The Hidden Material of The Urantia Papers
A letter to Doretta Wildes.
Late June, 1997
Your e-mail questions of June 20 evoke several areas for fruitful discussion; the replies can be lengthy. Therefore I thought it might be helpful to break up my responses into categories, and send them to you as separate transmissions. In that way we will not frighten off others by extended dispatches, and we can keep our thinking focused on one category at a time.
>"I partially agree that the Papers do not provide descriptions of the signs of the last days. Certainly not in the superstitious fundamentalist framework. But they are explicit about our present situation and coming events. The statements were styled to avoid reaction by many intellectuals until the time that the revelation could be and would be used. (It was necessary to get the Revelation into the world, past minds which might have rejected overt statements.)"<
>"Ernest, are you speculating here or do you know something I don't about the literary style of the revelators? I'm a bit confused. How can the UB documents be "explicit" yet at the same time styled sans overt statements so as not to pique the reactions of intellectuals? An example or two might help."<
In my posts over the past week I illustrated examples of "revelation contained within revelation." One of those was the subject of the Millennium. As far as I am aware no one previously in the Urantia community has provided an examination of that subject. It just did not occur to anyone to examine the many references within UB, or how they might relate to prior revelations. Because this was not done, it is not part of Urantian repertoire. I believe the general attitude of the "readership" consigned the term in John's Apocalypse to the waste basket of apocalyptic superstition. You can now recognize a much broader potential to that term, and that such time periods operate at all levels of the universe. Hence, we would be negligent if we did not retrieve it from our conceptual waste basket, and begin to deal with it as a solid spiritual reality.
Another example was Jesus' use of apocalyptic prophecies to come to understanding of his role. Refer to my post to Dan Massey of June 20. That the UB regards apocalyptic writings of importance can be recognized by several passages. For example, it spends some length on discussion of Daniel 2. But none of this was done through overt statement. The authors left it to our spiritual sensitivity to come to such recognition, while avoiding the repelling of modern intellectuals and new age minds, and still providing basis for understanding to those who might be more perceptive.
Another remark may be helpful. A dramatic difference exists between fundamentalist superstitions and fundamental operations of the universe. Modern secular and godless minds are unable to distinguish this difference. They are spiritually lost in the maelstrom of today's intellectual whirlwinds. In spite of many remarks within UB, they cannot come to grips with the fact that higher celestial beings, all those with origin on Paradise, operate above and outside time, and hence have perspectives of time not available to lower beings. If those higher beings should deem it fit to "reveal" future episodes of time-unfolding for our edification, they could easily do so. Prophecy is no more than that. It is not superstition; it is real. But only to those who have the spiritual sensitivity to recognize it. Refer to my paper on Predestination, in which I pull together various UB references showing that our Creator, for example, is not time bound, hence knows all time.
Perhaps I should reemphasize my thesis. I believe our Great Revelation would not have reached the world had it been too explicit about prophecy, planetary judgments, cataclysmic events, and so on. A body of people had to be created to ensure that it would receive wide circulation. This concern by the Revelators began with Sadler and the Contact Commission, extended into the Forum, and from there to the rest of the world. Therefore, UB had to be styled in such a way that information would be provided, without scaring off modern intellectuals, secular mentalities, or new age minds. I know from remarks Sadler made to Everett Johnson, and Johnson relayed to me, that he did not know what to do with the apocalyptic passages. Bill Sadler, Jr. went further; he interpreted them innocuously. For example, when discussing "coming revolutions" he said that meant revolution the way we think of the industrial revolution. The members of the Forum were even more aloof to "apocalyptic" interpretations. Thus, at the very heart of the revelation process, these conceptual difficulties already existed before the Revelation got to the outside world. The Foundation and the Fellowship today are both run by minds who refuse to accept "apocalyptic" possibilities, as the posts from Dan Massey well illustrate. Do a survey of the Urantia community, and you will quickly see what I mean.
