Chapter 16: Armageddon

 

16.1Next I heard a loud voice from the Temple telling the seven Angels:
In 1863 I hear Baha’u’llah as the Proclaimer of God’s One Religion telling the Seven Middle East Messengers:
Off you go! Pour these seven pitchers of God’s fury into the world!
Off we go! Let us exert the sevenfold influence of God’s fury on the Middle East world!
2So the first one set off and poured his pitcher into the earth. An evil malignant sore festered on the human-beings wearing the tattoo of the beast and worshiping this copy of it.
So Abraham sets out and exerts his influence on Qajar Persia. Evil malignant wickedness has been grinding down its Muslims endorsing cruel taxation and religious discrimination for its brutal Shah and submitting to this Qajar clone of his.
3Next, the second one poured his pitcher into the sea. It congealed like blood in a corpse, and every living soul in the sea died.
Next, Moses exerts his influence on the higher clergy of Persia. They have been confounded by spiritual death, and every once-vital Muslim under their sway has died in spirit.
4Then the third one poured his pitcher into the rivers and the sources of the waters. They turned into blood.
Then Zoroaster exerts his influence on the lesser clergy of Persia. They have turned violent.
5At this, I heard the Angel of the waters saying:
—At this, I hear Baha’u’llah, the Messenger of the teachings, saying:
You, ‘THE-IS’, THE-WAS’, You Divine One, are just, because You have judged these matters, 6for they have shed the blood of faithful folk and Prophets. So You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it!
You, THE-GOD-PRESENT in later Faiths, THE-GOD-PRESENT in earlier Faiths,You Divine God, are just, because You have been punishing these deeds, for Qajar Persia’s regime and clergy have shed the blood of us faithful folk and Prophets. They (and we) deserve it!
7I heard the Sacrificial-Altar agree:
—I hear the martyed Bab agree:
Yes, Almighty Lord God, these verdicts of Yours are true and just
Yes, Almighty Lord God, these verdicts of Yours are genuine and just—
8At this, the fourth one poured his pitcher over the sun. It was allowed to burn human-beings with fire. 9Human-beings were burnt beyond belief. They cursed the name of the God with power over these same afflictions. But they did not repent so as to give Him glory.
At this, Jesus exerts his influence over the Sultan of Turkey. He has been killing its Muslims ferociously. His Sunni Muslims have been butchered beyond belief. They have been cursing Allah as the God with power over these same afflictions. But they have shown no regret so as to celebrate the Glory of God.
10Next, the fifth one poured his pitcher over the throne of the beast. His kingdom grew dark and people bit their tongues from the pain. 11They cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores. But they did not repent of their bad deeds.
Next, Muhammad exerts his influence over the Peacock Throne of Teheran’s brutal Qajar Shah. His Persia has fallen into ignorant times and his Muslims have been eating out their hearts from the suffering. They have been cursing Allah in heaven because of their sufferings and their wickedness. But they have not given up their bad deeds.
12Then the sixth one poured his pitcher over the River Euphrates. Its waters dried up, so that the way might be prepared for the rulers from the rising-place of the sun.
Then the Bab exerts his influence over the knowledge surging though Persia and Turkey. This knowledge has faded, so that the way is eased for the Shah of Persia and the Sultan of Turkey to be powerful and arbitrary.
13At this, I see three foul spirits like frogs—from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false-prophet—14for they are demonic spirits working wonders pouring out over the rulers of the whole inhabited earth to summon them for the war of this great Day of Almighty God
At this, I hear Persia’s three corrupt souls as shifty liars—its slyly speaking hostile Prime Minister, its sharply shouting brutal Shah, and its slickly subtle phony antichrist Alem—for they are lying fiends running schemes ensnaring the rulers of the whole Middle East to summon them to the worldwide warfare starting this Cycle of Almighty God
15Listen, I am come like a thief. Fortunate is the person who stays awake and protects his or her garments, lest he or she walk naked and people see his or her embarrassing state—
—Listen, I Baha’u’llah have arrived unexpectedly in Persia. Lucky are you Persians who have remained aware and are doggedly doing good deeds, since you progress in knowledge and people find you wise—
16He/they summoned them to the spot called in Hebrew Mountain of His Preacher/Armageddon.
Baha’u’llah and the lying fiends summon these rulers to peace and war at the Mountain of God’s Preacher and the Balkan Mountains of Armageddon.
17At that, this seventh one poured his pitcher over the air. A loud voice came from the Temple, from the Throne, declaring:
At that, Baha’u’llah exercises his influence over the spirit of the globe. As Proclaimer he calls for God’s One Religion, via ‘Abdu’l-Bahá warning:
It has happened!
Armageddon has begun!
18Hereupon lightnings, noises, and thunders broke out, and a massive earthquake erupted such as had never erupted since any human-being evolved on the earth—so terrible an earthquake, so massive.
In 1914 flames flash, tanks roar, and bombs burst, and worldwide warfare erupts such as never erupted since human-beings evolved on the earth—such devastating warfare, so extensive.
