Unsealing the Significance of Allegories in the Bible Using the Book of Certitude (Kitáb-i-Iqán)

By Brent Poirier

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #26
Bosch Bahá'í School: California, USA
November 26–28, 1999
(see list of papers from #26)

    The Bahá'í Dispensation began with the Báb's unsealing the symbols in the Sarah of Joseph. These interpretations in the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá' foreshadow Bahá'u'lláh's fuller explanations of Scriptural symbology two decades later in the Kitáb-i-Iqán. The similarity of approach between these Works will be briefly examined.

    In the Book of Certitude, Bahá'u'lláh unseals terms used in all the previous Scriptures: bread, water, seeing, recognizing, dying, rising from the dead, and so on. In applying these explanations to narratives in the Bible, of people walking on a path, arriving at their destination slowly or immediately; of people in a ship on a storm-tossed sea which suddenly reaches the shore; of people not recognizing a Prophet and then miraculously seeing Him; of people being naked and then clothed; of the miraculous powers of the Prophet's robe; of Moses striking a rock in the wilderness from which water flowed; of Joseph's brothers coming to Him at a time of famine; of all of the Prophets distributing food to the people; as well as manifestly symbolic imagery such as all the mountains on earth being crushed to dust and the earth becoming a plain — all of these contain the terms Bahá'u'lláh unsealed in the Iqán, some of which were initially unsealed in briefer fashion by the Báb. By applying the explanations in the Iqán, and supplementary explanations from 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the heart of each of these stories becomes more immediate and inspiring. Events in the past presented as historical narratives, as well as future events presented in apocalyptic imagery, contain the same symbols interpreted in the Book of Certitude. This approach also shows parallels between the symbolic histories in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Scriptures.

    In addition, Bible prophecies foreshadowing Bahá'u'lláh by name, or predicting His banishments, also contain terms elucidated in the Iqán, and understanding them in the light of Bahá'u'lláh's explanations makes these prophecies even more striking. The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, too, is foreshadowed in highly symbolic terminology in the Revelation of St. John, symbology unsealed by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Iqán. Many times Biblical stories, generally thought to be historical narratives, use symbols to convey truths which are fundamental Bahá'í verities, verities likewise found concealed in Bible Imagery.

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