I asked you to
>"(Refer to my letter to Stuart Kerr and David Kantor on Biblical Prophecy as the Third Epochal Revelation.)"<
>"Ernest, does the Fifth Epochal Revelation state anywhere that Biblical prophesy may be considered the Third Epochal Revelation? Wouldn't it seem a bit odd if it were since none of the other Epochal Revelations can be considered prophesy as such, prophesy being necessarily derived from mortal prophets rather than from celestial beings? It just seems to me that epochal revelation as it's been defined in the UB consistently has a celestial, rather than a terrestrial, author/ exemplar."<
You have intertwined several important subjects in this question. As you well know UB does not explicitly state that biblical prophecy is the Third Epochal Revelation. (Were you unaware of that fact?) As I remarked above, there are many statements within UB that should lead you to some understanding. Again, this is an example of revelation concealed within revelation. Since we have no record of the 1st or 2nd Epochal Revelations you do not know what prophecy they contained. Furthermore, UB record of Jesus discourses and statements have been edited according to the objectives of the Revelators. For example, on page 1486 a remark is made that the Master's lectures at Urmia were edited to adapt them "to the twentieth-century political and religious conditions."
What current political conditions would cause the Revelators to edit Jesus' lectures? What religious conditions? There must be an incompatibility in the original content of the lectures with our current modes of understanding.
This was more explicitly stated on page 1487.
>"Page 1487: [...We have, therefore, in the following presentation departed more widely from the substance of the Master's teachings at Urmia concerning political sovereignty, at the same time attempting to depict the import of such teachings as they are applicable to the peculiarly critical stage of the evolution of political sovereignty in the twentieth century after Christ.]"<
Here you should note that we are in a peculiarly critical stage of evolution of political sovereignty. I do not want to go off onto that tangent, but you can see that the Revelators were careful in how they handled the substance of Jesus' lectures. They certainly must have been concerned how that content might affect present day affairs, and decisions.
Therefore, I would expect that all the presentations on Jesus, and his teachings, were edited to accommodate to current world conditions, while still providing edification. This means that we do not have a verbatim report in UB.
I shall now illustrate another "buried revelation."
There are many statements by Jesus preserved in the New Testament that are not recorded in The Urantia Papers. What may be the most critical of all is the particularly sticky issue of his remarks that memorable Tuesday evening on the Mount of Olives. Universally, Urantians latched onto Paper 176 as proof that the apocalyptic record of Matthew 24 was unreliable, and downright false. But again, the superficial attitude of Urantians can be discovered by examination of the history of the Gospel record. Those Gospels, as we now have them, were compiled and written after the destruction of Jerusalem. And this fact leads to crucial elements in understanding.
(Note again, that the midwayers used those Gospels as a source of information, page 1341. Once again, arrogant Urantian minds will not take the time to study that record to determine how much of the content is useful to our understanding, or how the midwayers may have adapted that material.)
Isador wrote the Gospel of Matthew in A.D. 71, one year after his escape from Jerusalem when the armies of Titus were entering the city, page 1342. The record of Matthew 24 shows Jesus' remarks about the "close of the age," verse 3. It is psychologically unreal to believe that Isador was describing Jesus' predictions about the coming destruction of Jerusalem, when it had already been destroyed. There was no longer a need to make a record in the tenses and terms used in the Gospel. Quite the contrary, those events would have reinforced Isador's concern about the "close of the age." That is what he placed within the Gospel. But superficial Urantians are led to believe from Paper 176 that the Gospel record is worthless.
This vacuous mind state was nurtured by judicious remarks:
"...they could conceive of no event short of the end of the world which would occasion the destruction of the Temple."
"Jesus was much concerned lest some of his disciples become involved in these soon-coming revolts and so perish in the downfall of Jerusalem."
"They believed this New Jerusalem would fill all Palestine; that the end of the world would be followed by the immediate appearance of the new heavens and the new earth.'"
And so on.
