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TAGS: Armageddon; Bible; Christianity; Day-year principle; Interfaith dialogue; Interpretation; Islam; Judaism; Millennialism; Prophecies; Revelation of St. John; Symbolism; Translation
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Bahá'í interpretation of St. John's Book of Revelation.
Presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #24, Louhelen Bahá'í School, Michigan (October 8-12, 1999). Mirrored with permission from

The Book of Revelation Revealed in Glory:
A Summary of Glorious Revelation

by William Ridgers

published in Lights of Irfan, Book 1, pages 95-104
Wilmette, IL: Irfan Colloquia, 2000

The presently titled "The Book of Revelation Revealed in Glory" interprets the Book of Revelation through a Bahá’í lens in the tradition of Ruth Moffett's Keys to the Book of Revelation and Robert Riggs' The Apocalypse Unsealed, and writings of Sears, Motlagh, Sours, and Tai-Seale. Its main revealed source of symbols is Bahá’u’lláh’s Book of Certitude, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Some Answered Questions and Shoghi Effendi's God Passes By provide most of its specific verse interpretations of some 26% of Revelation's 393 verses at last search.

This Bahá’í-inspired reading applies millennialist historicism and its year-day principle to interpret the Book of Revelation's prophesy of Christianity, Islam, and the Bahá’í Faith from 96 A.D. onwards. It follows the history of the progressive Faith of God over the last 1,900 years and in Jesus' native Middle East. As the last book of the New Testament it joins Christianity with Islam and the Bahá’í Faiths, as the Koran's Surat Yusuf linked Islam with the Bábí Faith in its way.

Islam and the Bahá’í Faith both teach that prophecies have multiple meanings. Nonetheless, this particular interpretation has a format that commits writer and reader to a single best interpretation. This appears on each right page opposite a serious translation of the Greek on each left facing page. The recto page interprets every verse against the matching verso original, and provides a unique perspective of reading. The timing, meaning the verb tenses, is set to the present end of the twentieth century.

Most important, I submit specific problems of presentation for discussion in requesting critical input. Evidently the Book of Revelation's message is meant for Christians who learn it in church and hear it in the Messiah. Therefore, while seeking Bahá’í readership, my prime pursuit is the wider goal of Christian readership. This millennial timing is good, when even Armageddon, surprisingly, seems almost over.

Either way, how much Bahá’í matter to write remains the core presentation issue. How much Bahá’í material should explicitly appear in the introductory Prologue or concluding Epilogue, in the title and names for Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb, and in even the book title? Should ultimately two versions, one Bahá’í, one Christian, exist? Specifically, should the Greek "arnion" translate as Lamb or as Ram, and "thura" as Door or as Gate? Each version of each is legitimate, yet one speaks louder to Christians and the other is heard better by Bahá’ís. Are Glory of God and Faith of Glory adequate, since the basic Arabic-appearing Bahá’í words, in today's sensitive geopolitical climate, will likely hurt potential Christian readership in the USA? Hopefully question time can address these tricky presentation problems.
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