There are two general types of religious covenant. Both serve as instruments through which the will of God flows to humanity. Each brings spiritual blessings to us when we arise to do our part. With the help of this divine assistance we can achieve our God-given purpose.
The first type of covenant is the Covenant of God.¹ It concerns the series of divine Educators, the Manifestations of God, that are sent by God with teachings to guide humanity. This lesson will examine the meaning of the Covenant of God as described in the Bahá’í Writings.
The second type of covenant is the appointment by the Manifestation of a successor—someone or some institution that serves as a channel for divine guidance until the coming of the next Manifestation. The meaning and origin of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant is covered in lessons 3 and 4.
1. The Covenant of God is referred to in different ways in Bahá’í literature, such as the Covenant and Testament of God (Epistle to the Son of the Wolf 147), the greater Covenant (The Covenant, intro.), the general Covenant (The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh 137), and the Eternal Covenant (Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 227). There are cases where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá uses the term “Covenant of God” in a general sense when He seems to be referring to what is described in lesson 3 as the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh. For example, see Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, page 6, and Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, page 215.