|06-28-2015, 07:23 PM||#1|
Joined: Jul 2014
Teaching Progressive Revelation
I have made a commitment to hold a study group at the Cortez, Colorado public library. Because I so very much enjoyed " Founders of Faith; the Parallel Lives of God' s Messengers", I have chosen for us to read through this book. It is very thorough and objective in its research and presentation. Does anyone have any ideas...I have never lead a study group. I found Josh's thread on Progressive Revelation, which started out very helpful on the subject, then morphed into something else...which happens very easily, I know! Background is a pretty dang far right community. Any suggestions or ideas would be most appreciated......if I could only get my hands on a study guide for this marvelous book!
Loving Baha'i regards,
|06-29-2015, 06:21 AM||#2|
Joined: Nov 2012
Becky, there are a lot of golden nuggets here:
Contemplate with thine inward eye the chain of successive Revelations that hath linked the Manifestation of Adam with that of the Báb. I testify before God that each one of these Manifestations hath been sent down through the operation of the Divine Will and Purpose, that each hath been the bearer of a specific Message, that each hath been entrusted with a divinely-revealed Book and been commissioned to unravel the mysteries of a mighty Tablet. The measure of the Revelation with which every one of them hath been identified had been definitely fore-ordained. This, verily, is a token of Our favor unto them, if ye be of those that comprehend this truth....
-Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp 74-75
“They Who are the Luminaries of Truth and the Mirrors reflecting the light of Divine Unity,”Bahá’u’lláh explains in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, “in whatever age and cycle they are sent down from their invisible habitations of ancient glory unto this world to educate the souls of men and endue with grace all created things, are invariably endowed with an all-compelling power and invested with
invincible sovereignty.…These sanctified Mirrors, these Day-Springs of ancient glory are one and all the exponents on earth of Him Who is the central Orb of the universe, its essence and ultimate purpose. From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from Him is derived their sovereignty. The beauty of their countenance is but a reflection of His image, and their revelation a sign of His deathless glory... Through them is transmitted a grace that is infinite, and by them is revealed the light that can never fade.… Human tongue can never befittingly sing their praise, and human speech can never unfold their mystery.”
“Inasmuch as these Birds of the celestial Throne,” He adds, “are all sent down from the heaven of the Will of God, and as they all arise to proclaim His irresistible Faith, they therefore are regarded as one soul and the same person... They all abide in the same tabernacle, soar in the same heaven, are seated upon the same throne, utter the same speech, and proclaim the same Faith.… They only differ in the intensity of their revelation and the comparative potency of their light…. That a certain attribute of God hath not been outwardly manifested by these Essences of Detachment doth in no wise imply that they Who are the Day Spring of God’s attributes and the Treasuries of His holy names did not actually possess it.”
-Bahá’u’lláh, cited by Shoghi Effendi, in The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, pp 114-115
In the dispensations gone before, the feeble body of the world could not withstand a rigorous or powerful cure. For this reason did Christ say: 'I have yet many things to say unto you, matters needing to be told, but ye cannot bear to hear them now. Howbeit when that Comforting Spirit, Whom the Father will send, shall come, He will make plain unto you the truth.’ -John 15:26; 16:12-13
-'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 59
Consider that which hath been sent down unto Muhammad, the Apostle of God. The measure of the Revelation of which He was the bearer had been clearly foreordained by Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Powerful. They that heard Him, however, could apprehend His purpose only to the extent of their station and spiritual capacity. He, in like manner, uncovered the Face of Wisdom in proportion to their ability to sustain the burden of His Message.
-Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p 76
No sooner had mankind attained the stage of maturity, than the Word revealed to men’s eyes the latent energies with which it had been endowed—energies which manifested themselves in the plenitude of their glory when the Ancient Beauty appeared, in the year sixty, in the person of Ali Muhammad,
-Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings, p 76
In the Íqán, Bahá’u’lláh, wishing to emphasize the transcendent character of this new Day of God, reinforces the strength of His argument by His reference to the text of a correct and authorized tradition, which reveals the following:
“Knowledge is twenty and seven letters. All that the Prophets have revealed are two letters thereof. No man thus far hath known more than these two letters.
But when the Qá’im [refers to the Station of the Báb] shall arise, He will cause the remaining twenty and five letters to be made manifest.” And then immediately follow these confirming and illuminating words of Bahá’u’lláh:
“Consider: He hath declared knowledge to consist of twenty and seven letters, and regarded all the prophets, from Adam even unto Muhammad, the ‘seal,’ as expounders of only two letters thereof. He also saith that the Qá’im will reveal all the remaining twenty and five letters."
