Symbolism in the Holy Writings.
Symbolisms in the Holy Writings of God: In the Bahá’í Faith we learn that God’s messengers tend to use a lot of symbolic language to get God‘s message across to mankind. This is particularly true in the holy scriptures of the bible: Christianity: John 5:45 “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.” John 5:46 “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” John 5:47 “But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” The Jewish people did not understand the symbolic nature of the writings of Moses and the other prophets of the Old Testament and therefore they were not prepared to comprehend the spiritual nature of Christ’s teachings; though they did have warnings that God‘s prophets do, in fact, use a symbolic language, in the Old Testament: Judaism: Hosea 12:9 “I that am The LORD thy God,” 12:10 “I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions and have used similitude’s, (allegories) by the ministry of the prophets.” Deuteronomy 29:4 And, “Yet The LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.”
BAHA’I FAITH: “They also said that the scepter of Christ would be of iron — that is to say, He should wield a sword. When His Holiness Christ appeared, he did possess a sword but it was the sword of his tongue with which he separated the false from the true; but the Jews were blind to the spiritual significance and symbolism of the prophetic words.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 74)
CHRISTIANITY: Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
BABI RELIGION: “The Báb, his only weapon was the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The Bab: (Shoghi Effendi, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 297)
CHRISTIANITY: Ephesians 6:17 “Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” One should always be thoughtful when reading the Holy Bible for it is full of spiritual symbolisms like these, that can very easily elude the unsuspecting reader even while he is searching. 1 Corinthians 2:7 “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” The wisdom of God is clearly hidden in the writings of the bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. Judaism: Deuteronomy 10:16 “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.” Deuteronomy 30:6 “And The LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love The LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” Jeremiah 4:4 “Circumcise yourselves to The LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest My fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.” Psalms 135:17 “They have ears, but they hear not.” Foreskins of the heart is of course entirely symbolic as anyone who has ever had gross anatomy in medical school, as I, in fact have had, or anyone who has ever looked up the anatomy of the heart in a good medical journal can tell you. The bible uses a lot of symbolic imagery like this to try and get through to mankind and reach us stiff necked people. Judaism: Ezekiel 12:1 “The word of The LORD also came unto me, saying,” 12:2 “Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are of a rebellious house.” The difficulty is trying to discern what is symbolic imagery and what is not. The Bahá’í Faith tells us that some of these quotes in the bible are straight forward Christianity: Matthew 2:2 “Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” By all accounts there was a physical sign that appeared in the physical heavens and some scientists of today can even tell you most likely what it was. But what they don’t tell you is that there was also a spiritual star in the spiritual heavens that also appeared, Mark 1:2 “As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” Judaism: Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith The LORD of hosts.” What we find, in the writings of God, is that even though some of the writings of God can have a real, very literal interpretation and meaning; these are the writings of God, a spiritual entity. Christianity: John 4:24 And, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” So, if we care to look there is almost always a spiritual side to the writings if we look for it. Luke 2:25 “There was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.” 2:26 “And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen The Lord’s Christ.” 2:27 “And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,” 2:28 “Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,” 2:29 “Lord, now lettest Thou thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word:” 2:30 “For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation,” 2:31 “Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people;” 2:32 “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.” 2:33 “And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.”
BAHA’I FAITH: “Bahá’u’lláh explained that the perplexity of our world leaders, their inability to master the problems of the era or tell whence these problems came or why they came or whither they lead or what they mean, is ultimately due to a moral and spiritual cause. It springs from a misunderstanding of the Gospel, and a misinterpretation of the symbolism and the abstruse terms in which many of its prophecies, promises, warnings and pronouncements are veiled.”
