THE EMPTY TOMB
The Metaphor-Only View
the Spiritual-Body View
of the Resurrection of Christ
On the first day of the week, early in the morning and while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and noticed that the stone had been removed from the tomb.
2 So she ran off and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus kept loving. She told them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple took off for the tomb.
4 The two of them were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and came to the tomb first.
5 Bending over to look inside, he noticed the linen cloths lying there but didn't go in.
6 At this point Simon Peter arrived, following him, and went straight into the tomb. He observed that the linen cloths were lying there,
7 and that the handkerchief that had been on Jesus’ head was not lying with the linen cloths but was rolled up in a separate place.
8 Then the other disciple, who arrived at the tomb first, went inside, looked, and believed.
9 For they did not yet understand the Scripture that said that Jesus had to rise from the dead.
10 So the disciples went back to their homes.
From Mark chapter 16:
11 Meanwhile, Mary stood crying outside the tomb. As she cried, she bent over and looked into the tomb.
12She saw two angels in white clothes who were sitting down, one at the head and the other at the foot of the place where Jesus’ body had been lying.
13They asked her, “Lady, why are you crying?” She told them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don't know where they have put him.”
14 After she had said this, she turned around and noticed Jesus standing there, without realizing that it was Jesus.
15Jesus asked her, “Dear lady, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned around and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus told her, “Don't hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 So Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” She also told them what he had said to her.
Did the events described above by John and Mark really "happen" or is this part of some "non-historical parable" that never really happened? Most Baha'is will say the chronological events described above "never happened in reality" but this is merely a story, a parable, which contains yet undecifered mysteries and meanings. Jesus never appeared to anyone after His death and entombment, and His tomb was never "empty" until hundreds or thousands of years later when His body returned to dust. This is called the "Metaphor-Only View" of the Resurrection of Christ.
As long as the Friends adhere to the "Metaphor-Only View" of the Resurrection of Christ, they can forget about attracting Bible-believers to the Faith. Bible-believers include:
*Traditional Catholics (about 40 million U.S.)
*Evangelical Christians (i.e. conservative Protestants) About 40 million U.S.
*Mormons (6 million U.S.)
*Jehovah's Witnesses (8 million U.S.)
*Seventh-day Adventists (5 million U.S.)
All of these Bible-believers, who adhere vehemently to a literal resurrection of Christ, will not be open to believing in the Metaphor-Only View of Christ's Resurrection. The Friends should simply not even try teaching them; because for them to "give up" their belief that Jesus rose from the dead, literally, and ascended into a cloud on the mount of Olives forthy days later, literally, is like the Baha'is being asked to give up the "12 Principles". Simply...will NOT happen!
In this brief article, I'll reveal the Spiritual-Body View of the resurrection of Christ, and show that it doesn't contradict what 'Abdu'l-Baha said in Some Answered Questions.
The Metaphor-Only View
The Metaphor-Only View of the Resurrection of Christ ("MOV") is based upon comments of 'Abdu'l-Baha that He made to Laura Barney, and later published in the book Some Answered Questions. Barney's notes are actually "Pilgrim's Notes". It is said that 'Abdu'l-Baha "checked" her notes before the book was published. I do not know how He could check her notes, since He did not speak or read English. Nevertheless, SAQ has reached a status of "Holy Writ" in the Faith; although it is not a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and was not written by Him.
There is no need to repeat His words in this article. Basically, He said:
1) There is no bodily resurrection.
2) There was no physical ascesion of Christ into the literal sky.
3) Christ being "in the tomb" for three days and nights means the disciples being aggitated and not spreading His teachings for three days and nights.
4) Christ arising from the tomb means that His teachings arose from the tomb of unbelief when Mary Magdalene told the disciples that the spirit of Christ is eternal and living (which apparently they did not know until then).
From this, Baha'is have concluded the following:
1) The Gospels are historical narratives until Christ is placed into His tomb, then the Gospels become non-historical parables.
2) Jesus never appeared to anyone after His death, and the Gospel accounts of His appearances are non-historical parables; His appearing to His disciples, showing His wounds, eating fish and honeycomb, never happened, but is a parable, a "story" with hidden symbols (that Baha'is can't yet seem to explain).
3) The account in the Book of Acts, that Jesus appeared to His disciples "for forty days after His passion (death) teaching them things pertaining to the kingdom of God" and then ascending into a cloud on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem never happened, but again is just a parable--a non-historical story with "hidden" meanings (again, Baha'is don't know what the hidden meanings are).
