Chapter 45
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Compilation on the Manifestations of God -- Independent Prophets and Dependent/Lesser Prophets.

1)
The following passage on the "station of pure abstraction and essential unity" of the Manifestations of God includes Muhammad, Adam, Noah, Moses and Jesus, who are Independent Prophets; and Imam Ali and the Imams, who are Dependent/Lesser Prophets of Muhammad; who "are all invested with the robe of prophethood [are all Prophets]".

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." 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'án, revealed: "I am all the Prophets." Likewise, He saith: "I am the first Adam, Noah, Moses, and Jesus." Similar statements have been made by Imam Ali. Sayings such as these, which indicate the essential unity of those Exponents of Oneness, have also emanated from the Channels of God's immortal utterance, and the Treasuries of the gems of Divine knowledge, and have been recorded in the Scriptures. These Countenances are the recipients of the Divine Command, and the Day Springs of His Revelation. This Revelation is exalted above the veils of plurality and the exigencies of number. Thus He saith: "Our Cause is but One." Inasmuch as the Cause is one and the same, the Exponents thereof also must needs be one and the same. Likewise, the Imams of the Muhammadan Faith, those lamps of certitude, have said: "Muhammad is our first, Muhammad is our last, Muhammad our all."
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 50

I shall restate here My theme, that perchance this may assist thee in recognizing thy Creator. Know thou that God - exalted and glorified be He - doth in no wise manifest His inmost Essence and Reality. From time immemorial He hath been veiled in the eternity of His Essence and concealed in the infinitude of His own Being. And when He purposed to manifest His beauty in the kingdom of names and to reveal His glory in the realm of attributes, He brought forth His Prophets from the invisible plane to the visible, that His name "the Manifest" might be distinguished from "the Hidden" and His name "the Last" might be discerned from "the First", and that there may be fulfilled the words: "He is the First and the Last; the Seen and the Hidden; and He knoweth all things!" Thus hath He revealed these most excellent names and most exalted words in the Manifestations of His Self and the Mirrors of His Being.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 33

The Manifestations of universal Prophethood Who appeared independently are, for example, Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. But the others who are followers and promoters are like Solomon, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. For the independent Prophets are founders; They establish a new religion and make new creatures of men; They change the general morals, promote new customs and rules, renew the cycle and the Law. Their appearance is like the season of spring, which arrays all earthly beings in a new garment, and gives them a new life.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p.165


2)
His chosen Ones (both Independent Prophets and Dependent/Lesser Prophets) are Manifestations of God, are the Face of God. For example, Muhammad and the Holy Imams are named God's Chosen Ones in the writings of Baha'u'llah.

Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times, yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how frequently have they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow, and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment, and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face -- the face of God Himself. Refer ye, to verify this truth, to that which hath been recorded in every sacred Book.
-- Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 4


3)
In the following passage, Imam Ali, the first Dependent Prophet in the era of Muhammad, states, "We are the Face of God", as the Holy Imams are Manifestations of God.

The Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) hath said: "I am He Who can neither be named, nor described." And likewise He hath said: "Outwardly I am an Imam; inwardly I am the Unseen, the Unknowable [the Manifestation of God]." Abu-Ja'far-i-Tusi hath said: "I said to Abi Abdi'llah: 'You are the Way mentioned in the Book of God, and you are the Impost, and you are the Pilgrimage.' He replied: 'O man! We are the Way mentioned in the Book of God, -- exalted and glorified be He -- and We are the Impost, and We are the Fast, and We are the Pilgrimage, and We are the Sacred Month, and We are the Sacred City, and We are the Kaaba of God, and We are the Qiblih of God, and We are the Face of God.'"
-- Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 112

The epitome of the discourse is that the Reality of Christ was a clear mirror, and the Sun of Reality -- that is to say, the Essence of Oneness, with its infinite perfections and attributes -- became visible in the mirror. The meaning is not that the Sun, which is the Essence of the Divinity, became divided and multiplied -- for the Sun is one -- but it appeared in the mirror. This is why Christ said, "The Father is in the Son," meaning that the Sun is visible and manifest in this mirror.
-- Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 114

I am the Christ who heals the blind and the lepers, who creates the birds and disperses the storm-clouds.  I am he and he is I. Indeed, Christ is the establisher of the truth, he is the king of this world and of the hereafter. Jesus the Son of Mary is from me and I am from him. He is the supreme Word of God.
-- Imam Ali (Ja’far ibn Mansur al-Yaman, Kitab al-Kashf). Translator unknown.

Know then that when Muhammad, the Point of the Qur'án and the Light of the All-Glorious, came with perspicuous verses and luminous proofs manifested in such signs as are beyond the power of all existence to produce, He bade all men follow this lofty and outstretched Path in accordance with the precepts that He had brought from God. Whoso acknowledged Him, recognized the signs of God in His inmost Being, and saw in His beauty the changeless beauty of God, the decree of "resurrection", "ingathering", "life", and "paradise" was passed upon him. For he who had believed in God and in the Manifestation of His beauty was raised from the grave of heedlessness, gathered together in the sacred ground of the heart, quickened to the life of faith and certitude, and admitted into the paradise of the divine presence. What paradise can be loftier than this, what ingathering mightier, and what resurrection greater? Indeed, should a soul be acquainted with these mysteries, he would grasp that which none other hath fathomed.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 43


4)
In the following passage, Imam Ali, the first Dependent Prophet in the era of Muhammad states, "In truth My recognition in luminousness is the recognition of God", as he is a Manifestation of God. He also states, "Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our last, Muhammad our all" which Baha'u'llah cites in passage #1 above when explaining the "station of pure abstraction and essential unity" of the Manifestations of God, which includes the Holy Imams.

He whose acceptance of my guardianship is based on external reality more than internal truth, he is that one "whose balance will be Light" [Qur'an 7:9] Those whose scale will be light, will be their souls in perdition [Qur'an 23:103 and 101:8]. Salman! The faith of no believer will attain perfection unless and until he recognizes me with luminousness. If he attains this then he has truly attained faith whose heart is tested with true faith and whose chest is dilated in true Islam whose faith is based on discernment. He who is convicted of shortcoming in this cognition he will be a doubter immersed in disbelief.

O Salman! And O Jandab [Abu Dharr]! In truth My recognition in luminousness is the recognition of God [Ma'rifat Allah] and Recognition and knowledge of God is indeed my knowledge and this is what is meant by sincere devotion/pure religion [ad-Deen al Khaalis, Qur'an 39:3]...

Salman! We are the Mystery of God [Sirru'llah] that shall not remain hidden. We are His light that shall never be extinguished, His Grace that is not to be expected from any one but Him. Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our last, Muhammad our all.

Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our last, Muhammad our all. He who recognises us in this regard has consummated the Faith in truth.
-- Imam Ali, Sermon of Ma'rifat bin-Nuraaniyyat (Recognition with Luminousness) -- translation by K. Fananapazir.


