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The Claims and Titles of Baha'-Allah and the Abrahamic religions I. The Bible, Judaism and Jewish Literatures.

 

The claims and Titles of Baha'-Allah and the Abrahamic religions I. The  Bible, Judaism and Jewish Literatures.

Stephen Lambden UCMerced.

In progress - under completion and revision from notes dating to the 1980s 

Last updated : 15-06-2021.

The following few citations from the opening and a few later paragraphs of the Lawh-i ibn-i dhi`b, the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (trans. Shoghi Effendi) must suffice to provide something of an introduction to the claims of Baha'-Allah and to the nature of the religion he founded.

Praise be to God, the Eternal that perisheth not, the Everlasting that declineth not, the Self-Subsisting that altereth not... He it is Who hath revealed His [Baha'i] Cause for the guidance of His creatures, and sent down His verses to demonstrate His Proof and His Testimony... Know thou that the ear of man hath been created that it may hearken unto the Divine Voice on this Day that hath been mentioned in all the Books, Scriptures, and Tablets... This Wronged One hath frequented no school, neither hath He attended the controversies of the learned. By My life! Not of Mine own volition have I revealed Myself, but God, of His own choosing, hath manifested Me... That the divers communions of the earth, and the manifold systems of religious belief, should never be allowed to foster the feelings of animosity among men, is, in this Day, of the essence of the Faith of God and His Religion. These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source, and are rays of one Light. That they differ one from another is to be attributed to the varying requirements of the ages in which they were promulgated... Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction.." (From the opening and later paragraphs of the Lawh-i ibn-i dhi`b, the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, trans. Shoghi Effendi).

Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, Baha'-Allah (b. Tehran, Persia, Nov. 12th 1817- d. Acre, Ottoman Palestine, May 29th 1892) drew upon, interpreted and recreated Abrahamic religious scripture in his claimed role as eschatological messiah and exegete. He often gave Abrahamic sacred writ non-literal, allegorical or batini (deep, esoteric) levels of exegesis. He expressed his claims and adopted titles with a view to attracting members of past religions into his neo-Islamic though post-Islamic and post-Babi religion which he saw as the fulfillment of  millennia-long religious promises and expectations. In claiming this he made appropriate latter-day claims often on the level of a high theophanology. In order to put this into some context, the paragraphs below will attempt to spell out these claims and add select explanations and translations extracted from his own Persian and Arabic writings or scriptural alwah (Tablets).

As will be evident elsewhere in this section of this website, Baha'Allah made numerous claims pertinent to his role as a servant of God or Persian-born human being subject to the vissitudes of life  - hence his major title al-mazlum ("The Wronged One"). Other claims mirror, echo  or reflect the diverse claims of past Abrahamic and other religious founder prophets or messengers. Many express his claimed fulfillment of messianic and elevated predictions about the latter-days and the presence of God thereon. Baha'-Allah claimed to fulfill the messianic and apocalyptic expectations of past religionists as spelled out in the Bible, the Qur'an, the Sunni and Shi`i hadith literatures and a host of other related writings. Many claims reflect an expected theophanological role as a divine being who appeared on the anticipated eschatological "Day of God". For Baha'is this millennial era arrived in the mid. 19th century when Baha'-Allah began to disclose his special relationship with God and role as unifier of the human race, near the city of Baghdad in April-May 1863, in a garden which came to be known as the garden of Ridwan ("Contentment", "Felicity", "Beatitude", "Paradise"). 

 

ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS I,  THE BIBLE, JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY.

In the Hebrew Bible the personal though supernatural Deity who is the God of Israel, has ten or more principal names including the common Semitic name `Êl (אל "God") and related theophoric designations such as `Êl-Elyōn (God-Most High"), `Êl-Shaddai ("God All- Powerful") `Êlōah ("God" cf. Allāh) and `Elōhîm ("God" = Heb.  אלוהים). Especially important names of the God of Israel are  (Heb.) יהוה = YHWH, the tetragrammaton, its abbreviated from יה = Yāh and its extended form YHWH Sebā’ôt = "Lord of Hosts") as well as Adonai or "Lord" (`ādōnaī ). As Baha'-Allah represents the Godhead on the latter-day "Day of God", certain of these Hebrew desinations of the Deity are associated with Him. To this end, select biblical texts were cited by Baha'-Allah himself, most notably in his Lawh-i ibn-i dhi`b (Epistle to the Son of the Wolf', c. 1891 CE; see below).

 

1. THE BIBLE AND JUDAISM.

Tablet of Baha'u'llah in the handwriting of Mirza Abu'l-Fadl Gulpaygani containing reference to Baha'u'llah's advent as a theophany of YHWH (Yahweh) (from Tooraj Amini, 2015 page 531)

Expanded Paragraph mentioning the advent of YHWH

“Say: There hath appeared He [Baha’u’llah] who hath been named YHWH [Yahweh; the tetragrammaton, the Lord] in the Torah-Bible (tawrat) and in the Injīl (Gospel) [of John] as the “Comforter” (al-mu`azzī) and the “Spirit of Truth” (rūḥ al-ḥaqq), and in the Qur’ān as the “Greatest Announcement” النَّبَإِ الْعَظِيمِ  (al-nabā’ al-`aẓīm) [Q.78:2]".      

YHWH  =  יהיה

  • YHWH יְהוָ֥ה, Yahweh "Jehovah" "Adonai" (Lord).

Occurring more than 6,000 times in the Hebrew Bible the tetragrammaton יהיה = YHWH is the personal Name which the Deity  אלוהים  (`elōhîm  x 2,570 sing.+pl.) "the God" of the Israelite forefathers disclosed to Moses on Sinai. The God ('elohim) worshipped by the pre-Israelite patriarchs also gives a more direct reply to Moses' question about His name. He declares Himself to be  יהיה = YHWH the tetragrammaton (Greek, "having four letters"). The four Hebrew consonants that make up the name of God YHWH (yhwh) remain of uncertain pronunciation and meaning. Its exact meaning continues to be debated among biblical scholars and its accepted pronunciation was lost hundreds of years ago, during the Middle Ages.

