December 8, 2010

Satisfactory proof that Bahá'u'lláh is not a false prophet –- by Hand of the Cause William Sears

Every Prophet has been called false by his own generation. This was true of Jesus. He was considered a "false prophet."

"And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said he is a good man; others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people." [John 7:2]

A famous philosopher named Celsus in the second century compiled an entire volume filled with terrible libels about Christ and His followers. Porphyry, one of the greatest of the Platonic philosophers, wrote a large book against Christ and the Christians, quoting the many abusive attacks against Jesus which were prevalent among the leaders and the masses. The book was later burned by order of Sydocius and Dovalantius, two Christian emperors, who after the passing of time lauded and defended Christ Whom the people of that same land had once called false and had despised.

James Murdock in his History of the Church quotes one of the great scholar-emperors of Rome, Marc Antony, as saying, "You should not ask concerning Jesus of Nazareth from these poor Romans, none of whom has seen him, but whom baseness and indolence have caused to follow him." He called them unimportant people, slaves, men and women without praiseworthy qualities. The emperor Julian, who denied his faith in Christ, said the Christians were the "enemies of the world of humanity."

Even hundreds of years after His crucifixion, Christ was called a false prophet by the leaders and people of the world. Most people could not believe that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the prophecies about the coming Messiah which said:

1. He (the Messiah) will sit upon the throne of David. (Where was his throne?)
2. Mount Zion will dance. (Who had yet seen this wonder?)
3. He will rule with a sword. (He didn't even have a staff, let alone a sword.)
4. He will come from an unknown place. (Did not this Jesus come from Nazareth, a place from which tradition promised that no "good" could come?)

How then could this (Jesus) be the Messiah?

When it was explained to the people of that time that all these prophecies had been fulfilled "inwardly" not "outwardly," symbolically and not literally, they refused to believe it.

Some of Christ's own followers denied Him because they couldn't fully accept His teachings. They turned away from Him and considered Him to be a "false prophet."

"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." [John 6:66]

Whenever a Messenger of God appears, such as Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb or Bahá'u'lláh, He is denounced as a "false prophet" by those who are not spiritually awake.

What satisfactory proof can be given to the spiritually awake that Bahá'u'lláh is not a false prophet? After all, Christ did warn His followers to beware of false prophets.

In the twenty fourth chapter of Matthew, in which Christ so clearly foretold His own return in 1844, we also find one of His strongest warnings about the last days and false prophets:

"Then if any man should say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; inasmuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." [Matthew 24:23-24]

Here Jesus prophecies the coming of not one, but of many false Christs and false prophets. He points out that they will work such astonishing wonders that they will deceive even the elect -- His own followers, the Christians.

There are "false prophets" who deceive many of the "elect" in every age. These false prophets do not always appear in the guise of religion. There is the "false prophet" who teaches that there is no God at all -- atheism.

The coming of this last "false prophet," disbelief in God, was plainly foretold in both the Old and the New Testament for the "time of the end":

1. "That day [the return of Christ] shall not come except there come a falling away first. ..." [Thessalonians 2:3]

2. "There shall be false teachers ... who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that brought them. ... And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." [II Peter 2:1-2]

The prophet Amos, who foretold which such startling clarity that the "sun would be darkened at noon," (in the hour of the Báb's martyrdom) also prophesied that it should be a day of disbelief in God and a day of great "falling away" from religion:

3. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro, to seek the Word of the Lord, and shall not find it." [Amos 8:11-12]

4. "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days, scoffers walking after their own lusts, And saying: Where is the promise of His coming?" [II Peter 3:3-4]

In the hour of Christ's crucifixion, the "scoffers" who considered Him a "false prophet" were many, those who believed in Him were few. One of His chosen disciples had betrayed Him for money, another had denied Him three times. When His enemies came against Him in the garden of Gethsemane with swords and stones, His most trusted disciples deserted Him, fear overcoming their faith: "Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled." No wonder Christ repeatedly warned His followers not to make this same mistake in the hour of His return.

