Revelations, Visitations, and All That

James A. Haught

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In the mid-1800s, an imprisoned Persian allegedly saw a vision of a “heavenly maiden” who informed him that he possessed holy status. Later, he declared that he was Baha’u’llah, the Promised One of All Religions. In effect, he said he was Jesus returning for Christians, the Messiah coming for Jews, Lord Krishna coming for Hindus, a long-awaited divine imam coming for Muslims, etc. He drew thousands of followers, called Baha’i. Surrounding Shi’ite Muslims massacred the Baha’is, but they persisted. The Persian’s brother tried to poison him and declared himself, instead, the Promised One of All Religions. But the brother’s attempt fizzled. Baha’is slowly grew in numbers to seven million around the world today, although they remain cruelly persecuted in Iran.

In 1935, according to the Unification Church, Jesus appeared to Sun Myung Moon in Korea and commanded him to finish the “incomplete” work that Christ started two thousand years earlier. Moon began evangelizing and slowly built the “Moonie” faith that has spread worldwide.

In the mid-1800s, a Chinese man who had read Christian missionary tracts said he had experienced a vision in which God told him he was a divine younger brother of Jesus. God commanded him to “destroy demons.” The vision-receiver drew followers, launching the Taiping religion and a Taiping army that conquered much of China and caused an estimated twenty million deaths. The Taipings finally were exterminated by forces under British commander “Chinese” Gordon. (Gordon later faced a second holy war: he led Egyptian troops against a Muslim jihad in the Upper Nile Valley and was killed when the insurgents overran Khartoum.)

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