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Chapter 18

The Covenant as relates to the Prophets (both Independent Prophets and Dependent/Lesser Prophets), all of whom are the Face of God.

God has entered into a covenant with mankind "concerning Him Who is the Day-Spring of [His] Thy Revelation".

This is the Day, O my Lord, which Thou didst announce unto all mankind as the Day whereon Thou wouldst reveal Thy Self, and shed Thy radiance, and shine brightly over all Thy creatures. Thou hast, moreover, entered into a covenant with them, in Thy Books, and Thy Scriptures, and Thy Scrolls, and Thy Tablets, concerning Him Who is the Day-Spring of Thy Revelation, and hast appointed the Bayan to be the Herald of this Most Great and all-glorious Manifestation, and this most resplendent and most sublime Appearance.

And when the world's horizon was illumined, and He Who is the Most Great Name was manifested, all disbelieved in Him and in His signs, except such as have been carried away by the sweetness of Thy glorification and praise. There befell Him what must remain inscrutable to everyone except Thee, Whose knowledge transcendeth all who are in Thy heaven and all who are on Thy earth.

Thou well knowest, O my God, that the Revealer of the Bayan (the Bab) hath commanded all mankind concerning Thy Cause, and Thy Revelation, and Thy Sovereignty. He hath said, and sweet is His speech: "Beware lest the Bayan and its Letters keep you back from Him Who is the Most Merciful and from His sovereignty." He, moreover, hath written: "Were He to produce no more than one verse, ye must not deny Him. Haste ye towards Him, that haply He may cause to descend upon you what He pleaseth, as a token of His grace unto you. He truly is the Possessor of His servants, and the King of creation."
-- Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 275

In the following passage, those who rejected Baha'u'llah, the Independent Prophet, "have violated His [God's] Covenant". In the second passage it also says, "[they] ignored the Covenant of God and His Testament and joined partners with Him" by rejecting the Prophet. In the third passage it also says, "This is the Father foretold by Isaiah, and the Comforter concerning Whom the Spirit [Jesus] had covenanted with you." -- i.e. the appearance of the Prophet, who is the Face of God, represents God's Covenant.

Praise be unto God Who hath manifested the Point, hath unfolded therefrom the knowledge of all things, whether of the past or of the future -- a Point He hath chosen to be the Herald of His Name and the Harbinger of His Great Revelation which hath caused the limbs of all mankind to quake and the splendour of His light to shine forth above the horizon of the world. Verily, this is the Point which God hath ordained to be an ocean of light for the sincere among His servants and a flame of fire to the froward amidst His creatures and the impious among His people -- they who bartered away the gift of God for unbelief, and the celestial food for hypocrisy, and led their associates to a wretched abode. These are the people who have manifested sedition throughout the world and have violated His Covenant on the Day when the immortal Being mounted His throne and the Crier raised His Voice from the haven of security and peace in the holy Vale.

O followers of the Bayan! Fear ye the All-Merciful. This is the One Who hath been glorified by Muhammad, the Apostle of God, and before Him by the Spirit [1] and yet before Him by the One Who discoursed with God.[2] This is the Point of the Bayan calling aloud before the Throne, saying: 'By the righteousness of God, ye have been created to glorify this Most Great Announcement, this Perfect Way which lay hid within the souls of the Prophets, which was treasured in the hearts of the chosen ones of God and was written down by the glorious Pen of your Lord, the Possessor of Names.'
[1 Jesus.]
[2 Moses.]
-- Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 102

Beware, beware lest thou behave like unto the people of the Bayan. For indeed they erred grievously, misguided the people, ignored the Covenant of God and His Testament and joined partners with Him, the One, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing. Verily they failed to recognize the Point of the Bayan, for had they recognized Him they would not have rejected His manifestation in this luminous and resplendent Being. And since they fixed their eyes on names, therefore when He replaced His Name 'the Most Exalted' by 'the Most Glorious' their eyes were dimmed. They have failed to recognize Him in these days and are reckoned with those that perish.
-- Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 185

