This sermon is number 9 in a series of 14
Strongholds Shaken - Part 9
"The Baha'i Faith"
by David Legge | Copyright © 2004 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com
The Baha'i Faith
Genesis 11, and we're looking tonight at the 'Baha'i Faith'. We read at verse 1, and this is the account of Babel, the confusion of tongues among them because they sought to follow God their own way, and they sought to unite the world and the nations of the world in a false religion. Verse 1 says: "And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven", or as some render that, 'whose top may be like unto heaven', "and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down", and there, just incidentally, is one proof in the Old Testament of the triune Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - three personalities, one substance - "let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth".
Then Micah 4, near the end of the Old Testament, Micah chapter 4. Now this, for your information, is speaking of a future day, a day that is yet to be on this earth. Micah chapter 4, and just the first three verses: "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more".
We're considering this evening 'The Baha'i Faith'. Statistics have led me to believe that the total membership of the Baha'i Faith estimated worldwide today is somewhere around 5 million adherents. Of course there are those who adhere to this faith in our own city of Belfast, and right across the province, and even as near to us tonight as Castlereagh there's a group of people who meet in a Spiritual Assembly and worship in the Baha'i Faith. The Baha'i Faith has traditionally been active on university campuses, because it desires to reach the under 25 age group - and, of course, we can't fault them for that - that's why in Queens University of Belfast there is a Baha'i Society. But most of you probably will not know that 'Baha'i' as a faith grew out of the faith that we will consider next week, the religion of Islam. If you like, Baha'i is the despised stepchild of the Islamic Muslim Faith - the reason being, most Muslims, if not all Muslims, consider Baha'i to be an apostate faith. The followers of Baha'i are seen to be apostates, because they have a doctrine that the Baha'u'llah - who is their founder really - is a greater prophet than Mohammed, the founder and prophet esteemed by Islam. Because of that, the Islamic religion believes that Baha'i are apostate Muslims if you like.
Baha'i as a faith was born in the nation of Iran, and today, as we speak, the Baha'i Faith suffers a reign of terror and persecution from its Muslim brothers. In fact, today hundreds are imprisoned for their Baha'i faith, thousands lose their possessions and their homes and are under continuous persecution - and we don't in any way condone that, and we believe that even in our own land here people should be free, whatever race they are or whatever religion they adhere to, to worship their god with the conscience that they have. But what we want to consider tonight is how this religion of Baha'i began.
I'm going to show you a short three-minute clip or so, just a cameo, a summary of the origins of where Baha'i came from - remembering that it came really as an evolution out of Islam from Iran, and we'll see how it has evolved and how it has spread. Just three minutes of a clip to give you a foundation and summary regarding Baha'i. Thank you.
[Begin video transcript]
"How exactly did the Baha'i Faith begin? The Baha'i Faith first appeared in Persia over 100 years ago. At the time, many Persian Muslims felt their religion had become corrupted. Some awaited the promised one, who would appear to purify the faith. In the 1840s, a young Persian merchant calling himself 'The Bab' announced that he was the promised one. He said Islam and the whole of society must be reformed by new spiritual and social teachings. His message was radical, even militant. Followers must prepare to shed their blood in order to convert the whole world to their cause. The 'Babi' movement was, not surprisingly, seen as a threat by the authorities. Three thousand followers of the Bab were put to death, often after violent clashes with government troops. The Bab himself was imprisoned, charged with heresy and, in July 1850, shot. The 'Babi' movement began to fade, with most of its leaders dead or sent into exile; but the Bab had said he was the herald of a greater one yet to come. In a Persian prison one of his followers, Baha'u'llah had a vision that he was the new messenger of God. He said he was the promised one of all religions: the second coming of Christ, the Jewish Lord of hosts, the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims. He preached that all the great religions of the world are true, their prophets brought different teachings to different ages. Now he, as the latest messenger from God, had a new message: peace and unity in the one faith, the Baha'i Faith. As Baha'u'llah's message spread, the authorities exiled him further and further away from Persia. He and his family were shunted around the Ottoman Empire, arriving finally in 1868 at the prison city of Akká on the West Coast of Palestine. The prison still stands today, it is said Baha'u'llah's followers camped underneath these windows waiting for a glimpse of their messiah. Inside his cell, despite the harsh and cramped conditions, Baha'u'llah developed the principles of his new Baha'i religion. He sat down a new code of laws and social teachings, which he said would transform mankind: racial equality, the abolition of poverty, the creation of a universal language, and for the future a Baha'i world government under one god. He sent letters to the kings and rulers of the earth, calling on them to set up an international tribunal to stop all wars. It's rumoured that Queen Victoria looked kindly on his message, but no one replied. Baha'u'llah spent the last 20 years of his life in a mansion on the outskirts of Akká, having convinced his jailers that he and his teachings weren't a threat. Here he completed his writings, nearly a hundred volumes of spiritual and social teachings, providing a foundation for the growth of the religion. He appointed his eldest son Abdul Baha to lead the faith. Pilgrims from the West began to visit, attracted by this gentle mystical religion, and by this kindly man with his flowing white beard. Many thought he was Christ returned to earth. The interest was mutual, the West came to Abdul Baha, and in 1911 Abdul Baha decided to go to the West".
