Mon, June 26, 2017
The Art of Painting Jesus
By Truthbook Staff
This article about Jesus paintings caught my attention: A painting of "Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest. . ." by Gene Veith. I was attracted to it because we have another version of this painting here on TruthBook, and I've used it to illustrate this blog; it is by the same artist - Fritz von Uhde (1848-1911) - but with a slightly different perspective. We'll blog a little below, and tell you about lots more Jesus paintings on our site, but you will enjoy reading this article, I think. It introduces us to a Lutheran "table prayer" as well as giving us a lot of information about the artist. And then, the author goes on to discuss the Presence of God, which is always nice to read...here's a snippet or two:
Luther's Table Prayer given in the Catechism:
The eyes of all look to you, O Lord, and you give them their food at the proper time You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these your gifts, Which we receive from your bountiful goodness. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen
But I've come to appreciate the Common Table Prayer. It draws on a powerful Lutheran teaching: Christ's presence.
Lutheranism is a theology of presence, and this is at the heart of Lutheran Christology: Christ's real presence in the Sacrament, yes; but also His omnipresence thanks to the communication of attributes with the Father, so that He is present in the Divine Service, in the world, in vocation, and, yes, with families when they sit down together in His name for a meal.
Click to read the entire article
Do you like seeing paintings of Jesus?
We love Jesus paintings here at TruthBook - all kinds of Jesus paintings.
Some people find that artists' renditions of the Master are not very satisfying; that trying to depict Jesus is an exercise in futility. Many paintings portray Jesus in an unfortunate way; The Urantia Book describes some of these paintings:
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.
And we've all seen the paintings of Jesus where he looks anemic, wooden, weak, pale-faced, or worse...it might be that even some of the paintings we use here on TruthBook in our Illustrated Urantia Book or in the Illustrated Jesus Stories could go against the grain for some. But we do try our best to find and use paintings that depict the Master in a strong or meaningful way.
Moreover, Mo Siegel has taken on a very ambitious effort to commission 21st century artists to depict scenes from The Urantia Book that are not well-known or not known at all. It is an effort that has been in process since 2009, when TruthBook unveiled its first Jesus painting:
One Day ALone With God, by Del Parson.
Since then, the Mo & Jen Siegel Collection has commissioned 33 new paintings of Jesus created by world-famous artists such as Russ Docken, Gerry Metz, Slawa Radziszewska, Jeremy Winborg, Michael Dudash, and Michael Malm. And there are several new paintings still in process!
The collection also contains original paintings by 19th century masters such as Harold Copping and William Hole.
Never-Before-Painted Scenes from Jesus' Life
Some of the best-loved stories from The Urantia Book have been brought to life in this collection: as mentioned above, One Day Alone With God is among the collection. In addition, you'll find Young Jesus With Joseph, My Hour Has Come, Drawing on the Schoolroom Floor, The Master Boatbuilder, Light of the World, Fishers of Men, Living Water, The Kingdom's First Hospital, and Son of God, Son of Man...as well as ten paintings of scenes from Jesus' tour of the Mediterranean world. And that's only a few of the paintings...it's quite a collection!
In addition to the newer paintings in the Mo and Jen Siegel Collection, we've also collected art works from a varied collection of artists, from Rembrandt to the artist mentioned in the article above: Fritz von Uhde...from Carl Bloch to James Tissot...from Salvador Dali to Steve Sawyer. In this collection there are hundreds of images of Jesus as interpreted by a great many artists.
Click to access both collections
Every painting can be enlarged and when you click on the image, you'll find a Urantia Book passage that goes with it, along with a deeper link to the text.
We hope you'll enjoy perusing the Gallery at your leisure and delving deep into the Jesus papers to read the stories that have been so lovingly wrought by artists, both old and new!
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Wed, June 21, 2017
Experience Jesus' Real Presence
By Truthbook Staff
Here is an article that came across my feed today from Vatican Radio: Corpus Christi - June 18, 2017. The celebration of Corpus Christi (the body of Christ) is celebrated every year in the church.
The Catholic feast day honors what the church calls the "real presence" of Jesus in the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, which is taught as the actual body and blood of Jesus. The article delves into some detail about the Eucharist.
This seemed like a good oppportunity to bring to light the Urantia Book revelation regarding this most sacred of all of the Catholic doctrines/rituals regarding the Master's life. The Urantia Book dispels centuries of mystery and misinformation about the Last Supper, and its true meaning for all who love Jesus - especially those who are "un-churched." We'll blog about it below, but here are a few snippets from the article to show some of the main teachings of the church on this matter:
" 'The Catholic Church teaches that in the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of the God-man are really, truly, substantially, and abidingly present together with his soul and Divinity by reason of the Transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. This takes place in the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass.' "
"Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist during the Last Supper as a Sacramental banquet and a sacrificial offering. As a Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist is an outward sign in and through which we meet Jesus who shares his life of grace with us. "In the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist the Body and Blood, together with the soul and Divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained" (CCC #1374). In this Sacrament of the Eucharist, we do meet Jesus, the Risen Lord who comes to us under signs of Bread and Wine to nourish and strengthen us for our journey through life. The Eucharistic Meal is a great mystery because during the Eucharistic celebration the substance of bread and wine are converted into the substance of the risen Jesus' Body and Blood, while their appearances (or 'accidents') remain. We believe in this transformation of bread and wine (called Transubstantiation), because Jesus unequivocally taught it and authorized his apostles to repeat it."
Click to read more
What is The Eucharist?
As mentioned above, the Catholic Church teaches its followers that the Eucharist, or Holy Communion - the wafer of bread (and sometimes a sip of wine) is the actual body and blood of Jesus; that when one partakes of this wafer, that one is actually consuming Jesus' body and blood. In the Catholic Mass, which is essentially the celebration of Jesus' last supper communion with his apostles, there is a complex and rigid set of rituals that have to be performed in order to effect this "transubstantiation" of ordinary bread into the substance of Jesus' physical body and blood.
Did Jesus really teach this doctrine?
If one's sole source for truth is contained in Scripture, that person cannot be blamed for getting some things wrong. But, as an even casual student of Scripture knows, the Biblical records have been altered greatly and repeatedly over centuries of time.
Only the apostles (and celestial observers) heard Jesus real words that Thursday night; until The Urantia Book, there have been only scanty accounts of those events. But the words Jesus spoke that night were altered over the centuries to suit the forces of organized religion who instituted this sacrament of the Eucharist...a required sacrament that some believe was developed in order to make all subsequent followers of Jesus spiritually dependent upon the Church, which was at that time establishing itself as a dominant world religion. In addition, the new teachings fully supported the atonement doctrine of Jesus as sacrificial lamb, a cornerstone of the institutionalized church. It was a way of incorporating both the atonement doctrine and the celebration of the Mass into one ritual.
It is interesting to note that it was not until the 9th century after Jesus left this earth that the rituals and theologies surrounding the sacrament of communion were seriously discussed and it was not until the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 A.D. that the doctrine was established; in other words, before that, there were centuries during which this so-called sacrament was either celebrated not at all, or it was celebrated the way that Jesus taught his followers to celebrate it - as a remembrance supper, with no mentions of atonement or sacrifice.
Establishing a church is not, in and of itslef, something bad; however, when a church requires blind allegiance to doctrine and theology and discourages the believer's own strivings toward truth, it can become counterproductive to real spiritual growth. Jesus was a spiritual original; he broke with the traditions of his day, and he encouraged his followers to break with tradition, too. In The Urantia Book, we learn that Jesus established no church; instead he worked to establish the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts of all mankind.
"His religion never became crystallized (during his day) into creeds and theological laws; he left not a line of writing behind him."
The last supper of Jesus with his apostles was the occasion of the Master "instituting a new remembrance supper as a symbol of the new dispensation wherein the enslaved individual emerges from the bondage of ceremonialism and selfishness into the spiritual joy of the brotherhood and fellowship of the liberated faith sons of the living God."
Eyewitness accounts of Jesus' Life
The Urantia Book contains eyewitness accounts of many of the Master's activities; Holy Week is no exception. The eyewitnesses were spiritual beings - those who are record-keepers and who act as living memory banks for all future generations. And in The Urantia Book, we are able to read the real sayings of Jesus, undiluted and unadulterated, except for teachings that are paraphrased for ease of understanding in this modern era.
And this should not be all that difficult to understand, considering the importance of a Son of God incarnating as a creature of the realm. This miracle of incarnation only happens one time in a universe and only on one planet, but for the benefit of the entire universe, the beings who Jesus said were "not of this flock." One might easily imagine that every word, every event was recorded, so as to be enjoyed by all subsequent generations of all mortals of all worlds.
Until the advent of the printing press, this angelic record of Jesus' life and teachings were not available to us. Even so, it took centuries after that until celestial government saw fit to share this record with our world - the world of Jesus' incarnation. And this record of Jesus' life and teachings is now available in The Urantia Book.
While many events in The Urantia Book are paralleled in the Bible, the events and sayings of the Master are often different and greatly expanded from what we have traditionally seen in Scripture. They are given to us free from the doctrines of earthly religions, and more importantly, free from the errors that have attended the centuries of Scriptural alterations done repeatedly by human beings.
What happened at the Last Supper?
Let's explore the differences between The Urantia Book accounts and what the Church teaches:
In Part IV of The Urantia Book - The Life and Teachings of Jesus - the events of the last supper occupy three papers (chapters):
Paper 179 The Last Supper,
Paper 180 The Farewell Discourse, and
Paper 181 Final Admonitions and Warnings.
This indicates just how much was included in this final meal with his apostles, and the importance of all of it. For our purposes, we'll be exploring Paper 179 primarily - contrasting the actual events of the supper as revealed in The Urantia Book with the subsequent teachings formulated by the church. Please click on that link above to read the paper in its entirety, from which most of the passages are taken in this article. Of course, you will likely want to continue to read all three of these wonderful papers.
What did Jesus Say?
We will deal mainly here with Urantia Book teaching regarding key words that Jesus spoke regarding the bread and the wine.
About the wine:
179:5.1 As they brought Jesus the third cup of wine, the "cup of blessing," he arose from the couch and, taking the cup in his hands, blessed it, saying: "Take this cup, all of you, and drink of it. This shall be the cup of my remembrance. This is the cup of the blessing of a new dispensation of grace and truth. This shall be to you the emblem of the bestowal and ministry of the divine Spirit of Truth. And I will not again drink this cup with you until I drink in new form with you in the Father's eternal kingdom."
About the bread:
179:5.3 When they had finished drinking this new cup of remembrance, the Master took up the bread and, after giving thanks, broke it in pieces and, directing them to pass it around, said: "Take this bread of remembrance and eat it. I have told you that I am the bread of life. And this bread of life is the united life of the Father and the Son in one gift. The word of the Father, as revealed in the Son, is indeed the bread of life." When they had partaken of the bread of remembrance, the symbol of the living word of truth incarnated in the likeness of mortal flesh, they all sat down.
But the Catholic Catechism teaches:
Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist in this way: He took bread, blessed and broke it, and giving it to His apostles, said: "Take and eat; this is My body"; then He took a cup of wine, blessed it, and giving it to them, said: "All of you drink of this; for this is My blood of the new covenant which is being shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins"; finally, He gave His apostles the commission: "Do this in remembrance of Me."
So, the church has taken the words of Jesus and altered them to make it appear that Jesus was offering himself as the sacrifice, and that as such, he must be consumed by the faithful in order for Jesus to be able to actually BE with them as a real presence. But even in this Biblical passage, he calls it a remembrance, not a sacrificial supper.
This ritual was expanded upon, set in stone, and relegated to the custody of intermediaries - consecrated priests - who were the only persons qualified to effect this so-called miracle of transubstantiation - translating ordinary bread and wine into so-called sacred body and blood.
About the development of this ritualistic and exclusive celebration of Jesus simple ceremony with his apostles, The Urantia Book teaches:
179:5.5 Notwithstanding the Master's effort thus to establish this new sacrament of the remembrance, those who followed after him in the intervening centuries saw to it that his express desire was effectively thwarted in that his simple spiritual symbolism of that last night in the flesh has been reduced to precise interpretations and subjected to the almost mathematical precision of a set formula. Of all Jesus' teachings none have become more tradition-standardized.
Anyone who has witnessed a Catholic mass can attest to this "almost mathematical precision" that takes place at the consecration of the host. All the movements, prayers, bell-ringing are quite precise and measured, and have been "set in stone" for centuries.
The Urantia Book further instructs:
179:5.8 And this mighty occasion took place in the upper chamber of a friend. There was nothing of sacred form or of ceremonial consecration about either the supper or the building. The remembrance supper was established without ecclesiastical sanction.
For centuries since, it has been taught by the church that these last supper events are so sacred, so out of reach for ordinary believers, that only a priest can share this supper with the faithful; that an intermediary must stand between man and God in order for the individual to properly take his/her place at the Master's table and to experience the presence of Jesus. It is as if one must join a secret society. Anyone who knows Jesus might find this development very unattractive, as Jesus never established such exclusive institutions. His teachings were all-inclusive : "Whosoever will, let him come."
The Remembrance Supper
Conversely, in The Urantia Book, we read the refreshing and inclusive nature of this remembance supper. It puts the events of the last supper firmly back into the hands and hearts of all believers - all followers of Jesus, no matter whether they are Catholic or not, churched or not. Experiencing the presence of Jesus is something that can be enjoyed freely by any sincere believer.
179:5.4 In instituting this remembrance supper, the Master, as was always his habit, resorted to parables and symbols. He employed symbols because he wanted to teach certain great spiritual truths in such a manner as to make it difficult for his successors to attach precise interpretations and definite meanings to his words. In this way he sought to prevent successive generations from crystallizing his teaching and binding down his spiritual meanings by the dead chains of tradition and dogma. In the establishment of the only ceremony or sacrament associated with his whole life mission, Jesus took great pains to suggest his meanings rather than to commit himself to precise definitions. He did not wish to destroy the individual's concept of divine communion by establishing a precise form; neither did he desire to limit the believer's spiritual imagination by formally cramping it. He rather sought to set man's reborn soul free upon the joyous wings of a new and living spiritual liberty.