Give ear unto that which the Dove of Eternity warbleth upon the twigs of the Divine Lote-Tree: O peoples of the earth! We sent forth him who was named John to baptize you with water, that your bodies might be cleansed for the appearance of the Messiah. He, in turn, purified you with the fire of love and the water of the spirit in anticipation of these Days whereon the All-Merciful hath purposed to cleanse you with the water of life at the hands of His loving providence. This is the Father foretold by Isaiah, and the Comforter concerning Whom the Spirit had covenanted with you. Open your eyes, O concourse of bishops, that ye may behold your Lord seated upon the Throne of might and glory.
-- Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 63

O concourse of lovers, give out the glad tidings with all your heart, for the time of waiting is over, and the covenant hath come, and the Beloved hath shone in wondrous beauty.
-- Baha'u'llah, Tablet Feast of Ridvan (a provisional translation).

In the following passage, those who rejected Muhammad, the Independent Prophet, "have broken the Covenant of God".

Ponder that which befell Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets, may the life of all else be a sacrifice unto Him. How severe the afflictions which the leaders of the Jewish people and of the idol-worshipers caused to rain upon Him, Who is the sovereign Lord of all, in consequence of His proclamation of the unity of God and of the truth of His Message! By the righteousness of My Cause! My Pen groaneth, and all created things weep with a great weeping, as a result of the woes He suffered at the hands of them that have broken the Covenant of God, violated His Testament, rejected His proofs, and disputed His signs.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 56

Imam Ali, the first Dependent/Lesser Prophet in the era of Muhammad, is "the One who pledged an everlasting covenant with your spirits on the dawn of creation" and "the Object of the covenant".

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. I am the one who hath summoned you; I am the companion of your prayers and invocations. I am the Lord of retribution, and I am the Master of the signs and the Lord of the wondrous symbols of guidance. I am cognisant of the mysteries of creation; I am the One who brought the iron unto Men[5]. I am forever new and forever pre-existent, the One who brought the Angels from out of their habitations, the One who pledged an everlasting covenant with your spirits on the dawn of creation and Who, on that day, asked, through the will of God, the Self-subsisting, these words: "Am I not your Lord?" I am the Word of God [Kalimat'u'lláh] which hath been uttered in the world of creation, the Object of the covenant that hath been promised in the prayers and salutations which lie in the reality of all created things. I am the name that hath been invoked by orphans and by widows, the door to the city of knowledge and the refuge of patience and forbearance. I am the upraised flag of God, the companion of the banner of divine praise, the Lord of infinite bounty and of infinite grace. But should I tell you all that I am, you would doubtless disbelieve Me. For I am also the slayer of oppressors, the treasury of divine favours in this world and of the next. I am the master of the believers, the guide of those who seek the way. The truth is Mine and certitude is at My side. Leadership is Mine and the righteous shall follow Me. I am the first to acknowledge faith, the Cord of God that shall not be broken, the One who will raise the world to justice even as it hath been brought low by oppression. I am the companion of Gabriel and the archangel Michael is beside Me. I am the tree of guidance, and the essence of righteousness. I shall gather together the world of creation through the Word of God that gathers together all things. I give life unto humanity and I am the treasury of all divine commands. To Me hath been given the Luminous Pen and the Crimson Camel[6].
-- Imam Ali, Sermon of Glorification (translation by K. Fananapazir).
Full text available at:

3:81. Behold! Allah took the Covenant of the Prophets, saying: "I give you a Book and Wisdom; then comes to you a Messenger confirming what is with you; do ye believe him and render him help." Allah said: "Do ye agree, and take this My Covenant as binding on you?" They said: "We agree." He said: "Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses."

3:82. If any turn back after this, they are perverted transgressors.