[End video transcript]
Really the summary of that was that the founder of the Baha'i religion was a Muslim called 'the Bab'. 'The Bab' really means 'the gate', and if you like, if you think of him just for a moment as a 'John the Baptist' character. He was a man who was going to prepare the way of the great prophet, the Baha'u'llah, who would be the promised one and the fulfilment of everything that every religious system and belief has aspired after.
So in 1863, Husayn Ali proclaimed that he was that prophet, he was the prophet, the coming one, the Baha'u'llah - 'the glory of God', that's what it means - and the Baha'is, therefore, are the followers of that 'glory of God'. The Baha'u'llah claimed to be, as you heard there this evening, the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ - now that's astounding for us as Christians tonight. He believed he not only was the second coming of Jesus, but he also was following in the footsteps of such spiritual luminaries as Moses, Buddha, Mohammed and many other founders of religious systems. He also viewed himself as the 'Day of God' that is spoken of in the Muslim Koran. He believed that he was the promised one of all the prophecies in all of the religions that are across the whole face of the globe. He is the epitome of all faith, the greatest prophet that has ever been promised and has ever lived.
Now when you ask the Baha'i Faith what it really is, the answer comes back - and this is an answer from Abdul Baha, a Baha'i leader - he replied and it's recorded in one of the writings, I can give you the reference afterwards if you wish: 'To be a Baha'i simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood'. So Baha'i believes in one God, they believe in a unity of all the prophets, of all religions, pointing to that one God and ultimately prophesying that the Baha'u'llah would come one day and be the epitome of all those promises of the different religions; believing that the universe, and the population of this planet, is one and ought to operate in wholeness as an entire human race. Another quotation from the religion uses the imagery of a tree: 'If you imagine all people as the leaves on one tree, though we are of different size, shape, and hue, the same sun warms us and the same rain nourishes us. Imagine us all as drops in one ocean or waves of the one sea. Your souls are as waves on the sea of the spirit; although each individual is a distinct wave, the ocean is one, all are united in God'. This unity is at the very heart of the faith, the Baha'i Faith, the idea that every race, every religion, every division that has existed in history should be eradicated, and all people should become one in religion, race, in economic state and every imaginable fashion you can conceive of.
Now, we are not against people dwelling together of different races, and we are certainly not to be classed as racist - even though, for even speaking on this subject tonight, I have been accused of inciting racial hatred. The fact of the matter is, we are critiquing the religion this evening and not any race or any particular nationality. This is a religion that not only says there ought not to be any divisions between races, but there ought not to be any divisions in humanity - whether they are religious, or ethnic, or whatever - all humanity should be united, including religion. The Baha'i Scriptures teach, and this is a quotation from it, 'Love ye all religions and races with a love that is true and sincere, and show that love through deeds'. Now we want to love all people, and as Christians that is the command that the Lord Jesus Christ gave us - not just to love our neighbour, but to love our enemies, whoever our enemies may be. But to love other religions and all religions is a bit of a leap of conjecture, really, in a rational sense, when we consider that all religions do not agree - so how can you love them all in equal measure? Yet the Baha'i Faith teaches us that religions are not to be viewed as contradictory or competitive, but are successive update versions of the true religion of God that is one religion, and one alone, and includes every religion on the face of the globe.