179:5.6 This supper of remembrance, when it is partaken of by those who are Son-believing and God-knowing, does not need to have associated with its symbolism any of man's puerile misinterpretations regarding the meaning of the divine presence, for upon all such occasions the Master is really present. The remembrance supper is the believer's symbolic rendezvous with Michael. When you become thus spirit-conscious, the Son is actually present, and his spirit fraternizes with the indwelling fragment of his Father.
Who can celebrate a remembrance supper?
Anyone, anywhere, can celebrate a remembrance supper. As we learned above, any small gathering of believers can constitute a supper with whatever food and drink is available - and when this is undertaken sincerely, the Master is really present. There are no specific rituals to be done, no special words have to be spoken, one does not have to gather in a special place, no bells have to be rung and no priest has to intercede. It is, instead, a simple, joyous, and beautiful rendezvous with Jesus himself. It might be helpful to read the Urantia Book account of the occasion, but any words can be spoken. All sincere effort is rewarded by the Master's presence.
What a joy! To have this overcomplicated and ritualistic church dogma be dissolved and made accessible to even unchurched persons who wish to remember Jesus and to have his actual presence made manifest in their midst. Jesus is for everyone!
Read for yourself
As always, we invite you to explore The Urantia Book for yourself - and in this case Part IV especially, which chronicles the entire life and teachings of Jesus. In its pages, you will discover even more instances where the events of Jesus' life have been misunderstood, but whose actual details once again open the Master's life so as to make it completely accessible to everyone and anyone who wants a relationship with him.
Here's another example from a recent blog of ours of how words can be changed, altered, or taken out of context so as to mean something altogther different from their original purposes.
Jesus has often been appropriated by institutionalized Christianity for its own purposes, which are not, unfortunately, always consistent with the purposes for which Jesus came to us. Jesus stands above ALL earthly religions; The Urantia Book points out:
140:8.29 [Jesus'] life and teachings were bequeathed the universe as an inspirational and idealistic inheritance suitable for the spiritual guidance and moral instruction of all ages on all worlds. And even today, Jesus' teaching stands apart from all religions, as such, albeit it is the living hope of every one of them.
Discover Jesus again as he was during his short life here with us- free from ecclesiastical constraints...free from theologies...free from spiritual bondage. Let your heart and soul soar! And - the next time you're with some other beleivers, celebrate a remembrance supper together...experience the joy of Jesus' presence as a liberated child of God!
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Mon, June 05, 2017
Jesus and Children - A Perfect Match
By Truthbook Staff
Here's a sweet article about Jesus and his impact on little kids, even here and now in the 21st centruy. It's called: First Graders are Amazed by Jesus by Patty Knap. Our blog which follows below will expand upon this theme of Jesus and children, but first, here are two delightful stories from the article:
Lucas's question of the day: "Why did God come up with just 10 Commandments? I mean there's a bunch of other stuff we're not supposed to do. My mom and dad have a lot more rules than just ten!" A few classes after our lesson on the 10 Commandments, Dylan noticed a list of ten rules written on the classroom blackboard. No gum chewing. No repeat trips to the bathroom. No cell phone use in class. No calling out. No food or drinks in class. "Oh, there's the 10 Commandments!" he called out. Apparently we needed to review the real 10 Commandments!
Antonia wanted to know what Jesus's last name was. Two other kids answered, "Christ, Jesus Christ! That's his full name."
Click to read the entire article
We here at TruthBook have no arguments whatsoever when it comes to Jesus and his love for children - and their love for him! Who wouldn't love such a wonderful, loving, friendly person?
We would like to share with you, the reader, some of the best Urantia Book passages that deal with this tender subject. And, we've added a few additional links to the text of The Urantia Book that may be of interest to you. Just click on any underlined link to expand the topic.
Jesus and Children - passages from The Urantia Book
100:7.17 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.
113:1.1 The teaching about guardian angels is not a myth; certain groups of human beings do actually have personal angels. It was in recognition of this that Jesus, in speaking of the children of the heavenly kingdom, said: "Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones, for I say to you, their angels do always behold the presence of the spirit of my Father."
126:2.3 It remained always true that Jesus "sat at no man's feet." He was ever willing to learn from even the humblest of little children, but he never derived authority to teach truth from human sources.
128:6.11 The children were always welcome at the repair shop. Jesus provided sand, blocks, and stones by the side of the shop, and bevies of youngsters flocked there to amuse themselves. When they tired of their play, the more intrepid ones would peek into the shop, and if its keeper were not busy, they would make bold to go in and say, "Uncle Joshua, come out and tell us a big story." Then they would lead him out by tugging at his hands until he was seated on the favorite rock by the corner of the shop, with the children on the ground in a semicircle before him. And how the little folks did enjoy their Uncle Joshua. They were learning to laugh, and to laugh heartily. It was customary for one or two of the smallest of the children to climb upon his knees and sit there, looking up in wonderment at his expressive features as he told his stories. The children loved Jesus, and Jesus loved the children.
132:6.1 Here in Rome also occurred that touching incident in which the Creator of a universe spent several hours restoring a lost child to his anxious mother. This little boy had wandered away from his home, and Jesus found him crying in distress. He and Ganid were on their way to the libraries, but they devoted themselves to getting the child back home. Ganid never forgot Jesus' comment: "You know, Ganid, most human beings are like the lost child. They spend much of their time crying in fear and suffering in sorrow when, in very truth, they are but a short distance from safety and security, even as this child was only a little way from home. And all those who know the way of truth and enjoy the assurance of knowing God should esteem it a privilege, not a duty, to offer guidance to their fellows in their efforts to find the satisfactions of living. Did we not supremely enjoy this ministry of restoring the child to his mother? So do those who lead men to God experience the supreme satisfaction of human service." And from that day forward, for the remainder of his natural life, Ganid was continually on the lookout for lost children whom he might restore to their homes.
138:8.9 The disciples early learned that the Master had a profound respect and sympathetic regard for every human being he met, and they were tremendously impressed by this uniform and unvarying consideration which he so consistently gave to all sorts of men, women, and children. He would pause in the midst of a profound discourse that he might go out in the road to speak good cheer to a passing woman laden with her burden of body and soul. He would interrupt a serious conference with his apostles to fraternize with an intruding child. Nothing ever seemed so important to Jesus as the individual human who chanced to be in his immediate presence. He was master and teacher, but he was more—he was also a friend and neighbor, an understanding comrade.
140:10.4 This same evening Thomas asked Jesus: "Master, you say that we must become as little children before we can gain entrance to the Father's kingdom, and yet you have warned us not to be deceived by false prophets nor to become guilty of casting our pearls before swine. Now, I am honestly puzzled. I cannot understand your teaching." Jesus replied to Thomas: "How long shall I bear with you! Ever you insist on making literal all that I teach. When I asked you to become as little children as the price of entering the kingdom, I referred not to ease of deception, mere willingness to believe, nor to quickness to trust pleasing strangers. What I did desire that you should gather from the illustration was the child-father relationship. You are the child, and it is your Father's kingdom you seek to enter. There is present that natural affection between every normal child and its father which insures an understanding and loving relationship, and which forever precludes all disposition to bargain for the Father's love and mercy. And the gospel you are going forth to preach has to do with a salvation growing out of the faith-realization of this very and eternal child-father relationship."
167:6.5 It was also at Jericho, in connection with the discussion of the early religious training of children in habits of divine worship, that Jesus impressed upon his apostles the great value of beauty as an influence leading to the urge to worship, especially with children. The Master by precept and example taught the value of worshiping the Creator in the midst of the natural surroundings of creation. He preferred to commune with the heavenly Father amidst the trees and among the lowly creatures of the natural world. He rejoiced to contemplate the Father through the inspiring spectacle of the starry realms of the Creator Sons.
Finally, from the story of Jesus Blessing the Children
Jesus often talked to his apostles about the celestial mansions and taught that the advancing children of God must there grow up spiritually as children grow up physically on this world. And so does the sacred oftentimes appear to be the common, as on this day these children and their mothers little realized that the onlooking intelligences of Nebadon beheld the children of Jericho playing with the Creator of a universe.
We here at TruthBook have also created a short video that you might enjoy watching, called Jesus Loved the Children.
And, if you're a parent, you might be interetsed in reading some of the pages we have assembled on our site about Parenting and Family Life
Above all, we invite you to get to know Jesus better through studying his religious life - the life that he lived in service to God and as a revelation of that Father/God to our creature eyes.
You can START HERE
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Thu, June 01, 2017
A History of the Devil
By Truthbook Staff
This article in the Catholic press: 19 Points of Advice for Fighting the Devil by Patti Armstrong, caught my eye. Urantia Book readers/students have a different view of the devil than Catholics, so it seems a good point of discussion for our blog.
Below, we will expand on the idea of the devil using Urantia Book revelation about this being for the edification of the reader, but first, let me share some snippets from this article with you. Keep in mind that Catholics believe that the devil is capable of possession of the human mind, and they employ modern-day exorcists to rid the afflicted mind of this evil influence:
"The exorcists I consult occasionally for articles have personally seen a lot of the devil's theatrics: levitation, room temperature suddenly and drastically dropping, people knowing foreign languages they never studied, foul odors, objects flying and other antics intended to intimidate the exorcist. Yet, we are told not to fear evil. The exorcists do, however, strongly warn us to stay away from it and use the protection God gives us.
"I put together advice on how to guard against evil taken from two recent interviews with Msgr. John Esseff, a priest in the diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania for 64 years and an exorcist for over 40 years, and also Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois."
The author goes on to list 19 ways to avoid contamination by the evil one.
Click to read the article.
Remember the movie: The Exorcist from back in the 1970s? I sure do; it scared me pretty bad and gave me nightmares for days. I was raised Catholic, and being possessed by the devil was about as bad as it could get, spiritually. That movie felt all too real to me. The feelings of evil were terrible, and the horrible sufferings of the child who was possessed awakened every primal fear I ever had.
Fast forward to that time when I found The Urantia Book, and discovered the real truth about this being called the devil. What I discovered, and hope to share with you, helped put this being into some sane and reasonable perspective.
As a preamble, it is important to understand that the teachings of The Urantia Book do not deny evil, sin, or iniquity and their potential for devastating influences on a soul; the book does not deny the existence of the devil. But rather than frightening us, the teachings of the book and the teachings of Jesus put a greater emphasis on the lures of goodness and the role of personal responsibility in overcoming evil and sin.
Once one's mind and will are dedicated to seeking and doing God's will, evil becomes far less important as a frightening or threatening influence. Sin fades into irrelevance, and goodness becomes the greatest lure because it alone provides happiness, peace, and joy.
A scary being? To begin, let's name him
People have been frightened of the devil for time out of mind. Sometimes, it seems as though many of us fear that there's an opposite force of darkness that is nearly equal to the forces of good. And that's pretty scary. But, is it true?
The Urantia Book identifies this being - he has a name that is largely unknown to us: Caligastia. And he has other more well-known cohorts who are in league with him and his evil purposes: Satan and Lucifer. But, who are these beings and where did they come from?
The Urantia Book supplies the reader with important information about many things, and the truth about the devil is no exception.
NOTE: This blog is a bit unusual, in that it is more lengthy than usual; however, I hope you'll persevere and enjoy it to the end. Throughout this blog, there will be underlined links that will greatly expand the stories and the events...just click to be taken to the text.
Let me tell you a story...
In order to fully appreciate the origins of this evildoing being, we have to go way back in earth's history - back to a time about 500,000 years ago, when the very first epochal revelation of God to man took place. A delegation of superhuman beings was sent to earth in order to assist the then-evolving beings (about one-half billion) who were then living here - our distant ancestors. Theirs was a primitive society, and yet they were true humans, having developed the ability of making moral choices. And it was decided by celestial government that the time was right to fellowship them and bring them the good news that they were children of God. This is normal procedure for planets such as ours.
The delegation sent to earth was commissioned to build a great city and a great civilization - to organize the inhabitants of earth into orderly societies and teach them their spiritual origins and also to teach them civilization arts through education. Accordingly, a city was built whose name was Dalamatia, and it was located in Mesopotamia. Its leader (Caligastia) was designated as the Planetary Prince of Urantia.
Please see Paper 66, The Planetary Prince of Urantia
About the city of Dalamatia (from Paper 66)
66:3.3 The headquarters of the Planetary Prince on Urantia was typical of such stations on a young and developing sphere. The nucleus of the Prince's settlement was a very simple but beautiful city, enclosed within a wall forty feet high. This world center of culture was named Dalamatia in honor of Daligastia [the associate/assistant of Caligastia: ed.].
66:3.4 The city was laid out in ten subdivisions with the headquarters mansions of the ten councils of the corporeal staff situated at the centers of these subdivisions. Centermost in the city was the temple of the unseen Father. The administrative headquarters of the Prince and his associates was arranged in twelve chambers immediately grouped about the temple itself.
It was a great civilization and it flourished for nearly 300,000 years. Please see the whole of Paper 66 to read the details of the city, its inhabitants, and the fascinating corps of celestial beings that were entrusted to bring the truth of God to mankind.
What went wrong?
66:8.3 From the arrival of Prince Caligastia, planetary civilization progressed in a fairly normal manner for almost three hundred thousand years. Aside from being a life-modification sphere and therefore subject to numerous irregularities and unusual episodes of evolutionary fluctuation, Urantia progressed very satisfactorily in its planetary career up to the times of the Lucifer rebellion and the concurrent Caligastia betrayal. All subsequent history has been definitely modified by this catastrophic blunder as well as by the later failure of Adam and Eve to fulfill their planetary mission.
