As to the influence of holy Beings and the continuation of Their grace to mankind after They have put away Their human form, this is, to Bahá’ís, an indisputable fact. Indeed, the flooding grace, the streaming splendours of the Holy Manifestations appear after Their ascension from this world. The exaltation of the word, the revelation of the power of God, the conversion of God- fearing souls, the bestowal of everlasting life - it was following the Messiah’s martyrdom [crucification of Christ] that all these were increased and intensified. In the same way, ever since the ascension of the Blessed Beauty [Bahá’u’lláh], the bestowals have been more abundant, the spreading light is brighter, the tokens of the Lord’s might are more powerful, the influence of the Word is much stronger, and it will not be long before the motion, the heat, the brilliance, the blessings of the Sun of His reality will encompass all the earth ... This is but the early dawn. Consider how, with the Cause of Christ, three hundred years had to go by before its great influence was made manifest. Today, not sixty years from its birth [note: as of the time this was written], the light of this Faith has been shed around this planet.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p.65)
As to the resurrection of the body of Christ three days subsequent to His departure: This signifies the divine teachings and spiritual religion of His Holiness Christ, which constitute His spiritual body, which is living and perpetual forevermore.
By the “three days’ of His death is meant that after the great martyrdom, the penetration of the divine teachings and the spread of the spiritual law became relaxed on account of the crucifixion of Christ. For the disciples were somewhat troubled by the violence of divine tests. But when they become firm, that divine spirit resurrected and that body - which signifies the divine word - arose. Likewise the address of the angels to the people of Galilee, “That this Christ will return in the same way and that He will descend from heaven,” is a spiritual address. For when Christ appeared, he came from heaven, although He was outwardly born from the womb of Mary. For He said: “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven.” He said: “I came down from heaven and likewise will go to heaven.” By “Heaven” is not meant this infinite phenomenal space, but “heaven” signifies the world of the divine kingdom which is the supreme station and seat of the Sun of Truth.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas, Vol. 1, p. 192)
Concerning the Resurrection of Christ you quote the twenty-fourth chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke, where the account stresses the reality of the appearance of Jesus to His disciples who, the Gospel states, at first took Him to be a ghost. From a Bahá’í point of view the belief that the Resurrection was the return to life of a body of flesh and blood, which later rose from the earth into the sky is not reasonable, nor is it necessary to the essential truth of the disciples’ experience, which is that Jesus did not cease to exist when He was crucified (as would have been the belief of many Jews of that period), but that His Spirit, released from the body, ascended to the presence of God and continued to inspire and guide His followers and preside over the destinies of His dispensation.
(Universal House of Justice, 1987 Sept 14, Resurrection of Christ)
Concerning the meaning of ‘Resurrection’: although the term is used by Bahá’u’lláh in His Writings,... its meaning is figurative. The tomb is also allegorical, i.e., the tomb of unbelief.
(Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day: Messages to India, p.79)
For example, from the inception of the mission of Jesus - may peace be upon Him - till the day of His ascension was the resurrection of Moses. For during that period the Revelation of God shown forth through the appearance word punished by His word everyone who did not believe; inasmuch as God’s testimony for that Day was that which He solemnly affirmed in the Gospel.
(the Báb, Selections From the Writings of the Báb, p.106-8)
It is the same with the spiritual cycles of the Prophets—that is to say, the day of the appearance of the Holy Manifestations is the spiritual springtime; it is the divine splendor; it is the heavenly bounty, the breeze of life, the rising of the Sun of Reality. Spirits are quickened; hearts are refreshed and invigorated; souls become good; existence is set in motion; human realities are gladdened, and grow and develop in good qualities and perfections. General progress is achieved and revival takes place, for it is the day of resurrection, the time of excitement and ferment, and the season of bliss, of joy and of intense rapture.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 74)
The Cause of Christ was like a lifeless body; and when after three days the disciples became assured and steadfast, and began to serve the Cause of Christ, and resolved to spread the divine teachings, putting His counsels into practice, and arising to serve Him, the Reality of Christ became resplendent and His bounty appeared; His religion found life; His teachings and His admonitions became evident and visible. In other words, the Cause of Christ was like a lifeless body until the life and the bounty of the Holy Spirit surrounded it. Such is the meaning of the resurrection of Christ, and this was a true resurrection.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions", rev. ed., p. 104)
The resurrections of the Divine Manifestations are not of the body. All their states, their conditions, their acts, the things they have established, their teachings, their their expressions, their parables, and their instructions have a spiritual and divine signification, and have no connection with material things.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, old ed., p.119)
The stage perfection of everything is reached when its resurrection occureth.
(The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p.107)
Thou hast written concerning the meeting of His Highness Christ after the crucifixion and that some of the apostles perceived Him but did not recognize Him; but that they did recognize Him after the breaking of bread. Know thou that the Messianic Spirit and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is always manifest, but capacity and ability (to receive it) is more in some and less in others. After the crucifixion the apostles had not in the beginning the capacity and ability of witnessing the Messianic reality. For they were agitated. But when they found firmness and steadfastness, their inner sight became opened, and they saw the reality of the Messiah as manifest. For the body of Christ was crucified and vanished, but the Spirit of Christ is always pouring upon the contingent world, and is manifest before the insight of the people of assurance.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas, Vol. 1, p. 193-194).
True resurrection from the sepulcres means to be quickened in conformity with His Will, through the power of His utterance.
(The Báb, Selections From the Writings of the Báb, p.158)
We do not believe that there was a bodily resurrection after the crucifixion of Christ, but that there was a time after His ascension when His disciples perceived spiritually his true greatness and realized He was eternal in being. This is what has been reported symbolically in the New Testament and been misunderstood. His eating with disciples after resurrection is the same thing.
(Shoghi Effendi, High Endeavors: Messages to Alaska, p.69-70)
...by ‘Resurrection’ is meant the rise of the Manifestation to proclaim His Cause ...
(Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Iqan, p.170)
...the spiritual resurrection of man... is...his acceptance of Divine Manifestations.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, 1988 revised edition, p.481)
...we say that the meaning of Christ’s resurrection is as follows: the disciples were troubled and agitated after the martyrdom of Christ. The Reality of Christ, which signifies His teachings, his bounties, his perfections, and his spiritual power, was hidden and concealed for two or three days after his martyrdom, and was not resplendent and manifest. No, rather it was lost; for the believers were few in number and were troubled and agitated. The Cause of Christ was like a lifeless body; and, when after three days the disciples became assured and steadfast, and began to serve the Cause of Christ of Christ, and resolved to spread the divine teachings, putting his counsels into practice, and arising to serve him,... his religion found life, his teachings and admonitions became evident and visible. In other words, the Cause of Christ was like a lifeless body, until the life and bounty of the Holy Spirit surrounded it.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, old edition, p.119-121)