Baha'is believe that all knowledge of God comes only from
His appointed Messengers.  The term "Manifestation of God" is
used to denote these messengers because they "manifest" or
demonstrate all of the attributes of God.  We use the term
"Manifestation of God" to refer to all the Prophets of God such
as (but not limited to): Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus,
Muhammad, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha, the Bab, and Baha'u'llah.
Baha'u'llah is the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith and the
Bab is the Prophet-Forerunner of Baha'u'llah.
     In order to arrive at an understanding of our knowledge of
God on the one hand, and those who Baha'u'llah calls
"Manifestations of His Divine Essence," the "Treasuries of
Divine knowledge," the "Repositories of celestial wisdom," the
and "Embodiments of Divine mysteries," on the other, one must
begin by seeking an example: if one gazes at the sun, one can
truly say, "That is the sun, I am in direct contact with the
sun, I can feel its heat, though I can not bear to even look
into its light because it is the sun" and this would be quite
true in meaning, whereas in fact it is not true because all we
experience of the sun comes through its rays which reach us so
far from their source, albeit with such power that we say we are
in contact with the sun.  Suppose we ask this visible orb, this
globe of rays, "Are you the sun?"  It could truthfully reply, "I
am the sun" because it is the perfect conveyor, the perfect
vehicle of the sun's light and heat.  But it could equally
say, "No, I am not the sun at all, the sun is millions of miles
away, and you can never know it for you and it are incompatible,
but through me, its rays, you know the sun, therefore, to you I
am the sun."  This explains the term "Manifestations of the Sun
of Truth," Those Who are the Divine Exemplars of God.
     God, Baha'u'llah states, "...hath ordained the knowledge of
these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of
His own Self.  Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God.
Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of
God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath
testified to the truth of God Himself.  Whoso turneth away from
them, hath turned away from God, and whoso disbelieveth in them,
hath disbelieved in God. . . They are the Manifestations of God
amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His
     So profound is this mystic union that links God and His
Manifestations that Baha'u'llah testifies: 

        "Glory be to Thee, O my God!   My face hath been set
         towards Thy face, and my face is, verily, Thy face, 
         and my  call  is  Thy  call,  and my Revelation Thy
         Revelation, and my self Thy self,  and my Cause Thy 
         Cause, and my behest Thy behest,   and my Being Thy 
         Being, and my sovereignty Thy sovereignty,   and my
         glory Thy glory, and my power Thy power." 

This is the aspect of identification of the Manifestation with God.
     But there is another equally profound aspect which is the
complete singleness of the Creator: "God," Baha'u'llah
categorically declares, "the unknowable Essence, the Divine
Being, is immensely exalted beyond every human attribute, such
as corporeal existence, ascent and descent, egress and regress."
The Manifestations of God, "Who are the Quintessence of
knowledge, are but the creation and instruments" of His purpose.
"Far, far are They Who are related to Thee", He testifies,
"above the conception of such relationship!"
     It was in this mysterious relationship of the ray to the
sun that Jesus Christ declared "he that hath seen me hath seen
the Father" and "No one cometh unto the Father but by Me," and
that "God spake unto Moses."  What does this mean except that,
as in our example, the ray was connected with the sun, conveyed
the sun's qualities, became the channel for the manifestation of
the characteristics of God?
     Baha'u'llah repeatedly testified to the inadequacy of words
to convey concepts which are beyond our comprehension. In His
writings, God is not only the Creator, but also the "Maker of
Earth and Heaven," both the tangible and the spiritual. God is
also the "Fashioner of the universe" which conveys a sense of
artisanship, of a direct conscienceness which He calls the
"Ancient Being," interested in His handiwork, not an
anthropomorphic Being, but an "Infinite Essence," an "unknowable
Essence," Who is "the Source of all things."