Needless to say, Bible-believers will NOT accept the Metaphor-Only View of the Resurrection of Christ; no more than Baha'is would accept that Baha'u'llah died in the Siyah Chal, was buried, and everything after that (i.e. Baha'u'llah going to Akka, etc.) is "mere non-historical parable".
The Spiritual-Body View
The Spiritual-Body View (SBV) of the Resurrection of Christ basically says this:
1) 'Abdu'l-Baha never denied the literal resurrection of Christ, but He only denied it was "physical" and "bodily".
2) His statements to Laura Barney in SAQ about Christ representing His "teachings" and "disciples" being in the "tomb of unbelief" for three days, is call ta'wil (Arabic: "take out"), the esoteric explanation of literal Verses of God. Ta'wil is never supposed to negate a literal Verse, but merely explains its "70" (great multitude) of esoteric meanings.
3) When Laura Barney asked, "What is the meaning of the Resurrection of Christ?" the translator probably used the word "ta'wil" (esoteric meaning) and not "zahir" (literal meaning), and 'Abdu'l-Baha responded by giving Barney two esoteric meanings of Christ's resurrection. In other words, when the physical body was placed into the tomb, His teachings and disciples became as a dead body, but when Jesus arose from the dead, so did His disciples and teachings.
4) 'Abdu'l-Baha endorsed the teachings of the Ishraqi ("Illuminationists") School of Shi'ite Islaam; which teachings that the resurrection of the body is not "physical" but that what is raised is the Spiritual Body, which is also called the "Ethereal Body" or the "Heavenly Body" which can only be seen in visions. Two such Ishraqi teacher was Shyakh Ahmad-i-Asa'i and Siyyid Kashim Rashti; two fore-runners of The Báb. According to 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Illuminationists "solve all mysteries" by their divine illumination (Paris Talks, p.175). Therefore, the Ishraqis could not have been mistaken in their belief the Spiritual Body, not the physical body, is raised after death.
5) According to the Israqis, the Spiritual Body resembles the physical body, and can do all the things a physical body can do, but it is not bound by physical laws; this would explain Jesus being able to walk through a wall, and appear and disappear, but also be able to eat fish and honeycomb, after His death.
6) 'Abdu'l-Baha did tell Barney that Christ's disciples "saw Christ living, helping, and protecting them" after His death. (SAQ 106-7).
7) If Christ arose in a Spiritual Body, which is not physical, this would explain why 'Abdu'l-Baha denied a "bodily" resurrection, and literal ascension of a physical body into physical space, but these denials would NOT contradict a Spiritual Body resurrection of Christ; a non-physical resurrection of a non-physical body that literal "appears" to His disciples and instructs them for forty days, then literal (but not physically) ascends into a cloud on the Mount of Olives.
8) The Angel Gabriel appears to Mary to announce she is going to be the mother of the Messiah; she "sees" a physical man, but the body of the angel is Spiritual not physical. The Qu'ran says that Gabriel appeared to Mary "in the form of a perfect man" (19:17).
How many Bible-believers will accept the MOV (Metaphor Only View)? About 1 in 100,000.
How many Bible-believers will accept the SPV (Spiritual Body View)? About 1 in 10.
According to the MOV, the Tomb of Christ is still "full" with whatever remains have no decomposed. The Gospel sare "mere parables" after Jesus goes into the tomb, and the Book of Acts is also non-historical in its first nine verses where Luke says that Jesus appeared to His disciples for forty days after His death, and then ascends into a cloud while the disciples look on (Acts chapter 9).
According to the SPV, the Tomb of Christ was "empty" when Mary Magdalene looks into it on Sunday morning. The physical body of Jesus is "gone". According to the Gospel of Peter (an ancient Christian Gospel which never made it into the New Testament), two angels appear Saturday night, cause the guards to flee in fright, roll away the stone, and carry the physical body of Jesus out. What they did with it, the Gospel of Peter does not say.
Coincidentally, there are "two" Tombs of Christ in Jerusalem: one is called the Garden Tomb, which has a "gully" for a rolling stone (which the Gospels say Jesus' tomb had), and the other is under the Church of the Holy Sepulcre; a tomb without a rolling stone that was once under the wall of Jerusalem.
Objections to the SPV
Some Baha'is object to the Spiritual-Body View because:
*1 "Christ was not entombed for three days: He was killed on Friday and raised on Sunday, which is only 2 days at most, thus the Gospels are unreliable and must be parable and not literal".
