Patterns in Epochal Revelation

photo[1]Why should we look to previous epochal revelations for lessons to apply today? There are patterns, patterns of success and patterns of error. After Jesus’ baptism, he spent forty days in the wilderness making the great decisions that would formulate policy for the unfolding of his epochal revelation. In preparation for that decision-making, “Jesus thought over the whole span of human life on Urantia, from the days of Andon and Fonta, down through Adam’s default, and on to the ministry of the Melchizedek of Salem” (136:4, 1514).  Let’s begin a similar review.

First Epochal Revelation

The Planetary Prince’s staff had 300,000 years of success with wise, evolutionary methods. They coordinated their knowledge of higher universe patterns with their knowledge of the facts about the world in they were serving. This is a superuniverse pattern. The Ancients of Days coordinate revealed wisdom from above with evolutionary wisdom from below. Jesus called it truth coordination.

“Consider the Greeks, who have a science without religion, while the Jews have a religion without science. And when men become thus misled into accepting a narrow and confused disintegration of truth, their only hope of salvation is to become truth-co-ordinated — converted.

“Let me emphatically state this eternal truth: If you, by truth-coordination, learn to exemplify in your lives this beautiful wholeness of righteousness, your fellow men will then seek after you that they may gain what you have so acquired. The measure wherewith truth seekers are drawn to you represents the measure of your truth endowment, your righteousness. The extent to which you have to go with your message to the people is, in a way, the measure of your failure to live the whole or righteous life, the truth-co-ordinated life.” (155:1, 1726)

I think the concept of truth-coordination has two further implications for us, I think. First, in our ambition to train leaders, we must coordinate careful, thorough study of all four parts of The Urantia Book with ever-increasing scientific knowledge from relevant human scholarship plus the wisdom of experienced leaders. The second implication is that spirituality and organization require each other. The Universal Father has one-to-one relationships with everyone, and the Eternal Son is a spiritual administrator. The Father’s love for each individual brings the brotherhood of man as a reality of the whole, with consequences for how fast we can evolve (12:7, 138). Spirituality without a cosmic and humanly effective framework becomes chaotic, and organization without spirituality cannot make any lasting difference.

Second Epochal Revelation

The second epochal revelation taught us the importance of patience. “Never, in all your ascent to Paradise, will you gain anything by impatiently attempting to circumvent the established and divine plan by short cuts, personal inventions, or other devices for improving on the way of perfection, to perfection, and for eternal perfection” (846.4).

In their management training book FYI—For Your Improvement—Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger devote a five-pages chapter to the topic of patience (pp. 229-33). They treat patience as a skill. They describe traits of unskilled persons, skilled persons, and persons who overuse the skill. They list causes of impatience, give an overview of organizational importance of the virtue, and then list ten remedies for impatience. Here are a few highlights. Impatient persons are “intolerant of the slow pace and cumbersome processes of others.” The skilled person “follows established process.” The excessively patient person “may let things fester without acting.” Here are some causes: unrealistic standards, action junkie, very intelligent, arrogant. The overview: “Many people pride themselves on . . . a results orientation. . . . In many situations, impatience is a cover for other problems and has serious long-term consequences.” The list of remedies includes these observations. “Impatient people want it now.” “Some people probably bring out your impatience more than others. Who are they? What is it about them that makes you more impatient? Pace? Language? Thought process? Accent? These people may include people you don’t like, who ramble, who whine and complain, or who are repetitive advocates for things you have already rejected. Mentally rehearse some calming tactics before meeting with people who trigger your impatience” “People who have a towering strength or lots of success get less feedback and keep rolling along and over others . . . .” “Impatient people provide answers, conclusions, and solutions too early in the process.” They overmanage and depend too much on themselves.” When I read this chapter I discovered that I have been impatient, and I got to work to change. Truth-coordination takes work.

Third Epochal Revelation

In the third epochal revelation, Melchizedek made a convent in which man agreed “to believe God’s promises and follow his instructions” (93:6, 1020). Please take a silent moment to reflect on this teaching. Do we believe the revelators? Are we eager to follow instructions that we have in The Urantia Book, the Publication Mandate, and the Declaration of Trust? Over the years, the UAI has proclaimed a mission to disseminate the teachings of The Urantia Book. What does that mean? The Declaration of Trust focuses our effort: we shall foster “a religion, a philosophy, and a cosmology which are commensurate with man’s intellectual and cultural development.” Does this mean that we should simply present to these religious, philosophical, and scientific communities what The Urantia Book has to say about their interests? Or does it mean that our religionists, philosophers, and scientists should equip themselves to communicate with those communities in ways that meet them where they are, normally not mentioning The Urantia Book? Could our organization possibly help readers do that? For example, we are told, “The religious challenge of this age is to those farseeing and forward-looking men and women of spiritual insight who will dare to construct a new and appealing philosophy of living out of the enlarged and exquisitely integrated modern concepts of cosmic truth, universe beauty, and divine goodness.” How could our organization work creatively to help meet that challenge? As a teacher of philosophy and religion, I teach truth, beauty, and goodness all day long, promote amazing growth through the use of experiential projects, and introduce The Urantia Book to those who seem ready for it.

