In over 200 places in the New Testament there is reference to the "end of the age"
, the time which Jesus speaks of as the time of His return, or of the appearance of "The Spirit of Truth".
At the same time, Jesus warned that there would be many false prophets, who would come in His name and would deceive many. In order that people would be able to distinguish the real "Son of Man"
from the false prophets, Jesus gave a sign:
"Beware of false prophets.... Ye shall know them by their fruits..... Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
(Matthew 7: 15-20)
Christ also gave three promises which would mark out the time when His Spirit would return. These are: that His Gospel would be preached in every land, that the expulsion of the Jews from Palestine would be ended, and that Daniel's prophecy about the "abomination of desolation" would be fulfilled.
The First Promise
"And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness ..... then shall the end come."
(Matthew 24: 14)
The early part of the nineteenth century saw the foundation of missionary societies which translated the Bible into many languages and began a huge operation to spread the news of Jesus into every remaining country. In 1842 missionaries reached China, and organised efforts to proclaim the Gospel in Central Africa began in 1844.
The Second Promise
"Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.... And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."
(Luke 21: 24,27)
The Jewish revolt against Roman rule ended in A.D. 70, when Jerusalem fell to the Roman armies, and the Temple was destroyed. This was the start of the abomination of desolation, in which the Temple was "trodden down by the Gentiles". The Jews were expelled from Palestine, and this situation lasted up until the mid 1800s, when Jews began to trickle back to their original homeland.
The Third Promise
"The disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming? [and He answered] ".....When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)."
(Matthew 24: 3,15)
This refers to chapters 8 to 12 of the Book of Daniel where prophecies can be found which appear to give the dates for the first and second coming of Christ. Biblical scholars believe that every "day" referred to in these texts should be understood as meaning a year. One point of reference given by Daniel concerns the rebuilding of Jerusalem, long before the Romans again destroyed it. From 457 B.C., when the decree to rebuild Jerusalem went out, Daniel prophesies 70 weeks (490 days) until the "cutting off" (crucifixion) of the Messiah. The exact birth date of Jesus is unknown, but it is believed that he was crucified in about 33 A.D., which would be 490 years after the decree.
Daniel also prophesies 2300 "days" until the sanctuary is cleansed, and the abomination of desolation - the desecration of the Temple in Jerusalem - is ended. From 457 B.C., this arrives at A.D. 1844.
In the vision which contained these prophecies, Daniel saw himself as being in the land of Elam, later called Persia. The prophet Jeremiah also states:
"And I will set my throne in Elam (Persia) .... saith the Lord"
. (Jeremiah 49:38)
Ezekiel likewise looked to the East of Palestine:
"And the Glory of the Lord came into the house by way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east". (Ezekiel 43:4)
On May 22nd, 1844, a young man in Shiraz, Persia, declared to His first disciple that He was the Gate to God's new age, and that the Promised One of all religions would soon appear. The young man took the name of the Báb, (meaning Door or Gate). His radical teachings soon led to His imprisonment, and He was publicly executed in 1850. Before His execution, the Báb sent His pen-case and seals to one of His followers, a young nobleman known as Bahá'u'lláh, ("The Glory Of God"). Bahá'u'lláh in turn was thrown into prison, and while in the dungeon received a revelation from God that He was the Promised One of all religions. For the rest of His earthly life, He was a prisoner and an exile, but every exile served to fulfil further prophecies. First, he was exiled to Baghdad, in Iraq.
As prophesied in Micah, He was exiled to Palestine "from Assyria"
(part of modern Iraq), passing "from the fortified cities", "from sea to sea", "from mountain to mountain"
, and arriving "in a desolate land"
Bahá'u'lláh's own title, "The Glory of the Lord" or "The Glory of God", is prophesied by Isaiah, by Ezekiel and by St. John. Isaiah says:
"....Behold your God will come .....He will come and save you... the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the Glory of God." (Isaiah 35: 4,2)
On His last banishment, Bahá'u'lláh was sent to the Holy Land, to the prison city of Akka. This faces Mount Carmel, extolled by Isaiah as the "Mountain of The Lord", which overlooks the plain of Sharon. In His last years He was allowed a limited freedom, and dwelt on the Plain of Akka, even pitching His tent on Carmel. In all this, He was fulfilling prophecies of the Old Testament.
Those who have recognised the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh as fulfilling the prophecies of the Bible are known by the new name of Bahá'í. The Book of Revelation states that there will be a "new name":
"I will write upon him (that overcometh) my new name." (Revelation 3: 12)
Bahá'u'lláh died in exile in the Holy Land, and His mortal remains are buried near Akka. The Bahá'í World Centre is established on Mount Carmel, near to the Shrine of the Báb. Pilgrims now flow here from all parts of the globe, in fulfilment of prophecy. They come from a Bahá'í community which is now several million strong, and is spread in every single country of the world.
"In the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it." (Micah 4:1)
By their fruits ye shall know them
Bahá'u'lláh has brought two kinds of fruit: this united, world-wide community, and His teachings themselves. These include the teaching that all the prophets of God are one in spirit, and all teach the religion of God. Each Divine Messenger builds on the teachings already given to us, and then gives us further guidance for the new age. He teaches that there is but one true God, that all mankind should worship. He teaches that humanity is one family, and that all restrictions of nation, race, language and class are barriers which prevent the will of God being carried out.
"The time foreordained unto the people and kindreds of the earth is now come. The promises of God, as recorded in the holy Scriptures, have all been fulfilled. Out of Zion hath gone forth the law of God, and Jerusalem, and the hills and lands thereof, are filled with the glory of His Revelation...This is the Day which the Pen of the Most High hath glorified in all the Holy Scriptures."
The text of all these leaflets remains the copyright of Warwick Bahá'í Bookshop. The Bookshop is happy for people to download individual copies for their own purposes. Printed copies can be purchased from the Warwick Bookshop. Individuals or communities wishing to translate or print these leaflets in other countries please contact the Bookshop for permission.