Consider, how great is the change today! Behold, how many are the Sovereigns who bow the knee before His name! How numerous the nations and kingdoms who have sought the shelter of His shadow, who bear allegiance to His Faith, and pride themselves therein! From the pulpit-top there ascendeth today the words of praise which, in utter lowliness, glorify His blessed name; and from the heights of minarets there resoundeth the call that summoneth the concourse of His people to adore Him. Even those Kings of the earth who have refused to embrace His Faith and to put off the garment of unbelief, none the less confess and acknowledge the greatness and overpowering majesty of that Day-star of loving kindness. Such is His earthly sovereignty, the evidences of which thou dost on every side behold. This sovereignty must needs be revealed and established either in the lifetime of every Manifestation of God or after His ascension unto His true habitation in the realms above. What thou dost witness today is but a confirmation of this truth. That spiritual ascendency, however, which is primarily intended, resideth within, and revolveth around Them from eternity even unto eternity. It can never for a moment be divorced from Them. Its dominion hath encompassed all that is in heaven and on earth.
"Consider". Ponder, reflect: how often has Baha'u'llah asked us to do this throughout the book? Previously He asked us to "Consider the past", but now He is asking us to consider today.
Although He is asking this of the uncle of the Bab, He is also asking it of us. Rather than look at the "today" of the 1860's, we have decided to look at the today of... well, today.
Right now, leading up to the year of 2020, there is a lot of discussion about religion. Many people are atheist, deriding religion at every turn, presuming that you have to be some sort of blithering idiot to even consider the possibility of a God. On the other hand there is a huge rise in religious fanaticism, where people presume that you must be some sort of evil incarnate if you dare to believe anything differently than they do. Triumphalism, no matter one's belief, has taken hold of our civilization like we haven't seen since the Protestant wars in Europe those many years ago.
Baha'u'llah, here, has asked us to consider the change today, the difference between how people regarded Muhammad during His life, and how they regard Him now. The change is quite remarkable. And He is alluding to the truth that the people of the world will regard the Bab quite differently in the future from how they do today.
When we consider today, we discover fanaticism and atheism, with very little in the middle. The Bab, however, called us to unity and a new understanding of God. This really comes into play when we look at those two extremes. But as the Universal House of Justice said, "The scriptures have not changed; the moral principles they contain have lost none of their validity." We can see that people truly do find solace in their sacred scriptures, but need a new definition of God to be able to move forward. This is, perhaps, the truth that the atheists are unconsciously recognizing.
This is something that every Manifestation of God does; They give us new definitions to work with. They raise our vision and give us a greater awareness of the world around us, and a more effective way to make a difference. They truly infuse in each word a new meaning, and through this, allow us to climb to undreamt of heights in the spiritual realms.
Their "spiritual ascendancy... resideth within" Them, and is eternal. It takes a while, though, for the world to catch up to that. It takes years, generations, and sometimes centuries, for us to recognize this. But recognize it we will.
For now, we have the advantage of knowing these new definitions that Baha'u'llah, as well as the Bab, has given us. We can work with them and see new truths in the scriptures, both our own and those of old, which allow us to conceive of ideas that had previously been unthinkable and unbelievable.
And this leads us back to the uncle of the Bab. Why didn't he recognize his Nephew? In short, it's because one of the things he was looking for was an earthly sovereignty. He had his own fixed ideas, based on the teachings of the culture at the time, of what the Promised One would look like, and the Bab didn't meet that criteria. Slowly, over the length of this Book, Baha'u'llah has helped him reassess his perspective, and re-examine his belief about the sovereignty of the Promised One. He has helped him come to a new understanding of what sovereignty truly is.
It's all about detachment. Remember detachment? That was a major theme in Part 1, and is now the necessary ingredient to begin to see the truths that Baha'u'llah is offering here.
When considering new definitions, you have to be able to move beyond the old ones. You have to be detached from the old in order to see the benefit of the new.
And here it is worth noting that Baha'u'llah is not trying to convince anyone of anything, but is, instead, sharing a perspective for consideration. He is systematically going through these ideas, moving from one concept to the next, and allowing the reader to try and keep up. And perhaps that is one of the reasons why the Guardian considered this a how-to book for teaching. Baha'u'llah is showing us how to recognize a Messenger of God, and, beyond that, how to share that realization with others.