3:83. Do they seek for other than the Religion of Allah? While all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will (accepted Islam), and to Him shall they all be brought back.
-- The Qur'an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 3.

2:26. Allah disdains not to use the similitude of things, lowest as well as highest. Those who believe know that it is truth from their Lord; but those who reject Faith say: "What means Allah by this similitude?" By it He causes many to stray, and many He leads into the right path, but He causes not to stray, except those who forsake (the path).

2:27. Those who break Allah's Covenant after it is ratified, and who sunder what Allah has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth: These cause loss (only) to themselves.

2:28. How can ye reject the faith in Allah? Seeing that ye were without life, and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will ye return.
-- The Qur'an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 2.

The following passages are about Imam Husayn, the third Dependent/Lesser Prophet in the era of Muhammad, and one of the "chosen Ones of God". In the Tablet of visitation for Imam Husayn Baha'u'llah refers to him as "the Sovereign of the Visible and Invisible", and those who opposed him "have violated God's Covenant and Testament and have denied His proof, repudiated His grace and disputed with His signs!"...

Know ye that trials and tribulations have, from time immemorial, been the lot of the chosen Ones of God and His beloved, and such of His servants as are detached from all else but Him, they whom neither merchandise nor traffic beguile from the remembrance of the Almighty, they that speak not till He hath spoken, and act according to His commandment. Such is God's method carried into effect of old, and such will it remain in the future. Blessed are the steadfastly enduring, they that are patient under ills and hardships, who lament not over anything that befalleth them, and who tread the path of resignation.

That which hath befallen Us hath been witnessed before. Ours is not the first goblet dashed to the ground in the lands of Islam, nor is this the first time that such schemers have intrigued against the beloved of the Lord. The tribulations We have sustained are like unto the trials endured aforetime by Imam husayn. For he was approached by messengers from malicious and evil-hearted plotters, inviting him to come forth from the city; yet when he came unto them, accompanied by his kindred, they rose up against him with all their might, until at last they slew him, slaughtered his sons and his brothers, and took captive the remainder of his family. So did it come to pass in an earlier age, and God, verily, is a witness unto My words. Of his lineage there survived none, whether young or old, save his son 'Ali al-Awsat, known as Zaynu'l-'Abidin [the fourth Imam].
-- Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 204

O denizens of the city of names and O countenances residing in the chambers of the all-highest paradise! O companions of faithfulness in the kingdom of eternity! Change ye your glad white and red garments unto black clothes of mourning, for the supreme calamity and the greatest loss hath come to pass, because of which, the Messenger of God hath wailed and lamented and the heart of Fátimih hath melted. Thereupon, the dwellers of the Abhá Tabernacle and those sailing upon the Crimson Ark, seated upon seats of love and loyalty, wept with a great weeping.

Ah! Ah! How I lament My sorrows caused by an injustice that hath set afire the realities of all beings; how I grieve over that which hath befallen the Sovereign of the Visible and Invisible at the hands of those who have violated God's Covenant and Testament and have denied His proof, repudiated His grace and disputed with His signs!
-- Baha'u'llah, Tablet of Visitation for Imám Husayn (a provisional translation by K. Fananapazir).
Full text available at:

"I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge from behind the veil of concealment" -- Bahá'u'lláh has called on His pre-existent Dependent/Lesser Prophets to appear on earth. "and have clothed them with these words of Mine -- words of consummate power and wisdom" -- and they receive their revelation from Him, the Independent Prophet (explained further by Abdu'l-Baha when describing the "two classes of Prophets"). Those who "violate not the Covenant of God" are the ones who recognise and follow the Dependent/Lesser Prophets, who are the Face of God (like the Holy Imams in the era of Muhammad), and "Break not the bond that uniteth you with your Creator." Bahá'u'lláh, the Independent Prophet, receives his revelation directly from God. No Independent Prophet will appear until after at least one thousand years of Baha'u'llah's dispensation have passed.

