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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 224-226

The Time of the End

Christ and His apostles mentioned many signs which would distinguish the times of the “Return” of the Son of Man in the glory of the Father. Christ said:—
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. … For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. … for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.—Luke xxi, 20–24. 225
Again He said:—
Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.—Matt. xxiv, 4–14.
In these two passages Christ foretold in plain terms, without veil or covering, the things that must come to pass before the coming of the Son of Man. During the centuries that have elapsed since Christ spoke, every one of these signs has been fulfilled. In the last part of each passage He mentions an event that shall mark the time of the coming—in one case the ending of the Jewish exile and the restoration of Jerusalem, and in the other the preaching of the gospel in all the world. It is startling to find that both of these signs are being literally fulfilled in our own times. If these parts of the prophecy are as true as the rest, it follows that we must be living now in the “time of the end” of which Christ spoke.
Muḥammad also mentions certain signs which will persist until the Day of Resurrection. In the Qur’án we read:—
When Alláh said: “O Jesus! Verily I will cause thee to die, and exalt thee towards Me, and clear thee of the charges of those who disbelieve, and will place those who 226 follow thee [that is, Christians] above those who disbelieve [Jews and others], until the Day of Resurrection; then to Me shall be your return, so I will decide between you concerning that in which you differed.”—Súrá iii, 54.
“The Hand of God,” say the Jews, “is chained up.” Their own hands shall be chained up—and for that which they have said shall they be cursed. Nay! outstretched are both His hands! At His own pleasure doth He bestow gifts. That which hath been sent down to thee from thy Lord will surely increase the rebellion and unbelief of many of them; and We have put enmity and hatred between them that shall last until the Day of Resurrection. Oft as they kindle a beacon fire for war shall God quench it.—Súrá v, 69.

And of those who say, “We are Christians,” have We accepted the Covenant. But they too have forgotten a part of what they were taught; wherefore We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them that shall last till the Day of Resurrection; and in the end will God tell them of their doings.—Súrá v, 17.
These words also have been literally fulfilled in the subjection of the Jews to Christian (and Muslim) peoples, and in the sectarianism and strife which have divided both Jews and Christians among themselves during all the centuries since Muḥammad spoke. Only since the commencement of the Bahá’í era (the Day of Resurrection) have signs of the approaching end of these conditions made their appearance.