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The Promised Day Is Come

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 revised edition
  • Pages:
  • 124
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Pages 105-108

Christian Nations against Christian Nations

What a sorry spectacle of impotence and disruption does this fratricidal war, which Christian nations are waging against Christian nations—Anglicans pitted against Lutherans, Catholics against Greek Orthodox, Catholics against Catholics, and Protestants against Protestants—in support of a so-called Christian civilization, offer to the eyes of those who are already perceiving the bankruptcy of the institutions that claim to speak in the name, and to be the custodians, of the Faith of Jesus Christ! The powerlessness and despair of the Holy See to halt this internecine strife, in which the children of the Prince of Peace—blessed and supported by the benedictions and harangues of the prelates of a hopelessly divided church—are engaged, proclaim the degree of subservience into which the once all-powerful institutions of the Christian Faith have sunk, and are a striking reminder of the parallel state of decadence into which the hierarchies of its sister religion have fallen. 106
How tragically has Christendom ignored, and how far it has strayed from, that high mission which He Who is the true Prince of Peace has, in these, the concluding passages of His Tablet to Pope Pius IX, called upon the entire body of Christians to fulfill—passages which establish, for all time, the distinction between the Mission of Bahá’u’lláh in this age and that of Jesus Christ: “Say: O concourse of Christians! We have, on a previous occasion, revealed Ourself unto you, and ye recognized Me not. This is yet another occasion vouchsafed unto you. This is the Day of God; turn ye unto Him…. The Beloved One loveth not that ye be consumed with the fire of your desires. Were ye to be shut out as by a veil from Him, this would be for no other reason than your own waywardness and ignorance. Ye make mention of Me, and know Me not. Ye call upon Me, and are heedless of My Revelation…. 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…. 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…. Verily, He [Jesus] 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 the quickeners of mankind.’” “Say,” He moreover has written, “We, verily, have come for your sakes, and have borne the misfortunes of the world for your salvation. Flee ye the One Who hath sacrificed His life that ye may be quickened? Fear God, O followers of the Spirit [Jesus], and walk not in the footsteps of every divine that hath gone far astray…. Open the doors of your hearts. He Who is the Spirit [Jesus] verily, standeth before them. Wherefore keep ye afar from Him Who hath purposed to draw you nigh unto a Resplendent Spot? Say: We, in truth, have opened unto you the gates of the Kingdom. Will ye bar the doors of your houses in My face? This indeed is naught but a grievous error.”
Such is the pass to which the Christian clergy have come—a clergy that have interposed themselves between their flock and the Christ returned in the glory of the Father. As the Faith of this Promised One penetrates farther and farther into the heart of Christendom, as its recruits from the garrisons which its spirit is assailing multiply, and 107 provoke a concerted and determined action in defense of the strongholds of Christian orthodoxy, and as the forces of nationalism, paganism, secularism and racialism move jointly towards a climax, might we not expect that the decline in the power, the authority, and the prestige of these ecclesiastics will be accentuated, and further demonstrate the truth, and more fully unfold the implications, of Bahá’u’lláh’s pronouncement predicting the eclipse of the luminaries of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Devastating indeed has been the havoc wrought in the fortunes of the Shí’ih hierarchy in Persia, and pitiable the lot reserved for its remnant now groaning under the yoke of a civil authority it had for centuries scorned and dominated. Cataclysmic indeed has been the collapse of the most preeminent institution of Sunní Islám, and irretrievable the downfall of its hierarchy in a country that had championed the cause of the self-styled vicar of the Prophet of God. Steady and relentless is the process which has brought such destruction, shame, division, and weakness to the defenders of the strongholds of Christian ecclesiasticism, and black indeed are the clouds that darken its horizon. Through the actions of Muslim and Christian divines—“idols,” whom Bahá’u’lláh has stigmatized as constituting the majority of His enemies—who failed, as commanded by Him, to lay aside their pens and fling away their fancies, and who, as He Himself testified, had they believed in Him would have brought about the conversion of the masses, Islám and Christianity have, it would be no exaggeration to say, entered the most critical phase of their history.
Let none, however, mistake my purpose, or misrepresent this cardinal truth which is of the essence of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. The divine origin of all the Prophets of God—including Jesus Christ and the Apostle of God, the two greatest Manifestations preceding the Revelation of the Báb—is unreservedly and unshakably upheld by each and every follower of the Bahá’í religion. The fundamental unity of these Messengers of God is clearly recognized, the continuity of their Revelations is affirmed, the God-given authority and correlative character of their Books is admitted, the singleness of their aims and purposes is proclaimed, the uniqueness of their influence emphasized, the ultimate reconciliation of their teachings and followers taught and anticipated. “They all,” according to Bahá’u’lláh’s testimony, “abide in the same 108 tabernacle, soar in the same heaven, are seated upon the same throne, utter the same speech, and proclaim the same Faith.”