But how did it happen that the cultured Annas rejected God's message, while Peter, the simple fisherman, obeyed God's call? Because it was Anna's theological knowledge itself which formed the veil preventing him from recognizing the truth! Because of the veil of his preconceived theological convictions he was one of those who "seeing, see not, and hearing, hear not." Because of the Jews' lack of faith "the Kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." (Matt 21:43). (103:1) see

It was the Faith of their fathers, the traditional religion, which prevented the people from accepting the mission of Muhammad: "And when our distinct signs are recited to them, they say, "This is merely a man who would pervert you from your father's Worship." And they say, "This is no other than a forged falsehood" "Verily we found our fathers with a religion, and in their tracks we tread." (Qur'an 43:21). The superseded knowledge is itself the veil which prevents the learned from recognizing the new Revelation. "Whom God causeth wilfully to err, and whose ears and whose heart he hath sealed up, and over whose sight he hath placed a veil-- who, after his rejection by God, shall guide such a one? Will ye not then be warned? (Qur'an 45:22). And to the Jewish and Christian priests the 'Qur'an' says: "Say! O people of the Book! why repel believers from the way of God? (Qur'an 3:94). (103:3) see

The veil of learning, which stopped the Rabbis of Jesus's time from recognizing Him also prevents today's divines from recognizing the new Revelation, "having weighed the testimony of God by the standard of their own knowledge, gleaned from the teachings of the leaders of their faith, and found it at variance with their limited understanding." "The most grievous of all veils is the veil of knowledge." It is the priests who, "clinging unto their own learning, as fashioned by their own fancies and desires, have denounced God's divine Message and Revelation." who "are wrapt in the densest veils of learning, and who, enmeshed by its obscurities, are lost in the wilds of error" (Baha'u'llah)-- it is they whom, in the words of the 'Qur'an' God "causeth to err through a knowledge." "Satisfied with the croaking of the crow and enamoured with the visage of the raven, they have renounced the melody of the nightingale and the charm of the rose." (Baha'u'llah). (105:1)

As in the days of Jesus, when the priests shut out the kingdom of heaven and did not allow in those who wanted to enter, so it is the priests of today who keep the people from the path of God: "Leaders of religion, in every age, have hindered their people from attaining the shores of eternal salvation, inasmuch as they held the reins of authority in their mighty grasp. Some for the lust of leadership, others through want of knowledge and understanding, have been the cause of the deprivation of the people. By their sanction and authority, every Prophet of God hath drunk from the chalice of sacrifice, and winged His flight unto the heights of glory." Like Jesus, Baha'u'llah stands inexorably opposed to the representatives of the established religions, whom he repeatedly denounces and holds responsible for the unbelief of the people." (105:2)

"When We observed carefully, We discovered that Our enemies are, for the most part, the divines... Among the peoples are those who said: He hath repudiated the divines. Say: Yea, by My Lord! I, in very truth, was the One Who abolished the idols!... O Concourse of divines! Fling away idle fancies and imaginings, and turn, then, towards the Horizon of Certitude." "We have decreed, O people, that the highest and last end of all learning be the recognition of Him Who is the Object of all knowledge; and yet, behold now ye have allowed your learning to shut you out, as by a veil, from Him." "Have ye clung unto the promptings of your nature, and cast behind your backs the statutes of God?... Reflect, and be not of them that have shut themselves out as by a veil from Him, and were of those that are fast asleep." "O Concourse of divines! Ye shall not henceforth behold yourselves possessed of any power, inasmuch as We have seized it from you." (Baha'u'llah). (106:1)

Baha'u'llah continually makes plain that "whatever in days gone by hath been the cause of the denial and opposition of those people hath now led to the perversity of the people of this age." and has caused them to dispute "with vain words".. In the past, as today, the divines have not grasped that God has manifested Himself "in conformity with that which He Himself hath purposed, and not according to the desires and expectations of men." Hence Baha'u'llah's admonition: "Say: O leaders of religion! Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring balance established amongst men." "Great is the blessedness, " is Baha'u'llah's promise, "of that divine that hath not allowed knowledge to become a veil between him and the One Who is the Object of all knowledge, and who, when the Self-Subsisting appeared, hath turned with a beaming face towards him. He, in truth, is numbered with the learned." And those divines "who are truly adorned with the ornament of knowledge... are, verily, as a head to the body of the world, and a eyes to the nations." (106:2)

The words of Baha'u'llah carry no weight with present-day churchmen. But what ground is there for supposing that in his invective against the Pharisees Jesus meant only the priests of his time and not a general phenomenon, the attitude of the priesthood to a new revelation? And what guarantee is there that the Christian divines of today are any less "blind guides" than the rabbis of old? Where is the certainty that what happened in the days of Jesus could not be repeated at His second coming? Do not the Gospels contain many warnings which make one conclude that the returned Christ might also be rejected? Jesus's question, "Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8), his parable of the wise and foolish virgins, (Matt 25:1) and the promise "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame, " are warnings to remain vigilant. Jesus left no doubt at all as to how much faith he would find on his return: "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matt 24:37-9). (107:1) see

It is likely that the Pharisees, in rejecting Jesus by appeal to Scripture, had worse grounds and were less convinced of their rightness than the Christian and Islamic priests when they pronounce judgment on Baha'u'llah? The Jewish objections to Christ in the Christian era almost two thousand years ago were based-- like Christian objections to Baha'u'llah-- on scripture. Yet these apparently compelling theological grounds were false, because God had revealed Himself otherwise than men expected. Had (the theologian).. been a Jew at the time of Jesus, is he sure that he would have been on the side of the "small handful, " the "tiny band" (his terms for the Baha'i communities), of the despised and obscure sect of Christians, and not on the side of those who "occupied the seats of authority and learning?" (Baha'u'llah). (107:2)

..The theologians fail because they have taken possession of God, because He is at their disposal. This applies, of course, not only to Christian theologians. It was this attitude with which Muhammad reproached the Jewish divines: "The hand of God, " say the Jews, "is chained up." Their own hands shall be chained up.. Nay! outstretched are both His hands!" (Qur'an 5:69). "The hand of God was over their hands!" (Qur'an 48:10). From Paul Tillich come the remarkable judgment: "Nothing characterizes our religious life so much as these self-created images of God. I think of the theologian who does not wait for God because he possesses him, shut up in a lecture hall. I think of the theologian student who does not wait for God because he possesses him, shut up in a book. I think of the man of the Church who does not wait for God because he possesses Him, shut up in an institution. I think of the believer who does not wait for God because he possesses Him, shut up in his own experience." Because the theologians are not ready to surrender "their whole knowledge of God, which they think they possess, and to wait upon Him" (Heinz Sahrnt), they are deaf to the voice which is now proclaiming to mankind "the glad-tidings of the nearness of God." (Baha'u'llah). That is why, in this age also, "they seeing see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." That is why, at the very time that the Lord has spoken, they have the "experience of a void, " the experience "of the absence of God." We cannot but agree with the theologian Zahrnt who says: "God must also forgive us our theology, perhaps there is nothing for which we need His forgiveness so much as our theology." (108:1) see

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The Light Shineth in Darkness
Udo Schaefer