World Lesser Peace leading to Greater Peace

In principle, the world has—at least the thinking world—caught up by now with all the great and universal principles enunciated by Baha’u’llah.1] World peace calls for a geopolitically-driven Lesser Peace to develop steadily into a spiritually-driven Greater Peace. But why two steps? The history is that originally—between 1867 and 1870—Baha’u’llah wrote letters urging world leaders to take steps to establish a direct and immediate Most Great Peace as the supreme instrument that can ensure the security and welfare of all peoples and nations...so that these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come...and all men be as one kindred and one Family. So let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory…that he loves his kind.[2]

At a time that
bloodshed was considered an honour to mankind…the carnage of thousands stained the earth…children were rendered fatherless…fathers were without sons and mothers were spent with weeping, Baha'u'llah rose like a shining star from the horizon of Persia, inspired with the message of Peace and of Brotherhood among men so that the Most Great Peace should become a reality. But his appeals, the like of which neither the annals of Christianity nor even those of Islam have recorded, were disdainfully rejected. The dark warnings He uttered were haughtily scorned. The bold challenges He issued were ignored. The chastisements He predicted they derisively brushed aside.[3]
World leaders did not miss their opportunity to miss the opportunity. The last decades of the 1800s sees them and the opportunist tycoons around them plying the awesome material progress of the new Era to profiteer from a massive arms race:
While peace is the pretext…night and day they are all straining every nerve to pile up more weapons of war.…The smoke of corruption hath enveloped the whole world in such wise that naught can be seen in any direction save regiments of soldiers and nothing is heard from any land but the clashing of swords.[4]
Shortly before he died in 1892, Baha’u’llah saw that the chance for a Greater Peace happening directly had faded. So instead he urged:
Now that ye have refused the Most Great Peace, hold ye fast unto…the Lesser Peace.…It is incumbent upon the Sovereigns of the world…‌unitedly to…achieve what will be conducive to the well-being of man…to convene an all-inclusive assembly…to enforce whatever measures are required to establish unity and concord amongst men, to put away the weapons of war, to turn to the instruments of universal reconstruction and to promote the Lesser Peace so that the people of the earth may be relieved from the burden of exorbitant expenditures. This matter is imperative and absolutely essential, inasmuch as hostilities and conflict lie at the root of affliction and calamity.[5]
Jerusalem and its dual peace: Baha’u’llah first urging a direct Greater Peace then urging a Lesser Peace evolving into a Greater Peace was presaged by Jerusalem having two Hebrew names. The first name YORY’U–SHALEM meant they shall show the whole, as if for a full Great Peace. The later and present name YIR’U–SHALAYIM means they shall see-dual peace, as if for a Lesser Peace evolving into a Greater Peace.
Faiths read the dual peace of Jerusalem in their own ways:

Judaism teaches about Lower Jerusalem and Upper Jerusalem.[1] Upper Jerusalem spiritually explains, penetrates, permeates, and renews Lower Jerusalem. In the 1800s, Zionists settled Palestine to rebuild the city of lower Jerusalem in order to regain the lost paradise of upper Jerusalem (though, curiously, the utopian novel

Christianity prays for “peace on earth as in heaven” in its Lord’s Prayer. Early Christians favored New Jerusalem and demeaned earthly Jerusalem, believing that only pagans sought God in physical places. More than any other Scripture, they read Revelation 21. But expecting the advent of New Jerusalem any day, they were blithely forgetting that 1,260 or more prophetic days had to pass first.[7]

Islam paints heavenly Jerusalem as a huge tree with roots of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam pouring rivers of knowledge into earthly Jerusalem (The Holy). Muslim traditions smack of Jerusalem’s duality with Mecca. The direction of prayer (qiblih) has been Jerusalem and Mecca. Muhammad’s night journey transited Jerusalem and Mecca.[8] The Kaaba will fly from Mecca to Jerusalem in the end times. The two Abode doctrine (Dar-el-Islam and Dar-el-Harb) echoes possible dual peace. The Holy Land awaits peace for both Jews and Muslims—as a true Swiss-style cantonal confederation or two states.

