The Glory of God.
In terms of the wealth and prestige of His family, Baha’u’llah was born a prince of Persia. His father owned vast lands and served on the Court of the Shah of Persia as a valued Minister. Baha’u’llah was from one of the most ancient and renowned families of Persia, and was also related to Kings of the Persian Empire, and, more importantly, was a descendant of the prophet Abraham to whom God, as recorded in Acts 3:25, promised: “Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.” Interestingly, the descendants of Abraham include Jesus, Muhammad, the Bab, and Baha’u’llah.
The majesty of the Persian Empire has been swept away because they willfully turned their backs on God and the revelations of His Manifestations and sought to follow their own wills instead of the Will of God by persecuting His Twin Manifestations and killing legions of Their followers.
The name Baha’u’llah means the “Glory of God.” The proof of Baha’u’llah’s divine authority, mission, and prophethood can be asserted by anyone who cares to read His majestic prose. In His Writings are a monumental profusion of hidden gems that any sincere person reading them might well agree:
“Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised, and the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men.”
Prior to His declaration, when Baha’u’llah gave His own allegiance to His forerunner, the Bab – He was put in chains and thrown into a subterranean dungeon called the Black Pit of Tehran, where He was collared, shackled and fettered with heavy iron chains during all the months He spent there. Thus began forty years of imprisonment and exile as a religious prisoner of both the Persian and Ottoman Empires in the mid through late 1800s.
Baha’u’llah endured His exile and imprisonment with astonishing patience and forbearance. Despite being ignored by the generality of humanity, across the whole of His Revelation He proclaims and gives evident proofs that He is the Manifestation of God for this age. He warned them and prescribed the remedy for a disease that was rapidly spreading across the earth:
“The vitality of men’s belief in God is dying out in every land; nothing short of His wholesome medicine can ever restore it. The corrosion of ungodliness is eating into the vitals of human society; what else but the Elixir of His potent Revelation can cleanse and revive it? … The Word of God, alone, can claim the distinction of being endowed with the capacity required for so great and far-reaching a change.”
Although He did not free humanity of their spiritual obligation to independently investigate the truth of His claims, Baha’u’llah blamed the clergy for their irresponsibility and lack of discernment, and for the persecution of the Manifestations of God:
“Leaders of religion, in every age, have hindered their people from attaining the shores of eternal salvation, inasmuch as they held the reins of authority in their mighty grasp. Some for the lust of leadership, others through want of knowledge and understanding, have been the cause of the deprivation of the people. By their sanction and authority, every Prophet of God hath drunk from the chalice of sacrifice, and winged His flight unto the heights of glory. What unspeakable cruelties they that have occupied the seats of authority and learning have inflicted upon the true Monarchs of the world, those Gems of divine virtue!”
Baha’u’llah’s Revelation includes writings that evince complete humility before God, and, at other times, He spoke in majestic tones to mankind. Here, He is inspired to “say” to humanity that the Manifestation of God is their source of enlightenment and He rains blessings on them:
“Say: Blessed the slumberer who is awakened by My Breeze. Blessed the lifeless one who is quickened through My reviving breaths. Blessed the eye that is solaced by gazing at My beauty. Blessed the wayfarer who directeth his steps towards the Tabernacle of My glory and majesty. Blessed the distressed one who seeketh refuge beneath the shadow of My canopy. Blessed the sore athirst who hasteneth to the soft-flowing waters of My loving-kindness. Blessed the insatiate soul who casteth away his selfish desires for love of Me and taketh his place at the banquet table which I have sent down from the heaven of divine bounty for My chosen ones. Blessed the abased one who layeth fast hold on the cord of My glory; and the needy one who entereth beneath the shadow of the Tabernacle of My wealth. Blessed the man who hath sought enlightenment from the Day-Star of My Word. Blessed he who hath attired his head with the diadem of My love. Blessed is he who hath heard of My grief and hath arisen to aid Me among My people. Blessed is he who hath laid down his life in My path and hath borne manifold hardships for the sake of My Name.”
Because of the machinations of the Islamic priesthood of both the Persian and Ottoman Empires, Baha’u’llah underwent and endured successive banishments. As a prisoner and an exile He was forced to go “from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain,” and, thus, fulfilled Biblical prophecy through no volition of His own, but solely as a result of being a prisoner of empires. Therefore, in this way, step by step, He was progressively moved further away from His homeland, and finally, imprisoned by the Ottoman Empire in the pestilent prison city and penal colony of Akka, known today as Acre, Israel, situated across the bay from what is historically known as Mount Carmel, extolled as the Mountain of God in the Old Testament.