accounts of end times. A.E.T.
The founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh claimed that he was the return of Christ as well as prophetic expectations of other religions. The inception of the Bahá’í Faith coincides with Millerite prophesy pointing to the year 1844. With respect to particular expectations of the end times, it has been argued that the Battle of Armageddon has already passed and that mass martyrdoms anticipated during the End Times had already passed within the Historical context of the Bahá’í Faith
The End of the World or a New Cycle?2)http://bahai.org.mt/the-end-of-the-world-or-a-new-cycle/
Recently, the topic of “The End of the World” has once again arisen as the center point of many discussions. This is being driven largely by all of the turbulence that is taking place on the world scene today.
From turmoil in the Middle East, to waves of refugees crossing national borders, to the devastation of millions by the AIDS virus we see the signs foretold in the Bible and all of the Holy Books regarding “the end times”.
And yet each of those same Holy Books proclaims a time in the future when mankind will flourish. In one of the few prayers that is attributed to Jesus Christ, He said: “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. Then, of course, there is the famous passage in the Old Testament, Book of Isaiah, promising a time when the peoples of the earth will “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift sword against nation neither shall they learn was anymore”.
These two ideas, one of the destruction or end of the world and the other of a time of world peace seem to be in direct conflict with one another. How can this be?
Let’s consider together what we know.
While the Holy books of old were certainly inspired by God and contain the truth beyond question, the problem lies in our errors of interpretation. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, Jesus Christ spoke in parables and often those to whom he spoke found his parables hard to understand. In fact, the Bible and all of the other holy books are replete with commentary about how the teachings of the Prophets were often abstruse so that hearts could be tested and true believers attracted. Further, Christ spoke in an old Judaic tongue known as Aramaic, which was traditionally an oral language. Many generations later these teachings were written down for the first time in Greek and ultimately we have a variety of English translations which various groups use today. In light of these facts we understand that it may be possible to hold an interpretation of what the Prophets said that doesn’t match what they meant.
It is interesting that in the middle of the 19th Century there was a groundswell of Adventist movements taking place around the world in anticipation of the coming of a new revelation from God as promised in all former faiths. While most came away from that time in disappointment assuming that the new revelation did not appear, the Bahá’ís saw their expectations fulfilled. The Baha’i Faith, the youngest of the world religions was born in the middle of the 19th Century when it’s Prophet-Founder, Baha’u’llah Who claimed to be the Promised One anticipated by all of the world’s religions appeared. Baha’u’llah explains the phenomenon of “the end times” and “the birth of a new cycle” in detail. He revealed over 100 volumes of Writings during His 40-year ministry.
From the Baha’i perspective, mankind has spent thousands of years in a cycle which is now antiquated. It ended in the middle of the 19th Century with the proclamation of Baha’u’llah to be the Messenger of God for this age. One of the principles of the Baha’i Faith is that each individual must be encouraged to investigate truth for him or herself. So this is not a claim that anyone could be expected to thoughtlessly embrace. On the other hand, it is such a monumental claim that the investigation of the possibility of its truth should be compelling.
The Baha’i Faith teaches that a new cycle or era began in the middle of the last century. The previous cycle was referred to as the Prophetic Cycle. During this cycle the various religions of the world taught of a time in the future that would see the coming of the day of God when His Kingdom would be ushered in. The new cycle is referred to as the Cycle of Fulfillment or the Cycle of Light. It is a time when the prophecies of old, particularly with regard to the coming of this great new age are to be fulfilled.
The challenge is to be able to step back and perceive the truth of this concept. After all, it has taken ages upon ages for us to come to the place that we are. Now, here we are at this particular and very infinitesimal place in time and we do not “see” the wonders of the new world. In fact, what we can most easily discern at this moment are the horrors of our age. Historians the world over agree that the century that just ended, the 20th century was the most chaotic and destructive century that mankind has ever experienced. The events of the 20th and in the first few years of the 21st century appear to be consonant with the signs that each of the Holy Books proclaim will accompany “the end times”. But as just indicated, what is meant by the ‘end times’ is not the physical ending of the world but rather an intense period of pain, chaos and confusion. Like the brief moments preceding a birth.
If we look closely there are other wonderful signs that quietly tell of a grand future, a time of global peace and brotherhood. Bahá’u’lláh’s most fundamental teaching is this – all religions have come from one source and Movements toward racial unity, rights for women, rights for children, the establishment of global standards for human rights such as the right of every soul to an education, the development of common currencies, the establishment of the united nations, collective efforts on the part of many nations toward environmental cooperation, trade exchange, the use of the internet and other forms of quick communications, all of these, bode well for the ultimate establishment of the ‘Kingdom of God’ on earth as it is in heaven.
“This is a new cycle of human power. All the horizons of the world are luminous, and the world will become indeed as a garden and a paradise. It is the hour of unity of the sons of men and of the drawing together of all races and all classes. You are loosed from ancient superstitions which have kept men ignorant, destroying the foundation of true humanity.
The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion. War shall cease between nations, and by the will of God the Most Great Peace shall come; the world will be seen as a new world, and all men will live as brothers.”
The Baha’i Writings make it clear, as do the texts of all of the Holy Books that in this new cycle, out of the chaos and confusion of our times a new day, one of collective hope and peace will be born.
The Universal House of Justice, the elected world governing body of the Baha’i community, in a statement issued on world peace, wrote:
“World peace is not only possible but inevitable”.
Original source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_times#Bah.C3.A1.27.C3.AD_Faith
Original source: http://bahai.org.mt/the-end-of-the-world-or-a-new-cycle/
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