Another and Greater John the Baptist
After the profound revelation we studied from Isaiah 42 we are in a better position to understand other revelations concerning this human mortal. In the following passage he personally speaks. When he utters great revelations he speaks as a voice for God.
Please keep in mind that these passages were written more than 2500 years ago, and show the deep destiny significance of this future forecast. Our Creator knows all time, and can reveal any time in any other time, as he so desires. Human mortals can only know the unfolding scroll of time. All human beings are subject to their Creator, and his control of time.
Listen to me, O coastlands; and hearken, you people from afar.
Again we see how God speaks to those people who are afar off from the Holy Land. We had better listen to our God, the one who is called Yahweh.
If we are to fully recognize the destiny function of this human mortal, we must appreciate that he personally speaks through Isaiah, in the first person. This is an illustration of destiny folding back upon itself. I shall present this discussion in that mode.
My God, my Creator, the one I know as Yahweh, called me from the time I was born. From my mother's womb he named my name. Although the mother and father choose the name of their child, they followed a destiny call in making that choice. They may have never realized that they did so.
The next two lines show a point and counterpoint of expression. Although Yahweh gifted this man with the power of words, yet he hid him in the shadow of his hand. The man might express himself in many thousands of pages, yet he would not become known on the world stage until such time that Yahweh would see fit. His breadth of knowledge, and his acquaintanceship with manifold religious truths, in their many forms, indicated how truly polished he was. Although this arrow would strike at the heart of great religious truths, yet Yahweh would keep him concealed in his quiver.
Yahweh said to this man, "You are my Servant." He even refers to him as Israel because he symbolizes that group of people God kept unto himself through all the many centuries. God will win glory through this man.
This is a stupendous promise of the work that this man will do. He will bring Israel back to their Creator as they have not known him in millennia past. Through this individual our God will make known his astonishing plan for the fullness of time. In such manner, and through a human mortal, our Creator will win glory.
How can a human mortal bring such glory to God except through his willingness to become a sacrificial lamb?
But I have toiled for nothing. I spent all those years in labor without any human reward. I gave of my strength to show in some manner the greatness of our God. Yet I did it seemingly all in vain.
But my Creator knows of my toil, and the bottom reaches of my heart. My reward may not be with my fellow human mortals, yet it will be with my Creator.
"And now," says Yahweh, who formed me from the womb to be his Servant,
To bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel should be gathered to him,
"It is too light a thing for you to be my Servant, to rouse up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved of Israel.
"I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."
This Jacob is none other than those people who are descended from Abraham and Isaac, who were scattered throughout Europe, the descendants of the so-called Ten Tribes of Israel. Their blood lines were thoroughly mixed, first in Europe, and then in America, and now await deliverance through the Servant of Yahweh. But this restoration is too small a thing for this Servant. When he is crucified and resurrected the entire world will stand in awe. Then he will be given as a light of the nations. Then Yahweh's salvation will literally reach the ends of the earth.
Now God answers this Servant.
At the time of my favor I will answer you; in
a day of my salvation I will help you.
Here we have Yahweh speaking to his Servant. When he is ready he will answer the Servant. When God's salvation comes he will help the Servant. God has kept him from all the dangers and vicissitudes of life. Now he will give the Servant as a covenant for the people, to rouse up the earth.
By the mechanism of television, through the power of technology, the entire earth will be witness to the awesome resurrection of the Two Witnesses. Through that event the entire planet will be roused up to new insights to perceive the power of God. Never, in all of world history, has such an open mighty event taken place.
Then God's people will rethink and reformulate their biological origins. Through the generations they forgot where they came from. They lost knowledge of their biological origins among God's specially selected people, the tribes of Jacob. Now the work of the Servant is giving that knowledge back to them.
Now God calls. Now he asks his people to show themselves. Escape from Great Babylon and run for your lives. Preserve the seed of Israel, so that the world may reach now heights of biological regeneration.
Yahweh will take care of you. He will give you water to drink in the midst of nuclear fallout. He will alter the planet so that neither scorching wind nor sun will smite you. He will literally turn the world upside down.
Our God will comfort his people, and have compassion on all his afflicted from generations past.
We come now to a different passage, one that has the Servant
speaking in praise to his Creator.
The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those
who are taught, that I may know how to answer the weary.
Behold, all you who kindle a fire, you who set brands alight!
