The Fifth Angel is addressed as:
the Angel of the church of Sardis.
The Fifth Angel is known throughout the book,
as the Angel of the fifth religion -
The Buddhist Religion.
The Angel for each religion has a specific mission.
The Angel of the Buddhist Faith is known throughout this Book as the fifth Angel. It is IMPORTANT to understand that this collection of verses is only of when the Buddhist Angel is addressed. There are MANY other verses throughout the Book of Revelation that deal with the Buddhist religion.
In the Baha'i Writings there are so many references to the Buddhist Religion that a lengthy discussion of it is provided in an AFTERWORD to this collection of verses about the Fifth Angel.
 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Sardis - Buddhist - Commentary
V.1 John is now told to write to the FIFTH angel, the angel of the church in Sardis, associated with the Buddhist Faith throughout the Book of Revelation.
It is important to understand
- each group of SEVEN entities -
such as Angels, Churches, Stars
(there are 17 such terms)
ALWAYS refer to the 7 Religions, Cultures -
in the same order.
Sardis was once a great city; capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia and known for its wealth at the time when John was teaching there. Pillars still remain of a great Greek Temple. The symbolic meaning of the Greek word Sardis is 'Lack of Zeal'. Since there is little relevance there now as a church, we take the meaning of the word to represent the fifth religion, the Buddhist Faith. The fifth Angel is associated with the Buddhist Faith throughout the Book; the prophet is Gautama Buddha.
He who has the seven stars, and the seven churches, (the seven Spirits of God) in his hand is Baha'u'llah, the latest Revealer, who has come with His forerunner the Bab to unite all seven religions.
- He commends that they have a name for being alive.
- He condemns saying they are really spiritually dead.
The founder of Buddhism was a wonderful soul. He established the Oneness of God, but later the original principles of His doctrines gradually disappeared, and ignorant customs and ceremonials arose and increased until they finally ended in the worship of statues and images.'Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 165
 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
V.2 The followers of the Angel of Sardis are told to be watchful, and to strengthen and hold onto the spiritual side of their life, as their works have not been perfect. Buddhism has not been a religion of "good works" as have those religions in the Judaic, Christian, Islamic tradition. We hear of the latter's humanitarian efforts in such things as the Magen David Adom Society, Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations. For centuries there have been Christian hospitals, orphanages, schools, universities and other charitable institutions in Buddhist countries but one seldom hears of a Buddhist hospital or such in places like Africa or South America. There seems to have been a dearth of Buddhist missionary zeal.
The real teaching of Buddha is the same as the teaching of Jesus Christ. The teachings of all the Prophets are the same in character. Now men have changed the teaching. If you look at the present practice of the Buddhist religion, you will see that there is little of the Reality left.'Abdu'l-Baha, 'Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 63
The Jews call that reality Moses, the Christians Christ, the Mussulmans Mohammed, the Buddhists Buddha and the Zoroastrians Zoroaster. Now mark well that none of these religionists have ever seen the founders; they have only heard his name. Could they overlook these names they would at once realize that all believe in a perfect reality which is an intermediary between the Almighty and the creatures.'Abdu'l-Baha , Divine Philosophy, p. 155
 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
He tells them to remember how their Revealer came to them, and watch for Him coming the same way.
If they fail to watch, the new message will come quietly like a thief at a time they are not expecting it. Most Buddhists expect the return of the Fifth Buddha or what they call the Maitreya.x`
He (Baha'u'llah) was equally in no doubt about the role which He had been called upon to play in human history. As the Manifestation of God to the age of fulfillment, He is the one promised in all the scriptures of the past, the "Desire of all nations," the "King of Glory." 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."Baha'i International Community, 1992 May 29, Statement on Baha'u'llah
The Maitreya, the Buddha of 'universal fellowship' was expected to appear to the West of India and to the East of Israel. (Persia, the home of Baha'u'llah, fulfills this prophesy). His message is one of "universal fellowship" and the union of religions, nations, and races.William Sears, Thief in the Night Part 3, p. 143
Isaiah also foretold the day when all the inhabitants of earth would hear the Messiah's teaching:
Isaiah 18:3 'All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains...King James Bible
Thou Provider! The dearest wish of this servant of Thy Threshold is to behold the friends of east and west in close embrace; to see all the members of human society gathered with love in a single great assemblage, even as individual drops of water collected in one mighty sea; to behold them all as birds in one garden of roses, as pearls of one ocean, as leaves of one tree, as rays of one sun.Thou Provider! The dearest wish of this servant of Thy Threshold is to behold the friends of east and west in close embrace; to see all the members of human society gathered with love in a single great assemblage, even as individual drops of water collected in one mighty sea; to behold them all as birds in one garden of roses, as pearls of one ocean, as leaves of one tree, as rays of one sun.
