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Sat, September 13, 2014

Jesus was not a "Bible-Believer"

By By Frank Schaeffer

Jesus certainly was not a “Bible believer,” as we use that term in the post Billy Graham era of American fundamentalist religiosity that’s used as a trade-marked product to sell religion. Jesus didn’t take the Jewish scriptures at face value. In fundamentalist terms, Jesus was a rule-breaking relativist who wasn’t even “saved,” according to evangelical standards. Evangelicals insist that you have to believe very specific interpretations of the Bible to be saved. Jesus didn’t. He undercut the scriptures.

A leper came to Jesus and said, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” If Jesus had been a good religious Jew, he would have said, “Be healed,” and just walked away. Instead, he stretched out his hand and touched the leper, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean,” even though he was breaking the specific rules of Leviticus. Two chapters teach that anyone touching a person with leprosy is contaminated.

The stories about Jesus that survived the bigots, opportunists and delusional fanatics who wrote the New Testament contain powerful and enlightened truths that would someday prove the undoing of the Church built in his name. Like a futurist vindicated by events as yet undreamed, Jesus’ message of love was far more powerful than the magical thinking of the writers of the book he’s trapped in. In Jesus’ day the institutions of religion, state, misogyny and myth were so deeply ingrained that the ultimate dangerousness of his life example could not be imagined. For example his feminism, probably viewed as an eccentricity in his day, would prove transformational.

Jesus believed in God rather than in a book about God. The message of Jesus’ life is an intervention in and an acceleration of the evolution of empathy. Consider this story from the book of Matthew: “A woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.”

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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Can I get an "Amen?"

This article is a breath of fresh air, in my opinion. In it, the author asks important questions and posits revolutionary ideas about Jesus, which, taken to heart, can give any believer a new idea about who Jesus was and what his life was meant to be.

This article caught my eye because it echoes what I have learned of Jesus through the teachings of The Urantia Book, a modern-day revelation of God.

In Jesus' day, the Scriptures were thought to be inerrant, much as they are thought to be still today. But, did Jesus believe that? He did not. As this author has discovered through critical thought, "Jesus believed in God rather than in a book about God." This statement is akin to The Urantia Book's statement that Christianity is a religion about Jesus, rather than the religion of Jesus.

For centuries, the Scriptures have been the sole source of information about Jesus and his life...about God and his purposes. But, how's that working for us? Because of the belief that the Bible is inerrant in its teachings, mankind has felt licensed to kill, maim, shame, and otherwise direct and control the spiritual lives of spiritual seekers, believing that this is what God has mandated. And yet, we know that Jesus was the revelation of God to struggling mankind. Did Jesus act in this way? Did he try to direct and control through Scripture? Did he ever use strong-armed tactics to keep his believers in tow? If Jesus did not, then we can rest assured that God does not act that way, through Scripture or otherwise.

One aspect of Jesus' life that is touched on in this article is Jesus' revolutionary attitude towards women. This attitude and his subsequent actions with women are underscored and given a lot of attention in The Urantia Book.

Click to read more about Jesus and Women

One day, Nathaniel asked Jesus: “Master, could you trust me to know the truth about the Scriptures? I observe that you teach us only a portion of the sacred writings—the best as I view it—and I infer that you reject the teachings of the rabbis to the effect that the words of the law are the very words of God, having been with God in heaven even before the times of Abraham and Moses. What is the truth about the Scriptures?”