Wherefore, O My servants, defile not your wings with the clay of waywardness and vain desires, and suffer them not to be stained with the dust of envy and hate, that ye may not be hindered from soaring in the heavens of My divine knowledge.

O My servants! Through the might of God and His power, and out of the treasury of His knowledge and wisdom, I have brought forth and revealed unto you the pearls that lay concealed in the depths of His everlasting ocean. I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge from behind the veil of concealment, and have clothed them with these words of Mine -- words of consummate power and wisdom. I have, moreover, with the hand of divine power, unsealed the choice wine of My Revelation, and have wafted its holy, its hidden, and musk-laden fragrance upon all created things. Who else but yourselves is to be blamed if ye choose to remain unendowed with so great an outpouring of God's transcendent and all-encompassing grace, with so bright a revelation of His resplendent mercy?...

O My servants! There shineth nothing else in Mine heart except the unfading light of the Morn of Divine guidance, and out of My mouth proceedeth naught but the essence of truth, which the Lord your God hath revealed. Follow not, therefore, your earthly desires, and violate not the Covenant of God, nor break your pledge to Him. With firm determination, with the whole affection of your heart, and with the full force of your words, turn ye unto Him, and walk not in the ways of the foolish. The world is but a show, vain and empty, a mere nothing, bearing the semblance of reality. Set not your affections upon it. Break not the bond that uniteth you with your Creator, and be not of those that have erred and strayed from His ways.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 328

In the following passage, "His loved ones" and they "whose hearts witness to His unity, whose tongues proclaim His oneness, and who speak not except by His leave" are the Dependent Prophets of Baha'u'llah, who are the Face of God (like the Holy Imams in the era of Muhammad). True believers in the Unity of God follow them, faithful to the commandment: "forget not His covenant with you, and be not of them that are shut out as by a veil from Him."

The days of your life are far spent, O people, and your end is fast approaching. Put away, therefore, the things ye have devised and to which ye cleave, and take firm hold on the precepts of God, that haply ye may attain that which He hath purposed for you, and be of them that pursue a right course. Delight not yourselves in the things of the world and its vain ornaments, neither set your hopes on them. Let your reliance be on the remembrance of God, the Most Exalted, the Most Great. He will, erelong, bring to naught all the things ye possess. Let Him be your fear, and forget not His covenant with you, and be not of them that are shut out as by a veil from Him.

Beware that ye swell not with pride before God, and disdainfully reject His loved ones. Defer ye humbly to the faithful, they that have believed in God and in His signs, whose hearts witness to His unity, whose tongues proclaim His oneness, and who speak not except by His leave. Thus do We exhort you with justice, and warn you with truth, that perchance ye may be awakened.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 127

In the passage below, from the writings of Abdu'l-Baha, the "torches of God's oneness" is another reference to Dependent/Lesser Prophets of Baha'u'llah, "who would be the very embodiments of guidance". They are said to be "torches of God's oneness", "shining in the heavens where God reigneth alone" as they are Face of God on earth (like the Holy Imams in the era of Muhammad); and those who recognise and follow them show "staunchness [firmness] in the Covenant".

203. O thou who art enamoured of the Covenant! The Blessed Beauty [Baha'u'llah] hath promised this servant that souls would be raised up who would be the very embodiments of guidance, and banners of the Concourse on high, torches of God's oneness, and stars of His pure truth, shining in the heavens where God reigneth alone. They would give sight to the blind, and would make the deaf to hear; they would raise the dead to life. They would confront all the peoples of the earth, pleading their Cause with proofs of the Lord of the seven spheres.

It is my hope that in His bounty He will soon raise up these souls, that His Cause may be exalted. The lodestone which will attract this grace is staunchness in the Covenant. Render thou thanks unto God that thou art firmest of the firm.

O my God, aid Thou Thy servant to raise up the Word, and to refute what is vain and false, to establish the truth, to spread the sacred verses abroad, reveal the splendours, and make the morning's light to dawn in the hearts of the righteous.