The basically erroneous vocalization of  YHWH  "Jehovah" is expressed by the artificial and impossible hybrid transliteration YeōWāH which becomes . "Jehovah" in English.   This word was the  invention of  Renaissance Christians who ignored or misunderstood the Masoretic convention of combining of the consonants of YHWH with the vowels of the substitute reading 'adônai (Hebrew, "Lord"). Shoghi Effendi follows the popular and well-known term "Jehovah" when he writes in his The Dispensation of Baha'u'lah:

“He[ Baha'u'llah]  it is,” referring to Himself, He further proclaims, “Who in the Old Testament hath been named Jehovah...” (Dispensation, 104)

During the past century or more, Biblical and other scholars have striven to recover the "correct" pronunciation of YHWH. Today the form Yahweh  is most widely accepted. For 2,000 years or more, however, the very attempt to pronounce the tetragrammaton was something widely viewed, at least in "orthodox" Jewish circles, as something sacrilegious or spiritually dangerous. Post-biblical Judaisms, especially varieties of Jewish mysticism and esotericism, added many sometimes novel, hypostatic, occasionally magical, theurgically meaningful, qabbalistic and talismanic Names of God. Certain of the Qumran texts ("Dead Sea Scrolls"), include passages referring to God by means of the "great Name" or reflecting a `Mightiest Name‘ theology. In, for example, col. IV of 4Q504 [4QDib.Hama ], `The `Words of the Luminaries’, a petitioner refers to Jerusalem as the place which God chose, "for your Name to be there for ever." Apparently in eschatological times God- the Name is to sit there for ever enthroned. This such that all countries could vision His "glory" and bring offerings of gold, silver, precious stones, "all the treasures of their country" to his "great Name" to the honour of Israel and Zion "your holy city and your wonderful house" (cf. Haggai 2:7) (trans. Martinez, 415). Many Rabbinic and later Jewish mystical texts celebrate God’s Mightiest Name which embraces the name YHWH..

ESW:

Moses encounter with YWH or with the pre-existent Baha'u'llah, as the Kabod Adonai (Glory of the Lord-YHWH)

While in Exodus 3:2, it is an "angel of the Lord" (mal'akh YHWH; alternatively, messenger of YHWH) which appeared to Moses in a flame of fire of a burning bush, Exodus 3:4 implies that it was YHWH ("the Lord") who spoke directly to Moses. As the narrative unfolds, the mysterious angel is seen to represent God (ha-'elohīm) who subsequently identifies himself as YHWH. (See Exodus 3:15.) This apparent confusion between God and his messengers is expressive of the mystery of the divine transcendence. Visually Moses had a real, though indirect, encounter with his Lord. His awareness of God was his indirect perception of Him through His messenger, who appeared in the ethereal formlessness of a flame of fire set in a burning bush which "was not consumed."

Jewish and Christian sources contain traditions of considerable interest about the identity of the divine Being(s) whom Moses encountered at Horeb/Sinai. In the Septuagint (LXX) and Hellenistic Jewish interpretation of Exodus 3:2ff., the "angel of the Lord" is distinguished from the transcendent Godhead. For Philo of Alexandria (d. c. 45 C.E.) the angel/ messenger visioned by Moses was an "image of Being" or, so it seems, a manifestation of the divine Logos.5 According to Exodus Rabba II.5, Rabbi Johannan taught that the one who appeared in the burning bush was the archangel Michael (meaning, "who is like God," cf. Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1). Rabbi Hanina on the other hand, related Exodus 3:2 to an appearence of Gabriel. Certain rabbis, furthermore, held that whenever Michael appeared the "glory of the Shekinah" (the [68] Divine Presence) was also present. At first an angel appeared and stood in the midst of the fire, and then the Shekinah (loosely, the "Divine Presence") presence descended and spoke to Moses (cf. Deut. R. II. 34).
Early Christian writers, including Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, and Irenaeus of Lyons, interpreted Exodus 3:2ff. Christologically. The angel/divinity manifest in the burning bush was regarded as a theophany of Jesus Christ as God the Son. 6 6 In his Dialogue (with the Jew Trypho; chs. 5960; cf. 126-7), Justin insists that it was not the transcendent Father (God) who appeared in the bush, but Jesus the Son who is both the God (theos)"  and the angel (angelos) of Exodus 3:1-4, 17. In the same writer's First Apology (chs. 62-3), it is argued that the God who appeared to Moses was Christ the Son of God, Logos, and Godhead, who is also called an angel or apostle because (as one sent) he announced things that should be known. 7 Gregory of Nyssa (d. c. 395 C.E.), in his magnificent The Life of Moses, understood Exodus 3:2ff. in terms of the doctrines of the incarnation and virgin birth of Jesus. 8 Augustine of Hippo (d. 430 C.E.) came to develop a sophisticated trinitarian interpretation of these verses in the light of the Arian controversy. Though not averse to identifying Christ with the "angel of the Lord," he, in order to avoid Jesus being thought to be a created being, taught that "the angel was regarded as only representing the Son and speaking in his name." 9

Many different interpretations have been given to the motif of the burning bush which was not consumed. The Hebrew word used for "bush," seneh, occurs only at Exodus 3:2 and in Deut. 33:16, where God is referred to as "Him that dwelt in the bush." It has a similar sound to the word Sinai and may

be a deliberate literary allusion to Exodus 19:18, where God is said to have descended on Sinai "in fire." Since God and angelic beings are associated with fire in the Hebrew Bible, the burning of the bush without its being consumed is to be explained in terms of the celestial fire that accompanies the [69] divine theophany. It is the presence of the angel that causes the bush to burn and the supernatural nature of the theophany that prevents it from being consumed. 10
Seneh ("bush" in the Revised Standard Version) is probably derived from a root meaning "thorny" or "sharp" and may, as some Rabbis believed, indicate a thorn bush or bramble. Though it is impossible to determine which species of bush was intended--not that this is a matter of great exegetical importance--many different suggestions have been made. For example, the wild jujube or Zizyphus spina Christi (Arabic, nabs), the bramble or blackberry (Rubus sanguineus [sanctus]), and the shrub Colutea istria. There may well be some connection between the Lote-Tree (sidra) mentioned in the Qur’ān (53:14, 16; cf. 34:15, 56:27) and the biblical motif of the "burning bush." 11

(Lambden, Sinaitic Mysteries. 1987)

5 See Philo, De Vita Mosis I. 6b; De Confusione Linguarum 95 7; Quaest. Exod. 45.
6 See below and refer, for example, to Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus I.8.; Paedagogus II.8.; Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses III.6; IV.10,20, Eusebius, Praep. Ev., XI.9ff; Ambrose, De Fide I.13.

7 For details see D. C. Trakatellis, The Pre-Existence of Christ in Justyn Martyr, pp. 73-80.
8 See Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses pp. 59-63. Cf., p. 159 notes 26-28.
9 I draw on and quote here from B. S. Childs, Exodus, pp. 84-5 referring to Augustine, On the Trinity V.2f.

10 For further details see W. G. Williams, Bush, Burning in Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, pp. 476-7; J. Rogerson, The Supernatural in the Old Testament, pp. 36-38; J. Feliks, Burning Bush in Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 4, cols. 1528-30.
11 Cf. pp. 79-80 and fn. 32 below.

Baha'u'llah as YHWH and the Sinaitic Theophany.

In various pf his Persian and Arabic writings, Baha'u'llah identified himself as the Divine Being whom Moses encountered in the burning bush on the mystic Sinai. This was in line with similar claims made by the Bab in his Qayyum al-asma' (Self-Subsisting Deity of the Divine Names' mid, 1844 CE) and elsewhere.