(Bahá’í Faith, George Townshend, The Heart of the Gospel, p. 2)
JUDAISM: Proverbs 25:2 “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” This one phrase says it all. It is the Glory of God to conceal things in the word, but it is up to us to search out the matter. Christianity: John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Mark 4:23 “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” The words Christ is speaking to us are spiritual; he states that plainly, It is up to us to try and seek out the words hidden message or the honor of kings to search out the matter. Romans 7:14 “For we know that the law is spiritual:” Romans 8:1 “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Luke 15:24 “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Here we can see that the living can be considered dead in the bible even though they may be living and breathing. Luke 15:32 “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” Those people who were not conscious of the true spirit in the bible were considered lost and dead to Jesus, hence he was lost and now he is found. Matthew 8:22 “But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.” I do not see how anyone could take this statement from Jesus Christ literally. People can’t really believe that the dead physically rose up out of their graves to bury the dead. 1 Timothy 5:6 “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” It seems clear from this statement that anyone living for the pleasures of this world, though living and breathing, is symbolically considered dead in the writings of God. Romans 8:13 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:” Paul couldn’t be any clearer, if we just live after the pleasures of this life God, in fact, considers us to be dead onto Him. It seems quite clear that Paul and Jesus were both using symbologies to describe the spiritual state of the souls of those people that were listening to them; with the dead being those people who have ears to hear, but don’t comprehend, and the living being the people who were attracted to the spiritual content of the word. Luke 8:8 “He (Jesus) cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 9:45 “But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not:” It now, seems pretty clear from the writings of both, Christ and Paul, that the words of God were clothed in the raiment of symbology and mystery and that the true meanings of the words were hidden from the multitudes of the people in Christ’s time; but then, let me ask you? If the Real, True, Holy Words of God were really hidden away in allegories and symbols, then, when did the spiritual, symbolic nature of God’s Holy Word change? And the answer to this question is, of course, it didn’t. The words of Christ, Moses and the other prophets are just as filled with allusions and mysteries today as they were during the times of Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammad and the other prophets; if not even, maybe a little more perplexing today during man’s all-encompassing drive towards materialism and physical domination of all material things this worldly life has to offer.
If this isn’t conclusive enough proof of the non-literal nature of the word of God: Moses, Christ, John and Matthew tell us: Christianity: John 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” 1:18 “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” 1 John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.” “Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” Judaism: Genesis 3:7 “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” 3:8 “And they heard the voice of The LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of The LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” 3:9 “And The LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” 3:10 “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 3:11 “And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” 3:17 “And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;” 3:18 “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;” 3:19 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” 3:20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” 3:21 “Unto Adam also and to his wife did The LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” I don’t know of a God that anyone can hide from: Jeremiah 23:23 “Am I a God at hand, saith The LORD, and not a God afar off?” 23:24 “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith The LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? Saith The LORD.” Baha’i Faith: “The Divine Essence surrounds all things. Verily, that which surrounds is greater than the surrounded, and the surrounded cannot contain that by which it is surrounded, nor comprehend its reality.” “God’s oneness that is shed upon the essences of all created things.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 146 and Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 265) Judaism: Genesis 4:4 “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And The LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:” 4:5 “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” 4:6 “And The LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?” 4:7 “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” 4:8 “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” 4:9 “And The LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” 4:10 “And He said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground.” 4:11 “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;” 4:12 “When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” 4:13 “And Cain said unto The LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.” 4:14 “Behold, Thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from Thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.” 4:15 “And The LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And The LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” Exodus 33:11 “And The LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” 33:12 “And Moses said unto The LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in My sight.” 33:13 “Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight, shew me now Thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight: and consider that this nation is Thy people.” 33:14 “And He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” 33:15 “And he said unto Him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” 33:16 “For wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? is it not in that Thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” 33:17 “And The LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in My sight, and I know thee by name.” 33:18 “And he said, I beseech thee, shew me Thy glory.” 33:19 “And He said, I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of The LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” 33:20 “And He said, Thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live.” 33:21 “And The LORD said, Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:” 33:22 “And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by:” 33:23 “And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” Christianity: 1 John 4:12 “No man hath seen God at any time.” Here we see that the bible tells us none can see The Lord, and none have even seen The Lord, and yet we are also told that Moses, Adam and Cain have all seen The Lord face to face, clearly demonstrating the symbolic nature of these statements: Christianity: 1 Corinthians 10:1 “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;” 10:2 “And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;” 10:3 “And did all eat the same spiritual meat;” 10:4 “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” Paul here, comes right out and tells us that even words, sentences and statements in the bible that seem like they could only be taken as literal can be and are spiritual and symbolic in nature as well.
