What is The Kingdom of Heaven?
The kingdom of heaven is neither a social nor economic order; it is an exclusively spiritual brotherhood of God-knowing individuals. True, such a brotherhood is in itself a new and amazing social phenomenon attended by astounding political and economic repercussions.
The kingdom of heaven, the divine government, is founded on the fact of divine sovereignty—God is spirit. Since God is spirit, this kingdom is spiritual. The kingdom of heaven is neither material nor merely intellectual; it is a spiritual relationship between God and man.
Why Believe in an Afterlife?
Love of adventure, curiosity, and dread of monotony—these traits inherent in evolving human nature—were not put there just to aggravate and annoy you during your short sojourn on earth, but rather to suggest to you that death is only the beginning of an endless career of adventure, an everlasting life of anticipation, an eternal voyage of discovery. ~ The Urantia Book, (14:5.10)
There is in the mind of God a plan which embraces every creature of all his vast domains, and this plan is an eternal purpose of boundless opportunity, unlimited progress, and endless life. And the infinite treasures of such a matchless career are yours for the striving! ~ The Urantia Book, (32:5.7)
A Short Outline of the Afterlife Career
On Urantia (earth) you pass through a short and intense test during your initial life of material existence. On the mansion worlds and up through your system, constellation, and local universe, you traverse the morontia phases of ascension. On the training worlds of the superuniverse you pass through the true spirit stages of progression and are prepared for eventual transit to Havona. On the seven circuits of Havona your attainment is intellectual, spiritual, and experiential. And there is a definite task to be achieved on each of the worlds of each of these circuits. ~ The Urantia Book, (14:5.1)
The First Stop
As the term heaven has been used on Urantia, it has sometimes meant these seven mansion worlds, the first mansion world being denominated the first heaven, and so on to the seventh. ~ The Urantia Book, (15:7.5)
Sometimes all training worlds of mortal residence are called universe "mansions," and it was to such spheres that Jesus alluded when he said: "In my Father's house are many mansions." ~ The Urantia Book, (30:4.10)
From the resurrection halls you proceed to the Melchizedek sector, where you are assigned permanent residence. Then you enter upon ten days of personal liberty. You are free to explore the immediate vicinity of your new home and to familiarize yourself with the program which lies immediately ahead. You also have time to gratify your desire to consult the registry and call upon your loved ones and other earth friends who may have preceded you to these worlds. At the end of your ten-day period of leisure you begin the second step in the Paradise journey, for the mansion worlds are actual training spheres, not merely detention planets. ~ The Urantia Book, (47:3.6)
On the mansion worlds, after your vision range is extended and you are freed from the fetters of material comparisons, you can begin to comprehend the meaning of those realities which "eye cannot see nor ear hear, and which have never entered the concept of human minds," even those things which "God has prepared for those who love such eternal verities." You are not always to be so limited in the range of your vision and spiritual comprehension. ~ The Urantia Book, (24:6.2)
On the mansion worlds the resurrected mortal survivors resume their lives just where they left off when overtaken by death. When you go from Urantia to the first mansion world, you will notice considerable change, but if you had come from a more normal and progressive sphere of time, you would hardly notice the difference except for the fact that you were in possession of a different body; the tabernacle of flesh and blood has been left behind on the world of nativity. ~ The Urantia Book, (47:1.5)
On the seven mansion worlds ascending mortals are afforded ample opportunities for compensating any and all experiential deprivations suffered on their worlds of origin, whether due to inheritance, environment, or unfortunate premature termination of the career in the flesh. ~ The Urantia Book, (45:6.3)
From Physical Matter to Morontia Material
Morontia is a term designating a vast level intervening between the material and the spiritual. It may designate personal or impersonal realities, living or nonliving energies. The warp of morontia is spiritual; its woof is physical. ~ The Urantia Book, (0:5.12)
From the time of graduation from the mansion worlds to the attainment of spirit status in the superuniverse career, ascending mortals are denominated morontia progressors. Your passage through this wonderful borderland life will be an unforgettable experience, a charming memory. It is the evolutionary portal to spirit life and the eventual attainment of creature perfection by which ascenders achieve the goal of time—the finding of God on Paradise. ~ The Urantia Book, (48:8.1)
Just as a butterfly emerges from the caterpillar stage, so will the true personalities of human beings emerge on the mansion worlds, for the first time revealed apart from their onetime enshroudment in the material flesh. The morontia career in the local universe has to do with the continued elevation of the personality mechanism from the beginning morontia level of soul existence up to the final morontia level of progressive spirituality. ~ The Urantia Book, (112:6.1)
After natural death all types of ascenders fraternize as one morontia family on the mansion worlds.
Do We All Go?