What follows is Jesus' enlightening discourse on the truth of the Scriptures. I find it to be so important to our modern-day understanding of this topic that I am adding it here in its entirety:

"Nathaniel, you have rightly judged; I do not regard the Scriptures as do the rabbis. I will talk with you about this matter on condition that you do not relate these things to your brethren, who are not all prepared to receive this teaching. The words of the law of Moses and the teachings of the Scriptures were not in existence before Abraham. Only in recent times have the Scriptures been gathered together as we now have them. While they contain the best of the higher thoughts and longings of the Jewish people, they also contain much that is far from being representative of the character and teachings of the Father in heaven; wherefore must I choose from among the better teachings those truths which are to be gleaned for the gospel of the kingdom.
“These writings are the work of men, some of them holy men, others not so holy. The teachings of these books represent the views and extent of enlightenment of the time in which they had their origin. As a revelation of truth, the last are more dependable than the first. The Scriptures are faulty and altogether human in origin, but mistake not, they do constitute the best collection of religious wisdom and spiritual truth to be found in all the world at this time.
“Many of these books were not written by the persons whose names they bear, but that in no way detracts from the value of the truths which they contain. If the story of Jonah should not be a fact, even if Jonah had never lived, still would the profound truth of this narrative, the love of God for Nineveh and the so-called heathen, be none the less precious in the eyes of all those who love their fellow men. The Scriptures are sacred because they present the thoughts and acts of men who were searching for God, and who in these writings left on record their highest concepts of righteousness, truth, and holiness. The Scriptures contain much that is true, very much, but in the light of your present teaching, you know that these writings also contain much that is misrepresentative of the Father in heaven, the loving God I have come to reveal to all the worlds.
"Nathaniel, never permit yourself for one moment to believe the Scripture records which tell you that the God of love directed your forefathers to go forth in battle to slay all their enemies—men, women, and children. Such records are the words of men, not very holy men, and they are not the word of God. The Scriptures always have, and always will, reflect the intellectual, moral, and spiritual status of those who create them. Have you not noted that the concepts of Yahweh grow in beauty and glory as the prophets make their records from Samuel to Isaiah? And you should remember that the Scriptures are intended for religious instruction and spiritual guidance. They are not the works of either historians or philosophers.
“The thing most deplorable is not merely this erroneous idea of the absolute perfection of the Scripture record and the infallibility of its teachings, but rather the confusing misinterpretation of these sacred writings by the tradition-enslaved scribes and Pharisees at Jerusalem. And now will they employ both the doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures and their misinterpretations thereof in their determined effort to withstand these newer teachings of the gospel of the kingdom. Nathaniel, never forget, the Father does not limit the revelation of truth to any one generation or to any one people. Many earnest seekers after the truth have been, and will continue to be, confused and disheartened by these doctrines of the perfection of the Scriptures.
“The authority of truth is the very spirit that indwells its living manifestations, and not the dead words of the less illuminated and supposedly inspired men of another generation. And even if these holy men of old lived inspired and spirit-filled lives, that does not mean that their words were similarly spiritually inspired. Today we make no record of the teachings of this gospel of the kingdom lest, when I have gone, you speedily become divided up into sundry groups of truth contenders as a result of the diversity of your interpretation of my teachings. For this generation it is best that we live these truths while we shun the making of records.
“Mark you well my words, Nathaniel, nothing which human nature has touched can be regarded as infallible. Through the mind of man divine truth may indeed shine forth, but always of relative purity and partial divinity. The creature may crave infallibility, but only the Creators possess it.
“But the greatest error of the teaching about the Scripture is the doctrine of their being sealed books of mystery and wisdom which only the wise minds of the nation dare to interpret. The revelations of divine truth are not sealed except by human ignorance, bigotry, and narrow-minded intolerance. The light of the Scriptures is only dimmed by prejudice and darkened by superstition. A false fear of sacredness has prevented religion from being safeguarded by common sense. The fear of the authority of the sacred writings of the past effectively prevents the honest souls of today from accepting the new light of the gospel, the light which these very God-knowing men of another generation so intensely longed to see.
“But the saddest feature of all is the fact that some of the teachers of the sanctity of this traditionalism know this very truth. They more or less fully understand these limitations of Scripture, but they are moral cowards, intellectually dishonest. They know the truth regarding the sacred writings, but they prefer to withhold such disturbing facts from the people. And thus do they pervert and distort the Scriptures, making them the guide to slavish details of the daily life and an authority in things nonspiritual instead of appealing to the sacred writings as the repository of the moral wisdom, religious inspiration, and the spiritual teaching of the God-knowing men of other generations.”
Nathaniel was enlightened, and shocked, by the Master’s pronouncement. He long pondered this talk in the depths of his soul, but he told no man concerning this conference until after Jesus’ ascension; and even then he feared to impart the full story of the Master’s instruction.

