Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Paragraph 85

Ere long, thine eyes will behold the standards of divine power unfurled throughout all regions, and the signs of His triumphant might and sovereignty manifest in every land. As most of the divines have failed to apprehend the meaning of these verses, and have not grasped the significance of the Day of Resurrection, they therefore have foolishly interpreted these verses according to their idle and faulty conception. The one true God is My witness! Little perception is required to enable them to gather from the symbolic language of these two verses all that We have purposed to propound, and thus to attain, through the grace of the All-Merciful, the resplendent morn of certitude. Such are the strains of celestial melody which the immortal Bird of Heaven, warbling upon the Sadrih of Bahá, poureth out upon thee, that, by the permission of God, thou mayest tread the path of divine knowledge and wisdom.

Well, here it is: the twelfth of those twelve paragraphs that look at the phrase "And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." We made it.

You'll notice that this paragraph is, in many ways, a summary, a pause to allow us to catch our collective breath before He moves on to the next phrase from that quote from Jesus in Matthew 24.

As we read this, we were struck by the words "these two verses" and began to wonder: Which two verses? There surely aren't two verses in this paragraph to which He could be referring, and in the previous paragraph, there are far more than just two. So we think, and we could be wrong, of course, that He is actually referring back to the two verses from Matthew 24 which we have just quoted above. These dozen paragraphs all refer to these two verses, as far as we can tell, and it just makes sense to us that He would summarize it all here, in the last paragraph of this section.

Also, in this paragraph, He mentions the "one true God". This is interesting, for Baha'u'llah is quoting Jesus, who in turn is quoting Isaiah, and showing how all of this refers to Muhammad. By extension, He helps us see that these verses also refer to all the Messengers of God, as was shown in the first 20 paragraphs or so. Here He uses various symbols to imply or refer to the sovereign power of the Messenger of God. This, as will become apparent later on, was one of the initial questions from the Uncle of the Bab. "The Qaim is supposed to show sovereign majesty, and yet the Bab was poor and persecuted." Well, so was Jesus, and we don't dispute His sovereignty. Muhammad was a merchant, a trader, like the Bab, and was also persecuted. Once again, with great subtlety, He helps us see not only the oneness of God, but also the continuity of revelation.

Baha'u'llah, in a very telling moment of what seems to us to be almost frustration, offers a bit of a condemnation to the divines here. He basically says that they have totally missed the point of these verses, and then points out that "little perception" is needed to figure this out. And yet they have still missed it. They don't even have a little bit of insight.

Baha'u'llah has put His interpretation forward for our consideration, and hopes that through the grace of God we will be enabled to achieve certitude, which is, as we love to remind you, the purpose of this book.

This is but another example for us when we are teaching. Oh, not the condemnation, but the gentleness. He offers us a little bit at a time, and then allows us the time to catch up. He gives us this paragraph to consider what He has said. He allows us that moment of rest, under that beautiful tree on which exists the branch, the "Sadrih of Baha", on which the "Bird of Heaven" is calling. When we are ready, we can get up again and continue walking on that "path of divine knowledge and wisdom", and perhaps end up at the "shores of the ocean of true understanding".