Used with Permission - Joel Smith - 54 Para

False Teachers Within the Church:- Jesus knew what the future was going to bring and, sadly enough, he knew that his followers too would be deceived by "false prophets". Jesus predicted that: "many false prophets will appear and deceive many people... false Christs, and false prophets will appear and shall perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect (Eklektous = chosen)." (Matthew 24:24 (NIV)) (44:1) see

A similar warning was also given by Peter. Peter wrote: "Israel had false prophets as well as true; and you (Christians) likewise will have false teachers among you. They will import disastrous heresies... They will gain many adherents to their dissolute practices, through whom the true way (Hodos) will be brought into disrepute... They have abandoned the straight road (Hodon) and lost their way (Hodos)." (2 Peter 2:1 (NEB)) (44:2) see

The word that is translated here as "way" comes from the original Greek word Hodos. This word means "road" or "highway". Remember, in one of his more famous statements, Jesus declared: "I am the way (Hodos)... no one comes to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6 (RSV)) In other words Jesus was saying that he is the true road or highway that leads to the Father. (44:3) see

>Consider next, what Peter was saying here. He first reminds us that "Israel had false prophets" and then he predicts that Christianity will likewise have false teachers who "will gain many adherents". Peter further warns that, like the "blind leaders of the blind" in the past, "false teachers" will likewise "import disastrous heresies" into Christianity. And he concludes by sadly predicting that because of these "disastrous heresies" the "true way" or true Hodos of Jesus will actually be "abandoned" (44:4)

Is this what Paul was actually trying to warn us about in 1 Thessalonians 4 when he spoke of Christians who will be found "dead" or "asleep" at the time when "the Lord" returns? In Paul's second letter that he wrote to these same Christians in Thessalonica, Greece... in 2 Thessalonians, Paul further warns: "that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first... and for this cause God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie..." (2 Thessalonians 2:3) (44:5) see

What did Paul mean by this? Was he truly warning that Christians in the last days, like the Jews of two thousand years ago, will likewise have become "deluded" and "deceived" by false teachers? That Christians too will "fall away" from the truth and instead will be seduced into following the "lie"? Could this actually be possible? Ask yourself, did Jesus, Peter and Paul know what they were talking about? (44:6)

He Will Come in an Unexpected Way:- Back in 1 Thessalonians 4 Paul states that when Christ again comes down from heaven he will come like a thief in the night. In the 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus explains what this term means. Here, Jesus tells a parable of a servant who was left to guard his master's house when the master went away. The servant falls asleep and a thief breaks into the house. The thief was in the house and had gone before anyone had even realized that he had been there (44:7)

What does this parable mean? How does it relate to the return of Christ? Ask yourself, how was this parable fulfilled in the past? Were John the Baptist or Jesus recognized by the people of their day? Did they too come like a "thief in the night" ? What can we learn from this lesson of history? (45:8)

Jesus continues in Matthew 24 by telling another parable... the parable of the "ten virgins." In this story, ten future brides were waiting at night for the coming of the "bridegroom". Half were foolish because they didn't bring enough oil to light their way. Half were wise because they had come prepared. Jesus tells us that as they waited, they all fell asleep. Later, when the "bridegroom" finally did come, only those who had come prepared were admitted into the wedding, while those who were not prepared with the oil of insight were sent away. By their actions they had deprived themselves from the marriage to the "bridegroom". Once again, isn't this exactly what had happened two thousand years ago with John the Baptist and Jesus? The Jewish people who, because they weren't properly prepared, had deprived themselves of the opportunity of recognizing Jesus the Messiah. What does this mean to us today. Are people today, like the Jews of the past, also in danger of failing to recognizing the Messiah when he comes? If religious history is any indication, this definitely IS a possibility. Not one of God's prophets in the past has been appropriately recognized by the very people that the came to save. What does it take for us to have the "oil" of spiritual insight? How can we avoid missing the "bridegroom" this time? (44:9)