"Watch ye therefore," He warned them, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning. Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping." [Mark 13:35-36]

Thus, Jesus warned all future humanity through His followers: "And what I say unto, I say unto all, Watch!" [Mark 13:37]

In the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew where we hear Christ foretelling the hour of His return (1844), He once again cautions His followers not to misread the signs of His coming and thus be misled into error:

"But if that evil servant shall say in his heart My Lord delayed His coming [and thus not expecting Him, shall deny Him], and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken [become material-minded]; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder and appoint his portion with the hypocrites!" [Matthew 24:48-51]

Christ, Himself, Who warned His followers to beware of "false prophets," gave humanity a measuring rod by which it is possible to judge every prophet and thus be sure of the truth. He provided an unerring standard by which every person can determine for himself whether a prophet is "true" or "false." This standard is found in the seventh chapter of Matthew. We find that in this one chapter Christ gave both the warning to beware of false prophets, and supplied the method by which to judge them.

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. ... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." [Matthew 7:15-20]

Judge the prophet by his fruits. This is a sound basis for judgement. It is the measure established by Christ Himself. Therefore, let us judge Bahá'u'lláh by the standard given by Christ. Let us test the fruits of Bahá'u'lláh's tree, for Christ has promised us that if the "fruit" is good, the tree is good, and the prophet true.

Bahá'u'lláh wrote over a hundred volumes. Here it is possible to mention but a few of His teachings, and in the briefest manner. It is like trying to capture the ocean in a cup. The following are "fruits" from the tree of Bahá'u'lláh upon subjects which are nearest to the heart of every man, and most vital to his welfare: 1. his home and family, 2. his country, 3. his religion, and 4. his individual self.

The first "fruit" we shall test is that relating to man's home and family:

1. Home and Family

Bahá'u'lláh calls upon all mankind to honor the sanctity of marriage. The bond between husband and wife must be upon a spiritual as well as a physical foundation. It must be a happy and lasting union, for the family is the basis of society.

The Bahá'í law on marriage is that man must have but one wife (monogamy). If a man already has more than one wife, he does not give up any, but he can take no more. Thus an injustice or upheaval will not be caused in those lands where plural marriages are acceptable, but gradually by the application of this law, monogamy will be the rule everywhere.

Bahá'u'lláh calls upon all men and women to marry so that children may be raised up who can honor the name of God and render service to mankind. It is obligatory to educate the children and they must be educated and given moral as well as scientific training.

2. Man’s Country

Bahá'u'lláh's teachings state clearly that it is the "unquestioned duty of every one of His followers to demonstrate their loyalty and obedience to their respective governments."

His teachings say, even more specifically: "According to the direct and sacred command of God we are forbidden to utter slander, and are commanded to show forth peace and amity, and are exhorted to rectitude of conduct, straightforwardness and harmony with all the kindreds and peoples of the world." [Baha’i World Faith, p.440]

Bahá'u'lláh's followers are instructed to consider disloyalty unto a just government as disloyalty to God Himself. It is the sacred obligation of Bahá'ís to "promote, in the most effective manner, the best interests of their government and people." [Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p.65]

This is another "fruit" from the tree of Bahá'u'lláh by which you may judge whether He is a true or false prophet.

3. Man’s Religion

Bahá'u'lláh teaches that just as there is only one God, there is also only one religion. All the great Prophets have taught this same one religion.

There is no exclusive salvation for the Hindu, the Jew, the Zoroastrian, the Buddhist, the Christian, the Muslim, or the Bahá'í. All these pure and holy Faiths are part of the one eternal religion of God which goes on forever. No religion is the one exclusive faith, or the final outpouring of truth from Almighty God. Each religion is true, is beautiful, is valid for the age in which it appears. It is the only truth for that particular age, yet it is but one part of the single, great, progressive, never-ending religion of God. The Word of God is one though the Speakers (Messengers) are many.

