Let us now see what is meant by the word “heaven,” for the Redeemer is prophesied to descend from heaven. “Heaven,” too, is symbolic. Let us first see Bahá’u’lláh’s words expounding the meaning of “heaven” or “heavenly descent:”
The term “heaven” denoteth loftiness and exaltation, inasmuch as it is the seat of the revelation of those Manifestations of Holiness, the Day-springs of ancient glory. These ancient Beings, though delivered from the womb of their mother, have in reality descended from the heaven of the will of God. Though they be dwelling on this earth, yet their true habitations are the retreats of glory in the realms above. Whilst walking amongst mortals, they soar in the heaven of the divine presence. Without feet they tread the path of the spirit, and without wings they rise unto the exalted heights of divine unity. With every fleeting breath they cover the immensity of space, and at every moment traverse the kingdoms of the visible and the invisible.
Does Bahá’u’lláh’s interpretation receive the support of the Scriptures? Let us see. First, the meaning of “heavenly descent” was clarified by Jesus when He said that He came from heaven, yet we know He was born on earth:
I have come down from heaven... John 6:38 NEB See also John 6:42, 51; 3:13-14
Here is another reference not cited earlier:
And I shall draw all men to myself, when I am lifted up from the earth. John 12:33 NEB
If we take the words literally, we find that they remained unfulfilled, for at no time did Jesus (after He was lifted to the cross or to heaven) lift all the people to Himself. What He did lift were the spirits of the true believers, for they all ascended to heavenly horizons.
Many Christians believe that at the time of the advent of Christ they will be lifted from the ground to meet the Lord in the air. Again by taking the words of Christ in His first advent on “lifting” symbolically and by taking the words of Paul literally, they are applying two standards of interpretation to the words of the Scriptures.
Here is another passage from Christ indicating the unique language the divine Messengers use:
And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20 NIV
In the preceding words Jesus conveyed three messages coded in symbols:
( I will be with you) (always) (to the very end of the age)
Here is what He meant:
• He wanted His followers to know that death could not separate Him from them. So His presence was spiritual.
• By “always,” He meant the entire duration of His dispensation or the age of prophecy.
• “The very end of the age” simply explained the meaning of “always.” The phrase signaled the end of the age of Christian dispensation as well as all other dispensations.
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