We could start by learning the lessons of the past. In the past the Jewish religious leaders were waiting to see the Old Testament prophet Elijah descend from heaven to herald the appearance of the Messiah... the Christ. When Jesus claimed to be the Christ they immediately concluded that this could not have been possible because obviously, no one had yet seen Elijah return from heaven. Jesus however explained that the actual fulfillment of this return of Elijah prophecy was much different that what they had been led to expect. The return of Elijah was John the Baptist... not in the flesh, but in the spirit. Jesus also explained that he himself had come down from heaven two thousand years ago... again, not in the flesh, but in the spirit. These incorrect interpretations of the rabbis carried a high price. They cost John the Baptist his head and they got Jesus nailed to a cross. How could this possibly affect us today? (44:10)

"Beware the Leaven...":- Today we see Christians making the exact same mistakes of interpretation that the Jewish people made two thousand years ago. Back then, the Jews were expecting to literally, visibly see the return of Elijah from heaven. Today, Christians are expecting to see Jesus literally, physically, visibly descend from heaven in the flesh. Why? Have the ominous predictions that "false prophets" will appear within Christianity come true? Has the "true way" again been "abandoned" ? Did Jesus, Peter and Paul know what they were talking about? Most Christians either hope that somehow this hasn't really happened or they hope that Jesus and Peter couldn't possibly have been talking about them. How realistic is this? What do you think? (44:11)

The prophecies foretelling the return of the Christ have already been fulfilled. So, where is he? Is it time to wake up again? The prophecies weren't wrong. The Promised One actually did appear in Israel about a hundred a fifty years ago. His name is Baha'u'llah. He had a fore-runner who assumed the title of the Bab... the Gate (44:12)

Baha'u'llah came as a "thief in the night" "with a new name" just as predicted by Jesus. He fulfills more prophecies than all the prophets of the past combined. Two thousand years ago those people rejected Jesus without even considering the possibility that he might actually have been the Messiah. Can you afford to do the same today? If the Baha'i story is true it just may be the most important event in the last two thousand years. Can you afford not to know more? Your spiritual well-being may very well depend upon it (44:13)

"Verily the Tongue of the Ancient gives glad tidings to those who are in the world concerning the appearance of the Greatest Name... Verily, He is Myself; the Shining-Place of My Identity; the East of My Cause; the Heaven of My Bounty... The one who hath turned to Him hath turned to My Face and is illumined through the lights of My Beauty... The one who hath denied Him hath been deprived of the Salsabil of My Love, of the Kawther of My Grace, the cup of My Mercy and of the Wine by which the sincere ones have been attracted and the monotheists have taken flight in the air of My Compassion, which no one hath known except him whom I have taught the matter revealed in My Hidden Tablet..." (Baha'u'llah, Baha'i Scriptures, p.255 quoted in The Covenant p.10) (44:14)

Best Proof of a True Prophet (51:0)

"They will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them."(mat 7:16-20) (51:1) see

The Real proofs are the fruits of Bahá'u'lláh's life and teachings! (51:2)

Also, the Bible has provided additional ways to distinguish a True Prophet from a false prophet. The True Prophet must: (51:3)

1."Testify of Christ and glorify His station" (joh 15:26).. Bahá'í Quote: "Say, this is the One Who glorified the Son and exalted His Cause" (tbh 12:3).."Say, verily, He hath testified of me, and I do testify of Him" (tbh 11:2) (51:4) see

2."Teach and declare the message of Christ and bring all things to the remembrance of the Christians.." (joh 14:26).."Say this is the One Who glorified the Son and hath exalted His Cause (tbh 12:3) -also- "Our belief in regard to Christ is exactly what is recorded in the New Testament" (odp 117) (51:5) see

3."Guide you (mankind) into all truth.." (joh 16:13) ".. the Comforter whose advent all Scriptures have promised is now come that He may reveal unto you all knowledge and wisdom" (wob 104) (51:6) see

4."Be sent from the Father" (joh 14:26).."Not of My Own volition have I revealed Myself, but God of His Own Choosing, hath manifested Me. (esw 11) (51:7) see

