Mixed Sources (Joel Smith & Others) - See Citations in/after Paragraphs - 12 Para
Who is Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh is descended from Abraham through his third wife Keturah, and is believed to be descended from a long line of Persian kings through Yazdgerd III, the last monarch of the Sasanian Dynasty. He is a Manifestation of God (a Messenger, a Major Prophet, a Christ - see 'Who is Christ'). He declared that he was the "Promised One" of all world religions, fulfilling the messianic prophecies of each, as illustrated below: [-ed]
The incarnation of the "Everlasting Father" (isa 9:6) & the ubiquitous "Lord of Hosts" [-ed]
The "Spirit of Truth" (joh 16:13), the "Lion of the tribe of Juda" (rev 5:5), and the return of Christ "in the glory of the Father" (mat 16:27) [-ed]
The return of Shah Bahram Varjavand.
From Shi'a Islam:
The return of the Third Imam (Imam Husayn).
From Sunni Islam:
The return of Jesus (Isa)
He whom God shall make manifest.
The Kalki Avatar (the 10th & final Avatar).
The Buddha Maitreya
Concept of the Manifestation:
The Bahá'í Faith amplifies and further clarifies the description in the Qur'an of the divinely created process by which humankind is uplifted and educated. First, the term "Manifestation" is employed to replace the Islamic term "Messenger" to emphasize the fact that these specialized Emissaries are not ordinary human beings, but an order of representatives from the divine realm Who perfectly incarnate or "manifest" all the attributes of God but are not of the same "essence" as God-- that is, They are not incarnations of God Himself, but of His qualities. Second, Bahá'u'lláh explains that this process has existed ever since the emergence of humankind on Earth and will continue so long as Earth endures. In this sense, no Manifestation is individually superior to another in rank or capacity. But because this is an ongoing educational program, each successive Manifestation necessarily sums up all that has preceded Him and then takes the process a stage further. It is in this sense that each Manifestation "seals up" or is the "end" or culmination of all that has gone before, and yet is the "beginning" of a new revelation, another stage in human development. It is in this context that Christ says He is the "alpha and the omega" (Rev 1:10), and Muhammad observes similarly that He is the first Adam: These Manifestations of God have each a twofold station. One is the station of pure abstraction and essential unity. In this respect, if thou callest them all by one name, and dost ascribe to them the same attributes, thou hast not erred from the truth. Even as He hath revealed: "No distinction do We make between any of His Messengers" [qur 2:285]. For they, one and all, summon the people of the earth to acknowledge the unity of God, and herald unto them the Kawthar of an infinite grace and bounty. They are all invested with the robe of prophethood, and are honored with the mantle of glory. Thus hath Muhammad, the Point of the Qur'an, revealed: "I am all the Prophets." Likewise, He saith: "I am the first Adam, Noah, Moses, and Jesus." (Bahá'u'lláh) (kiq 152:1, fga 1193)
Concept of the Covenant:
Bahá'u'lláh explains the distinction between two categories of covenants relevant to the education of humanity. There is the Eternal Covenant between God and humankind represented most notably in recorded religious history by Godís covenant with Abraham. According to this pact, God will never leave humanity without appropriate guidance and assistance in the form of these Emissaries and the guidance They bring. This eternal Covenant is sometimes alluded to in the authoritative Bahá'í texts as the "Major Plan of God" or as the "Most Great Covenant," and it designates the entire systematic process whereby God sends successive Manifestations to educate humankind by degrees with the abiding objective of fashioning a global society run according to spiritual principles. Or stated in the terms Christ employs, the purpose of the Major Plan is the gradual construction of the Kingdom of God on Earth. The role of humankind in this agreement or covenant is to seek out the Manifestations whenever They appear. Once we have discovered Them, we are then obliged to abide by whatever guidance They reveal until such time as another Manifestation appears to continue this program of human advancement. The second sort of covenant is that agreement between each Manifestation and His followers. The Manifestation assures us that His teachings will enlighten and guide us until the appearance of the succeeding Emissary. The role of humankind in this pact is that we must uphold His teachings for our personal comportment and refinement and also be faithful to whatever instructions He provides for the promulgation and security of the Faith. In particular, this pact requires we follow whatever successors or institutions the Manifestation has designed or designated to endure after His passing. These covenants thus establish the systematic basis of the link or communication between the metaphysical realm and the physical realm. They also describe the means by which humanity can establish the beginning stage of our intimate and enduring love relationship with a Being we personally have neither seen nor heard in any direct physical sense. We thus come to communicate with God and effectively "enter His presence" by virtue of our covenant with God through His Manifestations. By appearing periodically in human history, the Manifestations advance by degrees our understanding of the Creator and facilitate the progress of our love relationship with Him. In fact, the Bahá'í writings assert that without these Intermediaries, the gap between the Creator and ourselves would not be bridged, and our own individual and collective advancement would be impossible. (fga 1210)
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