66:8.4 The Prince of Urantia went into darkness at the time of the Lucifer rebellion, thus precipitating the long confusion of the planet. He was subsequently deprived of sovereign authority by the co-ordinate action of the constellation rulers and other universe authorities. He shared the inevitable vicissitudes of isolated Urantia down to the time of Adam's sojourn on the planet and contributed something to the miscarriage of the plan to uplift the mortal races through the infusion of the lifeblood of the new violet race—the descendants of Adam and Eve.
66:8.5 The power of the fallen Prince to disturb human affairs was enormously curtailed by the mortal incarnation of Machiventa Melchizedek in the days of Abraham; and subsequently, during the life of Michael in the flesh, this traitorous Prince was finally shorn of all authority on Urantia.
How did it happen? Enter Lucifer...
To understand the situation with Caligastia and the downfall of Dalamatia, one must also become familiar with another evil being, whose name is well-known: Lucifer.
After all those years of harmony in Dalamatia, Lucifer, a high Son of God, a Lanonandek Son, whose sacred duty it was to administer God's affairs in the universe, became rebellious and self-serving. He created a manifesto decrying the rule of heaven and declaring that God really did not exist. He and his lieutenant, Satan, convinced the Planetary Prince Caligastia to join him in his rebellion, and they organized a rebel government. Many personalities - angels and others - were led astray by this manifesto and its author. This disastrous rebellion encompassed not only our world, but about one-third of all the inhabited planets in Nebadon, the universe of Michael's making in which our planet resides.
About the importance of understanding the events of this time, the revelators tell us:
67:0.1 The problems associated with human existence on Urantia are impossible of understanding without a knowledge of certain great epochs of the past, notably the occurrence and consequences of the planetary rebellion. Although this upheaval did not seriously interfere with the progress of organic evolution, it did markedly modify the course of social evolution and of spiritual development. The entire superphysical history of the planet was profoundly influenced by this devastating calamity.
Read more about the villains - and the heroes -of the Planetary Rebellion
War in Heaven - Gabriel Does Battle
When the rebellion was formally launched, our world, which up to that time had been in open communication with all of the celestial circuits, was quarantined from all further communication with celestial government in order to minimize the damage and contain the outbreak. This plunged our world and its inhabitants into devastating confusion and distress. War broke out in heaven.
Michael of Nebadon, the Paradise Creator Son who created this universe (and who later incarnated as Jesus of Nazareth), decided on an attitude of non-interference. This may seem surprising, considering the gravity of the situation, but as is true with all created beings, free will is deemed sacred; no personality is ever coerced into doing the right thing, even when their acts are as devastating as those of Lucifer and his cohorts. But Michael's chief executive, Gabriel, gathered the forces of good - the angels and others who had resisted joining the rebellion - and the war in heaven was joined. The war in heaven lasted for seven years; during which time all personalities involved had to choose which side they would be on.
NOTE: If you have ever wondered about the Urantian symbol of the three concentric blue circles, the following passages will explain its significance:
53:5.4 Since Michael elected to remain aloof from the actual warfare of the Lucifer rebellion, Gabriel called his personal staff together on Edentia and, in counsel with the Most Highs, elected to assume command of the loyal hosts of Satania. Michael remained on Salvington while Gabriel proceeded to Jerusem, and establishing himself on the sphere dedicated to the Father—the same Universal Father whose personality Lucifer and Satan had questioned—in the presence of the forgathered hosts of loyal personalities, he displayed the banner of Michael, the material emblem of the Trinity government of all creation, the three azure blue concentric circles on a white background.
The Lucifer emblem was a banner of white with one red circle, in the center of which a black solid circle appeared.
"There was war in heaven; Michael's commander and his angels fought against the dragon (Lucifer, Satan, and the apostate princes); and the dragon and his rebellious angels fought but prevailed not." This "war in heaven" was not a physical battle as such a conflict might be conceived on Urantia. In the early days of the struggle Lucifer held forth continuously in the planetary amphitheater. Gabriel conducted an unceasing exposure of the rebel sophistries from his headquarters taken up near at hand. The various personalities present on the sphere who were in doubt as to their attitude would journey back and forth between these discussions until they arrived at a final decision.
But this war in heaven was very terrible and very real. While displaying none of the barbarities so characteristic of physical warfare on the immature worlds, this conflict was far more deadly; material life is in jeopardy in material combat, but the war in heaven was fought in terms of life eternal.
Click to read all the fascinating details about The Lucifer rebellion, from which the above passages were taken.
After thousands of years of continued evolution of the human races of earth, and in spite of the rebellion, the decision was made to send Adam and Eve to upstep and improve the lot of our distant ancestors. The Garden of Eden was prepared by certain loyalists of celestial government, and about 40,000 years ago, the Material Son and Daughter - Adam and Eve - arrived on earth. This visitation constituted the second epochal revelation of God to mankind.
This story is well-known in allegorical form from the Bible. There were definitely two beings called Adam and Eve, but unlike Biblical teaching, The Urantia Book informs us that, rather than being the first human beings, this amazing pair were celestial beings who had as their mission the job of uplifting the races of humanity, which were still languishing in planetary isolation.
As in the Bible, they failed in their mission. And here's where the devil once again makes his evil presence known. Of all the dark beings who were involved with the Lucifer rebellion, Caligastia, our apostate Planetary Prince, was still free to roam the planet. It was he who tempted Eve to alter the plans that she and Adam were to follow in their mission; worse, he succeeded. It was he who used slyness and cunning to bring the downfall of this, the second revelation of God to mankind. And it is for this reason that Caligastia has rightly earned the name of "the devil."
Should We Fear the Devil? What about Lucifer and Satan?
53:8.1 Lucifer and Satan freely roamed the Satania system until the completion of the bestowal mission of Michael on Urantia. They were last on your world together during the time of their combined assault upon the Son of Man.
The incarnation of the Son of God on Urantia constituted the fourth epochal revelation of God to mankind; one of his missions was to take back the sovereignty of this world and this universe from the apostate and wayward Prince Caligastia and his cohorts. This monumental task was accomplished on Mt Hermon during what has come to be known as the "great temptation." At that time Jesus, the mortal hero, the incarnated Son of God, confronted Satan and Caligastia (who also pleaded the case of Lucifer), and our Sovereign Son emerged victorious over them. He thereby earned and assumed the title of Planetary Prince of Urantia forevermore.
Read about the great temptation and what really happened HERE. Most importantly:
53:8.6 The last act of Michael before leaving Urantia was to offer mercy to Caligastia and Daligastia, but they spurned his tender proffer. Caligastia, your apostate Planetary Prince, is still free on Urantia to prosecute his nefarious designs, but he has absolutely no power to enter the minds of men, neither can he draw near to their souls to tempt or corrupt them unless they really desire to be cursed with his wicked presence.
Where are the rebels now?
This next passage tells us that in a time to come, when we mortals traverse the Father's "many mansions," we will be able to visit the prison world where the archrebels are detained, pending adjudication of their crimes of betrayal of trust:
45:1.11 As a sojourner on the seventh mansion world, you have access to the seventh transition world, the sphere of the Universal Father, and are also permitted to visit the Satania prison worlds surrounding this planet, whereon are now confined Lucifer and the majority of those personalities who followed him in rebellion against Michael. And this sad spectacle has been observable during these recent ages and will continue to serve as a solemn warning to all Nebadon until the Ancients of Days shall adjudicate the sin of Lucifer and his fallen associates who rejected the salvation proffered by Michael, their universe Father.
Is spirit possession still possible?
In Jesus' times, there certainly were instances of spirit possession of some the weaker-minded people of those times. These cases of possession occurred because there were still rebel spirit beings present here - beings who had participated in the rebellion. One of Jesus' miracles had to do with casting out of one of these rebellious spirits.
153:4.1 In the midst of the discussions of this after meeting, one of the Pharisees from Jerusalem brought to Jesus a distraught youth who was possessed of an unruly and rebellious spirit. Leading this demented lad up to Jesus, he said: "What can you do for such affliction as this? Can you cast out devils?" And when the Master looked upon the youth, he was moved with compassion and, beckoning for the lad to come to him, took him by the hand and said: "You know who I am; come out of him; and I charge one of your loyal fellows to see that you do not return." And immediately the lad was normal and in his right mind. And this is the first case where Jesus really cast an "evil spirit" out of a human being. All of the previous cases were only supposed possession of the devil; but this was a genuine case of demoniac possession, even such as sometimes occurred in those days and right up to the day of Pentecost, when the Master's spirit was poured out upon all flesh, making it forever impossible for these few celestial rebels to take such advantage of certain unstable types of human beings.
It was following this cure that Jesus was accused of being in league with devils; but it was simply a case of his being able to identify them and command them to cease their evil doings.
Even some of the Seventy, the band of evangelists that Jesus sent out, were able to effect some cures of possession:
63:6.2 When the seventy related how "even the devils were subject" to them, they referred to the wonderful cures they had wrought in the cases of victims of nervous disorders. Nevertheless, there had been a few cases of real spirit possession relieved by these ministers, and referring to these, Jesus said: "It is not strange that these disobedient minor spirits should be subject to you, seeing that I beheld Satan falling as lightning from heaven. But rejoice not so much over this, for I declare to you that, as soon as I return to my Father, we will send forth our spirits into the very minds of men so that no more can these few lost spirits enter the minds of unfortunate mortals. I rejoice with you that you have power with men, but be not lifted up because of this experience but the rather rejoice that your names are written on the rolls of heaven, and that you are thus to go forward in an endless career of spiritual conquest."
And so, we see that, since the day of Pentecost, spirit possession of a human being is no longer possible; the pouring out of Jesus' Spirit of Truth and the universal indwelling of the Thought Adjusters in the minds of mankind are forever protective against any further cases of possession. But it was possible, up until that day.
More than just a story
One of the great missions of The Urantia Book is to enlighten the minds of its readers - to explain the true history of this world and the personalities who played such a large part in creating the darkness of the world in which we find ourselves yet today.
When it comes to devils and demons, knowing the stories of Caligastia, the Lucifer rebellion, the evil power-plays of Satan against Jesus and his mission, and the way in which Jesus has triumphed against all of these dark forces should give all of us reason for rejoicing. We can all breathe a sigh of relief when we know that we are not helpless under the thumb of Satan or Lucifer, but that they are "servile before the divine majesty of the Paradise Thought Adjusters and the protective Spirit of Truth, the spirit of Michael, which has been poured out upon all flesh."
True, we are still plagued by the actual presence of the last of these beings - Caligastia, the devil - but as we are assured, he has been shorn of all real power and "he has absolutely no power to enter the minds of men, neither can he draw near to their souls to tempt or corrupt them unless they really desire to be cursed with his wicked presence."
In the cases that were cited in the article above, one might wonder at what the kinds of phenomenon that are witnessed in these cases of "possession" might be...it is difficult to say, but it is not possession by the devil, unless he has been invited to do such things.
53:8.9 In general, when weak and dissolute mortals are supposed to be under the influence of devils and demons, they are merely being dominated by their own inherent and debased tendencies, being led away by their own natural propensities. The devil has been given a great deal of credit for evil which does not belong to him. Caligastia has been comparatively impotent since the cross of Christ.
Why learning our real history is important...
These stories are not allegories, not myths. These events from our history really happened. The beings that participated are real personalities. The repercussions of these events are still being felt on our world to this day, in the 21st century. As of the time of delivery of The Urantia Book, our world remains in quarantine. The celestial circuits remain closed, and Urantia is still isolated from the universal family. The universe trial of the rebels has yet to take place.
46:8.1 The tribunal of the Ancients of Days has not yet finished the adjudication of the affairs of the Lucifer rebellion. Satania [our system] may not come back into the full fellowship of Norlatiadek [our constellation] so long as it harbors archrebels, high created beings who have fallen from light into darkness.
There will come an end for rebels and rebellion. The Supreme Rulers are merciful and patient, but the law of deliberately nourished evil is universally and unerringly executed. "The wages of sin is death"—eternal obliteration.
If you've made it this far and are as fascinated as many Urantia Book readers are to know these amazing details about the devil and his checkered influence on our world, please feel free to follow any link in this piece - check out the papers that are referenced here; take your mind and imagination back to the early days of our world; learn about these pivotal events that have shaped the world as it is even today. Learn the truth of these well-known beings whose stories have been garbled and confused over eons of time. And allow yourself to feel protected and cared-for, too. We are no longer being held captive by evil beings, but are free to chart our own courses in this life - and the most joyous course of all is that course which leads each soul Godward!
Click HERE to access The Urantia Book in its entirety.
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Mon, May 29, 2017
Does God Forgive Without Atonement?
By Truthbook Staff
Any Urantia Book reader/student will understand just why this article is a great opportunity to inject a few of the book's supernal teachings for discussion. It is called: Why Couldn't God Just Forgive Sins Without Jesus' Death? by Jack Wellman, and this is the question being asked: Why did Jesus have to suffer and die to remove our sins? Couldn't God just have forgiven us?
Here's a snippet from the article, and then please see our blog that follows:
"Jesus had to give His life as a ransom for the many who would trust in Him (Mark 10:45) because they didn't have the righteousness of God that is required to enter the kingdom, and without the shedding of Jesus' blood, there would be no forgiveness of sins. What if someone murdered your family and ask the judge for mercy? Would the judge just say, "It's okay…I forgive you" and then let him or her free? Of course not. That would be a travesty of justice, so God cannot forgive our sins without Jesus' atoning death on our behalf, but we must repent and believe, otherwise we still have God's wrath abiding on us (John 3:36b)."