5."Speak only by the authority of God.." (joh 16:13).."Verily, He Who is the Spirit of Truth is come to guide you unto all truth. He speaketh not as prompted by His own self, but as bidden by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. (tbh 12) (51:8) see

6."Convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.." (joh 16:8).."So great is the folly and perversity of the people, that they have turned their faces toward their own thoughts and desires, and have turned their back upon the knowledge and will of God" (kiq 171) - "Though immersed in the ocean of misbelief, yet with your own lips ye profess the one true Faith of God. Him whom I abhor he have loved, and of My foe ye made a friend.." (hwd 28:1) -also- "Such has been the perversity of men and their transgressions.. that all mankind deserveth to be tormented and to perish" (gwb 76) (51:9) see

7."Tell.. of things yet to come.." (joh 16:13) Bahá'u'lláh & 'Abdu'l-Baha predicted both World Wars & the defeat of Germany; the success of Queen Victoria; the breakup of the Ottoman Empire; the downfall of Persian Monarchy; a constitutional government for Persia; the massive decline in world Monarchy; the end of the Caliphate & World Ecclesiastics; the rise and fall of communism; the rise of Israel as the Jewish homeland; America's racial struggles; His Own release from prison; the destruction of His house; the lack of schism in the Bahá'í Faith; the explosion of scientific progress; the development of nuclear weapons; the transmutation of elements & the perils involved; the evolution of complex elements; planets, a product of star formation; space travel; communicable cancers; the failure to find a human missing link; the Ether to be considered an abstract reality; failure of any mechanical model of the universe. (Come, Let us Reason Together by Gary Matthews). (51:10)

Proofs and objections are the same as they were for Jesus, and Bahá'u'lláh fulfills the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments. Additionally, Most of His Own prophecies have already been fulfilled (see "Bahá'í Faith's Own Prophecies" -Ed). (51:11)

Christ's Return - as Historic Event (54:0)

According to Paul, "spiritual things" of the Bible cannot be understood without "spiritual discernment" (1co 2:13-14). This has made interpretation very difficult, not only because there are a multitude of Bible passages which are difficult to explain spiritually, but because they are also clearly contradictory when viewed physically. Additionally, all the books were "sealed" to proper understanding until Christ returned to "unseal" them (note '47'), and the attempts undertaken to interpret these passages have resulted in thousands of Christian denominations. Now, however, in our age, the books have been "unsealed" (rev 5:5), and it is relatively easy to understand the Bible passages. It can be seen that the spiritual / symbolic passages of the Bible have historically been interpreted incorrectly as physical events - in many cases as several events occurring in separate time periods. [-ed] (54:1:) 47 see

One major example of this process is the story of the Christ's Return, which has been conceived as different physical scenarios. Of course the Bible had predicted that Christianity would turn to Fables (note '03') before Christ's returned to unseal the books, and it is only since the unsealing (note '07'), that these passages are understood as not physical, nor contradictory, but simply referring to different spiritual aspects of a single episode. [-ed] (54:2) 03 07 see

The five SCENARIOS (shown below) demonstrate these literalistic views of Christ's Return. The underlying scriptures are all spiritually true of course, but require spiritual discernment to perceive them as being in agreement: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. " (mat 13:13-15, 1co 2:13-14) [-ed] (54:3) 59 17 see

SCENARIO 1. The stars were to fall from heaven.. then.. they were to see the Son of Man "coming in the clouds" (mat 24:29-30). - note: Clouds are things that can interfere with a clear vision [-ed] (kiq 71:1) (54:4) see

We were also promised that every eye would see Him coming (rev 1:7) - but unfortunately, intervening clouds of doubt prevented those whose eyes were either blind or closed in sleep from seeing His arrival [-ed] (54:5) 12 see

These verses also seem to portray a very 'brief' event, but such an assumption is often incorrect in prophecy. Here is another verse in a similar vein: "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matt 24:27). It is interesting to see the verse from Matthew together with the equivalent verse in Luke: [-ed] (54:6) see

"For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one [part] under heaven, shineth unto the other [part] under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day." (Luke 17:24) (54:7) see