Thou art verily the Generous, the Forgiving.
-- Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 250

And in the Book of the Covenant He explicitly saith that the object of this verse 'Who hath branched from this Ancient Root' is the Most Mighty Branch. And He commandeth all the Aghsan, the Afnan, the kindred and the Bahá'ís to turn toward Him. Now, either one must say that the Blessed Beauty hath made a mistake, or He must be obeyed. 'Abdu'l-Bahá hath no command for the people to obey save the diffusion of the fragrances of God, the exaltation of His Word, the promulgation of the oneness of the world of humanity, the establishment of universal peace, and other of the commands of God. These are divine commands and have nothing to do with 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Whoever wisheth may accept them, and anyone who rejecteth them may do as he pleaseth.
-- Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 213

In the following passage, those who have "remained faithful to the Covenant" are they who "apprehended that which I concealed within the treasury of My Words"; consistent with statements, "They that have truly recognized the Unity of God" and "discern the splendours of the light of divine unity" mentioned in the subsequent passages related to true believers.

Blessed is he who hath remained faithful to My Covenant, and whom the things of the world have not kept back from attaining My Court of holiness. Blessed is the man who hath detached himself from all else but Me, hath soared in the atmosphere of My love, hath gained admittance into My Kingdom, gazed upon My realms of glory, quaffed the living waters of My bounty, hath drunk his fill from the heavenly river of My loving providence, acquainted himself with My Cause, apprehended that which I concealed within the treasury of My Words, and hath shone forth from the horizon of divine knowledge engaged in My praise and glorification. Verily, he is of Me. Upon him rest My mercy, My loving-kindness, My bounty and My glory.
-- Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 17

This sign of the revelation of the Divine Being in them that have joined partners with Him may, in a sense, be regarded as a reflection of the glory with which the faithful are illumined. None, however, can comprehend this truth save men endued with understanding. They that have truly recognized the Unity of God should be regarded as the primary manifestations of this Name. It is they who have quaffed the wine of Divine Unity from the cup which the hand of God hath proffered unto them, and who have turned their faces towards Him. How vast the distance that separateth these sanctified beings from those men that are so far away from God!...
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 191

When the stream of words reached this stage, the sweet savours of true knowledge were shed abroad and the day-star of divine unity shone forth above the horizon of His holy utterance. Blessed is he whom His Call hath attracted to the summit of glory, who hath drawn nigh to the ultimate Purpose, and who hath recognized through the shrill voice of My Pen of Glory that which the Lord of this world and of the next hath willed. Whoso faileth to quaff the choice wine which We have unsealed through the potency of Our Name, the All-Compelling, shall be unable to discern the splendours of the light of divine unity or to grasp the essential purpose underlying the Scriptures of God, the Lord of heaven and earth, the sovereign Ruler of this world and of the world to come. Such a man shall be accounted among the faithless in the Book of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.  
-- Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 105

In the following passage, those who "have broken the Covenant of God" are they who reject the Prophet, "Him Who is the Dayspring of His signs". Following it are two more passages related to the same theme..

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.

Ye, however, have broken the Covenant of God, forgotten His Testament, and at last turned away from Him Whose appearance hath solaced the eyes of every true believer in the Divine Unity. Lift up the veils and coverings that obscure your vision, and consider the testimonies of the Prophets and Messengers, that haply ye may recognize the Cause of God in these days when the Promised One hath come invested with a mighty sovereignty. Fear God, and debar yourselves not from Him Who is the Dayspring of His signs. This shall, in truth, but profit your own selves; as to your Lord, He, verily, can afford to dispense with all creatures. From everlasting was He alone; there was none else besides Him. He it is in Whose name the standard of Divine Unity hath been planted upon the Sinai of the visible and invisible worlds, proclaiming that there is none other God but Me, the Peerless, the Glorious, the Incomparable.