Walk by the light of your fire, and by the brands you have kindled!
This shall you have from my hand. You shall lie down in torment.
|This is the time of great planetary judgment. Godless men set the fires of their own destruction.|
Why Another and Greater?
A question that naturally arises is why this title was given to the Servant by the Urantia Papers? What is it in the characteristics of the human mortal that led to such description?
The confusion is in the mixing of the conceptual grasp of the role of three servants, Elijah, John the Baptist, and the Servant. This confusion goes back to the statement in
Malachi 4:5-6: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of Yahweh. And he will turn back the hearts of the fathers toward their children, and the hearts of children toward their fathers, lest I come and smite them with utter destruction.
Was this statement a reference to Elijah, John the Baptist, the Servant, or perhaps all three?
We can see the difficulty John the Baptist had about the statement:
P.1499 - §4 Throughout this period John read much in the sacred writings which he found at the Engedi home of the Nazarites. He was especially impressed by Isaiah and by Malachi, the last of the prophets up to that time. He read and reread the last five chapters of Isaiah, and he believed these prophecies. Then he would read in Malachi: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers toward the children and the hearts of the children toward their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." And it was only this promise of Malachi that Elijah would return that deterred John from going forth to preach about the coming kingdom and to exhort his fellow Jews to flee from the wrath to come. John was ripe for the proclamation of the message of the coming kingdom, but this expectation of the coming of Elijah held him back for more than two years. He knew he was not Elijah. What did Malachi mean? Was the prophecy literal or figurative? How could he know the truth? He finally dared to think that, since the first of the prophets was called Elijah, so the last should be known, eventually, by the same name. Nevertheless, he had doubts, doubts sufficient to prevent his ever calling himself Elijah.
John knew that he was not Elijah. If, as he believed, that the great and terrible day of Yahweh was coming, then how did he fit in with this prophecy, except in a figurative sense?
P.1499 - §5 It was the influence of Elijah that caused John to adopt his methods of direct and blunt assault upon the sins and vices of his contemporaries. He sought to dress like Elijah, and he endeavored to talk like Elijah; in every outward aspect he was like the olden prophet. He was just such a stalwart and picturesque child of nature, just such a fearless and daring preacher of righteousness. John was not illiterate, he did well know the Jewish sacred writings, but he was hardly cultured. He was a clear thinker, a powerful speaker, and a fiery denunciator. He was hardly an example to his age, but he was an eloquent rebuke.
This may have been the closest John could come to be like Elijah, without actually proclaiming himself to be Elijah. He was the fulfillment of the Malachi prophecy as he best understood it. This picturesque person, thundering his admonitions in the "spirit and power of Elijah" made him a wonderful forerunner of the mission of Jesus, page 514. Jesus' lifework on Urantia was really begun by John the Baptist, page 1345.
Although John viewed himself in the phrasing of the Malachi prophecy, he should not be faulted for failing to fully understand that passage. He followed it as he best understood. This human fault did not detract from his important mission as the forerunner of Jesus.
Given our advantage of time, and a much better analytical recognition of the unfolding of earth events, we can now view the Malachi passage with far greater clarity. We now know that the great and terrible day of Yahweh is the judgment events immediately coming down upon us.
Therefore the Malachi passage does, indeed, refer to today, so the Elijah of the passage cannot be anything but figurative. Something mutually common within the character of Elijah, John the Baptist, and the Servant is the bond that holds them together in their respective work. That bond is their love for their Creator, and their righteousness. The Servant appears on the world scene with a greatly magnified understanding of creation and the relationship among its many parts. Merely in this understanding he is greater than John the Baptist. But the integration of knowledge, from the spiritual to the physical world, gives him insight into the purpose of his Creator in a much broader sense than available to either Elijah or John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was a relative youth, a stalwart and picturesque child of nature, while the Servant is a person with considerable experience in the problems attendant upon a full human life. This does not mean that John the Baptist should in any sense be demeaned as an important agent in God's work. He was exactly what was needed for his day and age. Now we face a much more complex, and deadly, set of circumstance. The Servant can bring to bear upon his mission an understanding of the task before him. He can integrate that task with its manifold meanings and repercussions. In this sense he is Another and Greater John the Baptist.
Elijah was translated. John the Baptist was beheaded. The Servant will be crucified and resurrected.
To be continued.
Paper 11 of a series.
For a list of papers in this series see