Friday, July 15, 2011

Paragraph 24

These are the melodies, sung by Jesus, Son of Mary, in accents of majestic power in the Ridvan of the Gospel, revealing those signs that must needs herald the advent of the Manifestation after Him. In the first Gospel according to Matthew it is recorded: And when they asked Jesus concerning the signs of His coming, He said unto them: "Immediately after the oppression[1] of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the earth shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet."[2] Rendered into the Persian tongue,[3] the purport of these words is as follows: When the oppression and afflictions that are to befall mankind will have come to pass, then shall the sun be withheld from shining, the moon from giving light, the stars of heaven shall fall upon the earth, and the pillars of the earth shall quake. At that time, the signs of the Son of man shall appear in heaven, that is, the promised Beauty and Substance of life shall, when these signs have appeared, step forth out of the realm of the invisible into the visible world. And He saith: at that time, all the peoples and kindreds that dwell on earth shall bewail and lament, and they shall see that divine Beauty coming from heaven, riding upon the clouds with power, grandeur, and magnificence, sending His angels with a great sound of a trumpet. Similarly, in the three other Gospels, according to Luke, Mark, and John, the same statements are recorded. As We have referred at length to these in Our Tablets revealed in the Arabic tongue, We have made no mention of them in these pages, and have confined Ourselves to but one reference.

1 The Greek word used (Thlipsis) has two meanings: pressure and oppression.
2 Matthew 24:29-31.
3 The passage is quoted by Bahá'u'lláh in Arabic and interpreted in Persian.

In this paragraph, Baha'u'llah has left us nothing to do. He has already explained the context of this quote, and then gives it to us in both Persian and Arabic. He even tells us that this quote is repeated in the other Gospels.

There is very little left for us to do, except to offer a few things that stick out to us.

First, we note that He is only referring to a singular quote form Jesus, when, in fact, there are many that He can draw from. But, as we all know, this can get wearisome. How often have we seen books that offer quote after quote after quote, each one trying to prove some point that the auther wants to make? And yet here, Baha'u'llah only offers one, and then goes on at length to show how it does make the point. We can only presume that He could do this with each and every quote from the Gospels, but doesn't want to tire us out.

Second, as we have said many times, we feel that this is the crux of Part One of this Book. Everything from here until the end pivots around this paragraph, phrase by phrase.

Third, we have to continually bear in mind the skills that Baha'u'llah has just given us in the previous 23 paragraphs. We have to "be detached from all that is heaven and on earth", "cleanse (ourselves) from all that is earthly", "put our trust in God", and "consider the past". We have to remember to ponder and reflect as we go through this, and not allow our instinctive reflexes to deter us from the new spiritual habits that Baha'u'llah tells us will lead us towards reunion with our Creator.

So now, thrillseekers, buckle your seatbelts, strap on your parachutes, and tighten your britches, because here we go.