"Behold from this utterance how great and lofty is His station! His rank excelleth that of all the prophets, and His revelation transcendeth the comprehension and understanding of all their chosen ones. A revelation, of which the prophets of God, His saints and chosen ones have either not been informed or which, in pursuance of God’s inscrutable decree, they have not disclosed — such a revelation, these vile and villainous people have sought to measure with their own deficient minds, their own deficient learning and understanding….”
-Bahá’u’lláh, cited by Shoghi Effendi, in The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, pp 24-25; and The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 243)
“Know of a certainty,” Bahá’u’lláh explains in this connection, “that in every Dispensation the light of Divine Revelation hath been vouchsafed to men in direct proportion to their spiritual capacity. Consider the sun. How feeble its rays the moment it appeareth above the horizon. How gradually its warmth and potency increase as it approacheth its zenith, enabling meanwhile all created things to adapt themselves to the growing intensity of its light. How steadily it declineth until it reacheth its setting point. Were it all of a sudden to manifest the energies latent within it, it would no doubt cause injury to all created things.… In like manner, if the Sun of Truth were suddenly to reveal, at the earliest stages of its manifestation, the full measure of the potencies which the providence of the Almighty hath bestowed upon it, the earth of human understanding would waste away and be consumed; for men’s hearts would neither sustain the intensity of its revelation, nor be able to mirror forth the radiance of its light. Dismayed and overpowered, they would cease to exist.”
In the light of these clear and conclusive statements it is our clear duty to make it indubitably evident to every seeker after truth that from “the beginning that hath no beginning” the Prophets of the one, the unknowable God, including Bahá’u’lláh Himself, have all, as the channels of God’s grace, as the exponents of His unity, as the mirrors of His light and the revealers of His purpose,
been commissioned to unfold to mankind an ever-increasing measure of His truth, of His inscrutable will and Divine guidance, and will continue to “the end that hath no end” to vouchsafe still fuller and mightier revelations of His limitless power and glory…
-Bahá’u’lláh, cited by Shoghi Effendi, in The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, pp 117-118
The Revelation which, from time immemorial, hath been acclaimed as the Purpose andPromise of all the Prophets of God, and the most cherished Desire of His Messengers, hath now, by virtue of the pervasive Will of the Almighty and at His irresistible bidding, been revealed unto men. The advent of such a Revelation hath been heralded in all the sacred Scriptures.
-Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings, p 5; and Bahá’í World Faith, p 9
“This is the King of Days…the Day that hath seen the coming of the Best-Beloved, Him Who, through all eternity, hath been acclaimed the Desire of the World.”
-Bahá’u’lláh, cited by Shoghi Effendi, in The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p 167
Magnified be Thy name, O my God, for that Thou hast manifested the Day which is the King of Days, the Day which Thou didst announce unto Thy chosen Ones and Thy Prophets in Thy most excellent Tablets, the Day whereon Thou didst shed the splendor of the glory of all Thy names upon all created things.
-Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p 117
Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One…. Great indeed is this Day! The allusions made to it in all the sacred Scriptures as the Day of God attest its greatness…. No sooner, however, had the Day Star of His Revelation manifested itself in the heaven of God’s Will, than all, except those whom the Almighty was pleased to guide, were found dumbfounded and heedless….
-Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings, pp 10-11; and Bahá’í World
Faith, p. 11
It is evident that every age in which a Manifestation of God hath lived is divinely ordained,and may, in a sense, be characterized as God’s appointed Day. This Day, however, is unique, and is to be distinguished from those that have preceded it. The designation “Seal of the Prophets” [referring to the Dispensation of Muhammad] fully revealeth its high station. The Prophetic Cycle
hath, verily, ended. The Eternal Truth is now come. He hath lifted up the Ensign of Power, and is now shedding upon the world the unclouded splendor of His Revelation.
-Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings, p 59
“In this most mighty Revelation,” He, in categorical language, declares, “all the Dispensations of the past have attained their highest, their final consummation. That which hath been made manifest in this preeminent, this most exalted Revelation, standeth unparalleled in the annals of the
past, nor will future ages witness its like.”
-Bahá’u’lláh, cited by Shoghi Effendi, in The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p 167
“Centuries, nay ages, must pass away…ere the Day-Star of Truth shineth again in its midsummer splendor, or appeareth once more in the radiance of its vernal glory.…
-Abdu’l-Bahá, cited by Shoghi Effendi, in The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, pp 110
…Bahá’u’lláh is not the intermediary between God and the other Manifestations, although these are under His shadow, for the simple reason that the Messengers of God are all inherently one; it is their Message that differs. Bahá’u’lláh, appearing at a time when the world has attained maturity, His message must necessarily surpass the message of all previous prophets. Not only so,but His message is potentially greater than any message which later prophets within His own cycle may reveal. This is because the state of maturity is the most momentous stage in the evolution of mankind.
