This is the significance of the well-known words: “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together.” Behold the ignorance and folly of those who, like the nations of old, are still expecting to witness the time when these beasts will feed together in one pasture! Such is their low estate. Methinks, never have their lips touched the cup of understanding, neither have their feet trodden the path of justice. Besides, of what profit would it be to the world were such a thing to take place? How well hath He spoken concerning them: “Hearts have they, with which they understand not, and eyes have they with which they see not!”
What is the significance? This refers to the last sentence from the previous paragraph that says "how numerous are those peoples of divers beliefs, of conflicting creeds, and opposing temperaments, who, through the reviving fragrance of the Divine springtime, breathing from the Riḍván of God, have been arrayed with the new robe of divine Unity, and have drunk from the cup of His singleness."
Once again, as we saw throughout Part 1, Baha'u'llah is lamenting the state of those people who see these passages as being interpreted literally. And then, interestingly enough, He links together understanding and justice, pointing out that these literal interpreter have neither.
But why here? What does this have to do with His essay on sovereignty? It might just be a reminder to not interpret this sovereignty literally, as the uncle seemed to want to do. Over and over in Part 1 He talked about how these verses from Jesus, quoted in Matthew 24, had myriads of meanings, and that the literal should not be seen as the only one. Here, He seems to be making the same point, but with something more relevant to the questions of the uncle.
As usual, though, it seems that He is talking to a far greater audience than just the uncle. It seems that He is warning us, too, to avoid literalism. If we cling to literal interpretations, He seems to say, then we will not understand the true and deeper spiritual meanings within the text. And if we don't understand, then we will not be able to act with justice, that "best beloved of all things in (His) sight".
There is another point, though, that catches our attention. Why is He choosing this particular verse to examine in this paragraph? Is it just because of the obviousness of it? The sheer absurdity of trying to take it literally? Or is there, perhaps, more?
As you can no doubt guess, we think there is more.
To get a better understanding of this verse, we decided to go back to the source, Isaiah 65. As we read through it, it seemed that there were a lot of references to Baha'u'llah, the Bab, and everything that was happening at the time.
The very beginning, with its references to a nation that is not called by His name, and stretching out His hands to even the rebellious, seems to apply to every Day of God. Even in Long Obligatory Prayer, Baha'u'llah has us say "and by the words 'Here am I, Here am I,' which Thy chosen Ones have uttered in this immensity..." These very words we say every day hearken back to this chapter of Isaiah.
Later, though, in Isaiah 65:9 and 10, He makes all these references to the Holy Land. One that sticks out for many Baha'is is the reference to the Valley of Achor. Now, some Baha'is mis-interpret this as the Valley of Akka, which it isn't. The Valley of Achor is south of Jericho, which is quite some distance away. And yet, 'Abdu'l-Baha clearly says, "It is recorded in the Torah: And I will give you the valley of Achor for a door of hope. This valley of Achor is the city of ‘Akká, and whoso hath interpreted this otherwise is of those who know not." So does that mean He is wrong? Well, the Valley of Achor literally means the Valley of Repugnance, so named because of the horrific events that happened there. That is the literal interpretation of the name. Perhaps 'Abdu'l-Baha is telling us that it is not a literal interpretation of the original Valley of Achor, south of Jericho, but rather this new valley of repugnance, Akka, so named "repugnant" because of the terrible things that happened there in Baha'u'llah's life. We don't actually know, but it is the only way we can reconcile this.
But just a few verses later, Isaiah refers to the holy mountain, and Gad and Meni. The holy mountain could easily be Mount Carmel, and Gad and Meni refer to general names for stars and constellations, as well as Jupiter and Mercury. Given all that Baha'u'llah has already said about the stars and the heavens in Part 1, this could be another oblique reference.
Verse 17 on, though, is all about the new creation and new Jerusalem. It seems to us that He is clearly referencing this, drawing the attention of the careful reader to all the wonderful statements that occur in that incredible Book.
So what does all this mean? Well, read the last half of Isaiah 65 and see for yourself. It is a promise of great things that will happen in the time of the Promised One. And when we look at all the various prophecies of Isaiah, we feel it is good to be reminded of them. Surely it must have been a source of great comfort to the Babis, too, as they suffered such hardships at the time this book was written.
Up until now, in this book, Baha'u'llah has had us continually looking to the past. It seems that here, He is also asking us to look to the future.