Then Matthew also indicates the spiritual, symbolic nature of God‘s Holy Words telling us about the dead coming to life after the crucifixion of Christ: Matthew 27:50 “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.” Matthew 27:51 “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” Matthew 27:52 “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,” Matthew 27:53 “And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Matthew is of course describing the dead coming out of the graves of their bodies and, upon witnessing the crucifixion of Christ, becoming believers, thus obtaining spiritual life, which they then solidified by going forth and witnessing their faith to others. For, had the physically dead physically climbed up out of their graves and went into the cities witnessing to their still living relatives, it would have caused such a commotion that Roman historians would have, at the very least, mentioned it to their posterity, if not made it a history changing, world changing event for all to remember; and who at this point would have denied Christ. Christianity: 1 Corinthians 2:10 “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11 “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”
BAHA’I FAITH: “Behold, all the people are imprisoned within the tomb of self, and lie buried beneath the nethermost depths of worldly desire! Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 120)
CHRISTIANITY: John 3:12 “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” John 5:46 “For (again) had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” John 5:47 “But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” Clearly Christ warned the people that they were not understanding him, thus he spoke to them much of the time in parables: Matthew 13:3 “And he spake many things unto them in parables, Matthew 13:10 “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” Matthew 13:13 “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” Matthew 13:14 “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:” Matthew 13:15 “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” 1 Corinthians 3:2 “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” 2 Corinthians 4:3 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:” 2 Corinthians 4:4 “In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 8:12 “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” John 6:38 “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” One can see how the people living at that time, listening to Christ’s spiritual statements would have reacted: John 6:42 “And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?” The people listening to Jesus back then are responding much the same way as many people living in this day and time respond; they look for the complete literal meaning of the word and miss the essences of the spirit within the words. Again, John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” God is spirit and if we wish to come to Him and understand what He is doing here we have to think on the spiritual level and try to approach Him with spiritual minds and enraptured hearts. John 4:23 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.” God wants us to worship Him in the spirit. So, doesn’t it stand to reason that He would talk to us through His chosen ones in spiritual words or in symbols? John 6:51 “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for-ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” This is also completely spiritual, symbolic words for those with ears to hear with. It’s obvious that Jesus was not physically made out of bread, he was physically a man and he was alluding to the word of God coming into their lives and feeding their spirits. John 8:43 “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.” Christ is clearly telling man that people cannot understand what he is saying because they are not hearing what is enshrouded in his words. When Christ is talking much of what he is saying is hidden from the casual observation and needs to be reflected on. Judaism: Psalms 107:9 “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” Clearly this spiritual symbolic nature of the word of God was not only related to the New Testament of the Holy Bible.
BAHA’I FAITH: “His Holiness Christ appeared in order to illumine the world of humanity, to render the earthly world celestial, to make the human kingdom a realm of angels, to unite the hearts, to enkindle the light of love in human souls, so that such souls might become independent, attaining complete unity and fellowship, turning to God, entering into the divine Kingdom, receiving the bounties and bestowals of God and partaking of the manna from heaven.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 104)
CHRISTIANITY: 1 Corinthians 2:6 “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught:”1 Corinthians 2:7 “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” 1 Corinthians 2:8 “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified The Lord of glory.” When Christ spoke to man it was through the hidden wisdom of the word of God, which has hidden mysteries concealed in the words or hidden symbolisms concealed in the words. Had people been able to understand this they would have accepted Christ as the son of God and followed his teachings and not crucified him. Paul further reiterates this in 1 Corinthians 2:13 thru 14 saying: 1 Corinthians 2:13 “We speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” Paul is clearly saying that they speak not in the words of man, but in words that are inspired by the Holy Ghost which teaches spiritual things clothed in spiritual words. 1 Corinthians 2:14 “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.” It takes people with spiritual insight to see into the mystery within God’s holy word. So I quote Paul once more: 1 Corinthians 10:1 “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;” 10:2 “And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;” 1 Corinthians 10:3 “And did all eat the same spiritual meat;” 10:4 “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” Here Paul again reiterates that the words of the bible, even those found in the Old Testament, can have a spiritual, symbolic meaning, even when the words of the book seem to be straight forward and completely literal. In other words, there is a spiritual insight to be found in the words. Peter, I think, states it best when he states that the spiritual inspiration and insight came to the revealers of the Holy Scriptures by the movement of the Holy Ghost in their lives. 2 Peter 1:20 “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Peter 1:21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The prophets of the bible spoke in words that they were moved by the Holy Ghost to reveal; spiritual words which require spiritual eyes to see and spiritual ears to hear.
BAHA’I FAITH: “Such are the mysteries of the Word of God, which have been unveiled and made manifest, that haply thou mayest apprehend the morning light of divine guidance, mayest quench, by the power of reliance and renunciation, the lamp of idle fancy, of vain imaginings, of hesitation, and doubt, and mayest kindle, in the inmost chamber of thine heart, the new-born light of divine knowledge and certitude.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 48)
CHRISTIANITY: 2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any-thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” 2 Corinthians 3:6 “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” The letter, the word by itself without spiritual reflection, killeth. The letter by itself, without spiritual reflection, blinds the soul of man leaving him standing in the darkness of ignorance and superstition holding onto the literal meaning of the word without hope of spiritual guidance.
