Mon, February 01, 2016
Jesus and Religious Unity
By TruthBook Staff
What would Jesus do where religious unity is concerned? Why not ask him? By Kevin Leininger
Jesus and religious unity? How could a Urantia Book reader ignore this opportunity to shed spiritual light? See our blog below...
But first, let's have a look at how even the concept of "one God" cannot seem to unify believers who insist on uniformity of belief - otherwise known as DOGMA.
From this very interesting article:
"Dr. Larycia Hawkins, a Christian professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, probably could have gotten away with donning a headscarf during Advent as a show of support for Muslims she believes have been unfairly maligned by Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and others as potentially violent. But when she justified her gesture of religious solidarity by insisting that Christians and Muslims 'worship the same god,' her bosses at the Christian school responded by putting her on paid leave for contradicting Wheaton's 'statement of faith and educational purpose.' "
"What would Jesus do? He's already told us: Love your neighbor as yourself. It can be hard, but if more people tried, regardless of their faith, we might not be so desperate to recreate God -- or each other -- in our own image."
Click to read the article in full
What a tragic missed opportunity!
Christianity and Islam are two examples of what The Urantia Book calls "religions of authority," but both worship one God; is there such a thing as the "wrong God?" Even Christians acknowledge that Jesus was the earthly revelation of this one God ... there IS only one!
Again, from this most interesting article:
"The Council on American-Islamic Relations, meanwhile, noted that, "from an Islamic perspective, there is only one deity worshiped by Muslims, Christians and Jews ... Throughout history, rigid -- and inaccurate -- theological positions on the nature of God and on beliefs of other faiths resulted in conflict and lost opportunities for mutual understanding. We see such extremism today in the anti-Islamic actions and beliefs of ISIS and its ilk."
Conversely, some in mainstream Christianity seem intent upon highlighting our differences, instead of our commonalities:
Evangelist Franklin Graham, whose famous father Billy attended Wheaton, correctly noted that only Christians believe in a Triune God -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Muslims, he said, "deny that Jesus is God . . . Islam and Christianity clearly do not worship the same God.
In The Urantia Book, spiritual unity vs uniformity is a compelling and recurring theme. About it, Jesus said:
Click to read this amazing discourse of Jesus regarding religion
155:6.9 The religions of authority can only divide men and set them in conscientious array against each other; the religion of the spirit will progressively draw men together and cause them to become understandingly sympathetic with one another. The religions of authority require of men uniformity in belief, but this is impossible of realization in the present state of the world. The religion of the spirit requires only unity of experience—uniformity of destiny—making full allowance for diversity of belief. The religion of the spirit requires only uniformity of insight, not uniformity of viewpoint and outlook. The religion of the spirit does not demand uniformity of intellectual views, only unity of spirit feeling. The religions of authority crystallize into lifeless creeds; the religion of the spirit grows into the increasing joy and liberty of ennobling deeds of loving service and merciful ministration.
But, CAN there really be religious unity in this world?
In The Urantia Book, we discover the reasons why there definitely CAN be spiritual unity among ALL religions that worship the ONE God; that reason is that all of mankind - Muslim, Jew, Christian, Buddhist... and even the unchurched ...have one amazing thing in common. That one thing is the spark of God that indwells the minds of all human beings. And recognition of, and experience with, that indwelling Spirit can bring about spiritual unity as more and more believers and pactitioners of the religion of spiritual experience with God realize that this transcendent religion can be enjoyed by everyone - with or without belongng to a "traditonal" church, or mosque, or temple. As Jesus said above:
"The religion of the spirit does not demand uniformity of intellectual views, only unity of spirit feeling."
Elsewhere in The Urantia Book, we learn:
92:7.4 All these religions have arisen as a result of man's variable intellectual response to his identical spiritual leading. They can never hope to attain a uniformity of creeds, dogmas, and rituals—these are intellectual; but they can, and some day will, realize a unity in true worship of the Father of all, for this is spiritual, and it is forever true, in the spirit all men are equal.
103:1.1 The unity of religious experience among a social or racial group derives from the identical nature of the God fragment indwelling the individual. It is this divine in man that gives origin to his unselfish interest in the welfare of other men. But since personality is unique—no two mortals being alike—it inevitably follows that no two human beings can similarly interpret the leadings and urges of the spirit of divinity which lives within their minds. A group of mortals can experience spiritual unity, but they can never attain philosophic uniformity. And this diversity of the interpretation of religious thought and experience is shown by the fact that twentieth-century theologians and philosophers have formulated upward of five hundred different definitions of religion. In reality, every human being defines religion in the terms of his own experiential interpretation of the divine impulses emanating from the God spirit that indwells him, and therefore must such an interpretation be unique and wholly different from the religious philosophy of all other human beings.
134:4.3 If different religions recognize the spirit sovereignty of God the Father, then will all such religions remain at peace. Only when one religion assumes that it is in some way superior to all others, and that it possesses exclusive authority over other religions, will such a religion presume to be intolerant of other religions or dare to persecute other religious believers.
Religious peace—brotherhood—can never exist unless all religions are willing to completely divest themselves of all ecclesiastical authority and fully surrender all concept of spiritual sovereignty. God alone is spirit sovereign.
You cannot have equality among religions (religious liberty) without having religious wars unless all religions consent to the transfer of all religious sovereignty to some superhuman level, to God himself.
Jesus came to this earth to do a number of things, but one of the primary goals of his mission was to establish the Kingdom of heaven in the hearts of all mankind - to let mankind know that they are children of God and that his Kingdom wihin them IS the influence that will unite them all.
134:4.6 The kingdom of heaven in the hearts of men will create religious unity (not necessarily uniformity) because any and all religious groups composed of such religious believers will be free from all notions of ecclesiastical authority—religious sovereignty.
Click to read abour Sovereignty - Divine and Human
Click to read about the Philosophy of Religion
The Teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book Show the Way!
One of the most remarkable things that we discover as Urantia Book reader/students is that no matter what flavor of religion we may have been raised in, or that our family or friends belong to, or that the loudest voices claim is the only one ... our personal spiritual experience with the God-fragment that indwells our minds allows us to safely navigate all of these religions without ever having to feel that we must subscribe to any of them. Why? because Jesus has taught us the very best religion of all - the religion of personal spiritual experience, whch provides us with all we need. AND - if we do decide to belong to a particular religion, we will be all the better in that religion when we can just relax and worship God with others without having to worry whether we have picked the "wrong" one or the "right" one. All religions are good, just to the extent that they bring God closer to us and us closer to God. But the personal religion of experience with God can inform all religious participation in a positive way.
So, we feel sorry that this message about religion and about God has been missed in the experiences of the teacher who was fired and the response of the authorities who might have built a bridge instead of tearing the bridge down; nevertheless, we hope that through this little blog piece, someone, somewhere may find a new bridge through the matchless teachings of The Urantia Book. We hope that someone, somewhere will be willing to explore their gift of God-within and start to enjoy the thrilling religion of the spirit, which will unify as nothing else can.
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Fri, January 29, 2016
The Real Story of Jesus and the Twelve
By TruthBook Staff
How did Jesus Choose his Apostles? by Jack Wellman
Learning more about the apostles of Jesus is an important study, and helps us understand more about how Jesus planned his public ministry using ordinary people of his day - and they WERE ordinary folk. Read our blog below which points us to The Urantia Book's story of the choosing of the Apostles ... but first, here's a snippent from this article that caught my attention. The author, of course, depends only upon the Bible for his information.