 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
V.4 The Reward:
He says that there are a few who are still faithful, who shall walk with Him in white, symbolizing their righteousness. Although the point is not really the color of their garment, but rather the purity of their souls. (Yellow being the color of garment worn by the Holy ones.)
In former days, in the time of the Buddha and Zoroaster, civilization in Asia and in the East was very much higher than in the West and ideas and thoughts of the Eastern peoples were much in advance of, and nearer to the thoughts of God than those of the West.'Abdu'l-Baha, 'Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 69
The teaching of Buddha was like a young and beautiful child, and now it has become as an old and decrepit man. Like the aged man it cannot see, it cannot hear, it cannot remember anything. Why go so far back? Consider the laws of the Old Testament: the Jews do not follow Moses as their example nor keep his commands. So it is with many other religions.'Abdu'l-Baha, 'Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 64
 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
V.5 The Promise:
Light is good in whatsoever lamp it is burning! A rose is beautiful in whatsoever garden it may bloom! A star has the same radiance if it shines from the East or from the West. Be free from prejudice, so will you love the Sun of Truth from whatsoever point in the horizon it may arise! You will realize that if the Divine light of truth shone in Jesus Christ it also shone in Moses and in Buddha. The earnest seeker will arrive at this truth. This is what is meant by the 'Search after Truth'.'Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 137
 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches
V.6 The Refrain:
My hope is that thou wilt acquire a perceptive eye, a hearing ear, and that the veils will be removed from thy sight.'Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 50
 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
V.9 With the opening of the Fifth Seal, associated with the Fifth Angel of the Buddhist Faith, John saw 'under the altar' all the souls of the martyrs of the past, those who have been killed because of their allegiance to their Faith wanting tolerance, justice and love of mankind.
A custom of the Buddhist religion is what people of the West have referred to as ancestor worship. This concept has arisen regarding them because of the practice of many in keeping on the family altar or at the church altar the ashes from the cremated remains of their families. These are often kept in urns or packages wrapped in bright silk. When a family moves or changes their house of worship, they take the packages with them, and again are placed on shelves around and behind the altar.
We only mention this because if one looks, how often a verse associated with a religion will have something associated only with that religion - and there is no way to change the order of the verses to make this happen. It is a proof that the religions are listed in a Divinely revealed order.
 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth.
V.10 Universally, the 'last days' has been one of great religious martyrdom throughout the world. The fate of the Jewish religion, in relationship to the 'last days' is particularly known as regards the holocaust in Germany. But it is not just the Jewish, Christian and Islamic martyrs, but also the Hindus, and Buddhists by the millions in Tibet, China and elsewhere in the Far East. The Babi and Baha'i martyrs, have also received great recognition in their struggle with the forces of the dying previous systems to bring higher ideals of love, tolerance, justice, morality, and all the spiritual values to humanity.
All the martyrs have asked when the justice that they have sought will be established. They are looking not for revenge but justification in the fulfillment of what they have stood for. They are asking, "How long before God establishes His Kingdom on Earth?"
In their decay, the religions became the cause of religious fanaticism (the white horse), terrible wars (the red horse), unjust societies (the black horse), and economic oppression (the pale horse), which can also be viewed as lack of spirituality causing -intolerance (religious, national, racist), wars (local and world wide), tyranny (non-justice), and poverty (economic) and environmental imbalance world-wide.
 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
V.11 The white robes are given unto them as a sign of their purity - which is a requirement for martyrdom. The martyrs of the past are told to wait for another season as there would be more martyrs to come. In their quest for religious freedom there have been many martyrs throughout the years, for Buddhists as well as martyrs of other Faiths.
The Babi martyrs, 20,000 followers who were killed because they refused to recant their Faith, are added to those who have been martyred in previous religions. The Cause of the Bab, being next thus fulfills this verse.
There have been martyrs in the past - and unfortunately, there will be many more in the future. The spiritual education of mankind is a long and difficult process and the tests and trials of those who work for the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth is a mark of their worthiness.
