Epistles to the Kings and Queens of the Earth

Throughout His time of imprisonment and exile, Baha’u’llah sought to awaken and unite all of humanity; knowing that most were in the grasp of the priesthood and monarchs, He sent Epistles to the Kings and Queens of the earth and proclaimed that He was the Promised One. Addressing them all, He wrote both words that were “mild as milk,” and also admonishments, seeking to to wake them up, that they might recognize His Revelation and thereby be made into the instruments of God: “Ye are but vassals, O kings of the earth! He Who is the King of Kings hath appeared, arrayed in His most wondrous glory, and is summoning you unto Himself, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Take heed lest pride deter you from recognizing the Source of Revelation, lest the things of this world shut you out as by a veil from Him Who is the Creator of heaven.”

In part the work of the Manifestation of God is to reveal information, to admonish, and to call humanity back to God. The work of those who receive the Revelation is to believe. This has always been the case from the beginning of time; for example, John 6:29 reports that people asked the Christ, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

As part of the work and world-embracing redemptive mission that God bestowed on Him, Baha’u’llah also sent many monarchs and religious leaders individual Epistles. It is interesting to note that all these monarchs were powerful and at the height of their power and influence when He wrote them, but only one replied to Baha’u’llah; and except for the realm of the monarch who answered His Epistle, all the secular kingdoms and empires of these and the others have vanished forever. However, in contrast, the Faith of Baha’u’llah has spread across the earth and, today, has millions of devout adherents. The following quotes are from longer Epistles which Baha’u’llah wrote to a few of the monarchs and religious leaders.

In a message to His Imperial Majesty, the Shah of Persia, He wrote:

“I was but a man like others, asleep upon My couch, when lo, the breezes of the All-Glorious were wafted over Me, and taught Me the knowledge of all that hath been. This thing is not from Me, but from One Who is Almighty and All-Knowing. And He bade Me lift up My voice between earth and heaven, and for this there befell Me what hath caused the tears of every man of understanding to flow. The learning current amongst men I studied not; their schools I entered not. Ask of the city wherein I dwelt, that thou mayest be well assured that I am not of them who speak falsely. …”

In a first tablet to Emperor Napoleon III, who at the time was the most powerful monarch in Europe, He wrote:

“O King of Paris! Tell the priest to ring the bells no longer. By God, the True One! The Most Mighty Bell hath appeared in the form of Him Who is the Most Great Name, and the fingers of the will of Thy Lord, the Most Exalted, the Most High, toll it out in the heaven of Immortality, in His name, the All-Glorious. Thus have the mighty verses of Thy Lord been again sent down unto thee, that thou mayest arise to remember God, the Creator of earth and heaven, in these days when all the tribes of the earth have mourned, and the foundations of the cities have trembled, and the dust of irreligion hath enwrapped all men, except such as God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise, was pleased to spare. Say: He Who is the Unconditioned is come, in the clouds of light, that He may quicken all created things with the breezes of His Name, the Most Merciful, and unify the world, and gather all men around this Table which hath been sent down from heaven. …”

Baha’u’llah wrote two epistles to Napoleon. The Emperor Napoleon reportedly cast aside the first when he was at the height of his power and said, “If this is from God, then I am two gods.” Yet within one year – much to the amazement of people everywhere – Napoleon lost his throne and empire. This is what Baha’u’llah – from his prison cell in Akka – wrote Napoleon before his astonishing decline:

“O Napoleon! Thou hast become haughty indeed. Thou hast become proud. Thou hast forgotten God. Thou dost imagine that this majesty is permanent for thee, that this dominion is abiding for thee. A letter have we sent unto thee for acceptance with thy greatest love; but, instead, thou hast shown arrogance. Therefore, God shall uproot the edifice of thy sovereignty; thy country shall flee away from thee. Thou shalt find humiliation hastening after thee because thou didst not arise for that which was enjoined upon thee, whereas that which was a duty incumbent upon thee was the cause of life to the world. The punishment of God shall soon be dealt out to thee.”

Although written in 1873, this chilling prophecy appears at the end of this passage written in an Epistle sent to Kaiser Wilhelm I, the first German Emperor: “O banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore … and you shall have another turn.” This prophecy foretold that Germany would be destroyed and covered with bloodshed twice. Decades later two wars devastated Germany. Here is more from the epistle written to Emperor Wilhelm:

“O King of Berlin! Give ear unto the Voice calling from this manifest Temple: Verily, there is none other God but Me, the Everlasting, the Peerless, the Ancient of Days. Take heed lest pride debar thee from recognizing the Dayspring of Divine Revelation, lest earthly desires shut thee out, as by a veil, from the Lord of the Throne above and of the earth below. Thus counselleth thee the Pen of the Most High. He, verily, is the Most Gracious, the All-Bountiful. Do thou remember the one whose power transcended thy power, and whose station excelled thy station. Where is he? Whither are gone the things he possessed? Take warning, and be not of them that are fast asleep. He it was who cast the Tablet of God behind him, when We made known unto him what the hosts of tyranny had caused Us to suffer. Wherefore, disgrace assailed him from all sides, and he went down to dust in great loss. Think deeply, O King, concerning him, and concerning them who, like unto thee, have conquered cities and ruled over men. The All-Merciful brought them down from their palaces to their graves. Be warned, be of them who reflect… O banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore, inasmuch as the swords of retribution were drawn against you; and you shall have another turn. And We hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be today in conspicuous glory. …”

