Fulfilling the Prophecies of Judaism and Christianity

Fulfilling the Prophecies of Judaism and Christianity

Peter Terry

Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, claimed to fulfill the ancient prophecies of both Judaism and Christianity.

Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, referred to Baha’u’llah’s claim in several places:

Addressing the Jewish people Baha’u’llah has written: “The Most Great Law is come, and the Ancient Beauty ruleth upon the throne of David. Thus hath My Pen spoken that which the histories of bygone ages have related. At this time, however, David crieth aloud and saith: ‘O my loving Lord! Do Thou number me with such as have stood steadfast in  Thy Cause, O Thou through Whom the faces have been illumined, and the footsteps have slipped!’” – The Promised Day is Come, pp. 76-77.

To the Jewish people, He, moreover, announced that the Most Great Law has come, that “the Ancient Beauty [Baha’u’llah] ruleth upon the throne of David,” Who cries aloud and invokes His Name, that “from Zion hath appeared that which was hidden,” and that “from Jerusalem is heard the Voice of God, the One, the Incomparable, the Omniscient.” – God Passes By, p. 211.

Nor can we fail to note the progressive deterioration in the authority, wielded by the ecclesiastical leaders of the Jewish and Zoroastrian Faiths, ever since the voice of Baha’u’llah was raised, announcing, in no uncertain terms, that the “Most Great Law is come,” that the Ancient Beauty “ruleth upon the throne of David,” and that “whatsoever hath been announced in the Books (Zoroastrian Holy Writ) hath been revealed and made clear.” – Ibid., p. 230.

Shoghi Effendi also cited those famous passages in the book of Isaiah:

No less enthralling is the vision of Isaiah, the greatest of the Hebrew Prophets, predicting, as far back as twenty five hundred years ago, the destiny which mankind must, at its stage of maturity, achieve: “And He (the Lord) shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more …” [Isaiah 2:4] “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots … And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together … And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” – The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 205.

While Baha’u’llahAbdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi often gave metaphorical interpretations of scriptural verses, in this case they all write in a boldly affirmative way about the actual genetic link between King David and Baha’u’llah:

He was moreover a descendant of Jesse …To Him Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, had alluded as the “Glory of the Lord,”[6:3, 10:16, 35:2, 40:5, 58:8, 59:19, 60:1] the “Everlasting Father,” [9:6] the “Prince of Peace,” [9:6] the “Wonderful,” [9:6] the “Counsellor,” [9:6] the “Rod come forth out of the stem of Jesse” [11:1] and the “Branch grown out of His roots,” [11:1] Who “shall be established upon the throne of David,” [9:7] Who “will come with strong hand,” [40:10] Who “shall judge among the nations,” [2:4] Who “shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips slay the wicked,” [11:4] and Who “shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” [11:12] Of Him David had sung in his Psalms, acclaiming Him as the “Lord of Hosts” and the “King of Glory.” – Shoghi EffendiGod Passes By, p. 94. (with scriptural references inserted in brackets)

So strong are the presumptions of those of Christian heritage that this claim couldn’t possibly apply to anyone besides Jesus, inasmuch as the gospels report so many persons having called Jesus “son of David.” He has been hailed as such for over two millennia, so many may still resist a genetic link between David and Baha’u’llah. Perhaps it was a Baha’i of Christian heritage who asked Shoghi Effendi to explain, no doubt once again, if this link is really physical. Shoghi Effendi directed his secretary to answer on his behalf:

Regarding your question concerning the Jesse from whom Baha’u’llah is descended: [Abdu’l-Baha] says in ‘Some Answered Questions’, referring to Isaiah, chapter 11, verses 1 to 10, that these verses apply ‘Word for word to Baha’u’llah.’ He then identifies this Jesse as the father of David in the following words: ‘… for Joseph was of the descendants of Jesse the father of David …’, thus identifying the Jesse of Isaiah, chapter 11, with being the father of David. Baha’u’llah is thus the descendant of Jesse, the father of David.

[Shoghi Effendi] hopes that this will clarify the matter for you. It is a tremendous and fascinating theme, Baha’u’llah’s connection with the Faith of Judaism, and one which possesses great interest to Jew and Christian alike. – From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baha’i, July 11, 1942.

Of course this raises an intriguing consideration: Baha’u’llah, the descendant of Sasanian kings of the Zoroastrian Faith, and more recently of a distinguished aristocratic family of Shi’i Muslim heritage, was also a Jew.

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or any institution of the Baha’i Faith.