Behold, however, how those who are but a creation of His Will and Command have turned aside from Him and have taken unto themselves a lord and master beside God; these, truly, are of the wayward. The mention of the All-Merciful hath at all times been upon their lips, and yet when He was manifested unto them through the power of truth they warred against Him. Wretched indeed shall be the plight of such as have broken the Covenant of their Lord when the Luminary of the world shone forth above the horizon of the Will of God, the Most Holy, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise! It was against God that they unsheathed the swords of malice and hatred, and yet they perceive it not. Methinks they remain dead and buried in the tombs of their selfish desires, though the breeze of God hath blown over all regions. They, truly, are wrapt in a dense and grievous veil. And oft as the verses of God are rehearsed unto them, they persist in proud disdain; it is as though they were devoid of all understanding, or had never heard the Call of God, the Most Exalted, the All-Knowing.
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 49

Say: O ye manifestations 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!
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 45

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 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.

"O Living Temple!" (paragraph 1.18) is one of many references to the Dependent/Lesser Prophets of Baha'u'llah ("temples of the Oneness of God") mentioned in the Surih of the Temple, referred to in separate paragraphs in the English translation. "O Living Temple!" refers to the pre-existent Dependent/Lesser Prophet when on this earthly plane. "Temple" is one of the many titles Baha'u'llah uses to refer to Prophets. Those faithful to the covenant recognise and follow the Dependent/Lesser Prophets, the same as those who recognised and followed the Holy Imams in the era of Muhammad. "O Eyes of this Temple!" (paragraph 1.19) is a symbolic reference to another Dependent/Lesser Prophet of Baha'u'llah. The words, "that which We had covenanted with them before the foundation of the world" can be paralled to the words of Imam Ali in passage #4 above, "the One who pledged an everlasting covenant with your spirits on the dawn of creation"; and to the words of Baha'u'llah in passage below, "O people, be faithful to the covenant of God, and break not the pact to which ye swore in the world of pre-existence".

O Living Temple! Through Thee have We gathered together all created things, whether in the heavens or on the earth, and called them to account for that which We had covenanted with them before the foundation of the world. And lo, but for a few radiant faces and eloquent tongues, We found most of the people dumbfounded, their eyes staring up in fear. From the former We brought forth the creation of all that hath been and all that shall be. These are they whose countenances God hath graciously turned away from the face of the unbelievers, and whom He hath sheltered beneath the shadow of the Tree of His own Being; they upon whose hearts He hath bestowed the gift of peace and tranquillity, and whom He hath strengthened and assisted through the hosts of the seen and the unseen.

O Eyes of this Temple [the Maid of Heaven, Baha'u'llah, the Independent Prophet]! Look not upon the heavens and that which they contain, nor upon the earth and them that dwell thereon, for We have created you to behold Our own Beauty: See it now before you! Withhold not your gaze therefrom, and deprive not yourselves of the Beauty of your Lord, the All-Glorious, the Best-Beloved. Erelong shall We bring into being through you keen and penetrating eyes that will contemplate the manifold signs of their Creator and turn away from all that is perceived by the people of the world. Through you shall We bestow the power of vision upon whomsoever We desire, and lay hold upon those who have deprived themselves of this gracious bounty. These, verily, have drunk from the cup of delusion, though they perceive it not.
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 10

Say: O people, be faithful to the covenant of God, and break not the pact to which ye swore in the world of pre-existence, in the Presence of God, the Mighty, the Glorious, the All-Knowing. Say: Then open your eyes! By God, the Eternal Truth, He hath resurrected all on that Day, at that time. And God hath come in the shadows of the clouds. Blessed be God, the Dispatcher, the Mighty, the Exalted, the Great. Then shall all who are in the heavens be stricken with fear, and all the people of the concourse on High shall lament, save for the one who hath been taken by the hand of the Most Glorious by virtue of His mighty, exalted and most high Sovereignty, the one who hath had the veils obscuring his sight torn by the fingers of the divine decree, and the one whom God hath delivered from those who were in doubt about attaining the presence of God, the King, the Mighty, the Beauteous.
-- Baha'u'llah, Garden of Justice - provisional translation by Juan Cole.

