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Wed, May 20, 2015

What Did Jesus Teach About Money?

By TruthBook staff

What Did Jesus Teach About Money? What Does The Bible Say About Money? by Jack Wellman

Well, this title just begs to be blogged, doesn't it? Of course, I did read the article, and found all the things that one might expect to find; the author has done a good job of uncovering all the pertinent biblical quotes, and has made good commentary on them. I recommend a read because all of the points taken in the article, though familiar, are good ones; here's a good opening clip:

"Jesus always said things that were contrary to the ways of the world and looking at the ways of the world and that these ways of the world are not working very well, we need to seriously consider what Jesus taught about money. For one thing He said "He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:53). That seems just the opposite of the way the world seems to think. Jesus had a different attitude about money than most of us have..."

Click to read the entire article 

If you are a Urantia Book reader, you know instantly why this is an article that needs to be blogged to the world; in Part IV of The Urantia Book- The Life and Teachings of Jesus, the life of Jesus is chronicled as nowhere else on the planet. We see him doing things we've never seen him do before and we read his gracious words that have never been seen before, either. This instance of his teachings about money and wealth is an example.

Here's a sample from The Urantia Book:

What DID Jesus Say about money and wealth?

"A certain rich man, a Roman citizen and a Stoic, became greatly interested in Jesus' teaching, having been introduced by Angamon. After many intimate conferences this wealthy citizen asked Jesus what he would do with wealth if he had it, and Jesus answered him: "I would bestow material wealth for the enhancement of material life, even as I would minister knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual service for the enrichment of the intellectual life, the ennoblement of the social life, and the advancement of the spiritual life. I would administer material wealth as a wise and effective trustee of the resources of one generation for the benefit and ennoblement of the next and succeeding generations."
"But the rich man was not fully satisfied with Jesus' answer. He made bold to ask again: "But what do you think a man in my position should do with his wealth? Should I keep it, or should I give it away?" And when Jesus perceived that he really desired to know more of the truth about his loyalty to God and his duty to men, he further answered: "My good friend, I discern that you are a sincere seeker after wisdom and an honest lover of truth; therefore am I minded to lay before you my view of the solution of your problems having to do with the responsibilities of wealth. I do this because you have asked for my counsel, and in giving you this advice, I am not concerned with the wealth of any other rich man; I am offering advice only to you and for your personal guidance. If you honestly desire to regard your wealth as a trust, if you really wish to become a wise and efficient steward of your accumulated wealth, then would I counsel you to make the following analysis of the sources of your riches: Ask yourself, and do your best to find the honest answer, whence came this wealth? And as a help in the study of the sources of your great fortune, I would suggest that you bear in mind the following ten different methods of amassing material wealth:

Click to read the whole story: COUNSELING THE RICH MAN

The Rich Young Man - Matadormus

In the article above, mention is made of the rich young man who desired to be included as a disciple of Jesus until he was told he'd have to sell all he had.

In The Urantia Book, we get much more of the story. The young man is identified as Matadormus, and near the end of the familiar story, we read:

"Almost every human being has some one thing which is held on to as a pet evil, and which the entrance into the kingdom of heaven requires as a part of the price of admission. If Matadormus had parted with his wealth, it probably would have been put right back into his hands for administration as treasurer of the seventy. For later on, after the establishment of the church at Jerusalem, he did obey the Master's injunction, although it was then too late to enjoy membership in the seventy, and he became the treasurer of the Jerusalem church, of which James the Lord's brother in the flesh was the head.
"Thus always it was and forever will be: Men must arrive at their own decisions. There is a certain range of the freedom of choice which mortals may exercise. The forces of the spiritual world will not coerce man; they allow him to go the way of his own choosing.
"Jesus foresaw that Matadormus, with his riches, could not possibly become an ordained associate of men who had forsaken all for the gospel at the same time, he saw that, without his riches, he would become the ultimate leader of all of them. But, like Jesus' own brethren, he never became great in the kingdom because he deprived himself of that intimate and personal association with the Master which might have been his experience had he been willing to do at this time the very thing which Jesus asked, and which, several years subsequently, he actually did.
"Riches have nothing directly to do with entrance into the kingdom of heaven. but the love of wealth does. The spiritual loyalties of the kingdom are incompatible with servility to materialistic mammon. Man may not share his supreme loyalty to a spiritual ideal with a material devotion.

Click to read about the Rich Young Man and Others

Discipleship and Apostleship

Further in that paper, we read:

"As they went off by themselves, Jesus was grieved that Matadormus did not remain with them, for he greatly loved him. And when they had walked down by the lake, they sat there beside the water, and Peter, speaking for the twelve (who were all present by this time), said: "We are troubled by your words to the rich young man. Shall we require those who would follow you to give up all their worldly goods?" And Jesus said: "No, Peter, only those who would become apostles, and who desire to live with me as you do and as one family. But the Father requires that the affections of his children be pure and undivided. Whatever thing or person comes between you and the love of the truths of the kingdom, must be surrendered. If one's wealth does not invade the precincts of the soul, it is of no consequence in the spiritual life of those who would enter the kingdom."

Click to read The Discussion About Wealth

Again we see the narrative of Jesus' life in The Urantia Book surpasses any previous narrative in its scope, its readability, and its ring of truth. One can easily see Jesus saying and doing these thiungs, and in The Urantia Book, we get a further glimpse into the workiongs of Jesus' mind as well...

Finally, here is an instance of Jesus life where he is counseling a man who had to share an inheritance with his brother:

Dividing The Inheritance

The section is called Dividing the Inheritance

Jesus was mildly indignant that this material-minded youth should bring up for discussion such a question of business; but he proceeded to use the occasion for the impartation of further instruction. Said Jesus: "Man, who made me a divider over you? Where did you get the idea that I give attention to the material affairs of this world?" And then, turning to all who were about him, he said: "Take heed and keep yourselves free from covetousness; a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he may possess. Happiness comes not from the power of wealth, and joy springs not from riches. Wealth, in itself, is not a curse, but the love of riches many times leads to such devotion to the things of this world that the soul becomes blinded to the beautiful attractions of the spiritual realities of the kingdom of God on earth and to the joys of eternal life in heaven.

It is hoped that those who read this blog will be inspired and drawn to a further exploration of The Urantia Book. Jesus' life is a beacon of hope for all who love him and wish to know more about him. Reading the details of his life and the fullness of his teachings is a life-changing experience.

Click here to get right to it!

