Two of the foundational premises of the Baha’i faith are the concept of progressive revelation and the equality of the religions.
Baha’is refer to the messengers -- the founders of the world’s greatest religions – as “Manifestations of God.” Each manifestation embodied and reported upon a different aspect of God.
They are as one string of pearls, emanating from the same source, vivified by the same spirit, imbued with the same essence, yet each one a unique entity.
One succeeded the other, each one affirming the truth of the revelations of the ones who came before, and what new wisdom was now necessary and appropriate to the time and place of their appearance.
Each brought with him a new book to give to the world containing the laws and teaching needed to promote the ever-advancing civilization and happiness of mankind. Each told of the next manifestation that would appear. There is no one above the other.
Let no one, however, mistake my purpose. The Revelation, of which Bahá’u’lláh is the source and center, abrogates none of the religions that have preceded it, nor does it attempt, in the slightest degree, to distort their features or to belittle their value. It disclaims any intention of dwarfing any of the Prophets of the past, or of whittling down the eternal verity of their teachings. It can, in no wise, conflict with the spirit that animates their claims, nor does it seek to undermine the basis of any man’s allegiance to their cause. Its declared, its primary purpose is to enable every adherent of these Faiths to obtain a fuller understanding of the religion with which he stands identified, and to acquire a clearer apprehension of its purpose. It is neither eclectic in the presentation of its truths, nor arrogant in the affirmation of its claims. Its teachings revolve around the fundamental principle that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is progressive, not final. Unequivocally and without the least reservation it proclaims all established religions to be divine in origin, identical in their aims, complementary in their functions, continuous in their purpose, indispensable in their value to mankind.
– Shogi Effendi, the Guardian
Each messenger carried their own unique energy.
Moses was the bringer of law. Zoroastrianism focused on the discernment of light and dark, good and evil and purity of mind. Buddhism focused on inner peace. His Holiness Jesus Christ focused on love and compassion, salvation and the birth of spiritual consciousness. Mohammed focused on submission to the will of God and obedience.
Baha’is believe that the latest in the series of the manifestations of God were the Báb, “The Gate” (through which the Promised One shall come) and Baha’u’llah (the Glory of God) who declared his mission in 1844, in Persia (modern day Iran.)
Essentially, Bahai’s believe that Baha’u’llah is the Promised One of all time and all ages.
Most major religions, such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, predict the coming of a promised one, and Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah is that promised one. He revealed a new book – the Kitab-i-Aqdas – “The Most Holy Book” – the laws and teachings of which will instruct and lead us to and keep us on the path to the long promised Kingdom of God on earth and the era of the Universal Peace.