The covenant represented by the Maid of Heaven, a Dependent/Lesser Prophet of Baha'u'llah..

Say: Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven, inmate of the Exalted Paradise! Drape thyself in whatever manner pleaseth Thee in the silken Vesture of Immortality, and put on, in the name of the All-Glorious, the broidered Robe of Light. Hear, then, the sweet, the wondrous accent of the Voice that cometh from the Throne of Thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most High. Unveil Thy face, and manifest the beauty of the black-eyed Damsel, and suffer not the servants of God to be deprived of the light of Thy shining countenance. Grieve not if Thou hearest the sighs of the dwellers of the earth, or the voice of the lamentation of the denizens of heaven. Leave them to perish on the dust of extinction. Let them be reduced to nothingness, inasmuch as the flame of hatred hath been kindled within their breasts. Intone, then, before the face of the peoples of earth and heaven, and in a most melodious voice, the anthem of praise, for a remembrance of Him Who is the King of the names and attributes of God. Thus have We decreed Thy destiny. Well able are We to achieve Our purpose.

Beware that Thou divest not Thyself, Thou Who art the Essence of Purity, of Thy robe of effulgent glory. Nay, enrich Thyself increasingly, in the kingdom of creation, with the incorruptible vestures of Thy God, that the beauteous image of the Almighty may be reflected through Thee in all created things and the grace of Thy Lord be infused in the plenitude of its power into the entire creation.

If Thou smellest from any one the smell of the love of Thy Lord, offer up Thyself for him, for We have created Thee to this end, and have covenanted with Thee, from time immemorial, and in the presence of the congregation of Our well-favored ones, for this very purpose. Be not impatient if the blind in heart hurl down the shafts of their idle fancies upon Thee. Leave them to themselves, for they follow the promptings of the evil ones.

Cry out before the gaze of the dwellers of heaven and of earth: I am the Maid of Heaven, the Offspring begotten by the Spirit of Bahá. My habitation is the Mansion of His Name, the All-Glorious. Before the Concourse on high I was adorned with the ornament of His names. I was wrapt within the veil of an inviolable security, and lay hidden from the eyes of men. Methinks that I heard a Voice of divine and incomparable sweetness, proceeding from the right hand of the God of Mercy, and lo, the whole Paradise stirred and trembled before Me, in its longing to hear its accents, and gaze on the beauty of Him that uttered them. Thus have We revealed in this luminous Tablet, and in the sweetest of languages, the verses which the Tongue of Eternity was moved to utter in the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 282 (Gleanings CXXIX).

In the following passage, the Covenant represented by Jesus, an Independent Prophet, is foretold by John the Baptist..

O manifestations of justice, when the gales of might blow, summon the people of the Bayan and remind them of this Great, this Most Great Announcement. Then ask them, "O people, by what proof have ye believed in 'Al' (the Bab) and yet have rejected the One of Whom He gave glad tidings in all the Tablets. Examine matters critically, O ignorant ones. Fear God, O concourse of the heedless! Do ye assert your faith in My Herald while disbelieving in My own Self, the Mighty, the Wise? Your likeness is as those who believed in John, the Prophet, who proclaimed to the people the kingdom of God. But when the Word (Jesus) became manifest, they rejected and slandered Him. The malediction of God be upon the wrong-doers! John had called the servants each and every day in His loudest voice, and concluded with them the Covenant of the Word of God, prophesying to them that they would attain His presence. In the end, John sacrificed His own life out of love for that glorious and wondrous Soul. But when the veil was rent and the Most Great Word appeared, they opposed Him, and said, "He has transgressed against the commandments of John." Thus have their base selves deceived them, insofar as they were deprived of meeting their Lord, the Mighty, the Powerful.
-- Baha'u'llah, Garden of Justice - provisional translation by Juan Cole.