19The colossal city split into three parts and the cities of the nations fell.
The globe’s monstrous economic system splits into the Capitalist West, the Communist East, and the Poor South, and cities in many countries are destroyed.
The Colossal Confusion was kept in mind before God to inflict it with the cup of the wine of the fury of His anger.
Monstrous Malignant Materialism is put on God’s agenda for Him to inflict it with the fateful grip of the fury of His punishment.
20All islands fled and mountains disappeared.
Influential rulers are exiled and small kingdoms are annihilated.
21Heavy hail from the sky is dropping by the hundredweight on human-beings. Human-beings have been blaspheming God for this affliction from the hail, for its affliction has been so extreme.
Barrages of bombs from the sky beat down by the ton onto the faithful in all Faiths. The faithful curse God for this battering by the bombs, for their calamities and hardships are so extreme.
Comments:
16.1–4, 8, 10, 12; & 17: The first three pitchers poured into (eis) interpret as local to Persia, and the last four pitchers poured over (epi) interpret as general for the Middle East and globe.
16.1–21: The trusted Pilgrim Note of ‘Abdu’l-Baha to Mrs. Brittingham–Apr. 1909 Book of Revelation Chapter 16[1] addresses this whole chapter and supplies most of the citations that follow.
16.1: The events mentioned in the first part of chapter 16…happened before the coming of the Manifestation. The seven angels signify seven Powers, which will have authority…over the world of existence at a time when the world will be disturbed, i.e., sins and wickedness will abound, and the darkness of error will surround the world.[2]
16.2: The first angel is a power who will give forth wonderful signs. The first vial (or cup) really means influence. Through that influence some who were apparently good, but inwardly bad, were destroyed…deprived of the light.[3]
16.3: The sea here symbolizes the Ulema—the great and learned people.…They, as well as those under their authority and guidance, were deprived.[4] The status of Ulema is akin to that of Christian bishops.
16.4: Rivers and fountains of water signify less influential men than the Ulema, who were likewise affected, because the knowledge of the people which should be, like water, the cause of life, became like blood; that is, it becomes the cause of misleading the people and so the cause of death, for they changed the teachings of God.[5]The status of Muslim clergy is akin to that of Christian priests.
16.5–6: The angel of the waters: i.e. the power of knowledge, is addressing God. Another angel or power speaking, confirms this, that God is just and righteous to have thus judged the people.[6]
16.6: Ambiguously, they may be blood-shedders or victims.
16.8–9: The sun here means an Eastern potentate or king, because we call the sun the Eastern Planet. The heat of the sun signifies his rule and authority, and the people will be scorched or burnt through the fierceness of his rule. This Eastern King was Sultan Mahmoud, who ruled the Turkish people [Reign of Terror 1808–39]. All his time he was slaying and killing.…Once he slew many thousands of soldiers in one day. But, in spite of these events and trials, the people did not repent, and did not come to themselves.[7]
16.10–11: The ‘seat of the beast’ means the King of Persia, seated on his throne, upon whom the cup of the 5th angel was poured. But the people were not admonished by all the calamities which occurred.[8]
16.12: The river Euphrates…signifies the Turkish and Persian kingdoms. The drying up of the water means that all learning and science was abolished, and that ignorance prevailed. This made the way easy for the kings of the East to become powerful and arbitrary.[9] In addition, the wayprepared for the rulers from the rising-place of the sun interprets for what the Shah and Sultan as worldly rulers did to the Bab and Baha’u’llah as spiritual rulers. The former dispatched the latter from Persia to the Holy Land, exiling Baha’u’llah that way from 1853 to 1868, and killing the Bab whose bodily remains went that way in 1899–1900.
16.13: The beast who sought with his utmost power to destroy the Cause of God…was the King of Persia, primarily brutal Nasirid-Din Shah (1848–96), but also his brutal father Muhammad Shah (1835–48). This dragon is Hadji Mírzá Aghassi [Haji Mirza Aqasi]…Grand Vizier of Persia, and the beast is the king of Persia. The false prophet was Karim Káhn [also spelt Khan], one of the greatest of the Ulama [Alem is singular of Ulama/Ulema] of that country; he used to say ‘My words are revealed from above’. These three persons tried their utmost to turn all the people against the Cause of God, so that they might all oppose it, and so make war against God. The spirits like frogs signify their words which were spread throughout Persia. The term false-prophet overlaps with antichrist, for which Baha’is do not believe in Anti-Christ in the sense the Christians do. Anyone who violently and determinedly sought to oppose the Manifestation could be called an ‘anti-Christ’,for example Siyyid Muhammad, the Antichrist of the Baha’i Revelation, or the above false-prophet Karim Khan of the Babi Revelation.[10]
16.12: Frogs slickly slip from water to land and croak lies (in contrast, birds fly the air freely and warble truth).
16.14: This warfare was the Qajar and Ottoman jihad against the Baha’i Faith extending through to the worldwide warfare of Armageddon.
