Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paragraph 9

And after Noah the light of the countenance of Hud shone forth above the horizon of creation. For well-nigh seven hundred years, according to the sayings of men, He exhorted the people to turn their faces and draw nearer unto the Ridvan of the divine presence. What showers of afflictions rained upon Him, until at last His adjurations bore the fruit of increased rebelliousness, and His assiduous endeavours resulted in the willful blindness of His people. "And their unbelief shall only increase for the unbelievers their own perdition." [Qur'án 35:39]

After Noah, Baha'u'llah turns our attention to Hud.

The first thing we noticed was the phrase "according to the sayings of men". It's an interesting insertion, that phrase, for it seems to say quite a bit. He is not confirming that Hud was alive for that long, nor is He denying it. In fact, He doesn't even say that this bit of information is from God. He just says that it is according to some people. We were reminded of the beginning of the Lord of the Rings, when the ring fades from history to legend. As there is no written history of Hud from that time, it feels as though there is a mythological element to it.

We feel that the fact He neither confirms nor denies this bit of information implies that it is not all that important. This may be a lesson for us, not to be overly concerned about these sorts of details, whether or not Hud really did live for more than seven hundred years, or whether Noah had seventy or forty-two followers. This is beside the point.

What is important is that after telling us that Hud suffered for trying to guide men back to God, Baha'u'llah says that His teachings "bore the fruit of increased rebelliousness", and His "endeavours resulted in the willful blindness of His people." The people were already rebellious, and became even more so. And their blindness, interestingly enough, was willful.

Here we find ourselves confused. Later on, Baha'u'llah says, "And yet, is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind...? For if the character of mankind be not changed, the futility of God's universal Manifestations would be apparent."

How does this relate to Hud? The people remained rebellious, and even became willingly blind.

Noah made a promise that didn't happen. This was a test. Now Hud appears, and nothing comes of His Revelation, except for rebelliousness and blindness. Is this, too, a test? For us?

In Noah's time, the people were wiped out in a flood. In Hud's time, He reminds them about Noah and the flood, but they still don't listen. This time, a great storm comes and wipes them out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Paragraph 8

And now, consider and reflect a moment upon the waywardness of this people. What could have been the reason for such denial and avoidance on their part? What could have induced them to refuse to put off the garment of denial, and to adorn themselves with the robe of acceptance? Moreover, what could have caused the nonfulfilment of the divine promise which led the seekers to reject that which they had accepted? Meditate profoundly, that the secret of things unseen may be revealed unto you, that you may inhale the sweetness of a spiritual and imperishable fragrance, and that you may acknowledge the truth that from time immemorial even unto eternity the Almighty hath tried, and will continue to try, His servants, so that light may be distinguished from darkness, truth from falsehood, right from wrong, guidance from error, happiness from misery, and roses from thorns. Even as He hath revealed: "Do men think when they say 'We believe' they shall be let alone and not be put to proof?"[Qur'án 29:2]

Having just given us a short reflection upon Noah, Baha'u'llah then has us look for a moment at the people of that time. This is a very interesting thing that He is doing, for it will lead us to see a path of growth in this section of 11 paragraphs.

This passage, like some previous ones, asks us to "consider and reflect", but specifically asks to do so in relation to "the waywardness of this people." Which people? The ones that denied Noah.

He also asks us to consider the reason for their:
  • "denial and avoidance",
  • refusal to accept, and
  • rejection of that which they had accepted.
We noticed that the first one may be obvious. If you avoid hearing a Messenger, how can you accept what they say? Quite simply, you can't.

The second one is a bit more difficult. These are people who have to have heard the Message, but then refused it. After all, you can't refuse a Message unless you have first listened to it.

But then comes the third, denying what they had already accepted. This might be referring to those people who had already accepted Noah as a divine Messenger, but then turned around and later denied Him. Here we are asked to "meditate profoundly".

Why would Baha'u'llah ask us to do this?

Why would they reject what they had already accepted? To us, it seems a bit obvious. Noah had made some promises which, we are told, did not happen. Isn't this a reasonable cause for denial? Even so eminent a Baha'i as Mirza Abu'l-Fadl had initially made his acceptance conditional upon the fulfillment of Baha'u'llah's prophecies. Of course, later on, he realized that "God doeth whatsoever He willeth." But let's put ourselves in the position of those souls at the time of Noah. Here He is, making a promise that does not come true. And not just once, but time and again. Wouldn't we deny Him? Maybe it's just us, but we sure would question.

