Latter days or last days or the end of the world.
130. Latter days or last days or the end of the world: We find, in the Bahá’í Writings, explanations about the biblical terms last days or end of the world and why these terms get used frequently in the scriptures by many different people. In the Bahá’í Writings we find that the terms last days or end of the world are often used to speak of the end of a spiritual cycle and the beginning of another and not the real end of the physical world. Baha’i Faith: “Each of the Divine Manifestations has likewise a cycle, and during the cycle his laws and commandments prevail and are performed. When his cycle is completed by the appearance of a new Manifestation, a new cycle begins. In this way cycles begin, end, and are renewed,”
(Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 54)
BABI RELIGION: “Throughout your lives ye follow your religion in order to attract the good-pleasure of God, yet on the Last Day ye shut yourselves out from God and turn away from Him Who is your Promised One.”
(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 140)
We find that the end of the world or the last days is used by many different biblical prophets and many different religions to prepare the future generations for the events that will be happening to them. These prophets are also prophesying of the coming of the next prophet and the ushering in of a new prophetic cycle. Jacob did this towards the end of his life to prepare the way for the coming of Moses: Judaism: Genesis 49:1 “And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” Moses in turn did this same thing to help prepare the way for Jesus Christ: Deuteronomy 18:15 “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me;” Deuteronomy31:29 “For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of The LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.” If this is not thought provoking enough, we find in the New Testament, in Hebrews, that Christ brought about the last days with his advent. Christianity: Hebrews 1:1 God, “who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,” Hebrews 1:2 “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” And if this was not clear enough proof that the advent of Jesus Christ ushered in a new heavenly cycle thereby bringing about the last days or the end of the cycle of the dispensation of Moses, Peter and John also reiterate on this theme also claiming that Jesus brought about the last days of the cycle of Moses with his advent on this earth: 1 Peter 1:19 “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” 1 Peter 1:20 “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,” 1 John 2:18 “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” John and Peter seem pretty clear on this, with the advent of Jesus Christ’s message to mankind, the impetus of one heavenly cycle, came to a close with the dawning of another progressive heavenly cycle to mankind.
Also, taking this train of reasoning further we find that not only did Jesus of Nazareth usher in the last days on earth with his coming, but he also brought about the end of the world as they knew it by his sacrifice. Christianity: Hebrews 9:26 “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Here it clearly states that Jesus’ death was during the end of the world, but as we are now living and breathing, it is clearly easy to see that the term used here, end of the world, clearly was not meant to be a physical, literal event, but a spiritual, symbolic event denoting, not the physical end of the world, but symbolically the spiritual ending of heavenly events. We also find this kind of spiritual symbolism used in the gospel of Thomas: 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.”’ (The Gospel of Thomas) The coming of the new earth and ending of the old had already happened but they did not recognize it. Surly, this spiritual statement of the ending of the old and the coming of the new world along with the other statements from Paul and Christ should have all kinds of warning alarms going off inside your heads, saying these statements from Paul and Christ, and John and Peter, and all the rest of the prophets of old, are not to be taken literally. These events are spiritually discerned and should be looked at with a spiritual non-literal kind of examining and reasoning frame of mind. Judaism: Esdras 2:34 “And therefore I say unto you, O ye heathen, that hear and understand, look for your Shepherd, he shall give you everlasting rest; for he is nigh at hand, that shall come in the end of the world.” (Deuterocanonical Apocrypha, Esdras 2 (Ezra 4)) Christ, in-turn, when he was confronted with this question of the end of the world and the coming of the next prophet he answered thus: Christianity: Matthew 24:3 “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” 24:4 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” Matthew 24:5 “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:13 “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
Not only was Christ asked, by his disciples, about the ending of the old world, but as we saw in Thomas, He was also asked, by them, about the coming of the new world? And Christ’s answer to them was not the answer of a servant of God who was anticipating the real physical end of the world, but the answer of one who looked for life to go on:
In other words, not only was the spiritual cycle ended with the spiritual end of the old world order, but, by Jesus Christ’s advent of a new dispensation, Christ brought about the coming of the new world as well; or he ushered in the new world order, or cycle, by revealing his new message to the world. And God’s message for mankind will be, it seems, without end: Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” Ephesians 3:21 “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” The spiritual world without end, or in other words, man will never stop learning unto eternity. And John, the last Apostle of Christ, is his cryptic, symbolical work the book of Revelations, warned of the advent of new dispensations prophesying the coming of Muhammad, The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh so dynamic and encompassing was his work.