Then Moses said to God ('elohim), "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, `The God ('elohim) of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?'" God ('elohim) said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM ('ehyeh 'asher 'ehyeh)." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, `I AM ('ehyeh) has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel, `The LORD (YHWH) the God ('elohim) of your fathers, the God ('elohim) of Abraham, the God ('elohim) of Isaac and the God ('elohim) of Jacob, has sent me to you': this is my name for ever and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations (lit., this is my memorial for generation of generation)." (Exodus 3:13-15)

Here Moses requests that God disclose His name to the end that his mission to the Israelites will be successful. From the burning bush, the God ('elohim) worshipped by Moses' ancestors first informs Moses that He is "I AM WHO I AM ('ehyeh 'asher 'ehyeh)" (alternatively, "I AM THAT [IS WHO] I [71] AM," "I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE," or "I CAUSE TO BE WHATEVER I CAUSE TO BE." This mysterious phrase anticipates and throws light on the meaning of the subsequently disclosed name YHWH, for the I AMs ('ehyehs [ x 3]) and this most sacred name are related to the same verbal root (hayah [hawah], "to be"). The implication may be that God is One who acts in sovereign freedom, One Who is self-existent, who makes Himself known in whatever way He chooses or, among other possibilities, One Who sustains existence, or Who cannot be properly known or adequately named.

I am the LORD (YHWH). I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty (EI Shaddai), but by my name the LORD (YHWH) I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they dwelt as sojourners. Moreover I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold in bondage and I have remembered my covenant. Say therefore to the people of Israel, "I am the LORD (YHWH), and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians…" (Exodus 6:2b-6b)

It is here taught that YHWH used the name 'Elohim ("God") before the time of Abraham, and then made Himself known as El Shaddai (loosely, "God Almighty") to Abraham and his descendants. Israel's ancestors worshipped the same God as Moses, but they did not know His name YHWH. The God who covenanted with the patriarchs with respect to the land of Canaan appeared to Moses as YHWH and, faithful to this covenant, announced the imminent liberation of the Israelites. 19 In at least one of the Tablets (alwāḥ) of Bahā'u'llāh, Exodus 6:2ff. is given a mystical interpretation in the light of the mystery of Bahā' as the "greatest name" (ism-i a`ẓam) of God. 20

[And] Moses said [to YHWH], "I pray thee, show me thy glory (kabôd)." And he [YHWH] said, "I will make all my goodness (tôbah) pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name `The LORD' (YHWH); and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But," he said, "you cannot see my face (pānīm); for man shall not see me and live." And the LORD [YHWH] said, "Behold there is a place by me where you shall stand upon the rock; and while my glory (kabôd) passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand and you will see my back ('ahorayim, lit., [two] back parts); but my face (pānīm) shall not be seen." (Exodus 33:18-23).

Here YHWH all but rejects Moses' request to see His "glory," the radiant fullness of His presence. It is possible for Moses to experience God's "goodness" (tôbah; the providential aspect of His being) and His "name" (YHWH, which is the locus of His identity), but direct perception of His presence or "face" (pānīm) is not possible for mortal men. (Cf., though, Exodus 33:11 where it is taught that Moses' conversation with God was of such intimacy that it took place "face to face" [pānīm el pānīm].) Ultimately, the Israelite prophet is permitted, cloistered in the "cleft of a rock" (presumably on Sinai/Horeb) and initially shielded by God's "hand," to experience the passing by of God's "glory" (kabôd) and the vision of His "back parts." Moses had an intimate, though indirect, experience of God's presence. 23

23 Certain references in the Bible to the eschatological manifestation of God's "glory" (Hebrew, kabôd; Greek, doxa) are interpreted in Bahā'ī literature in terms of the advent of Bahā'u'llāh (the "glory of God").

Qur’ān 7:143 and the Sinaitic theophany.

It is at Qur’ān 7:143, that the biblical account of Moses' request to see the glory of God (Exodus 33:18-23) is partially paralleled:

And when Moses came to Our appointed time and his Lord spoke with him, he said, `Oh my Lord, show me, that I may behold Thee!' Said He, `Thou shalt not see Me; but behold the mountain (al-jabal) -- if it stays fast in its place, then thou shalt see Me.' And when his Lord revealed Him to the mountain (tajallā rabbuhu li'l-jabal) He made it crumble to dust; and Moses fell down swooning. So when he awoke, he said, `Glory be to Thee! I repent to Thee; I am the first of the believers." (Qur’ān 7:143).

Here Moses requests a direct vision of his Lord. It is not directly stated, as in Exodus 33:18a, that Moses asked to see God's "glory," though this may be implied. Exodus 33:19 (see above) is not paralleled, but the first part of the quranic version of God's response to Moses' request is in line with Exodus 33:20; direct vision of God is not possible. The biblical reference to Moses' standing "upon a rock," and being placed in "a cleft of the rock," when the divine "glory" passed by (Exodus 33:21-2) probably lies behind the mention of God's theophany before or "to the mountain" (ilā al-jabal; Sinai or a nearby peak?). The impossibility of Moses having direct experience of God is underlined by the fact that the mountain before which God was revealed was reduced to dust. Having witnessed this event Moses fell down in a swoon. On recovering his senses, he glorified his transcendent Lord, confessed his folly, and declared his long-standing faith.
In Qur’ān 7:143, the mode of the Divine theophany before the mountain is expressed by means of the Arabic verbal form tajallā (derived from jalā, to make clear), which Arberrv (cited above) translates "revealed Him." Particularly in view of the mention of the divine "glory" (Hebrew: kabôd) in Exodus 33:18ff., the use of this verb might imply the radiant glory of the divine disclosure.33 The verse in which tajallī (`self-manifestation’, divine “Theophany”) occurs has been variously understood by Muslim commentators and Western translators of the Qur’ān. It is not entirely clear whether God's direct or indirect manifestation is intended; tajallā could imply God's personal appearance, the manifestation of His radiant "glory," or the theophany of an angelic being representative of Him. George Sale translated the line under discussion as follows: "But when his LORD appeared with glory in the mount, he reduced it to dust."

33 The verbal form tajallā indicates the brightness of oncoming day at Qur’ān 92:2. Cf. also, Qur’ān 7:186, 59:3, and 91:3. Generally speaking tajallī signifies God's revealing himself or manifesting his glory.

