Claims of Baha'-Allah II - The Bible, the New Testament and Christian Literatures.

 Claims of Baha'-Allah  II - The Bible, the New Testament and Christian Literatures.

Stephen Lambden Notes from 1980s

Last revised and uploaded 16-05-2017

Following Baha'-Allah, `Abd al-Baha' and Shoghi Effendi, Baha'is have a very high estimate of Jesus and  the Jesus movement which became the Christian religion he founded. They view the New Testament as divinely inspired though relatively little within its books are set forth as the direct words of Jesus.

Abd al-Bahā'  dictated many thousands of Tablets (alwāḥ) in which Biblical and qur'ānic prophecies are interpreted in creative and sometimes multi-faceted ways. He had a detailed and intimate knowledge of the Bible and the Qur'ān. His view of the Bible is summed up in the beautiful rhyming Persian words he wrote in the Pulpit Bible of  the City Temple in London in September 1911:

  • [1] "This is the sanctified  Holy Book [Bible] (kitāb-i muqaddas); which is redolent with heavenly inspiration (bi-waḥy-yi samā'). [2] It is the Torah of Salvation (tawrāt-i najāt). It is the Glorious Evangel [Gospel] (injīl-i jalīl)" .
  • [3] [Incorporating] the mysteries of the Kingdom (asrār-i malakūt); The Lights of the Divinity (anwār-i lāhūt)
  • [4] The Divine Bounty (fayḍ-i ilāhī); Traces of  Lordly Guidance (āthār-i ḥidayat-i rabbānīyyih). (Signed,`Abd al-Bahā' `Abbas ) [ Prov. trans. Lambden].

This Bible was destroyed during WWI but a photograph of the Persian inscription is reproduced in a number of publications such as, for example, White, 1946; cf. Balyuzi, 1971:145).

Hundreds of his scrptural Tablets contains biblical and qur'anic based titles of Baha'-Allah. Only a few such references and textual interpretations will be referenced and commented upon below. We may note here that in the notes and comments to follow, the 19th century, 1860s Eli Smith and Cornelius yan Dyck (1818-95) Arabic translation of the Bible as well as the 1812 and later Persian translation by Henry Martyn will occasionally be cited. These translations were among those cited by both Bahâ'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha. Certain of their interpretations presuppose the texts registered in these translation or reflect a sometimes ancient Christian textual history.

THE NEW TESTAMENT - CHRISTIANITY.

An important statement has been made in the Tablet of Baha'-Allah to  the Templar leader Georg David Hardegg (1812–1879) where the elevated divine position or station of Jesus is affirmed; Baha'is and Christians being in basic agreement:

[1] As for what thou hast mentioned, that a certain person hath supposed that there are no differences between us with regard to the Spirit [Jesus], [2] this is indeed the truth inasmuch as the Spirit [Jesus] is sanctified beyond being overwhelmed by differences or encompassed by symbolic expressions. [3] He, verily, is the theophany (zuhur) of the Light of Oneness (nur al-ahadiyya) among mankind and the sign of the Ancient of Days (ayat al-qidam) among the peoples (bayn al-ummam). [4] He who turneth unto Him [Jesus] hath turned unto He [God] who sent Him [Jesus] and he who rejecteth Him hath rejected He who caused Him to be made manifest and to speak forth. [5]  He hath ever been what He was and will ever remain the same as what He was; only the Effulgence of His Theophany (ishraqat tajalliyat) in the Mirrors varies on account of Their different forms and colours (trans, Lambden, June 1983 revised 2017).

In his 1944 God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi, summed up the person of Baha'-Allah as anticipated by Jesus Christ and in various motifs and passages in the New Testament:

To Him Jesus Christ had referred as the “Prince of this world,” as the “Comforter” Who will “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,” as the “Spirit of Truth” Who “will guide you into all truth,” Who “shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak,” as the “Lord of the Vineyard,” and as the “Son of Man” Who “shall come in the glory of His Father” “in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” with “all the holy angels” about Him, and “all nations” gathered before His throne... (GPB: 95-96).

The paragraphs below will attempt to comment on certain these various New Testament titles of claimed by Baha'-Allah himself or associated with him by his son and other Baha'i followers.

THE FATHER AND THE SON.