Then see the Very Next Verse in Luke:

"But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation." (Luke 17:25) [clearly not a brief event] (54:8) see

note: Christ returned like "lightning" to those who were watching, but as a "Thief in the night" to those who were "dead" or "asleep". Consequently, the sleeping world will only gradually become aware. (54:9)

SCENARIO 2. Christ was to come and be gone before people realized that He had come (as a Thief in the night)."Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." (rev 16:15) "Therefore you must also be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." (mat 24:44). note: the hour one would least expect the very least would probably be in the past - it having already happened. (54:10) see

Here are more predictions of His coming "like a Thief". (2pe 3:10;mat 24:42-44; rev 3:3) (54:11) see

SCENARIO 3. Believers would be "Caught Up" ("raptured") into the sky."For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven.. and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive.. shall be caught up together with them in the clouds.." (1th 4:16-17). Rapture ".. is not widely accepted as being a 'physical' event by Christians world-wide, but is very popular with Christian Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, particularly in the United States after the publishing of the "Left Behind" book series.. There are many views among Christians regarding the timing of Christ's return.. and various views regarding the destination of the aerial gathering described in Thes 1:4. Denominations such as Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Lutheran Christians, and Reformed Christians believe in a rapture only in the sense of a general final resurrection, when Christ returns a single time.." (
note: Clouds are things that can interfere with a clear vision (see kiq 71). [-ed] (54:12) see

Bahá'í Understanding: Christians at the time of the Return of Christ would have to be "Caught up" from their spiritual deadness, and "Rise up" from that deadness to recognize Christ when he comes. (54:13)

note: We are in the midst of the 'rapture' now. Paul had said that the dead in Christ would rise first and then the alive would rise (1th 4:16-17). Although it is very surprising to most Christians, the first to be 'caught up' (resurrected from unbelief) were Muslims - generally considered by Christians to be 'dead' in Christ. Afterwards those considered to be 'alive' in Christ (Christians) were also being 'caught up' (as are now people from all of the major World Religions). [-ed] (54:14) see

There are other incidents in the Bible of persons being Caught up (same Greek word) [please read note '75'] (54:15) 75

SCENARIO 4. Christians would be left on earth after Christ returned."I will send Him to you." (joh 16:7) "He will give you another Comforter.." (joh 14:16) "And I will write upon him My new name.." (rev 3:12) "Howbeit when He the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you unto all truth." (joh 16:12-13) (54:16) 69 see

SCENARIO 5. Two resurrections were predicted - a resurrection of Christian martyrs and then a 2nd resurrection - with those resurrected predicted to "live and reign with Christ a thousand years... but the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.." (rev 20:4-5) (54:17) see

The "souls" beheaded for "Jesus" refer to His first coming, and those beheaded for the "word of God" to His second coming - to this time in history and the coming of Bahá'u'lláh. His followers will now "live" (have spiritual 'life') and "reign" (serve as His helpers) for a "thousand years", the length of the Baha'i Dispensation (which began in 1844). [-ed] (54:18)

SUMMARY: (54:19)

Christ returned like lightning to those who were watching, who were then caught up to belief in Bahá'u'lláh - but He returned like a Thief, hidden by intervening clouds of misunderstanding and doubt to those who were spiritually dead or sleeping and relying upon beliefs inherited from the fallen stars (leaders) of Christianity who, although lacking the necessary spiritual discernment to do so, had created myths and fables to encompass the many prevalent but conflicting literal interpretations. [-ed] (54:20) see

From Where (55:0)

To Come from Persia: (55:1)

And I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 49:38) (55:2) see

In that day also he shall come even to thee from Assyria, and [from] the fortified cities, and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain. (Micah 7:12) (55:3) see

[Assyria & Elam refer to Ancient Persia where Bahá'u'lláh was from] (55:4)

To Come from Fortified Cities: (55:5)

In that day also he shall come even to thee from Assyria, and from the fortified cities, and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain. (Micah 7:12) (55:6)

End of Quote

Used with Permission - Joel Smith