 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
V.1 The fifth angel (the first woe of the three woes mentioned at the end of the last chapter) is the Angel of the Buddhist religion. The Angel of this religion is the Compassionate Buddha, the Great Teacher of love and tolerance. There are two interpretations for the archetype star used here. Here, in the first instance it is used as to how in many Buddhist countries this religion fell, as did other religions of the world. Particularly in China, where the state philosophy became that of atheistic communism. Buddhist countries such as Burma and Tibet saw great military conflicts. The Japanese, in particular, became noted for their war making inclinations.
Hence, it is clear and manifest that by the words "...the stars shall fall from heaven" is intended the waywardness of the divines, and the annulment of laws firmly established by divine Revelation, all of which, in symbolic language, have been foreshadowed by the Manifestation of God.Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 41
This verse has particular significance in that it is the beginning verse for the thread of the bottomless pit as being an archetype for nuclear weapons - and indeed it was a Buddhist Country (Japan) upon which the first atomic bomb was used - the key that opened the door to the bottomless pit for humanity.
In this instance there is also something of a parallel to the archetype star in the previous chapter Rev 8:10 where another star falls from heaven in regards to the Third Angel, the Hindu Faith. This latter is in regards to what is still a future event, but the archetype star mentioned in this verse can be seen as a graphic visualization of the bomb that fell on Hiroshima.
 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
V.2 The spiritual meaning of this verse is of great significance to mankind. From the pit came smoke, which are the dense clouds of the mind, which kept people from following the true teachings of the Buddha. The sun and air were darkened, which means the spirituality of the religion was gone
The symbolic term "smoke" denotes grave dissensions, the abrogation and demolition of recognized standards, and the utter destruction of their narrow-minded exponents. What smoke more dense and overpowering than the one which hath now enshrouded all the peoples of the world, which hath become a torment unto them, and from which they hopelessly fail to deliver themselves, however much they strive? So fierce is this fire of self burning within them, that at every moment they seem to be afflicted with fresh torments.Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 76
Japan became the focus of the great technological force that was to forever change the destiny of mankind. The following amazing prophecy about the Atomic Bomb was given by 'Abdu'l-Baha in 1912, to the Japanese Ambassador Viscount Arakawa, upon whose country the first atomic bomb would be dropped.
"Scientific discoveries have increased material civilization. There is in existence a stupendous force, as yet, happily undiscovered by man. Let us supplicate God, the Beloved, that this force be not discovered by science until spiritual civilization shall dominate the human mind. In the hands of men of lower nature, this power would be able to destroy the whole earth."'Abdu'l-Baha, Japan Will Turn Ablaze, p. 51
Split the atom's heart, and lo! Within it thou wilt find a sun.Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 12
The smoke coming out of the bottomless pit in the form of a mushroom cloud is the very image of the nuclear age.
 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
V.3 From the smoke which blinded the minds of the people, came leaders which are described as scorpions. Their power over the people was to deprive them of the freedoms of life. Punishment was very harsh, often resulting in death.
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.Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 39
As an archetype, we also see the smoke from the bottomless pit as being the nuclear mushroom cloud, and so of course in this case the locusts would represent the radioactive fallout.
Strange and astonishing things exist in the earth but they are hidden from the minds and the understanding of men. These things are capable of changing the whole atmosphere of the earth and their contamination would prove lethal.Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 69
 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
V.4 The matter of having the seal of God in one's forehead is a spiritual matter and indicates that those who are responsive to and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit will be protected from the spiritual diseases of the age, and these receptive individuals are symbolized by the green living life forms of the earth.
"These! The people of Baha. Through them have been shed the splendors of the light of guidance." Thus hath it been ordained, at Thy behest and by Thy will, in the Tablet of Thine irrevocable decree.baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 83
As a side point of curiosity, the radiation mentioned in the previous verse does not affect the grass, trees or any vegetation.
 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
V.5 There can be various applications of this verse. It may have to do with an intermediate period of the effect of nuclear radiation or it may be interpreted symbolically in that five months equals five times thirty days or 150 days or 150 Biblical prophetic years, which brings us into the present time frame based upon the dates of the Most Clear Proof.
 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
V.6 If these verses are seen as a description of events still to come at the time that this book is being written, then this could be also interpreted as a literal description of the horrors that modern warfare can impose and what may occur in a nuclear catastrophe so terrible that it has been speculated that the living will envy the dead.