COMMENT: Christ was not crucified on the weekly Sabbath (Friday night at sunset), but the High Sabbath (Passover), which fell on a Wednesday sunset to Thursday sunset in 33 A.D. (the year Jesus was crucified). Jews counted a "day" to begin and end at sunset (not sunrise). So the Sabbath began on Thursday at sunset and ended Friday at sunset.
Wednesday sunset to Thursday sunset: one "day"
Thursday sunset to Friday sunset: one "day"
Friday sunset to Saturday sunset: one "day"
According to the Gospel of Peter, two angels took Jesus out of the tomb (supporting Him) on Saturday at sunset. He had been in the tomb (Greek: "sepulcre") for 3 "days" by Jewish reconing.
*2 "Christ showed His wounds to the doubting Thomas, so this MUST BE a parable, or we shall all be raised with wounds, the blind shall be raised blind, the lame lame, the burned burned, etc., since this is absurd, it cannot be literally but must be a parable of something we can't yet understand."
COMMENT: According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Bardo body lasts for 49 days after death, and is the exact replica of the physical body at the time of death; including wounds, scars, injuries, etc. The Ishraqis believed that the Spiritual Body was also only a temporary vehicle in Bararkh (the "gulf" between our world and the World of Souls). The Spiritual Body is a temporary "between worlds" vehicle. According to the Gospels, and the Book of Acts, Christ "showed Himself" to His disciples for "forty days" after His death and resurrection:
3 days in the tomb + 40 days showing Himself to the disciples in Jerusalem= 43 days.
According to The Book of Mormon, Christ appears to the Nephites (nee-fights) of America for 3 days, and then to the Lost Tribes of Israel (probably the Pashtoons of Kashmir) for 3 days. In total: 49 days.
*3 "Shoghi Effendi has said that the Resurrection is not to be taken literally."
COMMENT: Letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi are not infallible, and do not equal Holy Writ. A metaphor is not literal. A Spiritual Body is a literal body, but not a "physical" body.
There are a number of Bible-believing Bible scholars who adhere to the Spiritual Body view: about 10%. How many Bible-scholars adhere to the Metaphor-only view? Very few.
The Spiritual-Body View of the Resurrection of Christ contradicts nothing that 'Abdu'l-Baha said in Some Answered Questions. It simply explains that the Resurrection of Christ was literal and historical; but NOT physical or material. The Gospels are historical narratives, as is the Book of Acts (including the first nine verses). 'Abdu'l-Baha was giving ta'wil (esoteric meaning) of Christ's resurrection; not denying He was raised literally. He denied that Christ was raised physically; which also agrees with the Spiritual-Body View.
As long as Baha'is adhere to the MOV, they can ___"forget"___ about attracting Bible-believers to the Faith! Forget it: now and forever! This will NOT change! Bible-believers will NOT "come around" to the "Baha'i view" (i.e. MOV)!
I must go with Holy Writ instead of Laura Barney's notes! In an untitled Tablet later named "Revealed on the Day of Ridwan", Baha'u'llah quotes Jesus as saying:
"The Kingdom of God circleth around Him and it is because of His love that I adorned the Cross with My body. Verily, I rose from the head to complete my mention of His Name amongst men." (Tashih-va-Tahlil, Baha'i Publishing Trust of India, p.142, provisional translation by Khazeh Fananapazir)Of course, Baha'is who hold to the MOV will try to "metaphoricalize" this statement; saying that Jesus never meant He literal arose from the dead, but only His "teachings" did, after three days. Again, as long as Baha'is hold to the MOV, they can forget completely about teaching Bible-believers, and concentrate solely on ultra-liberal "Christians" such as Unitarian-Universalists and Deists (those who believe in God but practice no religion) who have social-activist personality types. These are really the only types of people who will "buy" the MOV.
Unfortunately, "UUs" are so "liberal" that they will disagree with any teachings in the Faith that doesn't square with their Liberalism, for example Shoghi Effendi's condemnation of homosexual practices, no women on the Universal House of Justice, no sex outside of heterosexual marriage, etc. However, Bible-believers would agree with all these strick moral standards already! Religious liberals usually will not agree, and will either leave the Faith or, more likely, remain in the Faith and "ignore" things in it they personally don't agree with. These are called in American English "Pickers-and-Choosers" or in Arabic "Moon-aw-fee-koon" ("Hypocrites").