"Jesus didn't immediately choose the twelve Apostles. He first went to pray about it and this was no short two minute prayer because "he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12). This was an incredibly important decision so Jesus prayed all night long and only then "when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor" (Luke 6:13-16)."
Click to read this article in full
Jesus' Apostles - The Rest of the Story
The author of the article referenced above cannot be faulted for his lack of knowledge; the Bible has been the only source of real information about Jesus that the world has had for centuries. But now, The Urantia Book fills in all the blanks in the above stories from the Bible, and helps us appreciate just how much care and preparation went into the gathering and the organization of this band of apostles in whom Jesus placed so much trust.
In The Urantia Book accounts, the choosing and training of the apostles was actually a fairly long, drawn-out affair and took place over the course of one year, from Feb 23 A.D.26 - when the first 4 apostles were chosen, until January 27, A.D. 27, when the ordination of the 12 took place.
Here are the pertinent details from The Urantia Book. Simply click on the links provided to see the story:
The first 4 apostles (Andrew, Simon, James, and John) are chosen by Jesus.
the 4th and 5th apostles (Philip and Nathaniel) are chosen by Jesus the next day
The day after the choosing of the six, the amazing events of Cana took place, during which Jesus' first miracle happened. It, in itself, is truly an amazing event and worth a new look by those who have only read the Biblical account.
Read about The wedding at Cana
Following the events of Cana, Jesus engaged his six newly-chosen apostles in a lengthy period of training
What happened during the 4 months of training with the six ( Mar-June of A.D. 26)
And following that period of time, Jesus sent these six newly-trained apostles to perform two weeks of public ministry
138:1.1 The next day, Sunday, June 23, A.D. 26, Jesus imparted his final instructions to the six. He directed them to go forth, two and two, to teach the glad tidings of the kingdom.
And the six went out for 2 weeks in ministry, until early in July.
From The Urantia Book:
138:2.1 This first missionary tour of the six was eminently successful. They all discovered the great value of direct and personal contact with men. They returned to Jesus more fully realizing that, after all, religion is purely and wholly a matter of personal experience. They began to sense how hungry were the common people to hear words of religious comfort and spiritual good cheer. When they assembled about Jesus, they all wanted to talk at once, but Andrew assumed charge, and as he called upon them one by one, they made their formal reports to the Master and presented their nominations for the six new apostles.
Jesus - The Consummate Executive
Here we see the executive management style of the Master. Rather than his choosing all of the apostles himself, he allowed each of the first six to suggest another who would join the group; and in this way, by voting on the new nominees, the band of twelve came to be.
138:2.2 Jesus, after each man had presented his selection for the new apostleships, asked all the others to vote upon the nomination; thus all six of the new apostles were formally accepted by all of the older six. Then Jesus announced that they would all visit these candidates and give them the call to service.
The newly selected apostles were:
1. Matthew Levi, the customs collector of Capernaum, who had his office just to the east of the city, near the borders of Batanea. He was selected by Andrew.
2. Thomas Didymus a fisherman of Tarichea and onetime carpenter and stone mason of Gadara. He was selected by Philip.
3. James Alpheus, a fisherman and farmer of Kheresa, was selected by James Zebedee.
4. Judas Alpheus the twin brother of James Alpheus, also a fisherman, was selected by John Zebedee.
5. Simon Zelotes was a high officer in the patriotic organization of the Zealots, a position which he gave up to join Jesus' apostles. Before joining the Zealots, Simon had been a merchant. He was selected by Peter.
6. Judas Iscariot was an only son of wealthy Jewish parents living in Jericho. He had become attached to John the Baptist, and his Sadducee parents had disowned him. He was looking for employment in these regions when Jesus' apostles found him, and chiefly because of his experience with finances, Nathaniel invited him to join their ranks. Judas Iscariot was the only Judean among the twelve apostles.
The 12 apostles did not begin working tgether until August of 26 A.D.
Read about the First work of the Twelve
During this time, Jesus went out with the apostles in pairs, 2-by-2, for two weeks of ministry. This continued for the next 5 months, into January of A.D 27, when Jesus called the 12 to the Ordination
Ordination of the 12
Read about the Organization of the 12
A Story Found Nowhere Else
And so, once again, we see the value of The Urantia Book in helping us understand better the life of Jesus and how he carefully planned his public ministry. Far from simply being chosen, the twelve were also taught and trained in the realities of Jesus' kingdom of heaven so that they could carry the message properly.
Nowhere else in the world will you be able to get to know the Apostles as intimately as you will be able to discover them in The Urantia Book. Each one was a unique and valuable member of Jesus' team. Even Judas Iscariot played his part in the beginning; it was only later that he made his break with Jesus, over a series of disappointments and conflicts that took place mainly in his own mind.
Here is a study of this traitorous apostle, and how his disaffection came to be.
Please see our TruthBook study on the apostles
Finally - here is the entire Paper 139 - an amazing character study of each apostle.
Again, these Urantia Book narratives of the choosing of the apostles, their training, their first work, and their unique personality traits are to be found nowhere but in The Urantia Book. If you want to know more about the Apostles, more about Jesus, and more about his real life, you need go no further. Enjoy!
And for the complete story of Jesus amazing life and teachings click here.
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Mon, January 18, 2016
Jesus' Promise To Return
By TruthBook Staff
When Will Our Lord Jesus Return, and When Will the Church Be Raptured? by CHARLES P. SCHMITT/D. MIN., D. TH.
Believers have been wondering about the Master's return for centuries; it is something that he promised, and so we all take it very seriously. See our blog on Urantia Book teachings regarding this event below...but first, you may be interested in what the Christian community has to say about this event. This article explains in some detail the Biblical references about Jesus' return which are paired with references to the "rapture...," also discussed in our blog. Here is a singular excerpt from the article that caught my attention:
Jesus' final teaching on His Second Coming, given on the Mount of Olives, and recorded in Matthew 24 and 25, is extremely clear. In Matthew 24, there is no Second Coming and no rapture until "after the tribulation of those days ... [for] then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matt. 24:29-31).
Click to read the entire article referenced above
Now to our blog:
Arriving on the Clouds
According to Urantia Book teachings, the reference in the Bible about the Son of Man arriving in the clouds is originally from Daniel (7:13).
From Paper 135: John the Baptist:
135:3.3 John was never able completely to rise above the confusion produced by what he had heard from his parents concerning Jesus and by these passages which he read in the Scriptures. In Daniel he read: "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and there was given him dominion and glory and a kingdom." But these words of the prophet did not harmonize with what his parents had taught him. Neither did his talk with Jesus, at the time of his visit when he was eighteen years old, correspond with these statements of the Scriptures. Notwithstanding this confusion, throughout all of his perplexity his mother assured him that his distant cousin, Jesus of Nazareth, was the true Messiah, that he had come to sit on the throne of David, and that he (John) was to become his advance herald and chief support.
And from Paper 137, where Ezra questions Jesus being the Messiah:
137:2.2 That day, as Jesus and his four disciple-apostles departed for Galilee, there was a great tumult in the camp of John's followers. The first great division was about to take place. The day before, John had made his positive pronouncement to Andrew and Ezra that Jesus was the Deliverer. Andrew decided to follow Jesus, but Ezra rejected the mild-mannered carpenter of Nazareth, proclaiming to his associates: "The Prophet Daniel declares that the Son of Man will come with the clouds of heaven, in power and great glory. This Galilean carpenter, this Capernaum boatbuilder, cannot be the Deliverer. Can such a gift of God come out of Nazareth?