Fourth Epochal Revelation

At the conclusion of the fourth epochal revelation, Jesus reminded not just the apostles but all believers to proclaim the gospel in thought, word, and deed. Students of The Urantia Book can hardly step aside from that call. Jesus said, “That which the world needs most to know is: Men are the sons of God, and through faith they can actually realize, and daily experience, this ennobling truth. (193:0, 2052) “The persistent preaching of this gospel of the kingdom will some day bring to all nations a new and unbelievable liberation, intellectual freedom, and religious liberty” (178:1, 1930). How many of us proclaim the gospel—in any sense of the word? Do we not tend to shy away from that call and say that our work with The Urantia Book is our way of proclaiming the gospel? What do we think the Master would say to us in reply? Has not the book become our gospel, in practice if not in theory?

After reviewing the history of our world, Jesus’ decisions focused on limiting his use of the powers at his command. The analogy for us, I believe, is to limit our use of The Urantia Book itself in our ministry. Jesus chose the “natural, ordinary, difficult, and trying” methods. This is because he knew the way of love and the practice of spiritual brotherhood so well that he would not upstate those eternal realities by proclaiming the epochal fact about himself. In the resurrection appearances Jesus called not only told his apostles but every believer to proclaim to the world not the good news of the resurrection or the good news of the epochal fact of Jesus divine sonship, but the good news of the gospel.

Jesus gives very clear teaching about how to sequence sharing the gospel with sharing higher truth. It takes truth-coordination to integrate our desire to share truth with the evolutionary facts of the other person’s receptivity. The Master told Simon Zelotes, “When you have a man safely and securely within the kingdom, then is the time, when such a one shall come to you with inquiries, to impart instruction having to do with the progressive advancement of the soul within the divine kingdom.” Later, he explained to the twelve.

“When you enter the kingdom, you are reborn. You cannot teach the deep things of the spirit to those who have been born only of the flesh; first see that men are born of the spirit before you seek to instruct them in the advanced ways of the spirit. Do not undertake to show men the beauties of the temple until you have first taken them into the temple. Introduce men to God and as the sons of God before you discourse on the doctrines of the fatherhood of God and the sonship of men. (141:6, 1592)

I volunteered with a Urantia Book-based organization for eleven years that produced a religious radio broadcast heard in countries around the world. The book was never mentioned in the broadcast. I have preached in churches about ninety times. I hope I am not making a vain display, but I know something about the work that is required to get these opportunities and the rewards of doing that work. I ask you, how might our organization creatively and wisely promote such activities?

Fifth Epochal Revelation

The fifth epochal revelation was given to enhance the Post-Bestowal Son Age: to clarify, invigorate, and amplify the gospel movement, to provide knowledge of the epochal revelations that are the normal foundation for a Bestowal Son mission (so that Jesus’ teachings can function as the foundation of a new and higher civilization 1720.3); and “to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception” by telling us more of Deity, the larger cosmos, our ascendant destiny, and the destiny of our world.

One of the most important patterns in epochal revelations on our world is that in three out of the first four epochal revelations we got seriously off course. We made our passionate mistakes with the best intentions, thinking that we were working for the revelation, feeling spiritual, and acting with the encouragement of like-minded others. We did not believe divine wisdom enough to follow instructions patiently. For a variety of reasons, leadership went astray.

Could it happen again? I believe it has already started to happen again. Our volunteer energies are so centered on The Urantia Book that we neglect sharing the gospel, constructing a philosophy of living, and wisely interacting with Christianity and other religions while avoiding entangling and distracting references to The Urantia Book. I am not proposing a simplistic, all-or-nothing, solution to fit every situation.

What proportion of our volunteer time as students of the fifth epochal revelation should be with and for other readers or explicitly focused on the book to attract new readers? What proportion of our time should we spend on disseminating gospel truth, philosophic wisdom, cosmological understanding, and other timely teachings? There is no one answer that would satisfy the Father’s will for each person.

In Paper 52, Planetary Mortal Epochs, the author speaks of Urantia’s Post-Bestowal Age. There we are told what we need to do in order to realize world-wide brotherhood. We need spiritual brotherhood—and Jesus has shown the way to that, and we need social brotherhood, which largely depends on social fraternity, intellectual cross-fertilization, ethical awakening, political wisdom, and spiritual insight. Obviously The Urantia Book has a role to play in all of this, but the way this section is written places the emphasis in a way that is differently balanced from what we observe today. How might our organization creatively support such priorities?

“The great hope of Urantia lies in the possibility of a new revelation of Jesus with a new and enlarged presentation of his saving message which would spiritually unite in loving service the numerous families of his present-day professed followers.” (195:10, 2086) The great hope of Urantia depends on how we interact with other professed followers of Jesus: “The world needs to see Jesus living again on earth in the experience of spirit-born mortals who effectively reveal the Master to all men” (195:10, 2084).

These may not be the lessons you need. If so, please forgive me. If you are interested in training yourselves and others to disseminate religious and philosophical teachings, I can offer you some help through my websites, publications, and unpublished documents; and I have an internet gospel school for readers who want to grow in understanding, living, and proclaiming Jesus’ gospel. In any case, I wish you well in your evolutionary adventure in truth-coordination.