And to the Pope in Rome Baha’u’llah, the Lord of Lords wrote:

“O Pope! Rend the veils asunder. He Who is the Lord of Lords is come overshadowed with clouds, and the decree hath been fulfilled by God, the Almighty, the Unrestrained… He, verily, hath again come down from Heaven even as He came down from it the first time. Beware that thou dispute not with Him even as the Pharisees disputed with Him (Jesus) without a clear token or proof. On His right hand flow the living waters of grace, and on His left the choice Wine of justice, whilst before Him march the angels of Paradise, bearing the banners of His signs. Beware lest any name debar thee from God, the Creator of earth and heaven. Leave thou the world behind thee, and turn towards thy Lord, through Whom the whole earth hath been illumined… Dwellest thou in palaces whilst He Who is the King of Revelation liveth in the most desolate of abodes? Leave them unto such as desire them, and set thy face with joy and delight towards the Kingdom… Arise in the name of thy Lord, the God of Mercy, amidst the peoples of the earth, and seize thou the Cup of Life with the hands of confidence, and first drink thou therefrom, and proffer it then to such as turn towards it amongst the peoples of all faiths…”

And to the mighty Czar of Russia, Baha’u’llah wrote:

“O Czar of Russia! Incline thine ear unto the voice of God, the King, the Holy, and turn thou unto Paradise, the Spot wherein abideth He Who, among the Concourse on high, beareth the most excellent titles, and Who, in the kingdom of creation, is called by the name of God, the Effulgent, the All-Glorious. Beware that nothing deter thee from setting thy face towards thy Lord, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful. We, verily, have heard the thing for which thou didst supplicate thy Lord, whilst secretly communing with Him. Wherefore, the breeze of My loving-kindness wafted forth, and the sea of My mercy surged, and We answered thee in truth. Thy Lord, verily, is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Whilst I lay, chained and fettered, in the prison of Tihran, one of thy ministers extended Me his aid. Wherefore hath God ordained for thee a station which the knowledge of none can comprehend except His knowledge. Beware lest thou barter away this sublime station. …”

And to Queen Victoria, the Queen of Great Britain, Baha’u’llah wrote:

“O Queen in London! Incline thine ear unto the voice of thy Lord, the Lord of all mankind, calling from the Divine Lote-Tree: Verily, no God is there but Me, the Almighty, the All-Wise! Cast away all that is on earth, and attire the head of thy kingdom with the crown of the remembrance of Thy Lord, the All-Glorious. He, in truth, hath come unto the world in His most great glory, and all that hath been mentioned in the Gospel hath been fulfilled. …”

None of these leaders and monarchs of humankind except Queen Victoria replied to Baha’u’llah. Of all of the secular kings and emperors He wrote, only the English monarchy survives. Queen Victoria said, “If this is of God, it will endure; if not, it can do no harm.” Baha’u’llah wrote back and thanked this just and fair-minded Queen, and He blessed the reign of Queen Victoria, and, interestingly, today, Her reign of 63 years is known as the Victorian Age, and she is acknowledged as the greatest of all English monarchs.

Baha’u’llah also wrote multiple letters to one of His chief tormentors, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, in which He prophesied both the downfall of the 650 year old Ottoman Empire and also the disintegration of the Sunni Caliphate, which Shoghi Effendi described as “the most powerful institution in Islam.” Furthermore, regarding the prophesies of Baha’u’llah, Shoghi Effendi wrote, “… all these took place in that short period of time after the ‘Prisoner of Akka’ had issued His clear warnings of the dire retributive calamities which were to descend upon the despotic rulers of the Land of Turkey.” Referring to Constantinople as the “Spot” that was the capital of the Ottoman Empire sitting between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, Baha’u’llah wrote:

“O Spot that are situate on the shores of the two seas! The throne of tyranny hath, verily, been established upon thee, and the flame of hatred hath been kindled within thy bosom, in such wise that the Concourse on high and they who circle around the Exalted Throne have wailed and lamented. We behold in thee the foolish ruling over the wise, and darkness vaunting itself against the light. Thou art indeed filled with manifest pride. Hath thine outward splendour made thee vainglorious? By Him Who is the Lord of mankind! It shall soon perish, and thy daughters and thy widows and all the kindreds that dwell within thee shall lament. Thus informeth thee the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

All the religious authorities that Baha’u’llah wrote to have lost their spiritual and temporal power, and are left with but a shadow of their former honor and fame. Moreover, a vast number of their adherents on every side have forsaken them, and, indeed, Baha’u’llah – writing from His place of imprisonment and exile across the bay from Mount Carmel – foretold this too: “O concourse of divines! Ye shall not henceforward behold yourselves possessed of any power…” Today, because the leaders of religion turned their backs on Baha’u’llah, everywhere, people are turning away from religion and seeking relief in man-made systems like socialism, which is humanistic and denies the existence of God, the benevolent Creator of All Things.