Click to read the entire article
The author of this piece gives the example of a prisoner before a judge, and wonders whether there would be any good outcome if the judge would just forgive him and let him go? He determines that anyone witnessing such a display of mercy would feel free to go out and commit a crime when s/he knows that mercy will be practiced instead of punishment. But, taking this even further in its analogy to Jesus and God: what human judge would punish an innocent person for what a guilty one did? And then we have to ask: what deterrent comes into play when a sinner knows that Jesus has already taken his sin upon himself? Why then would a sinner repent or stop committing sin when they know Jesus has absorbed all the responsibility?
Of course, using human examples and human logic does not always work when assessing the mercy and forgiveness of God...unless one might use the example of a loving human father of a large family. We might be able to better understand this analogy because God is a Father, too. Can anyone reading this blog imagine that a loving father would sacrifice - kill - one of his beloved, innocent children to pay for the offense of another one of his children? In human terms, this would really amount to severe child abuse and would land that father in jail. But somehow, we are asked to believe that the Creator of everything - the unchanging One, the Uncaused Cause - wouid stoop to such a barbaric practice as this. Can the Almighty Father God be any less merciful than a mere human father?
We fully understand why people believe such things; up until now, the Bible has been the sole criterion for our knowledge about God - and the traditional churches of evolution have adopted and teach this doctrine. But we also understand that people can use their God-given intellect to reason out why this teaching is terribly flawed - especially when we are given the new and refreshing truths of The Urantia Book.
What does The Urantia Book Say About God's Forgiveness?
146:2.4 3. The Father in heaven has forgiven you even before you have thought to ask him, but such forgiveness is not available in your personal religious experience until such a time as you forgive your fellow men. God's forgiveness in fact is not conditioned upon your forgiving your fellows, but in experience it is exactly so conditioned. And this fact of the synchrony of divine and human forgiveness was thus recognized and linked together in the prayer which Jesus taught the apostles.
What Jesus Taught About Sin and Forgiveness
170:2.23 Jesus taught that sin is not the child of a defective nature but rather the offspring of a knowing mind dominated by an unsubmissive will. Regarding sin, he taught that God has forgiven; that we make such forgiveness personally available by the act of forgiving our fellows. When you forgive your brother in the flesh, you thereby create the capacity in your own soul for the reception of the reality of God's forgiveness of your own misdeeds.
170:3.3 It is in the consideration of the technique of receiving God's forgiveness that the attainment of the righteousness of the kingdom is revealed. Faith is the price you pay for entrance into the family of God; but forgiveness is the act of God which accepts your faith as the price of admission. And the reception of the forgiveness of God by a kingdom believer involves a definite and actual experience and consists in the following four steps, the kingdom steps of inner righteousness:
1. God's forgiveness is made actually available and is personally experienced by man just in so far as he forgives his fellows.
2. Man will not truly forgive his fellows unless he loves them as himself.
3. To thus love your neighbor as yourself is the highest ethics.
4. Moral conduct, true righteousness, becomes, then, the natural result of such love.
These refreshing teachings place forgiveness into the hands of the forgiven; knowing that God forgives us, but that our forgiveness only becomes real to us when we in turn, forgive, places a synchronistic situation into play. God is not simply forgiving the sinner; the sinner must also forgive others in order to experience that forgiveness.
Moral conduct becomes something that one wants to do when one realizes the joy of Kingdom living, the joy and peace that follows seeking and doing the Father's will. God's will is not something that we should dread, but something we should welcome as the path to peace and happiness.
And so we can easily see and understand that God HAS forgiven us. We can rejoice in that knowledge and furthermore, we can truly experience it as Jesus taught us in his simple prayer.
188:4.13 This entire idea of the ransom of the atonement places salvation upon a plane of unreality; such a concept is purely philosophic. Human salvation is real; it is based on two realities which may be grasped by the creature's faith and thereby become incorporated into individual human experience: the fact of the fatherhood of God and its correlated truth, the brotherhood of man. It is true, after all, that you are to be "forgiven your debts, even as you forgive your debtors."
Why did Jesus have to die if it was not as a sacrifice to God?
As we so often point out in this blog, The Urantia Book reveals to us so many details of the true purposes of the events of Jesus' life and death, and this is no exception. Here is what we discover as part of Jesus' purpose on earth: Jesus is the Creator Son of this universe. In order for him to gain rightful leadership over it he was required to incarnate as a human mortal and to live a full life - and this full life always includes a natural death, as does the life of every other mortal. In Jesus' case, that natural death was brutal and horrible, but it was not the Father's will that it be like that. The circumstances of Jesus' death were due to decisions made by wicked people - not God.
20:6.6 When the bestowal Sons, Creator or Magisterial, enter the portals of death, they reappear on the third day. But you should not entertain the idea that they always meet with the tragic end encountered by the Creator Son who sojourned on your world nineteen hundred years ago. The extraordinary and unusually cruel experience through which Jesus of Nazareth passed has caused Urantia to become locally known as "the world of the cross." It is not necessary that such inhuman treatment be accorded a Son of God, and the vast majority of planets have afforded them a more considerate reception, allowing them to finish their mortal careers, terminate the age, adjudicate the sleeping survivors, and inaugurate a new dispensation, without imposing a violent death. A bestowal Son must encounter death, must pass through the whole of the actual experience of mortals of the realms, but it is not a requirement of the divine plan that this death be either violent or unusual.
188:5.13 We know that the death on the cross was not to effect man's reconciliation to God but to stimulate man's realization of the Father's eternal love and his Son's unending mercy, and to broadcast these universal truths to a whole universe.
20:5.5 Understanding more about the bestowal Sons, you discern why so much interest attaches to Urantia in the history of Nebadon. Your small and insignificant planet is of local universe concern simply because it is the mortal home world of Jesus of Nazareth. It was the scene of the final and triumphant bestowal of your Creator Son, the arena in which Michael won the supreme personal sovereignty of the universe of Nebadon.
How can we learn to think differently about the atonement doctrine?
These few passages from The Urantia Book may be of great help to you if you are trying to find good reasons to adopt a higher concept of God's purposes with mankind:
98:7.1 A Creator Son did not incarnate in the likeness of mortal flesh and bestow himself upon the humanity of Urantia to reconcile an angry God but rather to win all mankind to the recognition of the Father's love and to the realization of their sonship with God. After all, even the great advocate of the atonement doctrine realized something of this truth, for he declared that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself."
And this, From The Goodness of 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.
From Meaning of the Death on the Cross:
188:4.8 When once you grasp the idea of God as a true and loving Father, the only concept which Jesus ever taught, you must forthwith, in all consistency, utterly abandon all those primitive notions about God as an offended monarch, a stern and all-powerful ruler whose chief delight is to detect his subjects in wrongdoing and to see that they are adequately punished, unless some being almost equal to himself should volunteer to suffer for them, to die as a substitute and in their stead. The whole idea of ransom and atonement is incompatible with the concept of God as it was taught and exemplified by Jesus of Nazareth. The infinite love of God is not secondary to anything in the divine nature.
All this concept of atonement and sacrificial salvation is rooted and grounded in selfishness. Jesus taught that service to one's fellows is the highest concept of the brotherhood of spirit believers. Salvation should be taken for granted by those who believe in the fatherhood of God. The believer's chief concern should not be the selfish desire for personal salvation but rather the unselfish urge to love and, therefore, serve one's fellows even as Jesus loved and served mortal men.
A New Revelation of God
Throughout our long, long history of attempting to understand God and his purposes, we have been hampered by several factors: one factor has to do with the program of fellowship that is undertaken by celestial government to assist evolving mankind in understanding God: the periodic phenomenon of "epochal revelation." In our history, there have been five such revelations; three of these ended in at least partial failure due to the Lucifer rebellion. Click on THIS LINK to read more about these revelations from God to man.
The Urantia Book is the fifth epochal revelation of God to mankind - the first such revelation to be contained in the written word, rather than personalities. It is truly a gift to us, for it clearly outlines the details of the previous revelations and fills in the gaps in our knowledge about ourselves, about God, about Jesus, and about the real history of our world. Knowing these details can help all of us lift our spirits and embark anew on a fruitful relationship with God. Please accept our invitation to find out for yourself. CLICK HERE to access The Urantia Book online!
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Mon, May 15, 2017
Going Through Jesus to God
By Truthbook Staff
Upon seeing this article: Is Jesus Really the Only Way? by Dane Davis, we thought it merited a blog post, which you can read below. But first, here's the heart of the question as presented by the author of the article:
"As you probably know, by many measures Christianity is on a decline in America. Fifty years ago, the overwhelming majority of Americans identified as "Christian" and considered the United States to be a Christian nation. But as much as I hate to admit it, America is a Christian nation no longer. Each year hundreds of churches close their doors. More than ever before, Christians are marginalized and criticized. A large percentage of Americans don't believe the Bible to be God's word. And millions of Americans — even many professed "Christians" — proclaim, "If there is a heaven, Jesus is certainly not the only way to get there."
"In this age of inclusivity and tolerance, many Christians are hesitant or embarrassed to affirm the exclusivity of the gospel. They deem it to be a huge cultural blunder to declare Christianity to be true and every other religion to be wrong. Let's face it: We don't like to be labeled "intolerant," "narrow-minded" or "bigoted" by our culture. Therefore, we find ourselves second-guessing what the New Testament teaches about heaven. We think: Perhaps Christians have been too narrow-minded with their doctrine of salvation. Maybe we have misunderstood what Jesus and Scripture teach about salvation. Could it be that our belief in "Christ alone" is illogical and doesn't stand up to intellectual scrutiny?"
"Jesus couldn't have been more clear than he is in John 14:6: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." So, is Jesus the only way to heaven? Yes! Jesus revealed it."
Click to read the entire article here.
Questions that arise as we read this snippet from the article are: why are Christian churches closing their doors? Why are some Christians thought of as bigoted, intolerant and narrow-minded? Could it be that their insistence of accepting Jesus as the imperative for salvation is at fault? Could it be that they have mis-understood Jesus' teachings, thereby driving people away from Jesus, rather than to him? There's no blame intended here; after all, believers have only had the scanty accounts of Jesus' life and his teachings for two centuries. But now, we have The Urantia Book, which clarifies and completes these teachings in a way that is truly accessible to all seekers.
Anyone who is a serious student/reader of The Urantia Book will have no trouble whatsoever accepting Jesus; they know that Jesus and his teachings ARE the way to God … the way, the truth, and the life. At the same time, Urantia Book readers know that finding and knowing God is the mortal's primary purpose in life. This is what Jesus taught.
What did Jesus Say?
Context is everything. In The Urantia Book, we see these sayings of Jesus in a different light than those who see the acceptance of Jesus as a Biblically-mandated imperative for salvation. The Urantia Book reveals to us the true nature and purposes of the Master; it reaveals Jesus as Sovereign of a vast universe of his making; a universe teeming with planets and personalities who have benefitted from his bestowal on Urantia; beings who will all eventually meet Jesus before meeting the Father. Following is the discussion between Jesus and his apostles that contains the "No one comes to the Father except through me" statement. (The bolding of passages are added by ed.)
180:3.4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; continue to believe also in me. Even though I must leave you, I will not be far from you. I have already told you that in my Father's universe there are many tarrying-places. If this were not true, I would not have repeatedly told you about them. I am going to return to these worlds of light, stations in the Father's heaven to which you shall sometime ascend. From these places I came into this world, and the hour is now at hand when I must return to my Father's work in the spheres on high.
“If I thus go before you into the Father's heavenly kingdom, so will I surely send for you that you may be with me in the places that were prepared for the mortal sons of God before this world was. Even though I must leave you, I will be present with you in spirit, and eventually you shall be with me in person when you have ascended to me in my universe even as I am about to ascend to my Father in his greater universe. And what I have told you is true and everlasting, even though you may not fully comprehend it. I go to the Father, and though you cannot now follow me, you shall certainly follow me in the ages to come.”
When Jesus sat down, Thomas arose and said: “Master, we do not know where you are going; so of course we do not know the way. But we will follow you this very night if you will show us the way.”
When Jesus heard Thomas he answered: “Thomas, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man goes to the Father except through me. All who find the Father, first find me. If you know me, you know the way to the Father. And you do know me, for you have lived with me and you now see me.”
But this teaching was too deep for many of the apostles, especially for Philip, who, after speaking a few words with Nathaniel, arose and said: “Master, show us the Father, and everything you have said will be made plain.”
And when Philip had spoken, Jesus said: “Philip, have I been so long with you and yet you do not even now know me? Again do I declare: He who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you then say, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? Have I not taught you that the words which I speak are not my words but the words of the Father? I speak for the Father and not of myself. I am in this world to do the Father's will, and that I have done. My Father abides in me and works through me. Believe me when I say that the Father is in me, and that I am in the Father, or else believe me for the sake of the very life I have lived—for the work's sake.”
Elsewhere, we have the beautiful "I AM" statements that identify Jesus as the Father incarnate. Anyone reading these beautiful statement might turn wholeheartedly to Jesus and his teachings!
What’s More Important…Knowing Jesus or Knowing God?
There are subtle differences between what traditional Christianity would have us believe and what Jesus actually taught. He was definitely declaring that he IS God, and that his teachings were to be considered as if God himself were teaching. But he never said we must first accept him as Savior before knowing God. He invited us to do so; he gave of himself in order to reveal God; he said that he was the way; but he never made knowing him as a requisite for salvation, as does modern-day Christianity.
Of course, once a seeker does know Jesus, they have found God; and conversely, when a seeker has found God, they can know him better by understanding Jesus, for Jesus has made the way to God plain; however, not all who find God find Jesus first. Does this make their experience invalid? Is their salvation in jeopardy?
On this troubled world, where even the very reality of God is in question with many, being told that you must receive Jesus before you can have salvation can be a real sticking point. Coming primarily from "churched" people, this imperative can have unwelcomed ramifications for the seeker who is only seeking assurance of salvation - life after death. Jesus can then become a hurdle - especially Jesus in the context of the numerous religions that exist in his name, but which are not always worthy representatives of his true teachings. Again, note the self-described adjectives in the article above: bigoted, intolerant and narrow-minded. These are not attractive qualities! Nor are they Jesusonian qualities.