Where canst thou find refuge now? Who shall protect thee from the dreadful scourge of thy Lord, the All-Compelling? There is no haven for thee in this Day, O ungodly doubter!" Whereupon the agony of death seized him and he saw no more. Thus did We lay hold on him in Our wrathful anger, and severe is thy Lord in His punishment.Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 178, Lawh-i-Fu'ad:11
My only joy in this swiftly-passing world was to tread the stony path of God and to endure hard tests and all material griefs. For otherwise, this earthly life would prove barren and vain, and better would be death.'Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 226
 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
V.7 There are many who make literal interpretations of these verses and they parallel other Biblical Scriptures such as Ezekiel Chapter One, but for the moment we will put the emphasis on spiritual interpretations of the archetype, thus, the leaders prepared for battle, their attitude being that of power, however their crowns were 'like' gold but not gold showing that their strength was not from God.
Say: None shall be secure this Day from the decree of God. This indeed is a grievous Day. We point out to them those that led them astray. They see them, and yet recognize them not. Their eyes are drunken; they are indeed a blind people. Their proofs are the calumnies they uttered; condemned are their calumnies by God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. The Evil One hath stirred up mischief in their hearts, and they are afflicted with a torment that none can avert. They hasten to the wicked, bearing the register of the workers of iniquity. Such are their doings.Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 41
 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
V.8 From a spiritual point of view that they had hair like women, would mean that they appeared placid in their deception, while 'teeth of lions' denotes strength of their intent.
 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
V.9 While these verses permit very graphic literal interpretations, and parallel descriptions in Ezekiel Chapter One, (see the Afterword to Chapter Seven) they are also equally adaptable to spiritual meanings which are even deeper. The breastplates of iron here represent strength and the overwhelming sound of wings that of intense energy and activity. All of which can be seen in the action of societies which exert political power over the people without the essence of spiritual justice.
 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
V.10 Once again, as in verse five above, we have the five month figure and while, as explained in the commentary on verse five, it may be seen as some effect which lasts five months, it is also (either alternatively or simultaneously) possibly code for activity that covers a 150 year period, the conclusion of which we have not yet seen.
 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
V.11 The king of the bottomless pit is called Abaddon in Hebrew, and Apollyon in Greek: Both mean 'Destruction' and there is no doubt but that these verses forebode a period of destruction both physically and spiritually. Indeed, the last century has seen both physical destruction, such as has not occurred in all the previous centuries combined, and spiritual destruction with the rise of godlessness (repudiation of belief in God) and extremes of immorality and spiritual uncleanliness that the world has no record of having occurred since the time of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Behold the disturbances which, for many a long year, have afflicted the earth, and the perturbation that hath seized its peoples. It hath either been ravaged by war, or tormented by sudden and unforeseen calamities. Though the world is encompassed with misery and distress, yet no man hath paused to reflect what the cause or source of that may be. Whenever the True Counsellor uttered a word in admonishment, lo, they all denounced Him as a mover of mischief and rejected His claim. How bewildering, how confusing is such behavior! No two men can be found who may be said to be outwardly and inwardly united. The evidences of discord and malice are apparent everywhere, though all were made for harmony and union. The Great Being saith: O well-beloved ones! The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. We cherish the hope that the light of justice may shine upon the world and sanctify it from tyranny.Baha'u'llah, CXII.Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 218
The greatest force of destruction that humanity has ever known is of course nuclear weapons, which are associated with the archetype "the bottomless pit" and which are the "Abomination of Desolation".
 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
V.12 It may be seen, in one literal interpretation, that the woe that befell the Buddhist religion and culture in the Far East is to be followed by woes that will befall the sixth and seventh religions - therefore the Christian and Islamic countries, respectively.
The Three Woes are discussed at length in the AFTERWORD of Chapter Eight. The Second Woe (of the three woes introduced in Rev. 8:13) isn't concluded until Rev. 11:14.
 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
V.17 This is the fifth angel (if you are keeping count). This is the Angel 0f the Buddhist Religion, because they always keep the same batting order, so to speak. He has the same sharp sickle and we note in current events that part of the world now also has nuclear weapons.
A process, God-impelled, endowed with measureless potentialities, mysterious in its workings, awful in the retribution meted out to every one seeking to resist its operation, infinitely rich in its promise for the regeneration and redemption of human kind, had been set in motion...Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 402
 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
"In the tenth verse, the 'seat of the beast' means the king of Persia, seated on his throne, upon whom the cup of the fifth angel was poured."