Probably the most misleading of all statements was the paragraph on
>"Of all the discourses which the Master gave his apostles, none ever became so confused in their minds as this one, given this Tuesday evening on the Mount of Olives, regarding the twofold subject of the destruction of Jerusalem and his own second coming. There was, therefore, little agreement between the subsequent written accounts based on the memories of what the Master said on this extraordinary occasion. Consequently, when the records were left blank concerning much that was said that Tuesday evening, there
grew up many traditions; and very early in the second century a Jewish apocalyptic about the Messiah written by one Selta, who was attached to the court of the Emperor Caligula, was bodily copied into the Matthew Gospel and subsequently added (in part) to the Mark and Luke records. It was in these writings of Selta that the parable of the ten virgins appeared. No part of the gospel record ever suffered such confusing misconstruction as this evening's teaching. But the Apostle John never became thus confused."<
It is true; the "Little Apocalypse" (Matt 24) is not mentioned in John's gospel. John did not deal with planetary judgments or the end of the age in his gospel. He had no need to. He already had done so in his Apocalypse. He didn't become confused because he already knew in vivid detail events to transpire at the end of the age. He also did not depend on Jesus' remarks that Tuesday evening; he had direct revelations.
Note that Selta's apocalyptic ABOUT THE MESSIAH contained the parable of the ten virgins. The Urantia Papers do not say this apocalyptic pertained to THE END OF THE AGE, although the Selta text does infer a judgment. Selta's interpolation is preserved as Chapter 25 of Matthew, not Chapter 24. See from verse 31 on.
Now note that this paragraph from UB states that Jesus' remarks dealt with a twofold subject: a), the coming destruction of Jerusalem and b), his own second coming. Thus we have a plain statement that Jesus discussed two subjects that Tuesday evening. But superficial and secular minds do not pay attention.
In fact, Paper 176 is filled with magnificent revelation that breezes by arrogant minds. In keeping with a policy of not scaring off those modern secular and new age minds, its presentations substantiate Matthew 24 in stunning ways.
Jesus remarks about his second coming. Then he says:
>"Do you not perceive that, when each of you is called to lay down his life struggle and pass through the portal of death, you stand in the immediate presence of judgment, and that you are face to face with the facts of a new dispensation of service in the eternal plan of the infinite Father? What the whole world must face as a literal fact at the end of an age, you, as individuals, must each most certainly face as a personal experience when you reach the end of your natural life and thereby pass on to be confronted with the conditions and demands inherent in the next revelation of the eternal progression of the Father's kingdom."<
What is it the whole world must face as a literal fact at the end of age? Judgment! How could any statement be more explicit? How could any
Godly person miss these remarks? Only godless minds would cast away such worthy revelation.
>"But the times of the reappearing of the Son of Man are known only in the councils of Paradise; not even the angels of heaven know when this will occur. However, you should understand that, when this gospel of the kingdom shall have been proclaimed to all the world for the salvation of all peoples, and when the fullness of the age has come to pass, the Father will send you another dispensational bestowal, or else the Son of Man will return to adjudge the age."<
What a stupendous revelation! Note the elements:
1. When the gospel of the kingdom shall have been proclaimed to all the world,
2. for the salvation of all peoples, and
3. when the fullness of the age has come to pass,
then two possibilities exist:
1. the Father will send us another dispensational bestowal,
2. or else the Son of Man will return to adjudge the age.
I truly don't know how anything could be more apocalyptic, or more explicit.
Obviously, the fullness of an age can come to pass. When? 13,000 years from now so that none of us need suffer the consequences of judgment?
What is the "gospel of the kingdom?" It certainly is not the gospel of personal salvation taught by Christians for two thousand years. Christians know virtually nothing about the "Kingdom." But I know a group of people on this planet who do know something about the great and glorious kingdom of heaven. You have become a member of that group. Do you know how fortunate you are? The proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom shall be made to the world by that group.
I must pause here to ponder a bit. When I survey the marvelous technology of the world today I am truly amazed how easy it is to reach the whole world in a matter of minutes. If this small group of people should be called upon to explain planetary events, how easy it would be for them to zing the Internet, and profile the kingdom on satellite television through CNN. Why would they do this? For the salvation of all people. For their love for fellow human mortals. Why would the whole world be interested? Because the entire planet is engulfed in a spiritual warfare the likes of which have never been. Religionists everywhere, from Christians, to Jews, to Buddhists, to the Hindus, to all manner of people, will be asking for explanations. Something so devastating will shortly come down upon this planet it will place you and your brothers and sisters in a unique position.