There is a pilgrim's note in which Baha'u'llah purportedly said the following:
"My father was much with Bahá'u'lláh. One night Bahá'u'lláh, as He walked back and forth in His room, said to my father:Of course, Pilgrim's notes are not authoritative (except, I guess, for those published in SAQ).
`At stated periods souls are sent to earth by the Mighty God with what we call "the Power of the Great Ether." And they who possess this power can do anything; they have all Power....Jesus Christ had this Power. The people thought of Him as a poor young man, Whom they had crucified; but He possessed the Power of the Great Ether, therefore He could not remain underground. This ethereal Power arose and quickened the world. And now look to the Master, for this Power is His.'" (As told by Dr. Dahiu-r Ruh, as recorded by Miza Valiyyu'llah Khan Varqa son of the martyred poet, Varqa, in The Chosen Highway, part 3)
Jesus and Christ
'Abdui'l-Baha is purported to have said:
"The Christhood means not the body of Jesus, but the perfection of divine virtues manifest in Him." (Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.154)By "perfection of divine virtues" He meant a Name/Attribute of God Who "dwelt in" and Manifested these virtues through Him.
According to the Gospels, the "Holy Spirit" "let" (langed upon/entered/overshadowed) Jesus when He was being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. This is when the Holy Spirit entered Jesus, as it says in the Gospel of the Hebrews (the original Gospel in Hebrew used by the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem):
"And it came to pass when the Lord (Jesus) was come up out of the water, the whole font of the Holy Spirit descended and rested upon him and said to him: My Son, in all the prophets was I waiting for three that thou shoudest come and I might rest in thee. For thou art my rest;...." (New Testament Apocrypha 1:164)One must also be aware that by "Christ" is meant the Father, the Holy Spirit Who dwelt "in" Jesus form His baptism til the Cross, when the Spirit left Jesus and He cried out: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Baha'u'llah is the "return" of Christ; meaning the Holy Spirit Who dwelt "in" Jesus, and this is why Jesus said: "The Father is in me". He meant that literally. When the Christ-Spirit entered Jesus, He became a Prophet. Before that, Jesus was merely a "Chosen One". Most Baha'is are unfamiliar with the term "Chosen One". Mollah Hussein Bushru'i, the first Letter of the Living, was a "Chosen One". So was Quddús. The Báb referred to him as the "return" of the Prophet Muhammad. Shoghi Effendi purportedly said:
"The early Babis believed in reincarnation. Mulla Husayn in Fort Tabarsi was longing to be martyred and then return." (Haifa Notes of Marguerite Sears)Shaykh Ahmad-i-Asa'i taught that the Prophets and Chosen Ones "return" in every Dispensation. This is why Tahirih believed she was the "return" of Fatimah (daughter of Muhammad). This is why Quddús (the 18th Letter of the Living) believed he was the "return" of the Imam Mehdi; because the Shaykhis (and Babis--most of whom had been Shaykhis) believed that the Souls of the Prophets and Chosen Ones were not human, but rather the "Perfections" and "Qualities" of God! Human souls don't "return" but the "Perfections" and "Qualities" of ALLAH do return in every Dispensation.