BAHA’I FAITH: “Know verily that the purpose underlying all these symbolic terms and abstruse allusions, which emanate from the Revealers of God‘s holy Cause, hath been to test and prove the peoples of the world; that thereby the earth of the pure and illuminated hearts may be known from the perishable and barren soil.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 48)
CHRISTIANITY: Thomas 2:51 “His (Jesus’) disciples said to Him, ‘When will the repose of the dead come about, and when will the new world come?’ He said to them, ‘What you look forward to has already come, but you do not recognize it.”’ Thomas 2:50 “We are… (God’s) children, we are the elect of the Living Father.’ If they ask you, ‘What is the sign of your Father in you?’ say to them, ‘It is movement and repose.”’ 2:60 “He said to them, ‘You too, look for a place for yourself within the Repose, lest you become a corpse,” 2:61 Jesus said, ‘Two will rest on a bed: the one will die, and other will live,” or one will be spiritually blind and dead to the word of God, becoming a symbolic corpse, and the other will be liberated and live onto the word of God or be spiritually awakened and be taken up into the non-literal kingdom of God that is found within us: Luke 17:20 “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:” “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Thomas 2:3 “The Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you,” or found within us and all around us where ever we might find our self.
Clearly the repose talked about here by Thomas is not the rest in the grave envisioned by many when they think of the meaning of the word repose, but something fundamentally different. The true believer bows and shows reverence to God when he reposes himself physically or mentally in worship to God, so the meaning of the word is apparently different symbolically from what first comes to mind: Christianity: Thomas 2:5 “Jesus said, ‘Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing Hidden which will not become manifest.” Thomas 2:90 “Jesus said, ‘Come unto me and you will find repose for yourselves.”’ (Apocrypha, The Gospel of Thomas)
The spiritual resurrection of the hearts and the rapture of the believers was already occurring during the time of Christ’s existence on this earth and most of the people failed to recognize what was occurring right in front of their eyes. So how could most of these people possibly recognize that the new foundation of the new earth was already there because of Christ’s message to mankind, for with the coming of each new manifestation of God appearing on this plane of existence, a new earth of the word appears and the hearts of the spiritual believers take their flight of rapture and soar upwards into the heavens of God’s Holy embrace, yet the unbelievers fail to see this because it is spiritually discerned.
BAHA’I FAITH: “And the time of the dead, that they should be judged means that the time has come that the dead, that is to say, those who are deprived of the spirit of the love of God and have not a share of the sanctified eternal life — will be judged with justice, meaning they will arise to receive that which they deserve.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 58)
BAHA’I FAITH: “Reduce not the ordinances of God to fanciful imaginations of your own; rather observe all the things which God hath created at His behest with the eye of the spirit, even as ye see things with the eyes of your bodies.”
(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 145)
This use of symbology of literal words having a spiritual meaning is also found in the writings of the other religions if we just open our minds to it: Islam: 7. “He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: in it are verses basic or fundamental — others are allegorical.” (symbolisms or parables)
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 3)
ISLAM: 25 “But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is Gardens, beneath which rivers flow, (heaven). Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they say: ‘Why, this is what we were fed with before,’ for they are given things in similitude (allegories, symbolisms, parables); and they have therein companions (pure and holy); and they abide therein (forever).” For, 26. “Allah (God) disdains not to use the similitude of things, lowest as well as highest. Those who believe know that it is truth from their Lord; but those who reject Faith say: ‘What means Allah by this similitude?’ By it He causes many to stray, and many He leads into the right path, but He causes not to stray, except those who forsake (the path).”
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 2)
Islam: 35. “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star. (This lamp is) kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon light. Allah guideth unto His light whom He will. And Allah speaketh to mankind in allegories (similitude, symbols), for Allah is Knower of all things.”
(The Qur’an (Pickthall tr), Sura 24 – The Light)
Islam: 35. “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the East nor of the West, whose Oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light. Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things.
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 24)
Islam: 46. “Think ye, if Allah took away your hearing and your sight, and sealed up your hearts, who — a god other than Allah — could restore them to you? See how We explain the Signs by various (symbols): Yet they turn aside.” 108. “Those are they whose hearts, ears, and eyes Allah has sealed up, and they take no heed.”