And there is the crux of this paragraph. This is why we need to "meditate profoundly". With the clarity of hindsight, we already know that Noah is a Messenger. So if that's the case, why did these prophcies not happen the way He said they would? Baha'u'llah, Himself, refers to it as the "nonfulfilment of the divine promise". This is something we wracked our brains over. After all, it doesn't seem reasonable, so even now, a few thousand years later, we are still questioning it.

In answer to this, Baha'u'llah offers us another path, namely that we will see the:
  • secret revealed,
  • inhale the sweetness,
  • and acknowledge the truth
There is a secret there, and only with a deep consideration will we be able to see it. Once we understand that secret, then we will be able to appreciate the sweetness of it. After we come to an appreciation of it, then we can acknowledge the truth.

Oh, but which truth, or more accurately, which part of the truth? The truth that God tests His servants, often in a strange and wacky way that doesn't seem reasonable to us. But then again, who are we to question? We're the ones being tested.

In this particular case, we only need to look at paragraph 7 to see how He tested the people in the time of Noah.

But then there is another question: Why does He test us? And here, Baha'u'llah gives us an answer. He does so in order that "light may be distinguished from darkness, truth from falsehood, right from wrong, guidance from error, happiness from misery, and roses from thorns".

This made a lot of sense to us, until we reached the last example. In other words, we understood that darkness is the absence of light, falsehood is the absence of truth, wrong is the absence of right, error occurs  in the absence of guidance, misery is what we experience when there is no happiness, but "roses from thorns"? Putting genetic modification aside, roses have thorns. How does this fit in with the rest of the sentence?

And then we had a thought (this is where we leapt out of chairs). Roses do have thorns, below the beauty of the flower. They are part of the same plant, inseperable, and of one piece. Or different ends of a spectrum.

If we look at a rose as a line segment, beginning at the thorns (yes, we know it starts at the root, but bear with us), then you can move upwards from there to the beauty of the rose.

If we consider the scale of light, it begins at zero, the absence of photons, or what we call "darkness". From there, you can move up the scale into ever-brighter levels of light. You can always gain more truth, be more in accord with that which is right, follow the guidance more closely, and be happier. These are not opposites, but, like the rose, different parts of the same plant, so to speak. They are part of a continuum, united.

This is also another path we can walk. We first begin to see the light, and from there we begin to understand the truth, and act more rightly (is that a word?). Then we seek more guidance and follow it, becoming happier in the meanwhile. Then we become one of those roses in the garden of our Lord.

And finally, why does He end with this quote from the Qur'an? Because it is part of the eternal pattern. It is evident when someone runs away from hearing the truth, and even obvious when someone hears it and says, "No, I disagree." But when someone says, "Sure, I agree with that", how can we be certain of their conviction? How do we really know? Even though it is not for us to test others, we can appreciate and admire their response to tests such as these. And even our own.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Paragraph 7

Among the Prophets was Noah. For nine hundred and fifty years He prayerfully exhorted His people and summoned them to the haven of security and peace. None, however, heeded His call. Each day they inflicted on His blessed person such pain and suffering that no one believed He could survive. How frequently they denied Him, how malevolently they hinted their suspicion against Him! Thus it hath been revealed: "And as often as a company of His people passed by Him, they derided Him. To them He said: 'Though ye scoff at us now, we will scoff at you hereafter even as ye scoff at us. In the end ye shall know.'" (Qur'an 11:38) Long afterward, He several times promised victory to His companions and fixed the hour thereof. But when the hour struck, the divine promise was not fulfilled. This caused a few among the small number of His followers to turn away from Him, and to this testify the records of the best-known books. These you must certainly have perused; if not, undoubtedly you will. Finally, as stated in books and traditions, there remained with Him only forty or seventy-two of His followers. At last from the depth of His being He cried aloud: "Lord! Leave not upon the land a single dweller from among the unbelievers."

This paragraph begins a series of 11 paragraphs that deal with those Messengers of God we are already familiar with. You may recall from the outline that these Messengers are Noah, Hud, Salih, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Baha'u'llah encourages us to be very familiar with our own Sacred Books, saying, "These you must certainly have perused; if not, undoubtedly you will." It is as though He wants to ensure that our foundation for the discussion is up to par.