It has already been noted that Baha'-Allah cited and alluded to Isaiah 9:6 in connection with his claim to be the eschatological "Father" representative of the advent of the Manifestation or theophany of God on the Day of God or the Day of Judgement. In the NewTestament we read that Jesus, the Son of God predicted that: "For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father":

 "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works" (Matthew 16:27)

In various of his scriptural alwah (Tablets), Baha'-Allah also refers to himself as al-ibn ("the Son") as well, it seems as the "Son of Man" or "Son of God". He would be the "son" as the return of Christ the Son of God as well of Muhammad as the "Son of Man"; all the great Messengers being in the oft repeated Baha'i viewpoint, the "return" of each other.

In his 1944 Lawh-i qarn, Shoghi Effendi lists the title  الاب السماوي    al-ab al-samawi, "heavenly Father",  among the forty or so titles selected in this important  Naw Ruz 101 letter to the Baha'is of the East. This is probably derived from the so-called Lord's Prayer which occurs in a longer form in the Gospel of Matthew within the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:9-13) as well as in the Gospel of Luke (Lk. 11:2-4). It expresses Jesus' directive as to how the Jewish / Christian devotee should pray. It commences:

Our Father (Πάτερ Pater) which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. [10] Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. " (Matthew 6:9-10).

"Our Father (Πατρὶ Patri) which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth" (Luke 11:2b).

The Arabic version in the 1860s Bible translation of Van Dyck reads - the two versions cited above (Matt 6:9-10 = Luke 11:2b) are identical:

ابانا الذي في السموات. ليتقدس اسمك ليأت ملكوتك. لتكن مشيئتك كما في السماء كذلك على الارض

 In one of his Tablets Baha'-Allah associated the letters "A" and "B' in the Arabic word     Ab, meaning with the word for "Father" in the New Testament. Its two letters are found as the first and third letters of the al-ism al-a`zam, the Greatest Name Baha' = B+H+A. This was one of the signs of his future advent with the "glory" of the Greatest Name. 

John 16: 18f =  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

THE LORD OF THE VINEYARD

  • Greek =  κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος =  ho kurios tou ampelōnos = "The Lord of the Vineyard"  [KJV-AV] or `the owner/master of the vineyard'  (Mark 12: 9 + Matthew 21:40 + Luke 20: 15b).

"What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others" (= AV-KJV) (Mark 12: 9 and parallels = Matthew 21:40; Luke 20: 15b).

For the full context see the three versions of the parable recorded in Mark 12:1-12 (version 1); Matthew 21:33-42 [46] (version 2) and Luke 20: 9-19 (version 3) in the King James Verion and other more modern translations (see the PDf  below). For a synopsis of the three Gospel versions of this `The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard'  or `The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen',  see Synopsis of the Four Gospels (12th edition, 2001) Edited by Kurt Aland = Sect. 278]. Pdf: Vineyard-Synoptic Gospels.pdf

Arabic, Persian and other versions and translations of "the Lord-master-owner" of the Vineyard" are of relevance here since these renderings of this phrase within the synoptic Gospels of the New Testament were available to or known by Baha'-Allah, `Abd al-Baha and other Baha'i apologists writing during the 19th century and beyond.  The Arabic version of κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος ("the Lord of the Vineyard)  by Cornelius van Allen van Dyck might first be noted as this translation was, from the 1860s, often cited by Baha'-Allah and much beloved of `Abd al-Baha'. In this translation the Arabic phrase صَاحِبُ \لْكَرْمِ sahib al-karm, "the Lord-Owner of the Vineyard" occurs in each of the synoptic Gospels (at Mk. 12:9; Matt. 21: 40 and Lk.20:15b).

  • Mark 12:9 :
  • فَمَاذَا يَفْعَلُ صَاحِبُ \لْكَرْمِ؟ يَأْتِي وَيُهْلِكُ \لْكَرَّامِينَ وَيُعْطِي \لْكَرْمَ إِلَى آخَرِينَ. 

  • Matthew 21:40:
  • فَمَتَى جَاءَ صَاحِبُ \لْكَرْمِ مَاذَا يَفْعَلُ بِأُولَئِكَ \لْكَرَّامِينَ؟.

