Like a Thief in the Night

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A couple of months ago, Mr. Harold Camping worked many people into a frenzy over his prediction that Judgment Day would occur on May 21st, 2011. It is extremely disheartening to me that so many people got caught up in such fear mongering. I believe that God wants us to think for ourselves, to search, to question, to believe and have faith in Him thru conscious knowledge, not through blind imitation and attachment to antiquated dogma.

If you read this passage from the Bible for yourself...

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."(King James Bible, 2 Peter 3:10)

Let's leave all the melting elements and burning up for another discussion and focus on the first phrase - "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night."

What does that mean to you? To me, it means exactly what it says - that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. And thieves come quietly, they sneak. In fact, they could very well come and go before you even know they were there, right? Then the next morning you wake up and think, "HEY! Where did my stereo go?". That's a joke - the Promised One would have no need for your stereo. ;-)

So in my mind, the vision of Christ, or anyone else for that matter, floating down out of the sky and levitating the chosen up into heaven, just does not seem quiet or subtle enough enough to be like a "thief in the night". In fact, it seems so grandiose as to leave no room left over for true Faith, which doesn't require such ostentatious spectacles.

But Justin, you say, Jesus does say he will "come in the clouds". Ah yes, you are absolutely correct, and he also mostly spoke in parables. So, if we were to assume that the cloud concept was a parable, what do you think it could mean? What do clouds do? They obscure the sun so that it is more difficult to receive the warmth and light it provides. Taken symbolically then, what could it all mean? Maybe that when He returns there will be "clouds" that inhibit our ability to receive and recognize the warmth and light of His Word? What could those clouds be? The preoccupations and materialism of society? The prejudices or egoism within ourselves? The dogma of our traditions? What do you think?

All religions speak of a great "Promised One" that is to come. To Judaism He is "Lord of Hosts"; to Christianity, the Return of Christ in the glory of the Father; to Islam, the "Great Announcement"; to Buddhism, the Maitreya Buddha; to Hinduism, the new incarnation of Krishna; to Zoroastrianism, the advent of "Shah-Bahram".

Sometimes the Prophets speak as if They Themselves will return. Other times, They speak as if Someone other than Themselves will bring the new heaven and the new earth. This contradiction makes sense only if you ponder their dual nature as an Individual AND as the Mouthpiece for the Word of God.

As a Bahá'i, I believe that the Promised One of all religions, the "Desire of all Nations", the "King of Glory" has already come and gone in the Personage of Bahá'u'lláh. To me, His Writings are clearly from God and are the "Divine Prescription" for this ailing world. There have been many "clouds" throughout my life that successfully limited my vision at times and my ability to appropriately recognizing His station and the impact it should create in my life.

When I look back, I recognize how "asleep" I had been, letting "clouds" obscure my vision - caught up in materialism, popular thought and false preconceptions that weren't truly my own. I am so grateful and humbled that nowadays, thanks to His guidance, I feel much more "awake" and "clear" about who I am, where I fit in this world and what I believe to be true.

Below I have gathered some passages from numerous world religions on their prophecies concerning the "Promised One of All Ages". Are you certain that He has not yet arrived? Are there any "clouds" in your life that may be obscuring your vision and keeping you "asleep" and heedless to His Call? Are your beliefs truly your own or are you blindly following the same thinking of those around you? Food for thought.

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." - King James Bible, John 16:7-14

"Who shall teach us when Thou art gone?" Buddha replied in these clear terms: "I am not the first Buddha who came upon earth, nor shall I be the last. In due time another Buddha will arise .... He shall reveal to you the same eternal truths which I have taught you. He will preach to you His religion, glorious in its origin, glorious at the climax and glorious at the goal, in the spirit and in the letter." - Sermon of the Great Passing.

"Whose name will be the victorious SAOSHYANT and whose name
will be Astvat-ereta. He will be SAOSHYANT (the Beneficent One),
because he will benefit the whole bodily world; he will be ASTVAT-ERETA (he who makes the bodily creatures rise up), because as a bodily creature and as a living creature he will stand against the destruction of the bodily creatures, to withstand the Druj of the two-footed brood, to withstand the evil done by the faithful." - The Zend-Avesta, Khorda Avesta

"I come, and go, and come. When Righteousness
Declines, O Bharata! when Wickedness
Is strong, I rise, from age to age, and take
Visible shape, and move a man with men,
Succouring the good, thrusting the evil back,
And setting Virtue on her seat again.
Who knows the truth touching my births on earth
And my divine work, when he quits the flesh
Puts on its load no more, falls no more down
To earthly birth: to Me he comes, dear Prince!" - Hindu, Bhagavad Gita

"The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah-the which We have sent by inspiration to thee-and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in Religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him)." - The Qur'an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 42

"O peoples of the earth! By the righteousness of God! Whatever ye have been promised in the Books of your Lord, the Ruler of the Day of Return, hath appeared and been made manifest. Beware lest the changes and chances of the world hold you back from Him Who is the Sovereign Truth." - Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 231

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