The Transcendent Jesus
Many times in this blog, we have attempted to convey the idea that Jesus is not a Christian; he did not come to earth to establish a church, and in fact, Jesus transcends all church teachings of any evolutionary religion - Christianity included. He stands alone and above all of them.
Knowing Jesus as revealed in The Urantia Book may be a different experience than knowing Jesus as portrayed in the Bible, and by Bible-readers. Nonetheless, Jesus in The Urantia Book is a true revelation of his nature and mission, given to us by those who were witnesses to his life. This may be a jarring statement to some, but it may ring true for the sincere seeker as nothing else ever has.
It is certainly possible to know Jesus in our earthly life- we hold his Spirit of Truth in us, and through the ministry of that good spirit, we are equipped to fellowship with the Master; this good Spirit aids every seeker to find not only Jesus, but all truth, which always leads to God. But even if a believer fails to find Jesus on earth, that ascender WILL meet him in eternity.
How Will We Meet Jesus? And When?
In the ascension experience, there are many, many stops that the ascender will take before being ready to actually stand in the presence of God. And Jesus mentions this in the bolded passages above. Meeting God is not something that happens automatically, but is, instead, the culmination of a long series of transformations and spiritual advancements. And one of the steps that will take place is the actual meeting of the ascender with Jesus.
Jesus is the Creator Son - the Creator of this very universe in which we live. As such, we will all literally meet him before we have the opportunity to meet the Universal Father of all creation. That meeting is described here:
113:7.4 Before leaving the mansion worlds, all mortals will have permanent seraphic associates or guardians. And as you ascend the morontia spheres, eventually it is the seraphic guardians who witness and certify the decrees of your eternal union with the Thought Adjusters. Together they have established your personality identities as children of the flesh from the worlds of time. Then, with your attainment of the mature morontia estate, they accompany you through Jerusem and the associated worlds of system progress and culture. After that they go with you to Edentia and its seventy spheres of advanced socialization, and subsequently will they pilot you to the Melchizedeks and follow you through the superb career of the universe headquarters worlds. And when you have learned the wisdom and culture of the Melchizedeks, they will take you on to Salvington, where you will stand face to face with the Sovereign of all Nebadon [aka Jesus of Nazareth].
And the reason for this is simple: Christ Michael of Nebadon is the Sovereign of this universe; he is the representative of the Universal Father, and so, just as in an earthly kingdom, a subject may not be brought directly into the king's presence, but will first be received by those who are responsible for their particular part of the kingdom - we go up the chain of command, as it were.
Our particular part of the Father's creation is Nebadon, the universe that Michael (Jesus) created. And so, we will literally meet Jesus before we meet the Father, in his "greater universe"; this is the meaning of Jesus' statement: "No man goes to the Father except through me."
Creator Sons are the way-showers
The Urantia Book teaches that knowing God is of primary importance to a mortal being in order to secure salvation. The Paradise Sons - the Creator Sons, of whom Jesus is one, are the leaders, the divine-made-flesh who make it easier to find and know God because they are one of us – mortals such as was Jesus of Nazareth.
But is it possible to know God independent of these Creator Son bestowals? God has given a "spark" of himself - the Thought Adjuster - to each human in order to make that possible:
1:2.8 Those who know God have experienced the fact of his presence; such God-knowing mortals hold in their personal experience the only positive proof of the existence of the living God which one human being can offer to another. The existence of God is utterly beyond all possibility of demonstration except for the contact between the God-consciousness of the human mind and the God-presence of the Thought Adjuster that indwells the mortal intellect and is bestowed upon man as the free gift of the Universal Father.
5:1.7 Man is spiritually indwelt by a surviving Thought Adjuster. If such a human mind is sincerely and spiritually motivated, if such a human soul desires to know God and become like him, honestly wants to do the Father's will, there exists no negative influence of mortal deprivation nor positive power of possible interference which can prevent such a divinely motivated soul from securely ascending to the portals of Paradise.
5:5.13 Eternal survival of personality is wholly dependent on the choosing of the mortal mind, whose decisions determine the survival potential of the immortal soul. When the mind believes God and the soul knows God, and when, with the fostering Adjuster, they all desire God, then is survival assured.
99:5.2 Always keep in mind: True religion is to know God as your Father and man as your brother. Religion is not a slavish belief in threats of punishment or magical promises of future mystical rewards.
In Jesus' ministry, he did not often speak of himself; but he did speak of "knowing God' many times. He did not speak of himself in terms that would create the error that in order to know God, one must first know Jesus.
True, any seeker will find it vastly easier to find and fellowship with God as revealed by Jesus. But if Jesus is used to frighten and coerce a believer, the whole point may be lost.
Jesus – like the God he revealed – is a kind, gentle, loving, forgiving Father. He never pointed anyone to himself, but only to God. God-consciousness is the goal of every mortal’s quest for truth.
Knowing God - What Jesus Taught
Jesus, throughout his ministry exhorted his followers to find GOD - he did not refer to himself, but to the Father. For example, we find these advices of the Master. And these are but a few:
130:8.2 At Syracuse they spent a full week. The notable event of their stop here was the rehabilitation of Ezra, the backslidden Jew, who kept the tavern where Jesus and his companions stopped. Ezra was charmed by Jesus' approach and asked him to help him come back to the faith of Israel. He expressed his hopelessness by saying, “I want to be a true son of Abraham, but I cannot find God.” Said Jesus: “If you truly want to find God, that desire is in itself evidence that you have already found him. Your trouble is not that you cannot find God, for the Father has already found you; your trouble is simply that you do not know God.
132:4.7 To the speaker at the forum he said: “Your eloquence is pleasing, your logic is admirable, your voice is pleasant, but your teaching is hardly true. If you could only enjoy the inspiring satisfaction of knowing God as your spiritual Father, then you might employ your powers of speech to liberate your fellows from the bondage of darkness and from the slavery of ignorance.”
132:7.2 “Man must become hungry for truth as a result of the experiences of living, or he must desire to know God as the result of contact with the lives of those who are acquainted with the divine Father before another human being can act as the means of leading such a fellow mortal to the Father in heaven. If we know God, our real business on earth is so to live as to permit the Father to reveal himself in our lives, and thus will all God-seeking persons see the Father and ask for our help in finding out more about the God who in this manner finds expression in our lives.”
133:0.3 Said Jesus: “Though human beings differ in many ways, the one from another, before God and in the spiritual world all mortals stand on an equal footing. There are only two groups of mortals in the eyes of God: those who desire to do his will and those who do not. As the universe looks upon an inhabited world, it likewise discerns two great classes: those who know God and those who do not. Those who cannot know God are reckoned among the animals of any given realm.
133:3.7 As they stood there in the moonlight, Jesus went on to say: “There lives within every human mind a divine spirit, the gift of the Father in heaven. This good spirit ever strives to lead us to God, to help us to find God and to know God.”
Jesus did say that we should follow him, but in the opinion of this writer, he meant that we should follow him because he was leading us to the Father - not himself. The Urantia Book exhorts us to follow Jesus by studying his life and how he lived it - and the way he lived his life was to reveal God the Father.
196:0.13 Jesus does not require his disciples to believe in him but rather to believe with him, believe in the reality of the love of God and in full confidence accept the security of the assurance of sonship with the heavenly Father. The Master desires that all his followers should fully share his transcendent faith. Jesus most touchingly challenged his followers, not only to believe what he believed, but also to believe as he believed. This is the full significance of his one supreme requirement, “Follow me.”
God Revealed to the Individual
In reality, the revelation of The Urantia Book teaches us that all ascenders WILL eventually come to Jesus before seeing God, but isn't it of primary importance that a truthseeker might find the one, true God in and of him/herself as Jesus taught us to do? Jesus was, and is, the way-shower, but the path he shows us leads to God. The life he lived here revealed the invisible God to our "creature eyes."
180:6.8“...the Father himself loves you and desires to be more fully revealed to you. Mortal man cannot see the spirit Father; therefore have I come into the world to show the Father to your creature eyes. But when you have become perfected in spirit growth, you shall then see the Father himself.”
So, if a sincere soul seeks God, s/he certainly may successfully grasp God, even if s/he may not know Jesus all that well as yet. The Father has given a spark of himself for that very purpose - the Thought Adjuster - which aids the sincere soul to do just that. And that spark of God is sufficient to guide the seeker to God, with all other spirit influences as complimentary to that purpose. Those influences include Jesus' good Spirit of Truth and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, all of which work together with the soul and mind of man to deliver him to the safe shores of fellowship with God, even while in the earthly estate.
Jesus came to fellowship us, to help us find God. He is God, true - and he is also our human brother whose life is a testimony to the love of God. We can follow him unreservedly; and in following Jesus, we do find God. Let’s not make Jesus a stumbling block, but a friend, an example, an inspiration who will lead us to our ultimate adventure – standing in the Presence of God.
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Mon, May 15, 2017
What Happened to Jesus' Physical Body
By Truthbook Staff
When I saw this headline: 5 Reasons to Believe in Jesus' Bodily Resurrection by Cale Clark, I considered it a great opportunity to discuss this idea of - not only Jesus' physical body after his crucifixion - but the fate of OUR human bodies following our deaths here on earth; what happened to Jesus' physical body, and what's going to happen to ours.
The prevailing view in Christianity is that Jesus physical body resurrected; likewise, it is thought that our physical bodies will resurrect at some time. But is it true? See our blog below in which we discuss Urantia Book teachings on this subject, but first, here's the heart of the article, presented in Q+A form:
"Q. This Easter season, how can I convince my friends that Jesus physically rose from the dead?
"A. The good news is that it is possible to show your friends plausible evidence that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. ... There are five historical facts concerning the Resurrection of Jesus that must be accounted for, no matter what one believes. They are:
"1. Jesus died by crucifixion. This is an event of history that is recorded outside the Bible.
"2. The tomb of Jesus was empty on Easter Sunday.
"3. Jesus' disciples were willing to suffer and die for their belief in the Resurrection. While many people are willing to die for what they believe is true, no one willingly dies for what they know to be a lie.
"4. The Church persecutor known as Saul the Pharisee converted to the Catholic Christian faith, became Paul the Apostle, and was martyred for his faith in the Risen Jesus.
"5. The skeptic James, a relative of Jesus, converted because the Risen Jesus appeared to him."
Click to read the entire article
What is the truth about Jesus' resurrection?
For so long, believers have been asked to believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus' body, but is it true? Let's take the points one by one and see how these facts are explained, and the truth revealed, in The Urantia Book:
1. Jesus died by crucifixion. This is an event of history that is recorded outside the Bible.
There's no dispute here whatsoever. Both the Bible and The Urantia Book agree completely about this fact. However, in The Urantia Book, Jesus' crucifixion is covered and details revealed that you will see nowhere else. An entire paper is devoted to this horrible event with details you cannot read anywhere else. And that is because the details have been supplied by eyewitnesses - spiritual eyewitness who were actually there.
Click to read "The Crucifixion"
2. The tomb of Jesus was empty on Easter Sunday.
Again, no dispute here; however, while most Bible students believe that the tomb was empty because Jesus physical body had resurrected, The Urantia Book corrects this error by explaining a different reason that the tomb was empty.
Not only was the tomb empty, but the gravecloths were undisturbed. It goes against reason to think that Jesus' physical body could have somehow been disentangled from these burial wrappings without their being disturbed.
So, what DID happen to Jesus physical body?
The authors of The Urantia Book explain that after Jesus' resurrection in "morontia" form had taken place, the chief of archangels requested custody of Jesus' material body:
189:2.1 At ten minutes past three o'clock, as the resurrected Jesus fraternized with the assembled morontia personalities from the seven mansion worlds of Satania, the chief of archangels—the angels of the resurrection—approached Gabriel and asked for the mortal body of Jesus. Said the chief of the archangels: "We may not participate in the morontia resurrection of the bestowal experience of Michael our sovereign, but we would have his mortal remains put in our custody for immediate dissolution. We do not propose to employ our technique of dematerialization; we merely wish to invoke the process of accelerated time. It is enough that we have seen the Sovereign live and die on Urantia; the hosts of heaven would be spared the memory of enduring the sight of the slow decay of the human form of the Creator and Upholder of a universe. In the name of the celestial intelligences of all Nebadon, I ask for a mandate giving me the custody of the mortal body of Jesus of Nazareth and empowering us to proceed with its immediate dissolution."
189:2.2 And when Gabriel had conferred with the senior Most High of Edentia, the archangel spokesman for the celestial hosts was given permission to make such disposition of the physical remains of Jesus as he might determine.
This is one of the most fascinating parts of Jesus' resurrection. You can read about the "near-instantaneous" dissolution of his physical form in this section called The Material Body of Jesus
The authors end this section by explaining:
189:2.6 The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus has been based on the fact of the "empty tomb." It was indeed a fact that the tomb was empty, but this is not the truth of the resurrection. The tomb was truly empty when the first believers arrived, and this fact, associated with that of the undoubted resurrection of the Master, led to the formulation of a belief which was not true: the teaching that the material and mortal body of Jesus was raised from the grave. Truth having to do with spiritual realities and eternal values cannot always be built up by a combination of apparent facts. Although individual facts may be materially true, it does not follow that the association of a group of facts must necessarily lead to truthful spiritual conclusions.
189:2.7 The tomb of Joseph was empty, not because the body of Jesus had been rehabilitated or resurrected, but because the celestial hosts had been granted their request to afford it a special and unique dissolution, a return of the "dust to dust," without the intervention of the delays of time and without the operation of the ordinary and visible processes of mortal decay and material corruption.
