill the prophecies, it is important that we examine his claim with open, unprejudiced minds. Should he be an impostor, the fraud will soon be discovered and no harm will be done, but woe to all who carelessly turn God’s Messenger from the door because He comes in an unexpected form or time.
The life and utterances of Bahá’u’lláh testify that He is the Promised One of all the Holy Books, Who has the power to break the seals of the prophecies and to pour forth the “Sealed choice wine” of the divine mysteries. Let us hasten, then, to hear His explanations and to reexamine in their light the familiar but often mysterious words spoken by the prophets of old.