Jesus Christ was composed of a Ruh (Spirit) and a Nafs (Soul/Individuality). The Ruh of Jesus was called the "Spirit of God" that "returned" in/as Baha'u'llah. But Jesus also had a Nafs (Soul/individuality) which was called the "WORD of God". Jesus' Ruh (Spirit) made Him a Prophet, but His Nafs (soul/individuality) was the WORD; the "Fard" (commend/degree) of Allah by which He creates. The Bab was the "return" of the ruh of the Imam Mehdi, and Quddus was the "return of his Nafs. This is why both could claim to be the "return" of the Imam Mehdi. His spirit returned as a Prophet, and his soul as a Chosen One (Quddús). The Nafs (soul) of the Prophet Muhammad "returned" as Mollah Hussein Bushru'i; who was not a Prophet but a "Chosen One". Baha'u'llah wrote:
"Therefore He hath sent forth His Messengers, His Prophets and Chosen Ones that they might acquaint the people with the divine purpose underlying the revelation of Books and the raising up of Messengers, and that everyone may become aware of the trust of God which is latent in the reality of every soul." (Lawh-i-Maqsud, p.165)Messenger=Major Sent Ones endowed with a dispensation (Perfect Men who bring a holy law)
Baha'u'llah referred to 'Abdu'l-Baha as:
"A Word which God hath adorned with the ornament of His own Self, and made it sovereign over the earth and all that is therein, and a sign of His greatness and power among its people...Render thanks unto God, O people, for His appearance; for verily He is the most great Favor unto you, the most perfect bounty upon you; and through Him every mouldering bone is quickened. Whoso turneth towards Him hath turned towards God, and whoso turneth away from Him hath turned away from My beauty, hath repudiated My Proof, and transgressed against Me. He is the Trust of God amongst you, His charge within you, His manifestation unto you and His appearance among His favored servants...We have sent Him down in the form of a human temple. Blest and sanctified be God Who createth whatsoever He willeth through His inviolable, His infallible decree [fard]." (Dispensation of Baha'u'llah, p.678)By His "FARD" (Arabic: "command/degree") Allah created all things. The WORD is His "Primal Will"; also called the Universal Will. The WORD is not a Manifestation of God, but His "Be!" when Allah said "Be!" and the cosmos was created. The Prophets are the Manifestations of God (i.e. His Names/Attributes). The Chosen Ones are the Manifestations of the Universal Will (Primal Will): also called the "FARD" (command/degree) of God.
"Jesus Christ" was composed of two Divine Beings in one body: "Jesus" was the WORD incarnate (John 1:1-2,14), meaning a manifestation of the Primal Will, and "Christ" was the Spirit of God Who dwelt "in" Jesus from His baptism to the Cross. Christ is a Name/Attribute of God Who dwelt "in" Jesus ("The Father is in me"), and Jesus was the WORD of God (Primal Will) incarnate.
Prophets=Manifestations of God
Chosen Ones=Manifestations of the Primal Will/Word/Univeral Will/Fard(command/decree) of God
This Christ-Spirit "inspired" the disciples after three days, who were agitated and troubled. But this resurrection of the Christ-Spirit is a separate issue from Jesus arising from the dead! The Resurrection of Christ refers to the Spirit being poured out upon the disciples. Jesus arising from the dead, is another thing altogether. According to the Gospel of Peter, two angels carried Jesus out of the Garden Tomb (the one with the rolling stone). Did they rebury Him somewhere? What happened to the physical body? Was Jesus dead or in a coma (which the ancients called "death")? Did the angels nurse Him back to health? According to Ghulam Ahmad (died 1908), who claimed to be a Muhaddas ("Seer"), this is what happened. Jesus went into a coma, was nursed back to health by two Essenes (men in white), and eventually travelled to India and died in Kashmir; His tomb being present to this day in Shrinar. what happened to Jesus after the two "angels" took Him out of the tomb? The Gospel of Peter does not inform us. All it says is that the physical body was removed from the tomb by two angels at sunset on Saturday night; which is why Mary Magdalene found it empty at dawn Sunday morning when she went to the tomb to wash Jesus' body (a Jewish burial rite) and found it missing.
The tomb was empty!
They Killed Him Not!
In the Qu'ran 4:157 it read:
"And because of their saying (in boast). We killed Messiah 'Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," -- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Isa (Jesus) was shown to them."The translation/interpretation of the end portion of the verse which reads: "wa lakin shubbiha lahum"--
wa means: And, also, but, whilst.
lakin means; But, still, nevertheless.
shubbiha means; To be made like; A likeness or similitude.
(This could refer to: A likeness or similitude (of Jesus), or
A likeness or similitude (of Killing), or
A likeness or similitude (of Crucifixion), or A likeness or similitude (of Killing & Crucifixion)
lahum means; Was shown to them.
LAHUM=was shown to them.
There is nothing in the Arabic which suggests that a man named "Simon" was made to appear (look like) Jesus, and Simon was crucified in Jesus' place; where is what Muslims are told by their religious scholars. There is nothing in all the ahadith (sayings) of the Prophet Muhammad which says that a man named Simon was crucified in Jesus' place! ___Nothing___! Yet, 1.5 billion Muslims believe that a man named "Simon" was made to appear like Jesus, and crucified in His place, while Jesus was taken up into Heaven.
Below are the other English translations by Muslims and non Muslim scholars for comparison:
1. Translation by Allama Abdullah Yusuf Ali:
"But they killed him not, nor crucified him,
only a likeness of that was shown to them."
2. Translation by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall:
"...They slew him not nor crucified
but it appeared so unto them;"
3. Translation by Professor Arthur J. Arberry:
"...yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him,
only a likeness of that was shown to them."
