A: For centuries, the Scriptures have provided mankind with the only written records of God's voice and inspiration, and the Scriptures are full of dire warnings regarding the times when the world will come to an end. The certainty that the end of the world is imminent has been present throughout our history. Many an age has been designated as humanity's last, and it is no different now. Those who place all their faith in these supposedly inerrant writings are naturally filled with the fear that they engender, and those who hold to the belief that God is a punishing deity are diligently on the lookout for evidences of God's displeasure and retribution. And some of these predictions have come to pass in our times...with every fulfillment of these earthly prophecies, more credence is lent to them, part and parcel. But is it real? Does the "end of the world" mean the end of everything? Should we be afraid?
Mankind has long believed in a mysterious god who really has it in for humanity. We are naturally afraid of such a deity, and we feel powerless to survive his awful wrath. Here we are, sitting ducks, wating for the other shoe to drop. Fear is the enemy here—not God. Unreasoned fear is a trap into which we all can fall, and it is to be studiously avoided with the antidotal balm of faith and trust in the God of Love.
So, why are so many caught up in this cycle of fear? Probably because they do not know a better way. The Urantia Book provides 21st century wisdom with which to navigate the sea of negativity and fear in which we find ourselves. Rather than an inevitable, destructive outcome that we must face, the revelatory teachings of The Urantia Book, and especially the teachings of Jesus, give us great hope and a new way of viewing the panorama of human existence—free of fear, and with the light of reason based on the revelation of a merciful God of Love, and a new religion based on personal spiritual experience. It is man himself who has created the state of the world in which we find ourselves, and it is man, guided by God's love and wisdom, who can, and will, co-create with God a new kind of world—a world based on the Fatherhood of God and the resultant brotherhood of man—a world that will be regenerated by the adoption of the true religion of Jesus . The Urantia Book calls this wonderful time of renewal the Age of Light and Life , the "acme of evolutionary material development." It will take us a long time to reach this stage, but we can, and WILL reach it.
Little in God's creation is set in stone. Humanity may be hurtling into the end of an age, but this does not necessarily mean that the world is coming to an end, or that all are doomed. Ages come and ages go. Man still maintains the power of freewill, and can form his destiny day-to-day in co-creation with God, who is Love. Whether we as a species will turn the present tide of materialism and destruction—or not—depends wholly on the spiritual regeneration of individual religionists. The outcome may seem iffy at times, but we have it within our power to change the outcome from one of death and destruction to one of spiritual regeneration and progress.
Please see The Modern Problem
(143:1.4) "I have come into this world to do the will of my Father and to reveal his loving character to all mankind. That, my brethren, is my mission. And this one thing I will do, regardless of the misunderstanding of my teachings by Jews or gentiles of this day or of another generation. But you should not overlook the fact that even divine love has its severe disciplines. A father's love for his son oftentimes impels the father to restrain the unwise acts of his thoughtless offspring. The child does not always comprehend the wise and loving motives of the father's restraining discipline. But I declare to you that my Father in Paradise does rule a universe of universes by the compelling power of his love. Love is the greatest of all spirit realities. Truth is a liberating revelation, but love is the supreme relationship. And no matter what blunders your fellow men make in their world management of today, in an age to come the gospel which I declare to you will rule this very world. The ultimate goal of human progress is the reverent recognition of the fatherhood of God and the loving materialization of the brotherhood of man."
(196:2.11) Jesus offered no rules for social advancement; his was a religious mission, and religion is an exclusively individual experience. The ultimate goal of society's most advanced achievement can never hope to transcend Jesus' brotherhood of men based on the recognition of the fatherhood of God. The ideal of all social attainment can be realized only in the coming of this divine kingdom.
Associated with end-times prophecy is the promise of the return of the Master to the earth. In this, the Bible and The Urantia Book agree. Jesus WILL one day return here. But does this event signal the end of the world?
(176:3.2) "And even you, Thomas, fail to comprehend what I have been saying. Have I not all this time taught you that your connection with the kingdom is spiritual and individual, wholly a matter of personal experience in the spirit by the faith-realization that you are a son of God? What more shall I say? The downfall of nations, the crash of empires, the destruction of the unbelieving Jews, the end of an age, even the end of the world, what have these things to do with one who believes this gospel, and who has hid his life in the surety of the eternal kingdom? You who are God-knowing and gospel-believing have already received the assurances of eternal life. Since your lives have been lived in the spirit and for the Father, nothing can be of serious concern to you . Kingdom builders, the accredited citizens of the heavenly worlds, are not to be disturbed by temporal upheavals or perturbed by terrestrial cataclysms. What does it matter to you who believe this gospel of the kingdom if nations overturn, the age ends, or all things visible crash, since you know that your life is the gift of the Son, and that it is eternally secure in the Father? Having lived the temporal life by faith and having yielded the fruits of the spirit as the righteousness of loving service for your fellows, you can confidently look forward to the next step in the eternal career with the same survival faith that has carried you through your first and earthly adventure in sonship with God.
Instead of gnawing over the dire predictions of Biblical prophecy, we all might be better served to anticipate this coming "spiritual springtime;" to discern the signs of its advent, and contribute to it by our personal dedication to the ideals of truth, beauty and goodness in our lives. When this season of renewal does come to pass, we may indeed see an end of the world as we now know it (which may not be the worst that could happen, in my opinion!), and the inauguration of a new, and better world to come—a world ruled through the supremacy of God, the Universal Father of Love—and the final realization of the kingdom of heaven.
(176:2.6) "...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."But what is the significance of this teaching having to do with the coming of the Sons of God? Do you not perceive that, when each of you is called to lay down his life struggle and pass through the portal of death, you stand in the immediate presence of judgment, and that you are face to face with the facts of a new dispensation of service in the eternal plan of the infinite Father? What the whole world must face as a literal fact at the end of an age, you, as individuals, must each most certainly face as a personal experience when you reach the end of your natural life and thereby pass on to be confronted with the conditions and demands inherent in the next revelation of the eternal progression of the Father's kingdom."
Thanks for this great question. I hope it has been helpful to you. Be of good cheer!"