From one of the writings of the Baha'i faith, 'Gleanings from the Writings of the Baha'u'llah' page 217, you get this quotation: 'There can be no doubt whatever that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly source, and are the subjects of one God. The difference between the ordinances under which they abide', their practices, 'should be attributed to the varying requirements and exigencies of the age', that means the necessities and the trends of the age, 'in which they were revealed' - but this is the point - 'All of them...were ordained of God, and are a reflection of His will and purpose'. So all religions are really one religion, and that is the religion that God has given to men - you might worship, depending on the particular place that you've been born, and the historical period in which you have lived, but ultimately there is one God, we're all worshipping the one God, as one humanity, and therefore we are all the one religion.
Now some of the beliefs that flow out of this undergirding principle of unity you heard spoken of on video, but here they are to summarise them briefly for you: there is one God, and all faiths, all major faiths, come from that God and therefore are one religion. That is the undergirding principle of Baha'ism. All humanity, therefore, is one family, there ought not to be any divisions among the nations. All prejudice is destructive, so if you disagree with any other particular religion, or you have any sectarian bias at all, well that is destructive, and that is the true evil in the Baha'i Faith. Everyone must receive an education - and we agree with that one of course - world peace ought to be upheld by a world government that is needed, there needs to be world governance on our planet today. Seventhly, science and religion must agree. Eighth, there ought to be an international auxiliary language, something that all people speak and all people understand, if the nations are to be one. God's creation, they believe, is essentially good - we believe that in the original state, but of course the Bible teaches us that there was a fall. Then finally, and this is perhaps the most important principle in all of Baha'ism, from which outshoot all their other doctrines: the faith of God is progressive in nature.
Now what I want us to do tonight is to crystallise for you some of the Baha'is teaching that the Holy Scriptures throw light upon. The first is the last that we dealt with there, number 10, the faith of God is progressive in nature. Now this is the belief that revelation from God comes through various manifestations of God, and that's how they legitimise this belief that all religions come from God, because God has revealed himself in every conceivable religion. What they are really doing, if you want to apply a scientific illustration to it, they're applying evolutionary principles to revelation. In other words, God is revealing in stages to mankind, through various religions, down through all time, the truth that man is able to bear - but that truth is continually evolving, and the present-day Baha'i Faith is the pinnacle of that evolution, and their prophet the Baha'u'llah is the pinnacle prophet of it all. In fact, present-day Baha'i believe that there is a total of between 9 and 12 manifestations in all of history. The first was an unknown prophet - I can't tell you who he was, seeing as he was unknown! - then there was Krishna, then Abraham the patriarch Hud, Salih, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, the Bab and Baha'u'llah.
Now the Baha'u'llah himself wrote these words concerning the various manifestations of God through these religions, and he said this: 'If thou wilt observe with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold them all', all religions, all founders of religions, 'abiding in the same tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering the same speech, and proclaiming the same faith'. You see, this undergirding principle of progressive revelation, where God is manifesting himself through various religions, allows the Baha'i faith to legitimise all religions as from God. You might hear people say in casual conversation today: 'All roads lead to God' - well, this is exactly what Baha'i teaches. It legitimises religious unity under the principle that all religions are a little bit of light from God.
