The Tablet of Carmel is a song of redemption. It answers the innumerable prayers offered generation after generation by a suffering humanity.
When we look through recorded history we find so many truly appalling examples of human suffering arising from the actions of human beings. In recent times we may think of Lidia Zamenhof whose life was cruelly stolen in the Holocaust and the many tens of millions who with her died in man-made disasters of the 20th century. We may think of the agonising suffering of the followers of the Bab in the pogroms unleashed against them in the mid-19th century.
Indeed, in every time and place it has been so and the colossal weight of human suffering unimaginable. The innocent victims who fell before the Spanish conquistadors; those whose lives were taken by the Mongol invasions; those crushed under the brutality of Roman Emperors; the hundreds of years of suffering of African Americans first as slaves and then as the targets of racism. So much of recorded history is filled with such stories and from them rises a human cry to God for justice.
In the face of such brutal realities, time and again the promise was made that God would send a redeemer and justice would come.
Thus in Isaiah we find:
… it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.[Isaiah 2:2-4]
In Christianity, it is captured in the opening words of the Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
In the Tablet of Carmel Bahá’u’lláh announces, in language filled with prophetic allusion, the fulfilment of these ancient promises.
ALL glory be to this Day, the Day in which the fragrances of mercy have been wafted over all created things, a Day so blest that past ages and centuries can never hope to rival it, a Day in which the countenance of the Ancient of Days hath turned towards His holy seat. …
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. …
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.
If we wonder at the transformation that has overtaken the human condition in the last two hundred years – and the promise of what is ahead – it has a cause. We may look to Bahá’u’lláh’s words in the Tablet of Carmel.
(This article is the 193rd in a series of what I hope will be 200 articles in 200 days for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh. The anniversary is being celebrated around the world on 21 and 22 October 2017, The articles are simply my personal reflections on Bahá’u’lláh’s life and work. Any errors or inadequacies in these articles are solely my responsibility.)
Image Credits: With thanks to Kath Podger. The Mediterranean Sea from Mt Carmel looking out from nearby the site where Bahá’u’lláh revealed the Tablet of Carmel.