The Bahá'í teachings point out that the growth of religion is like the growth of a tree. In the teaching of Krishna we see the "seed," in that of Moses the "shoot," in that of Zoroaster the "trunk," in that of Buddha the "branches," in that of Jesus the "twigs," in that of Muhammad the "leaves," in that of the Báb the "blossoms," in that of Bahá'u'lláh the "fruit." Because men failed to recognize and understand the oneness, the great religions have developed an enmity for each other.

The Founders were united in love, but the followers became divided in hate. One step is not greater than another. All are necessary. Each stage is the fulfillment of the one that went before. No step is exclusive; no stage is final, not even the stage of the "fruit." The "fruit" is the fulfillment of the "seed"; it is the end of a cycle; but from that "fruit" will come the seed of another great cycle.

"The Religion of God," Bahá'u'lláh declares, "is for the sake of love and union; make it not the cause of enmity and conflict."[J.E. Esslemont, Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 101]

Bahá'u'lláh was exiled like Abraham, stoned like Moses, and scourged like Jesus. For nearly half a century Bahá'u'lláh underwent imprisonment and exile, during which He was poisoned, beaten, chained in a dungeon, and subject to the most brutal and continuous indignities. In the depths of His suffering, He again pointed out the oneness of His own Mission with that of Christ. Bahá'u'lláh called out to mankind: "If ye be intent on crucifying once again Jesus, the Spirit of God, put Me to death, for He hath once more, in My person, been made manifest unto you." [Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 101]

Bahá'u'lláh commands His followers to "consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship." [Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 95]

Bahá'u'lláh upholds the basic teachings of Christ, Moses, Muhammad, Krishna and all the prophets of the past. He speaks of them all with great love and beauty. In counselling His followers to mingle with the people of all Faiths with radiance and gladness, He says: "Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the drops of one ocean."

"Truly I say," Bahá'u'lláh tells us, "whatever lowers the lofty station of religion will increase heedlessness in the wicked. ... O people of God! Be not occupied with yourselves. Be intent on the betterment of the world and the training of the nations." [J.E. Esslemont, Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 164]

This is yet another "fruit" taken from the tree of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings by which you may judge whether He is a true or false prophet.

4. Man’s Individual Life

The reason a Prophet (Messenger) comes to earth, Bahá'u'lláh says, is "to educate the souls of men, and to refine the character of every living man. ..." [Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 22]

"The essence of faith," Bahá'u'lláh counsels, "is fewness of words and abundance of deeds. ..." "Beware, O people of Baha, lest ye walk in the ways of them whose words differ from their deeds." "Let your acts be a guide to all mankind. ... It is through your deeds that ye can distinguish yourselves from others. Through them the brightness of your life can be shed upon the whole earth."

"The most vital duty, in this day, is to purify your characters, to correct your manners, and improve your conduct," Bahá'u'lláh proclaims. "The beloved of the Merciful must show forth such character and conduct among His creatures, that the fragrance of their holiness may be shed upon the whole world. ..."

"A good character is, verily, the best mantle for men. ... The light of a good character surpasses the light of the sun. ... Upon this the honor and glory of the world are based and are dependent. ..." "Trustworthiness ... is the door to the security and tranquility of mankind." [Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, pp. 21-22]

Throughout Bahá'u'lláh's Teachings, such additional counsels on individual behavior as these are found:

"Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path." [‘Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 16]

"... show the utmost kindness and compassion to the sick and suffering. This has greater effect than the remedy itself. You must always have this thought of love and affection when you visit the ailing and afflicted." [‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 199]

Bahá'u'lláh has given the following standard of conduct for all His followers:

"Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, ... an answer to the cry of the needy. ... Be unjust to no man. ... Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. ... Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. ... a breath of life to the body of mankind. ..." [Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 285]

This is another "fruit" taken from the tree of Bahá'u'lláh. Christ said "by their fruits ye will know them." These will help you to decide whether Bahá'u'lláh is a true or false prophet.

The following final "fruits" are but a few of the Teachings taken from this vast reservoir which Bahá'u'lláh has left to humanity:

1. Each individual shall make his own independent search after truth.

The Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh say: "The greatest gift of God to man is his intelligence."