All mortals of survival status, in the custody of personal guardians of destiny, pass through the portals of natural death and, on the third period, personalize on the mansion worlds. Those accredited beings who have, for any reason, been unable to attain that level of intelligence mastery and endowment of spirituality which would entitle them to personal guardians, cannot thus immediately and directly go to the mansion worlds. Such surviving souls must rest in unconscious sleep until the judgment day of a new epoch, a new dispensation, the coming of a Son of God to call the rolls of the age and adjudicate the realm, and this is the general practice throughout all Nebadon. It was said of Christ Michael that, when he ascended on high at the conclusion of his work on earth, "He led a great multitude of captives." And these captives were the sleeping survivors from the days of Adam to the day of the Master's resurrection on Urantia. ~ The Urantia Book, (30:4.3)
This training of mind and education of spirit is carried on from the worlds of human origin up through the system mansion worlds and the other spheres of progress associated with Jerusem, on the seventy socializing realms attached to Edentia, and on the four hundred and ninety spheres of spirit progress encircling Salvington. On the universe headquarters itself are numerous Melchizedek schools, the colleges of the Universe Sons, the seraphic universities, and the schools of the Teacher Sons and the Union of Days. Every possible provision is made to qualify the various personalities of the universe for advancing service and improving function. The entire universe is one vast school. ~ The Urantia Book, (37:6.2)
You will not acquire new languages automatically; you will learn a language over there much as you do down here, and these brilliant beings (Morontia Companions) will be your language teachers. The first study on the mansion worlds will be the tongue of Satania and then the language of Nebadon. And while you are mastering these new tongues, the Morontia Companions will be your efficient interpreters and patient translators. You will never encounter a visitor on any of these worlds but that some one of the Morontia Companions will be able to officiate as interpreter. ~ The Urantia Book, (48:3.13)
On the mansion worlds you begin to learn self-government for the benefit of all concerned. Your mind learns co-operation, learns how to plan with other and wiser beings. On the system headquarters the seraphic teachers will further quicken your appreciation of cosmic morality—of the interactions of liberty and loyalty. ~ The Urantia Book, (39:4.10)
What We'll Be Like
The moment you consciousize on the mansion worlds, you are classified as evolving spirits in the records of the system. True, you are not yet spirits in reality, but you are no longer mortal or material beings; you have embarked upon the prespirit career and have been duly admitted to the morontia life. ~ The Urantia Book, (48:6.4)
Though seraphim are very affectionate and sympathetic beings, they are not sex-emotion creatures. They are much as you will be on the mansion worlds, where you will "neither marry nor be given in marriage but will be as the angels of heaven." For all who "shall be accounted worthy to attain the mansion worlds neither marry nor are given in marriage; neither do they die any more, for they are equal to the angels." ~ The Urantia Book, (38:2.2)
What About Children Who Die?
Mansion world students who have one or more children in the probationary nursery on the finaliters' world, and who are deficient in essential parental experience, may apply for a Melchizedek permit which will effect their temporary transfer from ascension duties on the mansion worlds to the finaliter world, where they are granted opportunity to function as associate parents to their own and other children. ~ The Urantia Book, (45:6.8)
But irrespective of parental experience, mansion world parents who have growing children in the probation nursery are given every opportunity to collaborate with the morontia custodians of such children regarding their instruction and training.
And it is one of the most touchingly beautiful scenes of all the ascending career to observe the mansion world parents embrace their material offspring on the occasions of their periodic pilgrimages to the finaliter world.
These wards of the finaliters, these infants of ascending mortals, are always personalized as of their exact physical status at the time of death except for reproductive potential. This awakening occurs at the exact time of the parental arrival on the first mansion world. And then are these children given every opportunity, as they are, to choose the heavenly way just as they would have made such a choice on the worlds where death so untimely terminated their careers.
But, Meanwhile, Back on Earth...
"If any man would come after me, let him disregard himself, take up his responsibilities daily, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life selfishly, shall lose it, but whosoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's, shall save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? What would a man give in exc hange for eternal life ?" ~ The Urantia Book, (158:7.5)
You will learn that you increase your burdens and decrease the likelihood of success by taking yourself too seriously. Nothing can take precedence over the work of your status sphere—this world or the next. Very important is the work of preparation for the next higher sphere, but nothing equals the importance of the work of the world in which you are actually living. ~ The Urantia Book, (48:6.26)
The pursuit of the ideal—the striving to be Godlike—is a continuous effort before death and after. The life after death is no different in the essentials than the mortal existence. Everything we do in this life which is good contributes directly to the enhancement of the future life. Real religion does not foster moral indolence and spiritual laziness by encouraging the vain hope of having all the virtues of a noble character bestowed upon one as a result of passing through the portals of natural death. True religion does not belittle man's efforts to progress during the mortal lease on life. Every mortal gain is a direct contribution to the enrichment of the first stages of the immortal survival experience. ~ The Urantia Book, (103:5.7)
During the life in the flesh the evolving soul is enabled to reinforce the supermaterial decisions of the mortal mind. The soul, being supermaterial, does not of itself function on the material level of human experience. Neither can this subspiritual soul, without the collaboration of some spirit of Deity, such as the Adjuster, function above the morontia level. Neither does the soul make final decisions until death or translation divorces it from material association with the mortal mind except when and as this material mind delegates such authority freely and willingly to such a morontia soul of associated function. During life the mortal will, the personality power of decision-choice, is resident in the material mind circuits; as terrestrial mortal growth proceeds, this self, with its priceless powers of choice, becomes increasingly identified with the emerging morontia-soul entity; after death and following the mansion world resurrection, the human personality is completely identified with the morontia self. The soul is thus the embryo of the future morontia vehicle of personality identity. ~ The Urantia Book, (111:3.2)
A righteous soul is more to be desired than the sovereignty of all the earth. Immortality is the goal of sincerity; death, the end of thoughtless living. Those who are earnest die not; the thoughtless are dead already. Blessed are they who have insight into the deathless state. Those who torture the living will hardly find happiness after death. The unselfish go to heaven, where they rejoice in the bliss of infinite liberality and continue to increase in noble generosity. Every mortal who thinks righteously, speaks nobly, and acts unselfishly shall not only enjoy virtue here during this brief life but shall also, after the dissolution of the body, continue to enjoy the delights of heaven. ~ The Urantia Book, (131:3.7)
Jesus said: "You are all God's children; you are the sons of the heavenly Father. The bonds of time may seem to afflict you, but the God of eternity loves you. And when the time of judgment shall come, fear not, you shall all find, not only justice, but an abundance of mercy. Verily, verily, I say to you: He who hears the gospel of the kingdom and believes in this teaching of sonship with God, has eternal life; already are such believers passing from judgment and death to light and life. And the hour is coming in which even those who are in the tombs shall hear the voice of the resurrection." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (147:3.3)