“And it shall come to pass in the last days,
that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be
established in the top of the mountains,
and shall be exalted above the hills,
and all nations shall flow unto it.”
(referring to Mount Carmel)
Long ago the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, grandson of the Prophet Abraham, moved into Egypt. They multiplied and, according to the Book of Exodus (1:7) “waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.” This worried the Pharoah, who decided that they should be enslaved, (1:10) “lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us...” The descendents of Jacob were enslaved and (1:11-14) “taskmasters” were “set over them... to afflict them with their burdens... But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew, And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.”
Before the advent of Moses, there were tidings that a great Prophet or Deliverer was about to appear. Bahá’u’lláh says: “The soothsayers of His time warned Pharaoh in these terms: “A star hath risen in the heaven, and lo! it foreshadoweth the conception of a Child Who holdeth your fate and fate of your people in His hand.” In like manner, there appeared a sage who, in the darkness of the night, brought tidings of joy unto the people of Israel, imparting consolation to their souls, and assurance to their hearts. To this testify the records of the sacred books.” (Bahá’u’lláh: “the Kitáb-i-Íqán”, p. 63)
The Pharoah eventually decided to kill all the sons of the Israelites. The midwives who were instructed to do this did not fulfill the orders of the Pharoah. The Pharoah ordered all his people to cast the male children of the Israelites into the water. There was an Israelite of the tribe of Levi named Amram (‘Imrán). His wife was Jochebed, the sister of his father. (see: Exodus 6:20) Amram was a son of Kohath, the son of Levi. He had two sons named Aaron and Moses and a daughter named Miriam. (see: 1 Chronicles 6:3) Moses was born at the time when Pharaoh had decreed that all the sons of the Israelites should die. His mother kept Him hidden for three months. When she could no longer keep Him hidden, she took a reed basket, covered it in tar to make it watertight and placed Moses in it. His sister, Miriam, looked on as the reed basket floated away down the river. (see: Exodus 1-2:4)
One of the Pharaoh’s daughters had come down to the river to bathe. Suddenly, she noticed the reed basket floating in between the tall grass. Her servant girl fetched it for her. The baby was crying and the princess felt sorry for Him. A Hebrew woman was called to nurse the child. It happened to be Moses’ own mother. When Moses was old enough, He was taken again to the princess, who adopted Him as her own son. As Moses grew up He became conscious of the oppression against the Hebrews. In one incident, an Egyptian killed a Hebrew. Moses then killed the Egyptian. The next day He saw two Hebrew men fighting. He asked the man that did wrong, “Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?” The man replied: “Who made Thee a Prince and a Judge over us? intendest Thou to kill me, as Thou killedst the Egyptian?” Moses was filled with fear and realised that this event must now be well-known. (see: Exodus 2:5-14)
Bahá’u’lláh describes this event: “For instance, consider Moses, son of ‘Imrán, one of the exalted Prophets and Author of a divinely-revealed Book. Whilst passing, one day, through the market, in His early days, ere His ministry was proclaimed, He saw two men engaged in fighting. One of them asked the help of Moses against his opponent. Whereupon, Moses intervened and slew him. To this testifieth the record of the sacred Book. Should the details be cited, they will lengthen and interrupt the course of the argument. The report of this incident spread throughout the city, and Moses was full of fear, as is witnessed by the text of the Book. And when the warning: “O Moses! of a truth, the chiefs take counsel to slay Thee” [Qur’án 28:20] reached His ears, He went forth from the city, and sojourned in Midian in the service of Shoeb.” (“The Kitáb-i-Íqán”, pp. 53-54)