The Fifth Angel is associated with the Buddhist Faith and the Far East. 'Abdu'l-Baha says the seat of the beast is in Persia - now Iran (once the Zoroastrian country). We certainly see the area in darkness and pain, but most significant is the Islamic/Zoroastrian relationship discussed in Rev.14:15.
 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
"But the people were not admonished by all the calamities which occurred."
That is to say they were completely immersed instead in their rebellion against the true principles of religion and so were not awakened by the calamities. The same applies today, in that people are completely immersed in today's materialism and immorality and in effect curse God for not having organized the world to their liking.
 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
V.1 How historically amazing that this is related to the Fifth Angel, the Buddhist Religion (Japan) that was given the key to the "bottomless pit" (nuclear warfare) to open it (where it began) in Rev.9:1, and Rev 11:7, and also mentioned again in Rev.9:11, with the reference to destruction, bringing now the chain so that the great pit is to be closed.
The actual details of how this will transpire is still in the future so is presently hidden to us.
The Great Being, wishing to reveal the prerequisites of the peace and tranquillity of the world and the advancement of its peoples, hath written: The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world's Great Peace amongst men. Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers should resolve, for the sake of the tranquillity of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him. If this be done, the nations of the world will no longer require any armaments, except for the purpose of preserving the security of their realms and of maintaining internal order within their territories. This will ensure the peace and composure of every people, government and nation.Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 165
 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
V.2 What binds the dragon is that after nuclear WW3 (The Last Great Battle of Armageddon) the leaders of the world finally form a world government as they previously tried with WW1 (The League of Nations) and WW2 (The United Nations) but that this time actually controls the sovereignty of nations so that nuclear weapons are controlled.
"... the kings of the earth -- may God aid them through His strengthening grace -- to establish the Lesser Peace. This, indeed, is the greatest means for insuring the tranquillity of the nations. It is incumbent upon the Sovereigns of the world -- may God assist them -- unitedly to hold fast unto this Peace, which is the chief instrument for the protection of all mankind. It is Our hope that they will arise to achieve what will be conducive to the well-being of man. It is their duty to convene an all-inclusive assembly, which either they themselves or their ministers will attend, and to enforce whatever measures are required to establish unity and concord amongst men. They must put away the weapons of war, and turn to the instruments of universal reconstruction. Should one king rise up against another, all the other kings must arise to deter him. Arms and armaments will, then, be no more needed beyond that which is necessary to insure the internal security of their respective countries. If they attain unto this all-surpassing blessing, the people of each nation will pursue, with tranquillity and contentment, their own occupations, and the groanings and lamentations of most men would be silenced."Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 30
For while the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah will last for at least one thousand years, His cycle will extend still farther to at least 500,000.From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, November 14, 1935: Baha'i News. No. 102. August 1936, pp. 2-3 Lights of Guidance, p. 475
 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
V.3 The dragon, the anarchic international governments, will be controlled so that the nations will no longer be deceived. The "bottomless pit", (nuclear warfare) will be chained up and a seal placed upon it. However towards the end of another thousand years, there will again appear similar animosities and intolerances, which will bring another though lesser nuclear war, such that humanity will finally turn unto that which Baha'u'llah has established.
This Cause is great, its powers are growing and its signs are dazzling. It shall continue in elevation, exaltation, growth, promulgation and promotion until it shall reach the apex of its glory in one thousand years.Baha'i Scriptures p.472
In a world writhing with pain and declining into chaos this community -- the vanguard of the liberating forces of Baha'u'llah -- succeeded in the years following 'Abdu'l-Baha's passing in raising high above the institutions established by its sister communities in East and West what may well constitute the chief pillar of that future House -- a House which posterity will regard as the last refuge of a tottering civilization.Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p.489
The Buddhist religion is another religion that appeared centuries before Christianity. For a great part of the world's population this religion was the culmination of the religious traditions that were not a part of the Judaic, Christian, Islamic lineage.
Buddhism sprung out of Hinduism in the same way that Christianity sprung out of Judaism. While Christianity spread to what we call the "West", Buddhism spread to what we call the "Far East". Eastern and Western culture appear as the two great cultural distinctions to be harmonized now "in the Days of Fulfillment" into one universal whole.
