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["I Came Down from Heaven"]
Do Baha'is believe that Christ is going to return from heaven? Yes! It's my understanding that Baha'is believe that Christ truly will "come down from heaven" although perhaps not in the same way that most Christians today expect. Jesus' second coming from heaven will be exactly the same as his first coming from heaven was two thousand years ago (70:1)

Abdu'l-Baha, the oldest son of the Prophet founder of the Baha'i Faith explained: "It is said in the Holy Books that Christ will come again, and that His coming depends upon the fulfillment of certain signs: when He comes, it will be with these signs. For example, "The sun will be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven.... And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Baha'u'llah has explained these verses in the Kitab-i-Iqan. There is no need of repetition; refer to it, and you will understand these sayings (70:2)

But I have something further to say upon this subject. At His first coming Christ also came from heaven, as it is explicitly stated in the Gospel. Christ Himself says: "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." (70:3)

It is clear to all that Christ came from heaven, although apparently He came from the womb of Mary. At the first coming He came from heaven, though apparently from the womb; in the same way, also, at His second coming He will come from heaven, though apparently from the womb. The conditions that are indicated in the Gospel for the second coming of Christ are the same as those that were mentioned for the first coming, as we said before (70:4)

The Book of Isaiah announces that the Messiah will conquer the East and the West, and all nations of the world will come under His shadow, that His Kingdom will be established, that He will come from an unknown place, that the sinners will be judged, and that justice will prevail to such a degree that the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, the sucking child and the asp, shall all gather at one spring, and in one meadow, and one dwelling (70:5)

The first coming was also under these conditions, though outwardly none of them came to pass. Therefore, the Jews rejected Christ, and, God forbid! called the Messiah masikh (demon), considered Him to be the destroyer of the edifice of God, regarded Him as the breaker of the Sabbath and the Law, and sentenced Him to death. Nevertheless, each one of these conditions had a signification that the Jews did not understand; therefore, they were debarred from perceiving the truth of Christ (70:6)

The second coming of Christ also will be in like manner: the signs and conditions which have been spoken of all have meanings, and are not to be taken literally. Among other things it is said that the stars will fall upon the earth. The stars are endless and innumerable, and modern mathematicians have established and proved scientifically that the globe of the sun is estimated to be about one million and a half times greater than the earth, and each of the fixed stars to be a thousand times larger than the sun. If these stars were to fall upon the surface of the earth, how could they find place there? It would be as though a thousand million of Himalaya mountains were to fall upon a grain of mustard seed. According to reason and science this thing is quite impossible. What is even more strange is that Christ said: "Perhaps I shall come when you are yet asleep, for the coming of the Son of man is like the coming of a thief." Perhaps the thief will be in the house, and the owner will not know it (70:7)

It is clear and evident that these signs have symbolic signification, and that they are not literal. They are fully explained in the "Book of Certitude". Refer to it." (Some Answered Questions" by Abdu'l-Baha, pages 110-112) (70:8)

One day, as Jesus was found speaking to a crowd of people, he surprised his listeners when he was heard to say: "I have come down from heaven..." Notice what Jesus had just said here. Jesus claimed that he had descended from heaven, the first time he appeared, two thousand years ago! (70:9)

When a number of rabbis, present in the crowd that day, heard Jesus claim that he had come down from heaven, they "began to grumble about him" and they asked "is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?' How can he now say, "I came down from heaven"? Good question (71:1)

The rabbis knew that Jesus had been born as a child just like everyone else. They knew that he had a mother and a father. So it's not surprising that they would have wondered, "How could Jesus possibly have come 'down from heaven'"? (71:2)

The same was true of Jesus' own hand picked disciples. When they heard Jesus' claim that he had come "down from heaven" they too were shocked beyond belief. They knew that Jesus' claim couldn't possibly be true. They said: "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" And then this passage informs us that "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him." (John 6:41,60,66 (NIV)) (71:3) see

Most people today know that Jesus had twelve Apostles... but, most don't know that Jesus also had either 70 or 72 disciples (depending on which early manuscript you are reading). It was these other disciples who "turned back and no longer followed him." It was these others who abandoned him forever (71:4)

Apparently, both the antagonistic Jewish religious leaders and Jesus' own beloved disciples couldn't believe his statement that he had come down from heaven because they thought that he was speaking literally. And from what they knew of Jesus' life, growing up in Nazareth with his mother Mary... they knew that this couldn't possibly be true (71:5)

The disciples didn't have the insight to see what Jesus was really saying. As Jesus stood there watching his disciples walk away, knowing that they were not going to ever come back, he proceeded to explain this "mystery" of His coming down from heaven (71:6)

Jesus said: "The Spirit (Pneuma) gives life, the flesh (Sarx) counts for nothing: The words I have spoken to you are spirit (Pneuma) and they are life." (John 6:63 (NIV)) (71:7) see

"The words I have spoken to you are spirit..."Jesus apparently was trying to explain that when he said such startling things as "I came down from heaven", he was not speaking of his physical, fleshly body coming down from heaven. Instead, Jesus was trying to explain that his "words" should not be understood in their outer literal sense. Jesus was trying to tell us that he was speaking of non-fleshly, spiritual realities. It was the "Spirit" of God which dwelled in him that had descended from heaven... not his physical body (71:8)