  • Luke 20: 15b:
  • فَأَخْرَجُوهُ خَارِجَ \لْكَرْمِ وَقَتَلُوهُ. فَمَاذَا يَفْعَلُ بِهِمْ صَاحِبُ \لْكَرْمِ؟

The use of  كَرْمِ  karm for "vineyard" in these Arabic translation of the Gospel verses, echoes the Hebrew name of Mt. Carmel, כַּרְמֶ֑ל , meaning "Vineyard of God") wich is situated in and around Haifa which Baha'-Allah several times visited and which was close to the residences of many of close associates. Towards the end of the 19th century many followers near and around this mountain. This may have contributed to the Baha'i interpretartion of the title "Lord of the Vineyard" as applying to Baha'-Allah, the author of a specific scriptural Tablet entitled the ﻟﻮﺡ ﻛﺮﻣﻞ‎‎ Lawh-i Karmil ("The Tablet of Carmel"). From the late 19th century a succession of Baha'i apologists have interpreted the New Testament Gospel references to the `Lord [owner/master] of the Vineyard' as applying to Baha'-Allah, or to Christ and Baha'-Allah.  The wider parable context was thought to anticipate a succession of rejected prophet founders of religions, messengers ill-treated by the wicked "tenant" or "husbandmen" contemporaries.  It was further thought that implicit in the `parable of the wicked husbandmen/ tenants" was the mission of Christ the "Son" and later that of Baha'-Allah, understood to be the "Lord" or "Father of the Vineyard". He would come as a Divine Messenger and give the "vineyard" of the world to the safekeeping of others.  

Among the earliest such persons to interpret in this way was the learned poet Mirza 'Ali Ashraf Lahijani, `Andalib ("Nightingale", b. Lahijan [Gilan] 1853- d. Shiraz,1919) who had a spirited conversation about the application of this title to Baha'-Allah with the English Persianist Edward G. Browne (d. 1926). This conversation is recorded in Browne's classic `A Year Amongst the Persians : Impressions As To The Life, Character, and Thought of The People of Persia, Received During Twelve Months' Residence In That Country In The Years 1887-8' (1st ed. London : Adam & Charles Black, 1893) as based on or redacted from his unpublished personal diary written in Persia in 1888.

Early western Baha'is quickly interpreted the `Parable of the wicked husbandmen' ( or loosely, `Parable of the Vineyard') relative to Baha'-Allah being the `Lord of the Vineyard'.

Often instructed in Bible interpretation by `Abd al-Baha' himself, Isabella D. Brittingham  (1852-1924), for example, in her 1902 Baha'i bible-based   `The Revelation of Baha-ollah in a Sequence of Four Lessons' (Chicago:Baha'i Publishing Society, February 1902) several times refers to Baha'-Allah as the "Lord of the Vineyard".  Jesus the "Son" and Baha'-Allah the "Father" and "Lord of the Vineyar" are both referred to in the parable : "in His great parable of the Lord of the Vineyard, Jesus Christ renews this prophecy, as found in St. Mark. 12th chap., four parties there being mentioned, two of which are the Father and the Son". Brittingham further taught that Jesus "was sent to preach the coming of the Father's Kingdom, not of His own Kingdom: to announce the advent of the "Lord of the Vineyard." He taught His little band of disciples to pray for the coming of that Kingdom. We find that Jesus often prayed to the Father" (Brittingham, The Revelation, 4-5).

Towards the very beginning of his early 1900s `The Dawn of Knowledge and the Most Great Peace' (composed 1901-2; 1st ed. Chicago: Bahai Publishing Society, 1903; 3rd  ed. October, 1908) another early American Baha'i (from March 1897) and pupil of Ibrahim Kheiralla, Paul Kingston Dealy (d.1935), wrote, "Jesus declared, Luke 4:43, that His mission was "to preach about the Kingdom of God," and all His parables and illustrations had direct reference to God's Kingdom here on earth; that the Lord of the vineyard would come Himself" (1908: 8). A few pages later he cites Isaiah 9:6 understood as a reference to the advent of Baha'-Allah as the Father "the One whom He [Jesus] declared was greater than He [Jesus]—"The Father, the Lord of the Vineyard, who would come and destroy the wicked husbandman who cast his son out of the Vineyard and killed him" (Luke 20:9; Mark 12:1)" (Dealy, The Dawn of Knowledge, 11). The Biblical reference to the advent of Baha'-Allah is the coming of "He, the Father, the Lord of the Vineyard" .. who would come "as a thief in the night" (p.19). Dealy further declared that "through Christ and the Prophets,... the Lord of the Vineyard would come Himself and "make the crooked things straight" (ibid, 13). 