In an important Shī`ī tradition attributed to Imām Ja'far al-Ṣādiq (d. c. 705 C.E.), the theophany before the mountain is explained in terms of the appearance of an allegedly proto-Shiite cherub (or angelic being):

"The Cherubim (al-karūbiyyūn) are a [celestial] people of our party created in primordial times (min al-khalq al-awwal). God established them behind the [divine] Throne (al-`arsh). If the light (nār) of but one of them should be distributed among the people of the earth, it would assuredly suffice them… When Moses asked his Lord what he asked [i.e., to see Him], He [God] commanded one of the Cherubim and it manifested itself unto the mountain (fa-tajallā li'l-jabal) and reduced it to dust." 34

34 Translated from Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, Vol. 13, pp. 223-4. See also, Bahā'u'llāh, Kitab-i Iqān, p. 61; trans., pp. 50-51. The כרובים Hebrew plural Kerūbīm = cherubim (sing. כרוב , Kerūb = cherub), in Arabic is Karūbiyyūn (pl. sing = Kar[r]ūb). The Cherubim are mentioned over twenty times in the Hebrew Bible (e.g. Gen 3:24; Exod. 25:18; Psalm 18:10; Exekiel Chs. 1 & 10, etc) and once in the New Testament (Hebrews 9:5). Qur’anic references would seem to be related to the muqarrabūn or “those brought nigh” unto God/ the Divine Throne (see 4:172; 7:114; 26:42;56:11, 88; 83:21, 28 cf. 3:45).

The khuṭba al-Ṭutunjiyya (“Sermon of the Gulf”).

In the light of the above, it will be convenient to note at this point that there exists a sermon attributed to Imām `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib (d. 40/661 CE), the "Sermon of the [River] Gulf" (al-khuṭba al-Ṭutunjiyya), which (in certain recensions) contains reference to the eschatological manifestation of God as the One Who conversed with Moses 37

"Anticipate ye the revelation (ẓuhūr) of Him Who conversed with Moses (mukallim mūsā) from the Tree [Burning Bush] upon the Mount [Sinai] (min al-shajarat `alā al-ṭūr)." 38

38 Text, al-Bursī, Mashāriq, p. 168. I use here Shoghi Effendi's translation as cited in Bahā'u'llāh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 42.
37 Not recorded in the Nahj al-balāgha, this sermon is found in a variety of Shī`ī sources including Rajab al-Bursī, Mashāriq anwār al-yaqīn fī asrār amīr al-mu'minīn, pp. 166-170. Certain Shī`ī and modern Western scholars have doubted its authenticity, though it was very highly regarded and esoterically interpreted by various Shī`ī theologians, mystics and philosophers.

A Tablet of Bahā'u'llāh written as if by his amanuensis Mīrzā Āqā Jān Khadīmu'llāh and addressed to a Bahā’ī referred to as Khalīl is of particular interest in connection with the advent of Baha'u'llah as YHWH. Its opening Arabic section was revealed in honor of a certain Ḥakīm --most probably a Jewish convert to the Bahā’ī Faith -- and may be characterised as a mystical exegesis of Exodus 3 and 6:3 [156] (Arabic version). 262 Within it, key texts drawn from the biblical account of the call of Moses and relating to God's disclosure of his identity to the patriarchs and to Moses are associated with the disclosure of the Greatest Name (bahā') or identity of Bahā'u'llāh in primordial times (mystic pre-eternity). It opens with a paragraph in which mention is made of the archetypal beauty of the pre-Mosaic Prophets whose creation is linked with God's theophany as "Almighty God," the El Shaddai of Exodus 6:3. 263 The scene is set for mention of God's appearance to Moses and His declaration, "Moses, Moses, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exodus 3:4b + 6a Arabic version). Bahā'u'llāh says that Moses was greatly moved by this declaration and "veiled his face, being unable to look at Him [God]." (See Exodus 3:6b + quranic parallels.) On account of it, he swooned away, thunderstruck for a period of 81,000 years (9 x 9 x 1,000; a symbolic figure) until "his Lord" revived him, and he glorified Him for 9,000,000 years (another symbolic figure; cf. Qur’ān 20:14, 7:143b).

Then, called again from the "Supreme Horizon," Moses was commissioned by God to make Him known to His "hidden people" in the celestial realms or "timeless" preeternal sphere. A difficult paragraph follows which forms a kind of counterpart to and transcendentalization of Moses' being called to liberate the Israelites in bondage in Egypt (cf. Exodus 3:7-11 Arabic text) and Exodus 3:13-15 is exegetically paraphrased:

Then the One Who conversed with God [Moses] presented His plight unto the Lord, the Ancient: "If I come unto them [the people] and say to them, "Your Beloved hath sent me unto you," and they ask me "What is His name?", what reply shall I give to them?"
Then did the mighty Divine Realm (lāhūt) quake, the Heavenly Dominion (jabarūt) of Power shake, and the kingdom (malakāt) of loftiness and exaltedness swoon away. The most exalted heaven [157] of heavens trembled by reason of the [divine] call which was raised from the hidden Retreat of [God's] Grandeur. The Voice of the Lord caused every ancient mountain to tremble. [Cf. Qur’ān 7:143]
Say [O Moses, to the people]: "I am He Who is I AM WHO I AM ('ehyeh 'asher 'ehyeh). I AM hath sent me [Moses] unto you." [See Exodus 3:14 Hebrew + Arabic.] O Moses! This Thou shalt say to the thirsty ones who desire the Kawthar (Fount) of union with Me: "YHWH (Jehovah), your Beloved, hath sent Me [Moses] unto you in order that I might give you the glad tidings of His [future] advent, His [spiritual] nearness, and of the [eschatological] attainment of His Presence." 265

265 Translated from an unpublished and uncatalogued manuscript of epistles of Bahā'u'llāh (photocopy in this author’s possession).

It seems to be presupposed in this paragraph that God's making himself known to Moses as "I AM WHO I AM" and YHWH "Jehovah" was with a view to the Israelite Prophet making his presence and future advent as Bahā'u'llāh known to the denizens of the mystic realm. The Divine Being who appeared to Moses and made Himself known as the God of the Patriarchs and YHWH will, Bahā'u'llāh subsequently states, not be known by His name Bahā' (the Greatest Name) until "the end of all ages" (eschatological times). Exodus 3: 13-15 and 6:3 are paraphrased by Bahā'u'llāh so as to express a progressive disclosure of the names of the Divine Being Who spoke from the Burning Bush culminating in the announcement of the expected advent of El Shaddai/YHWH as one bearing the "Hidden Name," Bahā', namely, Bahā'u'llāh.
In a number of his epistles of the late West Galilean (`Akkā) period, Bahā'u'llāh clearly claimed to be YHWH, the Divinity Who conversed with Moses from the burning bush and whose eschatological advent as "YHWH of hosts" ("the Lord of hosts") was predicted by the Israelite prophets. In, for example, the following lines addressed to a Jewish convert to the Bahā’ī Faith named Āqā Jān, Bahā'u'llāh writes:

The Face of the Ancient One [Bahā'u'llāh] hath turned towards the sages (ḥukamā') in the Land of al-hā' and al-mīm [Hamādān, in  Iran] and announceth unto them the glad-tidings of the Riḍvān (Paradise) of God, the Lord of all the worlds: "By God! He Who hath been named YHWH "Jehovah" in the Torah hath come. 266

On similar lines is the following extract from an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh to the Bahā’ī poet `Andalīb (and others):

He [Bahā'u'llāh] it is Who, in the Old Testament (Torah) hath been named YHWH "Jehovah". 267

A good many passages are to be found in the Tablets of the late West Galilean (`Akkā) period in which Bahā'u'llāh refers to himself as "the Lord (YHWH) of hosts" (Arabic: rabb al-junūd). One such passage reads as follows:

This is the Day in which He Who cried out on the Mount (munādī al-ṭūr) hath held converse and the Lord of Hosts (rabb al-junūd) proclaimed before all the world: "No God is there except Me, the Mighty, the Knowing." 268

266 Text in AQA, Vol. 2, p. 28; trans. Shoghi Effendi, cited in The Dispensation of Bahā'u'llāh, p. 13 (adapted).
267 Text in ibid., p. 7.
268 See `Abdu'l-Bahā, Tablets of the Divine Plan, pp. 17-23 (Letter of `Abdu'l-Bahā, dated April 19, 20, and 22, 1916).

