Episode:The Fourth Epochal Revelation to Urantia (Part 3)
At the time of Jesus’ birth, Urantia was experiencing a remarkable revival of spiritual thinking and religious living. European civilization was blossoming due to the Roman political and social systems, the Greek language and culture, and the rapidly spreading influence of Jewish religious and moral teachings. Palestine and Syria were enjoying a period of prosperity, relative peace, and extensive commerce. And all such conditions were very favorable for the Creator Son’s bestowal.
Summary by Kermit
We spent almost a quarter of our program addressing issues stemming from the question of how to reconcile the potentially contradictory nature of the 4th ER which was a spiritual uplift, devoid of specific prescriptions for the social, economic and political reform of the world; and the 5th ER which addresses and engages these other domains of human activity. These differences led to the characterization of the 5th ER as a philosophic text, which, if misperceived as a sacred or spiritual text can lead to serious distortion of meaning.
More discussion followed on the nature of ‘true’ philosophy, naturally leading our attention to the other two components of our beloved threefold actuality of reality ‘true’ science and ‘true’ religion. True philosophy, thus is seen to embody ALL of ‘true’ science and ALL of ‘true’ religion, which when personally embraced leads to a domain wherein you can really LIVE in dynamic relationship between the inner life of religion and the outer life of science. Our 5th ER gives us the ability to transcend the contemporary dichotomous ‘positions’ of so called philosophy and so called science.
Paper 120 The Times of Michael’s Bestowal
Now we depart from the cosmological considerations of Michael’s Urantia bestowal and examine the historical context of Jesus’ life and teachings, being mindful that the proper appreciation of the Master’s religious life is to be perceived through the threefold perspective of origin, history, and destiny.
It is interesting how the Apostle Andrew and the other apostles, in their attempt to mimic the “WWJD” standard of conduct in steadfastly refusing to make copies of their written records, greatly delayed the writing of the Gospels.
1. The Occident of the First Century after Christ
We discussed how the revival of spiritual thinking and religious living experienced during the time of Jesus appearance, was narrower in focus and more spiritual in nature as compared to the spiritual awakening of the sixth century B.C. The later being more extensive, coordinated by the Creative Mother Spirit, and finding numerous expressions through MIND is contrasted with the former being more purely spiritual thus, more in keeping with the spiritual boost of the Creator Son’s mission.
The prevailing influences of the culture and language of the Greeks and Jews across the Occident and Orient, further enhanced by the tolerant political rule of the Romans, was exemplified in the activities of Paul, a Roman citizen, a cultural Hebrew, and proclaiming the gospel of a Jewish in the Greek tongue. The threefold influence of the Roman political and social system, Grecian language and culture, and Jewish religious and moral teachings presented conditions not seen in the Occident before or since those days.
The opportunities for, and the extent of, travel and trade were unexcelled until the nineteenth century. While a prosperous and happy middle class had just begun to appear in Roman society, the majority of the inhabitants of the Roman empire languished in squalor and poverty. And the initial Roman-Parthian struggles had recently concluded. There then existed in Palestine and Syria a period of prosperity, peace, and commercial intercourse to both the East and the West.
2. The Jewish People
The Jews occupied a strategic position in the commercial world. Palestine was the crossroads of three continents. More than half the caravan traffic passed through or near Nazareth. Also, the Jews were abroad in the world, dwelling and trading in every province of the Roman and Parthian states.
Grecian language and culture, Roman physical and political infrastructure coupled with the dispersion of the Jews, provided for the spread of the new gospel of the kingdom of heaven
The centralized Jewish temple service in Jerusalem provided the anchor point for the survival of a religious and cultural concept in the face of otherwise degenerative conditions in Palestine.
The secret of the survival of the small and unpowerful kingdom of the Jews (Palestine), came about through the foreign policy of the Romans, who utilized Palestine as a buffer between themselves and more powerful surrounding peoples, conferring relative liberty and independence upon the Jews. Their attitude of racial superiority caused the Jews to misread these conditions and conclude that they were the people chosen and protected by Yahweh. Even when the Roman yolk was brought to bear with crushing brutality and tragedy, the Jews did not learn that their world mission was spiritual, not political. Commentary here about the Most Highs and their methods of ruling in the kingdoms of men.
Even the wicked Herod’s friendly relations with the Romans was a cause for the spread of the gospel in that safe travel to distant portions of the Roman empire were thus enabled. Discussion: Here we find a lesson in not judging appearances of social or political circumstances too quickly or harshly, in that they may have deeper or farther reaching consequences of a beneficial nature not immediately appreciated. Every moment in time is a divine dispensation.
3. Among the Gentiles
The authors give us thumbnail descriptions of the five well-defined social classes of the Mediterranean world. The middle class, though small was influential and provided the moral backbone of the early Christina church. Many of the Pharisees belonged to this class of tradesmen.
The lowest class—the slaves made up half of the population. Roman military conquest conferred such slavery on a wide range of people, from superior individuals to very inferior. The upward mobility available to them led to a tolerance of this form of slavery by the early Christian church, which consisted largely of the lower classes and slaves. Do not make the mistake of thinking that Christianity was an economic movement for the amelioration of the miseries of the depressed classes, it was not. Discussion: In the apparent “politically incorrect” treatment of the social inequities of this day, by this 5thER, we see highlighted a stark difference between a sacred (spiritual) and a philosophic text.