Bible believers of this age may be shocked as well, AND enlightened. The time is ripe for a new understanding of the role of Scripture in our lives. None have said it better than the Master...

Click to read an extended study about the Gospels and Scripture as presented in The Urantia Book for the 21st century truth-seeker

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Mon, September 01, 2014

Cheek Turning: Is it Practical Advice?

By By Steve McSwain

"If someone strikes you," counseled Jesus, "turn the other cheek!" Completely impractical words, wouldn't you agree?

Who does this? You get sucker-punched on one side of the face and you're supposed to submissively turn the other cheek too? Give me a break! Such nonsense could never possibly work. Just ask the Israelis. Or the Palestinians. Right?

Maybe not. But maybe it does too. But then, how would anyone know? Has it ever really been tried?

Oh, sure, there are those of us who mistakenly think that turning the other cheek means running from conflict, or rolling over and taking abuse, or disappearing to a remote corner to lick our wounds.

I'm not talking about this, and neither is Jesus. However, I do know what it's like to do everything I can to please everybody, to fix everyone as well as every situation, and then, when I fail, which is almost always, running at the first sign of disagreement in order to avoid a negative reaction or, worse, rejection.

Instead, Jesus is talking here about real cheek turning, or a radical departure from the more common method of handling conflict between two people, two religions, or two peoples or nations.

Like the Israelis and Palestinians.

Like Christians and Muslims.

Like the Americans and, well, just about everybody else.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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Are the words of Jesus practical? Are his teachings really usable in the world today?

This article is a kind-of "tongue-in-cheek" response to Jesus advice to "turn the other cheek," but the author wants us to see this advice in a new way, as do the revelators of The Urantia Book.

In The Urantia Book, we witness Jesus offering this advice at least twice. Here, he enjoins the apostles during the Ordination sermon:

140:3.14 "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.

But here, in the Urantia Book section called "The Positive Nature of Jesus' Religion," we learn the real meaning behind this seemingly difficult advice.

"Jesus did not hesitate to appropriate the better half of a Scripture while he repudiated the lesser portion. His great exhortation, "Love your neighbor as yourself," he took from the Scripture which reads: "You shall not take vengeance against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus appropriated the positive portion of this Scripture while rejecting the negative part. He even opposed negative or purely passive nonresistance. Said he: "When an enemy smites you on one cheek, do not stand there dumb and passive but in positive attitude turn the other; that is, do the best thing possible actively to lead your brother in error away from the evil paths into the better ways of righteous living." Jesus required his followers to react positively and aggressively to every life situation. The turning of the other cheek, or whatever act that may typify, demands initiative, necessitates vigorous, active, and courageous expression of the believer’s personality.

"Jesus did not advocate the practice of negative submission to the indignities of those who might purposely seek to impose upon the practitioners of nonresistance to evil, but rather that his followers should be wise and alert in the quick and positive reaction of good to evil to the end that they might effectively overcome evil with good. Forget not, the truly good is invariably more powerful than the most malignant evil. The Master taught a positive standard of righteousness: "Whosoever wishes to be my disciple, let him disregard himself and take up the full measure of his responsibilities daily to follow me." And he so lived himself in that "he went about doing good." And this aspect of the gospel was well illustrated by many parables which he later spoke to his followers. He never exhorted his followers patiently to bear their obligations but rather with energy and enthusiasm to live up to the full measure of their human responsibilities and divine privileges in the kingdom of God.

