Baha'u'llah predicted a dramatic loss of power by ecclesiastical institutions. Within this context He specifically arraigned the Catholic Papacy and the Muslim Caliphate, the two agencies that had, for centuries, combined both kingly and ecclesiastical powers. (181:4)
..He thus addressed the world's religious leaders: O concourse of divines! Ye shall not henceforth behold yourselves possessed of any power, inasmuch as We have seized it from you, and destined it for such as have believed in God, the One, the All- Powerful, the Almighty, the Un- constrained (PDC 81). (182:1)
Baha'u'llah's Tablets to the Kings included one to Pope Pius IX, containing the following words: O Pope! Rend the veils asunder. He Who is the Lord of Lords is come overshadowed with clouds, and the decree hath been fulfilled by God, the Almighty, the Unrestrained... He, verily, hath again come down from Heaven even as He came down from it the first time... Beware lest any name debar thee from God.. Dwellest thou in palaces whilst He Who is the King of Revelation liveth in the most desolate of abodes? Leave them unto such as desire them, and set thy face with joy and delight towards the Kingdom... The Word which the Son concealed is made manifest. It hath been sent down in the form of the human temple in this day. Blessed be the Lord Who is the Father! He, verily, is come unto the nations in His most great majesty (PDC 31-2). (182:3)
Baha'u'llah's sombre forecast for ecclesiastical institutions should never be misconstrued as a blanket condemnation of individual leaders, much less of the whole Christian community. He writes: Respect ye the divines amongst you, they whose acts conform to the knowledge they possess, who observe the statutes of God, and decree the things God hath decreed in the Book. Know ye that they are the lamps of guidance betwixt earth and heaven. They that have no consideration for the position and merit of the divines amongst them have, verily, altered the bounty of God vouchsafed unto them (PDC 111).