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Tue, May 12, 2015

A Return to the Teachings of Jesus

By TruthBook staff

Church institutions have to continue to change through our experience of Jesus by Thomas Gumbleton

A timely and encouraging article, maybe indicative of the evolution of the Christian religion, which The Urantia Book calls the religion ABOUT Jesus, rather than the religon OF Jesus. Some clips from the article that caught my eye:

"Over the years, I think, to some extent, we have put so much emphasis on the church, the institution, that we somewhat neglected the more basic understanding of how you become a disciple. It's not just by becoming a Roman Catholic; no, it's much deeper. It's because God comes alive in us through Jesus. He is the vine, we are the branches.

"So we do need a structured, institutional church, but we cannot let that be the dominant thing in our lives. The rules and the organization, the institutions of the church -- they have to continue to change and to grow because our experience of Jesus. I hope that as we listen to the Scriptures today, we realize how important it is for each of us to try to know Jesus. We'll never have the experience of Paul, I don't think, where it was so overwhelming, so overpowering that he was even knocked to the ground and had that instant, full enlightenment about Jesus. But gradually, as we reflect and enter into our own spirit life and begin to understand God living deep within us, we can experience Jesus."

Click to read the complete article

It's heartening to see that the institutionalized Christian church is beginning to question its real role in being the self-anointed representatives of Jesus.

I say that they are self-appointed because in a way, the Christian churches have appropriated Jesus; anyone who reads The Urantia Book knows that Jesus was not a Christian. He did not come to establish a church; instead he came to establish the KINGDOM OF GOD in the hearts of God's children. That the institutionalized churches claim him has been a good thing but also an unfortunate thing.

Click to read Urantia Book teachings about the Beginnings of the Christian Church

Even before Paul entered the picture, the message of Jesus had been altered from Jesus' simple gospel - that all people are children of God and by faith in this truth, by loving God and loving one another they are saved - to a gospel about the risen Christ. From The Urantia Book:

194:4.6 Christ was about to become the creed of the rapidly forming church. Jesus lives; he died for men; he gave the spirit; he is coming again. Jesus filled all their thoughts and determined all their new concept of God and everything else. They were too much enthused over the new doctrine that "God is the Father of the Lord Jesus" to be concerned with the old message that "God is the loving Father of all men," even of every single individual. True, a marvelous manifestation of brotherly love and unexampled good will did spring up in these early communities of believers. But it was a fellowship of believers in Jesus, not a fellowship of brothers in the family kingdom of the Father in heaven. Their good will arose from the love born of the concept of Jesus' bestowal and not from the recognition of the brotherhood of mortal man. Nevertheless, they were filled with joy, and they lived such new and unique lives that all men were attracted to their teachings about Jesus. They made the great mistake of using the living and illustrative commentary on the gospel of the kingdom for that gospel, but even that represented the greatest religion mankind had ever known.
99:3.1 Early Christianity was entirely free from all civil entanglements, social commitments, and economic alliances. Only did later institutionalized Christianity become an organic part of the political and social structure of Occidental civilization.

As to where Christianity stands today, please see Christianity's Problem.

To this writer, the biggest omission of the original message of Jesus was the idea of the religion of personal spiritual experience, the religion that Jesus himself practiced. This was left out, or somehow forgotten in favor of the individual being part of a church - an institutionalized version of religion ... really a second-hand religion, in that the individual believer is encouraged to follow the wisdom of the church in his/her relations with God, rather than relying solely on the wisdom that comes as the result of aligning oneself with God dwelling within. The outward church became favored above all, rather than the individual's relations with God. In addition, the institutionalized church allowed itself to become an integral part of society itself, instead of relying on individual religioniosts to shape and mold society.

99:2.6 Modern religion finds it difficult to adjust its attitude toward the rapidly shifting social changes only because it has permitted itself to become so thoroughly traditionalized, dogmatized, and institutionalized. The religion of living experience finds no difficulty in keeping ahead of ... social developments and economic upheavals, amid which it ever functions as a moral stabilizer, social guide, and spiritual pilot.

That seems to be the thrust of this article, and why it caught my eye. I hope that you'll read it, read the links that are provided to Urantia Book teachings, and make some evaluations of your own.

From the link above, Christianity's Problem:

195:9.8 The world needs more firsthand religion. Even Christianity—the best of the religions of the twentieth century—is not only a religion about Jesus, but it is so largely one which men experience secondhand. They take their religion wholly as handed down by their accepted religious teachers. What an awakening the world would experience if it could only see Jesus as he really lived on earth and know, firsthand, his life-giving teachings! Descriptive words of things beautiful cannot thrill like the sight thereof, neither can creedal words inspire men's souls like the experience of knowing the presence of God. But expectant faith will ever keep the hope-door of man's soul open for the entrance of the eternal spiritual realities of the divine values of the worlds beyond.

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Sun, May 10, 2015

Why Jesus' Teachings Make Us Uncomfortable

By TruthBook staff

Sometimes we squirm over what Jesus wants by Rt. Rev. Michael P. Milliken

Here's a clip from the article:

"This morning as I did my prayers, one of the Scripture selections was from St. Luke's gospel. In this passage Jesus is reminding his followers that they are to "Love your enemies …" Sometimes Jesus really makes me squirm! I squirm because I think Jesus is also saying to us that we are to love those different from us – who are a different color, who speak a different language, who are handicapped, who are elderly, who are poor (or rich), who are gay or straight, beautiful or ugly.

"And then Jesus turns the screws a little more. It is not enough to love our enemies; now Jesus expects us to forgive those who wrong us! Forgive? Most of us really want to get even. We want revenge … retribution. We want those who caused us to suffer to suffer even more! Forgive? No way! We want our pound of flesh! I wonder if things might have been different in Ferguson and Baltimore if both sides had worked at forgiveness and understanding."

Click to read the article

Do some of Jesus' teachings make YOU squirm?

There's a good reason for that, you know...

If it was easy to love our enemies, easy to love those who grate on our nerves, easy to love those who don't love us back ... well, we'd have a nice slice of the Kingdom right here on earth. If it was easy to cultivate serenity no matter what, easy to refuse to hold a grudge, easy to truly love all of God's children, and live without fear ... there would be peace on earth in short order.

As it is, many of us who say we love Jesus draw the line at some of his more difficult advice - like these instructions, some found in the article above, and the rest in the revelation of Jesus' life and teachings in The Urantia Book:

"I say to you: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who despitefully use you. And whatsoever you believe that I would do to men, do you also to them.
"Your inability or unwillingness to forgive your fellows is the measure of your immaturity, your failure to attain adult sympathy, understanding, and love. You hold grudges and nurse vengefulness in direct proportion to your ignorance of the inner nature and true longings of your children and your fellow beings. Love is the outworking of the divine and inner urge of life. It is founded on understanding, nurtured by unselfish service, and perfected in wisdom."
"The measure of your human strength of character is your ability to resist the holding of grudges and your capacity to withstand brooding in the face of deep sorrow. Defeat is the true mirror in which you may honestly view your real self."
"... why should you live in fear of the many trifles which come up in your daily lives? I say to you: Fear not."
And when he said, "Resist not evil," he later explained that he did not mean to condone sin or to counsel fraternity with iniquity. He intended the more to teach forgiveness, to "resist not evil treatment of one's personality, evil injury to one's feelings of personal dignity."

