Tablet of Bahá'u'lláh to the Christians

By Sateh Bayat

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #32
Bosch Bahá'í School: California, USA
November 23–26, 2000
(see list of papers from #32)

    The writings of Bahá'u'lláh during the 'Akká period seem to fall into three categories. The first comprises the writings that constitute the sequel to his Proclamation in Adrianople. The second is the Revelation of the Most Holy Book, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas The third is the revelation of tablets that elaborated and reaffirmed certain precepts and principles. Among the proclamation writings were the tablets revealed to rulers of Christendom, such as Napoleon III, the French Emperor; Nicolaevitch Alexander II, the Czar of Russia, and Pope Pius IX, the temporal and spiritual head of the most powerful Church in Christendom.

    Bahá'u'lláh addressed Christians both directly and indirectly. He addressed archbishops, bishops, priests, monks and the entire body of the followers of Jesus Christ. Some specific Tablets were also revealed addressing Christians, such as the Lawh-i-Hertik, the Gem of Mysteries, and Lawh-i-Aqdas, titled "Tablet to the Christians." Official translations for some of these tablets are not yet in print. In this presentation, the principal message of these tablets will be highlighted and background information on individual tablets will be given.

    Throughout these tablets Bahá'u'lláh proclaims clearly and unequivocally His message to the followers of Jesus Christ and to the followers of all religions. Christians expected the return of Christ and the appearance of God at the "Day of Judgement." Bahá'u'lláh identifies himself with both Jesus and God, the "Father," whose advent Jesus Christ had foretold and through whom the Spirit of truth had been manifested to man. He uses the prophetic terminology familiar to the Christians.

    Jesus Christ said that His sheep would recognize their shepherd by the sound of His voice. Bahá'u'lláh, the Divine Shepherd, has come even if it is by a "New Name." Bahá'u'lláh admonishes the Christians for not having recognized Him, and likens them to the Jews at the time of Christ who rejected His first coming. He announces the joyful tidings of His revelation to the priests, bishops, and monks. He summons the Christian clergy to leave their churches and proclaim His Cause to all mankind. He exhorts them to fear God and assures them of the blessings vouchsafed unto those who have acknowledged and remained steadfast in His Cause. He prophesies that His Cause will be taken to the West and from there will be spread to all regions.

    This is a Voice of love, of a Shepherd calling his stray sheep back to the fold, back to reunion with Him. It is the same voice that spoke to humanity in the Psalms and in the Sermon on the Mount. It is a renewal of the Word of God, not a replacement.

    Súriy-i-Mulúk (Surah of Kings)

    In Adrianople (Edirne) innumerable Tablets were revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in which His newly asserted claims were fully expounded. Amongst these is Súriy-i-Mulúk, which the beloved Guardian states, "is the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh."

    He, for the first time, directs His words collectively to the entire company of the monarchs of East and West, and addresses separately the Sultan of Turkey and his ministers; the kings of Christendom; the French and Persian Ambassadors accredited to the Sublime Porte; the Muslim ecclesiastical leaders in Constantinople, its wise men and inhabitants; the people of Persia; and the philosophers of the world.

    Bahá'u'lláh, in the Súriy-i-Mulúk addresses the kings of the earth, disclosing the character of His Mission. He urges them to embrace His Message. He affirms the validity of the Báb's Revelation. He rebukes them for their indifference to His Cause. More specifically He rebukes the kings of Christendom for having failed Him and being busy with temporal matters. He commands them to be just and watchful, to compose their differences and reduce their armaments, and entrusts the poor to their care. He talks at length about His afflictions. He reminds the French Ambassador accredited to the Sublime Porte of the counsels of Jesus Christ, as recorded in the Gospel of St. John, and warns him that he will be punished for his misdoings. He addresses the injustices of the Persian Ambassador in Constantinople and proclaims His innocence. He addresses the ecclesiastical leaders of Sunní Islám in Constantinople as being heedless and spiritually dead and unless and until they mend their ways, they will not be forgiven. He devotes the concluding passages of the Suriy-i-Muluk to the wise men of the City of Constantinople and the philosophers of the world, advising them to be humble before God.

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