In the appendix below, select further Baha'i  interpretations of the parable mentioning the `Lord of the Vineyard' will be summarized, including those of  persons in close contact with Baha'-Allah,`Abd al-Baha' and/or Shoghi Effendi such as  Mirza 'Ali Ashraf, `Andalib (d. 1919) whose Yazd (Persia) based 1888 conversiotion with the British orientalist Edward G. Browne (d. 1936) has been recorded, Mirza Abu al-Fadl Gulpaygani ( 1944-1914), Hajji Mirza Haydat `Ali (d.1920), Ibrahim Kheiralla (1849-1929), Isabella D. Brittingham (1852-1924), Paul Kingston Dealy (d.1935), Charles Mason Remey  (1874-1974),  John E. Esslemont (1874 – d. Haifa, 1925) and William Sears (d. Autkin AZ, 1911-d. Tuscon AZ, 1992).

Appendix 1. The full context for the three synoptic references to the `Lord of th Vineyard' + Greek and select English translations refer  Pdf: Vineyard-Synoptic Gospels.pdf

Supplementary Notes :  The Parable mentioning `The Lord of the Vineyard', Some further Baha'i Interpretations in primary and secondary, Persian - Middle Eastern and Western sources.

THE SECOND  COMING / RETURN OF CHIRST.

The return, second coming or parousia of Christ

  • Mark 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory
  • Mathew 24: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
  • Luke 21: 27And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

THE ESCHATOLOGICAL PARACLETE AS COMFORTER.

   مُعَزِّي

  • The eschatological Paraclete (Gk. παρακλητος = parakêltos; Ar. mu`azzi = "Comforter" ; also Arabic-Persian tasulli).

Finding the active sense of'consoling and comforting' (Greek Parakalein/parakaleo, 'to console/comfort') reflected in the Fourth Gospel's use of paraklëtos, many Greek Church Fathers presuppose that the Johannine Paraclete is basically a 'Comforter' or 'Consoler'. The New Testament parakêltos is thus translated as the "comforter" in the  Authorized (King James; 1611) and Revised (1885) versions of the Bible as it is in number of key Christian Arabic renderings; the Arabic al-mu`azzi  meaning "the Comforter". Though some recent translations of  parakêltos  translate in other ways such as "counseller" (so  Revised Stardard Version, 1952) the "comforter" rendering has its roots in the  13th century Bible translation effots of the Oxford scholar John Wycliffe (1325-84) and many continue with "comforter" including, for example, the New American Standard Bible (1960), the New King James Version (= Revised Authonzed Version, 1980/82) and the New Century Bible (1987). For most Christians the coming of the parakleots or fulfillment of the promise of the "comforter", found realization in the post-easter pentecostal effusion or "gift" of the Holt Spirit (see Acts 2). Others saw signs of a messianic personifiation which suggested an additional  messianic fulfillment.

The so-called 'paraclete sayings' have sometimes been reckoned to be four groups of verses within the Johannine `Farewell Discourse' (Jn 13:3 lff). They have been studied by modern biblical scholars in relation to each other, to John's Gospel as a whole and to the rest of the Bible. The references are: 1) Jn 14:16-17; 2) Jn 14:26; 3) Jn 15:26-7 and 4) Jn 16:7-14. The English translations quoted below  are slightly adapted from the `Revised Standard  Verson' with occasonal Greek and bracketed transliterations and selected Arabic renderings from the 19th century Eli Smith and) Cornelius Van Dyck (1818-95)  Arabic rendering.

  • [1]  Jn 14:16-17 = And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete (Gk. allos parakleton Ar. mu 'azzi), to be w1th you for ever, even the Spirit of truth (ruh al-haqq), whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
  • [2] Jn 14:26 = 'But the Paraclete (al-mu'azzi), the Holy Spirit (al-ruh al-quds), whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
  • [3] Jn 15:26-7 = But when the Paraclete (al-mu'azzi) cornes; whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth (ruh al-haqq), who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning.
  • [4] Jn 16:7f = Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that 1 go away, for if 1 do not go away, the Paraclete (al-mu'azzi) will not corne to you; but if I go, 1 will send him to you. And when he cornes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness
    and judgement: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; concerning judgement, because the ruler of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot
    bear them now. When the Spirit of truth (ruh, al-haqq) cornes, he will guide you into all the truth (jami'a al-haqq); for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to corne. He will glorify me, for
    he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Messianic or related claims to fufill the four times mentioned (cf. also 1 John 2:1 where  parakêltos  = "intercessor", "advocate") New Testament paraclete promises, have occasionally been voiced in mainstream and heterodox Abrahamic and related religious contexts. By, for example, such heterodox Christians as Marcion of Pontus (d. 180 CE),  by Mani (c. 216- c. 277 CE) the son of a Parthian prince and founder of Manichaeism (a gnostic-type movement drawing upon Judaeo-Christian and Indo-Iranian doctrines), and by numerous Muslims apologists who view the  prophet Muhammad (d. 632 CE) as the New Testament paraclete as one most praiseworthy or Ahmad (cf. Qur'an 61:6). For some details see Lambden 1997: 76ff, PDf link below).