What did Jesus Say?
In Part IV of The Urantia Book, the Life and Teachings of Jesus
, a good deal of attention is paid to the Master's return to this earth. In Paper 176, Jesus declares:
176:2.3 "Even though I shall thus be present with you in spirit, I also promise that I will sometime return to this world, where I have lived this life in the flesh and achieved the experience of simultaneously revealing God to man and leading man to God. Very soon must I leave you and take up the work the Father has intrusted to my hands, but be of good courage, for I will sometime return. In the meantime, my Spirit of the Truth of a universe shall comfort and guide you."
This passage is from The Master's Second Coming.
Further in that section, we read about how the passages in Matthew came to be included in the Bible as we know it today:
176:2.8 Of all the discourses which the Master gave his apostles, none ever became so confused in their minds as this one, given this Tuesday evening on the Mount of Olives, regarding the twofold subject of the destruction of Jerusalem and his own second coming. There was, therefore, little agreement between the subsequent written accounts based on the memories of what the Master said on this extraordinary occasion. Consequently, when the records were left blank concerning much that was said that Tuesday evening, there grew up many traditions; and very early in the second century a Jewish apocalyptic about the Messiah written by one Selta, who was attached to the court of the Emperor Caligula, was bodily copied into the Matthew Gospel and subsequently added (in part) to the Mark and Luke records. It was in these writings of Selta that the parable of the ten virgins appeared. No part of the gospel record ever suffered such confusing misconstruction as this evening's teaching. But the Apostle John never became thus confused.
The Meaning of Jesus' Return
And lastly, in this section, the revelators of The Urantia Book explain further the importance and the meaning of Jesus promise "to come back in person to this world."
176:4.5 We most positively believe that Michael will again come in person to Urantia, but we have not the slightest idea as to when or in what manner he may choose to come. Will his second advent on earth be timed to occur in connection with the terminal judgment of this present age, either with or without the associated appearance of a Magisterial Son? Will he come in connection with the termination of some subsequent Urantian age? Will he come unannounced and as an isolated event? We do not know. Only one thing we are certain of, that is, when he does return, all the world will likely know about it, for he must come as the supreme ruler of a universe and not as the obscure babe of Bethlehem. But if every eye is to behold him, and if only spiritual eyes are to discern his presence, then must his advent be long deferred.
You would do well, therefore, to disassociate the Master's personal return to earth from any and all set events or settled epochs. We are sure of only one thing: He has promised to come back. We have no idea as to when he will fulfill this promise or in what connection. As far as we know, he may appear on earth any day, and he may not come until age after age has passed and been duly adjudicated by his associated Sons of the Paradise corps.
The second advent of Michael on earth is an event of tremendous sentimental value to both midwayers and humans; but otherwise it is of no immediate moment to midwayers and of no more practical importance to human beings than the common event of natural death, which so suddenly precipitates mortal man into the immediate grasp of that succession of universe events which leads directly to the presence of this same Jesus, the sovereign ruler of our universe. The children of light are all destined to see him, and it is of no serious concern whether we go to him or whether he should chance first to come to us. Be you therefore ever ready to welcome him on earth as he stands ready to welcome you in heaven. We confidently look for his glorious appearing, even for repeated comings, but we are wholly ignorant as to how, when, or in what connection he is destined to appear.
Does The Urantia Book teach about the Rapture?
Finally, the rapture is a singular event that earns a great deal of interest among many Christians. Regarding the rapture and what it may mean in regards to Urantia Book teachings, we offer this scenario, laid out in early in the book's teachings:
51:2.3 If some physical catastrophe should doom the planetary residence of an evolving race, the Melchizedeks and the Life Carriers would install the technique of dematerialization for all survivors, and by seraphic transport these beings would be carried away to the new world prepared for their continuing existence. The evolution of a human race, once initiated on a world of space, must proceed quite independently of the physical survival of that planet, but during the evolutionary ages it is not otherwise intended that a Planetary Adam or Eve shall leave their chosen world.
The section from which this passage is taken is discussing Adam and Eve, and how these semi-material beings are able to be transported from the celestial realms to the material worlds. It is very interesting and informative!
In fact, that whole paper about Adam and Eve is unlike anything previously known or imagined about these two amazing beings. Check it out!
Nowhere else in The Urantia Book is a scenario like the Christian belief in a "rapture" addressed - only in a dire situation, such as a planetary disaster in which humanity's existence as a whole is threatened, would the planet be emptied of people - ALL people, not just a chosen few. But not to heaven; instead, to a new planet, where humanity would be able to safely continue its evolution.
In such an instance, the Father's ascension plan would still be in effect, with the ultimate survival of individuals ensured.
Are you a Truthseeker?
These comparisons of Biblical teaching with Urantia Book teaching will hopefully whet the interest of any truth-seeker. One of the aims of The Urantia Book is to correct errors that have made their way into humanity's consciousness over the centuries since Jesus walked the earth. These revelatory teachings fill in all the gaps in our knowledge regarding Jesus, regarding our planetary history, and regarding mankind's origins and destiny.
Check it out! The entire text is free to all online.
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Wed, December 23, 2015
The Real Date of Christmas
By TruthBook Staff
What We Know About When Jesus Was Actually Born by Ashley Ross
Of course, this caught my eye; it seems every year, there is fresh speculation about the real date of Jesus' birth; see blog below for more commentary. But maybe the title of this article should be : "What we DON'T Know About When Jesus Was Actually Born." But the GOOD news is that The Urantia Book ends the speculation! Here's is a taste of the article's content:
"The Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke are the only accounts of Jesus' birth in the New Testament. Even accepting their word as the truth, each tells a different story—Luke's starting in Nazareth and Matthew's focused solely on events in Bethlehem—and neither is particularly detailed in terms of calendar dates. "It's a tough one really because there is just so little in Matthew's and Luke's birth narratives. The gospel writers very rarely tell you when things happened and the time of year," Goodacre says. "You don't get any official detail so we're in the dark really on that."
Click to read the entire article
Fortunately for those who read The Urantia Book, the darkness about Jesus' birthdate has been lifted!
Here's the real story, rich with the details that are so sadly missing in the Biblical accounts of this most important date in history. From The Urantia Book:
In the month of March, 8 B.C. (the month Joseph and Mary were married), Caesar Augustus decreed that all inhabitants of the Roman Empire should be numbered, that a census should be made which could be used for effecting better taxation. The Jews had always been greatly prejudiced against any attempt to "number the people," and this, in connection with the serious domestic difficulties of Herod, King of Judea, had conspired to cause the postponement of the taking of this census in the Jewish kingdom for one year. Throughout all the Roman Empire this census was registered in the year 8 B.C., except in the Palestinian kingdom of Herod, where it was taken in 7 B.C., one year later.
It was not necessary that Mary should go to Bethlehem for enrollment—Joseph was authorized to register for his family—but Mary, being an adventurous and aggressive person, insisted on accompanying him. She feared being left alone lest the child be born while Joseph was away, and again, Bethlehem being not far from the City of Judah, Mary foresaw a possible pleasurable visit with her kinswoman Elizabeth.
Joseph virtually forbade Mary to accompany him, but it was of no avail; when the food was packed for the trip of three or four days, she prepared double rations and made ready for the journey. But before they actually set forth, Joseph was reconciled to Mary's going along, and they cheerfully departed from Nazareth at the break of day.