"When Jesus instructed his apostles that they should, when one unjustly took away the coat, offer the other garment, he referred not so much to a literal second coat as to the idea of doing something positive to save the wrongdoer in the place of the olden advice to retaliate—"an eye for an eye" and so on. Jesus abhorred the idea either of retaliation or of becoming just a passive sufferer or victim of injustice. On this occasion he taught them the three ways of contending with, and resisting, evil:

"1. To return evil for evil—the positive but unrighteous method.

"2. To suffer evil without complaint and without resistance—the purely negative method.

"3. To return good for evil, to assert the will so as to become master of the situation, to overcome evil with good—the positive and righteous method."

The author also makes an interesting statement in his article, and asks an intriguing question: could this advice ever actually work? He says:

"But here's the question I cannot escape: How do we know cheek turning is impractical? Has anyone tried it lately?"

We ask also: can we bring this advice of Jesus to the 21st century table? Can it still inspire – and more importantly, can it be practicable? As we read in the passages above, "turning the other cheek" is a metaphor for dealing with conflict; the "positive and righteous method" of effecting resolution of conflict is to return good for evil, thereby becoming master of the situation by force of the God-inspired will.

But this is not an easy task. If it was easy, our world would look far different than it does at present. It is difficult because it does require a decision of will on the part of the God-knowing believer…a decision to rise above evil, and to dominate it by the force of goodness. How many of us are prepared to live this way?

From The Urantia Book:

195:9.6 Primitive man lived a life of superstitious bondage to religious fear. Modern, civilized men dread the thought of falling under the dominance of strong religious convictions. Thinking man has always feared to be held by a religion. When a strong and moving religion threatens to dominate him, he invariably tries to rationalize, traditionalize, and institutionalize it, thereby hoping to gain control of it. By such procedure, even a revealed religion becomes man-made and man-dominated. Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them—and with them. And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man.

"Selfish men and women simply will not pay such a price for even the greatest spiritual treasure ever offered mortal man. Only when man has become sufficiently disillusioned by the sorrowful disappointments attendant upon the foolish and deceptive pursuits of selfishness, and subsequent to the discovery of the barrenness of formalized religion, will he be disposed to turn wholeheartedly to the gospel of the kingdom, the religion of Jesus of Nazareth."

This is a passage that should make all of us think whether we are willing to really LIVE our belief – to really act out the principles of Jesus’ religion in our daily lives. If we are willing, we will become beacons of hope in this dark world, and we will become the models (after Jesus) of the joys of living the spiritual life…joy that is born in the realms of the inner life of the believer. The believer who has overcome him/herself in this way has no fear of Jesus’ religion dominating their life; in fact, they desire that above all, for it is a life that can be lived on a plane far above the drudgery of material life – a life that has its foundation in the very real Kingdom of God.

So, is this advice completely impractical? Or is it rather completely challenging? Are we up to the task?

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Sun, August 24, 2014

Jesus Saving the Lost

By By Benge Nsenduluka

Dove award-winning group Selah recently spoke about why there is power in leaning on Jesus in the midst of pain and "brokenness." The trio also shared why they believe millions of people around the world are still drawn to their music after nearly two decades in ministry.

Todd Smith, Allan Hall, and Amy Perry dropped their ninth studio album "You Amaze Us" on August 19, weeks after making Christian radio history when their title track debuted at #1 on Billboard's Christian Soft AC chart.

In the song, which has been #1 for nine weeks, the acclaimed contemporary Christian trio sings about God's grace and the remarkable power of faith during dark times. The song was written as a "reminder," according to Smith, for those in need "wondering if God really does care."

"I think it's usually during your darkest times that's when you lean on Jesus. I think when you've got nowhere else to go. You've got several different choices as to what you can do," Smith told The Christian Post exclusively.

"But typically when I'm humbled, when everything has just been pulled out from underneath – that's when I'm most open to 'Lord I need you' and so [the] lyrics are just reminders to people who are in a dark place and who are wondering if God is there and if he really does care," he explained. "He knows who you are and you need to lean on Him while you're walking through this horrible situation."