The Arabic words shubiha lahum means literall "a similitude was shown to them".
The Etheric Double/Astral Body/Ethereal Body/Heavenly Body/Spiritual Body
This is what Prof. Edward G. Browne wrote of Shaykh Ahmad and his belief about the subtle (ethereal) body:
"He believed that the body of man was compounded of parts derived from the nine heavens and the four elements; that the grosser elemental part perished irrevocably at death; and that only the more subtle celestial portion would appear at the resurrection. This subtle body he name the huwarkiya (a name supposed to be of Greek origin), which was believed to be similar in substance to the forms in the 'world of similitudes' (alam-i-mithal). Similarly, he denied that the Prophet's material body had, on the occassion of his night journey to heaven (mi'raj) moved from the spot where it lay in a trance or sleep." ( Episode of The Bab, pp.234-5)Browne wrote in his commentary on the Kitab-i-Nuqtata'ul-Kaf (an early Babi writing) the following regarding Shaykhi (and Babi) beliefs:
"(3) That there is no bodily Resurrection, but that only a sort of 'astral body' (jism-i-harqualya) survives the material form of man." (Kitab-i-Nuqtata'l-Kaf, p.14 online)Another British scholar wrote of the Shaykhis:
"They asserted that man possessed two bodies: the first formed of temporal elements and is like a robe that dissolves in the grave; whereas the second subsists as a subtle body that belongs to the invisible world; it is this second body which is resurrected on this Earth and then goes to Paradise or Hell." ( The Shi'ite Religion: A History of Islamp.241)'Abdu'l-Baha said: "It is manifest that beyond this material body, man is endowed with another reality which is the World of Exemplars constituting the heavenly body of man." ( Foundation of World Unity, p.110) 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote:
"Thus it is certain that in man there is a reality which is not the physical body. Sometimes the body becomes weak but that other reality is in its own normal state. The body goes to sleep, becomes as one dead but the reality is moving about, comprehending things, expressing them and is even conscious of itself. This other and inner reality is called the heavenly body, the ethereal form which corresponds [in shape and looks] to this [physical] body." ( ibid.)'Abdu'l-Baha taught that man was composed of a physical body and a "heavenly body" that was from "the World of Exemplars" which is also called the "World of Similitudes" and the "World of Vision". In other words, everthing in this world has a "likeness" or "similitude" in that World (alam) or dimension. Our "eteric double" exists in that world. Some Baha'i pigrims report of seeing the "double" of 'Abdu'l-Baha. One Baha'i would speak to Him in one room while that Baha'is wife or husband spoke to 'Abdu'l-Baha in another room or the garden; at the same time. There are a number of reports.
In other words:
1) Jesus was put upon the Cross and he "dies". The ancient Jews called people in a coma "dead". Whether He died, or went into a coma, His etheric double was released. This release of an Etheric Double need not take place at death. There are reports of people in comas "appearing" in other places. This is more common than most of us would think.
2) This etheric double is called the "likeness" or "similitude" of Jesus, and this "likeness" appeard to the disciples for forty days afterwards, and ascended into a cloud on the Mount of Olives, as the Gospels and the Book of Acts report as historical narratives. The "similitude" had other-earthly powers, but cold still eat fish and honeycomb.
3) The physical body of Jesus was taken from the tomb by two "angels" in white; these could refer to men or to supernatural beings (like Gabriel who appeared to Mary). The Gospel of Peter does not inform us what they did with Jesus after that.
4) The tomb was empty by dawn Sunday morning, except for a shroud and a "Sudarium" (Latin: face-cloth) that was used to cover the face for burial (so the family did not see expressions of agony/fright on their dead loved ones).
5) There is a tomb in Shrinagar, Kashmir, which purports to be the "tomb of Jesus" after He survived the Cross. Ghulam Ahmad (who claimed to be a Muhaddas), and also Dr. Dahesh of Lebanon (a miracle-working holy man), both claim this is Jesus' tomb. All physical bodies, made of dust, return unto dust (Ecclesiates 12:7)
6) The Qur'an says that Jesus did not die on the Cross, but a "likeness was shown to them".
7) The Etheric Double is the Spiritual Body.