189:2.8 The mortal remains of Jesus underwent the same natural process of elemental disintegration as characterizes all human bodies on earth except that, in point of time, this natural mode of dissolution was greatly accelerated, hastened to that point where it became well-nigh instantaneous.
189:2.9 The true evidences of the resurrection of Michael are spiritual in nature, albeit this teaching is corroborated by the testimony of many mortals of the realm who met, recognized, and communed with the resurrected morontia Master. He became a part of the personal experience of almost one thousand human beings before he finally took leave of Urantia.
3. Jesus' disciples were willing to suffer and die for their belief in the Resurrection. While many people are willing to die for what they believe is true, no one willingly dies for what they know to be a lie.
No dispute here, either. We could not agree more
4. The Church persecutor known as Saul the Pharisee converted to the Catholic Christian faith, became Paul the Apostle, and was martyred for his faith in the Risen Jesus.
Even though Paul never met Jesus, his entire reborn life was based on his conviction that the resurrection was a fact.
5. The skeptic James, a relative of Jesus, converted because the Risen Jesus appeared to him.
In The Urantia Book, we discover that James was indeed a relative of Jesus - was, in fact, Jesus' next-younger brother. Jesus did, indeed appear to James; however, James was already a convert and follower of the Master. In fact, he and Jude, another of Jesus' brothers, was baptised with Jesus by John in the Jordan. And incidentally, Jesus had eight siblings in all. You can read about them all HERE.
When Jesus resurrected, he resurrected in a form that was not physical - he was able to make this new form visible at will, which he did, nineteen sepatrate times, to over one thousand people. But he did not look like himself - if you'll recall, Mary Magdalene, when seeing the risen Jesus for the first time, did not recognioze him. It was only when he spoke to her that she was able to recognize that this was the same Jesus she had known and loved.
And what does this mean for us?
Jesus' resurrection in this glorified form is a demonstration of what will happen to each of us, too, when we resurrect in heaven. Jesus stayed here on earth for a time, in order to appear to his friends, family, and followers - to leave them with words of comfort and a reiteration of his teachings to them. We will not have that experience, but we will resurrect in a new form, just as Jesus did. Our physical bodies will stay here on earth - dust to dust. But our bodies will undergo dissolution until we are indeed dust - while the immortal part of us - our soul will have gone on to eternal life. Reunited with our personality and our memories, with the indwelling Spirit og God, we will have become morontia beings like Jesus - in a form that is not altogether physical, but not altogther spiritul as yet. That takes place after our sojoiurn on the "many mansion" to which we will be sent. Jesus showed us the way - being a human being like us, he has now demonstrated the reality of eternal life that is the destiny of all of the children of God.
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Thu, May 04, 2017
Jesus and His Parables
By Truthbook Staff
The parables of Jesus...what a great topic for a blog! The article I saw today is called: Faith in Focus: Why did Jesus speak in parables? by Pastor Charles Fitzpatrick. This article is full of good observation and commentary by the good pastor. I wonder what he might say if he had the revelation of The Urantia Book at hand...! No one can fault this servant of the Lord for falling short in his understanding, for the Bible has been the only source of real information about the teachings of Jesus for the past 2000+ years.
We'll try to help each reader gain a new understanding of the parables of Jesus from the teachings of The Urantia Book in our blog below, but first, here's a snippet or two from the article. You might want to do this, too - in both the Bible AND The Urantia Book! Check out the differences!
"Let me challenge you to see whether you can understand two of Jesus' parables. Read Matthew 13:3-9 and 24-30. Think about or even write what you think these two parables mean. Then check your answers with Jesus' explanations in 18-23 and 36-43."
Click to read the entire article
The parables that the article cites are the ones about the Sower - greatly beloved stories. And we'll address them - and even more - one at a time. But first, this preliminary information only found in The Urantia Book about Jesus' use of parables. This section will actually answer the question posed by the article.
(Note: all passages in this blog come from Paper 151 - Tarrying and Teaching by the Seaside):
Why did Jesus use parables to teach?
151:1.3 ...Matthew said to Jesus: "Master, what is the meaning of the dark sayings which you present to the multitude? Why do you speak in parables to those who seek the truth?" And Jesus answered:
"In patience have I instructed you all this time. To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to the undiscerning multitudes and to those who seek our destruction, from now on, the mysteries of the kingdom shall be presented in parables. And this we will do so that those who really desire to enter the kingdom may discern the meaning of the teaching and thus find salvation, while those who listen only to ensnare us may be the more confounded in that they will see without seeing and will hear without hearing. My children, do you not perceive the law of the spirit which decrees that to him who has shall be given so that he shall have an abundance; but from him who has not shall be taken away even that which he has. Therefore will I henceforth speak to the people much in parables to the end that our friends and those who desire to know the truth may find that which they seek, while our enemies and those who love not the truth may hear without understanding. Many of these people follow not in the way of the truth. The prophet did, indeed, describe all such undiscerning souls when he said: `For this people's heart has waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed lest they should discern the truth and understand it in their hearts.'"
151:3.14 Jesus also resorted to the use of parables as the best possible refutation of the studied effort of the religious leaders at Jerusalem to teach that all of his work was done by the assistance of demons and the prince of devils. The appeal to nature was in contravention of such teaching since the people of that day looked upon all natural phenomena as the product of the direct act of spiritual beings and supernatural forces. He also determined upon this method of teaching because it enabled him to proclaim vital truths to those who desired to know the better way while at the same time affording his enemies less opportunity to find cause for offense and for accusations against him.
More Advice and Commentary from Jesus about Parables
151:3.2 The continued discussion of parables and further instruction as to their interpretation may be summarized and expressed in modern phraseology as follows:
1. Jesus advised against the use of either fables or allegories in teaching the truths of the gospel. He did recommend the free use of parables, especially nature parables. He emphasized the value of utilizing the analogy existing between the natural and the spiritual worlds as a means of teaching truth. He frequently alluded to the natural as "the unreal and fleeting shadow of spirit realities."
(Ed. NOTE: a fable is defined as "a short story, typically with animals as characters, conveying a moral."
An allegory is defined as: "a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one."
A parable is defined as "a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson" These definitions are important to keep in mind)
2. Jesus narrated three or four parables from the Hebrew scriptures, calling attention to the fact that this method of teaching was not wholly new. However, it became almost a new method of teaching as he employed it from this time onward.
3. In teaching the apostles the value of parables, Jesus called attention to the following points:
The parable provides for a simultaneous appeal to vastly different levels of mind and spirit. The parable stimulates the imagination, challenges the discrimination, and provokes critical thinking; it promotes sympathy without arousing antagonism.
The parable proceeds from the things which are known to the discernment of the unknown. The parable utilizes the material and natural as a means of introducing the spiritual and the supermaterial.
Parables favor the making of impartial moral decisions. The parable evades much prejudice and puts new truth gracefully into the mind and does all this with the arousal of a minimum of the self-defense of personal resentment.
To reject the truth contained in parabolical analogy requires conscious intellectual action which is directly in contempt of one's honest judgment and fair decision. The parable conduces to the forcing of thought through the sense of hearing.
The use of the parable form of teaching enables the teacher to present new and even startling truths while at the same time he largely avoids all controversy and outward clashing with tradition and established authority.
The parable also possesses the advantage of stimulating the memory of the truth taught when the same familiar scenes are subsequently encountered.
In this way Jesus sought to acquaint his followers with many of the reasons underlying his practice of increasingly using parables in his public teaching.
Here is the parable in its entirety, as related in The Urantia Book:
"A sower went forth to sow, and it came to pass as he sowed that some seed fell by the wayside to be trodden underfoot and devoured by the birds of heaven. Other seed fell upon the rocky places where there was little earth, and immediately it sprang up because there was no depth to the soil, but as soon as the sun shone, it withered because it had no root whereby to secure moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns, and as the thorns grew up, it was choked so that it yielded no grain. Still other seed fell upon good ground and, growing, yielded, some thirtyfold, some sixtyfold, and some a hundredfold." And when he had finished speaking this parable, he said to the multitude, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Following Jesus' presentation of this parable, the apostles went off by themselves to discuss its meaning. Later on, and before his own commentary on the parable, Jesus asked them what they had decided about its true meaning. First, Peter replied with his interpretation:
After a moment of silence, Peter said: "Master, we have talked much concerning the parable, and this is the interpretation I have decided upon: The sower is the gospel preacher; the seed is the word of God. The seed which fell by the wayside represents those who do not understand the gospel teaching. The birds which snatched away the seed that fell upon the hardened ground represent Satan, or the evil one, who steals away that which has been sown in the hearts of these ignorant ones. The seed which fell upon the rocky places, and which sprang up so suddenly, represents those superficial and unthinking persons who, when they hear the glad tidings, receive the message with joy; but because the truth has no real root in their deeper understanding, their devotion is short-lived in the face of tribulation and persecution. When trouble comes, these believers stumble; they fall away when tempted. The seed which fell among thorns represents those who hear the word willingly, but who allow the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches to choke the word of truth so that it becomes unfruitful. Now the seed which fell on good ground and sprang up to bear, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundredfold, represents those who, when they have heard the truth, receive it with varying degrees of appreciation—owing to their differing intellectual endowments—and hence manifest these varying degrees of religious experience."
Jesus, after listening to Peter's interpretation of the parable, asked the other apostles if they did not also have suggestions to offer. To this invitation only Nathaniel responded. Said he: "Master, while I recognize many good things about Simon Peter's interpretation of the parable, I do not fully agree with him. My idea of this parable would be: The seed represents the gospel of the kingdom, while the sower stands for the messengers of the kingdom. The seed which fell by the wayside on hardened ground represents those who have heard but little of the gospel, along with those who are indifferent to the message, and who have hardened their hearts. The birds of the sky that snatched away the seed which fell by the wayside represent one's habits of life, the temptation of evil, and the desires of the flesh. The seed which fell among the rocks stands for those emotional souls who are quick to receive new teaching and equally quick to give up the truth when confronted with the difficulties and realities of living up to this truth; they lack spiritual perception. The seed which fell among the thorns represents those who are attracted to the truths of the gospel; they are minded to follow its teachings, but they are prevented by the pride of life, jealousy, envy, and the anxieties of human existence. The seed which fell on good soil, springing up to bear, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundredfold, represents the natural and varying degrees of ability to comprehend truth and respond to its spiritual teachings by men and women who possess diverse endowments of spirit illumination."
When Nathaniel had finished speaking, the apostles and their associates fell into serious discussion and engaged in earnest debate, some contending for the correctness of Peter's interpretation, while almost an equal number sought to defend Nathaniel's explanation of the parable. Meanwhile Peter and Nathaniel had withdrawn to the house, where they were involved in a vigorous and determined effort the one to convince and change the mind of the other.
Finally, Thomas offered his interpretation:
151:2.5 The Master permitted this confusion to pass the point of most intense expression; then he clapped his hands and called them about him. When they had all gathered around him once more, he said, "Before I tell you about this parable, do any of you have aught to say?" Following a moment of silence, Thomas spoke up: "Yes, Master, I wish to say a few words. I remember that you once told us to beware of this very thing. You instructed us that, when using illustrations for our preaching, we should employ true stories, not fables, and that we should select a story best suited to the illustration of the one central and vital truth which we wished to teach the people, and that, having so used the story, we should not attempt to make a spiritual application of all the minor details involved in the telling of the story. I hold that Peter and Nathaniel are both wrong in their attempts to interpret this parable. I admire their ability to do these things, but I am equally sure that all such attempts to make a natural parable yield spiritual analogies in all its features can only result in confusion and serious misconception of the true purpose of such a parable. That I am right is fully proved by the fact that, whereas we were all of one mind an hour ago, now are we divided into two separate groups who hold different opinions concerning this parable and hold such opinions so earnestly as to interfere, in my opinion, with our ability fully to grasp the great truth which you had in mind when you presented this parable to the multitude and subsequently asked us to make comment upon it."
151:2.6 The words which Thomas spoke had a quieting effect on all of them. He caused them to recall what Jesus had taught them on former occasions, and before Jesus resumed speaking, Andrew arose, saying: "I am persuaded that Thomas is right, and I would like to have him tell us what meaning he attaches to the parable of the sower." After Jesus had beckoned Thomas to speak, he said: "My brethren, I did not wish to prolong this discussion, but if you so desire, I will say that I think this parable was spoken to teach us one great truth. And that is that our teaching of the gospel of the kingdom, no matter how faithfully and efficiently we execute our divine commissions, is going to be attended by varying degrees of success; and that all such differences in results are directly due to conditions inherent in the circumstances of our ministry, conditions over which we have little or no control."
151:2.7 When Thomas had finished speaking, the majority of his fellow preachers were about ready to agree with him, even Peter and Nathaniel were on their way over to speak with him, when Jesus arose and said: "Well done, Thomas; you have discerned the true meaning of parables; but both Peter and Nathaniel have done you all equal good in that they have so fully shown the danger of undertaking to make an allegory out of my parables. In your own hearts you may often profitably engage in such flights of the speculative imagination, but you make a mistake when you seek to offer such conclusions as a part of your public teaching."
What the Master Said Then
Finally, Jesus added a new twist to this parable with the following:
151:3.13 Toward the close of the evening's lesson Jesus made his first comment on the parable of the sower. He said the parable referred to two things: First, it was a review of his own ministry up to that time and a forecast of what lay ahead of him for the remainder of his life on earth And second, it was also a hint as to what the apostles and other messengers of the kingdom might expect in their ministry from generation to generation as time passed.
151:3.15 Before he dismissed the group for the night, Jesus said: "Now will I tell you the last of the parable of the sower. I would test you to know how you will receive this: The kingdom of heaven is also like a man who cast good seed upon the earth; and while he slept by night and went about his business by day, the seed sprang up and grew, and although he knew not how it came about, the plant came to fruit. First there was the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And then when the grain was ripe, he put forth the sickle, and the harvest was finished. He who has an ear to hear, let him hear."
