Posted by Brett (220.127.116.11) on August 19, 2002 at 10:56:47:
In Reply to: Re: Responses posted by Mansikka on August 18, 2002 at 22:41:46:
Baha'is do not believe Jesus was a "mere prophet" as in the figures of the Old Testament such as Isaiah, Daniel, etc.. If the Baha'i Writings use "Prophet" to describe Jesus, it would always be capitalized to signify a station far above ordinary or even inspired men. The most common term the Baha'i Writings use for the station of Jesus (and Baha'u'llah, etc.) is "Manifestation of God", meaning that He perfectly reflected the Will of God in all all His words and actions.
Yes, Baha'is do believe that Jesus was on par with other Figures and that Christians have misunderstood His statements such as "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Baha'is believe Jesus was speaking here as the Holy Spirit, and as He promised He would come again, when He did return, in the person of Muhammad, and subsequently and with a fuller Revelation from God in the Bab and Baha'u'llah, that it was also incumbent on humanity to follow Him. Just as those following Moses prior to Jesus' advent could be considered to be following "the way, the truth, and the life" (unless they were alive when Jesus came and turned aside from Him), so too can those who have recognized the Holy Spirit in its Return. Actually, Baha'is would say that it is ONLY such souls who have done so who can claim to be truly following Jesus.
If you are puzzled as to why Baha'is believe a Figure such as Moses is also considered to be a Manifestation of God, we do believe that Jesus' Revelation was much more advanced than that of Moses (as the Bible itself testifies), but that Their stations were equivalent--both were perfect reflections of the Will of God--in Their lives and words. Interpretations which view Moses as having sinned or erred as a common man, we believe to be incorrect. Baha'is believe that such references in the Bible were meant to be an indirect way for God to criticize the people (as a mercy on His part), rather than to actually rebuke Moses Himself, Who was, we believe, free from any sin...and in fact, would need to be in order to deliver a law for all to obey, just as you point out that Jesus had to be sinless to rescue His followers.
We would encourage you to investigate the claims of Baha'u'llah more deeply. Remember, the Pharisees were deprived of Jesus' sweet deliverance because they were expecting the signs of His coming to be literal and according to their own imaginations. I would urge you to consider whether it may be possible that some would also make such mistakes on His second coming.
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