5)
In the following passage, David, a Dependent/Lesser Prophet in the era of Moses, is named as one of the Manifestations of God. Jesus is also named as a Manifestation of God (an Independent Prophet).

None of the many Prophets sent down, since Moses was made manifest, as Messengers of the Word of God, such as David, Jesus, and others among the more exalted Manifestations who have appeared during the intervening period between the Revelations of Moses and Muhammad, ever altered the law of the Qiblih. These Messengers of the Lord of creation have, one and all, directed their peoples to turn unto the same direction.
--Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 51


6)
The Imamate (the Holy Imams) are the Proof of God (i.e. Manifestations of God, Dependent/Lesser Prophets of Muhammad).

No doubt is there that obedience is unacceptable except through obedience to the Proof of God. Had that not been so, then the deeds of them that showed enmity towards the People of the House [the Family of Muhammad, the Holy Imams] would have been mentioned before God, whereas in this day, all decree that none should worship them, nor have their deeds borne any fruit. In this way, the non- Shi'is today act in accordance with the decrees of the Qur'án, whereas, since they have turned aside from the Imamate (vilayat), these deeds are worthless in the sight of God.
-- The Bab, The Persian Bayan


7)
The following passage about the persecution and/or martyrdom of different Prophets when viewed from the "station of pure abstraction and essential unity" of the Manifestations of God (explained in passage #1 above), indicates Imam Husayn was a Manifestation of God (the third Dependent Prophet in the era of Muhammad), the one who was martyred in Kárbilá.

XXXIX. Praise be to Thee, O Lord My God, for the wondrous revelations of Thy inscrutable decree and the manifold woes and trials Thou hast destined for Myself. At one time Thou didst deliver Me into the hands of Nimrod [Abraham]; at another Thou hast allowed Pharaoh's rod to persecute Me [Moses]..... Again I was crucified for having unveiled to men's eyes the hidden gems of Thy glorious unity [Jesus], for having revealed to them the wondrous signs of Thy sovereign and everlasting power. How bitter the humiliations heaped upon Me, in a subsequent age, on the plain of Kárbilá! [Imam Husayn] How lonely did I feel amidst Thy people! To what a state of helplessness I was reduced in that land! Unsatisfied with such indignities, My persecutors decapitated Me, and, carrying aloft My head from land to land paraded it before the gaze of the unbelieving multitude, and deposited it on the seats of the perverse and faithless. In a later age, I was suspended, and My breast was made a target to the darts of the malicious cruelty of My foes. My limbs were riddled with bullets, and My body was torn asunder [The Bab]. Finally, behold how, in this Day, My treacherous enemies have leagued themselves against Me, and are continually plotting to instill the venom of hate and malice into the souls of Thy servants [Baha'u'llah]. With all their might they are scheming to accomplish their purpose.. Grievous as is My plight, O God, My Well-Beloved, I render thanks unto Thee, and My Spirit is grateful for whatsoever hath befallen me in the path of Thy good-pleasure. I am well pleased with that which Thou didst ordain for Me, and welcome, however calamitous, the pains and sorrows I am made to suffer.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 88-90


8)
In the following passage, imamat (the Holy Imams) are named Manifestations of God.

At this time the breeze of God is wafted and the spirit of God hath surrounded. The pen is withheld from motion and the tongue hath ceased utterance. Briefly: In this station the declaration of divinity and the like have appeared from them, while in the station of messengership they have declared prophethood. Likewise in every station they have made a declaration expedient thereto and have attributed all these to themselves; (declarations) concerning the world of command, the world of creation, the worlds of divinity, and the worlds of phenomena. Therefore whatever they may say and claim, including divinity, deity, prophethood, messengership, successorship, imamat or servitude is true and without doubt. Consequently these proven statements should be reflected upon, that no one may be overtaken in the sayings of the Manifestations of the Invisible and Dawning-places of Holiness.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'í scriptures, p. 48


9)
All the Prophets (i.e. both Independent Prophets and Dependent/Lesser Prophets) are Manifestations of God, and are seated on the same throne. In the next passage, Bahá'u'lláh (the Ancient Beauty), an Independent Prophet; states that he rules on the throne of David, a Dependent Prophet in the era of Moses; as both Baha'u'llah and David are Manifestations of God. Further below it says, "he [Jesus] will be seated on the throne of David", as both Jesus and David are Manifestations of God.

It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the Cause of God, Who have appeared clothed in divers attire. If thou wilt observe with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold them all abiding in the same tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith. Such is the unity of those Essences of being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable splendour. Wherefore, should one of these Manifestations of Holiness proclaim saying: "I am the return of all the Prophets," He verily speaketh the truth. In like manner, in every subsequent Revelation, the return of the former Revelation is a fact, the truth of which is firmly established. Inasmuch as the return of the Prophets of God, as attested by verses and traditions, hath been conclusively demonstrated, the return of their chosen ones also is therefore definitely proven. This return is too manifest in itself to require any evidence or proof.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 153

The Most Great Law is come, and the Ancient Beauty ruleth upon the throne of David. Thus hath My Pen spoken that which the histories of bygone ages have related.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 89

It was prophesised -- he [Jesus] will be seated on the throne of David; behold this man has not so much as a mat whereon to sit... The Jews were blind to reality. The real Christ came from the city of light in the eternal realms Christ is a king. His shepherd's staff, that is, his tongue, was a sword dividing the true from the false. The throne of David is not a material throne but an eternal kingdom. Christ re-established this kingdom; it has been forgotten. Christ conquered the east and the west. This means a spiritual victory, not a material one.
-- Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 35

The centers of progress for each age are the manifestations of God as seen in his prophets. In whatever country or at whatever time they appear, they are the focus of the creational day - for as the sun in the material heaven develops the material beings, so do these spiritual suns develop the world of minds and souls.
-- Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 58


10)
In the passage below, Imam Ali, the first Dependent Prophet of Muhammad, is named a Temple (i.e. a Prophet), and is the first of the angels referred to in Qur'án 2:210: "Will they wait until Allah comes to them in canopies of clouds, with angels (in His train)." "angels (in His train)" refers to the Holy Imams who appeared after the ascension of Muhammad, as his successors. "A Day that God shall come" is also a reference to the fact that the Holy Imams are Manifestations of God (Dependent Prophets of Muhammad, one of the two classes of Prophets). Those who rejected Imam Ali ("He came down in the clouds of Revelation in the Temple of 'Ali"), a Manifestation of God, brought their own perdition.

Say I swear by God! They to whom you attribute knowledge and have accepted them as your divines they are in the sight of God the worst of men nay the quintessence of evil flees from them. Thus has the matter been inscribed in the scrolls of God's knowledge. We testify that they have not drunk from the fountains of knowledge and they have not attained unto a word of Wisdom and have not become aware of the mysteries of Revelation and have been racing in the land of their selfish desires. Nothing of rejection and denial against a prophet or a successor of a prophet has come to pass except after their permission. Thus has always been their injunction carried out on the Countenances of holiness.