"Peruse" means to read through with thoroughness or care. It is only in very recent times that it has come to mean the opposite, and we should be sure to understand it in the way that the Guardian did when he used this word in his translation. Obviously, Baha'u'llah is not telling us to read the Holy Books in a casual way. No, He wants us to thoroughly study them and become very familiar with their contents.

This paragraph is the first of two that reflect upon Noah.

When we think of Noah, we often look at the story of the Ark, the flood, the dove, the olive branch and the rainbow. We tend to focus on what it is that makes Noah unique. Here, Baha'u'llah focuses our attention on what He has in common with the other Messengers of God.

It is mentioned here that He suffered so much that nobody thought He could survive. According to one tradition, He was regularly beaten so badly that He would lose consciousness. His followers then asked Him to pray to God to punish His enemies, but Noah, instead, would pray for their forgiveness. It is as if He was living the example of "apprehending the true causes" of the oppressors and asking God to forgive them, because He could "appreciate the significance of their position." Finally, at the end, He cries out and asks God to "Leave not upon the land a single dweller from among the unbelievers." Is this a cry of vengeance, or could we see it, instead, as a protection? Could He have asked this so that those people could no longer endanger their own souls by harming a Messenger of God? However we view it, the ensuing flood has become one of the greatest analogies of the purification accomplished by disaster.

Another aspect that is mentioned here is the fact that some promises were made, but not fulfilled. This is yet another test that His followers faced. It begs the question of why any of them followed Him. Were they doing it only for a spot on the Ark? Or were they following out of the love of God?

We could also ask ourselves if we have truly understood the promises that were made. When Baha'u'llah says that this is the day that will not be followed by night, do we say He was wrong when the sun sets today? Or do we recognize that we may have misunderstood? This is the kind of test that Noah's followers may have faced.

One other thing that stood out to us was the very name of Noah. According to some sources, the root of His name "signifies not only absence of movement but being settled in a particular place with overtones of finality, or victory, or salvation". Other words in Hebrew that come from this word are rest, quiet and soothing.

When we think of the Ark, and how it is a haven of salvation through the flood, allowing the people rest and quiet (with all those other animals squealing and squawking on board), we are reminded that this is one of the purposes of all the Messengers of God. They give us that place of rest, security and peace amidst the turmoil of the world.

One last point to address is how Baha'u'llah casually mentions that Noah had "forty or seventy-two... followers." These two numbers come from two different traditions, and Baha'u'llah is giving us a great example of how to not be concerned about insignificant details. If Baha'u'llah mentioned only one of those two numbers, He would have alienated an entire group of people. Instead, He validates both, implying that it is not overly important. What is important is that there were very few people who followed Noah.

We believe that we could all learn from this example of Baha'u'llah's concern for unity.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Paragraph 6

Should you acquaint yourself with the indignities heaped upon the Prophets of God, and apprehend the true causes of the objections voiced by their oppressors, you will surely appreciate the significance of their position. Moreover, the more closely you observe the denials of those who have opposed the Manifestations of the divine attributes, the firmer will be your faith in the Cause of God. Accordingly, a brief mention will be made in this Tablet of divers accounts relative to the Prophets of God, that they may demonstrate the truth that throughout all ages and centuries the Manifestations of power and glory have been subjected to such heinous cruelties that no pen dare describe them. Perchance this may enable a few to cease to be perturbed by the clamour and protestations of the divines and the foolish of this age, and cause them to strengthen their confidence and certainty.

This is the fourth of those four paragraphs that ask us to consider the past when looking at the present day events.

In the first of these four paragraphs, we were reminded that all the divine Messengers were denied when They came. In the second, we were asked to "ponder... and reflect upon that which hath been the cause of such denial..." In the third paragraph, we were asked to "ponder... those holy words" and "examine the wondrous behaviour of the Prophets". In this final paragraph, we are shown both the significance of the position of the unbelievers, as well as how we can achieve the station of certitude.

To start, we are asked to "acquaint (ourselves) with the indignities heaped upon the Prophets of God". Acquaint means to make ourselves familiar with, to inform ourselves. We are being asked, once again, to learn for ourselves, to, as He says in The Hidden Words, "see with (our) own eyes". In fact, it is quite easy to do this, as we all can read the stories of the Messengers.

