Thief in the Night, or The Strange Case of the missing millennium, by William Sears, Published by George Ronald, Oxford England (1961).
Book review by Jody

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This book is rather dry for my taste up until about page 200, entitled the Final Evidence.  Sears uses the first part of the book to legitimize the Bahá’í faith as fulfillment of Bible prophecy of the second coming of Christ.  For bible scholars, they’ll enjoy the formal proof provided in the first part of the book as his work is persuasive and extremely detailed.  What Sears does is to take verses from the Bible that answers questions about the second coming of Christ.  Then he isolates events from history to come up with a date, time, place, and person who is the second incarnation of Christ. 

Bahá’u’lláh was a holy man (descended from kings) in the 1840’s out of Iran.  What is important about this book is that it provides a bridge between the Muslim world and the Christian world.  Much of what the religion teaches is what NDErs observe when they are on the other side.  I could appreciate the fruits by which this religion is known, which Sears deduces as criteria for judging truth from non-truth.

According to Sears, the second coming would be fulfilled symbolically, rather than literally.  Those who were spiritually ready and had “eyes to see him” would recognize Christ.    He uses three main areas of life to show the fruits: 1) Home and Family; 2) Country; 3) Religion. 

For instance, regarding home and family Bahá’u’lláh teaches:

            On Marriage:  “The marriage of Bahá’ís means that the man and woman must become spiritually and physically united, so that they may have eternal unity throughout all the divine worlds, and improve the spiritual life of each other.”  P. 211

             On Children:  “. . . all men and women marry so that children may be raised up who can honour the name of God and how can render service to mankind.”  P. 211

             On Homes and Family: “Make your home a haven of rest and peace.  Be hospitable, and let the doors of your home be open to the faces of friends and strangers.  Welcome every guest with radian grace and let each feel that it is his home.  Nourish continually the tree of your union with love and affection so that it may remain ever green through all seasons, and when God gives you sweet and lovely children, consecrate yourselves to the instruction and guidance so that they may become the servants of the world of humanity.”  P. 212

            From the principles of Home arise the following:  “. . . tend the sick, raise the fallen, care for the poor and needy, give shelter to the destitute, protect the oppressed, comfort the sorrowful and love the world of humanity with all your hearts, then I say unto you that ere long this meeting-place will see a wonderful harvest . . . but ye must have a firm foundation and your aims and ambitions much be clearly understood by each member.

            They shall be as follows:

1.         To show compassion and goodwill to all mankind

2.         To render service to humanity

3.         To endeavor to guide and enlighten those in darkness

4.         To be kind to everyone, and show forth affection to every living soul

5.         To be humble in your attitude towards God, to be constant in prayer to Him, so as to grow daily nearer to God.

6.         To be so faithful and sincere in all your actions that every member may be known as embodying the qualities of honesty, love, faith, kindness, generosity, and courage.  To be detached from all that is not of God.”

pp. 212-213.

            Regarding Country Bahá’u’lláh teaches the following:

1.         It is incumbent upon every man, in this Day, to hold fast unto whatsoever will promote the interests, and exalt the station of all nations and just governments.”

2.        Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts.

3.         That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race.

4.         Beautify your tongues, O people, with truthfulness, and adorn your souls with the ornament of honest.  Beware, O people, that ye deal not treacherously with anyone.  Be ye the trustees of God amongst His creatures.”

p. 215

             Of Religion Bahá’u’lláh teaches the following:  “To effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself both outwardly and inwardly, that shall affect both its inner life and external conditions.”  To effect the transformation, the guidelines begin with self.  “The most vital duty, in this day, is to purify your characters, to correct your manners, and improve your conduct.”  Followers of the faith, “[m]ust show forth such character and conduct among His creatures, that the fragrance of their holiness may be shed upon the whole world, and may quicken the (spiritually) dead.”  Then this can be extended to others “To educate the souls (and to) refine the character of every living man.”  P. 222

            The teachings on religion appear to be a very “hands on” type of compassion rather than the segregation from non-believers that typically occurs in most of the mainstream religions today.  Bahá’u’lláh teachings unify people through the common communication matrix of love – and what a surprise – we really learn that from what NDErs tell us of the other side! As above, so below.

            I also appreciate the words, “Look unto everything with a searching eye.”  P. 228.  “If from thence thou shalt seek the Lord they God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”  “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”  “Seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. . . and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”  P. 228.  You don’t have to follow the precepts of an organized religion to find God.  God is living and breathing in your heart.  The more you do good works, the stronger God becomes inside of you.

            Of note are some other ideals that manifest in bringing one closer to God.  These include equality, justice, communication, and love.  Sound familiar?  These are the building blocks to any Utopia – another manifestation of God.  The downside of this book is the very last chapter gets preachy and reverts to literalism again.  However, if one takes the good out of the book and discards what doesn’t resonate within your soul – this is really an amazing book with a lot of potential.