A Faith Servant
Another and Greater John the Baptist
(September 29, 2006)
The Urantia Papers, page 1866:
Sooner or later another and greater John the Baptist is due to arise proclaiming "the kingdom of God is at hand" — meaning a return to the high spiritual concept of Jesus, who proclaimed that the kingdom is the will of his heavenly Father dominant and transcendent in the heart of the believer — and doing all this without in any way referring either to the visible church on earth or to the anticipated second coming of Christ. There must come a revival of the actual teachings of Jesus, such a restatement as will undo the work of his early followers who went about to create a socio-philosophical system of belief regarding the fact of Michael's sojourn on earth. In a short time the teaching of this story about Jesus nearly supplanted the preaching of Jesus' gospel of the kingdom. In this way a historical religion displaced that teaching in which Jesus had blended man's highest moral ideas and spiritual ideals with man's most sublime hope for the future — eternal life. And that was the gospel of the kingdom.
|The Uncertainty of the Historic John|
In other discussion I reviewed the difficulty John the Baptist had in deciding his role, and whether he was in some way connected with the Elijah of old. The Urantia Papers offer us commentary on this personal dilemma.
We can understand that when queried John simply was unsure, hence could have offered conflicting answers to the question of who he was. But this confusion should not deter us from coming to proper understanding of the new Prophet.
We might gain some insights about prophets and their attire and manner. I offer the following.
Since the first John the Baptist came to recognize that he was not the old Elijah, he still felt a bond with the Prophet of old. He dressed like him.
A Prophet coming into today's world would certainly not dress like those men of old. He would not put on a hairy garment with a leather girdle. If he did he would immediately be classified as part of a dysfunctional, drug using, imitator of Jesus. Sackcloth in olden days meant a rough, coarse cloth, or a baglike garment made of this cloth and worn as a symbol of mourning or repentance. It was often worn by prophets, perhaps to show their own brokenness in the face of their terrible message of judgment and doom (Isa 20:2). In today's world we might think of burlap as sackcloth, although it hardly seems possible that such a rough cloth would be used by modern prophets. Common attire in jeans and ordinary shirts, without the formal attire of coats and ties, could be considered sackcloth. Today jeans are a very popular form of casual dress around the world and come in many styles and colors. The idea behind this dress is to be non-pretentious. If one is going out to teach others, in a world gone mad, then who would care about dress?
John spoke in tones similar to the old Elijah, in the spirit and power of Elijah. John thundered his admonitions and poured forth his warnings.
Statements about the new Prophet are counter to this manner.
The impression we get from this statement is that the new Prophet will work quietly, in simple surroundings. Contrary to John the Baptist he will not shout in the streets, nor thunder his warnings to immense crowds. Modern preachers and false prophets like to thunder their message to listening crowds, whether in football stadiums, or in large congregations for cable broadcast. Quite probably the new Prophet will speak one-on-one, or in small groups. All the lost souls, longing and looking for God, will need reassurance.
|Elaboration of the Elements of Page 1866|
Another and Greater
In what way would a new John the Baptist differ from the old John the Baptist? We should consider what the old one did.
John taught the coming of Jesus.
"The kingdom of God is at hand."
John the Baptist felt within himself a keen and penetrating sense of the Kingdom at Hand. Surely, with the presence of Jesus as a great and mighty heavenly being, he had every right to that sense. That is what he preached. But now, with the End of the Age, and the imminent renovation of the earth, we can say with much greater clarity that the Kingdom truly is at hand. First we have a Great Planetary Judgment. Then we go into a Millennium of adjustment and readjustment. Then we enter into a new Kingdom upon earth. Surely, the Kingdom of God is at hand.
A return to the high spiritual concept of Jesus.
Christians made Jesus into a somewhat superior man, and think of him as that superior man. Christians have difficulty understanding him as God. In my various attempts to tell other people of the fact of His returning as a high and mighty spiritual being, the Creator of a Universe, I run into the difficulty that they expect him to return as a man. They could not understand Him as a High Spiritual Being.
As it is with God, so will it be with the new Kingdom upon earth. A glorious and beautiful brotherhood of all men, when war and enmity will be no more. We must depart the old worn ideas centered around the life of Jesus and move on to a high spiritual understanding of His New Kingdom.
The will of His heavenly Father dominant and transcendent in the heart of the believer.
Nothing, but nothing, can take the place of doing God's Will. This is where Faith-Decision makes a difference for the salvation of our world. Having faith in His instructions to us, and then deciding to do as He wants. That is the Will of the Heavenly Father dominant and transcendent in the heart of all of God's people.
The old John declared Jesus, and thundered his admonitions to the people of his day. But now this Other and Greater John the Baptist will ask God's people to decide for their God. The people of old had only to decide for their own personal relationship with God. They did not need to take action other than to modify their lives. Here the decisions are final, death or life. Here the decisions are final, to fail in utter hopelessness or to grasp hold of the Will of God and save this world for future generations. Then His people who will come singing back to the Promised Land.
Without in any way referring either to the visible church on earth or to the anticipated second coming of Christ.
How can we talk about the visible church on earth when God's people will come from many different sects and human allegiances. The visible church will evaporate when this civilization will evaporate in the Great Holocaust. How can we talk about the Second Coming of Christ when Jesus will be personally here upon this planet. The Second Coming of Christ is what the churches teach today. Jesus will return, but the foolish idea of Christ will be lost in the new teaching of salvation of the earth. Jesus is not merely the Ruler of this world, taking over from Caligastia, the Devil. He is the Creator of a Universe. He cannot devote Himself solely to this world. He is the Administrator of a Universe Creation. The misconceived concept of a Christ, based on 2000 years of foolish theology, is grossly inadequate to the New Earth that comes with the New Heaven.