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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 219-220

The Day of Judgment

Christ spoke much in parables about a great Day of Judgment when “the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father … and … shall reward every man according to his works” (Matt. xvi, 27). He compares this Day to the time of harvest, when the tares are burned and the wheat gathered into barns:—
… so shall it be in the end of this world [consummation of the age]. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.—Matt. xiii, 40–43.
The phrase “end of the world” used in the Authorized Version of the Bible in this and similar passages has led many to suppose that when the Day of Judgment comes, the earth will suddenly be destroyed, but this is evidently a mistake. The 220 true translation of the phrase appears to be “the consummation or end of the age.” Christ teaches that the Kingdom of the Father is to be established on earth, as well as in heaven. He teaches us to pray: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In the parable of the Vineyard, when the Father, the Lord of the Vineyard, comes to destroy the wicked husbandmen, He does not destroy the vineyard (the world) also, but lets it out to other husbandmen, who will render Him the fruits in their season. The earth is not to be destroyed, but to be renewed and regenerated. Christ speaks of that day on another occasion as “the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory.” St. Peter speaks of it 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.” The Day of Judgment of which Christ speaks is evidently identical with the coming of the Lord of Hosts, the Father, which was prophesied by Isaiah and the other Old Testament prophets; a time of terrible punishment for the wicked, but a time in which justice shall be established and righteousness rule, on earth as in heaven.
In the Bahá’í interpretation, the coming of each Manifestation of God is a Day of Judgment, but the coming of the supreme Manifestation of Bahá’u’lláh is the great Day of Judgment for the world cycle in which we are living. The trumpet blast of which Christ and Muḥammad and many other prophets speak is the call of the Manifestation, which is sounded for all who are in heaven and on earth—the embodied and the disembodied. The meeting with God, through His Manifestation, is, for those who desire to meet Him, the gateway to the Paradise of knowing and loving Him, and living in love with all His creatures. Those, on the other hand, who prefer their own way to God’s way, as revealed by the Manifestation, thereby consign themselves to the hell of selfishness, error and enmity.