16.15, also 1.10 & 12.10: The words ‘Behold I come as a thief, etc.’ are spoken by the Proclaimer of all this—the ‘Great Voice’ as He [Baha’u’llah] is called at the beginning of the chapter…come suddenly like a thief—as Christ said He would come—so that no one will know it.…Therefore blessed is the one who is awake and watches…when a Manifestation comes.[11]
16.16: Armageddon signifies Roumelia and Macedonia [the Balkans].…Often the kings have been gathered together on subjects concerning these places.[12]
16.16: Neuter plural subjects take singular verbs, so the grammatical subject of the sing. summoned (sunēgagen) may be both he or they.[13] He interprets as 16.15’s I who am come like a thief, namely Baha’u’llah. They interprets as v. 16.14’s demonic spirits, namely three lying fiends leading Persia. Both summoned the rulers.
16.16–17: ARMAGEDDON is a cover-name whose Hebrew HAR–MEGID–O means literally mountain–preacher–His. So here it renders doubly: traditionally as Armageddon and anew as Mountain of God’s Preacher. In the 1860–70s, Baha’u’llah summoned many world rulers to disarm and build the peace of Mount Carmel as the Mountain of God’s Preacher. But instead, leading up to in 1914, lying fiends summoned rulersto amass arms and launch the worldwide warfare of the Balkan Mountains as Armageddon. [14]
Already in 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá predicted: We are on the eve of the Battle of Armageddon referred to in the sixteenth chapter of Revelation. The time is two years hence, when only a spark will set aflame the whole of Europe.All that which is recorded in the Revelation of John and the Book of Daniel [will] become fulfilled. The seventh angel poured out his influence upon all the world…on the air, because the air fills every place, and the continuing verses mean the Great War that is to come. In 1918, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and his whole family narrowly escaped crucifixion by the Turks, thanks to London alerting General Allenby in time so that his unexpectedly swift advance forced the Turkish authorities out of Haifa before they even had time to carry out their terrible threat.[15]
16.18–20, also 4.5, 8.5 & 11.19: These lightnings, voices, thunder, earthquake,and hail resound the military turmoil beginning this new Era.
16.18: A conflagration, the like of which is not recorded in the past history of mankind[16]
16.19: The city which was cut in three pieces means that kingdom of Babylonia, which is under three kings: England, Persia and Turkey.[17]Today’s Iraq seems similarly set to split into Shi’i, Sunni, and Kurdish zones. But the prophecy renders big as the 1900s globe split up into the Capitalist West, the Communist East, and the Poor South.
16.19: In World War II, flourishing lands [were] ruined, cities completely wrecked and thriving towns annihilated[18]—not least Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, and Berlin.
16.21: The ‘great hail’ means both the bombs, shells, instruments of destruction, and the calamities and hardships, which…cause people to blaspheme.[19] Calamities and hardships is an imported interpretation.

[1] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham. Three-page distribution copy from Barstow-Lovejoy Archives, by kind permission of Thellie Lovejoy (‘Abdu’l-Baha to Mrs. Brittingham–Apr. 1909 Book of Revelation Chapter 16; other titles include I. D. Brittingham - Translated in Akka - Received April, 1909; and Translated in Acco by Monever Khanum).
[2] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 1
[3] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 1
[4] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 1
[5] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 1
[6] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 1–2
[7] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 2
[8] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 2
[9] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 2
[10] Beast who sought, Nabil, Dawnbreakers 2.39–40; Hadji Mírzá Aghassi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 2–3; do not believe in, Shoghi Effendi, High Endeavours, Messages to Alaska, 85.69; Siyyid Muhammad, Shoghi Effendi,GPB 164–65, also 112, Aqdas 192.249, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Child of the Covenant 61, 82, 105, 82, Baha’u’llah KI 247
[11] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 3
[12] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 3
[13] Aune, 52B 858.16a–a
[14] The English ARMAGEDDON drops the opening H but keeps the final N as does the Greek HARMAGEDDON (arguably, ARMAGEDDON may be also ‘IR MAGEDDON spelt with /ayin not h/he for Mageddo city; or HAR MO’ED spelt with /ayin not g/gimmel for Mountain of Assembly from Isaiah 14.13; or HAR MEGUDAD as mountain cut through for the Megiddo pass from Zech. 12.11; Aune 52B, 899).
[15] We are on, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá quoted by Corinne True, Chicago North Shore Review, September 26, 1914 and by Dr J.E. Esslemont in Baha'u'llah and the New Era 243; all that which, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (1912), Tablets of the Divine Plan 22–23; the seventh Angel, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 3; his whole family, Major W. Tudor-Pole, SW 12.16.252–253, 1922/12/31; Maudes 90–93, 122–23
[16] ‘Abdu’l-Baha cited by Esslemont, J.E., Baha'u'llah and the New Era 243
[17] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 3
[18] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Letter to Martha Root
[19] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá per Brittingham 3