This is a Baha'i temple - you may not have seen one of these, or you may have seen one and not known what it was - but the temples of the Baha'i Faith are very distinctive. They're very affluent for a start, but they are nonagon temples, which means they have nine sides. The nine sides of a Baha'i temple represent the nine major international religions in our world, living religions. And therefore, this Baha'i temple, like the Baha'i faith, is bringing them all together to recognise them as one faith, one nation, one population towards one God. In fact, the architecture, if you look at it closely - I don't know an awful lot about architecture, although I've learned quite a bit in the last couple of weeks - but nevertheless, you see that this is a combination of three types of buildings. There is a synagogue, there's a mosque, and there is a cathedral - and so you have three major religious buildings put into one, nine sides representing the nine living religions of our time. When you find out that the Baha'i faith has no living prophet today, but they have a council if you like, a ruling body, of nine individuals who rule from the 'temple of justice' - but these nine, incidentally each representing from their background the nine international religions of the world, they rule over the Baha'i Faith today. Although it's not a religious system in kind, having a hierarchy and having particular churches as a movement and as a system, yet we believe they ought to be classed as a religion.
So you see right away the spirit of this Baha'i Faith: it is attempting to tell us there is one God, and that one God has inspired one religion that may find its manifestation in many religions, particularly nine international in existence today in our world, but ultimately we should all come together under the one umbrella of humanity and of one deity. The question tonight is: what does the Bible have to say about this? The Baha'i versus the Bible - well, the Bible shows us, I believe from the first book of the Bible right to the very last book of the Bible, that God says that it is foolishness to try and unite the world's religions. It is foolishness!
We read, beginning tonight, from Genesis chapter 11 the account of Babel. Then the nations of the world decided to come together, and they wanted to worship God their own way, they wanted to be seen as one people, and God said that there was going to be no end to what they would do with one another in their imaginations if they were not confounded in this plan. Now here was the chief problem with their goal: they wanted to get to God in an alternative way to what God had revealed. They wanted to get to God by their own way, not His revealed way. Now when you go to the last book in the Bible, the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, you find out there that in a future day Babylon is to be revived, both economically and religiously. There will be political and religious Babylon, and what it will seek to do among many things is unite the nations of the world, unite the religions of the world into an apostate religious, economic, political system - and it will try in itself to form a new way to Deity, and it will be that Babylonish religious and political system that the Lord Jesus Christ will smash, Revelation says, when He comes again in His second return.
Now friends, can you see right away that God has pronounced in His revealed will in the Scriptures, that to try on a human level to unite world religions is utterly futile - it will fail, it is sure to fail! Do you know why? Because unity, if it is to be true unity in God's eyes, must be unity based on truth. Any fool today will be able to tell you that the religions of the world do not agree. In fact, before even looking at this from a theological or a Biblical aspect, we have to say that the Baha'i faith is utterly irrational and unreasonable! To just sweep under the carpet the obvious differences between all world faiths and say that there are no differences at all, and that we can in some way bridge the differences by just saying there is one religion, and one God, and one humanity - so this is an irrational and unreasonable faith.
When you think about it, before we go into the Christian Scriptures and look at it from our Christian Biblical standpoint, there are religions in this world that believe in an impersonal God. We looked at Buddhism last week, they don't believe in a personal, knowable God. If there's a God at all, and most of them don't believe in a God, he cannot be known and there's no need for personal salvation - all you have to try and get in this life is some kind of tranquil nirvana, where you can get away from all the pain and suffering in our world. But there are other religions, like Christianity, like Judaism, like Islam, that believe in a personal knowable God - now they may have different ways to get to God, but they believe in a personal knowable God - now, how can those two religions be the same?
There are some religions in our world that are polytheistic, that means that they believe in many gods. Hinduism has millions of gods, yet Judaism, Islam and Christianity are monotheistic religions, that means they believe in one God. Now Baha'i, incidentally, is a monotheistic religion - yet it claims to have the same faith as the polytheistic religions who worship many gods. If you argue with them and debate with them, you will find out that they don't believe there are many gods, and one of their tenets of faith is one God - yet they just take all these problems away, and ignore them in ignorance as if they didn't exist.
We could go on: some believe that God is able to beget, and others do not believe that God has begotten a Son. Others believe that their God is irrelevant - 'from a distance God is watching us' - but he isn't really concerned about us. Others believe in a relevant God, and we could go on and on looking at different religions - I don't have time to analyse them all here tonight - just to show that it is completely unreasonable and irrational to say that all religions stem from the one faith, when they all blatantly disagree with one another!