Say to them: O ignorant ones! Did We not reveal in the past: "A Day that God shall come in the canopies of clouds."[4] How is it that when He came down in the clouds of Revelation in the Temple of 'Ali [Imam Ali], you turned away and rejected Him and waxed haughty and brought about your own perdition?[5] Was it not also revealed in your Book: " the Day when Thy Lord comes or certain of the signs of Thy Lord."[6] And when He did come with evident signs wherefore did ye turn away from those signs and veiled yourselves with the veils of self?..
[4] Qur'án 2:210.
[5] Qur'án 25:18 and 48:12.
[6] Qur'an 6:158.
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih-i-Sabr (Lawh-i-Ayyúb), Surih of Patience or Tablet of Job -- (translation by K. Fananapazir)

2:208. O ye who believe! enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the Evil One; for he is to you an avowed enemy.

2:209. If ye backslide after the clear (signs) have come to you, then know that Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.

2:210. Will they wait until Allah comes to them in canopies of clouds, with angels (in His train) and the question is (thus) settled? But to Allah do all questions go back (for decision).

2:211. Ask the Children of Israel how many Clear (Signs) We have sent them. But if anyone, after Allah's favor has come to him, substitutes (something else), Allah is strict in punishment.

2:212. The life of this world is alluring to those who reject faith, and they scoff at those who believe. But the righteous will be above them on the Day of Resurrection; for Allah bestows His abundance without measures on whom He will.
-- The Qur'an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 2.

The Holy Qur'án hath testified that true Faith is recognition of divine unity and confession to both the Prophet [Muhammad, Independent Prophet, Manifestation of God] and the Imámate [recognition of the Holy Imams, Dependent/Lesser Prophets of Muhammad, Manifestations of God]. He who attaineth unto both hath fulfilled his faith. A true believer is the one who does not reject any matter pertaining to Us, for God Himself hath dilated His Breast such that He may accept all. He will not doubt or be mistrustful. He who cavileth why and wherefore becometh a disbeliever. We are, verily, the Cause of God![15]
-- Imam Ali, The Sermon of Ma'rifat bin-Nurániyyat (Recognition with Luminousness). Translation by K. Fananapazir.


11)
In the following passage, Bahá'u'lláh is named as one of the Manifestations (Independent Prophets) that "possess some perfections which make the other Manifestations dependent upon Them". That is, Bahá'u'lláh has Dependent/Lesser Prophets who are also Manifestations of God; the same way Muhammad had Dependent/Lesser Prophets, the Holy Imams, who are also Manifestations of God.

Know that the attributes of perfection, the splendor of the divine bounties, and the lights of inspiration are visible and evident in all the Holy Manifestations; but the glorious Word of God, Christ, and the Greatest Name, Bahá'u'lláh, are manifestations and evidences which are beyond imagination, for They possess all the perfections of the former Manifestations; and more than that, They possess some perfections which make the other Manifestations dependent upon Them. So all the Prophets of Israel were centers of inspiration; Christ also was a receiver of inspiration, but what a difference between the inspiration of the Word of God and the revelations of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Elijah!
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 149-150


12)
In the following passage, húrís (Brides) of inner meaning, is a symbolic reference to the Dependent Prophets of Baha'u'llah, who are paralleled to the Holy Imams by Baha'u'llah (more details in Section 12 of the following link). The Dependent Prophets of Baha'u'llah are also referred to as "countenances which are hid within the chambers of chastity" and "manifestations of Thy Divine holiness" in the next passage, as they are Manifestations of God.

We have digressed from the purpose of Our argument, although whatsoever is mentioned serveth only to confirm Our purpose. By God! however great Our desire to be brief, yet We feel We cannot restrain Our pen. Notwithstanding all that We have mentioned, how innumerable are the pearls which have remained unpierced in the shell of Our heart! How many the húrís [Brides] of inner meaning that are as yet concealed within the chambers of divine wisdom! None hath yet approached them;--húrís, "whom no man nor spirit hath touched before." Notwithstanding all that hath been said, it seemeth as if not one letter of Our purpose hath been uttered, nor a single sign divulged concerning Our object. When will a faithful seeker be found who will don the garb of pilgrimage, attain the Ka'bih of the heart's desire, and, without ear or tongue, discover the mysteries of divine utterance?
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 70

Lauded be Thy name, O Thou Who art the Goal of my desire! I swear by Thy glory! How great is my wish to attain unto a detachment so complete that were there to appear before me those countenances which are hid within the chambers of chastity, and the beauty of which Thou didst veil from the eyes of the entire creation, and whose faces Thou didst sanctify from the sight of all beings, and were they to unveil themselves in all the glory of the splendors of Thine incomparable beauty, I would refuse to look upon them, and would behold them solely for the purpose of discerning the mysteries of Thy handiwork, which have perplexed the minds of such as have drawn nigh unto Thee, and awed the souls of all them that have recognized Thee. I would, by Thy power and Thy might, soar to such heights that nothing whatsoever would have the power to keep me back from the manifold evidences of Thy transcendent dominion, nor would any earthly scheme shut me out from the manifestations of Thy Divine holiness.
-- Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 338


13)
The Bab (the Qá'im), an Independent Prophet, is named a Manifestation of God. Also, it's stated, "the attribute of sovereignty and all other names and attributes of God have been and will ever be vouchsafed unto all the Manifestations of God".

And now, to resume Our argument concerning the question: Why is it that the sovereignty of the Qá'im, affirmed in the text of recorded traditions, and handed down by the shining stars of the Muhammadan Dispensation [the Holy Imams], hath not in the least been made manifest? Nay, the contrary hath come to pass. Have not His disciples and companions been afflicted of men? Are they not still the victims of the fierce opposition of their enemies? Are they not today leading the life of abased and impotent mortals? Yea, the sovereignty attributed to the Qá'im and spoken of in the scriptures, is a reality, the truth of which none can doubt. This sovereignty, however, is not the sovereignty which the minds of men have falsely imagined. Moreover, the Prophets of old, each and every one, whenever announcing to the people of their day the advent of the coming Revelation, have invariably and specifically referred to that sovereignty with which the promised Manifestation must needs be invested. This is attested by the records of the scriptures of the past. This sovereignty hath not been solely and exclusively attributed to the Qá'im. Nay rather, the attribute of sovereignty and all other names and attributes of God have been and will ever be vouchsafed unto all the Manifestations of God, before and after Him, inasmuch as these Manifestations, as it hath already been explained, are the Embodiments of the attributes of God, the Invisible, and the Revealers of the divine mysteries.
-- Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 105


14)
In the following passage from the Hidden Words, "My servant", is the Dependent Prophet of Baha'u'llah, who is also the Face of God (like Baha'u'llah). The statement "his face is My face" is true when the Manifestations of God are viewed from the "station of pure abstraction and essential unity"; similar in inner meaning to how the Holy Imams said, "Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our last, Muhammad our all", which is cited by Baha'u'llah in passage #1 above when explaining the station. "Be then abashed before Me" -- recognise the sovereignty of the Dependent Prophet (who is the Face of God) -- recognise the sovereignty of God. In the passage further below, Imam Ali fortells the coming of the Qá'im (the Bab), and says, "Then shall I show My Face amongst men, and it shall be as luminous as the face of the moon amid the other stars", also identifying himself as the Bab, which is true when the Manifestations of God are viewed from the "station of pure abstraction and essential unity". The same theme is expressed by Imam Sadiq (the sixth Imam) in the subsequent passage. 