The verbal noun  mu`azzi is derived from the triliteral Arabic  root  `-z-w/y the second form (II) of which can have the sense of  `to comfort, 'to console or comfort somebody'; like the English translation of the New Testament Greek  parakletos as "Comforter" (see above). It is not a word found in the Qur'an but is important in the writings of Baha'-Allah for a number of reasons, including extending "comfort" in Ziyarat- nama (Visitation Tablets) writings to Imami Shi`i believers in the sublimity of the martyred third Imam Husayn as well as martyred members of the Babi-Baha'i community whose associates and relatives needed to be comforted. The visitation Tablet for the third Imam, Sayyid al-Shuhada (The Prince of Martyrs, d. 680 CE) is headed, "He is the Comforter, the Consollor (al-mu`azzi al-musalli).

New Testament language sometimes  influenced Baha'-Allah's vocabulary through Arabic translations of the Bible. It may also be noted here that the Arabic-Persian tasulli can indicate (form II) `to give solace, confort'. This word direcly or indirectly translates the Johannine paraklàos (understood as `comforter') in a number of Persian New Teatament translations including that of Henry Martyn (1st ed. St, Petersburg, 1812 + many subsequent editions). In this influential Persian translation, the phrase "another comforter" at John 16:14, for example, is rendered (from the Greek) tasulli-yi dahanda-yi digar. Other Persian translations such as the 1895 Bruce revision of the Henry Martyn version, have similar phrases for the Paraclete sayings. 

Baha'-Allah the Comforter

Interpretations of the paraclete sayings are central to Baha'u'llah's daims. They have an important place in the Baha'i interpretation of the New Testament. From early on in his religious mission, in his c. 1860-61 Jawahir al-asrar ('Gems-Essence of Mysteries"), Baha'-Allah cited three 'clusters' of paraclete texts comprising  Jn 15:26-27a ;  Jn 14:26 + 16:5-6aoc  and  Jn 16:7,13 ( Arabie text in  AQA. 3:11-12 = INBMC 46:4-5).

In the seventh paragraph of the Lawh-i Hardegg (Lawh-i Hartik or Hirtik)  there is cryptic reference to Baha'-Allah's advent as the messianic Paraclete, the “Comforter” (al-mu`azzi)

[1] Then We saw the Word which uttered a Word which every community found to be according to its own tongue and language. [2] When that Word was uttered, a Sun shone forth from the Horizon of its Announcement, the Lights of which eclipsed the sun of the heavens.  [3] It said, `The head of the seventy hath been adorned with the crown of the forty and been united with the seven before the ten.' [4] Then it lamented and it said, `What is this that I see? The house doth not recognise its master neither doth the son pay heed unto his father; nor likewise is the hopeful seeker cognisant of his place of refuge and haven.' (Lambden trans. from Haifa, BWC supplied ms.)

 This paragraph of the `Tablet to Hardegg' sets forth in cryptic fashion the advent of Bahā’-Allāh as the "Comforter" (al-mu`azzī),  as predicted in the fourth Gospel (refer Jn 14:16f, 25f; 15:26f; 16:7f: in these passages the Gk. παρακλητος  is, in many Christian Arabic Bibles, translated as al-mu`azzī  the Christian Arabic rendering rather than by the direct Arabic transliteration al-faraqlit (the Paraclete). In somewhat abstruse, acrostic  fashion, Bahā’-Allāh informs Hardegg that he has appeared as the promised "Comforter" but laments over the fact that he has not been recognised. He associates the concealed "word" (kalima)   with  seems to indicate his advent as the "Comforter", al-mu`azzī , referring to the (abjad) numerical value of the letters composing mu`azzī (comforter : i.e.  م  (= abjad 40 ) + ع (= abjad 70 ) + ز   (= abjad 7 ) +  ي (=abjad 10 ). That the "head of the 70 hath been adorned with the crown of the 40 signifies the conjunction of the letters ع (= abjad 70 ) and  م  (= abjad 40 ), the  م  preceding the  ع . These two letters are to be added to (read in sequence with) "the 7 before the 10" or the  letter (7) ز preceded by the letter (l0)  ي . The result is thus  معزي = "Comforter".

