71. Fear God. The need for the Fear of God seems to be, pretty much, a universal teaching of God taught by all the divine manifestations of God: BABI RELIGION: “By the righteousness of Him Who hath called thee into being,” “Fear thou God and pride not thyself on thine earthly possessions, inasmuch as what God doth possess is better for them that tread the path of righteousness.” (The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 19) The fear of God is a teaching found in Christianity, the Bahá’í Faith and the other religions of God, when we study the books of God. But you may ask yourself, just what does the fear of God really mean? And, the answer to this question is found in the Jewish bible in proverbs: JUDAISM: Proverbs: 8:13 “The fear of The LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth etc….” In other words, the fear of God is living the life God has laid out for us obediently and not being physically afraid of GOD.
Respectful behavior towards God, His messengers and His teachings may be one way to describe the fear of God. Living your life in the word of God, not outside His teachings, may be another way of putting it. And, the Bahá’í writings confirm this. BAHA’I FAITH: “Verily I say, fear of God is the greatest commander that can render the Cause of God victorious, and the hosts which best befit this commander have ever been and are an upright character and pure and goodly deeds.” “The fear of God impelleth man to hold fast to that which is good, and shun all evil.” (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, pp. 125 and 222) Whichever way we look at it, the fear of God is a must if we are to follow the writings of God.
The Fear of God, you see, is a universal conundrum of all of these religions of God, and if we are to fear God the big question that comes to mind when you think about all of this is, if we are to love God, and He most certainly loves us, then how can we fear Him, as all the religious books tell us we must certainly do; if we are going to follow the writings of God. It’s an interesting question when you think about it and the answer to this question seems to come to us, again in the writings of God, through the experience of being parents raising children. JUDAISM: Deuteronomy: 8:5 “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so The LORD thy God chasteneth thee.” As a parent we want our children to love us, but we also invoke the parental role of discipline when the child needs to be guided away from behavior that is unbecoming the good moral development of a child of God. In the same way God acts like a good loving parent who is trying to direct us away from behavior that is unhealthy for a developing spirit advancing towards the kingdom of God.
BAHA’I FAITH: “You ask him about the fear of God: perhaps the friends do not realize that the majority of human beings need the element of fear in order to discipline their conduct? Only a relatively very highly evolved soul would always be disciplined by love alone. Fear of punishment, fear of the anger of God if we do evil, are needed to keep people’s feet on the right path. Of course we should love God – but we must fear Him in the sense of a child fearing the righteous anger and chastisement of a parent; not cringe before Him as before a tyrant, but know His Mercy exceeds His Justice!”
(Bahá’í Faith, Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 238)
CHRISTIANITY: Hebrews: 12:7 “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?“ 12:8 “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews: 12:9 “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” Hebrews: 12:10 “For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” Hebrews: 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
BAHA’I FAITH: “We school you with the rod of wisdom and laws, like unto the father who educateth his son, and this for naught but the protection of your own selves and the elevation of your stations. By My life, were ye to discover what We have desired for you in revealing Our holy laws, ye would offer up your very souls for this sacred, this mighty, and most exalted Faith.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 35)
(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 161)
So, in other words, we are to fear the chastening of God, our Father, as we would our parents, which also leaves room for the love of Him, for God very much, like our parents, only wants the best for us. BAHA’I FAITH: “We, verily, desire for you naught save what shall profit you, and to this bear witness all created things, had ye but ears to hear.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 75) (See God only desires good for us)
Therefore the teachings of the fear of God are found in all of His religions for our own good, not because He is just tripping on being All Powerful. JUDAISM: Exodus: 18:21 “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:” Leviticus: 19:14 “Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am The LORD.” Deuteronomy: 6:2 “That thou mightest fear The LORD thy God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.” Deuteronomy: 10:12 “And now, Israel, what doth The LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear The LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve The LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,” Psalms: 111:10 “The fear of The LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments: His praise endureth for ever.” Proverbs: 14:27 “The fear of The LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” Ecclesiastes: 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” CHRISTIANITY: Acts: 13:16 “Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.” Ephesians: 5:21 “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” 1 Peter: 2:17 “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.” Revelations: 19:5 “And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.”
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 2)
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 3)
28. “O ye that believe! fear Allah, and believe in His messenger, and He will bestow on you a double portion of His Mercy: He will provide for you a light by which ye shall walk (straight in your path), and He will forgive you (your past): For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful:”
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 57)
ZOROASTRIANISM: 37. “He can bring and does bring down upon them distress and fear;” “The Law of the worshippers of Mazda (God) is the truest giver of all the good things of all those that are the offspring of the good principle; and so is the Law of Zarathushtra.” “in the meeting together of the faithful, or the rushing together of the worshippers of the Daevas; Whether on the road or in the law he has to fear,”
(The Zend-Avesta, Khorda Avesta – Book of Common Prayer pt. 1)
(Hindu, Laws of Manu chapter 7)
(Hindu, Vedas, Rig Veda – Book 1)
BUDDHISM: “Driven by fear, men take to many a refuge, in mountains, forests, parks, sacred groves and shrines, but these are not a secure kind of refuge. He who has gone to Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha and (the fear of Brahma) for refuge, though, this is a secure refuge, this is the ultimate refuge; by taking to this refuge one is indeed released from all suffering.”