 

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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This is a wonderful article, and there is some great music in it, too, by the Christian singing group Selah. I recommend that you go and listen to their song: You Amaze Us. The Jesus in this article is the same Jesus that all of us love; some of us are Christians, and some of us are not, but Jesus loves us all the same.

Jesus does amaze us, doesn't he? When you consider who he was and why he came here…the monumental purposes behind his incarnation as the babe of Bethlehem...and at the same time, he said: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. The Son of Man came not to be ministered to, but to minister and to bestow his life as the gift for all. I declare to you that I have come to seek and to save those who are lost.”

His loving heart overshadowed all that he did, all that he said. His primary concern was the welfare of the individual. His mission to the individual was to restore self-respect

169:1.3 “You have been taught that divine acceptance comes after your repentance and as a result of all your works of sacrifice and penitence, but I assure you that the Father accepts you even before you have repented and sends the Son and his associates to find you and bring you, with rejoicing, back to the fold, the kingdom of sonship and spiritual progress. You are all like sheep which have gone astray, and I have come to seek and to save those who are lost.

171:6.3 "... turning to the crowd assembled about them, Jesus said: “And marvel not at what I say nor take offense at what we do, for I have all along declared that the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.”

Maybe those passages are a little different than the Biblical quotes that you're used to, but that's because these passages are from The Urantia Book.  Jesus has not changed at all, but in The Urantia Book, Jesus is elevated and explained; his life is detailed for us, and all the missing pieces of his life are finally in place.

That's right - The Urantia Book is a book about Jesus – and a lot more; but, from the beginning of the book, it is one long introduction to the pinnacle of experiences - both for our world, and for Jesus of Nazareth; that experience was the incarnation of the Creator Son - the very architect of our universe - into the fleshly tabernacle of the human Jesus.

And the crown of The Urantia Book is an amazing narrative of the real life and teachings of Jesus, told in over 700 pages of rich detail and insight into the Master's religious, family, and ministry life.

How did he save the lost? What did he do? How did he minister? The pages are rich with stories that will soothe your soul and lift your spirits. Stories like:

Jesus Takes a Lost Child Home

Jesus Helps a Runaway Lad

The Young Man Who Was Afraid

And these character portraits of the Master and his ministering style:

As Jesus Passed By

The Acme of Religious Living

The Urantia Book is not all that different from the Bible as far as the story of Jesus goes. There are differences; for example these stories above are known nowhere else but in The Urantia Book.  They are a part of a period of time in Jesus’ life (age 28) when he was traveling, and he enjoyed a very personal ministry to many, many people. This is a time in Jesus’ life that no one has known about until now.

If you are a person who wants to know more of Jesus, and you are unafraid to look into a new way to see Jesus - more of Jesus - then you will truly love The Urantia Book’s restatement of Jesus' life.  It is part of the celestial records, made at the time of his visitation to earth, and they are presented to us at this time in our history so as to give modern humanity a new grasp on the Savior through a retelling of the real story. Knowing the full life of Jesus is the most thrilling discovery one can make.

The Urantia Book states:

196:1.3 To “follow Jesus” means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master’s life of unselfish service for man. One of the most important things in human living is to find out what Jesus believed, to discover his ideals, and to strive for the achievement of his exalted life purpose. Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.

It's in there...

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Thu, August 14, 2014

Did Jesus ever treat people unkindly?

By By Morgan Guyton

Morgan Guyton

The lectionary reading for this week is the familiar story of Jesus walking across the water in Matthew 14:22-33. It’s very easy to let your eyes glaze over when you’re looking at the story for the hundredth time. But there’s something about the text that bothered me reading it through this time and I’m not sure that it isn’t supposed to bother me. Peter has jumped out of the boat and done something that required way more faith than I would ever be able to muster: walking across the water to Jesus. And when he starts to sink, Jesus pings on him: "Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Little faith? A man who just walked on water for the first time? Really Jesus?