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surahs 6 and 16)
Islam: 46. “Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind but their hearts which are in their breasts.”
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 22)
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 39)
ZOROASTRIANISM: 11. “And this our word I have proclaimed as a symbol to be learned, and to be recited, as it were, to every one of the beings under the influence of and for the sake of Righteousness the Best.” (for) “The gentle pen is more powerful than the sword.” ZOROASTER, Hymns of Atharvan and The Zend-Avesta, Avesta – Yasna 19)
Zoroastrianism: “Mazda (God) gives to the prophet, the scriptures. The scripture containing the lessons of the prophet is his main instrument. It lays down the rules and regulations which bring salvation to mankind. But unless man has the goodwill to accept the (real spiritual truths of the words) of the gospel (and go beyond the symbols) it does not benefit him at all.” “Hear the best with your ears, and discern by pure mind. Choose the ought, man by man (every man), for his own self. Before the great trial comes, wake up to this my counsel.” “One should rely on his own conviction, and not allow himself to be drifted by the opinions of others.” (ZOROASTER, the unknown and Hymns of Atharvan pp. 87 and 197)
(Zoroaster, The Zend-Avesta, Khorda Avesta – Book of Common Prayer pt. 1)
Zoroastrianism: 2. “That which Gathas (the word, may) be to us, which are our guardians and defenders, and our spiritual food, yea, which (may) be to our souls both food and clothing, such are these Gathas to us, guardians, and defenders, and (spiritual) food, even such they are, both food and clothing to the soul. And (may) they be to us (for this our offering) abundant givers of rewards, and just and righteous ones, for the world beyond the present, after the parting of our consciousness and body.”
(The Zend-Avesta, Avesta – Yasna 55)
(Hindu, Bhagavad Gita (Edwin Arnold tr) chapter 18)
Hinduism: 103. “Students of the (sacred) books are more distinguished than the ignorant, those who remember them surpass the (forgetful) students, those who possess a knowledge (of the meaning) are more distinguished than those who (only) remember (the words), men who follow (the teaching of the texts) surpass those who (merely) know (their meaning).” “The hymn has a mystical meaning (a symbolic meaning).” “for the words of learned men are a means of purification.”
(Hindu, Vedas, Rig Veda – Book 10 and Laws of Manu chapters 11 and 12)
Hinduism: 218. “As the man who digs with a spade (into the ground) obtains water, even so an obedient (pupil) obtains the knowledge which lies hidden.” “The hidden truths of religion, embalmed in the ancient Upanishads, have never been excelled within the last three thousand years.”
(Hindu, Laws of Manu chapter 2 and The Mababharata (R. Dutt, abridged tr))
BUDDHISM: “The Tathagatas do not teach a Dharma that is dependent upon letters. Anyone who teaches a doctrine that is dependent upon letters and words is a mere prattler, because Truth is beyond letters and words and books. This does not mean that words and books never declare what is in conformity with meaning and truth, but it means that words and books are dependent upon discriminations, while meaning and truth are not; moreover, words and books are subject to the interpretation of individual minds”
“The ignorant and simple-minded declare that meaning is not otherwise than words, that as words are, so is meaning. They think that as meaning has no body of its own that it cannot be different from words and, therefore, declare meaning to be identical with words. In this they are ignorant of the nature of words, which are subject to birth and death, whereas meaning is not; words are dependent upon letters and meaning is not; meaning is apart from existence and non-existence, it has no substratum, it is unborn. The Tathagatas do not teach a Dharma that is dependent upon letters. Anyone who teaches a doctrine that is dependent upon letters and words is a mere prattler, because Truth is beyond letters and words and books.”
“This does not mean that words and books never declare what is in conformity with meaning and truth, but it means that words and books are dependent upon discriminations, while meaning and truth are not; moreover, words and books are subject to the interpretation of individual minds, while meaning and truth are not. But if Truth is not expressed in words and books, the scriptures which contain the meaning of Truth would disappear, and when the scriptures disappear there will be no more disciples and masters and Bodhisattvas and Buddhas, and there will be nothing to teach. But no one must become attached to the words of the scriptures because even the canonical texts sometimes deviate from their straightforward course owing to the imperfect functioning of sentient minds. Religious discourses are given by myself and other Tathagatas in response to the varying needs and faiths of all manner of beings, in order to free them from dependence upon the thinking function of the mind-system, but they are not given to take the place of self-realization of Noble Wisdom. When there is recognition that there is nothing in the world but what is seen of the mind itself, all dualistic discriminations will be discarded and the truth of imagelessness will be understood, and will be seen to be in conformity with meaning rather than with words and letters.”