The same was true of John the Baptist. Jesus said that John too had come down from heaven (71:9)

return Defined (71:0)

(): (71:1)

In chapter 9, verses 1 1-13, of the Gospel of Mark, it is said: "And they asked Him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? And He answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that He must suffer many things, and be set at nought. But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him." (saq 132:3) (71:2)

They asked John the Baptist, "Are you Elias?" He answered, "No, I am not," although it is said in the Gospel that john was the promised Elias, and Christ also said so clearly. Then if John was Elias, why did he say, "I am not"? And if he was not Elias, why did Christ say that he was? (saq 133:1) (71:3)

The explanation is this: not the personality, but the reality of the perfections, is meant-- that is to say, the same perfections that were in Elias existed in John the Baptist and were exactly realized in him. Therefore, John the Baptist was the promised Elias. In this case not the essence, but the qualities, are regarded. For example, there was a flower last year, and this year there is also a flower; I say the flower of last year has returned. Now, I do not mean that same flower in its exact individuality has come back; but as this flower has the same qualities as that of last year-- as it has the same perfume, delicacy, color and form-- I say the flower of last year has returned, and this flower is the former flower. When spring comes, we say last year's spring has come back because all that was found in last year's spring exists in this spring. That is why Christ said, "You will see all that happened in the days of the former Prophets." (saq 133:2) (71:4)

We will give another illustration. The seed of last year is sown, branches and leaves grow forth, blossoms and fruits appear, and all has again returned to seed. When this second seed is planted, a tree will grow from it, and once more those branches, leaves, blossoms and fruits will return, and that tree will appear in perfection. As the beginning was a seed and the end is a seed, we say that the seed has returned. When we look at the substance of the tree, it is another substance, but when we look at the blossoms, leaves and fruits, the same fragrance, delicacy and taste are produced. Therefore, the perfection of the tree has returned a second time. (saq 133:3) (71:5)

In the same way, if we regard the return of the individual, it is another individual; but if we regard the qualities and perfections, the same have returned. Therefore, when Christ said, "This is Elias," He meant: this person is a manifestation of the bounty, the perfections, the character, the qualities and the virtues of Elias. John the Baptist said, "I am not Elias." Christ considered the qualities, the perfections, the character and the virtues of both, and John regarded his substance and individuality. It is like this lamp: it was here last night, and tonight it is also lighted, and tomorrow night it will also shine. We say that the lamp of this night is the same light as that of last night, and that it has returned. It refers to the light, and not to the oil, the wick or the holder. (saq 134:1) (71:6)

This subject is fully and clearly explained in the Kitab-i-iqan. (71:7)

Here's the story. Two thousand years ago the Jews were expecting to see one of their most beloved prophets return from heaven. They were looking for the return of the Old Testament Prophet Elijah. Here's why. According to the Old Testament account, about eight hundred and fifty years before Christ was born, Elijah the Prophet had ascended "into heaven" in a "chariot of fire." (see: II Kings 2) Then, about four hundred years later, the Prophet Malachi promised that Elijah will return from heaven before the Christ appears (72:1)

Malachi's prophecy reads "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and... all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch... And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do (this), saith the LORD of hosts.... Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD" (Malachi 4:1-5) (72:2) see

The Jewish religious leaders of Jesus' day were well aware of this Malachi prophecy. That's why they asked how Jesus could possibly be the Messiah since it was obvious that Elijah had not yet returned from heaven. Jesus replied: "They are right. Elijah must come and set everything in order.... In fact, he (Elijah) already has come, but he wasn't recognized, and was badly mistreated by many... Then the disciples realized he was speaking of John the Baptist." (Matthew 17:10-13 (Living Bible - Catholic Edition) also see: Mark 9:11-13) (72:3) see

Jesus clearly taught that John the Baptist truly was the fulfillment of Malachi's 'return of Elijah from heaven' prophecy (72:4)

Notice that Malachi doesn't say anything about Elijah's return being in some mysterious, unrecognizable way. Neither does he say that some other man is going to be born hundreds of years later and that this man will somehow be the return of Elijah. Malachi clearly says that it's going be Elijah himself who is going to return. That's not too difficult to visualize. Elijah ascended into heaven in a chariot of fire. And he's going to come back. Visibly. Physically. In the flesh. Or so they thought (72:5)

According to Jesus, however, these people were mistaken. Jesus said that John was the fulfillment of this prophecy. How could this have been possible? No one had seen Elijah literally, physically descend from heaven in the flesh as most expected. Instead, Jesus explained that Elijah's return was the appearance of yet another totally separate and distinct Prophet of God. (Yes, Jesus did refer to John as a Prophet.) (72:6)

The return of Elijah prophecy had been fulfilled. But, it was fulfilled unexpectedly, in a way that people could not see and in a way that could not be objectively verified. Elijah had returned from heaven in the "spirit". John went "on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah." (Luke 1:17 (KJV)) (72:7) see

The same is also true with the other half of Malachi's prophecy. This section clearly states that both John's and Jesus' enemies would be totally burned up and shall be ashes under the soles" of their feet... (72:8)

Malachi wrote that their opponents "shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up... it shall leave them neither root nor branch... ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet..." (72:9)

End of Quote

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