Using the example of a school, we can think of the Everlasting Covenant as the promise of graduation after a series of grades.
• The Manifestations are like teachers of different grades in one school. The principal gives a fixed assignment to each teacher. The teacher fits the lessons to the grade level and understanding of the children. The students are supposed to obey the teacher and learn what is presented.
God makes a covenant with humanity through each Manifestation. He gives each of Them a specific mission and a “predestined revelation.”3 The Manifestations limit Their teachings to our ability to understand.4 We need to accept the Manifestation and obey His teachings.5
• The teacher prepares the children for the next grade and teacher.
The Manifestation of God makes a covenant with His people to accept the next Manifestation.
• The aim of the teacher at each level is to do his or her part to prepare the students for graduation. When students leave school they pass from childhood to maturity.
The series of Manifestations up to the Báb has prepared us for a time of fulfillment—the building of the Kingdom of God on earth. Bahá’u’lláh states: “In this most mighty Revelation all the Dispensations of the past have attained their highest and final consummation.”6 This represents the coming of age of humanity.
After graduation a person continues to learn. So, also, the Covenant of God continues beyond Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation. “It should be borne in mind that, great as is the power manifested by this Revelation and however vast the range of the Dispensation its Author has inaugurated, it emphatically repudiates the claim to be regarded as the final revelation of God’s will and purpose for mankind.”7
3 Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings 52
4 Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings 77
5 See lesson 6 for more information on our responsibility toward the Covenant
6 Gleanings 244
7 Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh 115