30. O SON OF MAN!
Deny not My servant should he ask anything from thee, for his face is My face; be then abashed before Me.
-- Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words

Take heed lest ye hesitate in recognizing this resplendent Beauty when once He hath appeared in the plenitude of His sovereign might and majesty. He, verily, is the True One, and all else besides Him is as naught before a single one of His servants, and paleth into nothingness when brought face to face with the revelation of His splendours. Hasten, then, to attain the living waters of His grace, and be not of the negligent. As to him who hesitateth, though it be for less than a moment, God shall verily bring his works to naught and return him to the seat of wrath; wretched indeed is the abode of them that tarry!
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 54

I shall soon depart from amongst you, but be watchful and aware; be on your guard against the tests and tribulations caused by the 'Ummayyds and their worldly powers. And after they shall pass away, the kingdom will revert to the 'Abbasids[11] who will bring both sorrow and happiness to mankind. And they shall build a city called Baghdád, which shall be between the Tigris and the Euphrates. Woe betide men in those latter days, for amongst them will rise the oppressors among My people, who shall build palaces for themselves and courts and tabernacles. For they shall seek supremacy through intrigue and impiety. Two score and two kings shall rule among the children of the 'Abbasids, after whose reign shall come to pass the Most Great Tribulation on the surface of the earth. Then shall the True Qá'im rise up once more. Then shall I show My Face amongst men, and it shall be as luminous as the face of the moon amid the other stars.
-- Imam Ali, Khutbat'ul-Iftikhár (The Sermon of Glorification). Translation by K. Fananapazir.
Full text available at: https://bahai-library.com/imam-ali_khutbat_iftikhar

"Whoso wishes to behold Adam and Seth, behold I am Adam and Seth; whoso wishes to behold Noah and his son Shem, behold I am Noah and Shem; whoso wishes to behold Abraham and Ishmael, behold I am Abraham and Ishmael; whoso wishes to behold Moses and Joshua, behold I am Moses and Joshua; whoso wishes to behold Jesus and Simon, behold I am Jesus and Simon."
-- Hadith from Imám Ja'far Al-Sádiq relating to the Twelfth Imám, quoted in al-Ahsá'í, "Risála fi `l-'Isma wa `l-raj'a," in Jawámi', vol. 1, part 1, p. 85; also quoted idem, Sharh al-ziyára, vol. 3, p. 92, and the Báb, Dalá'il, pp. 3-4.


15)
In the following passage, "Moon" (a symbolic term used to refer to a Dependent/Lesser Prophet), is named a Manifestation of God. In the era of Muhammad, the Holy Imams were Moons.

Amongst the proofs demonstrating the truth of this Revelation is this, that in every age and Dispensation, whenever the invisible Essence was revealed in the person of His Manifestation, certain souls, obscure and detached from all worldly entanglements, would seek illumination from the Sun of Prophethood and Moon of divine guidance, and would attain unto the divine Presence. For this reason, the divines of the age and those possessed of wealth, would scorn and scoff at these people. Even as He hath revealed concerning them that erred: "Then said the chiefs of His people who believed not, 'We see in Thee but a man like ourselves; and we see not any who have followed Thee except our meanest ones of hasty judgment, nor see we any excellence in you above ourselves: nay, we deem you liars.'"[1] They caviled at those holy Manifestations, and protested saying: "None hath followed you except the abject amongst us, those who are worthy of no attention." Their aim was to show that no one amongst the learned, the wealthy, and the renowned believed in them. By this and similar proofs they sought to demonstrate the falsity of Him that speaketh naught but the truth.
[1 Qur'án 11:27.]
-- Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 221

Assist Thou Thy servants, O my Lord, to recognize Thy unity and to declare Thy oneness, that all may gather together around what Thou didst desire in this Day whereon the sun of Thine essence [Baha'u'llah] hath shone forth above the horizon of Thy will, and the moon of Thine own being [Abdu'l-Baha] hath risen from the Day-Spring of Thy behest. Thou art He, O my Lord, from Whose knowledge nothing whatsoever escapeth, and Whom no one can frustrate. Thou doest Thy pleasure, by Thy sovereignty that overshadoweth the worlds.
-- Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 57

Say: Verily, the ocean of pre-existence [Abdu'l-Baha] hath branched forth from this most great Ocean [Baha'u'llah]. Blessed, therefore, is he who abides upon Its shores, and is of those who are established thereon. Verily, this most sacred temple of Abha -- the Branch of Holiness hath branched forth from the Sadratu'l-Muntaha. Blessed is whosoever sought shelter beneath it and is of those who rest therein.

Say: Verily, the branch of command hath sprung forth from this root which God hath firmly planted in the ground of the will, the limb of which has been elevated to a station which encompasses all existence. Therefore, exalted be He for this creation, the lofty, the blessed, the inaccessible, the mighty!

O ye people! Draw nigh unto It, and taste the fruits of its knowledge and wisdom on the part of the mighty, the knowing One. Whosoever will not taste thereof shall be deprived of the bounty, even though he hath partaken of all that is in the earth -- were ye of those who know.

Say: Verily a word hath gone forth in favor from the most great Tablet and God has adorned It with the mantle of Himself, and made it sovereign over all in the earth and a sign of His grandeur and omnipotence among the creatures; in order that through it, the people shall praise their Lord, the mighty, the powerful, the wise; and that, through it, they shall glorify their creator and sanctify the self of God which standeth within all things. Verily, this is naught but a Revelation upon the part of the wise, the ancient One!

Say: O people, praise ye God, for its Manifestation, for verily it is the most great favor upon you and the most perfect blessing upon you; and through Him every moldering bone is quickened Whosoever turns to Him hath surely turned unto God, and who soever turneth away from Him hath turned away from My beauty denied My proof and is of those who transgress. Verily, He is the remembrance of God amongst you and His trust within you, and His manifestation unto you and His appearance among the servants who are nigh. Thus have I been commanded to convey to you the message of God, your Creator; and I have delivered to you that of which I was commanded. Whereupon, thereunto testifieth God, then His angels, then His messengers, and then His holy servants.
-- Baha'u'llah, The Tablet of the Branch - from BWF


16)
The Surih of the Temple, an important tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah, is another place where Baha'u'llah refers to His Dependent Prophets, in addition to other important themes. "Temples" is one of many terms/titles Baha'u'llah applies to Prophets (both Independent Prophets and Dependent Prophets), who are Manifestations of God (like the Holy Imams); as reflected in the words, "temples of the Oneness of God" in the passage below. "Raise up, then, from this Temple," refers to Baha'u'llah, the Independent Prophet. "the temples of the Oneness of God" refers to the pre-existent Dependent Prophets of Baha'u'llah summoned to appear on earth by him.

