“I have many things to tell you yet… How be it when the Spirit of Truth shall come, He shall guide you unto all truth.” (John 16:12-18)
Many Christians are taught that Jesus promised salvation only to those who accepted Him. As the Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31). They believe that Jesus’ Laws are the same “yesterday, today and forever” (Heb 13:8) and no one can add anything or change any law of the Bible (Matt 5:18-19). Finally, they believe that their religion alone is the only one in the world that promises eternal salvation, and therefore it alone stands as the only refuge for humanity.
Of course, not all who follow Christ believe this. There are over 20,000 different sects of Christianity. Some have come to various conclusions of their own where they balance the Christian reality with what they feel in their gut is right, or just. They cannot believe that a loving God would condemn so many billions of souls to eternal damnation. What about all those souls who had never heard of Jesus?
Some Christians point out that the New Testament claims that nothing can be added to it (Gal 1:8; Rev 22:18; Matt 5:18-19). Therefore, when Baha’u’llah changes the laws of Christianity, they refuse to listen to Him. They fail to realize that the Old Testament also says that nothing can be added to it! Therefore, many Jews reject the laws of Christ. They turn to the Torah where it says, “You shall not add to the word which I command you nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord God which I command you.” (Deut 4:2). But Jesus Christ changed many of the laws, for example the law of the Sabbath, circumcision, and an eye-for-an-eye. Additionally, scholars point out that Revelations, Galatians, and Matthew were written before the Gospel of John, 2 Peter, James, and other books of the Bible. Therefore, all these books must be discounted as they were technically ‘added’ to the New Testament of Jesus. Baha’is offer a simple explanation to resolve these apparent contradictions. First of all, Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah is not offering a new Gospel, but rather the fulfillment of the existing Gospel. Baha’is believe that Jesus promised this would happen when He said, “I have many things to tell you yet… How be it when the Spirit of Truth shall come, He shall guide you unto all truth.” (John 16:12-18).
But Baha’is believe there is a reason why one religion changes the laws and ordinances of the religion that preceded it. Baha’is have been taught that all religions have two kinds of teachings. The first are the eternal teachings that never change. These are the ideas such as that there is only one God and the concept of the Golden Rule. You will find these teachings in all the major world’s religions. On the other hand, there are the temporary social teachings and laws that are fitted to the time and place in which a Manifestation of God comes. These are the things that each Manifestation changes during His Reign on earth. These are the laws such as the Sabbath and ‘the eye for an eye.’ Jesus even said that these laws were created to help people when He said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not the man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27). Therefore, Baha’is believe that every Manifestation of God will institute new laws and end some other laws, and in this way will make a new Covenant with humanity depending on the needs of the people. For example, the people of Judaism 2000 years ago faced very different challenges from the people of Arabia in the year 640 AD. Therefore the laws of Moses were very different from the Laws of Muhammad.
Baha’is also understand these concepts by looking to the fact that a Manifestation of God, such as Jesus Christ, are the Highest Beings that we can know in heaven or earth, the perfect reflections of God in the universe; and they have two stations. One station is associated with the temporal reality; the other station is associated with the everlasting reality. This means that Jesus had a temporal reality in that He had a name and a body, and He walked the earth at a certain time and place. He created a religion around the name of Jesus Christ that would last for a certain amount of time until He would return and fulfill it and bring a new name (Rev 3:12).
Then there was an everlasting reality. This was the aspect of Jesus Christ that was timeless. This was reflected when Jesus said things like “Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58). So this reality that has always existed was the one that all of these Great Manifestations of God were claiming to be. It is in a sense, an authority bestowed on each Manifestation to speak God’s Word for that Age. Each Manifestation is a separate lamp, but each carries the same Light of God to the world. Baha’is believe that Jesus was referring to the other religions of the world, and this sense that He (as the everlasting authority) Had appeared to all of them when He said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd” (John 10:16). Baha’is believe that this prophesy is for Christ upon His return when He would gather all His religions of the world, and in the Glory of the Father unite them through His new name. Baha’is believe this new name is Baha’u’llah.