by Robert RiggsNew York: Philosophical Library, 1981
The Bahá'í Faith grew out of the Babi Faith which was founded in 1844 by the Bab, Mirza 'Ali Muhammad of Shiraz, Persia. The Babi teachings emphasized the forthcoming appearance of "The One Whom God will Make Manifest," a new Prophet or Manifestation of God. The Babi Faith stemmed from Shiah Islam which taught the forthcoming return of the Twelfth Imam, Muhammad's Successor, Who would renew religion and guide the faithful. "This messianic view was the basis of the teachings of the Shaykhi sect, so named after Shakyh Ahmad." [Firuz Khazemzadeh, "The Bahá'í Faith," World Order, Spring 1974, p. 10.] The teachings of this sect gave allegorical interpretations to doctrines such as the resurrection, the Last Judgement, and the return of the Twelfth Imam.
When the Bab announced in 1844 that He was the channel through which grace from someone as yet veiled from men was to flow, it caused considerable excitement among His fellow Persians. Many people became followers of the Bab, but the Persian government and clergy were opposed to His new doctrines and eventually the Bab was executed and with Him a large number of His followers, the Babis.
Among His followers was a man of wealthy background Who was incarcerated in Tehran for allegedly attempting to kill the Shah of Persia. It was while this man was in prison that He learned from God of His unique station. His name was Bahá'u'lláh, the Glory of God, and He was the Messenger God had chosen to carry His Message for this Era to all mankind. Long years of exile saw Bahá'u'lláh banished from Persia and sent throughout the Ottoman Empire until, at last, He was sent to the prison fortress at 'Akka. Notwithstanding the attempts of governments, clergy, and individuals to halt His teaching, Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed to the people of the world God's Message for this time. By His death, in 1892, the Bahá'í Faith had spread "beyond Persia and the Ottoman Empire to the Caucasus, Turkestan, India, Burma, Egypt, and the Sudan." [Kazemzadeh, p. 11]
To preserve the unity of the Bahá'í community after His passing, Bahá'u'lláh appointed His son 'Abdu'l-Bahá as leader of the community and authorized Interpreter of His writings. This appointment, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá's subsequent appointment of Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, His grandson, as sole Interpreter of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh and Guardian of the Cause, ensured that the writings of the Faith and, indeed, the Faith itself would be free from the dangerous schisms and taints of personality that had harmed the Faiths of previous Manifestations of God. Clearly, Bahá'u'lláh intended to secure for His followers single, unquestioned interpretation of His words and teachings.
In His writings, Bahá'u'lláh has unsealed the meanings of the Books of the Bible which were sealed in the time of Jesus Christ until man should be of sufficient spiritual maturity to understand what is in them. In the case of The Revelation of St. John the Divine, a book that has been interpreted by numerous worthy scholars, Bahá'u'lláh's interpretation is deeply symbolic but clear and concise within the teachings of the Bahá'í Faith.
Using the words of Bahá'u'lláh and the interpretations of His teachings as a base, the writer has carefully gone through each verse and revealed the meaning that lies richly within, waiting to illumine the eyes of mankind and fulfill the promises made to him by God through His Manifestations.
10 November 1975 AD
8 Qudrat 132 BE
[See also the updated version of this book.]