When it was discovered what Moses had done, the Pharoah attempted to kill Moses. Moses went into exile in the land of Midian. One day while sitting by a well, the seven daughters of Jethro came to draw water. Some shepherds drove the daughters away. Moses assisted the daughters by watering their animals for them. Jethro asked them when their returned: “How is it that ye are come so soon to day?” They replied: “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock.” He said to them: “And where is He? why is it that ye have left the man? call Him, that He may eat bread.” Moses lived with them and married one of the daughters named Zipporah. They had a son named Gershom. (see: Exodus 2:15-22)
Moses kept the flock of His father-in-law, Jethro, priest of Midian. He led the flock near unto mount Horeb, the mountain of God. He looked a beheld “the angel of the LORD” who “appeared unto Him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and He looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.” Moses said: “I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” (see: Exodus 3:1-3) Bahá’u’lláh says:
“While returning, Moses entered the holy vale, situate in the wilderness of Sinai, and there beheld the vision of the King of glory from the “Tree that belongeth neither to the East nor to the West.” [Qur’án 24:35] There He heard the soul-stirring Voice of the Spirit speaking from out of the kindled Fire, bidding Him to shed upon Pharaonic souls the light of divine guidance; so that, liberating them from the shadows of the valley of self and desire, He might enable them to attain the meads of heavenly delight, and delivering them, through the Salsabíl of renunciation, from the bewilderment of remoteness, cause them to enter the peaceful city of the divine presence.” (“The Kitáb-i-Íqán”, pp. 54-55)
The LORD “called unto Him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And He said: Here am I. And He said, Draw not nigh hither: put off Thy shoes from off Thy feet, for the place whereon Thou standest is holy ground. Moreover He said, I am the God of Thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid His face; for He was afraid to look upon God. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are in Egypt and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows... Come now therefore, and I will send Thee unto Pharaoh, that Thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” (see: Exodus 3:4-11)
Moses asked: “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent Me unto you; and they say to Me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them?” God replied: “I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt Thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt Thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent Me unto you: this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.” (see: Exodus 3:13-15)
God said to Moses (Qur’án 20:14-35): “Verily, I am God: there is no God but Me: therefore worship Me, and observe prayer for a remembrance of Me. Verily the hour is coming:—I all but manifest it.—That every soul may be recompensed for its labours. Nor let him who believeth not therein and followeth his lust, turn Thee aside from this truth, and Thou perish. Now, what is that in Thy right hand, O Moses?’ Said He, ‘It is My staff on which I lean, and with which I beat down leaves for my sheep, and I have other uses for it.’ He said, ‘Cast it down, O Moses!’ So he cast it down, and lo! it became a serpent that ran along. He said, ‘Lay hold on it, and fear not: to its former state will We restore it. Now place Thy right hand to Thy arm-pit: it shall come forth white, but unhurt:—another sign—That We may shew Thee the greatest of our signs. Go to Pharaoh, for he hath burst all bounds.’ He said, ‘O my Lord! enlarge My breast for Me, and make My work easy for Me, and loose the knot of My tongue, that they may understand My speech.* And give Me a counsellor from among My family, Aaron My brother; By him gird up my loins, and make him a colleague in My work, that we may praise Thee oft and oft remember Thee, For Thou regardest us.’”
*Moses was a stammerer.