For further details and referemces see : Syephen Lambden `Prophecy in the Johannine Farewell Discourse: The Advents of the Paraclete, Ahmad and the Comforter (Mu 'azzi)'.   PDf. Paraclete.pdf .

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH

  • The Spirit of Truth as ruh al-haqq is a phrase from the fourth of the Johannine paraclete sayings. In context it reads

Jn 16:7f Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that 1 go away, for if 1 do not go away, the Paraclete (al-mu'azzi) will not corne to you ... I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth (ruh al-haqq) cornes, he will guide you into all the truth (jami'a al-haqq); for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to corne. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you".

At one point in his The Dispensation of Baha'u'lah,Shoghi Effendi at one point writes,

“He[ Baha'u'llah]  it is,” referring to Himself He further proclaims, “Who in the Old Testament hath been named Jehovah, Who in the Gospel hath been designated as the Spirit of Truth, and in the Qur’án acclaimed as the Great Announcement.” (Dispensation, 104).

 

THE CONCEALED WORD

In his Tablet to Pope Pius IX, written in about 1869 CE, Baha'u'llah proclaims:

'The Word (al-kalima) which the Son Uesus] concealed is made manifest in the form of the human temple in this day [= Bahâ'u'llâh] (trans. Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 32) ... This is the Word (al-kalimat) which was preserved behind the Veil of Grandeur. When the promised time came, He shone forth from the horizon of the Divive Will with manifest signs ... (Alvah, 80  trans. Lambden), 
'This is the Word (al-kalimat) which the Son Uesus] concealed, when to those around him He said: "Ye cannot bear it now". And when the appounted tlme was fulfilled and the Hour had struck ....  (Baha'-Allah, Lawh-i aqdas, the Most Holy Tablet' trans. TB:11).

Pentecost in Acts 2,  Qur'ân 14:4 and the universal disclosure of the Word.

That the eschatological disclosure of this 'Word' (al-kalima) by 'the Word (al-kalima =  Jesus) was found by the various 'sects' (adhab) to be in their own language perhaps indicates the universality of the eschatological disclosure. It is implied that all should respond to Bahâ'-Allâh's advent. Bahâ'u'llah's appearance could be seen as a new, globally directed 'Pentecost'. Just as the Paraclete is traditionally believed by Chnstians to have communicated at Pentecost to devout men from every nation under heaven' (via the apostles speaking in 'tongues' (see  Acts 2: lff' cf. Qur'an 14:4), so too Bahâ'-Allah as the eschatological 'Comforter'.
 

THE PRINCE/ RULER OF THIS WORLD.

John 14:30  (Greek) ὁ τοῦ κόσμου ἄρχων  =  ho tou kosmou archōn,  "The Prince/Ruler of this world".

This title occurs in the context of  (or a few verses after) the second Johannine paraclete saying in Jn 14:26 which reads (cf. above) :

[2] "But the Paraclete (al-mu'azzi), the Holy Spirit (al-ruh al-quds), whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" ( Jn 14:26). 

The full context is as follows:

John  14: 25f These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter [Paraclete, al-mu`azzi], which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

27 Peace I [Jesus] leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

οὐκέτι πολλὰ λαλήσω μεθ’ ὑμῶν, ἔρχεται γὰρ ὁ τοῦ κόσμου ἄρχων· καὶ ἐν ἐμοὶ οὐκ ἔχει οὐδέν,

30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

The designation "the prince of this world =  ὁ τοῦ κόσμου ἄρχων )" here, is traditionally taken to refer to Satan, the devil who has no connection with Jesus, though in the Baha'i exegesis it refers to Baha'-Allah as an exalted messianic figure  and source of divine grace independent  from Jesus who himself ever remains  a locus of  divine grace. The phrase "for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me" is cited and commented upon in Persian translation in one of the Tablets of `Abd al-Baha' to the early American Baha'i Paul Kibgston Dealy ( d. 1935; a Baha'i from 1897), who had specifically enquired about its meaning. Loosely translated, the Persian text reads :

Cited from Makatib-i Hadrat-i `Abd al-Baha', vol. III : 404.