1.12
O Pen of the Most High! Hearken unto the Call of Thy Lord, raised from the Divine Lote-Tree in the holy and luminous Spot, that the sweet accents of Thy Lord, the All-Merciful, may fill Thy soul with joy and fervour, and that the breezes that waft from My name, the Ever-Forgiving, may dispel Thy cares and sorrows. Raise up, then, from this Temple [Baha'u'llah, the Independent Prophet], the temples of the Oneness of God [the Dependent Prophets of Baha'u'llah], that they may tell out, in the kingdom of creation, the tidings of their Lord, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious, and be of them that are illumined by His light.

1.13
We, verily, have ordained this Temple [Baha'u'llah, the Independent Prophet] to be the source of all existence in the new creation, that all may know of a certainty My power to accomplish that which I have purposed through My word "Be", and it is! Beneath the shadow of every letter of this Temple We shall raise up a people whose number none can reckon save God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Erelong shall God bring forth from His Temple such souls as will remain unswayed by the insinuations of the rebellious, and who will quaff at all times of the cup that is life indeed. These, truly, are of the blissful.

1.14
These are servants who abide beneath the shelter of the tender mercy of their Lord, and who remain undeterred by those who seek to obstruct their path. Upon their faces may be seen the brightness of the light of the All-Merciful, and from their hearts may be heard the remembrance of Mine all-glorious and inaccessible Name. Were they to unloose their tongues to extol their Lord, the denizens of earth and heaven would join in their anthems of praise -- yet how few are they who hear! And were they to glorify their Lord, all created things would join in their hymns of glory. Thus hath God exalted them above the rest of His creation, and yet the people remain unaware!

1.15
These are they who circle round the Cause of God even as the shadow doth revolve around the sun. Open, then, your eyes, O people of the Bayan, that haply ye may behold them! It is by virtue of their movement that all things are set in motion, and by reason of their stillness all things are brought to rest, would that ye might be assured thereof! Through them the believers in the Divine Unity have turned towards Him Who is the Object of the adoration of the entire creation, and by them the hearts of the righteous have found rest and composure, could ye but know it! Through them the earth hath been established, the clouds have rained down their bounty, and the bread of knowledge hath descended from the heaven of grace, could ye but perceive it!

1.16
These souls are the protectors of the Cause of God on earth, who shall preserve its beauty from the obscuring dust of idle fancies and vain imaginings.
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 8.


17)
Letter is a symbolic term used to refer to a Dependent Prophet, while Word refers to the Independent Prophet. In the next two passages from the Surih of the Temple, "O Second Letter" and "O Living Temple!" are symbolic terms used to refer two Dependent Prophets of Baha'u'llah, who are Manifestations of God.

1.38
O Second Letter of this Temple [Baha'u'llah, the Independent Prophet], betokening My name, the Almighty! We have made thee the manifestation of Our sovereignty and the dayspring of Our Names. Potent am I to fulfil that which My tongue speaketh.
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 21

1.81
O Living [the pre-existent Dependent Prophet when on the earthly plane] Temple! We, verily, have made Thee a mirror unto the kingdom of names, that Thou mayest be, amidst all mankind, a sign of My sovereignty, a herald unto My presence, a summoner unto My beauty, and a guide unto My straight and perspicuous Path. We have exalted Thy Name among Our servants as a bounty from Our presence. I, verily, am the All-Bountiful, the Ancient of Days. We have, moreover, adorned Thee with the ornament of Our own Self, and have imparted unto Thee Our Word, that Thou mayest ordain in this contingent world whatsoever Thou willest and accomplish whatsoever Thou pleasest. We have destined for Thee all the good of the heavens and of the earth, and decreed that none may attain unto a portion thereof unless he entereth beneath Thy shadow, as bidden by Thy Lord, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed. We have conferred upon Thee the Staff of authority and the Writ of judgement, that Thou mayest test the wisdom of every command. We have caused the oceans of inner meaning and explanation to surge from Thy heart in remembrance of Thy Lord, the God of mercy, that Thou mayest render thanks and praise unto Him and be of those who are truly thankful. We have singled Thee out from amongst all Our creatures, and have appointed Thee as the Manifestation of Our own Self unto all who are in the heavens and on the earth.
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 43.


18)
Commentary by Abdu'l-Baha on reproach apparently directed at the Prophets/Manifestations.

Observe: the people of Israel rebelled, but apparently the reproach was for Moses and Aaron. As it is said in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 3, verse 26: "But the Lord was wroth with Me for your sakes, and would not hear Me: and the Lord said unto Me, Let it suffice Thee; speak no more unto Me of this matter."

Now this discourse and reproach really refer to the children of Israel, who, for having rebelled against the command of God, were held captive a long time in the Arid desert, on the other side of Jordan, until the time of Joshua -- upon him be salutations. This address and reproach appeared to be for Moses and Aaron, but in reality they were for the people of Israel.

In the same way in the Qur'án it is said to Muhammad: "We have granted Thee a manifest victory, so that God may forgive Thee Thy preceding and subsequent sin."[1] This address, although apparently directed to Muhammad, was in reality for all the people. This mode of address, as before said, was used by the perfect wisdom of God, so that the hearts of the people might not be troubled, anxious and tormented.
[1 Cf. Qur'án 48:1-2.]

How often the Prophets of God and His supreme Manifestations in Their prayers confess Their sins and faults! This is only to teach other men, to encourage and incite them to humility and meekness, and to induce them to confess their sins and faults. For these Holy Souls are pure from every sin and sanctified from faults. In the Gospel it is said that a man came to Christ and called Him "Good Master." Christ answered, "Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but One, that is, God."[1] This did not mean -- God forbid! -- that Christ was a sinner; but the intention was to teach submission, humility, meekness and modesty to the man to whom He spoke. These Holy Beings are lights, and light does not unite itself with darkness. They are life, and life and death are not confounded. They are for guidance, and guidance and error cannot be together. They are the essence of obedience, and obedience cannot exist with rebellion.
[1 Matt. 19:16, 17.]

To conclude, the addresses in the form of reproach which are in the Holy Books, though apparently directed to the Prophets -- that is to say, to the Manifestations of God -- in reality are intended for the people. This will become evident and clear to you when you have diligently examined the Holy Books.
-- Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 169


19)
It has been decreed by God that none may be compared to or likened to the Manifestations of God, who are the Face of God on earth. Below are more references about them.