The Sunarium of Oviedo
In the Gospel of John it says:
7 and that the handkerchief [sunarium] that had been on Jesus’ head was not lying with the linen cloths [shroud] but was rolled up in a separate place. (John 10:7)In Oviedo, Spain, there purports to be the "sunarium" (face-cloth) of Christ. It was Jewish custom in Jesus' day to place a cloth over the face of the dead, then a small strip tied the face-cloth to the head, then the body was wrapped in a shroud. Then women would come and wash the body, because it was believed that the way your appeared at death was how you appeared in Sheol (the Unseen World), so bodies were washed, hair was combed, and the body was then dressed.
The Sunarium of Oviedo shows blood-runs, which caused one commentator to write:
"Interestingly, the Sudarium of Oviedo, thought to be a cloth put on the head of the dead Jesus on the cross, shows bloodstains that came out at different times which was odd for a man who was supposedly dead." ("Shoud of Turin Refutes the Resurrection" in www.christisnotrisen.com)The Shroud of Turin, also, showing flowing blood stains; impossible for a dead man to be have been wrapped in it if it is a true relic. Contrary to popular opinion, the Shroud of Turin has not be proven a forgery. The "sample" tested with Carbon-14 testing was from a 14th century French "re-weave" on one corner of the shroud; which used 14th French weaving style, while most of the rest of the Shroud is weaved in a first-century Jewish weaving fashion which is significantly different from the French style. New Carbon-14 tests from an "original weave" section of the Shroud thus far have been denied.
The Jews in Jesus' day considered a person in a coma to be "dead"; which they would be in four days. A body can only survive for about 3 to 5 days without water.
The Resurrection of Baha'u'llah
Most Baha'is would be surprised to learn that Baha'u'llah appeared in His Spiritual Body to the Mufti (chief imam) of Akka shortly after His death. One Baha'i reported:
"After the death of the Blessed Perfection, one day the chief of the Muhammadan priests of Acca came to our Lord ['Abdu'l-Baha] and said he had seen the door of his room open and the Blessed Perfection came into his room." (Dwight Barlow Collection 43-A, online)Unfortunately, without viewing the letter in the Dwight Barlow Collection (of old Baha'i manuscripts) I don't know who wrote that letter, or if the letter describes if Baha'u'llah said anything to the imaam or why Baha'u'llah appeared to the imaam. Perhaps the imaam was planning some anti-Baha'i progrom in Acca, and Baha'u'llah wanted to prevent this by appearing to the imaam in His Spiritual Body? We just don't know. Further research is desired, but I don't have access to the information. Hopefully, a Baha'i scholar reading this will look into it further. Again, if this is true, this is no physical resurrection. The physical body of Baha'u'llah was not disturbed, but His Spiritual Body (Etheric Double) appeared to the imaam for a reason or reasons not yet clear, and will not be clear until more research is done.
Louis Gregory, an early African-American Baha'i, in his "Haifa Notes", also reports having a vision of Baha'u'llah--not a dream but a literal vision as he walked down a street. Gregory wrote:
"Soon after accepting the Revelation the writer had a vision. (Joel 2-28) Bahá'u'lláh was seen with head bent gently forward. His right arm was extended and from His right side flowed four layers of mellow golden light, each layer containing numberless spirals and beautiful figures. The light was of uniform brightness. This vision soon vanished and I found myself turning into a street in which some enemies of the Cause of God were menacing the believers. I raised my right hand above my head and shouted, "It is all true! Mine eyes have seen the Glory!" (Heavenly Vista, p.2)The Spiritual Body can only be seen in visions; since it is not made of matter, but what Shaykh Ahmad-i-Asa'i called "huwkilya" or "ethereal matter". 'Abdu'l-Baha called "light" the "vibration" of ethereal matter (SAQ p.215).
Also, after the death of 'Abdu'l-Baha, some Baha'is reports of having day-visions of Him. Perhaps these should be collected and published?
As long as the Friends adhere to the MOV, they can ____FORGET____ about teaching Bible-believers, and simply concentrate on UUs and "Deists with social-activist personalities"; many of whom will become "Pickers-and-Choosers" or leave the Faith altogether. Not one in 10,000 Bible-believers will accept the MOV! The SBV does not contradict anything 'Abdu'l-Baha said in SAQ or anywhere else, and 1 in 10 Bible-believers would accept the SBV. Of course, we cannot "change" the teachings to order to be able to effectively teach Bible-believers! However, again, I don't think the SBV "changes" the teachings. I believe the SBV is the true Baha'i doctrine of the resurrection of Christ.
"Aenon E. Moss"