Blessed souls whether Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, or Muhammad were the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity. How can we deny such irrefutable proof?Shoghi Effendi, Japan Will Turn Ablaze, p. 45
The furtherest extension, and latest historically, of Buddhism was to Japan and it was here that the Buddhist East and Christian West would eventually most dramatically interface. Japan, although it had at one time, well after the 13th century travels of Marco Polo to China, been opened by the Jesuits to Christianity in 1542 it had later completely isolated itself from the West until Commodore Perry sailed into its harbor in 1854. Thus began the current interface, almost 150 years ago, between the Buddhist East and the Christian West.
The interface between the Buddhist East and the Christian West was to be a dramatic one that would change the fortunes of all mankind for all time. For this reason it holds such a prominent position in the Book of Revelation.
Buddha had disciples and he wished to send them out into the world to teach, so he asked them questions to see if they were prepared as he would have them be. "When you go to the East and to the West," said the Buddha, "and the people shut their doors to you and refuse to speak to you, what will you do?" -- The disciples answered and said: "We shall be very thankful that they do us no harm." -- "Then if they do you harm and mock, what will you do?" -- "We shall be very thankful that they do not give us worse treatment." -- "If they throw you into prison?" -- "We shall still be grateful that they do not kill us." -- "What if they were to kill you?" the Master asked for the last time. "Still," answered the disciples, "we will be thankful, for they cause us to be martyrs. What more glorious fate is there than this, to die for the glory of God?" And the Buddha said: "Well done!"'Abdu'l-Baha, 'Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 64
Japan hath made wonderful progress in material civilization, but she will become perfect when she also becometh spiritually developed and the power of the Kingdom becometh manifest in her.'Abdu'l-Baha', Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha' v3, p. 564
If you look at the present practice of the Buddhist religion, you will see that there is little of the Reality left. Many worship idols although their teaching forbids it.'Abdu'l-Baha, 'Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 63
One will encounter a little difficulty in the beginning of the establishment of the Cause of God in that country, but later it will become very easy, for the inhabitants of Japan are intelligent, sagacious and have the power of rapid assimilation.'Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha v3, p. 564
The people of Japan are intelligent but they are in need of a leader that he may awaken them.'Abdu'l-Baha' in, Japan Will Turn Ablaze, p. 5
"O God! The darkness of contention, strife and warfare between the religions, the nations and peoples has beclouded the horizon of Reality and hidden the heaven of Truth. The world is in need of the light of Guidance. Therefore, O God, confer Thy favor, so that the Sun of Reality may illumine the East and the West."'Abdu'l-Baha's prayer for Japan in, Japan Will Turn Ablaze, p. 50
The religion or philosophy of China is a combination of the teachings of The Tao, Confucius, and the Buddha.
Confucius became the cause of civilization, advancement and prosperity for the people of China.'Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha v2, p. 469
It is said that Napoleon once remarked that China is a sleeping giant and that when it awakes it will move the world. This is certainly true of it spiritually. China has recently struggled spiritually through the atheistic period of the Mao revolution but its destiny remains to awaken and move the world spiritually.
Under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen, the Chinese people had already thrown off the decadent imperial regime that had compromised the country's well-being, and were seeking to lay foundations of a rebirth of that country's greatness.Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 44
China is a particularly blessed land.
A proverb says: "Wisdom has lighted on three things: the hand of the Chinese, the brain of the Frank, and the tongue of the Arab."Marzieh Gail, Six Lessons on Islam
'Abdu'l-Baha often spoke in most hopeful words' of its (China's) brilliant future and of the spiritual capacity of its people'.Shoghi Effendi, 26 January 1923 letter to individual believer Compilation on China, 1986
Quoted in: "The Chinese Religion and the Baha'i Faith" p. vii
'Abdu'l-Baha remarked of China that it 'ranks foremost among all nations in material, cultural and spiritual resources' and that its 'future is assuredly bright'.Shoghi Effendi, letter to the Baha'is of the East, 23 January 1923.
Quoted in:"The Chinese Religion and the Baha'i Faith" p. vii
'Abdu'l-Baha further stated:
The Chinese people are most simple-hearted and truth-seeking. In China one can teach many souls and train and educate such divine personages that each one of them may become the bright candle of the world of humanity. Truly, I say, the Chinese are free from any deceit and hypocrisies and are prompted with ideal motives. Had I been feeling well I would have taken a journey to China myself!'Abdu'l-Baha cited in Star of the West, vol. 13, p. 185. The original text of 'Abdu'l-Baha's words is not available.