19.1)
The Person of the Manifestation hath ever been the representative and mouthpiece of God. He, in truth, is the Day Spring of God's most excellent Titles, and the Dawning-Place of His exalted Attributes. If any be set up by His side as peers, if they be regarded as identical with His Person, how can it, then, be maintained that the Divine Being is One and Incomparable, that His Essence is indivisible and peerless? Meditate on that which We have, through the power of truth, revealed unto thee, and be thou of them that comprehend its meaning.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 69

19.2)
Thy unity is inscrutable, O my God, to all except them that have recognized Him Who is the Manifestation of Thy singleness and the Day-Spring of Thy oneness. Whoso assigneth a rival unto Him hath assigned a rival unto Thee, and whoso hath set up a peer for Him hath set up a peer for Thyself. No, no, none can withstand Thee in the whole of creation. Thou hast everlastingly been exalted far above all comparison and likeness. Thy oneness hath been demonstrated by the oneness of Him Who is the Dawning-Place of Thy Revelation. Whosoever denieth this, hath denied Thy unity, and disputed with Thee about Thy sovereignty, and contended with Thee in Thy realm, and repudiated Thy commandments.

Assist Thou Thy servants, O my Lord, to recognize Thy unity and to declare Thy oneness, that all may gather together around what Thou didst desire in this Day whereon the sun of Thine essence hath shone forth above the horizon of Thy will, and the moon of Thine own being hath risen from the Day-Spring of Thy behest. Thou art He, O my Lord, from Whose knowledge nothing whatsoever escapeth, and Whom no one can frustrate. Thou doest Thy pleasure, by Thy sovereignty that overshadoweth the worlds.
-- Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 57

19.3)
And of all men, the most accomplished, the most distinguished and the most excellent are the Manifestations of the Sun of Truth. Nay, all else besides these Manifestations, live by the operation of their Will, and move and have their being through the outpourings of their grace. "But for Thee, I would have not created the heavens." Nay, all in their holy presence fade into utter nothingness, and are a thing forgotten. Human tongue can never befittingly sing their praise, and human speech can never unfold their mystery. These Tabernacles of holiness, these primal Mirrors which reflect the light of unfading glory, are but expressions of Him Who is the Invisible of the Invisibles. By the revelation of these gems of divine virtue all the names and attributes of God, such as knowledge and power, sovereignty and dominion, mercy and wisdom, glory, bounty and grace, are made manifest.

These attributes of God are not and have never been vouchsafed specially unto certain Prophets, and withheld from others. Nay, all the Prophets of God, His well-favoured, His holy, and chosen Messengers, are, without exception, the bearers of His names, and the embodiments of His attributes. They only differ in the intensity of their revelation, and the comparative potency of their light. Even as He hath revealed: "Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel the others."[1] It hath therefore become manifest and evident that within the tabernacles of these Prophets and chosen Ones of God the light of His infinite names and exalted attributes hath been reflected, even though the light of some of these attributes may or may not be outwardly revealed from these luminous Temples to the eyes of men. That a certain attribute of God hath not been outwardly manifested by these Essences of Detachment doth in no wise imply that they Who are the Daysprings of God's attributes and the Treasuries of His holy names did not actually possess it. Therefore, these illuminated Souls, these beauteous Countenances have, each and every one of them, been endowed with all the attributes of God, such as sovereignty, dominion, and the like, even though to outward seeming they be shorn of all earthly majesty. To every discerning eye this is evident and manifest; it requireth neither proof nor evidence.
[1 Qur'án 2:253.]
-- Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 102

19.4)
Every one who is endowed with a clear insight will behold that They (the Manifestations) were created before the creation of heaven and earth, and that this has ever been the Throne of the Merciful, and will forever be as it was; that there is no relation, connection, similarity or reference between that Throne and all else save it, and that all things testify with their inmost tongue; "Verily, these (bodies) are the Thrones of the Merciful One." They have no like in creation, nor any equal in the world of emanation. From their elements all have appeared in such wise that thou wilt find that, verily, from their Fire fire hath appeared in the universe and hath spoken in the Blessed Branch of Unity, in the lofty Sinai of Moses the Interlocutor, and that from their Waters thou findest every soul living and immortal. So, likewise, after this manner, consider its other elements; but with manifest certainty. This was the mention of the place whereon He was established. How much above this, then, will be the station of His Chair, and that upon which He stands? (The Prophets.) All that which We have revealed and mentioned unto thee in this Tablet is according to the language of the people of creation; otherwise, by the One in the grasp of Whose Power are all things, verily, We have utterances concerning this station such as are not befitting to mention in these days, during which the people have differed, and have cast the Lord of Lords behind them, and have made an idol by the hands of lust, and have circled around it and become of those who are attached to it.
-- Baha'u'llah, Lawh-i-Zuhúr, Tablet of the Manifestation - Provisional translation by an unknown author.

XLIX. Know verily that whenever this Youth turneth His eyes towards His own self, he findeth it the most insignificant of all creation. When He contemplates, however, the bright effulgences He hath been empowered to manifest, lo, that self is transfigured before Him into a sovereign Potency permeating the essence of all things visible and invisible. Glory be to Him Who, through the power of truth, hath sent down the Manifestation of His own Self and entrusted Him with His message unto all mankind. 
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 102

Likewise, do not think that the manifestation of the Eternal Truth is limited to causing outward knowledge to appear or altering some well-established laws among the people. Rather, at the time of revelation all things become bearers of divine emanations and infinite capabilities, and in accordance with the exigencies of the time and earthly circumstances, these become manifest.
-- Baha'u'llah, Tablet of Son - Provisional translation by an Juan Cole.

19.5)
The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days being thus closed in the face of all beings, the Source of infinite grace, according to His saying: "His grace hath transcended all things; My grace hath encompassed them all" hath caused those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of the realm of the spirit, in the noble form of the human temple, and be made manifest unto all men, that they may impart unto the world the mysteries of the unchangeable Being, and tell of the subtleties of His imperishable Essence. These sanctified Mirrors, these Day-springs of ancient glory are one and all the Exponents on earth of Him Who is the central Orb of the universe, its Essence and ultimate Purpose. From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from Him is derived their sovereignty. The beauty of their countenance is but a reflection of His image, and their revelation a sign of His deathless glory. They are the Treasuries of divine knowledge, and the Repositories of celestial wisdom. Through them is transmitted a grace that is infinite, and by them is revealed the light that can never fade. Even as He hath said: "There is no distinction whatsoever between Thee and them; except that they are Thy servants, and are created of Thee." This is the significance of the tradition: "I am He, Himself, and He is I, myself."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 99

19.6)
XXI. O Salmán! The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever been, and will continue for ever to be, closed in the face of men. No man's understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of God Himself. Whoso turneth away from them, hath turned away from God, and whoso disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in God. Every one of them is the Way of God that connecteth this world with the realms above, and the Standard of His Truth unto every one in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. They are the Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 49

19.7)
From the foregoing passages and allusions it hath been made indubitably clear that in the kingdoms of earth and heaven there must needs be manifested a Being, an Essence Who shall act as a Manifestation and Vehicle for the transmission of the grace of the Divinity Itself, the Sovereign Lord of all. Through the Teachings of this Day Star of Truth every man will advance and develop until he attaineth the station at which he can manifest all the potential forces with which his inmost true self hath been endowed. It is for this very purpose that in every age and dispensation the Prophets of God and His chosen Ones have appeared amongst men, and have evinced such power as is born of God and such might as only the Eternal can reveal.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 66