"And regarding the question you have asked about verse 30 within chapter 14 of the Gospel [book] of John where His Holiness the Messiah (hadrat-i masih) says, "Hereafter I will not talk much with you for the malik-i dunya (Prince-Ruler-King of this world)  is coming  and hath nothing in me (hich chiz dar man nadarad). The malik-i dunya (Ruler-King of this world) is the Blessed Beauty (jamal-i mubarak)! Now the phrase "hath nothing in me" (hich chiz dar man nadarad) has the meaning that after me [Baha'-Allah] all will be superabundant with grace through me (az man mustafayd-and). Nevertheless,  he [Jesus] will possess independent sovereignty   (mustaqill) for he will not be in need of grace (fayd) through me [Baha'-Allah]; that is to say,  he [Jesus] will be independent (mustaghni) of grace through me [Baha'-Allah] (fayd-i man)" (Persian text from Makatib-i Hadrat-i `Abd al-Baha', vol. III : 404, see above).

There seems to be an influence from the `The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen' in Shoghi Effendi's translation of the Tablet of Baha'-Allah, the Lawh-i Jamal-i Burujirdi : 

They should conduct themselves in such manner that the earth upon which they tread may never be allowed to address them such words as these: "I am to be preferred above you. For witness, how patient I am in bearing the burden which the husbandman [laborers] (mashaqqat) layeth upon me. I am the instrument that continually imparteth unto all beings the blessings with which He Who is the Source of all grace hath entrusted me" Gleanings, No.5 pp.7-8. Persian text in MAM: 220-1+ Muntakhabati az alwah ... Selections, 141/1984, p. 13 cf. BSB).

The greeting to the seven churches in the first chapter of the book of Revelation includes the following  interesting use of archōn (Prince-Ruler) referring to Jesus himself followed, a few verses later, by a prediction of his universal eschatological advent:

καὶ ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστός, ὁ πρωτότοκος τῶν νεκρῶν καὶ ὁ ἄρχων τῶν βασιλέων τῆς γῆς. Τῷ ἀγαπῶντι ἡμᾶς καὶ λύσαντι ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ,

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth (Gk. ὁ ἄρχων τῶν βασιλέων τῆς γῆς = `the archōn of the kings of the earth" ). Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen

 

THE APOCALYPSE - REVELATION OF JOHN

"To Him the Author of the Apocalypse had alluded as the "Glory of God," as "Alpha and Omega," "the Beginning and the End," "the First and the Last." Identifying His Revelation with  96  the "third woe," he, moreover, had extolled His Law as "a new heaven and a new earth," as the "Tabernacle of God," as the "Holy City," as the "New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."  (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, 95-96).

"THE GLORY OF GOD"

At one point in certain Arabic New Testament translations, most notably the London 1858 (= 1671) William Watts printed Arabic Bible for the Eastern Churches, the genitive phrase bahā’- Allāh translates doxa tou teou/ (AV "the glory of God") in Revelation 21:23 where John of Patmos predicts,

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God ( Gk. doxa tou teou = bahā’ Allāh) did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof (AV tr).

In a very large number of  scriptural alwah (Tablets) Baha'-Allah  applies to himself New Testament references to Christ’s parousia in radiant "glory" (Gk. doxa <-- Mk. 8:38,13:26; Matt.16:27; Lk. 9:26b). As the eschatological "Father" he claimed to be the return of Christ the "Son", initially, it seems, from Edirne (Ottoman Turkey) in the early-mid. 1860s (L. Ibn; S.Mulūk, etc) almost exactly 200 years after Sabbetai Tzevi (1626-1676) made his messianic claims known (1665-6) in this location.

In Arabic versions of the New Testament the masculine adjective majīd (= "glorious") or majd ("glory", cf. Q. 11:73; 85:15) not bahā’ most frequently translate doxa "glory". Many of Baha'-Allah*s post-1863 references to his theophany thus use majd /majīd alluding to the synoptic predictions of a parousia in "glory". In addressing various `kings and rulers’ in major  writings of the late Edirne, early Galilean (= `Akkā’/Acre) period (1867-1862) this claim is frequently voiced as in the following brief extracts from epistles addressed to the "Christian west", to Napoleon III (d.1873), Queen Victoria (d.1901) and Pope Pius IX (d.1878):

Wert thou to incline thine inner ear unto all created things, thou wouldst hear: `The Ancient of Days (al-qadīm) is come in His great glory (dhu'l-majd al-`aẓīm) (Tablet to Napoleon III AQAK 99)

He, in truth, hath come unto the world in his most great glory (bi-majdihi al-a`ẓ am) ( Tablet to Queen Victoria/ L. Vikturiya, AQAK:131 tr. Shoghi Effendi, PDC:35).

