How the Hebrew Scriptures reveal the plan of God
My trilogy, The Coming of the Glory: How the Hebrew Scriptures Reveal the Plan of God, resulted from the old adage that whoever gets the idea gets to do it. Even if it takes years.
The year was 2013, and after sixteen years serving at the Bahá’í World Centre, I was acclimating myself to American culture and searching for my Bahá’í service. One day I was wondering why I couldn’t find any Bahá’í books on the Old Testament and the Hebrew prophets that put the prophecies within the context of Israelite history. There were excellent books, of course, such as Thief in the Knight by William Sears and Lord of Lords by Hushidar Motlagh (and many others by him). But these books and others were organized by themes and jumped from prophet to prophet, from timeframe to timeframe. Frustrating!
A strong impression registered in my head—write the book what hasn’t been written before that puts the history of the Hebrew prophets within the context of Israelite history, and in chronological order! It’s hard to describe that experience. I wasn’t struck by lightning, I didn’t hear a voice in my head, and nothing about the experience was upsetting. It was an impression that seemed to fill my head. I’ve never questioned who or what sent me the message, although I have my suspicions. I didn’t argue.
Present the Hebrew prophets in chronological order
The purpose of this project would be to present the Hebrew prophets in chronological order and within the context of Israelite history. Two histories would be woven into one. What a project for someone who had never been a Bible scholar! I could only describe myself as a curious student.
Nothing comes out of nowhere, not even the Big Bang, which came out of an early soup of neutrons, electrons and protons. The universe evolved, and so human history out of its own soup of experience. I knew that in order to put the Hebrew experience into context and perspective, I would need to go back to prehistorical times.
As a Bahá’í, I knew that God has always sent His divine educators to mankind to assist their spiritual and civilizational progress. So I went back to about 10,000 BCE, the last of the Ice Age, and examined three situations, within six thousand years of prehistory, that had clues galore about divine teachers. The archeological site of Göbekli Tepe in the upper Euphrates River Valley suggests hunter-gatherer animism and atonement for sins against the natural world. The Neolithic archeological site of in Çatalhöyük in southeast Turkey suggests ancestor worship and a three-tiered cosmos of supernatural forces above, the middle where people lived, and an underground for the souls of dead.
It’s possible that the Prophet Adam appeared about 4000 BCE in Mesopotamia because soon thereafter there started an explosion of civilizational advancements. This phenomenon would have been the spring and summer of Adam’s Dispensation in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Later, the fall and winter of Adam’s Dispensation would feature spiritual decline, including the worship of thousands of gods and goddesses.
And out of Ur in southern Mesopotamia, about four thousand years ago—came Abraham! Then perhaps six hundred years later—Moses!
The religion of the Hebrews evolved
The religion of the Hebrews evolved, and its saga of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve has much symbology of divine wisdom. Mankind loses its innocence in the Garden and emerges into the world where the tree of the knowledge of good and evil will be a symbol for the pitfall of materialism, and the tree of life will be a symbol for the station of the Word of God.
After Moses came the age of the Judges for perhaps a couple hundred years. The tenth century of the united kingdom with Saul, David, and Solomon followed, and then the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Israel was defeated by the Assyrians in 722 BCE and its ten tribes were deported and disappeared to history. Judah was defeated in 587 BCE by the Babylonians and the deportations to Babylon would forever be remembered as the Exile.
The Persians defeated the Babylonians, and the Persian king Cyrus the Great released the Jews in Babylon to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. This would be remembered as the Restoration.
For hundreds of years of Israelite history, named and unnamed prophets served within the Mosaic Dispensation to spiritually guide the kings and the people. The most famous of the named prophets include Nathan, Elijah, Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Malachi. Is the importance of these ancient prophetic writings relative only to their days? Not at all.
I believe that these prophetic writings are of immense importance to us today. The Hebrew prophets addressed the problems of their time—idolatry and disobedience to the Mosaic Dispensation. But often they “jumped their traces” and prophesied about a far future. Many of their prophecies foresaw the coming of Jesus, and many other others proclaimed the coming of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.
Life-changing perspectives await the reader who is willing to approach these prophecies with an open mind, in the light of that which has been made manifest in this modern age.
The spiritual evolution of humanity
Volume 1 of The Coming of the Glory explores the spiritual evolution of humanity in the Middle East from Paleolithic hunter-gatherer days through to the ministries of Abraham and Moses, and then the days of the judges, the united kingdom, and the early divided kingdom. The prophets of those times were often unnamed, but they made significant contributions. The named prophets include Elijah, who heard God as a quiet voice within, thus marking a point in spiritual evolution where the one God was not an anthropomorphic storm god, but was a divine voice to be heard on the inner level.
Publisher: Something or Other Publishing
The preexilic, canonical prophets
Volume 2 covers the preexilic, canonical prophets Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Jeremiah within the context of their geopolitical and social times. Previously, prophets such as Nathan and Elijah were covered within the context of other narratives. The canonical, or classical, prophets were those whose teachings and writings were saved separately and put in books named after them.
Publisher: Something or Other Publishing
The exilic and postexilic prophets
Volume 3 covers the exilic and postexilic prophets, all within the context of their historical times. The exilic prophets were Elijah, Daniel, Obadiah, and Second Isaiah, and the postexilic prophets of the Restoration were Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Third Isaiah, and Joel.
Why are their prophecies important to us? Because they were aimed at us! The Bahá’í writings state,
“In the world of God there is no past, present, or future: All of these are one.”Some Answered Questions, no. 39:7, 178