-Shoghi Effendi, in a Letter dated 07-23-36; and cited by The Universal House of Justice, in a Letter dated 12-15-77
“This,” He furthermore declares, “is the king of days,” the “Day of God Himself,” the “Daywhich shall never be followed by night,” the “Springtime which autumn will never overtake,” “the eye to past ages and centuries,” for which “the soul of every Prophet of God, of every Divine Messenger, hath thirsted,” for which “all the divers kindreds of the earth have yearned,” through
which “God hath proved the hearts of the entire company of His Messengers and Prophets, and beyond them those that stand guard over His sacred and inviolable Sanctuary, the inmates of the Celestial Pavilion and dwellers of the Tabernacle of Glory.” “In this most mighty Revelation,” He
moreover, states, “all the Dispensations of the past have attained their highest, their final consummation.”
And again: “None among the Manifestations of old, except to a prescribed degree, hath ever completely apprehended the nature of this Revelation.” Referring to His own station He declares: “But for Him no Divine Messenger would have been invested with the Robe of Prophethood, nor would any of the sacred Scriptures have been revealed.” And last but not least is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s own tribute to the transcendent character of the Revelation identified with His Father: “Centuries, nay ages, must pass away, ere the Day-Star of Truth shineth again in its mid-summer splendor, or appeareth once more in the radiance of its vernal glory.”
“The mere contemplation of the Dispensation inaugurated by the Blessed Beauty,” He furthermore affirms, “would have sufficed to overwhelm the saints of bygone ages—saints who longed to partake for one moment of its great
glory.” “Concerning the Manifestations that will come down in the future ‘in the shadows of the clouds,’ know verily,” is His significant statement, “that in so far as their relation to the source of their inspiration is concerned they are under the shadow of the Ancient Beauty. In their relation, however, to the age in which they appear, each and every one of them ‘doeth whatsoever He willeth.’” And finally stands this, His illuminating explanation, setting forth conclusively the true relationship between the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh and that of the Bab:
“The Revelation of the Báb may be likened to the sun, its station corresponding
to the first sign of the Zodiac—the sign Aries—which the sun enters at the vernal equinox. The station of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation, on the other hand, is represented by the sign Leo, the sun’s midsummer and highest station. By this is meant that this holy Dispensation is illumined with the light of the Sun of
Truth shining from its most exalted station, and in the plenitude of its
resplendency, its heat and glory.”
(Bahá’u’lláh, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, cited by Shoghi Effendi, in God Passes By, pp 98-100
The Bahá'í cycle is, indeed, incomparable in its greatness. It includes not only the Prophets that will appear after Bahá’u'lláh but all those who have preceded Him since Adam. These should, indeed, be viewed as constituting but
preliminary stages leading to the gradual appearance of this Supreme Manifestation of God. After Bahá’u’lláh many Prophets will, no doubt, appear, but they will be all under His shadow. Although they may abrogate the laws of this Dispensation, they nevertheless draw their spiritual force from this mighty Revelation. The Faith of Bahá’u’lláh constitutes, indeed, the stage of maturity in the development of mankind. His appearance has released such spiritual force whichwill continue to animate, for many long years to come, the world in its development. Whatever progress may be achieved in later ages, after the unification of the whole human race is achieved, will be but an improvement in the machinery of the world. For the machinery itself has been already
created by Bahá’u’lláh.
-Shoghi Effendi, in a Letter dated 11-14-35
He…was none other than the One Whom posterity will acclaim…as the Originator of a new “Universal Cycle”….
-Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 93-94
“Know verily that the veil hiding Our countenance hath not been completely lifted. We have revealed Our Self to a degree corresponding to the capacity of the people of Our age. Should the Ancient Beauty be unveiled in the fullness of His glory mortal eyes would be blinded by the dazzling intensity of His revelation.”
-Bahá’u’lláh, cited by Shoghi Effendi, in The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p 116
It should also be borne in mind that, great as is the power manifested by this Revelation and however vast the range of the Dispensation its Author has inaugurated, it emphatically repudiates the claim to be regarded as the final revelation of God’s will and purpose for mankind. To hold such a conception of its character and functions would be tantamount to a betrayal of its cause and a denial of its truth. It must necessarily conflict with the fundamental principle which constitutes the bedrock of Bahá’í belief, the principle that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is orderly, continuous and progressive and not spasmodic or final. Indeed, the categorical rejection by the followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh of the claim to finality which any religious system inaugurated by the Prophets of the past may advance is as clear and emphatic as their own refusal to claim that same finality for the Revelation with which they stand identified.
