Revelations were the watershed events that laid the groundwork for all existing religions: their doctrines, scriptures, followers, rituals, etc. Individuals who we call prophets claimed to have been in some kind of direct contact with a divine source of truth which dictated certain teachings for the prophets to pass on to their fellow human beings. Not surprisingly, these teachings had to be put in terms that would be comprehensible to the people of that particular time and place. But they were also left vague and with enough encoded meaning so as to make them malleable enough to fit other cultural contexts. At their cores, the major revelations of most religions are not so different. The common message of religious revelations is one that celebrates our common humanity under God, and call for action and service that promotes love, compassion, and peace in the world.

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The New Testament
Christian scripture

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’”

Teresa of Avila
Christian saint

“While the soul is very far from thinking that anything will be seen, or having the thought even pass through its mind, suddenly the vision is represented to it all at once and stirs all the faculties and senses with a great fear and tumult so as to place them afterward in that happy peace.”

The Qur'an
Islamic scripture

“We sent them with clear signs and scriptures. We have sent down the message to you too [Prophet], so that you can explain to people what was sent for them, so that they may reflect.”

Martin Buber
Austrian-Israeli Jewish philosopher

“The encounter with God does not come to man in order that he may henceforth attend to God but in order that he may prove its meaning in action in the world. All revelation is a calling and a mission. But again and again man shuns actualization and bends back toward the revealer: he would rather attend to God than to the world.”

Martin Buber
Austrian-Israeli Jewish philosopher

“The powerful revelations that stand at the beginnings of great communities, at the turning-points of human time, are nothing else than the eternal revelation. But revelation does not pour into the world through its recipient as if he were a funnel: it confers itself upon him, it seizes his whole element in all of its suchness and fuses with it[…]The revelation that then appears seizes the whole ready element in all its suchness, recasts it and produces a form, a new form of God in the world.”

Universal House of Justice
Baha'i governing body

“Bahá’u’lláh's Revelation is vast. It calls for profound change not only at the level of the individual but also in the structure of society. ‘Is not the object of every Revelation,’ He Himself proclaims, ‘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?’”

Shoghi Effendi
Baha'i leader

“The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, whose supreme mission is none other but the achievement of this organic and spiritual unity of the whole body of nations, should, if we be faithful to its implications, be regarded as signalizing through its advent the coming of age of the entire human race.”

Robert C. Fuller
Scholar of psychology and religion

“[T]he Indic tradition calls [revelation] darshan, the ritual act of seeing divinity. Whether occasioned by a temple icon or a sacred place in nature, ‘religious seeing’ is thought to disclose the life and consciousness that pulsates throughout the whole of creation. Traditional Hindu theology maintains that God, or absolute consciousness, is immanent in all things. For this reason, the act of ‘seeing’ the divine is believed to overcome the usual division between experiencing subject and experienced object.”

The Bhagavad Gita
Hindu scripture

“Behold, Arjuna, a million divine forms, with an infinite variety of color and shape. Behold the gods of the natural world, and many more wonders never revealed before. Behold the entire cosmos turning within my body, and the other things you desire to see. But these things cannot be seen with your physical eyes; therefore I give you spiritual vision to perceive my majestic power.”

Shunryu Suzuki
Zen master

“But we should not become attached to some particular wisdom, such as that which was taught by Buddha. Wisdom is not something to learn. Wisdom is something which will come out of your mindfulness. So the point is to be ready for observing things, and to be ready for thinking. This is called emptiness of your mind. Emptiness is nothing but the practice of zazen.”