In the era of Moses, those who followed the twelve captains ("believe in My apostles") are faithful to the covenant..

12. Allah did aforetime take a Covenant from the Children of Israel, and We appointed twelve captains among them, and Allah said: "I am with you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers, practice regular charity, believe in My apostles, honor and assist them and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit you to gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you, after this, resisteth faith, he hath truly wandered from the path of rectitude."

13. But because of their breach of their Covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard: they change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the Message that was sent them, nor wilt thou cease to find them, barring a few, ever bent on (new) deceits: but forgive them and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who are kind.
-- The Qur'an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah  5

12 Allah made a covenant of old with the Children of Israel and We raised among them twelve chieftains, and Allah said: Lo! I am with you. If ye establish worship and pay the poor-due, and believe in My messengers and support them, and lend unto Allah a kindly loan, surely I shall remit your sins, and surely I shall bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow. Whoso among you disbelieveth after this will go astray from a plain road.

13 And because of their breaking their covenant, We have cursed them and made hard their hearts. They change words from their context and forget a part of that whereof they were admonished. Thou wilt not cease to discover treachery from all save a few of them. But bear with them and pardon them. Lo! Allah loveth the kindly.
-- The Qur'an (Pickthall tr), Sura   5

In each cycle the guardians and holy souls have been twelve. So Jacob had twelve sons; in the time of Moses there were twelve heads or chiefs of the tribes; in the time of Christ there were twelve Apostles; and in the time of Muhammad there were twelve Imams. But in this glorious manifestation there are twenty-four, double the number of all the others, for the greatness of this manifestation requires it. These holy souls are in the presence of God seated on their own thrones, meaning that they reign eternally.
[1 Rev. 11:16-17.]
-- Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 57

Thou didst ask as to the tenth to the seventeenth verses of the twenty-first chapter of Saint John the Divine's Revelation. Know thou that according to mathematical principles, the firmament of this earth's brilliant day-star hath been divided among twelve constellations, which they call the twelve zodiacal signs. In the same way, the Sun of Truth shineth out from and sheddeth its bounties through twelve stations of holiness, and by these heavenly signs are meant those stainless and unsullied personages who are the very well-springs of sanctity, and the dawning-points proclaiming the oneness of God.

Consider how in the days of the Interlocutor (Moses), there were twelve holy beings who were leaders of the twelve tribes; and likewise in the dispensation of the Spirit (Christ), note that there were twelve Apostles gathered within the sheltering shade of that supernal Light, and from those splendid dawning-points the Sun of Truth shone forth even as the sun in the sky. Again, in the days of Muhammad, observe that there were twelve dawning-points of holiness, the manifestors of God's confirming help. Such is the way of it.

Accordingly did Saint John the Divine tell of twelve gates in his vision, and twelve foundations. By `that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God' is meant the holy Law of God, and this is set forth in many Tablets and still to be read in the Scriptures of the Prophets of the past: for instance, that Jerusalem was seen going out into the wilderness.

The meaning of the passage is that this heavenly Jerusalem hath twelve gates, through which the blessed enter into the City of God. These gates are souls who are as guiding stars, as portals of knowledge and grace; and within these gates there stand twelve angels. By `angel' is meant the power of the confirmations of God--that the candle of God's confirming power shineth out from the lamp-niche of those souls--meaning that every one of those beings will be granted the most vehement confirming support.

These twelve gates surround the entire world, that is they are a shelter for all creatures. And further, these twelve gates are the foundation of the City of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and on each one of these foundations is written the name of one of the Apostles of Christ. That is to say, each one maketh manifest the perfections, the joyous message, and the excellency of that holy Being.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 165

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