Many of the bove paragraphs are taken from Lambden 1986 (see below) - for full details see  :

Stephen Lambden.

  • 1986 ‘The Mysteries of the Call of Moses: Translation and Notes on part of a Tablet of Bahā' -Allāh addressed to Jināb-i Khalīl.’  BSB 4/1 (March 1986): 33-79.
  • 1988 ‘The Sinaitic Mysteries: Notes on Moses/Sinai Motifs in Bābī and Bahā'ī  Scripture,’  In Moojan Momen (ed.), Studies in the Bábí & Bahá'í Religions Vol.5 [= Studies in Honour of the Late Hasan M. Balyuzi.  Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 1988, 64-183.

DAY OF YHWH

"to His day Joel and Zephaniah had both referred as the “day of Jehovah,” the latter describing it as “a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.” His Day Ezekiel and Daniel had, moreover, both acclaimed as the “day of the Lord,” and Malachi described as “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” when “the Sun of Righteousness” will “arise, with healing in His wings,” whilst Daniel had pronounced His advent as signalizing the end of the “abomination that maketh desolate.” (Shoghi Effendi, GPB:95).

ESW:

"I AM THAT I AM" EHYEH ASHER EHYEH.

 

אהיה אשר אהיה

Moses requests that God disclose His name to the end that his mission to the Israelites will be successful. From the burning bush, the God ('elohim) worshipped by Moses' ancestors first informs Moses that He is, אהיה אשר אהיה = 'ehyeh 'asher 'ehyeh   (trans. = ) "I AM WHO I AM"  or  perhaps,

  • "I AM THAT [IS WHO] I AM,"
  • "I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE" or
  • "I CAUSE TO BE WHATEVER I CAUSE TO BE".

 

THE LORD OF HOSTS.

"To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the “Everlasting Father,” the “Lord of Hosts” come down “with ten thousands of saints” ..." (GPB:94).

  • LORD of hosts (יְהוָ֥ה צְבָאֽוֹת = Yahweh  ṣəḇā’ōt)."

Especially important names of the God of Israel are  (Heb.) יהוה = YHWH, the tetragrammaton, its abbreviated from  יה = Yāh and its extended form YHWH Sebā’ôt = "Lord of Hosts").  Both Baha'-Allah and `Abd al-Baha' applied Biblical verses mentioning the "Lord of hosts" to  Baha'-Allah, the Glory, kavod-shekinah of God. Examples are indicated in the following line from God Passes By,  "The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:7, see above) ... Of Him David had sung in his Psalms, acclaiming Him as the “Lord of Hosts” and the “King of Glory.”(GPB:XX).

EZEKIEL =THE LORD ...

"[To him [Baha'u'llah] Ezekiel had extolled Him as the “Lord” Who “shall be king over all the earth,”

THE FATHER / EVERLASTING FATHER  

"To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the “Everlasting Father,” the “Lord of Hosts” come down “with ten thousands of saints” ..." (GPB:94).

"Everlasting Father" אֲבִיעַ֖ד  (Isaiah 9:6f)

כִּי־יֶ֣לֶד יֻלַּד ־לָ֗נוּ בֵּ֚ן נִתַּן־לָ֔נוּ וַתְּהִ֥י הַמִּשְׂרָ֖ה עַל־שִׁכְמֹ֑ו וַיִּקְרָ֨א שְׁמֹ֜ו פֶּ֠לֶא יֹועֵץ֙ אֵ֣ל גִּבֹּ֔ור אֲבִיעַ֖ד שַׂר־שָׁלֹֽום׃

 Isaiah 9:6-7 :  "For unto us a child (yeled) is born (yalad) , unto us a son (ben = בֵּ֚ן   ) is given: and the government (ha-mishrah) shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller (pele yovetz =   פֶּ֠לֶא יֹועֵץ֙ ), The mighty God (el gibbor = אֵ֣ל  גִּבּ֔וֹר ), The everlasting Father (`abi `ad = אֲבִיעַ֖ד), The Prince of Peace (shar shalom = שַׂר ־  שָׁלֹֽום )" (Isaiah 9:6). Of the increase of his government (ha-miśrāh = הַמִּשְׂרָ֜ה) and peace (ūlə-shā·lōm = וּלְשָׁל֣וֹם ) there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:7).

 These verses are rightly applied in the New Testament to Jesus, who is regarded as the son of God (see Matthew 1:23f;  Luke 1:32f) but for Baha'is they also apply more fully or eschatologically  to Baha'Allah as the "return of Christ" and one who claimed to be both "the Son" and the Father (see below). In several of his writings of the Acre or `Akkā period (1868-92), Bahā’-Allāh explicitly claims to the father (al-wālid).  In his Tablet to the Pope (Pius III; Lawh-i Pāp), for example, he writes:

"This is indeed the Father (al-wālid),  whereof Isaiah gave you tidings [refer, Isa 9:6b] and the Comforter (al-mu`azzī)  whose coming was promised by the Spirit [Jesus]."

On the claim to be the Comforter (al-mu`azzī)  see under the New Testament below.

ISAIAH

To Him Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, had alluded as the “Glory of the Lord,” the “Everlasting Father,” the “Prince of Peace,” the “Wonderful,” the “Counsellor,” the “Rod come forth out of the stem of Jesse” and the “Branch grown out of His roots,” Who “shall be established upon the throne of David,” Who “will come with strong hand,” Who “shall judge among the nations,” Who “shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips slay the wicked,” and Who “shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (God Passes By, 94-5).

DEUTERONOMY 33:2

"To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the “Everlasting Father,” the “Lord of Hosts” come down “with ten thousands of saints” ..." (GPB:94).

THE GLORY OF THE LORD - KAVOD YHWH / ADONAI'

  • "I am"
  • The Theophany of "Glory" (kavod) on Sinai
  •  

 

THE SPEAKER ON THE MOUNT [SINAI].

mukallim al-tur ), "The Speaker on the Mount [Sina'i].