Moses took leave of His father-in-law, Jethro, and went back to Egypt. He met His brother Aaron. Aaron explained the Message of God and Moses performed all of the miracles. The Israelite leaders believed what was told to them. They bowed down and worshipped God. Moses and Aaron went to the Pharoah (the old Pharaoh was now dead). They said: “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness.” Pharaoh replied: “Who is this LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” They replied: “The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest He fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.” Pharoah replied: “Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens... Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens.” He ordered that their work be made more tedious and cruel. (see: Exodus 4:18-5:9) Bahá’u’lláh relates Pharaoh’s reaction to the request of Moses:
“When Moses came unto Pharoah and delivered unto him, as bidden by God, the divine Message, Pharaoh spoke insultingly saying: “Art thou not he that committed murder, and became an infidel?” Thus recounted the Lord of majesty as having been said by Pharaoh unto Moses: “What a deed is that which Thou hast done! Thou art one of the ungrateful. He said: ‘I did it indeed, and I was one of those who erred. And I fled from you when I feared you, but My Lord hath given Me wisdom, and hath made Me one of His Apostles.’” [Qur’án 26:19] (“The Kitáb-i-Íqán”, p. 55)
Bahá’u’lláh recounts that one of Pharaoh’s relatives came to believe in God, but was eventually put to death: “How well hath a believer of the kindred of Pharaoh, whose story is recounted by the All-Glorious in His Book revealed unto His beloved One, observed: “And a man of the family of Pharaoh who was a believer and concealed his faith said: ‘Will ye slay a man because he saith my Lord is God, when He hath already come to you with signs from your Lord? If he be a liar, on him will be his lie, but if he be a man of truth, part of what he threateneth will fall upon you. In truth God guideth not him who is a transgressor, a liar’” [Qur’án 40:28] Finally, so great was their iniquity that this self-same believer was put to a shameful death. “The curse of God be upon the people of tyranny.” [Qur’án 11:21] (“The Kitáb-i-Íqán”, p. 12)
After sending many signs and punishments unto Pharaoh, Moses was cursed by Pharoah, who said: “Get Thee from me, take heed to Thyself, see my face no more; for in that day Thou seest my face Thou shalt die.” Moses replied: “Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.” The final punishment of Pharaoh was to be the most severe. God said unto Moses: “Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence; when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.” Moses said to the people: “Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” (see: Exodus 10:28-11:8)
This was the beginning of the great Jewish festival of Passover. It is a remembrance of the night that God spared His people Israel from the curse that fell upon Egypt. Moses said “And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out form Egypt, from the house of bondage.” (see: Exodus 10:14)
When they left they were pursued by a hard-hearted Pharaoh. He had six hundred chariots, his horsemen and his army. According to the story of the Pentateuch, Moses stretched forth His hand and parted the waters of the sea. The Egyptians pursued but their wheels got stuck and the sea encompassed them. They were drowned. (see: Exodus 14:5-30) ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains this event:
“The crossing of the Red Sea has a spiritual meaning. It was a spiritual journey, through and above the sea of corruption and iniquity of the Pharaoh and his people, or army. By the help of God through Moses, the Israelites were able to cross this sea safely and reach the Promised Land (spiritual state) while Pharaoh and his people were drowned in their own corruption.” (“Lights of Guidance”, p. 500)
Eventually the people of Israel came to Mount Sinai. Moses went up the mountain. He received the Ten Commandments, the fundamental basis of Judaism. These are core of the teachings of Moses, and were even upheld by Jesus Christ. The Ten Commandments are: (1) “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”; (2) “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth”; (3) “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.”; (4) “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”; (5) “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee”; (6) “Thou shalt not commit adultery”; (7) “Thou shalt not kill”; (8) “Thou shalt not steal”; (9) “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour”; (10) “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” (see: Exodus 19:1-20:17) The religious principles behind these teachings are present in all the world religions.
Moses received a number of commandments from God. By modern standards some of them may seem harsh. This is because the long-awaited coming of age of mankind has been signalized by the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. The Law of Moses was adapted to the needs and conditions of society 3,500 years ago. In that time, it was the highest standard of justice and the best social order for mankind. In succeeding ages and Dispensations it was no longer suitable to the conditions of human society. With the coming of each Messenger of God, new laws and social teachings are established to suit the conditions of the time.
The highest standard of justice at the time was manifested in the phrase “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (Exodus 21:24-25) For instance, Moses commanded “He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.” (Exodus 21:12) This is the most basic form of justice. If someone kills someone, they themselves are killed. This was the law of the Mosaic Dispensation. Also, there was an emphasis on compensation. For instance: “If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man’s field; of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution.” (Exodus 22:5)
Strangers were not to be mistreated: “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 22:21) Widows and orphans were to be treated with justice: “Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.” (Exodus 22:22) The poor were not to be misused in the selfish pursuit of riches: “If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.” (Exodus 22:25) “Thou shalt not wrest the judgement of thy poor in his cause.” (Exodus 23:6) “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 23:22) “And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.” (Leviticus 25:35) Truth, honesty and justice in all dealings was upheld.