Joseph and Mary were poor, and since they had only one beast of burden, Mary, being large with child, rode on the animal with the provisions while Joseph walked, leading the beast. The building and furnishing of a home had been a great drain on Joseph since he had also to contribute to the support of his parents, as his father had been recently disabled. And so this Jewish couple went forth from their humble home early on the morning of August 18, 7 B.C., on their journey to Bethlehem.
Their first day of travel carried them around the foothills of Mount Gilboa, where they camped for the night by the river Jordan and engaged in many speculations as to what sort of a son would be born to them, Joseph adhering to the concept of a spiritual teacher and Mary holding to the idea of a Jewish Messiah, a deliverer of the Hebrews nation.
Bright and early the morning of August 19, Joseph and Mary were again on their way. They partook of their noontide meal at the foot of Mount Sartaba, overlooking the Jordan valley, and journeyed on, making Jericho for the night, where they stopped at an inn on the highway in the outskirts of the city. Following the evening meal and after much discussion concerning the oppressiveness of Roman rule, Herod, the census enrollment, and the comparative influence of Jerusalem and Alexandria as centers of Jewish learning and culture, the Nazareth travelers retired for the night's rest. Early in the morning of August 20 they resumed their journey, reaching Jerusalem before noon, visiting the temple, and going on to their destination, arriving at Bethlehem in midafternoon.
The inn was overcrowded, and Joseph accordingly sought lodgings with distant relatives, but every room in Bethlehem was filled to overflowing. On returning to the courtyard of the inn, he was informed that the caravan stables, hewn out of the side of the rock and situated just below the inn, had been cleared of animals and cleaned up for the reception of lodgers. Leaving the donkey in the courtyard, Joseph shouldered their bags of clothing and provisions and with Mary descended the stone steps to their lodgings below. They found themselves located in what had been a grain storage room to the front of the stalls and mangers. Tent curtains had been hung, and they counted themselves fortunate to have such comfortable quarters.
Joseph had thought to go out at once and enroll, but Mary was weary; she was considerably distressed and besought him to remain by her side, which he did.
THE BIRTH OF JESUS
All that night Mary was restless so that neither of them slept much. By the break of day the pangs of childbirth were well in evidence, and at noon, August 21, 7 B.C., with the help and kind ministrations of women fellow travelers, Mary was delivered of a male child. Jesus of Nazareth was born into the world, was wrapped in the clothes which Mary had brought along for such a possible contingency, and laid in a near-by manger.
In just the same manner as all babies before that day and since have come into the world, the promised child was born; and on the eighth day, according to the Jewish practice, he was circumcised and formally named Joshua (Jesus).
And that is only a portion of the story. Click to read the entire narrative...you'll be glad you did!
And here is more information about that year of Jesus' birth, and why it seems that it is so far behind the year 1:
See When is Jesus Birthday by Chris Halvorson
Part IV of The Urantia Book is THE source for the complete life and teachings of Jesus - yes, the COMPLETE life and teachings! The Bible has been the exclusive resource for the details of Jesus' life for centuries, but now, The Urantia Book restates the Jesus story with rich and replete detail seen nowhere else. Read the story of the first Christmas, and all of the other beloved stories of Jesus life - free on our site!
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Thu, December 03, 2015
Why Is Jesus So Popular?
By TruthBook Staff
Faith: An imagined Jesus by Mark T. Wuggazer
WOW! 90% of Americans have a positive view of Jesus! See our blog below for more commentary, but first, here's a snippet from the article:
"Jesus is a very likable character in 21st century America. Despite the fact that only 70% of Americans identify as Christians, and less than 20% of Americans attend church on a given week, a whopping 90% of people have a positive opinion of Jesus himself. That figure includes all people of all faiths. The reason for this likeability is that people and groups in our society have fashioned a Jesus in their own imagination that is likeable and agreeable to their sensibilities."
Click to read the whole article
In this article, Jesus is discussed as a sort of "rabble-rouser"; the author cites the cleansing of the temple, rebuking the Jewish leaders of the day, and generally disturbing the peace of the establishment. The author wants us to know that Jesus was not all sweetness and light - that he meant business, too.
And he did - no question. And we still remember those events from Jesus' life. But, what is it about Jesus that makes him so likeable to 90% of Americans? I suspect it is because Jesus is well-known for his teachings - Jesus is well-known for his great love of mankind, for his teachings to love God and each other, even our enemies. He sets a high bar for human conduct - a high ideal that all people find appealing, even 2000 years after his appearance on our world. And even with the scanty accounts of his life through the gospels of the Bible, people still revere this God/man. Imagine if we could know him better!
Imagine No More
Readers of The Urantia Book love Jesus for all of those reasons, and even more. In Part IV of The Urantia Book, we are gifted with a modern-day restatement of Jesus' life from his birth to his death; we gain a comprehensive understanding of his teachings, and we find out the real reasons that he came to our world.
But The Urantia Book tells us more: it tells us more than we've ever known about Jesus the man, Jesus the human being. His rich life is detailed for us and familiar stories we've come to know and love from the Bible are fleshed out; details of well-known events in his life are elaborated so that one is left with a new and thrilling understanding of just who Jesus was, what he did, and the religion he lived.
Jesus had an amazing personality
But as to the details about the actual personality of the Master, The Urantia Book eclipses all other stories ever told about him.
For example, in The Acme of Religious Living we learn:
The unfailing kindness of Jesus touched the hearts of men, but his stalwart strength of character amazed his followers. He was truly sincere; there was nothing of the hypocrite in him. He was free from affectation; he was always so refreshingly genuine. He never stooped to pretense, and he never resorted to shamming. He lived the truth, even as he taught it. He was the truth. He was constrained to proclaim saving truth to his generation, even though such sincerity sometimes caused pain. He was unquestioningly loyal to all truth.
Jesus was consistently cheerful, notwithstanding he sometimes drank deeply of the cup of human sorrow. He fearlessly faced the realities of existence, yet was he filled with enthusiasm for the gospel of the kingdom. But he controlled his enthusiasm; it never controlled him. He was unreservedly dedicated to "the Father's business." This divine enthusiasm led his unspiritual brethren to think he was beside himself, but the onlooking universe appraised him as the model of sanity and the pattern of supreme mortal devotion to the high standards of spiritual living. And his controlled enthusiasm was contagious; his associates were constrained to share his divine optimism.
Jesus was great because he was good, and yet he fraternized with the little children. He was gentle and unassuming in his personal life, and yet he was the perfected man of a universe. His associates called him Master unbidden
Click to read that entire section...you'll be glad you did.
"As he passed by..."
And in As Jesus Passed By, we read more about how Jesus lived his life, as well as clues to how we can follow his example in our daily lives:
Here is that section in its entirety:
Jesus spread good cheer everywhere he went. He was full of grace and truth. His associates never ceased to wonder at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. You can cultivate gracefulness, but graciousness is the aroma of friendliness which emanates from a love-saturated soul.
Goodness always compels respect, but when it is devoid of grace, it often repels affection. Goodness is universally attractive only when it is gracious. Goodness is effective only when it is attractive.
Jesus really understood men; therefore could he manifest genuine sympathy and show sincere compassion. But he seldom indulged in pity. While his compassion was boundless, his sympathy was practical, personal, and constructive. Never did his familiarity with suffering breed indifference, and he was able to minister to distressed souls without increasing their self-pity.