This claim of Baha'-Allah, which is many times expressed in Persian and Arabic scriptural Tablets. It is a claim rooted in the Bible, the Qur'an and, most notably, in a prediction ascribed to Imam `Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 40/661) in a quite lengthy discourse known as the Khutbat al-Tutunjiyya ("Sermon of the Gulf") which contains the following line: 

 

The Sahifat-Allah (Scroll of God), in ms.

Towards the beginning of this Tablet primarily addressed to members of the Jewish "progeny of the Friend (anba' al-khalil)" [= descendents of Abraham] and "the legacy of the Speaker (warath al-kalim)",  Moses who spoke forth with and on behalf of God, we read as follows :

This is a Book which was sent down from the heaven of the Divine Will of the All-Merciful (sama' mashiyyat al-rahman) unto whomsoever lieth within the realm of Being, to the end that it might cause them to be established [bring them solace] before God, the Lord of all the worlds. This is indeed the Day in which the Light (al-nur) hath radiated forth in view of the fact that the Speaker on the Mount [Sinai] (mukallim al-tur) [Moses = Baha'-Allah] hath been established upon the Throne of the Divine Theophany [Manifestation] (`arsh al-zuhur). And He hath indeed cried out before the countenances within the Dominion [or Rulers, King(s)] (wujuh al-mulk), for unto God belongeth the Might and the Praise. This is the Day in which the Speaker (al-kalim) [Moses] announced the Glad-tidings, then the Spirit (al-ruh) [Jesus] and after him Muhammad, the Messenger of God (rasul Allah) who appeared from the Dawning-Place of the Cause (mashriq al-amr) with Respledent Soverignty (bi-sultan mubin)" (unpublished ms. trans Lambden).

The second Ṭaráz

is to consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship, to proclaim that which the Speaker on Sinai [Baha'-Allah] hath set forth and to observe fairness in all matters".(late Acre period;trans, TBAA: XX).

 

 

THE ANCIENT OF DAYS =  עַתִּ֤יק יֽוֹמַיָּא֙

  • עַתִּיק֙ יֹֽומַיָּ֔א (`attîq yömayyâ') = `The Ancient of Days' (Daniel 7: 9-10; 13:22).

The Divine title associated with the person of Baha'-Allah, occurs three times in the seventh chapter of the book of the prophet Daniel, verses 7, 9 and 22

Daniel 7:9, 13

 

 

The Vision of the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7: 9-14.

9 I beheld till the thrones (כָרְסָוָן֙ = kārəsāwān cf. Arabic kursi ) were cast down, and the Ancient of days ( עַתִּיק֙ יֹֽומַיָּ֔א =`attîq yömayyâ') did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and  his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. 13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (KJV) = AV). 

The third reference to the enthroned Ancient of Days is found in Daniel  7:22  where the vision is given an interpretation :

15 I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 16 I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. 17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; 20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. 21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

 

22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

 

The entry `The Ancient of Days' by B. Becking in The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible is worth citing here :

`attîq yömïn/yömayyâ', traditionally rendered as 'the Ancient of Days' (Dan 7:9.13.22). The expression is to be interpreted as a construct chain expressing a genetivus partitivus. The basic meaning of the common Semitic root 'TQ is 'to be advanced'. The expression then can be rendered as 'advanced in days' implying that the deity was seen as one 'far gone in years' or 'ancient of days'... In the throne vision of Dan 7 the Ancient of Days appears sitting at the head of the divine -'Council. From the continuation of the vision it becomes clear that the Ancient of Days is identical with Yahweh, the God of Israel. He takes away the power from the fourth beast and empowers the one like the -Son of Man with 'dominion, glory and kingdom' in order to rule righteously over the -Saints of the Most High.." ( van der Toom, Becking and Pieter W. van der Horst, eds. 2nd rev. ed.  Leiden-Boston-Koln : William B Eerdmans Pub. Co. Grans Rapids, Michigan + Cambridge, U.K. 1999 = DDD:45-6).  

In the Smith + Van Dyck 1860s  Arabic translation it is rendered al-qadim al-ayyam   (lit.) `the days which are Ancient/The One Whose days are ancient' or `Ancient of Days' (Ar.) al-qadīm al-ayyām =   القديم الايام  "Ancient of Days" in certain Persian translation qadīm-i ayyām.

كنت ارى انه وضعت عروش وجلس القديم الايام . لباسه ابيض كالثلج وشعر راسه كالصوف النقي وعرشه لهيب نار وبكراته نار متقدة.

The influence of the Danielic divine epithet “Ancient of days” is five times evident in Shoghi Effendi’s well-known 1931 English translation of the Kitāb-i īqān (The Book of Certitude). Examples include:

"They are sent forth through the transcendent power of the Ancient of Days (Persian, sulṭān-i qadim, lit. `Ancient Sovereign'), and are raised up by the exalted will of God, the most mighty King.  This is what is meant by the words:  "coming in the clouds of heaven."  (Baha'u'llah, KI: 52/43).

 “The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days (`irfān-i dhāt-i azal = literally, “Gnosis of the Eternal [Divine] Essence”), being thus closed in the face of all beings, the Source of infinite grace, according to His saying: "His grace hath transcended all things... “  (Baha'u'llah, KI: 74/64).

“The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days,” Bahá’u’lláh further states in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, “being thus closed in the face of all beings..." (Shoghi Effendi, Dispensation, 113).

In his translation of Baha'-Allah's Lawh-i Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Isfahani or Lawh- Ibn-i dhi'b (`Epistle to the Son of the Wolff), Shoghi Effendi  three times used the Danielic phrase `Ancient of Dsys' :

[1] O ye followers of this Wronged One! Ye are the shepherds of mankind; liberate ye your flocks from the wolves of evil passions and desires, and adorn them with the ornament of the fear of God. This is the firm commandment which hath, at this moment, flowed out from the Pen of Him Who is the Ancient of Days (qalam-i qidam)"... (ESW:35 trans. XX). 

[2] "“Wert thou to incline thine inner ear unto all created things, thou wouldst hear: ‘The Ancient of Days is come in His great glory!’ (cf.  Matthew 24: and synoptic parallels), (ESW:XX trans. XX text cited from the Surat al-Haykal which includes this passage from the address to Napoleon III).

[3] "On this [eschatological] day, however, men’s repudiation of the truth hath prevented them from understanding what hath been sent down in truth by Him [Baha'-Allah] Who is the Revealer, the Ancient of Days" (ESW:XX trans. XX citing his Lawh-i Fu`ad Pasha and Napolen III).

Towards the end of his Kitab-i `ahd, `Book of the Covenant", as Shoghi Effendi translated it, we read :

"It is incumbent upon everyone to show courtesy to, and have regard for the Aghsán, that thereby the Cause of God may be glorified and His Word exalted. This injunction hath time and again been mentioned and recorded in the Holy Writ. Well is it with him who is enabled to achieve that which the Ordainer, the Ancient of Days hath prescribed for him." (TBAA:222). 