And from elsewhere in The Urantia Book:

103:5.2 This idea-ideal of doing good to others—the impulse to deny the ego something for the benefit of one's neighbor—is very circumscribed at first. Primitive man regards as neighbor only those very close to him, those who treat him neighborly; as religious civilization advances, one's neighbor expands in concept to embrace the clan, the tribe, the nation. And then Jesus enlarged the neighbor scope to embrace the whole of humanity, even that we should love our enemies. And there is something inside of every normal human being that tells him this teaching is moral—right. Even those who practice this ideal least, admit that it is right in theory.

Here's some insight on why many of us, while on board with Jesus intellectally, are unable or unwilling to really live what we know is right:

195:9.6 "Thinking man has always feared to be held by a religion. When a strong and moving religion threatens to dominate him, he invariably tries to rationalize, traditionalize, and institutionalize it, thereby hoping to gain control of it. By such procedure, even a revealed religion becomes man-made and man-dominated. Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them—and with them. And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man.
"Selfish men and women simply will not pay such a price for even the greatest spiritual treasure ever offered mortal man. Only when man has become sufficiently disillusioned by the sorrowful disappointments attendant upon the foolish and deceptive pursuits of selfishness, and subsequent to the discovery of the barrenness of formalized religion, will he be disposed to turn wholeheartedly to the gospel of the kingdom, the religion of Jesus of Nazareth."

Are we really selfish? Is it going to take even more sad events on ths world to convince the followers of Jesus that the solution begins with US? We may bemoan the state of the world and the state of the churches, but what are we doing - individually - to change things?

It's good food for thought, isn't it? Again, from the article cited above:

"As humans, we have free will. We can chose. As Christians, I hope we would chose the Way of Christ. It is so easy to hate. It is so easy to hold grudges. It is so easy to nurse our hurt feelings and bruised egos. But the Risen Lord expects more of his followers. It is hard to love the unlovable, to forgive the unforgivable. But that is what is expected of us."

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Tue, April 14, 2015

Is Anti-Semitism Ever Justified? Book Review

By TruthBook staff

A Jesus For Christians, Jews And Atheists: A Look At James Carroll's 'Christ Actually'

A Jesus for "Christians, Jews And Atheists?" Let's add Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, and even the unchurched and truthseekers everywhere. Yes, Jesus belongs to everyone - it may sound glib to those who don't know Jesus, but it is true, and one of The Urantia Book's most comforting teachings!

This is a worthy article about a book that looks promising in this regard. Here's a good snip:

"A former Catholic priest and current Boston Globe columnist, Carroll wants his fellow Christians to recognize their error — certainly moral but also historical — in demonizing Judaism, the lifelong religion of Jesus and his early disciples. Yet one of this book's many valuable observations will surprise Christians and Jews alike: the divine messiah was a Jewish invention, long before Jesus was born. Odder still, that observation leads to a Jesus in whom even atheists can believe.

"So Judaism conceived a divine messiah, but science-steeped moderns can't accept the idea: provocative, but what's the point? Carroll's subtitle is "The Son of God for the Secular Age." Challenging orthodox Christianity, he discards fixation on creeds that the institutional church has spent centuries accreting, arguing instead that what counts in our secular times is imitating Jesus's compassion as recorded in scripture: mercy towards sinners, concern for the poor, and nonviolence. Carroll's role models include Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran theologian martyred by the Nazis, and the American Catholic justice advocate Dorothy Day.

Click to read the entire article

There are a couple of points in this article that will bear greater scrutiny for readers of The Urantia Book ... how close this author comes to helping build a bridge over the chasm of misunderstanding, guilt, and blame that has come down to even this 21st century on the Jewish people!

First, this idea of the Jewish messiah ... From the article:

"The divine messiah was a Jewish invention, long before Jesus was born. Odder still, that observation leads to a Jesus in whom even atheists can believe."

So true! Jesus was (and is) a divine being. He was incarnated into a Jewish society to Jewish parents, but he transcended his peoples' religion fairly early-on. I suspect that, had Jesus been born into any other religious milieu, he would have transcended it, also, because the religion that he came to establish was far and away better than any existing man-made religion of his day, or any day. But here he was, a Jewish baby, reared in a Jewish home - and it was to his father Joseph's people that he revealed his divinity; it was to them he offered his new religion. It was to fulfill their idea of the "messiah" that he tailored his teachings.

Click to read CONCEPTS OF THE EXPECTED MESSIAH from The Urantia Book, in which we read:

"The Jews entertained many ideas about the expected deliverer, and each of these different schools of Messianic teaching was able to point to statements in the Hebrew scriptures as proof of their contentions. In a general way, the Jews regarded their national history as beginning with Abraham and culminating in the Messiah and the new age of the kingdom of God. In earlier times they had envisaged this deliverer as "the servant of the Lord," then as "the Son of Man," while latterly some even went so far as to refer to the Messiah as the "Son of God." But no matter whether he was called the "seed of Abraham" or "the son of David," all were agreed that he was to be the Messiah, the "anointed one." Thus did the concept evolve from the "servant of the Lord" to the "son of David," "Son of Man," and "Son of God."

And Jesus was never able to fully divorce himself from these strong ideas. Following the wedding events at Cana, where the water was turned to wine, Jesus was sorely perplexed:

137:5.3 That night Jesus did not sleep. Donning his evening wraps, he sat out on the lake shore thinking, thinking until the dawn of the next day. In the long hours of that night of meditation Jesus came clearly to comprehend that he never would be able to make his followers see him in any other light than as the long-expected Messiah. At last he recognized that there was no way to launch his message of the kingdom except as the fulfillment of John's prediction and as the one for whom the Jews were looking. After all, though he was not the Davidic type of Messiah, he was truly the fulfillment of the prophetic utterances of the more spiritually minded of the olden seers. Never again did he wholly deny that he was the Messiah. He decided to leave the final untangling of this complicated situation to the outworking of the Father's will.
The second point that should be considered is this idea that the Jews have borne the brunt of the world's hatred and disdain for all of these centuries. The Urantia Book teaches that this should not be so, and must be rejected. Although the Jews who wielded the power to kill Jesus WERE responsible, this guilt does in no way carry down to any individual descendents of the Jewish religion or culture

From The Urantia Book:

175:2.1 The fact that the spiritual leaders and the religious teachers of the Jewish nation onetime rejected the teachings of Jesus and conspired to bring about his cruel death, does not in any manner affect the status of any individual Jew in his standing before God. And it should not cause those who profess to be followers of the Christ to be prejudiced against the Jew as a fellow mortal. The Jews, as a nation, as a sociopolitical group, paid in full the terrible price of rejecting the Prince of Peace. Long since they ceased to be the spiritual torchbearers of divine truth to the races of mankind, but this constitutes no valid reason why the individual descendants of these long-ago Jews should be made to suffer the persecutions which have been visited upon them by intolerant, unworthy, and bigoted professed followers of Jesus of Nazareth, who was, himself, a Jew by natural birth.
"Many times has this unreasoning and un-Christlike hatred and persecution of modern Jews terminated in the suffering and death of some innocent and unoffending Jewish individual whose very ancestors, in the times of Jesus, heartily accepted his gospel and presently died unflinchingly for that truth which they so wholeheartedly believed. What a shudder of horror passes over the onlooking celestial beings as they behold the professed followers of Jesus indulge themselves in persecuting, harassing, and even murdering the later-day descendants of Peter, Philip, Matthew, and others of the Palestinian Jews who so gloriously yielded up their lives as the first martyrs of the gospel of the heavenly kingdom!
"How cruel and unreasoning to compel innocent children to suffer for the sins of their progenitors, misdeeds of which they are wholly ignorant, and for which they could in no way be responsible! And to do such wicked deeds in the name of one who taught his disciples to love even their enemies! It has become necessary, in this recital of the life of Jesus, to portray the manner in which certain of his fellow Jews rejected him and conspired to bring about his ignominious death; but we would warn all who read this narrative that the presentation of such a historical recital in no way justifies the unjust hatred, nor condones the unfair attitude of mind, which so many professed Christians have maintained toward individual Jews for many centuries. Kingdom believers, those who follow the teachings of Jesus, must cease to mistreat the individual Jew as one who is guilty of the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus. The Father and his Creator Son have never ceased to love the Jews. God is no respecter of persons, and salvation is for the Jew as well as for the gentile."

Just knowing the real story - the full story - of Jesus' incarnation and the life he led while in human form should help any seeker of any religious (or even non-religious) practice to discover that Jesus stands quite aloof and apart from any established religion on this earth - then or now.

The time is long passed when all of the children of God should know that they stand on an equal footing with God. No matter what our religious upbringing is, no matter what our gender, no matter our social status, all of us can rest assured that God loves all of his children the same.

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Thu, April 09, 2015

A Place Where Jesus Really Stood

By TruthBook staff

A place where Jesus actually stood by Jerry Johnston, Deseret News

Do you know this story?

"...there is one place where scholars, scientists and spiritual leaders all agree is a place where Jesus certainly stood.

"And the site is not even in Jerusalem. Not in Nazareth. Not in Bethlehem.

"It's in ancient Samaria.

"It is the well — Jacob's Well — where Jesus met the woman and told her he was life's living water.

"The location of Jacob's Well is pretty specific in the New Testament, and the current well has been known as Jacob's Well for eons."

Click to read the entire article

It's fun to find articles like this in the popular press; it's wonderful to have an opportunity to share with you these familiar stories from the Bible, but as they are narrated for us in Part IV of The Urantia Book: The Life and Teachings of Jesus.

As this article points out, the meeting of Jesus with the woman at the well was a very significant meeting. Not only was Jesus bold in even speaking to this woman, but it as to her that he made his first declaration of his divinity. About this, The Urantia Book states:

"This was the first direct, positive, and undisguised pronouncement of his divine nature and sonship which Jesus had made on earth; and it was made to a woman, a Samaritan woman, and a woman of questionable character in the eyes of men up to this moment, but a woman whom the divine eye beheld as having been sinned against more than as sinning of her own desire and as now being a human soul who desired salvation, desired it sincerely and wholeheartedly, and that was enough."

The story in John 4 is the only version of this story that the world has known up until The Urantia Book was given to us. In The Urantia Book, we see this familiar story expanded and fleshed-out. We learn the woman's name (Nalda) and we learn much more about her, and about this momentous meeting that long-ago day.

Click to read the whole story as told in The Urantia Book.

As is the case with many of the stories in the Bible, The Urantia Book gives us a whole new way to know these stories. This whole paper - Paper 143: Going Through Samaria is full of interesting stories. The woman at the well in Sychar is there, yes, but also stories that you may not be so familiar with ... stories like:

Jesus' preaching at Archelais, where Jesus expands on the kingdom gospel

Jesus' Lesson on Self-Mastery

Jesus' lesson on Diversion and Relaxation,

The real backstory regarding the bad feelings between the Jews and Samaritans

And the discourse of Jesus on Prayer and Worship

Click on any of the links, and enjoy reading this new revelation of Jesus in Paper 143 of the Urantia Book - only one of over 70 papers in Part IV that are devoted to the Life and Teachings of Jesus.

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Tue, March 31, 2015

What Happened in the Tomb of Jesus

By Cydney Renee

What Really Happened in the Tomb?

After the death of Jesus on the cross, and before the resurrection, there is nothing known of record as to what activities happened in Joseph’s new tomb where they laid Jesus’ body to rest. The Urantia Book reveals, in part, one of the most mysterious secrets about our beloved Jesus and what transpired on that one Sunday morning, April 9, 30 A.D. at 2:45am.

As Jesus lay in the tomb, his body wrapped in bandages and covered with a burial cloth, seven Paradise personalities from the Paradise incarnation commission descended from on high and deployed themselves about the tomb. Within minutes, strange morontia activities and intense vibrations were emitting from the interior of the tomb. What this means, we do not know.

At 3:02am, this amazing Sunday morning, Jesus resurrected in his morontia form and the personality of Jesus was released from the bonds of his torn, bruised, and badly abused material body. The celestial observers were greatly relieved when they saw the resurrected Jesus suddenly appear above the tomb immediately at the side of Gabriel, the Bright and Morning Star of Nebadon. As suddenly did they appear, the seven Paradise personalities, departed the scene at the tomb.

189.1.1 “At two forty-five Sunday morning, the Paradise incarnation commission, consisting of seven unidentified Paradise personalities, arrived on the scene and immediately deployed themselves about the tomb. At ten minutes before three, intense vibrations of commingled material and morontia activities began to issue from Joseph’s new tomb, and at two minutes past three o’clock, this Sunday morning, April 9, A.D. 30, the resurrected morontia form and personality of Jesus of Nazareth came forth from the tomb.“

Just as any Creator Son, Jesus “laid down his life of his own free will, he also had power to take it up again in accordance with his own determination.” These words of Gabriel to the concerned and watchful celestial hosts are all we know about what possibly happened in the tomb that one historical morning.