Then I look at Appeals Court rulings, and how our unusual revelation has not been brought to the attention of the world in a very strange manner. By the back door, so to speak. Martin Gardner did his share; now US Courts have done theirs. Who knows? How many other events will transpire to bring our Great Revelation to the conscious awareness of the world?
Please do not run off and expect that this gospel of the kingdom will bring thoughtless happiness and carefree new wonder to the world. Your work, and those of your brothers and sisters who are willing to become engaged in such proclamations, will be done under the most dire crisis this world has ever seen.
This is the fullness of the age. It has now arrived. Are you ready? Are your brothers and sisters ready? Are you willing to give your life in service to your fellow human mortals? If you are unwilling to pay that cost you cannot proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the world.
I personally believe the Son of Man will return to judge the age. But material eyes will not see him. Of course, I could be presuming:
>"...but concerning the times of the coming again of the Son of Man, no one in heaven or on earth may presume to speak."<
Even more, because this is the home planet of Michael, the Sentimental Shrine of all Nebadon, a strong possibility exists that he could be here in person. Since we are not sufficiently spiritual to see him, we have no way of knowing.
Jesus cautioned all those who are truly devoted to him:
>"But you should be wise regarding the ripening of an age; you should be alert to discern the signs of the times. You know when the fig tree shows its tender branches and puts forth its leaves that summer is near. Likewise, when the world has passed through the long winter of material-mindedness and you discern the coming of the spiritual springtime of a new dispensation, should you know that the summertime of a new visitation draws near."<
Of course, that is not any Selta apocalypse. That is pure and unrefined Urantia Paper apocalypse.
How many of us are wise regarding the ripening of an age? Dan Massey showed me in his replies that he does not recognize the ripening of an age. How many of us are alert to the signs of the times? Many of us are, but we are so confused we cannot make heads or tails of it.
In the foregoing discussions I have supplied ample evidence of how revelations are contained within revelations. I believe I have adequately supported my position that The Urantia Papers were designed to pass through minds that did not, nor do not, believe in apocalyptic revelations, and hence had to be styled to ensure survival in a godless world.
But other materials deal with "apocalyptic" discourses and warnings and also could not be included in UB for fear of scaring off modern minds.
If you were familiar with my letter to Stuart Kerr and David Kantor you would know that the Old Testament prophecies, (and others), were provided by Melchizedek, as The Urantia Papers so clearly tell us. I never stated or implied that they were created by human mortals. I am concerned how you arrived at that conclusion. Did I leave you in doubt? Hence I once called them the Melchizedek prophecies although, in the current social environment, this is a dangerous term to use. Nor did I intend to imply that the work of Melchizedek with the prophets and seers was a complete reproduction of the original Third Epochal Revelation. I did write that the prophecies represented the essential elements of the Third Epochal Revelation, as now suitable to our use. As stated in UB they were a collaborative effort between Melchizedek and the prophets and seers. From that I deduce that Melchizedek provided the information, while the prophets and seers put the information into readable, (and sensitive), format.
Again, I must ask: If Melchizedek, our future planetary ruler, spent so much time over so many centuries collaborating with the prophets and seers, (and they could only be the prophets and seers of Israel), are we now to throw that work away as unimportant? Doesn't UB use of the phrase "prophets and seers" tell us they contain predictions of future events on this planet? (As I showed Dan Massey, Jesus believed in apocalyptic predictions.) Why would Melchizedek waste his time, especially since our ancestors down through the centuries were unable to come to any consensus of the true significance of that work? (They did not have the advantage of the revelation we now possess.) Does this not mean that we now can take that stupendous effort by Melchizedek and all those men, and uncover the true significance? We would be truly negligent to ignore that work. (Think how Melchizedek feels about our rejection of his work.)
Most importantly, Melchizedek's work, which deals so much with this end of the age, is crucially important to our understanding of unfolding current events.
I hope this addresses one of your concerns. I shall be preparing other replies to address your other concerns.
May God be with you, and with all of us.