BRIDGING THE REVELATION
We are so pleased that so many people are taking the time to examine and critique The Urantia Book. It takes real courage and determination for a devout Bible reader to step out on faith, trusting ‘the Spirit of Truth to guide you into all truth.’ (John 16:13) And we commend all of our brothers and sisters who are taking that leap of faith.
It is natural that new readers would want to find out all they can about the book as part of their personal evaluation, and this will present an even greater challenge for many. So we want to minimize the potential for discouragement that could so easily develop among new readers of the book when they discover the disparity, confusion, and chaos within the Urantia Book community – a community that should consist of the most enlightened people on the planet.
Unfortunately, what we have seen is that many have continued the same behavior that occurs in many other religious fellowships, including Christianity, namely, dividing into sects, raising prophets, and bickering among themselves. The more fringe elements of the Urantia Book community engage in rather bizarre activities that are actually in opposition to the message of the revelation, just as many Bible-based fellowships do and have done throughout history. In particular, we are reminded of the ‘mystery cults’ of the 1st century that deviated significantly from the original message of Jesus. Different book, same behavior. And then there are those who are true to the revelation but are simply going nowhere. Though, in all fairness, the Urantia Book community is still in its infancy, so there is much room and opportunity for self-correction and growth. Let’s consider a few matters that will help both new and seasoned readers stay on focus and on par with the revelation and its intended purpose.
Building a Bridge
Imagine you were given the instructions to build a beautiful, sturdy, durable bridge to take you from Point A to Point B. The instructions contain exact specifications, including the precise measurements, a description of the materials you will need, itemization of the tools required, suggestions on the size of the crew needed and their required skill sets, a blue print and a full color picture of what the bridge should look like when it’s completed.
When you see the color picture, you marvel at the beauty of the bridge and you are determined that you will build it. So you gather together the materials, you enlist your crew and you get started with the construction. And after faithfully following the instructions to the best of your ability, you finally have a beautiful finished bridge, very similar to the one depicted in the color picture. Almost immediately, you begin inviting your family and friends to cross the bridge with you and they all have a wonderful time walking back and forth on it. But there is one problem.
In your excitement about building the bridge, you forgot its purpose. You forgot that the instructions to build the bridge were given to you so that you can get from Point A to Point B. Unfortunately, you built your bridge in your backyard, so, in essence, you have built “a bridge to nowhere.” Yes, it is magnificently beautiful and provides your family and friends with hours of enjoyment just walking back and forth across it. But soon the novelty wears off, and they lose interest. Why? Because your bridge fails to take them anywhere. They start off on one end of your bridge and take the journey across to the other end, but they find themselves still in your backyard.
This is an illustration of what we see occurring in some Urantia Book communities. They are fascinated with what they read and immediately began building fellowships and study groups, and holding seminars and conferences, all expounding on the wonderful information contained in this new revelation. They gather together to provide comradery and companionship for like-minded individuals, and they provide an opportunity to discuss the profound and unexpected facets of the divine creation and the endearing personalities of celestial beings who exist and minister in our overwhelmingly good and love-dominated universe. But, unfortunately, what these groups have created, in essence, are hundreds of bridges to nowhere. Why do we say that? Because some have not yet discovered the key to effectively disseminating the revelation, namely, to build a bridge going somewhere – ‘from Point A to Point B’ (as is discussed below). And so they wind up preaching to the choir and going nowhere.
We mean no disrespect to these well-meaning brothers and sisters. We only want to point out what appears to be missing and to show how to use the key and build the necessary bridge as demonstrated in The Urantia Book. The failure to find and use the key is the reason why the book remains on the fringe of mainstream religious literature, even after over 60 years of being in print.
The Key - Going From Point “A” to Point “B”
The Urantia Book provides a historical record of man’s development on our planet. It takes us through the various stages of life in our march toward civilization and spirituality. Interspersed in man’s history were certain benchmarks of achievement. And when those benchmarks were met, we were provided with a new revelation of truth which is traversed by bridging the prior revelation with the new revelation – in effect, bridging Point A to Point B. The book explains the superiority of progressive evolution of truth over sudden revolution, which would be described as unearned, and thus unappreciated, truth. In other words, it is better to gradually reveal truth by building on previous knowledge, than it is to suddenly teach truth ‘out of the blue’ as a new stand-alone concept. We can illustrate this by considering how we learn mathematics.