189:1.5 “We know that no creature of the local universe participated in this morontia awakening. We perceived the seven personalities of Paradise surround the tomb, but we did not see them do anything in connection with the Master’s awakening.”

Morontia is a term used in The Urantia Book that describes the substance between the material life and the spirit life. When we die our natural death, we progress onto the morontia worlds where our physical bodies become slightly more spiritual in nature at each successive transition. In each 570 morontia lifespans, our bodies become more and more spirit-like substance, and less material substance. “Matter is the skeleton of morontia, and that both are the reflected shadow of enduring spirit reality.”

Jesus’ material body and bandages lay undisturbed in the tomb. The huge rock rolled in front of the entrance stood undisturbed, and the guards heard nothing from within the tomb during that profound resurrection moment. Michael of Nebadon was finally free of his mortal bestowal as Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God and Son of Man.

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Thu, March 26, 2015

Jesus Conquered Death and So Can We

By TruthBook staff

Jesus: A Death Like Ours by Greg Carey

This is a wonderfully thoughtful piece, exploring the fact that Jesus died as a man; he submitted himself to-not only living the life of a mortal man-but dying the death of a normal man. Even though few of us will ever be called upon to suffer and die such a horrific death, under the same circumstances, we would die as Jesus did...gasping for air and finally succumbing to death through asphyxiation.

Here's a snippet from the article, and I would defnitely recommend a read-through of it.

"Jesus' death does not distinguish him from the rest of humanity so much as it unites us with him. If we begin to argue that Jesus' death was somehow unique, we embarrass ourselves. How many millions of people have died in horrific ways, ways even more tortuous than crucifixion? Dare we contemplate the horror of those who have died from diseases that inflict intense pain over extended periods of time? Are we willing to consider those who die completely alone, bereft of comfort or love? Jesus, at least, could look out on the courageous women who followed him even to the cross. None of us would volunteer for Jesus' death, but countless others have endured equally harrowing fates."

Click to read the entire article

The main reason that this article piqued my interest though, is that it it echoes the teachings of The Urantia Book regarding one of the primary purposes of Jesus' mission to our world, that being the necessity of Jesus' gaining the full experience of living his life as a mortal man - and dying as a mortal man. He could have sidestepped that last part. He could have, but he did not.

Here a few passages regarding these teachings:

120:0.1 To live such identical lives as he imposes upon the intelligent beings of his own creation, thus to bestow himself in the likeness of his various orders of created beings, is a part of the price which every Creator Son must pay for the full and supreme sovereignty of his self-made universe of things and beings.

Click to read about Creator Sons

Click to read about Jesus as Creator Son

In the section titled Alone In Gethsemane, we read:

Each time he prayed in the garden, his humanity laid a firmer faith-hold upon his divinity; his human will more completely became one with the divine will of his Father. Among other words spoken to him by the mighty angel was the message that the Father desired his Son to finish his earth bestowal by passing through the creature experience of death just as all mortal creatures must experience material dissolution in passing from the existence of time into the progression of eternity.
Earlier in the evening it had not seemed so difficult to drink the cup, but as the human Jesus bade farewell to his apostles and sent them to their rest, the trial grew more appalling. Jesus experienced that natural ebb and flow of feeling which is common to all human experience, and just now he was weary from work, exhausted from the long hours of strenuous labor and painful anxiety concerning the safety of his apostles. While no mortal can presume to understand the thoughts and feelings of the incarnate Son of God at such a time as this, we know that he endured great anguish and suffered untold sorrow, for the perspiration rolled off his face in great drops. He was at last convinced that the Father intended to allow natural events to take their course; he was fully determined to employ none of his sovereign power as the supreme head of a universe to save himself.

Read details of the Crucifixion, in which we learn:

At about half past nine o'clock this Friday morning, Jesus was hung upon the cross. Before eleven o'clock, upward of one thousand persons had assembled to witness this spectacle of the crucifixion of the Son of Man. Throughout these dreadful hours the unseen hosts of a universe stood in silence while they gazed upon this extraordinary phenomenon of the Creator as he was dying the death of the creature, even the most ignoble death of a condemned criminal.
Jesus had purposed to live without resort to his supernatural power, and he likewise elected to die as an ordinary mortal upon the cross. He had lived as a man, and he would die as a man—doing the Father's will.

These decisions that were made by the human Jesus, as a man among men, are so important. It is so important that he did what he did, so that we all can identify ourselves with his humanity ... just as we can know from the teachings of The Urantia Book that Jesus was conceived and born as all human beings are, so we can be assured that just as Jesus died and on the third day rose from the dead, we all will have that same opportunity. We will not resurrect on this earth again, but we will resurrect. Jesus' humanity assures us that. He claimed no supernatural powers because the average mortal being cannot do that. He called on no angels to deliver him for the same reason. Jesus truly is one of us - then, now, and always.

The teachings of The Urantia Book assure us further:

190:0.2 All this power which is inherent in Jesus—the endowment of life—and which enabled him to rise from the dead, is the very gift of eternal life which he bestows upon kingdom believers, and which even now makes certain their resurrection from the bonds of natural death.
The mortals of the realms will arise in the morning of the resurrection with the same type of transition or morontia body that Jesus had when he arose from the tomb on this Sunday morning. These bodies do not have circulating blood, and such beings do not partake of ordinary material food; nevertheless, these morontia forms are real. When the various believers saw Jesus after his resurrection, they really saw him; they were not the self-deceived victims of visions or hallucinations.

To anyone who doubts Jesus, or who wonders about the reality of eternal life, we can only say that knowing this part of Jesus' life and death can inspire a second though about it. What an amazing event this was! What an amazing life lived! What an amazing demonstration of love and devotion Jesus was.

The Urantia Book unequivocally states that knowing the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it is THE most important knowledge that one can have. Why? Precisely because, although Jesus was a divine Son of God, Jesus WAS ALSO A HUMAN MORTAL like you and me, and he lived a life of single-pointed desire to find and do the will of God. He pointed the way then, and still points the way through the bestowal of his Spirit of Truth, the spiritual counterpart and promised comforter who Jesus sent to be with us when he left.

And it is not only these dramatic events of the last week of his life that are important, but his entire life, both before and after he became aware of who he really was. And only in The Urantia Book can one find this complete and inspiring story - nowhere else.

At this wonderful time of year, when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and mourn for the brutality of his death, we hope you'll feel like re-dedicating YOUR life to God's will, too. You and I are born, and are destined to die, just as Jesus was, but the promise of resurrection is also our destiny ... hope for eternal life as an immortal spirit along with Jesus, is one of the most thrilling things about it all...we hope you'll agree.