Armageddon was the Worldwide Warfare of the Twentieth Century, including World War I, World War II, the Cold-War, and the Korean, Viet Nam, and Afghanistan and other wars. As early as 1873, Baha’u’llah had scented the odor of both World Wars, saying:
We hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be today in conspicuous glory.…O banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore, inasmuch as the swords of retribution were drawn against you [World War I], and you shall have another turn [World War II].[9]
Then in 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá predicted that World War I would start the Battle of Armageddon…two years hence, when only a spark [will] set aflame the whole of Europe as a world-enkindling fire…in the Balkans10] though a
great melee of the civilized nations…a tremendous conflict.…a most tragic struggle.…Vast armies…being mobilized…for the fearful contest. The slightest friction will bring them into a terrific crash, and there will be a conflagration, the like of which is not recorded in the past history of mankind.…By 1917 kingdoms will fall and cataclysms will rock the earth.…Armed troops and artillery are to be found in every part of the field. The flash of the swords of enmity blind the eyes from even the most remote distance, the lightning effect of breastplate and lance and the sparkle of the bucklers of hatred light up the night and bewilder the sight. In short: strife, battle, slaughter and war are prepared in organized perfection.…The flame of war is so ablaze that such terrible struggle finds no parallel in the war records.…The most advanced and civilized countries have been turned into arsenals of explosives and the governments of the world are vying with each other as to who will first step into the field of carnage and bloodshed.…In times gone by progress on the material plane was not so rapid, neither was there bloodshed in such profusion. In ancient warfare there were no cannons, no guns, no dynamite, no shells, no torpedo boats, no battleships, no submarines. Now, owing to material civilization, we have all these inventions, and war goes from bad to worse!Warfare in former centuries had not attained the degree of savagery and destructiveness which now characterizes it. If two nations were at war…ten or twenty thousand would be sacrificed but in this century the destruction of one hundred thousand lives in a day is quite possible. So perfected has the science of killing become, and so efficient the means and instruments of its accomplishment that a whole nation can be obliterated in a short time.[11]
Then in 1933, Shoghi Effendi predicted World War II, feeling Europe as
a hotbed of strife and rancor. The political hatreds that exist there will if not subdued not only consume its inhabitants but will ravage the whole world and will bring devastation to the entire surface of the globe.¼Its immediate cause can be traced to the forces engendered by the last war [World War I] of which it may be truly regarded as the direct continuation‌....The internecine struggle, now engulfing the generality of mankind, is increasingly assuming, in its range and ferocity, the proportions of the titanic upheaval foreshadowed as far back as seventy years ago by Baha’u’llah.¼Its first sparks were kindled on the eastern shores of the Asiatic continent, enveloping two sister races of the world in a conflagration which no force seems able to either quench or circumscribe. This cataclysmic process was accelerated by the outbreak of a fierce conflict in the heart of Europe [World War I], fanning into flame age-long animosities and unchaining a series of calamities as swift as they were appalling. As the turmoil gathered momentum, it swept remorselessly into its vortex the most powerful nations of the European continent—the chief protagonists of that highly-vaunted yet lamentably defective civilization. The mounting tide of its havoc and devastation soon overspread the northernmost regions of that afflicted continent, subsequently ravaged the shores of the Mediterranean, and invaded the African continent as far as Ethiopia and the surrounding territories. The Balkan countries, as predicted by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, were soon to sustain the impact of this tragic ordeal, communicating in their turn the commotions to which they had been subjected to both the Near and Middle East.[12]
Its menace is overleaping the limits of the Old World and is plunging into consternation the Great Republic of the West [the USA], as well as the peoples of Central and South America. The New World as well as the Old is experiencing the terrific impact of this disruptive force. Even the peoples of the Antipodes are trembling before the approaching tempest that threatens to burst on their heads. The races of the world, Nordic, Slavonic, Mongolian, Arab and African, are alike subjected to its consuming violence. The world’s religious systems are no less affected by the universal paralysis [my emphasis] which is creeping over the minds and souls of men. The persecution of world Jewry, the rapid deterioration of Christian institutions, the intestine division and disorders of Islam, are but manifestations of the fear and trembling that has seized humanity in its hour of unprecedented turmoil and peril. On the high seas, in the air, on land, in the forefront of battle, in the palaces of kings and the cottages of peasants, in the most hallowed sanctuaries, whether secular or religious.…Its heavy toll is steadily mounting—a holocaust sparing neither prince nor peasant, neither man nor woman, neither young nor old.[13]
The Cold War brought the multiplication, the diversity and the increasing destructive power of armaments to which both sides [Communism and Capitalism]…caught in a whirlpool of fear, suspicion and hatred, [were] rapidly contributing; the outbreak of two bloody conflicts [in Korea and Vietnam] entangling still further the American nation in the affairs of a distracted world, entailing a considerable loss in blood and treasure, swelling the national budget and progressively depreciating the currency.[14]
During the whole Armageddon century of serial warfare across the planet God Himself has indeed been dethroned from the hearts of men, and an idolatrous world passionately and clamorously hails and worships the false gods which its own idle fancies have fatuously created, and its misguided hands so impiously exalted. The chief idols in the desecrated temple of mankind are…the triple gods of Nationalism, Racialism and Communism¼at whose altars governments and peoples, whether democratic or totalitarian, at peace or at war, of the East or of the West, Christian or Islamic, are, in various forms and in different degrees, now worshiping. Their high priests are the politicians and the worldly-wise, the so-called sages of the age; their sacrifice, the flesh and blood of the slaughtered multitudes; their incantations outworn shibboleths and insidious and irreverent formulas; their incense, the smoke of anguish that ascends from the lacerated hearts of the bereaved, the maimed, and the homeless. The theories and policies, so unsound, so pernicious, which deify the state and exalt the nation above mankind, which seek to subordinate the sister races of the world to one single race, which discriminate between the black and the white, and which tolerate the dominance of one privileged class over all others—these are the dark, the false, and crooked doctrines for which any man or people who believes in them, or acts upon them, must, sooner or later, incur the wrath and chastisement of God.…Weakening of the pillars of religion...cannot but lead¼to chaos and confusion.…In the West, the nationalistic philosophy, which Christian rulers and governments have upheld, is an attack directed against the Church by those who were previously its professed adherents, a betrayal of its cause by its own kith and kin…assisted and encouraged by the prevailing spirit of modernism, with its emphasis on a purely materialistic philosophy, which…tends increasingly to divorce religion from man’s daily life.[15]
A New World Tribunal: The warring Armageddon century is happily just about over and has brought in its wake a
a unity of nations…securely established…in this [20th] century…causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland.…This must, however long and tortuous the way, lead, through a series of victories and reverses, to the political unification of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, to the emergence of a world government and the establishment of the Lesser Peace…‌foretold by Baha’u’llah and…the Prophet Isaiah.[16]
In 1919 the League of Nations began the process, but collapsed around 1936. It took World War II for the United Nations to rise from its ashes in 1945. Its greatest success has been sixty years without nuclear war. But a new World Tribunal is panting to emerge, alas probably as a phoenix from the ashes of the present UN in order to stop nations brawling on the streets of the global village. Then causes of war shall be conquered, swords shall be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning-hooks (Isaiah 2.4, Joel 4.10 & Micah 4.3), lives and resources shall be spared, and geopolitical Lesser Peace established. Finally war shall cease between nations¼and all men will live as brothers¼with the unfurling of the banner of the Most Great Peace, in the Golden Age of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh.[17]
Apropos, a major role will be played by America in the hoisting of the standard of the Lesser Peace, in the unification of mankind, and in the establishment of a world federal government on this planet, after it [America] stops clinging tenaciously to the obsolescent doctrine of absolute sovereignty and upholding a political system manifestly at variance with the needs of a world already contracted into a neighborhood and crying out for unity and is purged of its anachronistic conceptions, and prepared to play a preponderating role.18]