We are also asked to "apprehend the true causes of the objections", which is different from the stated objections. To apprehend means to understand on a deep level. So if we understand the real reasons that people object, then we will better "appreciate the significance of their position". It should be noted that the word "their" is not capitalized. It seems to refer to those people who are doing the objecting. Doing this, trying to understand the real reasons for their objection, is not as easy to do as reading the stories, because we are being asked to look at the root causes of peoples' actions.

What are the causes of these objections? Later in the Text, Baha'u'llah lists some of them. In paragraph 14, He says petty-mindedness, which leads to arrogance and pride, causes remoteness from God, promotes idle fancies, and encourages people to be blind followers.

Blind followers? We seem to come back to this one a lot, don't we?

We will see that later, in paragraph 15, He talks about lust for leadership and ignorance being two other causes, as well as being content with insignificant things. In paragraph 16, He reiterates ignorance as a root cause.

As we examine all these causes, we get a better understanding of the lamentable station of the people voicing these objections. How pitiable are they? By asking us to consider these points and contemplate the station of those souls, He not only gets us to prevent these objections within our own selves, but at the same time encourages compassion within us. It is very difficult to get angry with someone who is in the unenviable position they have put themselves in. You must, instead, feel very sorry for them.

Then He makes a second point right after that: "the more closely you observe the denials of those who have opposed the Manifestations of the divine attributes, the firmer will be your faith in the Cause of God". Now there is a promise worth noting. If you want to be firm in the Faith, and who doesn't, know that your firmness is directly related to how closely you observe those denials. Why this is, we have no idea, but, based on our own personal experiences, we have found this to be true. Whenever we hear people say bad things about any of the Messengers, we find that our love for Them increases. The more others deny Them, the more we seem to believe in Them. This is still a mystery to us, but is in line with our experience.

These two points mentioned above seem to be indicating another scale, or at least the beginning of one, starting with
  • strong objections
  • and moving toward what seems to be a comparatively mild denial.
If we follow this arrow, it seems to lead us toward complete certainty at the further end. Perhaps He is helping us move in this direction by showing us the starting point, and the direction.

After this, Baha'u'llah begins to tells us where He is going next: "a brief mention" of past Messengers. This, in fact, occupies most of the next hundred pages, or so, showing that "brief" is a relative term.

By pointing out that all these Messengers have suffered hatefully evil tortures, and yet still overcome them will allow those with insight to not be confused in the mind by the loud protests "of the divines and foolish" ones who will arise against Him. We find it very interesting that these two categories, "the divines and foolish", are referring to two different groups of people.

The last clause is also worth noting, as He particularly mentions "confidence and certainty". If we look at the scale mentioned above, it seems that those who are objecting or denying are lacking in those qualities. This seems to be similar to nearly any scientific scale, such as light or heat, starting at zero and moving toward infinity. As this is the Book of Certitude, it only makes sense that He would outline this scale for us and leads us onwards along it.

Paragraph 5

In like manner, those words that have streamed forth from the source of power and descended from the heaven of glory are innumerable and beyond the ordinary comprehension of man. To them that are possessed of true understanding and insight the Surah of Hud surely sufficeth. Ponder a while those holy words in your heart, and, with utter detachment, strive to grasp their meaning. Examine the wondrous behaviour of the Prophets, and recall the defamations and denials uttered by the children of negation and falsehood, perchance you may cause the bird of the human heart to wing its flight away from the abodes of heedlessness and doubt unto the nest of faith and certainty, and drink deep from the pure waters of ancient wisdom, and partake of the fruit of the tree of divine knowledge. Such is the share of the pure in heart of the bread that hath descended from the realms of eternity and holiness.

This is the third of those four paragraphs that ask us to consider the past when looking at the present day events.

In the first of these four paragraphs, we were reminded that all the divine Messengers were denied when They came. In the second, we were asked to "ponder... and reflect upon that which hath been the cause of such denial..." In this third paragraph, we are asked to "ponder... those holy words" and "examine the wondrous behaviour of the Prophets".

It is fascinating that He is likening the causes of denial and the Words of the Holy Prophets, saying that both are "innumerable and beyond the ordinary comprehension of man".