Quoted in: "The Chinese Religion and the Baha'i Faith" p. vii
Indeed, there are many places in the Baha'i Writings where 'Abdu'l-Baha longs for teachers to arise and to spread the Message in China and Shoghi Effendi envisions:
...a momentous development paving the way for the eventual introduction of the Faith into the far-flung Chinese mainland and, beyond it, to the extensive territories of Soviet Russia.Shoghi Effendi, Japan Will Turn Ablaze, p. 85
will result in the:
...future spiritual conquest of the main body of the yellow race on the Chinese mainland --Shoghi Effendi, Letters from the Guardia to Australia and New Zealand, p. 138
Should the Truth of the Baha'i Faith be widely disseminated among the Chinese people, it will naturally lead to the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. Should everybody again exert his efforts towards the extension of this beneficient influence throughout the world, it will then bring about world peace and the general welfare of humanity.From Rev. K. T. Chung's Preface to the Chinese version of Dr. Esslemont's Book.
Misc Baha'i, Appreciations of the Baha'i Faith, p. 44
As of yet, the struggle to awaken the Far East to the Baha'i call, has met considerable resistance.
China, despite its ancient civilization and its sense of itself as the "Middle Kingdom", had become the hapless victim of plundering by Western nations and by its modernizing neighbour Japan.Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 3
341.5 The population of Asia and Australasia is well over half the world population. The area includes Asiatic USSR and mainland China, accounting for more than one thousand million souls who are, for the most part, untouched by the Revelation of Baha'u'llah. Obviously present conditions in these areas call for the exercise of the utmost wisdom and circumspection. Yet this vast segment of humanity cannot be ignored.Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986 Compiled by Geoffry W. Marks Baha'i Publishing Trust, Wilmette, 1986
As Baha'is, we have been entrusted with the responsibility of taking the message of Baha'u'llah to all of mankind, but only a comparatively small beginning has yet been made to take the teachings to the vast population of China. The Universal House of Justice feels that this task must be regarded as one of the highest priorities for the entire Baha'i world.April 19, 1989
The Universal House of Justice, A Wider Horizon, Selected Letters 1983-1992, p. 208
9.25 Gradually, too, the message of the Faith began to find a welcome in many parts of China and among Chinese populations abroad. Baha'i literature was translated into Mandarin, university audiences in many Chinese cities extended invitations to Baha'i scholars, a Centre for Baha'i Studies was established at the prestigious Institute of World Religions in Beijing, which operates within the Academy of Social Sciences, and many Chinese dignitaries have been generous in their appreciation of the principles they discover in the Writings. In light of the high praise of the Master for Chinese civilization and its role in humanity's future, one begins to anticipate the creative contribution that believers from this background will make to the intellectual and moral life of the Cause in the years ahead.Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, 2001, Century of Light, p. 107
For over a decade now there has been:
...the establishment of a branch of the Baha'i International Community's Office of Public Information in Hong Kong in anticipation of the time when the Faith can be proclaimed on the mainland of China.Ridvan 1989 The Universal House of Justice, A Wider Horizon, Selected Letters 1983-1992, p. 209
But, the Baha'i Writings foresee that the struggle to gain China will remain arduous:
We cannot believe that as the Movement grows in strength, in authority and in influence, the perplexities and the sufferings it has had to contend with in the past will correspondingly decrease and vanish. Nay, as it grows from strength to strength, the fanatical defendants of the strongholds of orthodoxy, whatever be their denomination, realizing the penetrating influence of this growing Faith, will arise and strain every nerve to extinguish its light and discredit its name. For has not our beloved 'Abdu'l-Baha sent forth His glowing prophecy from behind the prison walls of the citadel of 'Akka - words so significant in their forecast of the coming world turmoil, yet so rich in their promise of eventual victory: -
"How great, how very great is the Cause; how very fierce the onslaught of all the peoples and kindreds of the earth! Erelong shall the clamor of the multitude throughout Africa, throughout America, the cry of the European and of the Turk, the groaning of India and China be heard from far and near. One and all they shall arise with all their power to resist His Cause. Then shall the Knights of the Lord, assisted by grace from on high, strengthened by faith, aided by the power of understanding and reinforced by the legions of the Covenant, arise and make manifest the truth of the verse: 'Behold the confusion that hath befallen the tribes of the defeated!'"
Dearly beloved friends, upon us devolves the supreme obligation to stand by His side, to fight His battles and to win His victory. May we prove ourselves worthy of this trust.
Your true brother,
February 12, 1927Shoghi Effendi, Extracts from the USBN