[1] Shoghi Effendi Compilations, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Baha’i Communities 7.54, citing Shoghi Effendi, The Individual and Teaching: Raising the Divine Call 28, Willmette:Baha’i Publishing Trust (1977)
[2] The Most Great Peace, Baha’u’llah, Proclamation of Baha’u’llah to the Kings and Leaders of the World
As the supreme instrument, Tablets of Baha’u’llah 2.125
These fruitless strifes, Baha’u’llah, PB viii
[3] Bloodshed was considered, ‘Abdu’l-Baha in London 36–37
The Most Great Peace,‘Abdu’l-Bahá, PUP28 1869
Appeals, the like of which,Shoghi Effendi, PDC48
[4] While peace is the pretext, Baha’u’llah, Secret of Divine Civilization 60; The smoke of corruption, Tablets of Baha’u’llah (1888) 4.39
[5] Now that ye have refused, Baha’u’llah, Summons of the Lord of Hosts 1.180.93, PB 12.13
It is incumbent upon, Baha’u’llah, ESW30–31
Promote the Lesser Peace, Tablets of Baha’u’llah 7.89
[6]Jerusalem Talmud, Berechat 4.3.8a re. Yerushalayim Shel Mata and Yerushalayim Shel Ma’Alah
[7] Origen cited by Armstrong, Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths 171
[8] Hajjaj, The Prophet’s Night Journey and Ascent
[9] Baha’u’llah, Aqdas90, 53
[10] The Battle of Armageddon, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá cited 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; a world enkindling Fire, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, PUP 469
[11] Great melee of the civilized nations, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá cited by Esslemont, Baha’u’llah and the New Era 244, August 3 1914
By 1917 kingdoms will fall, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá cited by Corinne True, Chicago North Shore Review, September 26 1914
Armed troops and artillery, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 1913, Scriptures 671.344
The flame of war is so ablaze, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Letter to Root
The most advanced and, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (1914), SWA225.284
In times gone by, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, 107
Warfare in former centuries, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (1912), PUP 123–24, BWF 231–32
[12] Attention towards Europe, Shoghi Effendi (1933), Letter to Mrs. Louise Erickson, Baha’i News 77, 1933/9
Its immediate cause, Shoghi Effendi (1941), Letter USBN 77, 1933/9, 2–3
The internecine struggle, Shoghi Effendi (1941), Messages to America 45–46
[13] Shoghi Effendi (1941), Messages to America 45–46
[14] Shoghi Effendi (1957), Citadel 124–54
[15] God Himself has indeedPDC276–77.113–14, Shoghi Effendi (1941),
Weakening of the pillars, Baha’u’llah, ESW28
In the West, Shoghi EffendiWOB182–83
Assisted and encouraged,Shoghi EffendiWOB182–83
[16] A unity of nations, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, SWA15.32; must, however long, Shoghi Effendi (1947), Citadel: 6 (32–33)
[17] War shall cease between nations, ‘Abdu’l-Baha in London 20; the unfurling of the banner, Shoghi Effendi, Citadel 33
[18] Shoghi Effendi (1954), Citadel 124–127