Each individual should investigate spiritual truth for himself. He can, and should, learn from the knowledge and efforts of others, but he should not accept their findings as the final truth for himself without a personal investigation. Each person is individually responsible for the relationship between himself and God. Only a sincere individual search can bring about a just decision.

This is a "fruit" from the tree of Bahá'u'lláh's Teachings.

2. Men and women should enjoy equal rights, privileges, education, and opportunities throughout the world.

Bahá'u'lláh attached great importance to this principle. His teachings emphasize the fact that since the mother is the teacher of the child during its early and formative years, it is most necessary that she have a good education. The universal education which Bahá'u'lláh advocates would give an equal position to boys and girls, men and women.

When the station of woman is elevated until it is co-equal to that of man everywhere in the entire world, the stability and wholesomeness of social affairs throughout the world will be greatly improved.

This is also a "fruit" from Bahá'u'lláh's tree.

3. Education must be available to all.

No one should be deprived of an opportunity for education, Bahá'u'lláh's teachings explain. Nor must anyone be permitted to deprive himself of an education. Education must be compulsory up to a certain age.

"To acquire knowledge is incumbent on all," Bahá'u'lláh declares, "but of those sciences which may profit the people of the earth. ... The possessors of sciences and arts have a great right among the people of the world. ... Indeed, the real treasury of man is his knowledge. Knowledge is the means of honor, prosperity, joy, gladness, happiness and exaltation." [Baha’i World Faith, p. 189]

This is another "fruit."

4. An international language must be taught throughout the world in addition to the mother-tongue.

Bahá'u'lláh has instructed that a universal language must be fashioned or adopted from one of the existing languages. This will greatly aid commerce and will break down the barriers of misunderstandings among peoples.

This language would be an international auxiliary language. Each land would keep the beauty and charm of its own mother-tongue, but would learn in addition an international auxiliary language.

"... my determination is to gather the nations. ... For then will I turn to the people a pure language that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent." [Zephaniah 3:8-9]

This, too, is a "fruit" from Baha’u’llah’s tree.

5. Religion must agree with science and reason.

In a world society such as that foretold by Bahá'u'lláh, "science and religion, the two most potent forces in human life, will be reconciled, will cooperate, and will harmoniously develop." [Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 204]

This is a "fruit" upon Bahá'u'lláh's tree.

6. All men are the children of one Father, God, and are the brothers and sisters of one human family.

However great the conqueror may be, he is finally entombed, possessionless. He keeps but one small plot of earth for his bones. Thus every warrior is interred. The earth belongs to God, and man is a tenant here for but a brief span. His greatest possession, next to love of God, is love for his fellow human beings. Prejudices of all kinds must be banished from the earth. In order to eliminate racial prejudice, it is essential to eliminate racial consciousness and to see all humanity as the children of one Father.

"Lovers of mankind," His Teachings proclaim, are the superior people, of whatever country, color or creed they may be."

This also is a "fruit" taken from Bahá'u'lláh's tree.

7. The soul is the essential part of every human being and lives forever.

The most vital belief any man can possess, Bahá'u'lláh assures us, and one which man cherishes most of all at the moment of death, is a belief in God and in the immortality of his own spirit. Bahá'u'lláh repeatedly gives mankind comforting assurance upon this essential truth. After reading Bahá'u'lláh's words on this subject, man has great confidence in that inner prompting which tells him that he does indeed have an immortal soul.

Many of the great scientific minds of our day substantiate these inner truths from their own research. They point out that matter itself is indestructible and has a form of immortality; therefore, how can the spirit be mortal?