BABI RELIGION: “It is this Primal Will which appeareth resplendent in every Prophet and speaketh forth in every revealed Book. It knoweth no beginning, inasmuch as the First deriveth its firstness from It; and knoweth no end, for the Last oweth its lastness unto It.”
(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 126)
(Islam, Hadith, Bukhari Vol 8, Book 76 # 510)
ISLAM: 56. “But those endued with knowledge and faith will say: ‘Indeed ye did tarry, within Allah’s Decree, to the Day of Resurrection, and this is the Day of Resurrection: but ye were not aware!” (day of resurrection or end of the world)
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 30)
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 53)
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 63)
(The Qur’an (E.H. Palmer tr), Sura 30 – The Greeks)
We find with some of the older religions that the end of the world, or end of the dispensational cycle, and the end of the physical world are not so clearly defined as in the latter religions:
BABI RELIGION: “The great convulsion associated in the ideas of its inhabitants with the Day of Judgment seemed at last to have come upon them.”
The Bab: (Shoghi Effendi, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 507)
ZOROASTRIANISM: 7. “And to you shall accrue the reward of the Brotherhood – in so far as the most faithful zeal is in your flesh and blood – there where the spirit of the Liar, cringing and cowering, shall fall down into destruction. If you separate yourselves from the Brotherhood, then will ‘woe!‘ be your word at the end of things.” The end of things does not indicate the real end of the physical world, but the end of events or occurrences.
(The Zend-Avesta, Avesta – Yasna 53)
Zoroastrianism: Denkard. Zoroaster, “Man, therefore, ought to refrain and curb every tendency towards devilish actions, and (in his life) exhibit to his fellow-creatures, till the end of this world’s existence, deeds that are worthy of the soul.”
(Hindu, Bhagavad Gita (Edwin Arnold tr) chapter 13)
(Hindu, Mababharata (R. Dutt, abridged tr))
BUDDHISM: “The world, however, is given to pleasure, delighted with pleasure, enchanted with pleasure. Verily, such beings will hardly understand the law of conditionality, the Dependent Origination of every thing; incomprehensible to them will also be the end of all formations.”
((The Eightfold Path), Buddha, the Word (The Eightfold Path))
(Buddhist, Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha 2 (tr. J. Richards))
SABEANISM: “And it was revealed to me (?) and to all of them in this book, and they acted upon this reliable baser acting according to this (its) light and removing nothing from this writing of great revelation that was given to Adam the first man and to his descendants (and to) all who bear witness unto this light and illumination until worlds end, (at the latter end of the age). Naught shall pass away from the Word of the great Father of Glory, praised be his name!” “Cometh not to an end nor passeth away for an age of ages and for world without end.” (Sabeanism, Ginza Rba- chapters 35 and 75)
Sabeanism: “Pray ye for us from there, and we will pray from here for you! All fruits perish; all sweet odours vanish, (but) the perfume of Life (Haiyi/God) is established for ever and unto world’s end upon those who love His name of Truth.” (Sabeanism, Ginza Rba- chapters 8)
Sabeanism: “Raising my eyes and lifting up my countenance toward the Place which is all portals of radiance, light, glory, beauty, repute and honour and to the Abode which is all beams of light; I adore, laud and praise the Mighty, Strange (other-worldly) life.” “The assembly of souls which proceeded from Him, on the Last Day, when they leave their bodies, will rejoice in Him, will embrace Him and will rise up and behold the outer Ether and the everlasting Abode. (Sabeanism, Ginza Rba- chapter 9)
BABI RELIGION: “The world that would end was a former cycle of revelation.” Not the end of the physical world.
(Peter Smith, The Babi & Baha’i Religions, p. 37)
Babi Religion: “You are,’ he added, as he turned to his friends, ‘those same companions of whom Muhammad, the Apostle of God, has thus spoken: ‘Oh, how I long to behold the countenance of my brethren; my brethren who will appear in the end of the world!”’
The Bab: (Shoghi Effendi, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 391)
BAHA’I FAITH: “These foundations of the Religion of God, which are spiritual and which are the virtues of humanity, cannot be abrogated; they are irremovable and eternal, and are renewed in the cycle of every Prophet.” “For the independent Prophets are founders; They establish a new religion and make new creatures of men; They change the general morals, promote new customs and rules, renew the cycle and the Law. Their appearance is like the season of spring, which arrays all earthly beings in a new garment, and gives them a new life.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, pp. 47 and 164)