The first step is learning simple arithmetic – adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying. Then, when you master arithmetic, you move on to algebra, then to geometry, then to trigonometry, and so on. It is difficult, if not impossible, to truly understand trigonometry without having first gone through each of the prior studies of progressive mathematics. Spiritual enlightenment is similarly progressive. We must go through each of the preceding ‘studies’ or ‘benchmarks’ or ‘revelations’ of truth in order to fully understand the most recent revelation.
The Urantia Book describes five different epochal revelations, and in each epoch, only those who stayed true to, and built on, the accomplishments of the prior revelation continued down the path to enlightenment. As you read the book, you will learn about each of the five epochal revelations. But for the purposes of this article, we will share with you the last three – the Third, Fourth and Fifth Epochal Revelations.
The Third Epochal Revelation was the ministry of Melchizedek, ‘the king of Salem and priest of God Most High.’ (Genesis 14:18) He introduced to mankind the worship of one God (monotheism) in the midst of a people who worshiped many Gods (polytheism). His ministry was most effectively received by Abram, his most apt student, who was later renamed Abraham, and who became the patriarch of the Hebrew people. The covenant God made with Abraham was mediated by Melchizedek, and Abraham’s responsibility under the covenant was to teach Melchizedek’s message to his offspring and his people. Abraham did so, and of all the people who heard Melchizedek’s teachings, it was the offspring of Abraham who retained the most. Accordingly, when Moses arrived, he formalized the Melchizedek teachings and organized the people in worship of the one God. This method of worship continued until the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth who selected this people (who held the vestiges of the Third Revelation) as the group among whom he would conclude his seventh and final bestowal mission.
The ministry of Jesus is the Fourth Epochal Revelation, some of which is recorded in The Bible. Jesus built on the Melchizedek teachings as fostered by Moses. He did not arrive with a new ‘stand alone’ message of truth. He skillfully bridged his teachings by highlighting the best parts of Judaism and bridging it to his ‘new wine.’ It was not his intention to dismiss, discount or destroy the ‘old wine.’ As he said, ‘I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill.’ (Matthew 5:17) And his gentle ministry of spiritual upliftment to freedom and divine sonship was palatable and readily accepted by many of the Jews because of his skillful bridging. That is the key!
Now, a new revelation has been provided – the Fifth Epochal Revelation – as contained in The Urantia Book. As in our illustration at the beginning of this article, many people who discover this revelation are extremely excited about its message and have gone about building new fellowships and societies and groups based on the new revelation. Aside from a few outspoken fringe groups, much of what has been built is truly beautiful and uplifting. Yet in many instances, what they have built are ‘stand alone’ structures and ‘bridges to nowhere’ – things that are good to know, but not capable of being used because they fail to bridge the new revelation with the previous revelation of Jesus as contained in The Bible. In fact, in most instances, they bypass The Bible completely, viewing it as a erroneous book compiled by a misled people. They fail to recognize it as the highest existent and most widely accepted revelation of Jesus’ lifework which has existed on our planet for nearly 2,000 years.
Discounting The Bible’s valuable contribution to man’s progressive enlightenment, especially the message contained in the New Testament, is the reason why the efforts to introduce The Urantia Book into mainstream consciousness has been so slow going. All of the ‘bridges to nowhere’ that have been constructed in good faith have only served to confuse and confound these who have attempted to examine the book, and have unwittingly created the stumbling blocks and the ‘rods’ used by fearful and ignorant people to beat down the book. And it is likely these innocent foibles of well-intentioned Urantia Book readers that have impeded worldwide acceptance of the Fifth Epochal Revelation.
We are attempting to use the key by what we are providing on this website. We have begun to build a sturdy bridge to take our brothers ‘from Point A to Point B’ – from the Fourth to the Fifth Epochal Revelation – according to the specifications set forth in The Urantia Book. We firmly believe that one must understand and respect the Fourth Revelation before one can fully appreciate and benefit from the Fifth. In this way, the ‘new wine’ can be consumed and the ‘old wine’ can continue to be honored and properly “preserved” as Jesus stated. (Matthew 9:17)
As our readers traverse the bridge, we want to remind you that the standard to test the validity of The Urantia Book is not by the conduct or commentaries of its adherents, no matter how well-intentioned, including the commentaries contained on this website. The information contained on this website is only meant to be a guide that can be freely accepted or rejected. The real test is in the contents of the book. What does it actually say? We encourage you to examine it for yourself and form your own conclusions based on the witness of the Spirit of Truth that will be guiding you:
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
– John 16-12-15
In this way, you will be using ‘the key’ as you examine The Urantia Book, and thus you will be safeguarded from getting trapped on bridges to nowhere, or going down pathways of the foolish and the bizarre.
May the Eternal Paradise Father bless your efforts.
Your Family in the Faith,