Now let's examine tonight our chief consideration, and that is: is Christianity compatible with Baha'i? The reason why I'm asking that is because the Baha'is tell us that Christianity is compatible with the Baha'i. Christianity is a world faith, just like the rest, and therefore it stems from the one God, and ultimately it is the one religion; and therefore Baha'is actually claim that they're just as Christian as you or me, they're following Jesus Christ today with the light that has been given. In fact, here's one quotation from one of their writings: 'Today, Christians make the same mistake', they say, 'the Jews made 2,000 years ago. They are so concerned with their own ideas of what Christ is that they cannot see the spirit of Christ in Baha'u'llah'. Do you understand? 'The Baha'u'llah is just another revelation of God today, just in the same vein as Christ or Mohammed - and do you see you as a Christian? You've got all this biblical stuff in your head that you can't see past the historical Christ to see that the spirit of Christ is with us today in the Baha'u'llah and in the Baha'i faith'. They're terribly narrow minded, you see.
I'm going to show you a video of a man called Dr Keith Munro, who is a medical doctor from Londonderry who belongs to the Baha'i faith. He says exactly this, he claims that he could be classed as a Christian because he is following in Christ's steps by believing the Baha'i faith and following the Baha'u'llah in the world today. Now this isn't the particular clip that I wanted, but it tells the same story, so just watch it carefully and hopefully you'll be able to hear what he's saying:
[Begin video transcript]
"I believe that mine is the same as Christianity, which is the same as the others. In other words, there has always been one religion, it happens to have had a different name in each age. I am now obeying Jesus Christ by turning to Baha'u'llah. One could say that it's like the days of the week, in other words: the sun rises on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, we know it's the same sun - but we can also say that it's the sun of Monday, it's the sun of Tuesday. It's coming up on the horizon at a slightly different spot each day as the year goes through. So you could say that the sun - s-u-n - of Christ arose in Judea, the sun of Mohammed arose in Arabia, and so on and so on. So that, to us - and Baha'u'llah makes this very categorical - he says 'Make no difference between any of the manifestations of God', he calls them manifestations, the prophets of God. Now beyond that, Baha'u'llah says that, 'Every fixed star out there in the universe hath its planets, and every planet its forms of life whose number no man can compute' - interesting word he used 100 years ago, 'compute', for they had no computers then, but it's very apt today. Now that, you see, has broadened my consciousness to realise that, my goodness, this almighty loving God who has created the human race here on this little piece of dust in this little part of the galaxy, in one galaxy amongst millions, also has made human beings on other planets, in other systems, in other galaxies, and they're all unique".
[End video transcript]
Dr Munro, not in any way to patronise him, goes on to explain how the founder, or the author I should say, and director, producer at the very beginning of Star Trek was of the Baha'i faith, and it expresses the Baha'i faith that there are these other galaxies and universes, as it were, out there with lifeforms. This whole world is teeming with lifeforms, and they have their own Christs, and they have their own Mohammeds, and they have their own prophets. Many of the people in the Baha'i faith use this illustration that Dr Munro used of the days of the week. They speak of how we have one sun in the sky, and when you go out on Monday morning, if you're out late enough, you'll see the sun. You'll say: 'That's Monday's sun'. Then you'll go out on Tuesday morning and you'll say: 'Well, that's Tuesday's sun, and Wednesday's sun, and Thursday's sun' - but it's all the same sun. 'When you lived in the day of Mohammed, well, the mirror that was reflecting the glory of the sun, the sun being God, was Mohammed; but when you come to New Testament times, the mirror that's reflecting the glory of the sun - God - it's Jesus. Then you come to the 1800s, and the mirror that's reflecting the glory of God is the Baha'u'llah'.
Now that's all well and good, and it sounds very nice, doesn't it? Very plausible? Especially in this politically correct world in which we live, and it certainly falls in line with the spirit of the age today - but the fact of the matter is: when you examine the Scriptures you find that this is far from the case, as far as Christianity is concerned. In fact, the clip that I wanted to show you from Dr Munro was him saying how 'these Christians have got into their head that Christ is going to come physically, He's going to come in the clouds, He's going to bring in the kingdom, when He has already come!' - he actually says this, 'Christ has come in the Baha'u'llah'! He challenges Christians to examine the evidence.