151:3.16 Many times did the apostles turn this saying over in their minds, but the Master never made further mention of this addition to the parable of the sower.
Parables can serve a good purpose when we understand how to use them
As Jesus pointed out, a parable is not meant to be a fable, where an object or an animal is used to represent a truth; nor is a parable to be an allegory, where all elements of a story have a definite meaning for the hearer. Rather, a parable is a simple story that can have varying degrees of meaning, and varying degrees of understanding.
As Thomas rightly discerned: "our teaching of the gospel of the kingdom, no matter how faithfully and efficiently we execute our divine commissions, is going to be attended by varying degrees of success; and that all such differences in results are directly due to conditions inherent in the circumstances of our ministry, conditions over which we have little or no control."
Nevertheless, these simple nature stories contain layers of meaning for those who are sincere seekers after the truth. To those who are not seekers, they will likely seem meaningless.
Finally, Jesus advises believers about the use of parables in ministry:
151:3.1 The apostles were parable-minded, so much so that the whole of the next evening was devoted to the further discussion of parables. Jesus introduced the evening's conference by saying: "My beloved, you must always make a difference in teaching so as to suit your presentation of truth to the minds and hearts before you. When you stand before a multitude of varying intellects and temperaments, you cannot speak different words for each class of hearers, but you can tell a story to convey your teaching; and each group, even each individual, will be able to make his own interpretation of your parable in accordance with his own intellectual and spiritual endowments. You are to let your light shine but do so with wisdom and discretion. No man, when he lights a lamp, covers it up with a vessel or puts it under the bed; he puts his lamp on a stand where all can behold the light. Let me tell you that nothing is hid in the kingdom of heaven which shall not be made manifest; neither are there any secrets which shall not ultimately be made known. Eventually, all these things shall come to light. Think not only of the multitudes and how they hear the truth; take heed also to yourselves how you hear. Remember that I have many times told you: To him who has shall be given more, while from him who has not shall be taken away even that which he thinks he has."
In this section, Jesus relates the parable of the "darnel," a weed that chokes the good wheat:
151:4.1 The next day Jesus again taught the people from the boat, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while he slept, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and hastened away. And so when the young blades sprang up and later were about to bring forth fruit, there appeared also the weeds. Then the servants of this householder came and said to him: `Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Whence then come these weeds?' And he replied to his servants, `An enemy has done this.' The servants then asked their master, `Would you have us go out and pluck up these weeds?' But he answered them and said: `No, lest while you are gathering them up, you uproot the wheat also. Rather let them both grow together until the time of the harvest, when I will say to the reapers, Gather up first the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn and then gather up the wheat to be stored in my barn.'"
151:4.2 After the people had asked a few questions, Jesus spoke another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man sowed in his field. Now a mustard seed is the least of seeds, but when it is full grown, it becomes the greatest of all herbs and is like a tree so that the birds of heaven are able to come and rest in the branches thereof."
151:4.3 "The kingdom of heaven is also like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, and in this way it came about that all of the meal was leavened."
151:4.4 "The kingdom of heaven is also like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man discovered. In his joy he went forth to sell all he had that he might have the money to buy the field."
151:4.5 "The kingdom of heaven is also like a merchant seeking goodly pearls; and having found one pearl of great price, he went out and sold everything he possessed that he might be able to buy the extraordinary pearl."
151:4.6 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a sweep net which was cast into the sea, and it gathered up every kind of fish. Now, when the net was filled, the fishermen drew it up on the beach, where they sat down and sorted out the fish, gathering the good into vessels while the bad they threw away."
A Lesson for all of Us
This entire Paper 151, titled: Tarrying and Teaching by the Seaside contains valuable lessons for all those who wish to attract believers to the Kingdom. We would all be wise to think about creating our own parables as we go about our lives - simple stories that, like the story of the Sower, will resonate with our audiences - even an audience of one.
This writer is not all that good at doing this but I can recall at least one nature idea that has always resonated with me, and that is the simple observation of the activity of water - how it always seeks the lowest place and yet it has the greatest ability to wear away even the hardest, most dense of substances. It can wear away rock, even! It serves by fitting itself into all lowly places and by its persistence, it wears away and makes smooth its surroundings.
Another one I heard recently is a story about a man who went to a beautiful mountain lake; he could see the pebbles at the bottom very clearly. But when he went into the lake, it was far deeper than he realized because the water was so clear! The water threatened to drown him before he could get to the bottom for those beautiful pebbles.
What parables can you think of?
Lastly ... this is a discussion that can only be found in The Urantia Book, and is only one reason that readers from all over the world love and study The Urantia Book. It is a great illustration of how studying the life of Jesus really is the most important knowledge that one can gain. And it's all RIGHT HERE!
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Mon, April 24, 2017
The Resurrected Jesus Appears to his Apostles
By Truthbook Staff
This simple article: Jesus appears to the apostles from The Manila Bulletin, is basically a retelling of the Bible story found at John 20:19-31. The stories of Jesus' appearances to the apostles are some of the most poignant of all his appearances, so we have made a blog below with reference to the Urantia Book story of the same events. But first, this short snippet from the Bible, which comes after the story of Jesus' second appearance to apostle, including "doubting" Thomas; it feels like a clear invitation to share more Urantia Book truth with our readers:
"30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name."
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Respect for the Bible
Far from trying to discredit, or somehow minimize the traditional Bible stories of Jesus' life, we here at TruthBook always respect and applaud the Bible. For over 20 centuries the New Testament, scanty though it is in detail, has been sufficient to bring countless souls to Jesus. In our blogs, we simply show the reader the new and expanded stories that have been given to us through The Urantia Book. The authors of these papers refer to the Life and Teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book as being "restated." And the restatement comes from the detailed records that were kept by these authors; kept in safekeeping for this time in our history when we are ready to hear them in their fullness.
NOTE: In these stories, you will read a new term: "Morontia." Morontia refers to a state of being which is not fully material but not fully spiritual. Just as Jesus did, all of us human beings will resurrect in much the same kind of form as Jesus in these stories - but not on earth. Normally, a being in the morontia state is not visible to mortals, but in Jesus' case, he was able to appear and disappear at will and his changed state is one of the reasons that people who had long known him did not recognize him at first; but once he spoke, his personality became unmistakable.
Why did Jesus wait so long to appear to the apostles?
191:0.13 The Master put off the first morontia appearance to the apostles for a number of reasons. First, he wanted them to have time, after they heard of his resurrection, to think well over what he had told them about his death and resurrection when he was still with them in the flesh. The Master wanted Peter to wrestle through with some of his peculiar difficulties before he manifested himself to them all. In the second place, he desired that Thomas should be with them at the time of his first appearance. John Mark located Thomas at the home of Simon in Bethphage early this Sunday morning, bringing word to that effect to the apostles about eleven o'clock. Any time during this day Thomas would have gone back to them if Nathaniel or any two of the other apostles had gone for him. He really wanted to return, but having left as he did the evening before, he was too proud to go back of his own accord so soon. By the next day he was so depressed that it required almost a week for him to make up his mind to return. The apostles waited for him, and he waited for his brethren to seek him out and ask him to come back to them. Thomas thus remained away from his associates until the next Saturday evening, when, after darkness had come on, Peter and John went over to Bethphage and brought him back with them. And this is also the reason why they did not go at once to Galilee after Jesus first appeared to them; they would not go without Thomas.
Read more about the apostles in the upper room
Prior to the appearance of Jesus to the eleven as they gathered at the Mark home, he had appeared to Peter alone, and then to ten of the apostles (excepting Thomas), as they huddled in the upper room behind a bolted door. As mentioned above, Thomas was absent for the first appearance in the upper room. Here's more information about why:
191:5.1 Thomas spent a lonesome week alone with himself in the hills around about Olivet. During this time he saw only those at Simon's house and John Mark. It was about nine o'clock on Saturday, April 15, when the two apostles found him and took him back with them to their rendezvous at the Mark home. The next day Thomas listened to the telling of the stories of the Master's various appearances, but he steadfastly refused to believe. He maintained that Peter had enthused them into thinking they had seen the Master. Nathaniel reasoned with him, but it did no good. There was an emotional stubbornness associated with his customary doubtfulness, and this state of mind, coupled with his chagrin at having run away from them, conspired to create a situation of isolation which even Thomas himself did not fully understand. He had withdrawn from his fellows, he had gone his own way, and now, even when he was back among them, he unconsciously tended to assume an attitude of disagreement. He was slow to surrender; he disliked to give in. Without intending it, he really enjoyed the attention paid him; he derived unconscious satisfaction from the efforts of all his fellows to convince and convert him. He had missed them for a full week, and he obtained considerable pleasure from their persistent attentions.
Read more about Thomas' personality traits
Jesus Appears to Peter
You'll recall that Peter's last experiences with Jesus had to do with Peter's denial of the Master. He was sad, full of guilt, and very worried that he was no longer an apostle. This poignant meeting of Jesus with Peter before appearing to the other apostles shows us the endless forgiveness of the Master:
191:1.1 It was near half past eight o'clock this Sunday evening when Jesus appeared to Simon Peter in the garden of the Mark home. This was his eighth morontia manifestation. Peter had lived under a heavy burden of doubt and guilt ever since his denial of the Master. All day Saturday and this Sunday he had fought the fear that, perhaps, he was no longer an apostle. He had shuddered at the fate of Judas and even thought that he, too, had betrayed his Master. All this afternoon he thought that it might be his presence with the apostles that prevented Jesus' appearing to them, provided, of course, he had really risen from the dead. And it was to Peter, in such a frame of mind and in such a state of soul, that Jesus appeared as the dejected apostle strolled among the flowers and shrubs.
When Peter thought of the loving look of the Master as he passed by on Annas's porch, and as he turned over in his mind that wonderful message brought him early that morning by the women who came from the empty tomb, "Go tell my apostles— and Peter" —as he contemplated these tokens of mercy, his faith began to surmount his doubts, and he stood still, clenching his fists, while he spoke aloud: "I believe he has risen from the dead; I will go and tell my brethren." And as he said this, there suddenly appeared in front of him the form of a man, who spoke to him in familiar tones, saying: "Peter, the enemy desired to have you, but I would not give you up. I knew it was not from the heart that you disowned me; therefore I forgave you even before you asked; but now must you cease to think about yourself and the troubles of the hour while you prepare to carry the good news of the gospel to those who sit in darkness. No longer should you be concerned with what you may obtain from the kingdom but rather be exercised about what you can give to those who live in dire spiritual poverty. Gird yourself, Simon, for the battle of a new day, the struggle with spiritual darkness and the evil doubtings of the natural minds of men."
Peter and the morontia Jesus walked through the garden and talked of things past, present, and future for almost five minutes. Then the Master vanished from his gaze, saying, "Farewell, Peter, until I see you with your brethren."
The First Appearance to the Ten Apostles (minus Thomas)
191:2.1 Shortly after nine o'clock that evening, after the departure of Cleopas and Jacob [the two brothers from Emmaus], while the Alpheus twins comforted Peter, and while Nathaniel remonstrated with Andrew, and as the ten apostles were there assembled in the upper chamber with all the doors bolted for fear of arrest, the Master, in morontia form, suddenly appeared in the midst of them, saying: " Peace be upon you. Why are you so frightened when I appear, as though you had seen a spirit? Did I not tell you about these things when I was present with you in the flesh? Did I not say to you that the chief priests and the rulers would deliver me up to be killed, that one of your own number would betray me, and that on the third day I would rise? Wherefore all your doubtings and all this discussion about the reports of the women, Cleopas and Jacob, and even Peter? How long will you doubt my words and refuse to believe my promises? And now that you actually see me, will you believe? Even now one of you is absent. When you are gathered together once more, and after all of you know of a certainty that the Son of Man has risen from the grave, go hence into Galilee. Have faith in God; have faith in one another; and so shall you enter into the new service of the kingdom of heaven. I will tarry in Jerusalem with you until you are ready to go into Galilee. My peace I leave with you."
When the morontia Jesus had spoken to them, he vanished in an instant from their sight. And they all fell on their faces, praising God and venerating their vanished Master. This was the Master's ninth morontia appearance.
The second appearance to the apostles - this time to the Eleven
191:5.2 They were having their evening meal a little after six o'clock, with Peter sitting on one side of Thomas and Nathaniel on the other, when the doubting apostle said: "I will not believe unless I see the Master with my own eyes and put my finger in the mark of the nails." As they thus sat at supper, and while the doors were securely shut and barred, the morontia Master suddenly appeared inside the curvature of the table and, standing directly in front of Thomas, said:
"Peace be upon you. For a full week have I tarried that I might appear again when you were all present to hear once more the commission to go into all the world and preach this gospel of the kingdom. Again I tell you: As the Father sent me into the world, so send I you. As I have revealed the Father, so shall you reveal the divine love, not merely with words, but in your daily living. I send you forth, not to love the souls of men, but rather to love men. You are not merely to proclaim the joys of heaven but also to exhibit in your daily experience these spirit realities of the divine life since you already have eternal life, as the gift of God, through faith. When you have faith, when power from on high, the Spirit of Truth, has come upon you, you will not hide your light here behind closed doors; you will make known the love and the mercy of God to all mankind. Through fear you now flee from the facts of a disagreeable experience, but when you shall have been baptized with the Spirit of Truth, you will bravely and joyously go forth to meet the new experiences of proclaiming the good news of eternal life in the kingdom of God. You may tarry here and in Galilee for a short season while you recover from the shock of the transition from the false security of the authority of traditionalism to the new order of the authority of facts, truth, and faith in the supreme realities of living experience. Your mission to the world is founded on the fact that I lived a God-revealing life among you; on the truth that you and all other men are the sons of God; and it shall consist in the life which you will live among men—the actual and living experience of loving men and serving them, even as I have loved and served you. Let faith reveal your light to the world; let the revelation of truth open the eyes blinded by tradition; let your loving service effectually destroy the prejudice engendered by ignorance. By so drawing close to your fellow men in understanding sympathy and with unselfish devotion, you will lead them into a saving knowledge of the Father's love. The Jews have extolled goodness; the Greeks have exalted beauty; the Hindus preach devotion; the faraway ascetics teach reverence; the Romans demand loyalty; but I require of my disciples life, even a life of loving service for your brothers in the flesh."