Baha'u'llah refers us to the first of many stories from Sacred scriptures, the Surah of Hud, the eleventh Surah of the Qur'an. The story of Hud is quite simple, in summary, while the Surah itself is filled with wonderful references and allusions. Hud was a Messenger sent by God some time after Noah. His people had forgotten the lessons learned from the Flood, and so Hud was sent to warn the people to stop worshipping idols. Despite His warnings, they continued to worship them, and so a drought was sent as a further warning. When this had no effect, a large storm was sent, from which only Hud and a few believers emerged.

Obviously, there is a lot more to the Surah than just this quick summary. Among other things, it cautions us to ensure that our inner beliefs are in harmony with our actions, and not to try and fool God. But don't take our word for it, go and read the Surah for yourself.

Here Baha'u'llah is reminding us to study the Words of God, to dive deep into them and really strive to understand their meaning. But, just in case we think this is an easy in to heaven or paradise, or whatever we want to call it, He reminds us that it is not a guarantee. Note the use of "perchance", similar to that of the word “haply” in the first paragraph. Continually He reminds us that we must make an effort, but that alone is no guarantee of success.

He also refers to the "children of negation and falsehood", and how they have uttered "defamations and denials". No matter what our path is, we can relate to this in the history of our own faith. There have always been those who have fit this appaling mantle, and we would never want to be identified with those people. Instead, we would rather be identified by those virtuous traits shown by "the wondrous behaviour of the Prophets".

There is also another scale hidden within this paragraph:
  • heedlessness and doubt,
  • faith and certainty,
  • wisdom,
  • and then divine knowledge.
This scale refers to the movement of the human heart. It begins, like most scales in nature, at the zero-point: heedlessness and doubt, where we are unsure why, or even if, we should follow the laws of the Messengers. From there, we can move into the realm of faith and certainty, but that is only the beginning. The question, as always, is what we do with that faith. As we grow in our faith and certainty, and move more into accord with the Holy Writings, we will enter into the realm of wisdom. As we continue to act with wisdom, continually reflecting upon the Writings, we will begin to move more into the realms of divine knowledge, for how can we begin to understand this knowledge if it is not being put into action?

Another scale that is hidden within this is found in the descriptions of the above attributes:
  • the abode of heedlessness and doubt
  • the  nest of faith and certainty
  • the  pure waters of ancient wisdom
  • and  the fruit of the tree of divine knowledge
It looks to us like Baha'u'llah is bringing us from our homes in the cities back to a more pure Eden. We move from one home, very man-made, to another home, created by nature. Then we cross the rivers and are back again in the Garden.

Finally, there are also a couple of more references that hint back at religious history. Of course there is the obvious reference of Hud, one of the Messengers referred to in the Qur'an, and the inherent reference to Noah within that Surah.

Beyond that, there is a reference to Eden with the Tree of Knowledge, and the bread descending can refer to both manna in the desert with Moses, and Jesus with the Last Supper.

It seems that Baha'u'llah is beginning to draw us through religious history, starting at the very beginning, hinting at the concept of the progressiveness of religion that He will expound so well later on.

Now while all this may still seem a bit dry, we do need to keep in mind that Baha'u'llah is helping us get rid of unneccessary baggage in our religious thought. He is helping us clarify what we know, and how we know it.

And, for our part, it was very exciting to discover some of these themes developing in the Text. We hadn't noticed them on our first read through (or even by the seventh), but now, every time we see a new one, we practically jump out of seats for excitement. What you are seeing here is the end product of our consultation, and you are, unfortunately, missing out on the development aspect of all this. Hopefully, when you begin to study this Text with your friends, you will find other gems that we have missed, and see new shores of that Ocean that we have not yet walked.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Paragraph 4

Ponder for a moment, and reflect upon that which hath been the cause of such denial on the part of those who have searched with such earnestness and longing. Their attack hath been more fierce than tongue or pen can describe. Not one single Manifestation of Holiness hath appeared but He was afflicted by the denials, the repudiation, and the vehement opposition of the people around Him. Thus it hath been revealed: "O the misery of men! No Messenger cometh unto them but they laugh Him to scorn."[Qur'án 36:30] Again He saith: "Each nation hath plotted darkly against their Messenger to lay violent hold on Him, and disputed with vain words to invalidate the truth."[Qur'án 40:5]

This is the second of four paragraphs that ask us to consider the past when looking at the present day events.