The eminent biologist C. C. Hurst writes, "Recent genetical research leads us to the inevitable conclusion that, in general, living genes are relatively immortal. [C. C. Hurst, Heredity, the Ascent of Man, pp. 32, 35, 131]

Arthur H. Compton, Nobel Prize Winner for his work in physics, says: "... it is only fair to point out that science has found no cogent reason for supposing that what is of importance in a man can be buried in a grave." [Arthur H. Compton, The Freedom of Man, pp. 121, 126] Dr. Compton says in yet another place, "Biologically speaking, life, whether it be an apple seed or the germ cell of a man, is essentially continuous and eternal ... May we not also logically say that continuity of consciousness, mind or soul may be presumed from the essential eternality of the germ cell?" [Washington Star, Article 12, 1936]

This is another "fruit" of Bahá'u'lláh by which you may judge Him.

8. Prayer is both a blessing and an obligation.

Prayer brings healing to the soul. It brings joy and happiness, and protects man from tests and difficulties. It is essential to the life of the spirit.

Just as the physical body must have food each day, so does the soul need food each day. Prayer is the spiritual food of the soul. A physical body which is not fed regularly becomes emaciated from malnutrition. It sickens and dies. The same is true of the soul of man. This spirit must be fed regularly and well, or it will suffer the same loss of power. It too, will sicken. While it never dies, it becomes so helpless that it exists in a form of death.

For example, if a man lets his arm hang at his side without ever using it, soon the power to move the arm vanishes. The arm has become atrophied and useless. A man's soul without the nourishment of regular prayer also becomes atrophied and useless.

Bahá'u'lláh has left a rich legacy of beautiful, uplifting prayers. However, His Faith instructs man to remember that prayer is by no means limited to the use of these prayers. Work itself, Bahá'u'lláh says, is worship. One's daily work when done in the spirit of service to mankind, and performed to the best of one's ability, is prayer of the finest kind.

"We have made this – your occupation -- identical with the worship of God," Bahá'u'lláh has written. [Baha’i World Faith, p. 195]

He teaches that one's whole life should be a prayer. Every thought, word or deed devoted to the good of one's fellow-man is a prayer in the truest sense of the word.

By means of these principles and laws, Bahá'u'lláh has laid the foundation for a united world, so that the prophecies of Scripture might be fulfilled and there might come that promised day of "one fold and one shepherd."

Nearly a century ago, Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed the essential need for the establishment of a universal House of Justice which would be dedicated to preserving the welfare of all men upon the planet. It would protect both great and small nations. It would guarantee the rights of individuals. Bahá'u'lláh addressed the Rulers and Kings of the earth, warning them of the dire consequences which would follow if they failed to raise up such a structure. Without it, He told them, disaster would come upon the world.

This world organization envisioned by Bahá'u'lláh would have a world parliament which would be democratically elected. It would have a world metropolis, an international police force, and a world tribunal or court.

It would not be dedicated to the West or the East; it would not favor the light or the dark; it would not prefer the Jew or the Gentile. This world organization would be dedicated to one purpose only: the welfare of the entire human race.

This great universal body would establish a common system of weights and measures and a common currency. It would develop all of the world's natural resources and would regulate markets so that "have not" nations would no longer exist. It would eliminate the extremes of poverty and wealth without destroying the natural degrees of difference which talent and initiative create. It would further an international auxiliary language. In short, it would take all the steps necessary to bring about a peace-loving, progressive, prosperous human family.

Professor Edward G. Browne of the University of Cambridge visited Bahá'u'lláh in 1890. He wrote of that moment as follows:

"The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one's very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow. ... No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!

“A mild dignified voice bade me be seated, and then continued: 'Thou hast come to see a prisoner and an exile. ... We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of nations. ... That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled. ... These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family. ... Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind. ...'

“Such, so far as I can recall them, were the words which, besides many others, I heard from Baha. Let those who read them consider well with themselves whether such doctrines merit death and bonds, and whether the world is more likely to gain or lose by their diffusion." [A Traveller’s Narrative, Introduction by E. G. Browne, p. XXXIX]

These are some of the "fruits" from the tree of Bahá'u'lláh. Christ said: "By their fruits shall ye know them." The responsibility of deciding whether or not Bahá'u'lláh is a true prophet now rests with you. (William Sears, Release the Sun, pp. 205-217)