Now let's, tonight, examine the evidence, because it's great until you actually look at what the Scriptures teach - let's look at the Bible versus the Baha'i. This is astounding for a Baha'i person: the Bible does not once speak of the Baha'u'llah - isn't that remarkable? If he is the epitome of all faiths, and particularly the Christian faith, and he is the actual second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, you would think that the Bible would mention his name somewhere, Baha'u'llah. Well, in an indirect way there is one exception, or maybe two that I'm going to show you tonight. Matthew 24, if you turn to it you will find an indirect mention of the Baha'u'llah, Matthew 24 verse 4: 'And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many'. This is what the Baha'u'llah says: 'I am Christ who has come; I am the Matraiya of Buddhism; I am the 'Day of God' for Muslims; I am the same spirit that was in Mohammed for the Islamic religion; I am the epitome of every religion that has ever lived, and every prophet that has ever prophesied'.
Then in 2 Corinthians 11, you don't need to turn to it, Paul said: 'For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And do not marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works'. The Lord Jesus and the apostle said that others would come and claim to be Christ, even Christ in His second return - but do not believe them, for they're anti-christ!
The Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i faith claim that many of the prophecies in the Old Testament, and prophecies in the New Testament concerning the coming of Messiah, have been fulfilled by the Baha'u'llah. The fact of the matter is that that is blatantly impossible. First of all, the Baha'u'llah was of Iranian descent, where the Messiah was to be of the descent of the line of Judaism - and I could give you umpteen Scriptures, Matthew 1, Genesis 12, 2 Samuel 7 to prove that. But more importantly, the New Testament Scriptures tell us that the fulfilment of all Old Testament prophecies are to be found in Jesus, in the Lord Jesus Christ that was born in Bethlehem's manger. How many prophecies do you want from the Old Testament? Isaiah 7, saying that He would be born of a virgin; Isaiah 9, telling us that His name would be Immanuel; we can go into Isaiah 11, Isaiah 40, other passages that talk about His government, how it would be without end, Wonderful Counsellor, He would be the Mighty God. He is the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace - then Isaiah 53, describing His death and His propitiation for the sins of His people. The Baha'u'llah doesn't fit any of those: he wasn't born in Bethlehem, he wasn't called Immanuel, he didn't die on a cross, and he never ruled in Jerusalem.
Do you know what Baha'is practice? They practice what many, all, false religions and all confusing cults practice, and that is isogesis. Exegesis is correctly dissecting the Scriptures, dividing the word of truth to find out what the word of God is; but isogesis is putting on to the Scripture, as conjecture, your own thoughts - something from outside of Scripture that you'll not find within the Bible, and imposing it on it. It's not there in Scripture! Baha'u'llah is not named in scripture, he is not alluded to in Scripture, yet they are claiming today - and maybe some Christians are believing them - that the Baha'u'llah is the second advent of Christ.
What about His second coming for a moment? Turn with me to Acts chapter 1 - we have to move on, but turn with me please to this one, this is terribly important: 'And when he had spoken these things', the Lord Jesus at His ascension, 'while they', the disciples, 'beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven'. They didn't say 'This same Christ' - the Baha'is believe in this 'Christ principle', that all religions have the logos, the Christ, some kind of light. They believe, if you look at these nine spheres at the very top of the screen, that these are the nine world religions, and this spirit of Christ is in them all, this revelation of God is there - and that it has come, Christ has come in his epitome in the Baha'u'llah. But Jesus said, not 'This same Christ', His word says 'This same Jesus will come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven'.
That's His second coming. Zechariah 14:4 says that His feet will touch on the Mount of Olives, and there will be great sights that everyone will see - in fact, Revelation 1:7 says: 'Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him'. Can you tell me: did the Baha'u'llah come on a cloud? Was the Baha'u'llah crucified? Did he have nail-prints in his hands and on his feet, and a scar in his side? Did the nations of the world wail when he came? Of course they didn't! Most of you didn't even know he existed until tonight! He is not the second coming, that's for sure, he is a false Jesus.