Happy Easter from your blogging friends at TruthBook!

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Mon, March 23, 2015

Jesus told the truth about Scripture

By TruthBook staff

Voices of Faith: How did Jesus view the Old Testament?

By The Kansas City Star

Here is an article explaining how Jesus viewed the Old Testament, or the Scriptures using traditional Christian teachings. Even though it uses only the information contained in the New Testament, it is not a bad article. If you are a Christian, you'll find it familiar. Here's an excerpt:

Q: How did Jesus view the Old Testament?

The Rev. Scott Gordon, pastor, Claycomo Baptist Church: Regarding the Old Testament, Jesus made two very important statements. In relationship to his followers, Jesus asserts, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5:17)

This consideration brings us to the other important statement of Jesus. He says in John 5:39, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me."

Elsewhere Jesus, after his resurrection, consoles and instructs two followers: "'O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?' And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:25-27)

Click to read the article

I say it's not a bad article (and no offense to the author or the Bible), but it is certainly not a complete answer to that question, if you know The Urantia Book. Nowhere that I know of in the Bible does Jesus do any explaining about Scripture, but in The Urantia Book, a revelation and restatement of Jesus' entire life and true teachings, he does...

The story of Jesus and his teachings in Part IV of The Urantia Book is so amazing. It is hard to keep seeing these articles in the popular press that are so well-meaning, and so well-written (many of them), but so lacking in the kind of knowledge that is provided in The Urantia Book for those fortunate enough to have found it.

This issues of Jesus and Scripture is an important one, and if the story about Jesus' opinions of the Scriptures were to be known today, it would go far in helping establish the kingdom a lot faster, by setting people free to think for themselves about these matters of scripture and truth.

Jesus loved the scriptures; he used them liberally. He was a Jewish man brought up from childhood immersed in scripture. He knew them by heart; Jesus' very first public sermon in the synagogue when he was 15 years old is basically a reading of Isaiah 61. Click the link to see the whole sermon.

And that's only one of many, many references to Scripture that Jesus used. And why not? These were the most inspirational writings about God that were available at that time, and they were viewed in Jesus' time much as they are now - as the word of God.

But, did Jesus see them that way?

Once, Nathaniel asked Jesus to tell him the truth about the Scriptures, and the following discourse was shocking to Nathaaniel. I expect it might be shocking still today, but what Jesus says here made a lot of sense then, and remains the most sane approach to so-called sacred writings ever written. Maybe you'll agree:

Here is Jesus' discourse, in part:

"Nathaniel, never permit yourself for one moment to believe the Scripture records which tell you that the God of love directed your forefathers to go forth in battle to slay all their enemies—men, women, and children. Such records are the words of men, not very holy men, and they are not the word of God. The Scriptures always have, and always will, reflect the intellectual, moral, and spiritual status of those who create them. Have you not noted that the concepts of Yahweh grow in beauty and glory as the prophets make their records from Samuel to Isaiah? And you should remember that the Scriptures are intended for religious instruction and spiritual guidance. They are not the works of either historians or philosophers.
"The thing most deplorable is not merely this erroneous idea of the absolute perfection of the Scripture record and the infallibility of its teachings, but rather the confusing misinterpretation of these sacred writings by the tradition-enslaved scribes and Pharisees at Jerusalem. And now will they employ both the doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures and their misinterpretations thereof in their determined effort to withstand these newer teachings of the gospel of the kingdom. Nathaniel, never forget, the Father does not limit the revelation of truth to any one generation or to any one people. Many earnest seekers after the truth have been, and will continue to be, confused and disheartened by these doctrines of the perfection of the Scriptures.
"The authority of truth is the very spirit that indwells its living manifestations, and not the dead words of the less illuminated and supposedly inspired men of another generation. And even if these holy men of old lived inspired and spirit-filled lives, that does not mean that their words were similarly spiritually inspired. Today we make no record of the teachings of this gospel of the kingdom lest, when I have gone, you speedily become divided up into sundry groups of truth contenders as a result of the diversity of your interpretation of my teachings. For this generation it is best that we live these truths while we shun the making of records.
"Mark you well my words, Nathaniel, nothing which human nature has touched can be regarded as infallible. Through the mind of man divine truth may indeed shine forth, but always of relative purity and partial divinity. The creature may crave infallibility, but only the Creators possess it.

Click to read Jesus' entire discourse on the truth of Scripture

Further on that page, we read

159:5.1 At Philadelphia, where James was working, Jesus taught the disciples about the positive nature of the gospel of the kingdom. When, in the course of his remarks, he intimated that some parts of the Scripture were more truth-containing than others and admonished his hearers to feed their souls upon the best of the spiritual food, James interrupted the Master, asking: "Would you be good enough, Master, to suggest to us how we may choose the better passages from the Scriptures for our personal edification?" And Jesus replied: "Yes, James, when you read the Scriptures look for those eternally true and divinely beautiful teachings, such as:
"Create in me a clean heart, O Lord.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

"You should love your neighbor as yourself.

"For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying, fear not; I will help you.

"Neither shall the nations learn war any more."

159:5.7 And this is illustrative of the way Jesus, day by day, appropriated the cream of the Hebrew scriptures for the instruction of his followers and for inclusion in the teachings of the new gospel of the kingdom. Other religions had suggested the thought of the nearness of God to man, but Jesus made the care of God for man like the solicitude of a loving father for the welfare of his dependent children and then made this teaching the cornerstone of his religion. And thus did the doctrine of the fatherhood of God make imperative the practice of the brotherhood of man. The worship of God and the service of man became the sum and substance of his religion. Jesus took the best of the Jewish religion and translated it to a worthy setting in the new teachings of the gospel of the kingdom.
159:5.9 Jesus did not hesitate to appropriate the better half of a Scripture while he repudiated the lesser portion. His great exhortation, "Love your neighbor as yourself," he took from the Scripture which reads: "You shall not take vengeance against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus appropriated the positive portion of this Scripture while rejecting the negative part. He even opposed negative or purely passive nonresistance. Said he: "When an enemy smites you on one cheek, do not stand there dumb and passive but in positive attitude turn the other; that is, do the best thing possible actively to lead your brother in error away from the evil paths into the better ways of righteous living." Jesus required his followers to react positively and aggressively to every life situation. The turning of the other cheek, or whatever act that may typify, demands initiative, necessitates vigorous, active, and courageous expression of the believer's personality.

Click to read more about the positive nature of Jesus' religion

Can we handle the truth about Scripture?

