We learn much more about the ascension plan for surviving souls in The Urantia Book, (The UB), than from previous sources. Almost from the very beginning, in Paper 2, we learn what is revealed as the evolutionary “plan of progressive mortal ascension.” (2:3.6) Greater detail about the work of ascending mortals on the "mansion worlds" is soon to come (30:4).
I myself, a historian by nature, enjoy the perusal of an overview of how the plan was disclosed or understood in traditional literatures. I’ll cover some of it in this blog hoping you’ll share my joy in such excursions.
In Genesis, "When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methu'selah. Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methu'selah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him." (Genesis 5:21-24, my italics)
"By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; … Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God." (Hebrews 11:5)
Did Enoch transition to “heaven” after “God took him”? “As the term heaven has been used on Urantia, it has sometimes meant [the] seven mansion worlds.” (The UB, 15:7.5)
“Enoch, [was] the first of the mortals of Urantia to fuse with the Thought Adjuster during the mortal life in the flesh.” (45:4.13) In The UB, he is now one of “the Urantia advisory council, the four and twenty counselors … the designated agents” of Gabriel and Michael (45:4.1).
Consider also the Bible stories of Elijah. "Now when the LORD was about to take Eli'jah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Eli'jah and Eli'sha were on their way from Gilgal… And as they still went on and talked, behold a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them.And Eli'jah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Eli'sha saw it and he cried, ‘My father, my father! the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and rent them in two pieces." (2 Kings 2:1, 11-12)
Elijah is also included with the four and twenty counselors on Jerusem, described as “a translated soul of brilliant spiritual achievement during the post-Material Son age.” (45:4.15) In these Bible stories, ascenders do not usually return to Earth after being taken up to tell stories of their celestial adventures, except in the well-known case of St. Paul who reported to his followers on a experience of being caught up into the third heaven and then paradise (2 Corinthians:12).
In the “The Life of Adam and Eve,” or The Apocalypse of Moses, a first century Jewish, possibly Essene book, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seth only Seth was able to witness the taking-up of Adam in a divine chariot at his funeral. In The UB account however, Adam and Eve died and were buried in the temple of the Second Garden (76:5.5).
In some cultures, and in many new age schools of thought, the ascending soul descends again to Earth to reincarnate, often to serve a higher purpose that he was entrusted with while “on high,” or more commonly to clear up a karmic debt. However, The UB doesn’t validate the return to a life on earth. Is it because the authors know there is so much more going on in the universe? Why go back to Urantia?
As The UB points out, Jesus attempted to refute these ancient ideas. “The older Jewish teachers, together with Plato, Philo, and many of the Essenes, tolerated the theory that men may reap in one incarnation what they have sown in a previous existence; thus in one life they were believed to be expiating the sins committed in preceding lives. The Master found it difficult to make men believe that their souls had not had previous existences.” (164:3.4)
Sometimes it is taught in Buddhism that a bodhisattva, in order to make known to humankind the heavenly mysteries, will return as an act of mercy to teach what they have seen and experienced. In a way, the “four and twenty counselors,” whose destiny it is “to follow the mortals of Urantia on through the universe scheme of progression and ascension,” (93:10.9) are performing the role of the bodhisattva. Their ascension careers are delayed while they serve Urantia’s planetary government. Like bodhisattvas, they are persons, former heroes of our history, “who are able to reach nirvana but delay doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings.”
American Indians also have stories of divine transport to the heavens, sometimes interpreted in new age thought as “astral travelling.” In this example, as in all Native American lore that I know of, the transported one returns to tell his story, charged with a divinely bestowed task. In Hatcinoñdoñ’s case, his duty was to establish peace between warring tribes.
“Hatcinoñdoñ, the greatest warrior among the Seneca, once led a company against the Cherokee. They traveled until they came to the great ridge on the border of the Cherokee country, and then they knew their enemies were on the lookout on the other side.
“When Hatcinoñdoñ ran into a canebrake to escape the Cherokee, he was tired out, so he lay down and fell asleep. While he was asleep two men came and took him by the arm, saying: "We have come for you. Somebody has sent for you." They took him a long way, above the sky vault, until they came to a house. Then they said: "This is where the man lives who sent for you." He looked, but could see no door. Then a voice from the inside said "Come in," and something like a door opened of itself. He went in and there sat Hawëñni'o, the Thunder-god.
… “Then the Thunder said: "… I love both the Seneca and the Cherokee, and when you get back to your warriors you must tell them to stop fighting and go home." Again he brought food, half of each kind, and when Hatcinoñdoñ had eaten, the Thunder said, "Now my messengers will take you to your place.”
“The door opened again of itself, and Hatcinoñdoñ followed the two Sky People until they brought him to the place where he had slept, and there left him.” (James Mooney’s History, Myths and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees)
In the Bible, the resurrection of the righteous dead and the attainment of immortality were first clearly taught in the book of Daniel (12:3), then greatly clarified by Jesus and the example of his own ascension. The UB offers a more exact definition of an ascending son than is traditionally given. Although a person may have survived and awakened on the initial mansion world, he or she is not yet considered an “ascending son,” or daughter.
“When you and your Adjusters are finally and forever fused, when you two are made one, even as in Christ Michael the Son of God and the Son of Man are one, then in fact have you become the ascending sons of God.” Until that point we are classified as “surviving mortals,” who are “planetary sons.” (40:7.2) Upon awakening from the status of sleeping survivors, we become Mansion World Students (30:4.14) in the third stage of mortal ascension.
To read further about your future career as an ascender, study the paper, “The Ascending Mortals,” (30:4.1) where you can learn more about the “seven stages of the ascending universe career.”
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