Jesus could help men so much because he loved them so sincerely. He truly loved each man, each woman, and each child. He could be such a true friend because of his remarkable insight—he knew so fully what was in the heart and in the mind of man. He was an interested and keen observer. He was an expert in the comprehension of human need, clever in detecting human longings.
Jesus was never in a hurry. He had time to comfort his fellow men "as he passed by." And he always made his friends feel at ease. He was a charming listener. He never engaged in the meddlesome probing of the souls of his associates. As he comforted hungry minds and ministered to thirsty souls, the recipients of his mercy did not so much feel that they were confessing to him as that they were conferring with him. They had unbounded confidence in him because they saw he had so much faith in them.
He never seemed to be curious about people, and he never manifested a desire to direct, manage, or follow them up. He inspired profound self-confidence and robust courage in all who enjoyed his association. When he smiled on a man, that mortal experienced increased capacity for solving his manifold problems.
Jesus loved men so much and so wisely that he never hesitated to be severe with them when the occasion demanded such discipline. He frequently set out to help a person by asking for help. In this way he elicited interest, appealed to the better things in human nature.
The Master could discern saving faith in the gross superstition of the woman who sought healing by touching the hem of his garment. He was always ready and willing to stop a sermon or detain a multitude while he ministered to the needs of a single person, even to a little child. Great things happened not only because people had faith in Jesus, but also because Jesus had so much faith in them.
Most of the really important things which Jesus said or did seemed to happen casually, "as he passed by." There was so little of the professional, the well-planned, or the premeditated in the Master's earthly ministry. He dispensed health and scattered happiness naturally and gracefully as he journeyed through life. It was literally true, "He went about doing good."
And it behooves the Master's followers in all ages to learn to minister as "they pass by"—to do unselfish good as they go about their daily duties.
Read the Revelation!
The Urantia Book is a revelation for everyone. In its pages you will read about God, about cosmology, about angels. Adam and Eve, life after death...and SOOOOO much more - including the complete Life and Teachings of Jesus.
So, even if you have imagined Jesus for yourself up 'til now, reading this revelation of his life will ignite even more of your imagination about him - and you'll find ample reasons to love him even more...
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Sat, November 14, 2015
Cocreation With God
By TruthBook Staff
What Jesus and I did today by Rev. Dan Safarik
Folks, this is an absolutely charming article using sweet little stories to get across the idea that when we team up with God, we can accomplish great things! See my blog below for an expansion of the story of Jesus' feeding of the 5,000. Here's the snippet with that story from the article:
"The third story relates to a special miracle in the Bible. It's recorded in the gospel of John, chapter 6, verses one to 14. There we find the story of Jesus' feeding of the 5,000. He uses five barley loaves and two fish provided by a little boy, to miraculously feed that vast multitude of people. One legend connected to the story tells that after the miracle, the little boy who provided the five loaves and two fish made his way home, ran into his house shouting: "Mama! Mama! You'll never guess what Jesus and I did today!"
Of course, the thread that runs through these three stories is the fact that when we join forces with a greater strength ... together we can indeed do incredible things."
It's a good, short read: Click to read the whole article
Now, Urantia Book readers will be more than familiar with this amazing story from the Life and Teachings of Jesus. It is a beloved story for Christians and UB students alike, as it tells the incredible story of the time when Jesus miraculously multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the multitudes that had followed him.
That "little boy" from the article above is none other than John Mark; he wasn't really a little boy, but he was a young teenager - younger than the apostles. You can read all about John Mark HERE
In the story, we read about John, and this is the first time he is mentioned in The Urantia Book:
152:2.7 Jesus turned to Andrew and Philip, saying: "I do not want to send these people away. Here they are, like sheep without a shepherd. I would like to feed them. What food have we with us?" While Philip was conversing with Matthew and Judas, Andrew sought out the Mark lad to ascertain how much was left of their store of provisions. He returned to Jesus, saying: "The lad has left only five barley loaves and two dried fishes"—and Peter promptly added, "We have yet to eat this evening."
Continuing the story:
152:2.8 For a moment Jesus stood in silence. There was a faraway look in his eyes. The apostles said nothing. Jesus turned suddenly to Andrew and said, "Bring me the loaves and fishes." And when Andrew had brought the basket to Jesus, the Master said: "Direct the people to sit down on the grass in companies of one hundred and appoint a leader over each group while you bring all of the evangelists here with us."
152:2.9 Jesus took up the loaves in his hands, and after he had given thanks, he broke the bread and gave to his apostles, who passed it on to their associates, who in turn carried it to the multitude. Jesus in like manner broke and distributed the fishes. And this multitude did eat and were filled. And when they had finished eating, Jesus said to the disciples: "Gather up the broken pieces that remain over so that nothing will be lost." And when they had finished gathering up the fragments, they had twelve basketfuls. They who ate of this extraordinary feast numbered about five thousand men, women, and children.
152:2.10 And this is the first and only nature miracle which Jesus performed as a result of his conscious preplanning. It is true that his disciples were disposed to call many things miracles which were not, but this was a genuine supernatural ministration. In this case, so we were taught, Michael multiplied food elements as he always does except for the elimination of the time factor and the visible life channel.
We read not only the familiar story, but numerous details never before known about it. Check it out!
Click to read the entire account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand from The Urantia Book
When Jesus was on earth as a mortal man, he demonstrated he process of joining forces with God to produce great deeds. We may not have the same power to manifest the kinds of material miracles that Jesus performed, but we can certainly link up our minds and hearts to the power of God within us to effect mighty change in ourselves and influence our world. The Urantia Book calls this reality of God-within the Thought Adjuster
108:0.2 Nothing in the entire universe can substitute for the fact of experience on nonexistential levels. The infinite God is, as always, replete and complete, infinitely inclusive of all things except evil and creature experience. God cannot do wrong; he is infallible. God cannot experientially know what he has never personally experienced; God's preknowledge is existential. Therefore does the spirit of the Father descend from Paradise to participate with finite mortals in every bona fide experience of the ascending career; it is only by such a method that the existential God could become in truth and in fact man's experiential Father. The infinity of the eternal God encompasses the potential for finite experience, which indeed becomes actual in the ministry of the Adjuster fragments that actually share the life vicissitude experiences of human beings.
116:4.8 The local universes are the starting points of true evolution, the spawning grounds of bona fide imperfect personalities endowed with the freewill choice of becoming cocreators of themselves as they are to be.
And Jesus himself is present with us also, as the Spirit of Truth - that "good Spirit," the "comforter" that Jesus sent to take his place after he ascended to the Father. This indwelling Spirit of Jesus also is a chance for us to hook up with Divine power for our benefit and the benefit of the world:
178:1.6 Jesus taught: In the gospel of the kingdom there resides the mighty Spirit of Truth, and presently I will pour out this same spirit upon all flesh. The fruits of the spirit, your sincere and loving service, are the mighty social lever to uplift the races of darkness, and this Spirit of Truth will become your power-multiplying fulcrum.
Read more about God Within
As so well stated in the article above: "God can take our little and make it much! If we simply offer him what we have (humble though it may be), God can use it in amazing ways!"
By deliberately joining forces with the powers of goodness that are constantly with us, we have the potential to become more than we are - immortal.
117:4.14 God first loves man and confers upon him the potential of immortality —eternal reality. And as man loves God, so does man become eternal in actuality. And here is mystery: The more closely man approaches God through love, the greater the reality—actuality—of that man. When man consecrates his will to the doing of the Father's will, when man gives God all that he has, then does God make that man more than he is.