THE DESIRE OF THE NATIONS

"To Him Haggai had referred as the “Desire of all nations”  (GPB:95).

  • The Desire of the Nations = חֶמְדַּ֣ת כָּל הַגּוֹיִ֑ם (Haggai 2:7).

"And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations ( Heb. חֶמְדַּ֣ת כָּל הַגּוֹיִ֑ם־  = ḥemdat  kāl-ha-gōyyim) shall come: and I will fill this house (הַבַּ֤יִת = ha-bayit) with glory ( כָּב֔וֹד = kāḇōḏ), saith the LORD of hosts (יְהוָ֥ה צְבָאֽוֹת = Yahweh  ṣəḇā’ōt)."

The words "Desire[s] of all nations" (Haggai, 2:7aβ = Heb. ḥemdat  kal ha-goyyīm ) in the Van Dyck Arabic translation is mushtahā kull al-umam and in one major Persian version  faḍīlat jamī`-yi ummathā, which literally means,  `Excellences of all nations"

Kitab-i aqdas

Arise, and serve Him Who is the Desire of all nations (al-maqsud), Who hath created you through a word (kalimat) from Him, and ordained you to be, for all time, the emblems of His sovereignty" *Kitab-i Aqdas, Para. 82, p. 79; trans. Para. 82 p.49).

 

(see Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, 95).

THE HEALER OF INFIRMITIES

 

The hill of God (kaum Allāh, i.e. Mt. Carmel ) hath trembled (ihtizaz)  on account of the breeze of the meeting with God. It, verily, hath been named [Mt] Carmel and crieth out, "The Builder of the Temple (bānī al-haykal) hath assuredly come as hath the "Healer of Infirmities" (muttahir al-`ilal).  Blessed be those who have attained  (Untitled Tablet of Baha'-Allah cited Ishraq Khavari, Rahiq, 2:527).

The "Healer of  Infirmities" (muttahir  al-`ilāl) - the  "Builder of the Temple" (bānī  al‑haykal).

At Lawḥ‑i Hiktīk III:5 (see above) we read that  nations were given the promise concerning the advent of the muttahir  al-`ilāl   ( "Healer of Infirmities"). This figure in the Arabic  is rhythmingly identified with the bānī  al‑haykal  ("Builder of the Temple"). This line directly addresses biblically- rooted Templar expectations about a New eschatological (third) Temple which is associated with hopes regarding a latter-day healing possibly through a divine theophany or the second advent of Christ. The epithet "Healer of Infirmities" most likely alludes to those biblical promises which reflect the idea that in eschatological times God Himself or a messianic saviour will purify humankind of their sicknesses, will heal their infirmities.

See further, for example Isaiah 53:5; 57:19; 58:8; 61:1‑2 and Jer. 33:6.

This expected salvific healing process reflects and perfects the New Testament work of Christ who initiated a spiritual healing at his first coming.  In this conection refer also Mk.1:29ff; 10:13; Matt. 8:17; 10:1f; 11:5; 12:28; Lk 4:19;  5:15, 17; 7:22  and 11:20. The "healing" ministry of Jesus is to be fully and universally realized at the millennial era of his second advent. Worth  citing at this point are  a few prophecies  contained in various the books of the Hebrew Bible  (NKJ trans.)  and in the Book of Revelation which anticipate an eschatological healing:

Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, And the light of the sun will be sevenfold, As the light of seven days, In the day that the LORD binds up the bruise of His people And heals the stroke of their wound (Isa. 30:26).

Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard (Isa. 58:8).

 'Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth (Jer. 33:6).

 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness (Heb. šemeš ṣədaqah) shall arise With healing (Heb. מַרְפֵּא marpēh) in his  wings (בִּכְנָפֶיהָ)  And you shall go out And grow fat like stall‑fed calves (Mal. 4:1 [Heb. 3:20] )

In the middle of its street [of the New Jerusalem], and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2).

It may well be that the above verse of the New Testament Apocalypse or Book of Revelation, communicated from the celestial Jesus by John of Patmos (d. c.100?),  implies a global healing promised to all nations in the millennial age. It could lie behind Lawḥ‑i Hiktīk   III:5a. Here the advent of the muttahir al-`ilāl   ( "Healer of Infirmities") is associated with the building of the "Temple" (haykal)  which is the millennial  "New Jerusalem".  For Baha’is it is the "New Jerusalem" of the Baha’i religion as the fulfillment of a promise made to all nations. The "leaves" of the unitative Baha’i teachings  of the "Tree" of the new religion of Bahā’-Allāh were promulgated for "the healing  of the nations" (Rev. 22:2b).

At the beginning of his Persian  Lawḥ-i  Qarn (Centennial Tablet), a lengthy letter addressed to the Bahā'īs of the East dated 101 BE/ 1944-5 (see  ) Shoghi Effendi lists various titles assumed by or attributed to Bahā’-Allāh including, as in the Lawh-i Hirtīk, "The Healer of Infirmities" (muttahir  al-`ilāl)  and "The Builder of the Temple" (bani al-haykal)  (Lawḥ-i Qarn, 1). These titles were commented upon by the Iranian Baha’i scholar `Abd al-Hamīd Ishrāq Khāvarī (1902‑1972) in his Raḥīq-i makhtūm (The Sealed Wine), a two volume commentary on  the aforementioned Centennial Tablet  of Shoghi Effendi. In his comment on muttahir  al-`ilāl   Ishrāq Khāvarī notes that the prophets of the children of Israel gave the glad-tidings of the advent of the "Lord of Hosts" (Bahā’-Allāh) who will heal all sicknesses and infirmities. In this connection he quotes Isaiah 35:4-6 (in Persian) in illustration of an expected eschatological healing The first three verses of Isaiah 35 read as follows:

"(1) The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. (2) It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellancy of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD [Ar.         ], and  the excellancy of our God [Ar. baha’‑ Allah). (3) Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees" (Isaiah 35:1-3a).

CHECK

In his Lawḥ‑i Ibn‑iI dhi`b  ("Epistle to the Son of the Wolf") Bahā’-Allāh cites Isaiah 35:1‑3a and comments upon the  lucidity of these verses in predicting his latter‑day theophany or manifestation. 

[4] Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. [5] Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. [6] Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. (Isa. 36:4-6).

These verses of the book of Isaiah, however, do  not contain the non‑biblical expression "Healer of Infirmities"(muttahir al-`ilāl) either in the original Hebrew or in the major Arabic or Persian translations. The are those verses of Isaiah cited in the New Testament in connection with Jesus’ ministry (e.g.  Matt 11:5) though they might also be applied to the person of Bahā’-Allāh as the Return of Christ. It thus seems unlikely, as Ishrāq Khāvarī held, that the title  "Healer of Infirmities" (muttahir  al-`ilāl)  is embedded in Isaiah  35:4‑6. It is a specific phrase in these verses,  Isa 35:4b, which was  cited by Baha'-Allah as a prophetic allusion to his divine theophany or manifestation :

הִנֵּ֤ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֙

"Behold your God will come"

“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” (Isaiah 35:4).

