Recognition of the Next Manifestation of God
Date: 6 June 1997
To: Mr. ..., Canada
The Universal House of Justice has received your email message of 24 May 1997 inquiring about the eventual recognition of the next Manifestation of God by the Universal House of Justice. Regarding your request to be provided with a copy of a particular letter from the House of Justice to an individual believer in which this matter was addressed, regrettably we were not able to determine which of several letters written on this subject by the House of Justice, or by the Department of the Secretariat on behalf of the House of Justice, you were referring to. One such letter, which encompasses the contents of the others, is excerpted below.
With reference to infallibility, you quote from Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh that "trials and tribulations have, from time immemorial, been the lot of the chosen Ones of God...", and express concern that this implies that the Universal House of Justice will not recognize the next Manifestation of God.
There are several statements in the Sacred Scriptures of our Faith which are related to this general subject, and one in particular is found in "The Dispensation of Baha’u'llah", (The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 117) as follows: "My fears are for Him Who will be sent down unto you after Me -- Him Who will be invested with great sovereignty and mighty dominion". When a National Assembly wrote to the Guardian, asking about this reference, the following reply was sent on his behalf.
...this refers to the Manifestation Who is to come after a thousand or more years, Who like all previous Messengers of God will be subjected to persecutions, but will eventually triumph over them. For men of ill-will have been and will always continue to be in this world, unless mankind reaches a state of complete and absolute perfection -- a condition which is not only improbable but actually impossible to attain.
As you see, the persecutions to which the next Manifestation will be subjected will be carried out, according to the above statement, by "men of ill-will" who, alas, "will continue to be in this world". There is nothing in the Writings to support the view that the opposition or persecution will be instigated or inflicted by the Universal House of Justice.
You are aware, of course, that one of the reasons for the appearance of a new Manifestation of God is to bring forth a spiritual renewal, as the former Dispensation would have passed through its stages of growth and reached its zenith. You can be sure that the Supreme Institution of the Faith, "under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One", will exert every effort to recognize, when the time is ripe, the reality of the new Manifestation, and lead men to Him. How the majority of the people at that time will respond is a truth locked up in the treasury of God's knowledge.
We trust that this information will aid in your understanding of this subject.
Department of the Secretariat