While we may not always be able to do miraculous works, we certainly CAN become mighty forces for good on earth if we simply consecrate our whole being to the doing of the will of God , as Jesus did. Then, we can celebrate our victories with Jesus as we realize how powerful we can be when we offer our small selves to God and allow him to have his way with us - for our good and the good of all the world!
Stay close to Jesus, love much, listen for guidance, and act courageously on behalf of the good, the true and the beautiful so that God will do mighty works THROUGH us!
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Tue, October 13, 2015
Is the Bible the word of God?
By TruthBook Staff
Myth: The Bible is the Word of God
This is a GREAT article, thoughtful, and well worth the read. I say: RIGHT-ON! See our blog below...
Here's the author's opening shot:
"Conservative Christianity affirms the idea of "Biblical Inerrancy;" that is, the Bible is the literal, Divinely-inspired Word of God. Whether or not they accept the scholarly consensuses on authorship of specific books (and some do not) they do believe that these authors' pens were guided by the hand of God, and thus the bible is in a sense perfect. This can be expressed in two nonexclusive ways: 1.) that the bible is without error, and 2.) that the bible does not affirm anything that is not true.
"If the Bible is perfect, how can it contradict itself so much? Some may look at these and other examples and shrug, grunting something about "God working in mysterious ways." For the rational-minded among us, this answer will not suffice."
Click to read the entire article
As any Urantia Book reader/student knows, it's quite a challenge to speak to some Christians about the supposed inerrancy of the Bible. Even in Jesus' day, there was a prevailing belief in the sacred nature of the Scriptures, so this is an issue that has been in the forefront of religion since day one.
The truth is, there's a lot in the Bible that is downright horrible...anyone who has read the whole Bible knows this. There's unkindness, vengeance, murder, stonings...and God is made to seem to distant and angry much of the time. There's definitely a disconnect between the God of the Old Testament and the God that Jesus represented...and that's not all.
But, what has the world had up until now? The Bible and the Scriptures have nurtured the idea of God, and presented Jesus to the world for the past 2000 years, so we can't just throw it away, or suddenly decide that, just because it is not 100% inspired, that we need to ignore it. The Urantia Book teaches:
"Do not overlook the value of your spiritual heritage, the river of truth running down through the centuries..." And that surely includes the Bible, warts and all.
How Jesus Used Scripture
Jesus was raised in Scripture and he used Scripture liberally in his ministry. But he was wise about it. He came to earth to reveal a new kind of understanding of God to mankind...a new revelation of God's kindness, his mercy, his Fatherhood, and his abundant LOVE for mankind. And so, when he was introducing Kingdom ideas and brotherhood ideas, he was wise to use only the parts of Scripture that would support those ideas.
Here's a story from The Urantia Book that illustrates that wisdom...we would be wise to take heed:
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."
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.
Click to read about the positive nature of Jesus' religion
Jesus Tells Us the Truth About the Bible
But the biggest surprise to the apostles and to modern-day adherents of the inerrancy of Scripture is found in Jesus' talk with Nathaniel about this subject. Nathaniel asked Jesus:
"Master, could you trust me to know the truth about the Scriptures? I observe that you teach us only a portion of the sacred writings—the best as I view it—and I infer that you reject the teachings of the rabbis to the effect that the words of the law are the very words of God, having been with God in heaven even before the times of Abraham and Moses. What is the truth about the Scriptures?"
Jesus begins by saying:
159:4.2 "Nathaniel, you have rightly judged; I do not regard the Scriptures as do the rabbis. I will talk with you about this matter on condition that you do not relate these things to your brethren, who are not all prepared to receive this teaching. The words of the law of Moses and the teachings of the Scriptures were not in existence before Abraham. Only in recent times have the Scriptures been gathered together as we now have them. While they contain the best of the higher thoughts and longings of the Jewish people, they also contain much that is far from being representative of the character and teachings of the Father in heaven; wherefore must I choose from among the better teachings those truths which are to be gleaned for the gospel of the kingdom.
Click to read Jesus' full answer.
At the end of the talk, we read:
159:4.11 Nathaniel was enlightened, and shocked, by the Master's pronouncement. He long pondered this talk in the depths of his soul, but he told no man concerning this conference until after Jesus' ascension; and even then he feared to impart the full story of the Master's instruction.
And I think that reaction of Nathaniel is probably not unlike how some people will feel when they discover the truth - Jesus' truth - about the Scripture.
In another sense, it may turn out to be a relief. Anyone with a kindly heart and a relationship with Jesus must have to do some sort of compromising in their hearts in order to convince themselves that God can be as distant, as angry and as vengeful as he often is portrayed in the Bible, or that the scanty accounts of Jesus' life are all we'll ever have.
In our times, we have been gifted with a new revelation of truth concerning the Father, and Jesus. In The Urantia Book, we are given not only a new revelation of God, but also a personification of that revelation in the complete life and teachings of Jesus, from whence the above stories come from.
More about the Gospels
Much of Part IV of The Urantia Book is meant to parallel and illuminate the 4 well-known and well-loved gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But you'll find such rich detail, such understandable narrative and chronologic continuity. And this was accomplished not only by the skill of the authors to weave known human sources for the life of Jesus, but by also employing "superplanetary sources of information." Somewhere there is a repository of knowledge about Jesus life and I suspect that each and every moment of it is preserved for all time and for all people who may ever want to see it. We have been gifted with a large chunk of it in Part IV of The Urantia Book.
In the very beginning of the narrative of Jesus' life, we are treated to the real story concerning New Testament writings:
Click to read the truth about the new testament and its authorship
I'd like to leave you with one more tidbit from that talk with Nathaniel, but I hope that you will go to the links in this piece and see for yourself the truth about Scripture:
159:4.6 "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."
Jesus certainly was right about that...This story of the talk with Natahaniel about the value of Scripture is just one such example of what you'll find in The Urantia Book stories about the Life and Teachings of Jesus. But rather than continuing with feelings of confusion or disappointment, rejoice that the truth can finally be known - from no less an authority than Jesus himself!
Read, and be amazed! Read, and be enlightened! Read, and get to know Jesus as you've never seen him before! Learn his true teachings and his true mission and the BEST way to love and use the Bible for the highest good of all.
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Thu, October 08, 2015
Was Jesus Politically Active?
By TruthBook Staff
What If Jesus Had Become a Politician? by Shawn A. Akers
This title really interested me; not only is it an intriguing question, but I also remembered an event from Jesus' life where he actually had an opportunity to become involved in politics...see my blog below.
But the main subject of the article is the great temptation of Jesus. The author's opening statement:
"It's a good thing Jesus was above reproach. Otherwise, He could have been seen as simply another politician who fell for Satan's empty promises and what the world has to offer.
"He is the perfect example for believers to follow when the seduction of sin taps us on the shoulder and the enticement of self-gratification presents itself."
Click to read the entire article
I didn't post too much of the article - I have to admit it was really the title of the piece that caught my attention, more than the content. The article is discussing the "temptation" of Jesus in the wilderness, and how he could have given in to the lures of Satan, but thankfully, didn't. It is a very traditional Christian perspective, but it does have some good points to it, so have a look!
But First: The "Great Temptation"in The Urantia Book
Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to share the Urantia Book story of this amazing event. As Urantia Book readers know - and what anyone could know, if they were familiar with Part IV of the Urantia Book (The Life and Teachings of Jesus), is that the so-called temptation of Jesus on Mt Hermon had far more to do with a mere encounter on a mountaintop between the force of good and the force of evil, although it was certainly that as well...