19.8)
Unto me, too, hath been vouchsafed the Path, the Balance, the Banner, and the Kawthar. I am the one who shall face the children of Adam on the Day of Judgement and shall bring them to account and shall direct them to their habitations. And verily, I am the punishment of fire meted unto the damned. These are the bounties of God unto me. And should anyone deny that I shall return after the Return[3], or deny that I shall come back after the Raj'at[4], or should anyone reject the truth that I shall appear again, even as I have done from the beginning that hath no beginning or even unto the end that hath no end, he, verily, hath denied the truth of all of Us. And verily I say unto you, he who denies any one of Us, hath denied God.
-- Imam Ali, Sermon of Glorification. Translation by K. Fananapazir.
Full text available at: https://bahai-library.com/imam-ali_khutbat_iftikhar

Be thou assured in thyself that verily, he who turns away from this Beauty hath also turned away from the Messengers of the past and showeth pride towards God from all eternity to all eternity.
-- Baha'u'llah, Baha'i Prayers, Tablet of Ahmad p. 210

19.9)
Say: Fear ye God, then observe equity in your judgement of this Great Announcement before which, as soon as it shone forth, every momentous announcement bowed low in adoration. Say: O concourse of the foolish! If ye reject Him, by what evidence can ye prove your allegiance to the former Messengers of God or vindicate your belief in that which He hath sent down from His mighty and exalted Kingdom? What benefit do your possessions bestow upon you? What protection can your treasures afford you? None, I swear by the Spirit of God that pervadeth all that are in the heavens and on the earth. Cast away that which ye have put together with the hands of idle fancy and vain imaginings and take fast hold of the Book of God which hath been sent down by virtue of His all-compelling and inviolable authority.
-- Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 248

19.10)
The Prophets of God should be regarded as physicians whose task is to foster the well-being of the world and its peoples, that, through the spirit of oneness, they may heal the sickness of a divided humanity. To none is given the right to question their words or disparage their conduct, for they are the only ones who can claim to have understood the patient and to have correctly diagnosed its ailments. No man, however acute his perception, can ever hope to reach the heights which the wisdom and understanding of the Divine Physician have attained. Little wonder, then, if the treatment prescribed by the physician in this day should not be found to be identical with that which he prescribed before. How could it be otherwise when the ills affecting the sufferer necessitate at every stage of his sickness a special remedy? In like manner, every time the Prophets of God have illumined the world with the resplendent radiance of the Day Star of Divine knowledge, they have invariably summoned its peoples to embrace the light of God through such means as best befitted the exigencies of the age in which they appeared. They were thus able to scatter the darkness of ignorance, and to shed upon the world the glory of their own knowledge. It is towards the inmost essence of these Prophets, therefore, that the eye of every man of discernment must be directed, inasmuch as their one and only purpose hath always been to guide the erring, and give peace to the afflicted.... These are not days of prosperity and triumph. The whole of mankind is in the grip of manifold ills. Strive, therefore, to save its life through the wholesome medicine which the almighty hand of the unerring Physician hath prepared.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 80

19.11)
Within the treasury of Our Wisdom there lieth unrevealed a knowledge, one word of which, if we chose to divulge it to mankind, would cause every human being to recognize the Manifestation of God and to acknowledge His omniscience, would enable every one to discover the secrets of all the sciences, and to attain so high a station as to find himself wholly independent of all past and future learning. Other knowledges We do as well possess, not a single letter of which We can disclose, nor do We find humanity able to hear even the barest reference to their meaning. Thus have We informed you of the knowledge of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Were We to find worthy vessels, We would deposit within them the treasures of hidden meanings and impart unto them a knowledge, one letter of which would encompass all created things.

1.67
O Inmost Heart of this Temple [the Maid of Heaven, Baha'u'llah, the Independent Prophet]! We have made thee the dawning-place of Our knowledge and the dayspring of Our wisdom unto all who are in heaven and on earth. From thee have We caused all sciences to appear, and unto thee shall We cause them to return. And from thee shall We bring them forth a second time. Such, indeed, is Our promise, and potent are We to effect Our purpose. Erelong shall We bring into being through thee exponents of new and wondrous sciences, of potent and effective crafts, and shall make manifest through them that which the heart of none of Our servants hath yet conceived. Thus do We bestow upon whom We will whatsoever We desire, and thus do We withdraw from whom We will what We had once bestowed. Even so do We ordain whatsoever We please through Our behest.
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 35

19.12)
1.85
Say: O ye manifestations [believers] of My Names! Should ye offer up all that ye possess, nay your very lives, in the path of God, and invoke Him to the number of the grains of sand, the drops of rain, and the waves of the sea, and yet oppose the Manifestation of His Cause at the time of His appearance, your works shall in no wise be mentioned before God. Should ye, however, neglect all righteous works and yet choose to believe in Him in these days, God perchance will put away your sins. He, verily, is the All-Glorious, the Most Bountiful. Thus doth the Lord inform you of His purpose, that haply ye may not wax proud before the One through Whom whatsoever hath been revealed from all eternity hath been confirmed. Happy is he who approacheth this Most Sublime Vision, and woe to them that turn aside!

1.86
How numerous those who expend all their wealth in the path of God, and whom We find, at the hour of His Revelation, to be of the rebellious and the froward! How many those who keep the fast in the daytime, only to protest against the One by Whose very command the ordinance of the fast was first established! Such men are, in truth, of the ignorant. And how many those who subsist on the coarsest bread, who take for their only seat the grass of the field, and who undergo every manner of hardship, merely to maintain their superiority in the eyes of men! Thus do We expose their deeds, that this may serve as a warning unto others. These are the ones who subject themselves to all manner of austerities before the gaze of others in the hope of perpetuating their names, whilst in reality no mention shall remain of them save in the curses and imprecations of the dwellers of earth and heaven.
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 45

19.13)
1.92
Say: O people! We have commanded you in Our Tablets to strive, at the time of the promised Revelation, to sanctify your souls from all names, and to purify them from all that hath been created in the heavens or on the earth, that therein may appear the splendours of the Sun of Truth which shineth forth above the horizon of the Will of your Lord, the Almighty, the Most Great. We have, moreover, commanded you to cleanse your hearts from every trace of the love or hate of the peoples of the world, lest aught should divert you from one course or impel you towards another. This, verily, is among the weightiest counsels I have vouchsafed unto you in the perspicuous Book, for whoso attacheth himself to either of these shall be prevented from attaining a proper understanding of Our Cause. To this beareth witness every just and discerning soul.
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 49

19.14)
O thou who hast set foot in the wilderness of knowledge and taken abode within the ark of wisdom! Not until thou hast grasped the mysteries concealed in that which We shall relate unto thee canst thou hope to attain to the stations of faith and certitude in the Cause of God and in those who are the Manifestations of His Cause, the Daysprings of His Command, the Treasuries of His revelation, and the Repositories of His knowledge. Shouldst thou fail in this, thou wouldst be numbered with them that have not striven for the Cause of God, nor inhaled the fragrance of faith from the raiment of certitude, nor scaled the heights of the divine unity, nor yet recognized the stations of divine singleness within the Embodiments of praise and the Essences of sanctity.

