By Eileen Maddocks
Note: My research indicates that all 15 of the canonical prophets of the Old Testament, as well as Moses and at least one psalm attributed to King David, foretold the coming of future Prophets of God. My forthcoming book, The Coming of the Glory (publication date not set), examines in depth the prophets and their prophecies. This article is only a thumbnail sketch of three short prophecies of Moses, Hosea, and Isaiah.
Moses foretold in two verses the coming of four Prophets of God—Jesus, Muḥammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh! This prophecy was the preamble to His final blessing to the Israelites as they prepared to enter the Promised Land, the destination of their 40-year trek whose entrance was forbidden to Moses.
And he said, The Lord came from Sinai [Moses], and rose up from Seir [Jesus] unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran [Muḥammad], and he came with ten thousands of saints [martyrs for the Báb]: from his right hand went a fiery law for them [Bahá’u’lláh].
(Deuteronomy 33:2, KJV, emphasis added)
Sinai was the location where Moses fulfilled His ministry. Seir (also spelled Sa’ir and Saeer, and known as Sior in Roman times) is a town a few kilometers south of Jerusalem in the land of Jesus. Muḥammad came from Mecca, which is located in the wilderness of Paran in the Arabian Peninsula adjacent to the Gulf of Aqaba. The ten thousands of saints is a reference to the estimated 20,000 followers of the Báb who were martyred. Anything fiery is a test or an ordeal. The fiery law of Bahá’u’lláh set a new standard of morality for humanity.
Hosea was a prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel in the mid-730s BC. He used the metaphor of marriage for Israel and likened her breaking of the Mosaic Covenant to the conduct of an unfaithful wife. In the following two verses he foresees how the Lord will bring His people back to faithfulness.
“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
(Hosea 2:14‒15, emphasis added)
It was traditionally assumed that Hosea was referring to the Valley of Achor, which was close to Jericho and was named for an Israelite named Achan. However, consider the following from the Bahá’í sacred texts:
It is recorded in the Torah: And I will give you the valley of Achor for a door of hope. This valley of Achor is the city of ‘Akká, and whoso hath interpreted this otherwise is of those who know not.
‘Akká (called Akko in modern Israel) was the prison city of the Ottoman Empire to which Bahá’u’lláh, His family, and some of His followers were exiled. Bahá’u’lláh wrote: “The Apostle of God [Muḥammad]―may the blessings of God and His salutations be upon Him―is reported to have said: “Blessed the man that hath visited ‘Akká, and blessed he that hath visited the visitor of ‘Akká.” Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned in ‘Akká and He is the visitor referred to by Hosea.
Isaiah is considered by most biblical scholars to be the greatest of the Hebrew prophets. He is certainly the most quoted. The prophet called Isaiah seems to have been three distinct individuals from three separate periods—First Isaiah, chapters 1‒39, from approximately 740 to 700 BC; Second Isaiah, chapters 40‒55, during late exilic times in Babylon that ended in 538 BC; and Third Isaiah, chapters, 56‒66, shortly after the rebuilding of Jerusalem in postexilic times.
The prophet of Third Isaiah gave a tantalizing hint when he wrote that the Prophet of God for our day would come under a new name.
The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
(Isaiah 62:2, emphasis added)
The nations and all kings suggest a Prophet for the whole world. Traditional Christian belief expects Jesus to return as He was two millennia ago, in the same body and with the same name. However, the prophet of Third Isaiah said that He would be called by a new name. Bahá’u’lláh, whose name means the Glory of God, was given His new name by the Báb, who as a Prophet of God was the mouth of the Lord during his ministry.
1 A Prophet or Prophets of God are designated with a capital “P.” The classical or canonical prophets, often called the major and minor prophets, are designated with a small “p.” Personal pronouns relating to a Prophet or Prophets are also capitalized.
2 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 162, emphasis added. Available online at http://bahai-library.com/abdulbaha_selections_writings_abdulbaha
3 Bahá’u’lláh, The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 179. Available online at http://bahai-library.com/bahaullah_epistle_son_wolf