This meeting took place BEFORE Jesus' baptism (contrary to the Bible story), when Jesus was nearing the end of a year of solitary travel prior to his preparations for being about the Father's work; and it was quite a momentous year for Jesus.
Just the year before, he had worked as a caravan conductor to the Caspian Sea; and following his return to the Persian city of Urmia, he gave a series of amazing lectures on politics that should be required reading for any aspiring statesperson!
From The Urantia Book:
134:7.1 This is the year of Jesus' solitary wanderings through Palestine and Syria. Throughout this year of travel he was known by various names in different parts of the country: the carpenter of Nazareth, the boatbuilder of Capernaum, the scribe of Damascus, and the teacher of Alexandria.
And at the end of this trip, Jesus' Spirit within "led Jesus to forsake the dwelling places of men and betake himself up to Mount Hermon that he might finish his work of mastering his human mind and complete the task of effecting his full consecration to the remainder of his lifework on earth."
This momentous meeting with Satan on the mountaintop is full of revealed details that were known only to the celestials until The Urantia Book. It is a thrilling and informative and inspiring story of Jesus' settling of the Lucifer rebellion and his regaining of unquestioned sovereignty of the universe from the rebels
Click to read about the Soujourn on Mount Hermon
17 Year-Old Jesus and the Political Arena
And as fascinating as that story is, what I really wanted to share with you is that bit of Urantia Book detail about Jesus early "unknown" years that I mentioned above - about Jesus and politics. Did you have any idea that Jesus had the opportunity to get politically involved when he was just 17 years-old? It's true...and when you read some of these parts of Jesus' life, it is easy to see that the more things change, the more they stay the same; political strife and politcal struggle has always been with us, and it is no different today.
127:2.6 Jesus, then scarcely seventeen years of age, was confronted with one of the most delicate and difficult situations of his early life. Patriotic issues, especially when complicated by tax-gathering foreign oppressors, are always difficult for spiritual leaders to relate themselves to, and it was doubly so in this case since the Jewish religion was involved in all this agitation against Rome.
He risked a lot of bad feeling between himself and several of his close family over his refusal to join the cause. But he ended up staying true to his responsibilities to his family and to his mission. But I suspect Jesus was formulating plenty of thoughts about politics; by the time he was 30 years-old, he certainly had some revolutionary ideas for the times; if you click on this link, you'll see what I mean. These lectures on politics that he gave years later at Urmia demonstrate that his mind was quite active regarding political realities, even though he himself was never actively engaged in that arena.
Click to read the story - Jesus in his 17th Year
For the best read of your life, check out The Life and Teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book. It's full of stories like this one - and they're all true!
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Thu, October 01, 2015
Calling the Millennials
By TruthBook Staff
Churches Could Fill Their Pews With Millennials If They Just Did This
by Christian Chiakulas
A good article...here's one of the millennials explaining it to us. We need to listen if we want to attract those who search for meaning! See blog below, but first read these thrilling words from the article:
"Millennials are not interested in a celestial Jesus with a permanent smile and open arms, unconcerned with the goings-on of planet Earth. We've heard about that Jesus our entire lives, and we're not buying it.
"Do you know what we would buy? Jesus the man, Jesus the prophet, the Jesus that fashioned a whip of cords and overturned the tables of the money changers for making God's house a den of robbers. The Jesus that challenged the establishment and paid the ultimate price. The Jesus that took up the cross of the poor, the weak, and the marginalized in the name of God."
"I'm all for love and a personal relationship with God, but I choose to follow the man who teaches that political action is worship, that social justice is love.
"What I and people my age are looking for is a church that preaches not just transcendental love, but that prophetic fire that makes Jesus so appealing."
Click to read the entire article
No Church, No Problem!
Even without a chuch to go to, the millennials of today would be fired up and enthusiastic if they knew the real story of Jesus as told in Part IV of The Urantia Book. He lived a real life - he went through adolescence and young manhood, enduring trials all along the way - trials that he overcame and mastered through close communication with God, and love for his fellow men. Once we know the real Jesus, our lives can transform!!! We can find real purpose, real meaning, in a seemingly meaningless and indifferent world...This is not your traditional, Biblical Jesus. This is the Jesus who came - not to establish a church, but to establish the kingdom of God in the hearts of mankind!
196:2.1"Some day a reformation in the Christian church may strike deep enough to get back to the unadulterated religious teachings of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. You may preach a religion about Jesus, but, perforce, you must live the religion of Jesus."
Jesus in The Urantia Book
Now, I'm going to let the words and actions of Jesus speak! I'll start with these passages from The Urantia Book:
140:8.21 Jesus had little to say about the social vices of his day; seldom did he make reference to moral delinquency. He was a positive teacher of true virtue. He studiously avoided the negative method of imparting instruction; he refused to advertise evil. He was not even a moral reformer. He well knew, and so taught his apostles, that the sensual urges of mankind are not suppressed by either religious rebuke or legal prohibitions. His few denunciations were largely directed against pride, cruelty, oppression, and hypocrisy.
Click to read Jesus' last temple talk and his fiery denunciation of hypocrisy
We are taught:
The call to the adventure of building a new and transformed human society by means of the spiritual rebirth of Jesus' brotherhood of the kingdom should thrill all who believe in him as men have not been stirred since the days when they walked about on earth as his companions in the flesh.
If the Christian church would only dare to espouse the Master's program, thousands of apparently indifferent youths would rush forward to enlist in such a spiritual undertaking, and they would not hesitate to go all the way through with this great adventure.
Click to read about The Future and how we can affect it through Jesus
If filling chruch pews is all we lovers of the Urantia Revelation desire, that's one thing. But most of us are not preachers or ministers in a church - many of us don't even go to church. Nevertheless, we want to share that FIRE of the Master...and we know all about it from the pages of The Urantia Book, don't we?
Fire and Purpose
How about these little vignettes:
When Jesus was 13 years-old, and seeing the Jerusalem Temple for the first time
In company with his parents Jesus passed through the temple precincts on his way to join that group of new sons of the law who were about to be consecrated as citizens of Israel. He was a little disappointed by the general demeanor of the temple throngs, but the first great shock of the day came when his mother took leave of them on her way to the women's gallery. It had never occurred to Jesus that his mother was not to accompany him to the consecration ceremonies, and he was thoroughly indignant that she was made to suffer from such unjust discrimination. While he strongly resented this, aside from a few remarks of protest to his father, he said nothing. But he thought, and thought deeply, as his questions to the scribes and teachers a week later disclosed.
Click to read about Jesus' first trip to Passover in Jerusalem...even then, he championed womens' rights!
Everywhere Jesus went throughout the temple courts, he was shocked and sickened by the spirit of irreverence which he observed. He deemed the conduct of the temple throngs to be inconsistent with their presence in "his Father's house." But he received the shock of his young life when his father escorted him into the court of the gentiles with its noisy jargon, loud talking and cursing, mingled indiscriminately with the bleating of sheep and the babble of noises which betrayed the presence of the money-changers and the vendors of sacrificial animals and sundry other commercial commodities.
Jesus admired the sentiment and service of the temple, but he was shocked by the spiritual ugliness which he beheld on the faces of so many of the unthinking worshipers.
Click to read how Jesus first saw the temple and what he thought about it
Here's where Jesus' fire really ignited!
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.
Click to read about Jesus cleansing the Temple
Jesus:1st in a Long Line of Non-Resisters!