In the first of these four paragraphs, we were reminded that all the divine Messengers were denied when They came. In this second paragraph, we are asked to "ponder... and reflect upon that which hath been the cause of such denial..."

Although we are asked to consider this question, no answer is given at this time. Instead, we are reminded of Their sufferings, and a scale of opposition is hinted at. He reminds us that each of these Manifestations "was afflicted by the denial, the repudiations, and the vehement opposition of the people around Him." It also does not matter what our religious tradition is, whether or not we have one, for we will immediately recognize the historical truth of this statement. Once again, Baha'u'llah is giving us a solid foundation upon which to build the argument.

Looking at the three degrees of opposition that Baha'u'llah mentions, we noticed what appears to be another pattern:
  • "Denial" is defined as "an assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc., is false".
  • "Repudiation" is a bit stronger: to reject with disapproval or condemnation.
  • "Vehement opposition" is the strongest of the three.
This type of crescendo, negative in this instance, is found often within the Writings of Baha'u'llah, and frequently in this Text. We have found it useful to identify these patterns when we see them, and ask ourselves what we can learn from the scale in question.

Here we seem to be shown the negative example from history, a negative example we are all familiar with. These stories are not new to us, and they are ones we already have sympathy for. By using these examples later in the Text, Baha'u'llah is calling us to act differently. He is cautioning us, so that we won't follow the same pattern of behaviour. Instead, this is a call for us to arise to the station of recognition and be regarded not as the enemies of a new Faith, but as one of its heroes.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Paragraph 3

Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times, yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how frequently have they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow, and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment, and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face -- the face of God Himself. Refer ye, to verify this truth, to that which hath been recorded in every sacred Book.

Paragraphs 3 to 6 are all tied together in that they ask us to look at the past and reflect on what we already know to be true. Even though we are studying them one at a time here, we should keep in mind how intertwined they are.

In this particular paragraph, Baha'u'llah asks us to consider how, in the past, many people have eagerly "awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God". While there are many other points that we could consider, this is the one that is most relevant to His argument here. The main point of the entire Book is to respond to the questions of the uncle of the Bab regarding how his Nephew could be the Promised One.

He begins by stating that one's station in life is irrelevant in recognizing the Messenger of God. Many people, "both high and low", were awaiting the fulfillment of these divine promises. They were all expecting, and even praying, for that moment.

Yet, He reminds us, when that "promised Beauty" did appear, "they all denied Him, and turned away from His face..."

Just in case we are not certain about this, Baha'u'llah refers us to the sacred Books of the past.

This is His starting point. It is presumed that we are already convinced of the truth of these sacred Books, for if we were not, why would we be waiting for the promise within them to be fulfilled? By referring us back to those Texts that we already consider sacred, He is giving us a common starting point from which He can begin to show us the truth.

Looking at the structure of this paragraph, it is also noteworthy that Baha'u'llah lists four different hopes and five different actions, three of which can be seen as causes and two as effects. On the side of hope is:
  • they expected His coming”,
  • they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow”,
  • that “the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment
  • and that He would “be made manifest to all the world.”

On the other side, there were the results of His appearance. The bounties of this appearance are that: 
  • the portals of grace did open,
  • and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind,
  • and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might”.
But then it is disappointing that the immediate result of this is that:
  • they all denied Him,
  • and turned away from His face”.
Of course, this is part of the process, for it is how God tests the people.

First is the expectation, and then the prayers for its fulfillment. In response to those ardent prayers, He steps forth and is seen by those sincere souls. Then those people, those sincere ones, spread His teachings, and He is revealed to everyone. When this occurs, it is evident to all that the portals are open and that the clouds are raining. The clouds clear away and the light can shine upon the seeds that have been watered in the hearts of men. Now, with the addition of sunlight, they can grow. But then there is the pulling of the weeds, the tests and the trials.

This is a natural progression, and Baha'u'llah will expand upon this idea later in the Book.

It is also worth noting, at this point, that the next dozen paragraphs, or so, are something of a review of religious history and tradition. For many of us, this can seem a bit dry, but we need to remember that what He is doing is solidifying our foundation.