The time is ripe for the world to understand the truth of the Scriptures yet again - even after 2000 years since the Master's bestowal, honest people still stumble and agonize over scripture, thinking that they are somehow inerrant words of God that cannot be questioned. So much of what passes for truth in the Bible can be terribly confusing to a truth-seeker who welcomes the God of love and forgiveness in his heart, but is faced with a god of vengeance and wrath in the BIble which claims to represent that God.

Jesus did not intend it to be that way.

There are at least 65 reference to Jesus and scripture in The Urantia Book. Many are times when he quoted scripture and others are about his knowledge of them, or the Pharisees' use of them against Jesus.

Click to check it out in TruthBook's search.

The Urantia Book is the most valuable source of information on Jesus anywhere in the world, and it is available for free on our website. If you want to know more about Jesus, about God, about the universe, and about our earth (Urantia) you are in the right place at the right time.

ENJOY!

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Tue, March 17, 2015

Finding Judas, the Real Story

By TruthBook staff

In conjunction with an earlier blog about the new CNN series on Finding Jesus, here's an update which might be of interest to many. The subject is Judas, and this article explores viewers' questions about Judas. Here's a sampling of the questions - questions that believers have been asking for 2000 years:

What do scholars know about the man named Judas? What is his story?

My understanding was always that Judas betrayed Jesus not because he was a villain, but he thought Jesus would start an earthly war when arrested. He was trying to get Jesus to establish a literal, physical kingdom on Earth.

Did Jesus know Judas would betray him when/before he chose him?

Click to read the entire article

Urantia Book readers, who are privy to the expanded details of Jesus life and teachings in Part IV of The Urantia Book, are aware of the real story of Judas. The story of Jesus in The Urantia Book also includes lengthy mentions and detailed biographies of all the apostles - Judas included. In fact, the story of Judas is given rather special treatment.

All of the questions posed in this article are fully answered throughout the pages of Part IV, but we have also compiled a study which incorporates all of those details, and a full reading of the study will satisfy anyone who has an interest in uncovering the truth of Judas.

What did Jesus think of Judas?

Jesus considered Judas a "faith adventure."

"To Jesus, Judas was a faith adventure. From the beginning the Master fully understood the weakness of this apostle and well knew the dangers of admitting him to fellowship. But it is the nature of the Sons of God to give every created being a full and equal chance for salvation and survival. Jesus wanted not only the mortals of this world but the onlookers of innumerable other worlds to know that, when doubts exist as to the sincerity and wholeheartedness of a creature's devotion to the kingdom, it is the invariable practice of the Judges of men fully to receive the doubtful candidate. The door of eternal life is wide open to all; "whosoever will may come"; there are no restrictions or qualifications save the faith of the one who comes.

"This is just the reason why Jesus permitted Judas to go on to the very end, always doing everything possible to transform and save this weak and confused apostle. But when light is not honestly received and lived up to, it tends to become darkness within the soul. Judas grew intellectually regarding Jesus' teachings about the kingdom, but he did not make progress in the acquirement of spiritual character as did the other apostles. He failed to make satisfactory personal progress in spiritual experience.

Click to read this whole section on Judas

Click to access TruthBook's study on Judas Iscariot, the twelfth Apostle

Read it for yourself!

Anyone who wishes can enjoy The Urantia Book and become one of a growing number of reders who are finding out the real stories and the real mission of this Son of Man, Son of God - Jesus. Do yourself a favor today, and check it out! The world is hungry for more of Jesus, and the Urantia Book is the most complete and replete source of Jesus information on the planet!

 

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Sun, March 15, 2015

Jesus Turns the Tables

By TruthBook staff

Here's a nice take on Jesus' cleansing of the temple: The Table Turning Jesus by Fr. Dwight Longenecker. It's a familiar story, and worth a second look. This article conttains some great insight.

Here's an excerpt:

"The story of the cleansing of the temple has always invigorated and inspired me.

"I think it's because of my dislike of the gentle Jesus meek and mild with pretty robes, combed hair and a little lambkin on his shoulder.

"Table turning Jesus is more like the avenging angel in one of those early Clint Eastwood movies. There he stands, squinty eyed and chomping on a cheroot–eyeing up the hypocrites and figuring out his next move.

"Getting his plan organized in his head he rolls up his sleeves and pulls out his whip and gets down to business.

"When he starts turning the tables he's got some muscle he's the man of action–not some effeminate hippie.

"This is why I like reading Mark's gospel during Lent. In that gospel especially Jesus comes across as a warrior. There's no nonsense about him and there is certainly no weakness. Right from the start he is on a mission from God and he goes through life like a hot knife through butter. He knows exactly what he is about and there is no stopping him. Go here to follow my Lenten Bible study of Marks' Gospel.

"When it comes to the cleansing of the temple we so often think that this story is only about Jesus cleaning up the hypocrisy and financial corruption. Yes, but...

"There's more to it than that."

Click to read the entire article

I'll say there's more to it than that! Although this is one of the most well-known stories about Jesus in the last week of his life, there's a lot about the event that isn't well-known. How do I know that? Well, because I am a reader of The Urantia Book!

First of all, Fr. Longenecker's ideas echo the teachings of The Urantia Book regarding the ideras we may have about Jesus' meek and mild portrayal over the centuries. The Urantia Book states:

141:3.6 The pictures of Jesus have been most unfortunate. These paintings of the Christ have exerted a deleterious influence on youth; the temple merchants would hardly have fled before Jesus if he had been such a man as your artists usually have depicted. His was a dignified manhood; he was good, but natural. Jesus did not pose as a mild, sweet, gentle, and kindly mystic. His teaching was thrillingly dynamic. He not only meant well, but he went about actually doing good.

The Urantia Book tells Jesus' story in a way that you have never seen. Not only are all the familiar stories told, but they are told with greater detail and in greater context than any Biblical account. This story of the cleansing of the temple, for example. Think you know the whole story? I'd like to share The Urantia Book story with you here in its entirety:

Cleansing the Temple

"A huge commercial traffic had grown up in association with the services and ceremonies of the temple worship. There was the business of providing suitable animals for the various sacrifices. Though it was permissible for a worshiper to provide his own sacrifice, the fact remained that this animal must be free from all "blemish" in the meaning of the Levitical law and as interpreted by official inspectors of the temple. Many a worshiper had experienced the humiliation of having his supposedly perfect animal rejected by the temple examiners. It therefore became the more general practice to purchase sacrificial animals at the temple, and although there were several stations on near-by Olivet where they could be bought, it had become the vogue to buy these animals directly from the temple pens. Gradually there had grown up this custom of selling all kinds of sacrificial animals in the temple courts. An extensive business, in which enormous profits were made, had thus been brought into existence. Part of these gains was reserved for the temple treasury, but the larger part went indirectly into the hands of the ruling high-priestly families.