(Buddhist, Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha 1 (tr. J. Richards))
“Thou knoweth him who feareth Thee with his heart And him who confesseth Thee with his lips. With a pure mouth be Thou blessed And lauded with a tongue of praise. Supporters who do not waver,” (Sabeanism, Ginza Rba- chapter 75)
(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 23)
(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 43)
BAHA’I FAITH: “They must manifest the fear of God by their conduct, their manners, their deeds and their words.” “For the wise man either seeketh the world or abandoneth it. If he abandoneth it, assuredly he will not regard aught save God, and, apart from this, the fear of God will withhold him from committing forbidden and culpable actions.” “The heart must be sanctified from every form of selfishness and lust, for the weapons of the Unitarians and the saints were and are the fear of God. That is the buckler (shield) which guarded man from the arrows of hatred and abomination.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Baha, A Traveller’s Narrative, pp. 45, 71 and Baha’i World Faith p. 444)
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 2)
“We have admonished Our loved ones to fear God, a fear which is the fountainhead of all goodly deeds and virtues. It is the commander of the hosts of justice in the city of Baha. Happy the man that hath entered the shadow of its luminous standard, and laid fast hold thereon. He, verily, is of the Companions of the Crimson Ark, which hath been mentioned in the Qayyum-i-Asma.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 120)
All of this fear God as we would a loving parent, does not mean we should not have a healthy respect for God’s might and power, and that we shouldn’t fear God’s wrath. When God has been provoked by the evil of men in the past, God has on numerous occasions vented His righteous anger on the folly of men and laid whole regions of the earth to waste. This is attested to by the various writings of God, found in the various religions of God if we care to look for it:
JUDAISM: Genesis: 6:7 “And The LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.” Genesis: 6:17 “And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.” Genesis: 13:19 “And…..The LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of The LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar” 19:24 “Then The LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from The LORD out of heaven;”
ISLAM: 38. “Remember also the ‘Ad and the Thamud (people): the Madyan (people) (Remember also) Qarun, Pharaoh, and Haman: they rejected Him” 40. “Each one of them We seized for his crime: of them, against some We sent a violent tornado (with showers of stones); some were caught by a (mighty) Blast; some We caused the earth to swallow up; and some We drowned (in the waters): it was not Allah (God) Who injured (or oppressed) them: they injured (and oppressed) their own souls.” (The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 29)
CHRISTIANITY: Ephesians: 5:5 “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” 5:6 “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” 5:7 “Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” Romans: 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” 3:13 Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:” 3:14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:” 3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood:” 3:16 “Destruction and misery are in their ways:” 3:17 “And the way of peace have they not known:” 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
ZOROASTER: 25. “We sacrifice unto Mithra, the lord of wide pastures, Sleepless and ever awake; who is lordly, deep, strong, and weal-giving; a chief in assemblies,” 26. “Who breaks the skulls of the Daevas, and is most cruel in exacting pains; the punisher of the men who lie.” 27. “Who confounds the ways of the nation that delights in havoc, who turns away their Glory, takes away their strength for victory, blows them away helpless, and delivers them unto ten thousand strokes; he, of the ten thousand spies, the powerful, all-seeing, undeceivable Mithra. For his brightness and glory, I will offer him a sacrifice worth being heard….”
10. “We sacrifice unto the holy, tall-formed fiend-smiting Sraosha, who makes the world increase, the holy and master of holiness; Who strikes the evil-doing man, who strikes the evil-doing woman who smites the fiendish Druj, and is most strong and world destroying; who maintains and looks over all this moving world;” 11. “Who, never sleeping, wakefully guards the creation of Mazda (God) who, never sleeping, wakefully maintains the creation of Mazda; who protects all the material world with his club uplifted, from the hour when the sun is down.” (Zoroaster, The Zend-Avesta, Khorda Avesta – Book of Common Prayer pt. 1)
HINDU: 1. When the Kurus had been destroyed by (hail) stones, Ushasti Kakrayana lived as a beggar with his virgin wife at Ibhyagrama. (“the infatuated Kurus, puffed-up with material opulences.”) Kurus, in Hindu mythology, is considered to have been a place of great evil, or the spawning place of evil, so God destroyed the city with a great storm of hail stones (Upanishads vol. 1, Khandogya-Upanishad Part 1)
7. “O God, thou seest through even the dark of night….. Let our hymn prevail over evil-hearted men.” 9. “Smite with thy weapons those of evil speech and thought, devouring demons, whether near or far away. Then to the singer give free way for sacrifice. Let us not in thy friendship, Agni, suffer harm.” (Hindu, Vedas, Rig Veda – Book 1)
(Hindu, Vedas, Yajur Veda – Kanda III)
Adam and Eve exiled from the garden. JUDAISM: Genesis: 3:23 “The LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” Genesis: 3:24 “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” There is more to the story than this in (The Books of Adam and Eve in the Apocrypha and in the Sabean writings), but this will suffice I think to get the message across.