“The ignorant and simple-minded being fascinated with their self-imaginations and erroneous reasonings, keep on dancing and leaping about, but are unable to understand the discourse by words about the truth of self-realization, much less are they able to understand the Truth itself. Clinging to the external world, they cling to the study of books which are a means only, and do not know properly how to ascertain the truth of self-realization, which is Truth unspoiled by the four propositions. Self-realization is an exalted state of inner attainment which transcends all dualistic thinking and which is above the mind-system with its logic, reasoning, theorizing, and illustrations. The Tathagatas discourse to the ignorant, but sustain the Bodhisattvas as they seek self-realization of Noble Wisdom.”
“Therefore, let every disciple take good heed not to become attached to words as being in perfect conformity with meaning, because Truth is not in the letters.” (Buddha, Lankavatara Sutra)
Buddhism: “The Truth of Noble Wisdom that is beyond the reasoning knowledge of the philosophers as well as being beyond the understanding of ordinary disciples and masters; and which is realizable only within the inmost consciousness; for your sakes, I too, would discourse on the same Truth. All that is seen in the world is devoid of effort and action because all things in the world are like a dream, or like an image miraculously projected. This is not comprehended by the philosophers and the ignorant, but those who thus see things see them truthfully.” “Noble Wisdom which is beyond the path and usage of the philosophers; Has nothing to do with individuality and generality, nor false-imagination, nor any illusions arising from the mind itself;” “Objects are discriminated by the ignorant who are addicted to assertion and negation, because their intelligence has not been acute enough to penetrate into the truth, of reality,” within the teachings of the Buddha. (Buddha, Lankavatara Sutra)
Sabeanism: “(The Word) falleth on the dead man and he liveth: on the sick man and he stretcheth (himself); on the blind man and (his eyes) are opened; on the deaf man and wisdom and perception are infused into him.” (Sabeanism, Ginza Rba- chapter 24)
Sabeanism: “I came to the congregation of souls, For The Life (Haiyi, God) sent me, sent me forth. There were some who bought my wares, There those who came to their end and lay down. There were those who bought my wares. The eyes (of such a one saw the spirit and symbols in the words) were filled with light, Filled with light were his eyes (On) beholding the Great (One) in the House of Perfection, There were those who did not buy my wares. They went on, reached their end and lay down. they were blind and saw not, Their ears were stopped and they heard not And their hearts were not awakened To behold the Great One in the House of Perfection. As They called them and they answered not, When they call, who will answer them? Because it was given to them but they took not, Who will give to them when they ask?” “Lord of mystic books, Lord of ‘Letters-of-Truth’ The name of The Life and the name of Manda-d-Hiia be pronounced upon thee! The name of the great mystic Wellspring is pronounced upon thee. The name of the great Mystery, the mystic Word, is pronounced upon thee.” (Sabeanism, Ginza Rba- chapters 90, 173 and 410
Sabeanism: “If thou readest, read as it is written. Lord of mystic books, Lord of ‘Letters-of-Truth’ The name of The Life and the name of Manda-d-Hiia be pronounced upon thee! The name of the great mystic Wellspring is pronounced upon thee. The name of the great Mystery, the mystic Word, is pronounced upon thee.” (Sabeanism, Ginza Rba- chapters 70, 173 and 410)
BABI RELIGION: “The generality of the people had made do with its outer literal meaning. For the Bábís its inner meaning stood revealed. As in extreme Shi’i esotericism such meaning was not necessarily related to the obvious meaning of particular words and phrases. At the least, scriptural texts were to be understood in terms of symbol and metaphor. Thus messianic prophecies were not to be literally fulfilled.”
(Peter Smith, The Babi & Baha’i Religions, p. 37)
BAHA’I FAITH: “Know verily that the purpose underlying all these symbolic terms and abstruse allusions, which emanate from the Revealers of God‘s holy Cause, hath been to test and prove the peoples of the world; that thereby the earth of the pure and illuminated hearts may be known from the perishable and barren soil.” “Alas, alas! the world has not discovered the reality of religion hidden beneath the symbolic forms!”
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 48 and Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 187)