History of this Topical Study
On August 21 (Jesus’ birthday), 2017 and April 8 (the day after crucifixion), 2024, the paths of two solar eclipses mark a big “X” on the United States. The intersection of their paths is within a few miles of the Bald Knob Cross of Peace. Located in southern Illinois this 111 ft. cross was constructed and is maintained cooperatively by a host of Christian groups from that area. This peculiar occurrence inspired study about prophecy and signs of the times. Several Urantia Book readers, including myself, traveled to Bald Knob Cross of Peace for the eclipse on August 21st: trip report.
114:1.4 Some believe that Machiventa will not come to take personal direction of Urantian affairs until the end of the current dispensation. Others hold that the vicegerent Prince may not come, as such, until Michael sometime returns to Urantia as he promised when still in the flesh. Still others, including this narrator, look for Melchizedek’s appearance any day or hour.
That narrator and your editor are similarly minded regarding the issue of an “appearance.” I am inclined to believe that we will get some type of material appearance/visitation (by Melchizedek and possibly children of Adam and Eve) between August 21, 2017 and April 8, 2024, perhaps in the general area of where the Bald Knob Cross of Peace is located, if not there specifically.
Signs of the Times
The only two instances where the phrase “signs of the times” appears:
176:2.6 “And now concerning the travail of Jerusalem, about which I have spoken to you, even this generation will not pass away until my words are fulfilled; but concerning the times of the coming again of the Son of Man, no one in heaven or on earth may presume to speak. But you should be wise regarding the ripening of an age; you should be alert to discern the signs of the times. You know when the fig tree shows its tender branches and puts forth its leaves that summer is near. Likewise, when the world has passed through the long winter of material-mindedness and you discern the coming of the spiritual springtime of a new dispensation, should you know that the summertime of a new visitation draws near.”
Is The Urantia Book evidence of “the spiritual springtime of a new dispensation?”
195:6.4 At the time of this writing the worst of the materialistic age is over; the day of a better understanding is already beginning to dawn. The higher minds of the scientific world are no longer wholly materialistic in their philosophy, but the rank and file of the people still lean in that direction as a result of former teachings. But this age of physical realism is only a passing episode in man’s life on earth. Modern science has left true religion—the teachings of Jesus as translated in the lives of his believers—untouched. All science has done is to destroy the childlike illusions of the misinterpretations of life.
195:9.2 But paganized and socialized Christianity stands in need of new contact with the uncompromised teachings of Jesus; it languishes for lack of a new vision of the Master’s life on earth. A new and fuller revelation of the religion of Jesus is destined to conquer an empire of materialistic secularism and to overthrow a world sway of mechanistic naturalism. Urantia is now quivering on the very brink of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment.
21:5.9 “After his elevation to settled sovereignty in a local universe a Paradise Michael is in full control of all other Sons of God functioning in his domain, and he may freely rule in accordance with his concept of the needs of his realms. A Master Son may at will vary the order of the spiritual adjudication and evolutionary adjustment of the inhabited planets. And such Sons do make and carry out the plans of their own choosing in all matters of special planetary needs, in particular regarding the worlds of their creature sojourn and still more concerning the realm of terminal bestowal, the planet of incarnation in the likeness of mortal flesh.”
Notice how the first sentence of this paragraph . . .
(150:3.3) 1. The courses of the stars in the heavens have nothing whatever to do with the events of human life on earth. Astronomy is a proper pursuit of science, but astrology is a mass of superstitious error which has no place in the gospel of the kingdom.
. . . seems on the surface to be completely inconsistent with the following paragraph.
(90:2.9) Ever and anon, true prophets and teachers arose to denounce and expose shamanism. Even the vanishing red man had such a prophet within the past hundred years, the Shawnee Tenskwatawa, who predicted the eclipse of the sun in 1806 and denounced the vices of the white man. Many true teachers have appeared among the various tribes and races all through the long ages of evolutionary history. And they will ever continue to appear to challenge the shamans or priests of any age who oppose general education and attempt to thwart scientific progress.
In addressing the “signs of the times” issue, the Revelators implicitly are distinguishing the false science of astrology from the real life challenge of a “signs of the times” issue. These next two paragraphs help us understand how it is that the first two paragraphs fit together.
Whenever there is a full solar eclipse, it is also a new moon. The Sabbath is the day set aside for God. August 21st and April 8th could be considered God’s days–the miracle of the combined nature and the miracle of the resurrection.
52:7.11 It was of the conclusion of the terminal mission of the Teacher Sons (at least that would be the chronology on a normal world) that John wrote: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth and the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a princess adorned for the prince.”
52:7.12 This is the same renovated earth, the advanced planetary stage, that the olden seer envisioned when he wrote: “‘For, as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, so shall you and your children survive; and it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another all flesh shall come to worship before me,’ says the Lord.”
52:7.13 It is the mortals of such an age who are described as “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, an exalted people; and you shall show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into this marvelous light.”
52:7.14 No matter what the special natural history of an individual planet may be, no difference whether a realm has been wholly loyal, tainted with evil, or cursed by sin—no matter what the antecedents may be—sooner or later the grace of God and the ministry of angels will usher in the day of the advent of the Trinity Teacher Sons; and their departure, following their final mission, will inaugurate this superb era of light and life.
The olden seer, referred to in 52:7.12, is Isiah. Note that they didn’t refer to him as Isiah but as a seer. Definition: “a person who is supposed to be able, through supernatural insight, to see what the future holds”
What I find particularly interesting is the way this challenges my long held beliefs about the pace at which things need to evolve and what that pace might look like during specific periods under unusual circumstances. I found it especially comforting to read how God does not “tease us” with signs.
Judgment and Hope
1 This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? 2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. 3 But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a person, and whoever offers a lamb is like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense is like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations; 4 so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.” 5 Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: “Your own people who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame. 6 Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the LORDrepaying his enemies all they deserve. 7 “Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. 8 Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. 9 Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God. 10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. 11 For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.” 12 For this is what the LORD says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. 13 As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” 14 When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes. 15 See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment on all people, and many will be those slain by the LORD. 17 “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one who is among those who eat the flesh of pigs, rats and other unclean things—they will meet their end together with the one they follow,” declares the LORD. 18 “And I, because of what they have planned and done, am about to come and gather the people of all nations and languages, and they will come and see my glory. 19 “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20 And they will bring all your people, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD—on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the LORD. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the LORD in ceremonially clean vessels. 21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the LORD. 22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD. 24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
Isaiah 66:23 “From one New Moon to another AND from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD.” (emphasis added)
Notice how challenging it is to make sense of this passage until it is put in the context of the fifth epochal revelation to Urantia and the upcoming eclipses.
See Behzad (Robert) Sarmast’s study on Magisterial Missions.
Unity Treatise page: In 2016, Nicholas Scalzo circulated a document that is often referred to as the “Unity Treatise.” It purports to be from our planetary government, our “unseen friends.” In brief, it says the organizations entrusted with The Urantia Book are in default because there are now two publishers and two main social groups. It provides lengthy analysis, a corrective, and says getting reunified needed to happen by August 21, 2017. I found it to have merit on a “truth from any source” basis and is inclined to believe it to be legitimate. You can learn more about all of that on the Unity Treatise page.
Ken Keyser presented on this topic at a celebration of Jesus’ birthday in 2017 in the Chicago area, which was subsequently published by Urantia Foundation.