In 2 Corinthians 11 that we read together tonight, Paul talked about these ministers of Satan, those who were claiming to be Christs, and he says that they preach another Jesus! Not another Christ, another Jesus! Because, as far as Paul was concerned, Jesus was God's final revelation to man. That's why the apostle said: 'There is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved', 'There is one mediator between God and men', not this Christ spiritual principle, but 'the man Christ Jesus'. They preach a false Jesus, because Jesus claimed to be God and claimed to be God's unique Son - John 3 tells us that: 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son', not 'His one and only Son', 'His only begotten Son'. Jesus Christ is the only Son that God begot in that nature, in that unique way - and the Greek carries the idea of 'one-of-a-kind'. Jesus, now, is one-of-a-kind, and always will be. He had the same nature as His Father divine, and whenever He claimed to be the Son of God people in His day understood what He meant. Remember in John 5:18, the issue was the sabbath, but that quickly went out of their mind when they realised He was claiming to be God, and they were going to lift up stones to stone Him to death because they said, I quote: 'He being a man, maketh himself equal to God'. Jesus claimed to be God's unique Son, Jesus claimed to be the Creator of the world.
What does the Baha'i faith do with verses like Colossians 1:16, or for that matter anyone who does not believe Christ is God? Colossians 1:16 says: 'For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him'. John 1:3: 'All things were made by him' - and there is nothing made that has been made that wasn't made by Him! He is the Creator because He is God, the second person, the Son.
Not only was He the Creator, but He was the incarnation of God. You see, the Baha'i faith believes that Christ was just one of these Christ's spirits, Jesus had this Christ's spirit within Him revealing something from God; and Mohammed had the Christ spirit within him; and the Baha'u'llah had the Christ spirit within him - that's not what the Scriptures teach. The Scriptures teach that the Word, the Christ, John 1:18, became flesh - He was incarnated, not 'He came to reside in a man or on a man', but He became a man! In John 12:45 the Lord Jesus plainly taught the truth: 'He that seeth me seeth him that sent me'. John 13:20: 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me'. Hebrews 1:1-2: 'God, who at sundry times and in different manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son'. God has spoken in the incarnation of His Son, and to deny that is heresy! To deny Christ's humanity, we saw last night, is heresy; to deny Christ's deity is heresy - He had two natures in one person: the nature of God, and the nature of man. To deny either of those, and both of those together in one personality, puts you beyond the pale of not only Christianity but of salvation.
Isn't that what Christmas is all about? Immanuel, God with us. Do you know what the Bible says about the Lord Jesus? Not only that He claimed to be God's Son, and His unique Son at that, and He was the Creator of the world, and He was the incarnation of the Word of God; but the Bible says that He was and is the greatest and the only revelation that God has given to men. John 1:14: 'We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth'. He is the only one that has revealed God, and that God has chosen to reveal Himself through; that's why He opened the heavens on several occasions and said to men: 'This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him'. Do you know what the Bible does? This is what I revel in tonight: the Bible exalts Jesus from beginning to end. I know there are people that get hung up with just using the name 'Jesus' for the Lord Jesus Christ, and I understand that - we have to be careful about being irreverent - but I'm deliberately using the name 'Jesus' tonight, because that was the human name of the Messiah, the Son of God; and we ought to realise that His humanity is as important as His deity. Because if He wasn't human, He couldn't die for us, and if He couldn't die for us He couldn't save us! From beginning to end His name is lifted high, so much so that Philippians 2:9 tells us: 'God', after His death and His resurrection, 'has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father'. In keeping with this, the Bible indicates that the Father raised Jesus from the dead. That power which was wrought in Christ, Ephesians 1, 'when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come'. God has given Jesus Christ centre stage of heaven and earth above all, for evermore - Hallelujah!