Strive then, O My brother, to apprehend this matter, that the veils may be lifted from the face of thy heart and that thou mayest be reckoned among them whom God hath graced with such penetrating vision as to behold the most subtle realities of His dominion, to fathom the mysteries of His kingdom, to perceive the signs of His transcendent Essence in this mortal world, and to attain a station wherein one seeth no distinction amongst His creatures and findeth no flaw in the creation of the heavens and the earth.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 5

19.15)
Behold, how, notwithstanding these and similar traditions, they idly contend that the laws formerly revealed, must in no wise be altered. And yet, is not the object of every Revelation 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? For if the character of mankind be not changed, the futility of God's universal Manifestations would be apparent. In the "Avalim," an authoritative and well-known book, it is recorded: "A Youth from Bani-Hashim shall be made manifest, Who will reveal a new Book and promulgate a new law;" then follow these words: "Most of His enemies will be the divines." In another passage, it is related of Sadiq, son of Muhammad, that he spoke the following: "There shall appear a Youth from Bani-Hashim, Who will bid the people plight fealty unto Him. His Book will be a new Book, unto which He shall summon the people to pledge their faith.
-- Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 240

19.16)
NO created thing shall ever attain its paradise unless it appeareth in its highest prescribed degree of perfection. For instance, this crystal representeth the paradise of the stone whereof its substance is composed. Likewise there are various stages in the paradise for the crystal itself... So long as it was stone it was worthless, but if it attaineth the excellence of ruby -- a potentiality which is latent in it -- how much a carat will it be worth? Consider likewise every created thing.

Man's highest station, however, is attained through faith in God in every Dispensation and by acceptance of what hath been revealed by Him, and not through learning; inasmuch as in every nation there are learned men who are versed in divers sciences. Nor is it attainable through wealth; for it is similarly evident that among the various classes in every nation there are those possessed of riches. Likewise are other transitory things.

True knowledge, therefore, is the knowledge of God, and this is none other than the recognition of His Manifestation in each Dispensation. Nor is there any wealth save in poverty in all save God and sanctity from aught else but Him -- a state that can be realized only when demonstrated towards Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation. This doth not mean, however, that one ought not to yield praise unto former Revelations. On no account is this acceptable, inasmuch as it behooveth man, upon reaching the age of nineteen, to render thanksgiving for the day of his conception as an embryo. For had the embryo not existed, how could he have reached his present state? Likewise had the religion taught by Adam not existed, this Faith would not have attained its present stage. Thus consider thou the development of God's Faith until the end that hath no end. V, 4.
-- The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 88

O people of the Bayan! Do not commit what the people of the Qur'án have committed, in rendering worthless the fruits of your might. If you are believers in the Bayan, at the time of the appearance of his verses say: 'God is our Lord, with whom we associate no-one. This is what God promised us of the manifestation of His own self. We call upon none beside Him.' Obey him in whatever you do, for then you shall have manifested the fruit of the Bayan. If you do not do so, you shall be unworthy of mention before God.
-- The Bab, The Persian Bayan

19.17)
The other station is the station of distinction, and pertaineth to the world of creation, and to the limitations thereof. In this respect, each Manifestation of God hath a distinct individuality, a definitely prescribed mission, a predestined revelation, and specially designated limitations. Each one of them is known by a different name, is characterized by a special attribute, fulfils a definite mission, and is entrusted with a particular Revelation. Even as He saith: "Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel the others. To some God hath spoken, some He hath raised and exalted. And to Jesus, Son of Mary, We gave manifest signs, and We strengthened Him with the Holy Spirit."

It is because of this difference in their station and mission that the words and utterances flowing from these Well Springs of Divine knowledge appear to diverge and differ. Otherwise, in the eyes of them that are initiated into the mysteries of Divine wisdom, all their utterances are, in reality, but the expressions of one Truth. As most of the people have failed to appreciate those stations to which We have referred, they, therefore, feel perplexed and dismayed at the varying utterances pronounced by Manifestations that are essentially one and the same.

It hath ever been evident that all these divergencies of utterance are attributable to differences of station. Thus, viewed from the standpoint of their oneness and sublime detachment, the attributes of Godhead, Divinity, Supreme Singleness, and Inmost Essence, have been, and are applicable to those Essences of Being, inasmuch as they all abide on the throne of Divine Revelation, and are established upon the seat of Divine Concealment. Through their appearance the Revelation of God is made manifest, and by their countenance the Beauty of God is revealed. Thus it is that the accents of God Himself have been heard uttered by these Manifestations of the Divine Being.

Viewed in the light of their second station -- the station of distinction, differentiation, temporal limitations, characteristics and standards -- they manifest absolute servitude, utter destitution, and complete self-effacement. Even as He saith: "I am the servant of God. I am but a man like you."...
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 52

19.18)
XXIX. The purpose of God in creating man hath been, and will ever be, to enable him to know his Creator and to attain His Presence. To this most excellent aim, this supreme objective, all the heavenly Books and the divinely-revealed and weighty Scriptures unequivocally bear witness. Whoso hath recognized the Day Spring of Divine guidance and entered His holy court hath drawn nigh unto God and attained His Presence, a Presence which is the real Paradise, and of which the loftiest mansions of heaven are but a symbol. Such a man hath attained the knowledge of the station of Him Who is "at the distance of two bows," Who standeth beyond the Sadratu'l-Muntaha. Whoso hath failed to recognize Him will have condemned himself to the misery of remoteness, a remoteness which is naught but utter nothingness and the essence of the nethermost fire. Such will be his fate, though to outward seeming he may occupy the earth's loftiest seats and be established upon its most exalted throne.

He Who is the Day Spring of Truth is, no doubt, fully capable of rescuing from such remoteness wayward souls and of causing them to draw nigh unto His court and attain His Presence. "If God had pleased He had surely made all men one people." His purpose, however, is to enable the pure in spirit and the detached in heart to ascend, by virtue of their own innate powers, unto the shores of the Most Great Ocean, that thereby they who seek the Beauty of the All-Glorious may be distinguished and separated from the wayward and perverse. Thus hath it been ordained by the all-glorious and resplendent Pen....

That the Manifestations of Divine justice, the Day Springs of heavenly grace, have when they appeared amongst men always been destitute of all earthly dominion and shorn of the means of worldly ascendancy, should be attributed to this same principle of separation and distinction which animateth the Divine Purpose. Were the Eternal Essence to manifest all that is latent within Him, were He to shine in the plentitude of His glory, none would be found to question His power or repudiate His truth. Nay, all created things would be so dazzled and thunderstruck by the evidences of His light as to be reduced to utter nothingness. How, then, can the godly be differentiated under such circumstances from the froward?
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 70



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