BAHA’I FAITH: “There is no place of refuge for you, no asylum to which ye can flee, no one to defend or to protect you in this Day from the fury of the wrath of God and from His vehement power, unless and until ye seek the shadow of His Revelation. This, indeed, is His Revelation which hath been manifested unto you in the person of this Youth. Glorified, then, be God for so effulgent, so precious, so wondrous a vision.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 257)
“O KING of Berlin! Give ear unto the Voice calling from this manifest Temple: Verily, there is none other God but Me, the Everlasting, the Peerless, the Ancient of Days. Take heed lest pride debar thee from recognizing the Dayspring of Divine Revelation, lest earthly desires shut thee out, as by a veil, from The Lord of the Throne above and of the earth below. Thus counselleth thee the Pen of the Most High. He, verily, is the Most Gracious, the All-Bountiful. Do thou remember the one whose power transcended thy power (Napoleon III), and whose station excelled thy station. Where is he? Whither are gone the things he possessed? Take warning, and be not of them that are fast asleep. He it was who cast the Tablet of God behind him, when We made known unto him what the hosts of tyranny had caused Us to suffer. Wherefore, disgrace assailed him from all sides, and he went down to dust in great loss. Think deeply, O King, concerning him, and concerning them who, like unto thee, have conquered cities and ruled over men. The All-Merciful brought them down from their palaces to their graves. Be warned, be of them who reflect… O banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore, inasmuch as the swords of retribution were drawn against you; and you shall have another turn. And We hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be today in conspicuous glory.” This of course did happened as Bahá’u’lláh had foretold to the German Kaiser through World War 1 and World War 2. God took His revenge and got justice.
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, The Proclamation of Baha’u’llah, p. 35)
“Mirza Taqi Khan fell from the favor of the king. Court intrigue and greed combined to complete his downfall. All the honors he had enjoyed were stripped from him. He had to flee in disgrace from the capital. Wherever he went he was pursued by royal hatred. Finally the hand of revenge caught up with him. The former Prime Minister’s veins were slashed open. His blood stains the wall of that bath of the Palace of Fin to this very day, a witness to the atrocities his own hand had wrought.[F25] The wave of retributive justice was still not at an end. Mirza Hasan Khan, the Prime Minister’s brother, who carried out the execution of the Báb, was subjected to a dreadful punishment. No one would come to his aid. In despair, he succumbed and died. The commander of the regiment that volunteered to replace that of Sam Khan lost his life during the bombardment of Muhammirih by the British. The regiment itself came to a dreadful end. In spite of the unaccountable failure of Sam Khan and his soldiers to destroy the life of the Báb, this regiment was willing to renew the attempt, and eventually riddle His body with bullets. Two hundred and fifty of its members, that same year, with their officers, were crushed by a terrible earthquake. They were resting on a hot summer’s day under the shadow of a wall, between Tabriz and Ardabil. The structure suddenly collapsed and fell upon them, leaving not one survivor. The remaining five hundred members of the regiment suffered an ever more dramatic fate. They were executed by a firing squad. Thus they met the same identical fate as that which their hands had inflicted upon the Báb. Three years after His martyrdom, that regiment mutinied. The authorities ordered that all of its members should be mercilessly shot. Significantly, there was not only one volley, but, as in the case of the Báb, a second volley was fired to make sure that none survived. Then their bodies were pierced with spears and lances. Their remains were left exposed to the gaze of the public as had been the bodies of the Báb and His companion. This event caused much concern and whispering in Tabriz. “Is this not the regiment that destroyed the Bab?” the people asked each other. “They have been overtaken by the same fate. Could it be the vengeance of God that has now brought the whole regiment to so dishonorable an end?”
(William Sears, Release the Sun, p. 180)
Yes we need to fear The Creator as we would fear a loving caring parent, who is caring for us and loving us, and guiding us in the direction of our own good. But, we need to also remember that the wrath of God can come into play and rain down on our heads, if we truly get out of line with our indifference and callousness!