Now the Baha'u'llah lived a mere 75 years, and he died in 1892, and his corpse - if there's any flesh on it now tonight - is still rotting in the grave. I don't think that fulfils the prophecies concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus - it hardly constitutes 'forever', does it? That's why he cannot legitimately be considered a manifestation of God in our time - if you think about it, we live in a day of motor cars and aeroplanes, and maybe space travel soon, and atomic bombs and weapons of mass destruction. The Baha'i faith is telling us that God's last revelation to man was in 1892, where is the revelation for people today? You say, 'Well, Jesus died before 1892!' - but this is the difference: Jesus lives in 2004! For Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever - He's a living Saviour, He's revealing Himself to people in this world as we speak!
Incidentally, the Baha'i faith claims to be a very tolerant faith because of its belief in the assimilation of all the world's religions, it brings together everyone. But the fact of the matter is, it's a very hollow tolerance, because it's a tolerance concerning fictional caricatures of world religions. It's only tolerant of Christians because it believes Christians are the same as they are - but immediately you say 'No! We're not the same! Our Christ isn't the same!', they're not very tolerant! They report you to the DPP, and the Human Rights Commissioner for Northern Ireland, and the Advertising Standards Authority and all the rest!
Friends, the fact of the matter is: the only common ground we have with any religion, any faith, any cult is this common ground [the Bible] - whatever this says, because the truth is the only basis for fellowship that we can have, because Christ is the truth and Christ is God's revelation. He said in John 14:6: 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me'. How do we know truth today? John 17:17, Jesus said in His prayer to His Father: 'Thy word is truth' - the written word! Do you know what the written word teaches us? That God is knowable - that's not what the Baha'i faith teaches us. God is knowable through the intimate revelation of the incarnate Son and the written word of God that testifies of a Saviour who lived as God among men, who died on the cross for men's sins, and rose again victorious, ascended and is coming again! Through personal faith He can be known in an intimate way through redemption and salvation. The Bible teaches that man is fallen, man is a sinner, man is not perfect. He needs to be saved therefore, and it teaches - opposed to Baha'ism - that there is a literal hell, where people will go who reject Christ; and there is a literal heaven that will be gained by those who put faith and faith alone in Christ.
Baha'i, like all the other religions and cults, is a faith full of rules and regulations and formulas - and there's no assurance at the end of it all. But the Bible tells us that Christ's death and resurrection is able to give us the certainty and the security of heaven and salvation.
In the past, man has tried his own Baha'ism in Babel in Genesis 11. In the future he will try it again in Babylon - I don't know whether there's any significance that they're all beginning with 'B'! - but the fact of the matter is: man has tried to unite races into one race, one language, one faith, and it has failed. Don't get me wrong: it's not a bad aspiration to have, but it has failed because they have sought to achieve it in a way that God had not legislated. They wanted to do it their way rather than God's way.
Now listen: unity cannot be achieved by ignoring the problems and the things that cause division, do you know why? Because it is truth that divides, truth uncovers sin - one day Jesus Christ, the truth, is going to separate the sheep from the goats, and put the goats in hell, and send the sheep to heaven. There is separation between the saved and the lost today. What the truth does is uncover sin, but - hallelujah - the Truth died for sin, and can save you from sin tonight! But you've got to admit your sin! You've got to take God's provision for your sin - the Saviour - I wonder have you ever done that? The Baha'i faith claims to bring all nations together, Ephesians 2:14 says: 'Christ is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, bond and free, male and female' - Christ has done it! Baha'ism has failed, Christ has done it! We read from Micah 4, a day on this earth in the millennium, when there will be a temple in Jerusalem and all of the nations of the earth will come to worship - not one God who hasn't a name and can't be known, but Jehovah the God of Jacob!
Revelation says that from every people, tribe, tongue and nation they will come - God will achieve what Baha'i has failed to do, because He finally will unite humanity together in truth. He will unite them together in Christ. Can I exhort you tonight: don't settle for a poor substitute! Take the Saviour that God has provided.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the ninth recording in his Strongholds Shaken series, titled "The Baha'i Faith" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word. The inclusion of images and diagrams in this transcript is done without intention to breach any copyright restrictions. If this has been done in any instance, please contact us and we will willingly remove the offending item.
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