Here's what Jesus taught about the strength of non-resistance:
Jesus did not advocate the practice of negative submission to the indignities of those who might purposely seek to impose upon the practitioners of nonresistance to evil, but rather that his followers should be wise and alert in the quick and positive reaction of good to evil to the end that they might effectively overcome evil with good. Forget not, the truly good is invariably more powerful than the most malignant evil. The Master taught a positive standard of righteousness: "Whosoever wishes to be my disciple, let him disregard himself and take up the full measure of his responsibilities daily to follow me." And he so lived himself in that "he went about doing good." And this aspect of the gospel was well illustrated by many parables which he later spoke to his followers. He never exhorted his followers patiently to bear their obligations but rather with energy and enthusiasm to live up to the full measure of their human responsibilities and divine privileges in the kingdom of God.
When Jesus instructed his apostles that they should, when one unjustly took away the coat, offer the other garment, he referred not so much to a literal second coat as to the idea of doing something positive to save the wrongdoer in the place of the olden advice to retaliate—"an eye for an eye" and so on. Jesus abhorred the idea either of retaliation or of becoming just a passive sufferer or victim of injustice. On this occasion he taught them the three ways of contending with, and resisting, evil:
1. To return evil for evil—the positive but unrighteous method.
2. To suffer evil without complaint and without resistance—the purely negative method.
3. To return good for evil, to assert the will so as to become master of the situation, to overcome evil with good—the positive and righteous method.
One of the apostles once asked: "Master, what should I do if a stranger forced me to carry his pack for a mile?" Jesus answered: "Do not sit down and sigh for relief while you berate the stranger under your breath. Righteousness comes not from such passive attitudes. If you can think of nothing more effectively positive to do, you can at least carry the pack a second mile. That will of a certainty challenge the unrighteous and ungodly stranger."
Click to read about Jesus' POSITIVE religion
Can We Find Jesus In Church Only?
195:10.21 The hope of modern Christianity is that it should cease to sponsor the social systems and industrial policies of Western civilization while it humbly bows itself before the cross it so valiantly extols, there to learn anew from Jesus of Nazareth the greatest truths mortal man can ever hear—the living gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
These teachings about Jesus from The Urantia Book are free to all. The revelation of Jesus' life to this sad, darkened world can ignite the fire of hope in any who read them; knowing the life of Jesus and how he lived it can inspire the most cynical seeker that this is the REAL DEAL! And once we know about Jesus, we are inspired to "go, and do likewise..." We CAN chnge the world! Jesus is still with us!
195:6.9 The materialistic sociologist of today surveys a community, makes a report thereon, and leaves the people as he found them. Nineteen hundred years ago, unlearned Galileans surveyed Jesus giving his life as a spiritual contribution to man's inner experience and then went out and turned the whole Roman Empire upside down.
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Sun, September 27, 2015
The Inconsistency of Atonement
By TruthBook Staff
How Does "Dying For Our Sins" Work? by Brian Zahnd
I highly recommend this article!!! It is one of the best Christian takes on the Atonement that I have ever read - and so encouraging! See blog below for further comment, but here are a few snippets from this article that really should resonate with UB readers, and others...
"Particularly abhorrent are those theories that portray the Father of Jesus as a pagan deity who can only be placated by the barbarism of child sacrifice. The god who is mollified by throwing a virgin into a volcano or by nailing his son to a tree is not the Abba of Jesus!"
"So let's be clear, the cross is not about the appeasement of a monster god. The cross is about the revelation of a merciful God. At the cross we discover a God who would rather die than kill his enemies. The cross is where God in Christ absorbs sin and recycles it into forgiveness. The cross is not what God inflicts upon Christ in order to forgive. The cross is what God endures in Christ as he forgives. Once we understand this, we know what we are seeing when we look at the cross: We are seeing the lengths to which a God of love will go in forgiving sin."
Click to read the article
Atonement - a False Doctrine
One of the most controversial parts of The Urantia Book is its teachings about the atonement doctrine - the doctrine that wants us to believe that a vengeful and jealous God was so upset with his erring children that he sent an innocent child to die as an appeasement to his wrath; only then can man come to God as his child and be forgiven. The teachings of The Urantia Book make crystal clear that the atonement is false; more, that this doctrine is actually a philosophical assault on God:
2:6.5 Righteousness implies that God is the source of the moral law of the universe. Truth exhibits God as a revealer, as a teacher. But love gives and craves affection, seeks understanding fellowship such as exists between parent and child. Righteousness may be the divine thought, but love is a father's attitude. The erroneous supposition that the righteousness of God was irreconcilable with the selfless love of the heavenly Father, presupposed absence of unity in the nature of Deity and led directly to the elaboration of the atonement doctrine, which is a philosophic assault upon both the unity and the free-willness of God.
Jesus told his followers: "He who has seen me has seen the Father." This is a strong, unequivocal statement. If we are to believe the atonement doctrine, how can we reconcile that kind of violent attitude of God with the life of Jesus? It can't be done...
In Part I of The Urantia Book we receive a beautiful revelation of the Father and his nature. And in Part IV of The Urantia Book, we see that revelation fulfilled - in the Life and Teachings of Jesus.
Our world certainly is in need of help - certainly in need of salvation - but the idea of killing an innocent as the means to acheive that salvation does not actually make any sense. Jesus came to reveal the Father - to REVEAL him as the loving, forgiving, tolerant Deity that he is, and so, entertaining this violent idea of God is completely out of character with both Jesus and God
Jesus' Mission - More than You Might Think
In The Urantia Book, we also discover another of the cardinal missions of Jesus' incarnation on earth: to live the life of a mortal from start to finish - to live an average life and to die a natural death. It was only in this way that Jesus - sovereign of this universe of his making - could acquire the experience to be a wise and just ruler of this, his domain, and us, his children.
Dying on a cross - murdered by wicked men - was NOT the will of God, but it WAS his will that Jesus die a natural death - and in Jesus' time, and as Jesus was, his murder became an inevitability; not because God willed it but because men did. Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane that he not have to drink the cup of this horrendous suffering and sorrow, but when he realized that he would have to do it in order to fulfill his mission of living life and experiencing death as a mortal, he accepted the cup and went willingly to his death as a common criminal, all the while FORGIVING those who inflicted such suffering upon him.
About the cross, and about this very willingness of Jesus to accept the cross:
188:5.9 The cross is that high symbol of sacred service, the devotion of one's life to the welfare and salvation of one's fellows. The cross is not the symbol of the sacrifice of the innocent Son of God in the place of guilty sinners and in order to appease the wrath of an offended God, but it does stand forever, on earth and throughout a vast universe, as a sacred symbol of the good bestowing themselves upon the evil and thereby saving them by this very devotion of love. The cross does stand as the token of the highest form of unselfish service, the supreme devotion of the full bestowal of a righteous life in the service of wholehearted ministry, even in death, the death of the cross. And the very sight of this great symbol of the bestowal life of Jesus truly inspires all of us to want to go and do likewise.
Revising our Thinking
The authors of The Urantia Book devote a good deal of time throughout the book explaining Jesus - who he was, why he came, and why we need to know more about him, but these two sections should help anyone who now believes in atonement to revise their thinking about the cross:
Click to read the "Meaning of the Death on the Cross"
Click to read "Lessons from the Cross"
If the article cited above is any indication, the world is becoming more ready to hear the truths of the Father's love and the truths of Jesus' mission to the world. Both are stunningly portrayed in The Urantia Book, so consider this an invitation to check it out for yourself!!!
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