When the Master had so spoken, he looked down into the face of Thomas and said: "And you, Thomas, who said you would not believe unless you could see me and put your finger in the nail marks of my hands, have now beheld me and heard my words; and though you see no nail marks on my hands, since I am raised in the form that you also shall have when you depart from this world, what will you say to your brethren? You will acknowledge the truth, for already in your heart you had begun to believe even when you so stoutly asserted your unbelief. Your doubts, Thomas, always most stubbornly assert themselves just as they are about to crumble. Thomas, I bid you be not faithless but believing—and I know you will believe, even with a whole heart."
When Thomas heard these words, he fell on his knees before the morontia Master and exclaimed, "I believe! My Lord and my Master!" Then said Jesus to Thomas: "You have believed, Thomas, because you have really seen and heard me. Blessed are those in the ages to come who will believe even though they have not seen with the eye of flesh nor heard with the mortal ear."
And then, as the Master's form moved over near the head of the table, he addressed them all, saying: "And now go all of you to Galilee, where I will presently appear to you." After he said this, he vanished from their sight.
What about the wounds in Jesus' hands and side?
Those who have been taught that Jesus rose in physical form on Easter Sunday may not be able to easily reconcile this revelation of what really happened regarding this neeting of Jesus and Thomas. The fact is, there were no wounds on Jesus' resurrected body; he had risen in a more spiritual form - and it is just this type of form in which all the dead will resurrect - just as Jesus did.
The mortal body of Jesus was left in the tomb, just as our bodies will remain in the tomb, or in the earth. As explained above, this is why, when the Master appeared to many, they did not readily recognize him - he was changed. But when he spoke, all doubt was removed, as the essence of the personality of Jesus was easily discerned. And as the story relates, Jesus explains the absence of the wounds to Thomas.
But what happened to Jesus' physical body? Was it allowed to decay and dissolve in Joseph's tomb? Not at all. Even though decay and dissolution is the fate of all human bodies after death ("dust to dust"), the celestial hosts of heaven, having just witnessed the horror of Jesus crucifixion, implored Gabriel to release the Master's physical body for a more instantaneous disposal. To discover what happened to the physical body of Jesus, please see THIS LINK to the Urantia Book story.
Did Jesus Bestow the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) during this appearance?
Finally, despite what this Bible passage indicates, Jesus did not give his Spirit of Truth to all mankind until the day of Pentecost - the day that he ascended into heaven, no more to walk our world. Remember, the Comforter was promised to take Jesus' place after he should return to the Father - not before.
Again, as we do frequently in this blog, we encourage all readers to discover for themselves the full life and teachings of Jesus as presented in The Urantia Book. These stories of Jesus' appearances to the apostles are but a fracion of the detailed stories of the Master's life that will thrill, inspire, and amaze you.
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Tue, April 11, 2017
The Beautiful Beatitudes of Jesus
By TruthBook Staff
This "article" is really not an article such as we are used to using in this blog, but nonetheless, it lays out for the reader the eight beatitudes of Jesus. See our blog below, where we will supply a Urantia Book discussion of the momentous speech in which the Master gifted us with these "words of comfort" to be shared as we go about doing good. But first, here are the beatitudes in the article (which, BTW, is a pretty site to see):
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-101
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Are the Beatitudes seen in Matthew 5 the same in The Urantia Book?
Yes, these beloved encouragements have come down to us in The Urantia Book in essentially the same form as in the Gospel of Matthew; however, as is usual in The Urantia Book, we discover the accurate purpose and true context of the event, and we are gifted with a wealth of corollary information regarding their delivery. In Matthew, we are told only that Jesus saw the crowds and went up to talk to them and that the disciples joined him. No further information is given regarding what prompted him to give this speech.
Setting the Stage
From The Urantia Book:
140:0.1 Just before noon on Sunday, January 12, A.D. 27, Jesus called the apostles together for their ordination as public preachers of the gospel of the kingdom. The twelve were expecting to be called almost any day; so this morning they did not go out far from the shore to fish. Several of them were lingering near the shore repairing their nets and tinkering with their fishing paraphernalia.
As Jesus started down the seashore calling the apostles, he first hailed Andrew and Peter, who were fishing near the shore; next he signaled to James and John, who were in a boat near by, visiting with their father, Zebedee, and mending their nets. Two by two he gathered up the other apostles, and when he had assembled all twelve, he journeyed with them to the highlands north of Capernaum, where he proceeded to instruct them in preparation for their formal ordination.
For once all twelve of the apostles were silent; even Peter was in a reflective mood. At last the long-waited-for hour had come! They were going apart with the Master to participate in some sort of solemn ceremony of personal consecration and collective dedication to the sacred work of representing their Master in the proclamation of the coming of his Father's kingdom.
But before he delivered the sermon, he gave a lengthy set of preliminary instructions on establishing the Kingdom of heaven, which you can READ HERE.
And at the end of this instruction, he said:
140:1.7 "And this which your eyes now behold, this small beginning of twelve commonplace men, shall multiply and grow until eventually the whole earth shall be filled with the praise of my Father. And it will not be so much by the words you speak as by the lives you live that men will know you have been with me and have learned of the realities of the kingdom. And while I would lay no grievous burdens upon your minds, I am about to put upon your souls the solemn responsibility of representing me in the world when I shall presently leave you as I now represent my Father in this life which I am living in the flesh."
Continuing the ceremony:
140:2.1 Jesus now instructed the twelve mortals who had just listened to his declaration concerning the kingdom to kneel in a circle about him. Then the Master placed his hands upon the head of each apostle, beginning with Judas Iscariot and ending with Andrew, When he had blessed them, he extended his hands and prayed:
"My Father, I now bring to you these men, my messengers. From among our children on earth I have chosen these twelve to go forth to represent me as I came forth to represent you. Love them and be with them as you have loved and been with me. And now, my Father, give these men wisdom as I place all the affairs of the coming kingdom in their hands. And I would, if it is your will, tarry on earth a time to help them in their labors for the kingdom. And again, my Father, I thank you for these men, and I commit them to your keeping while I go on to finish the work you have given me to do."
When Jesus had finished praying, the apostles remained each man bowed in his place. And it was many minutes before even Peter dared lift up his eyes to look upon the Master. One by one they embraced Jesus, but no man said aught. A great silence pervaded the place while a host of celestial beings looked down upon this solemn and sacred scene— the Creator of a universe placing the affairs of the divine brotherhood of man under the direction of human minds.
The Ordination Sermon
According to The Urantia Book, this momentous discourse "was Jesus' ordination charge to the twelve apostles. It was the Master's personal commission to those who were to go on preaching the gospel and aspiring to represent him in the world of men even as he was so eloquently and perfectly representative of his Father."
And, as noted above, the beatitudes themselves are essentially the same as in the account of Matthew, including the addition of Jesus' statements regarding the "salt of the earth," and the importance of being the "light of the world."
The rest of the Master's speech is included here:
"I am sending you out into the world to represent me and to act as ambassadors of my Father's kingdom, and as you go forth to proclaim the glad tidings, put your trust in the Father whose messengers you are. Do not forcibly resist injustice; put not your trust in the arm of the flesh. If your neighbor smites you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Be willing to suffer injustice rather than to go to law among yourselves. In kindness and with mercy minister to all who are in distress and in need.
"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 Father in heaven makes the sun to shine on the evil as well as upon the good; likewise he sends rain on the just and the unjust. You are the sons of God; even more, you are now the ambassadors of my Father's kingdom. Be merciful, even as God is merciful, and in the eternal future of the kingdom you shall be perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect.
"You are commissioned to save men, not to judge them. At the end of your earth life you will all expect mercy; therefore do I require of you during your mortal life that you show mercy to all of your brethren in the flesh. Make not the mistake of trying to pluck a mote out of your brother's eye when there is a beam in your own eye. Having first cast the beam out of your own eye, you can the better see to cast the mote out of your brother's eye.
"Discern the truth clearly; live the righteous life fearlessly; and so shall you be my apostles and my Father's ambassadors. You have heard it said: `If the blind lead the blind, they both shall fall into the pit.' If you would guide others into the kingdom, you must yourselves walk in the clear light of living truth. In all the business of the kingdom I exhort you to show just judgment and keen wisdom. Present not that which is holy to dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample your gems under foot and turn to rend you.
"I warn you against false prophets who will come to you in sheep's clothing, while on the inside they are as ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree brings forth good fruit, but the corrupt tree bears evil fruit. A good tree cannot yield evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is presently hewn down and cast into the fire. In gaining an entrance into the kingdom of heaven, it is the motive that counts. My Father looks into the hearts of men and judges by their inner longings and their sincere intentions.
"In the great day of the kingdom judgment, many will say to me, `Did we not prophesy in your name and by your name do many wonderful works?' But I will be compelled to say to them, `I never knew you; depart from me you who are false teachers.' But every one who hears this charge and sincerely executes his commission to represent me before men even as I have represented my Father to you, shall find an abundant entrance into my service and into the kingdom of the heavenly Father."
Never before had the apostles heard Jesus speak in this way, for he had talked to them as one having supreme authority. They came down from the mountain about sundown, but no man asked Jesus a question.
What else Does the Urantia Book account rell us?
Following the "red-letter" text of the Master's words, the reader is treated to midwayer commentary - the Midway creatures being the authors of PART IV of The Urantia Book - about the meanings and implication of this sermon of Jesus. For example, we read:
140:4.2 "You are the salt of the earth, salt with a saving savor. But if this salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men."
In Jesus' time salt was precious. It was even used for money. The modern word "salary" is derived from salt. Salt not only flavors food, but it is also a preservative. It makes other things more tasty, and thus it serves by being spent.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and be led to glorify your Father who is in heaven."
While light dispels darkness, it can also be so "blinding" as to confuse and frustrate. We are admonished to let our light so shine that our fellows will be guided into new and godly paths of enhanced living. Our light should so shine as not to attract attention to self. Even one's vocation can be utilized as an effective "reflector" for the dissemination of this light of life.
Read more from: "You Are the Salt of the Earth"
And this, from Section 5 of the same paper "Fatherly and Brotherly Love":
From the Sermon on the Mount to the discourse of the Last Supper, Jesus taught his followers to manifest fatherly love rather than brotherly love. Brotherly love would love your neighbor as you love yourself, and that would be adequate fulfillment of the "golden rule." But fatherly affection would require that you should love your fellow mortals as Jesus loves you.
Jesus loves mankind with a dual affection. He lived on earth as a twofold personality— human and divine. As the Son of God he loves man with a fatherly love—he is man's Creator, his universe Father. As the Son of Man, Jesus loves mortals as a brother—he was truly a man among men.
Jesus did not expect his followers to achieve an impossible manifestation of brotherly love, but he did expect them to so strive to be like God—to be perfect even as the Father in heaven is perfect—that they could begin to look upon man as God looks upon his creatures and therefore could begin to love men as God loves them—to show forth the beginnings of a fatherly affection. In the course of these exhortations to the twelve apostles, Jesus sought to reveal this new concept of fatherly love as it is related to certain emotional attitudes concerned in making numerous environmental social adjustments.
The Master introduced this momentous discourse by calling attention to four faith attitudes as the prelude to the subsequent portrayal of his four transcendent and supreme reactions of fatherly love in contrast to the limitations of mere brotherly love.
He first talked about those who were poor in spirit, hungered after righteousness, endured meekness, and who were pure in heart. Such spirit-discerning mortals could be expected to attain such levels of divine selflessness as to be able to attempt the amazing exercise of fatherly affection; that even as mourners they would be empowered to show mercy, promote peace, and endure persecutions, and throughout all of these trying situations to love even unlovely mankind with a fatherly love. A father's affection can attain levels of devotion that immeasurably transcend a brother's affection.
The faith and the love of these beatitudes strengthen moral character and create happiness. Fear and anger weaken character and destroy happiness. This momentous sermon started out upon the note of happiness.
And this section then continues with a lengthy and worthwhile commentary regarding the beatitudes themselves, and their deeper implications.
Is There More?
The remainder of this paper discusses what happened on the Evening of the Ordination and on into the Week Following the Ordination.
There are lessons and events of great interest here, that will be edifying and instructive to all who read them.
And the paper ends with a special "consecration ceremony," in which:
Jesus reviewed many features of the ordination sermon, delivered on this same spot, and then, calling them before him one by one, he commissioned them to go forth in the world as his representatives. The Master's consecration charge was: "Go into all the world and preach the glad tidings of the kingdom. Liberate spiritual captives, comfort the oppressed, and minister to the afflicted. Freely you have received, freely give."
The entire paper, titled "The Ordination of the Twelve" is a must-read for all who aspire to do as Jesus instructed, and spread the good news of the gospel into all the world. Using this paper as a guide, the believer can fashion a ministry of truth, beauty and goodness that can impact the world in a most positive way.
The Urantia Book - Heaven's Gift to Humanity
Finally, we once again invite the reader to explore The Urantia Book. These events, these teachings, these discourses and sermons of the Master - all have been faithfully preserved for all the centuries that have intervened since Jesus walked our earth. Now, finally, they have been brought to us, printed on pages of a book for all to read and benefit from. But this narration of Jesus' life is so much more than words on a page - it is the information about Jesus and his life that, if heeded, followed, and shared, can change our world for the better.
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