“The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh,” Shoghi Effendi states, referring to the second form of Covenant, “had been solely instituted through the direct operation of His Will and purpose.”4
Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, the “Instrument He had forged,” was created to channel, “after His passing, the forces released by Him in the course of a forty year ministry.” Its purpose was to preserve “the unity of His Faith” and provide “the impulse necessary to achieve its destiny,”5 the Kingdom of God on earth. “Had not the Covenant come to pass,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá states, “. . . the forces of the Cause of God would have been utterly scattered. . . .”6
The second form of Covenant is, in essence, the “continuation of divine guidance after the Ascension of the Prophet” through a person or institution that can “indisputably state what is the Will of God.”7 Bahá’u’lláh instructed His followers to turn, after His passing, to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Center of His Covenant.
Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant is unique in religious history because it is explicitly revealed in writing.8 His instructions regarding the Covenant are found in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (the book of His laws), in the Tablet of the Branch, and in the Kitáb-i-‘Ahd (the book of His Covenant). There are also a number of Bahá’u’lláh’s other Tablets that extol and reinforce the station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
4 God Passes By 325
5 Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By 405
6 Tablets of the Divine Plan 49
7 The Universal House of Justice, letter of 3-23-75
8 The Universal House of Justice, The Power of the Covenant, Part II, 4-5