"This sale of animals in the temple prospered because, when the worshiper purchased such an animal, although the price might be somewhat high, no more fees had to be paid, and he could be sure the intended sacrifice would not be rejected on the ground of possessing real or technical blemishes. At one time or another systems of exorbitant overcharge were practiced upon the common people, especially during the great national feasts. At one time the greedy priests went so far as to demand the equivalent of the value of a week's labor for a pair of doves which should have been sold to the poor for a few pennies. The "sons of Annas" had already begun to establish their bazaars in the temple precincts, those very merchandise marts which persisted to the time of their final overthrow by a mob three years before the destruction of the temple itself.

"But traffic in sacrificial animals and sundry merchandise was not the only way in which the courts of the temple were profaned. At this time there was fostered an extensive system of banking and commercial exchange which was carried on right within the temple precincts. And this all came about in the following manner: During the Asmonean dynasty the Jews coined their own silver money, and it had become the practice to require the temple dues of one-half shekel and all other temple fees to be paid with this Jewish coin. This regulation necessitated that money-changers be licensed to exchange the many sorts of currency in circulation throughout Palestine and other provinces of the Roman Empire for this orthodox shekel of Jewish coining. The temple head tax, payable by all except women, slaves, and minors, was one-half shekel, a coin about the size of a ten-cent piece but twice as thick. By the times of Jesus the priests had also been exempted from the payment of temple dues. Accordingly, from the 15th to the 25th of the month preceding the Passover, accredited money-changers erected their booths in the principal cities of Palestine for the purpose of providing the Jewish people with proper money to meet the temple dues after they had reached Jerusalem. After this ten-day period these money-changers moved on to Jerusalem and proceeded to set up their exchange tables in the courts of the temple. They were permitted to charge the equivalent of from three to four cents commission for the exchange of a coin valued at about ten cents, and in case a coin of larger value was offered for exchange, they were allowed to collect double. Likewise did these temple bankers profit from the exchange of all money intended for the purchase of sacrificial animals and for the payment of vows and the making of offerings. *

"These temple money-changers not only conducted a regular banking business for profit in the exchange of more than twenty sorts of money which the visiting pilgrims would periodically bring to Jerusalem, but they also engaged in all other kinds of transactions pertaining to the banking business. Both the temple treasury and the temple rulers profited tremendously from these commercial activities. It was not uncommon for the temple treasury to hold upwards of ten million dollars while the common people languished in poverty and continued to pay these unjust levies.

"In the midst of this noisy aggregation of money-changers, merchandisers, and cattle sellers, Jesus, on this Monday morning, attempted to teach the gospel of the heavenly kingdom. He was not alone in resenting this profanation of the temple; the common people, especially the Jewish visitors from foreign provinces, also heartily resented this profiteering desecration of their national house of worship. At this time the Sanhedrin itself held its regular meetings in a chamber surrounded by all this babble and confusion of trade and barter.

"As Jesus was about to begin his address, two things happened to arrest his attention. At the money table of a near-by exchanger a violent and heated argument had arisen over the alleged overcharging of a Jew from Alexandria, while at the same moment the air was rent by the bellowing of a drove of some one hundred bullocks which was being driven from one section of the animal pens to another. As Jesus paused, silently but thoughtfully contemplating this scene of commerce and confusion, close by he beheld a simple-minded Galilean, a man he had once talked with in Iron, being ridiculed and jostled about by supercilious and would-be superior Judeans; and all of this combined to produce one of those strange and periodic uprisings of indignant emotion in the soul of Jesus.

"To the amazement of his apostles, standing near at hand, who refrained from participation in what so soon followed, Jesus stepped down from the teaching platform and, going over to the lad who was driving the cattle through the court, took from him his whip of cords and swiftly drove the animals from the temple. But that was not all; he strode majestically before the wondering gaze of the thousands assembled in the temple court to the farthest cattle pen and proceeded to open the gates of every stall and to drive out the imprisoned animals. By this time the assembled pilgrims were electrified, and with uproarious shouting they moved toward the bazaars and began to overturn the tables of the money-changers. In less than five minutes all commerce had been swept from the temple. By the time the near-by Roman guards had appeared on the scene, all was quiet, and the crowds had become orderly; Jesus, returning to the speaker's stand, spoke to the multitude: "You have this day witnessed that which is written in the Scriptures: `My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers.'"

"But before he could utter other words, the great assembly broke out in hosannas of praise, and presently a throng of youths stepped out from the crowd to sing grateful hymns of appreciation that the profane and profiteering merchandisers had been ejected from the sacred temple. By this time certain of the priests had arrived on the scene, and one of them said to Jesus, "Do you not hear what the children of the Levites say?" And the Master replied, "Have you never read, `Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings has praise been perfected'?" And all the rest of that day while Jesus taught, guards set by the people stood watch at every archway, and they would not permit anyone to carry even an empty vessel across the temple courts.

"When the chief priests and the scribes heard about these happenings, they were dumfounded. All the more they feared the Master, and all the more they determined to destroy him. But they were nonplused. They did not know how to accomplish his death, for they greatly feared the multitudes, who were now so outspoken in their approval of his overthrow of the profane profiteers. And all this day, a day of quiet and peace in the temple courts, the people heard Jesus' teaching and literally hung on his words.

"This surprising act of Jesus was beyond the comprehension of his apostles. They were so taken aback by this sudden and unexpected move of their Master that they remained throughout the whole episode huddled together near the speaker's stand; they never lifted a hand to further this cleansing of the temple. If this spectacular event had occurred the day before, at the time of Jesus' triumphal arrival at the temple at the termination of his tumultuous procession through the gates of the city, all the while loudly acclaimed by the multitude, they would have been ready for it, but coming as it did, they were wholly unprepared to participate.

"This cleansing of the temple discloses the Master's attitude toward commercializing the practices of religion as well as his detestation of all forms of unfairness and profiteering at the expense of the poor and the unlearned. This episode also demonstrates that Jesus did not look with approval upon the refusal to employ force to protect the majority of any given human group against the unfair and enslaving practices of unjust minorities who may be able to entrench themselves behind political, financial, or ecclesiastical power. Shrewd, wicked, and designing men are not to be permitted to organize themselves for the exploitation and oppression of those who, because of their idealism, are not disposed to resort to force for self-protection or for the furtherance of their laudable life projects."

If you enjoyed that story, how about reading more? The entire life of Jesus - the ENTIRE lfe - as well as a complete restatement of Jesus' teachings, is available to you in Part IV of The Urantia Book, a modern revelation from on high for the edification and spiritual uplift of our 21st century world.

Click to find out more about The Urantia Book

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