Blessed be the Lord (al-rabb) who is the Father (al-āb)!  He verily, hath come among the nations in His most great glory (bi-majdihi al-a`ẓam, Tablet to the Pope / L. Pap. AQAK:/ tr. TB:79).

From the above paragraphs it should be clear that the Arabic word bahā’ was identified by Baha'-Allah from the 1860s as the locus or quintessence of the ism Allāh al-a`ẓam. This motif has clear Judaic-Islamic roots. It has its secondary roots in the deep Shaykhī- Bābī theophanological gnosis. Baha'-Allah personalized the bahā’  motif during his early Bābī years, later claiming to be a pre-existent incarnation of that bahā’ which is the ism Allāh al-a`ẓam  intimated to Moses on the mystic, timeless Sinai. This, it would seem, was by virtue of the Bāb’s use of bahā’ phrases and derivatives in Shī`ī- Shaykhī inspired Du`a saḥār / mubāhila generated devotional meditations and prophecies (cf. Qismatī, 38)..

 

THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA

"Alpha and Omega,"  الالف والیاء  al-Alif ("A") and the al-Ya' (the "Y").

Spelled in this way like the Van Dyck Arabic trabnslation, this title is No. 23  in the Lawh-i Qarn of Shoghi Effendi. Alif (A) and Ya' (Y) are the first and last letters of the Arabic alphabet and thus translate the Greek  τὸ Ἄλφα καὶ τὸ Ὦ, the Alpha and Omega. The Greek text of Rev. 1:7-8  reads  in  with the AV - KJV translation of :.

7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ Ἄλφα καὶ τὸ Ὦ, λέγει Κύριος ὁ Θεός, ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, ὁ Παντοκράτωρ.

8 I am Alpha and Omega ( τὸ Ἄλφα καὶ τὸ Ὦ, ), the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

These verses are from the prologue or commencement of the Apocalypse of John of Patmos, the  Book of Revealtion, which purports to be a revelation from the exalted post-resurrection Jesus Christ. In one of his letters, tablets or communications to Baha'is `Abd al-Baha'  makes many allusions to this book and refers to Baha'Allah as the "Alpha and the Omega":

"O ye beloved of God!  O ye children of His Kingdom! Verily, verily, the new heaven and the new earth are come.  The holy City, New Jerusalem, hath come down from on high in the form of a maid of heaven, veiled, beauteous, and unique, and prepared for reunion with her lovers on earth

He hath wiped away their tears [Rev. 21:4], kindled their light, rejoiced their hearts and enraptured their souls.  Death shall no more overtake them neither shall sorrow, weeping or  tribulation afflict them.  The Lord God Omnipotent hath been enthroned in His Kingdom and hath made all things new [Rev. 21:5] This is the truth and what truth can be greater than that announced by the Revelation of St. John the Divine?

He [Baha'-Allah] is Alpha and Omega [Rev. 1:8].  He is the One that will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life and bestow upon the sick the remedy of true salvation.  He whom such grace aideth is verily he that receiveth the most glorious heritage from the Prophets of God and His holy ones.  The Lord will be his God, and he His dearly‑beloved son" (`Abdu'l‑Baha' Selections from the writings of `Abdu'l‑Baha,  trans. 12‑13)

THE BEGINNING AND THE END

"the Beginning and the End,"

THE FIRST AND THE LAST

"the First and the Last." 

PAULINE AND THE PSEUDO-PAULINE LETTERS

"To the hour of His advent St. Paul had alluded as the hour of the “last trump,” the “trump of God,” whilst St. Peter had spoken of it as the “Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” His Day he, furthermore, had described 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” (Shoghi Effendi, GPB:96).

THE LAST TRUMP, THE TRUMP OF GOD.

"To the hour of His [Baha'-Allah's] advent St. Paul had alluded as the hour of the "last trump," the "trump of God," " (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, 95).