“To believe that all revelation is ended, that the portals of Divine mercy are closed, that from the daysprings of eternal holiness no sun shall rise again, that the ocean of everlasting bounty is forever stilled, and that out of the tabernacle of ancient glory the Messengers of God have ceased to be made manifest” must constitute in the eyes of every follower of the Faith a grave, an inexcusable
departure from one of its most cherished and fundamental principles.
-Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, pp 115-116
-Compiled by Barbara Ives Reich Kochmann and Richard Kochmann, 2012
|06-29-2015, 06:52 AM||#4|
Joined: Nov 2012
How Bahá'ís view other religions
When Bahá'ís say that the various religions are one, they do not mean that the various religious creeds and organizations are the same. Rather, they believe that there is only one religion and all of the Messengers of God have progressively revealed its nature. Together, the world's great religions are expressions of a single unfolding Divine plan, "the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future."
People from all of the major religious backgrounds have found that the promises and expectations of their own beliefs are fulfilled in the Bahá'í Faith. Bahá'ís from Native American, African and other indigenous backgrounds, similarly, find in the Bahá'í teachings fulfillment of prophetic visions.
For Bahá'ís of Jewish background, Bahá'u'lláh is the appearance of the promised "Lord of Hosts" come down "with ten thousands of saints." A descendent of Abraham and a "scion from the root of Jesse," Bahá'u'lláh has come to lead the way for nations to "beat their swords into plowshares." Many features of Bahá'u'lláh's involuntary exile to the Land of Israel, along with other historical events during Bahá'u'lláh's life and since are seen as fulfilling numerous prophecies in the Bible.
For Bahá'ís of Buddhist background, Bahá'u'lláh fulfils the prophecies for the coming of "a Buddha named Maitreye, the Buddha of universal fellowship" who will, according to Buddhist traditions, bring peace and enlightenment for all humanity. They see the fulfillment of numerous prophecies, such as the fact that the Buddha Maitreye is to come from "the West", noting the fact that Iran is West of India.
For Bahá'ís of Hindu background, Bahá'u'lláh comes as the new incarnation of Krishna, the "Tenth Avatar" and the " Most Great Spirit. " He is "the birthless, the deathless" the One who, "when goodness grows weak," returns "in every age" to "establish righteousness" as promised in the Bhagavad-Gita.
For Bahá'ís of Christian background, Bahá'u'lláh fulfils the paradoxical promises of Christ's return "in the Glory of the Father" and as a "thief in the night." That the Faith was founded in 1844 relates to numerous Christian prophecies. Bahá'ís note, for example, that central Africa was finally opened to Christianity in the 1840s, and that event was widely seen as fulfilling the promise that Christ would return after "the Gospel had been preached " to all nations." In Bahá'u'lláh's teachings Bahá'ís see fulfillment of Christ's promise to bring all people together so that " there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
For Bahá'ís of Muslim background, Bahá'u'lláh fulfils the promise of the Qur'an for the "Day of God" and the "Great Announcement," when "God" will come down "overshadowed with clouds." They see in the dramatic events of the Bábí and Bahá'í movements the fulfillment of many traditional statements of Muhammad, which have long been a puzzle.
-Excerpted from The Bahá'ís, a publication of the Bahá'í International Community."
|06-29-2015, 07:58 AM||#5|
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Jackson, MS
One thing that should be pointed out, is that the term 'progressive revelation' is actually derived from 19th century Christian theology. It grew out of their attempts to reconcile the God of the OT with the NT.
|06-29-2015, 09:22 AM||#6|
Joined: Jul 2014
Last edited by becky; 06-29-2015 at 09:24 AM. Reason: Typo
|06-29-2015, 09:24 AM||#7|
Joined: Jul 2014
And am gonna use this...very interesting, and would probably be received very well!
|07-01-2015, 08:37 AM||#8|
Joined: Jun 2015
Google: 'How to form a successful study group: tips and strategies' . You should than be able to download the pdf. It's only 2 pages, but looks good.
Your search will reveal other sites of a similar nature.
I hope this helps. Happy hunting!
Last edited by Niblo; 07-01-2015 at 08:39 AM.
|07-01-2015, 08:39 AM||#9|
Joined: Jul 2014
|07-01-2015, 08:48 AM||#10|
Joined: Jun 2015