THE BUILDER OF THE TEMPLE.

  • bānī  al‑haykal, "The Builder of the Temple".

Lawh-i Hardegg (Hartik, Hirtik).

O Thou informed mystic knower and insightful religious leader!

[2] Know thou that base passion hath hindered most mortals from turning their faces unto  God,  the King of Names.  [3] Such, however, as gaze with the eye of insight, shall bear witness and seeing, exclaim, `Praise be unto my Lord, the Most Exalted.' [4] Land and sea hath rejoiced at the Beneficence of God. [5] The nations were given the promise regarding the appearance of the Healer of Infirmities. He, assuredly, is the expected Builder of the Temple (bānī al‑haykal). [6] Blessed be such as are possessed of mystic knowledge.

The   bānī al‑haykal    is the true builder of the new, eschatological Temple (haykal)  not fashioned made by human hands. There are a number of texts in the Hebrew Bible that predict the future restoration of the (Jerusalem) Temple. They were doubtless known to Hardegg and the Templers. One such text, most likely the one  alluded to by Bahā’-Allāh in the passage under discussion (III:5)  occurs in Zechariah 6:12-13a. This text reads, with the Van Dyck Arabic tralation indicated in italics,  "Thus says the Lord of hosts (rabb  al‑junud) , `Behold, the man whose name is the Branch (al‑ghuṣn): for he shall grow up in his place, and he shall  build  the Temple of the Lord  ( wa yabna  haykal al‑rabb ) . It is he who shall build  the temple of the Lord, (fa‑huwa yaynī haykal al‑rabb)  and shall bear royal honour (al‑jalāl)  and shall sit and rule upon his throne (kursī).." .  This text twice indicates that the "Branch" will be the one who will rebuild (B‑N‑Y) the Temple. The same Arabic root as "Builder" (= B‑N‑Y) is twice used as it occurs in the Lawḥ‑i Hirtīk’s phrase  bānī al‑haykal   ("Builder of the Temple"  III: 5b). This text is thus most likely that alluded to by Bahā’-Allāh in his Sūrat al-Haykal ("The Sūra of the Temple" c.1873;  several recensions late 1860s , early 1870s) when he claims :

" Thus have We built the Temple (haykal)  with the hands of power and might, could ye but know it. This is the Temple (haykal) promised unto you in the Book (al-kitāb  = the Hebrew Bible). Draw ye nigh unto it. This is that which profiteth you, could ye but comprehend it. Be fair, O peoples of the earth! Which is preferable, this, or the temple which is built of clay? Set your faces towards it. Thus have ye been comanded by God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting." (Kitāb-i mubīn, 128. trans. Shoghi Effendi, PDC:47).

Another verse of the Hebrew Bible ZECH 5 + GPB

 This passage from the Surat al-Haykal   clearly has it that the haykal  (Temple) to be built in the latter‑days is the Word or person of Bahā’-Allāh who is personified in the Surat al-Haykal.  Indeed, Bahā’-Allāh ordered that this Tablet, which incorporates the complete text of five of Bahā’-Allāh's Tablets to the secular and religious leaders of various nations or communities -  his [1] Tablet to the Pope (Pius IXth); [2],the Tablet to Napoleon; [3] Tablet to the Czar [Alexander II]; [4] Tablet to Queen Victoria and [5] the Tablet to Nāṣir al-Dīn Shāh (Lawḥ-i Sulṭān) - should be written up in the form of a  pentacle (five pointed star)  representative of the "New Jerusalem" or eschatological Temple of his Cause. The expected new Temple was thus seen by Bahā’-Allāh as a "spiritual Temple".  In part mindful of Templer new Temple expectations through Hardegg's association with the Bahā'īs, Bahā’-Allāh came to teach that his own revelation or person consitiuted the Temple predicted in such Biblical texts as Zech 6:12f (cf. Shoghi Effendi, GPB:213).

  In the excellent, comprehensive article “Temple” by Meyers in the sixth volume of the Anchor Bible Dictionary (vol 6:350-369) something of the linguistic developments of  the word “Temple” can be gleaned:

“The English word “temple,” as used to denote the central religious building in Jerusalem, comes from a Latin word (templum). In English translations, “temple” is used to translate the Hebrew word hêkāl, which is used in the phrase hêkāl Yahweh. The word hêkāl is related to similar terms in Ugaritic and Canaanite and is based on the Akkadian word ekallu. The Akkadian in turn comes from Sumerian ê-gal, meaning “great house.” The connotation of this etymology is that a temple is a large building, or palace. It signifies a residence; and when used with the name of the deity, it indicates that the building is conceived of as a residence for that deity" (Freedman, D. N. 1996, c1992. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Doubleday: New York).

          We thus see that there were developments from Sumerian ê-gal and the Akkadian ekallu to the Semitic Hebrew word for Temple which is הֵיכָל    hêkāl, corresponding also to the related Semitic language هَيْكَل haykal   which also has a wide range of senses ranging from from   (Lane Lexicon).

The first Israelite Jerusalem temple was that of Solomon (10th cent. BCE)  which was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.  The second rebuilding resulted in the Herodian Temple (       ) which was again destroyed by the Romans around 70 CE. The latter-day again renewed “Temple” is the third or eschatological Temple. For Baha’is this is a spiritual "Temple" (haykal).  Bahā’-Allāh understood it to be Himself, the divine Logos‑Self or Person (nafs) of Bahā’-Allāh. This is for example, clear in Bahā’-Allāh’s weighty Surat al‑Haykal   where we at one point read,

ADD

 

The Arabic word for Temple is haykal   which is very frequently used with a variety of senses in Babi‑Baha’i scripture.  In Baha’i scripture the "Temple" of the "Person" of Bahā’-Allāh is representative of the edifice of his religion. Symbolically it is the "New Jerusalem" of the Bahā’ī Cause. This is in line with the following verse of the New Testament apocalypse, the Revelation ascribed to John of Patmnos, 

"And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it" (Rev. 21:22)".

In the KJV Zechariah 6:12 reads

"Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD (hekhal Y‑H‑W‑H).

It is interesting that the originally Sumerian word (e‑gal)  as a Semitic loanword came, among other things,  to signfy "Temple"  in both biblical Hebrew      hekhal    (which   often indicates the Jerusalem  Temple in the Hebrew Bible,         ) and the Arabic word           haykal. 

THE BRANCH

To Him Zachariah [had referred] as the “Branch” Who “shall grow up out of His place,” and “shall build the Temple of the Lord.”