Like in Hinduism, there were dietary teachings. The kosher diet prescribed in the Torah is based upon sound, hygienic principles. This was the best means to ensure that people at the time ate healthily. For instance, it was definitely forbidden to eat meat that had been ripped to pieces by wild animals: “And ye shall be holy men unto me: neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field; ye shall cast it to the dogs.” (Exodus 22:31) Moses said that land animals with divided hoofs and which chew the cud could be eaten. Camels, rock badgers, or rabbits were forbidden. Pigs were also forbidden. Those animals which could not be eaten were considered ritually unclean. Fish with fins and scales could be eaten. Other sea animals were forbidden. They shouldn’t even be touched. A variety of birds were also forbidden. Only insects which hop could be eaten (i.e. locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers). All four-footed animals with paws were considered unclean, as well as moles, rats, mice, and lizards. Anything they touched was considered unclean. Even touching dead animals that could be eaten was considered unclean. Other small animals were also forbidden. (Leviticus 11) There was a great emphasis on cleanliness and ritual purity.
Similarly, there were teachings on living a chaste, moral life (to the standard that the people of the time could understand). For instance: “Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 22:19) He forbid intercourse with close relatives (incest), descendants, or even half-sisters. In the Dispensation of Abraham, marriage to one’s half-sister was allowed. Abraham Himself was married to His half-sister, but this was forbidden in the Mosaic Dispensation. Intercourse with one’s aunt, one’s daughter-in-law, or even descendents of people with whom one has had intercourse was forbidden. As long as one was living, one could not even marry his wife’s sister. In the Abrahamic Dispensation, Jacob married two sisters. This was now forbidden. Adultery was forbidden. He further commanded that “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is an abomination.” He commands: “Ye shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgements, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you.” (see: Leviticus 18) Witchcraft and worship of idols and foreign gods was definitely forbidden. (see: Exodus 22:18-20)
Israel was to worship God regularly, in three main feasts during the year. A tabernacle was to be made (a tent for worshipping the Lord) and the Ark of the Covenant. This box would contain the two tablets of the law (the ten commandments). Aaron was to be the high priest. Animals were to be sacrificed to the Lord on an alter. There were many rituals designed for the remembrance of God. (Exodus 23:14-29:11) Rituals were the best means at the time for the remembrance of God, whereas in the Bahá’í Dispensation, religion is much less ritualistic. The eating of meat at the time was allowed. However, although the Bahá’í Faith also allows the eating of meat, it shall gradually disappear in the future as mankind reaches its collective maturity. Moses also prescribed the use of incense in the temple. (Exodus 30:1) Aaron and his sons were required to do ritual ablutions (ritualistic washing of the hands and feet). (Exodus 30:19-21) Moses anointed Aaron and his sons and made them the first priests. (Exodus 30:30-31) This is probably the origin of priestly ordination that can be found in modern Christianity.
The Sabbath day (the seventh day of the week) was kept holy. This mean that it was an obligatory day of rest. Those who broke the Sabbath were put to death. Moses revealed that: “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made the heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.” (see: Exodus 31:14-17) This verse should not be taken to literally mean that the earth was created in six days. It is symbolic, and a day of appreciation to God. It is also a benefit to workers. The fact that it was obligatory meant that no one could force another to work every day and give no rest. This is the origin of our modern concept of a ‘weekend’.
While Moses was on the mount receiving the Law, the Israelites decided that since Moses had disappeared they should make their own gods. Aaron complied with their request and they gathered all the gold that they could find. They made an idol in the shape of a great calf. They said: “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Aaron built an altar before the idol and said: “To morrow is a feast to the LORD.” The people made offerings, ate, drank and played. God spoke unto Moses and told Him: “I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people.” Moses learned of the attempt to replace God with a golden calf. Moses had in His hands the two tables of testimony. “And it came to pass, as soon as He came nigh unto the camp, that He saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and He cast the tables out of His hands, and brake them beneath the mount.” Moses ordered the Levites to get rid of the idolaters. Moses then prayed for the atonement of His people (see: Exodus 33:1-28)
Furthermore, Moses gave these commandments of love and compassion: “Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD. Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgement: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.” Not respecting the poor means not favouring them or those with power when judging a case, but simply giving justice. “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:11-17) These commandments are of compassion and mercy, tolerance and forgiveness, equity and justice.
“Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD. Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God. Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD. And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Ye shall do no unrighteouness in judgement, in meteyard, in wight or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. Therefore shall ye observe all My statutes, and all My judgements, and do them: I am the LORD.” (see: Leviticus 19:29-37) This is just a selection of the Laws of Moses. There are many others, including the sacredness of blood. The Israelites were not allowed to eat food with blood in it. (see: Leviticus 17)
Moses went up unto Mount Sinai and two new tablets were made. He stayed there forty days and forty nights and fasted. His face shone with the Glory of the Lord. He put a veil on His face when He talked to the people, which He took off when He entered the presence of the Lord (such as in the tabernacle). All the people of Israel brought an offering to the Lord. Moses chose a crafstman and began the construction of the Ark of the Covenant. (see: Exodus 34:1-35:35) This Covenant Box contained the two tablets. In the time of Solomon it was kept in the Holy of Holies in the Temple.
While living in the wilderness the Israelites continually rebelled against Moses because of their difficulties. Even His family, Aaron and Miriam, were sometimes upset with Moses. When Moses married an Ethiopian woman they said: “Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath He not spoken also by us?” They were called into the Tabernacle. The LORD said to them: “Hear now My words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make Myself known unto Him in a vision, and will speak unto Him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all Mine house. With Him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall He behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?” Aaron and Miriam did not realize the special significance of Moses’s Station. (see: Numbers 12)
This verse distinguishes between a “prophet” (that is, a lesser prophet, like Isaiah or Daniel) and One Who speaks to God “mouth to mouth”. The latter is a greater Prophet or Manifestation of God. While there are many lesser prophets in Judaism, Moses is the only Manifestation of God in Judaism. All of these lesser prophets received their inspiration from Moses, and, as indicated in this verse, not directly from God.
Eventually both Aaron and Miriam died and the Israelites gradually approached the land of Canaan. Moses was not, however, destined to come unto the promised land. To lead the Israelites after His departure, Moses chose Joshua, son of Nun as His successor. He made this known through a formal ceremony in which He placed His hands of Joshua’s head before the assembled people. Eleazar, son of Aaron and high priest of the Israelites, would guide Joshua throughout his leadership. (see: Numbers 27:12-23) Moses said:
“I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. The LORD thy God, He will go over before thee, and He will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the LORD hath said.” (Deuteronomy 31:2)
On the top of Mount Pisgah, east of Jericho, the LORD showed Moses all of the land of Israel. Moses died in the land of Moab. Joshua became the leader of Israel. (see: Deut. 34)
Moses may have been born c. 1500 BC. The Exodus has been estimated to have been anything from c. 1290 BC (1) to 1446 BC. Solomon’s reign has been identified by the Assyrian record of the Battle of Karkar in 853 BC. This was in the 21st year of King Ahab’s reign. This would mean that Solomon reigned in 968 BC and the Temple was begun in 966 BC. The Temple of Solomon was built 480 years after the Exodus. This would lead to a date of 1446 BC for the Exodus of Moses. (2) It is not possible to tell whether these dates are accurate because the Old Testament was compiled during the Israelites’ captivity (586 BC), long after the time of Moses.
Moses foretold the coming of other Prophets after Him, in particular a Prophet “like unto thee” (Jesus Christ). He said: “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto Me; unto Him ye shall hearken... And the LORD said unto Me... I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto Thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-19) He also gave the criteria for recognising a Prophet: “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (see: Deut. 18:18-22) Jesus said that “the words which I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” (John 14:10) Unfortunately, the followers of Moses rejected this promised Messiah when He came.
Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, writes about Bahá’u’lláh’s Station with regard to Judaism: “To Him Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, had alluded as the "Glory of the Lord," the "Everlasting Father," the "Prince of Peace," the "Wonderful," the "Counsellor," the "Rod come forth out of the stem of Jesse" and the "Branch grown out of His roots," Who "shall be established upon the throne of David," Who "will come with strong hand," Who "shall judge among the nations," Who "shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips slay the wicked," and Who "shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." Of Him David had sung in his Psalms, acclaiming Him as the "Lord of Hosts" and the "King of Glory." To Him Haggai had referred as the "Desire of all nations," and Zachariah as the "Branch" Who "shall grow up out of His place," and "shall build the Temple of the Lord." Ezekiel had extolled Him as the "Lord" Who "shall be king over all the earth," while to His day Joel and Zephaniah had both referred as the "day of Jehovah," the latter describing it as "a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers." His Day Ezekiel and Daniel had, moreover, both acclaimed as the "day of the Lord," and Malachi described as "the great and dreadful day of the Lord" when "the Sun of Righteousness" will "arise, with healing in His wings," whilst Daniel had pronounced His advent as signalizing the end of the "abomination that maketh desolate."” (Shoghi Effendi: “God Passes By”, pp. 94-95)
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD... And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:1-10)
“Cry out and shout, thou inabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.” (Isaiah 12:6)
“‘Call out to Zion, O Carmel, and announce the joyful tidings: He that was hidden from mortal eyes is come! His all-conquering sovereignty is manifest; His all-encompassing splendour is revealed. Beware lest thou hesitate or halt. Hasten forth and circumambulate the City of God that hath descended from heaven, the celestial Kaaba round which have circled in adoration the favoured of God, the pure in heart, and the company of the most exalted angels. Oh, how I long to announce unto every spot on the surface of the earth, and to carry to each one of its cities, the glad-tidings of this Revelation—a Revelation to which the heart of Sinai hath been attracted, and in whose name the Burning Bush is calling: “Unto God, the Lord of Lords, belong the kingdoms of earth and heaven.” Verily this is the Day in which both land and sea rejoice at this announcement, the Day for which have been laid up those things which God, through a bounty beyond the ken of mortal mind or heart, hath destined for revelation. Ere long will God sail His Ark upon thee, and will manifest the people of Bahá who have been mentioned in the Book of Names.’”
“He, verily, is come with His Kingdom, and all the atoms cry aloud: “Lo! The Lord is come in His great majesty! He Who is the Father is come, and the Son, in the holy vale, crieth out: “Here am I, here am I, O Lord, My God!”, whilst Sinai circleth round the House, and the Burning Bush calleth out: “The All-Bounteous is come mounted upon the clouds! Blessed is he that draweth nigh unto Him, and woe betide them that are far away.”...
Say: This is an Announcement whereat the hearts of the Prophets and Messengers have rejoiced. This is the One Whom the heart of the world remembreth, and is promised in the Books of God, the Mighty, the All-Wise. The hands of the Messengers were, in their desire to meet Me, upraised towards God, the Mighty, the Glorified. Unto this testifieth that which hath been sent down in the sacred Scriptures by Him Who is the Lord of might and power.
Some lamented in their separation from Me, others endured hardships in My path, and still others laid down their lives for the sake of My Beauty, could ye but know it. Say: I, verily, have not sought to extol Mine own Self, but rather God Himself, were ye to judge fairly. Naught can be seen in Me except God and His Cause, could ye but perceive it. I am the One Whom the tongue of Isaiah hath extolled, the One with Whose name both the Torah and the Evangel were adorned. Thus hath it been decreed in the Scriptures of thy Lord, the Most Merciful. He, verily, hath borne witness unto Me, as I bear witness unto Him. And God testifieth to the truth of My words.
Say: The Books have been sent down for naught but My remembrance. Whosoever is receptive to their call shall perceive therefrom the sweet fragrances of My name and My praise; and he who hath unstopped the ear of his inmost heart shall hear from every word thereof: “The True One is come! He indeed is the beloved of the worlds!””
Notes (1) to (2):
1: The Good News Bible (American Bible Society, New York, 1976) p. 403
2: Laurence Gardner, Genesis of the Grail Kings, p. 195 (Bantam Press, 1999)
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