Sometimes Jesus really does act like a jerk. When he’s on the road to Emmaus and he comes across two downcast disciples who are devastated by his death, what does he say in response to their expression of grief? "How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!" (Luke 24:25). Because the necessity of the crucifixion and resurrection of Israel’s messiah is entirely self-evident to any non-fool who isn’t slow to believe the words of the Hebrew prophets? Really Jesus? Sure, you can connect the dots retroactively so that the whole story fits together, but why would it make anyone "foolish" and "slow to believe" that they didn’t connect those dots on their own without Jesus’ help?

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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POOR JESUS...! This article - although I am certain, well-meaning - really rakes Jesus over the coals, accusing him of being a "jerk..." There are three references to events in Jesus' life that earn him this disrespectful slur by this author:

Walking on Water

The Syrian Woman's Daughter

The Brothers at Emmaus

Unfortunately, if one reads these stories in the Bible, they do make Jesus look bad - and sound bad. But happily, people do love Jesus, in spite of some of these questionable things that he says to people, according to the Bible. His goodness eclipses any unfortunate misunderstandings that may arise from Biblical stories about Jesus.

In this article I believe the author is well-meaning, just because it appears to me that this is his way of knowing Jesus better - trying to gain insight into his motivation and mind-set by second-guessing the Master and his motivations. Given the scant scriptural information under which truthseekers have labored all these centuries, it is not too surprising to see a true seeker really delving in the mind of Jesus, trying to make some sense of these events from a novel angle.

Wouldn't it be nice to read the real details and the real truth about these stories? They are all actual events, and really did happen during Jesus life in the flesh - wouldn't it be great if the records of Jesus' life were opened to us, so that we could all know Jesus more completely - Jesus as he really lived and believed?

Well, we DO have access to such records, and they are contained in Part IV of The Urantia Book - The Life and Teachings of Jesus. The Urantia Book is a gift to mankind from heavenly government, delivered by angels, Melchizedeks, and other celestial personalities, including those who were eyewitnesses to the Master's life - all of it.

As a sampler, here are links to those stories covered by the author in the article as told in The Urantia Book:

As you'll read, the entire episode was a vivid dream of Peter's, after a day of emotional stress. It became part of only Mark's gospel; even then, it was hard to believe. The truth is that Jesus would never have walked on water. It would have been an abrogation of natural law, and he had sworn not to do that.

Click to read more about that  HERE

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In this story, we find out that it was not Jesus who spoke so rudely to the woman (Norana by name). It was the apostle Simon. In all stories of Jesus, you will never witness him being sarcastic, rude or unloving to any. His ministry to this woman was superb.

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Here we discover that this resurrection appearance was Jesus' seventh of nineteen appearances

He didn't insult the brothers and call them names. He simply said: "How slow you are to comprehend the truth!" That's all. And then he went on to outline and name every way that he had presented himself to the world, and also he cited the scriptural references that he had fulfilled. Like the Bible story, but much better...

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If you are also interested in knowing more about Jesus and his life; if you are a seeker for truth, no matter where you may find it - The Urantia Book accounts of Jesus' life will surprise and delight you. These three are only a tiny fraction of the thrilling narrative that comprises The Life and Teachings of Jesus from The Urantia Book.

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Thu, August 07, 2014

The Transfiguration of the Lord

By By uCatholic Staff

All three Synoptic Gospels tell the story of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36). With remarkable agreement, all three place the event shortly after Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus’ first prediction of his passion and death. Peter’s eagerness to erect tents or booths on the spot suggests it occurred during the Jewish weeklong, fall Feast of Booths.

In spite of the texts’ agreement, it is difficult to reconstruct the disciples’ experience, according to Scripture scholars, because the Gospels draw heavily on Old Testament descriptions of the Sinai encounter with God and prophetic visions of the Son of Man. Certainly Peter, James and John had a glimpse of Jesus’ divinity strong enough to strike fear into their hearts. Such an experience defies description, so they drew on familiar religious language to describe it.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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This little article about the Transfiguration just begs a response...it raises nothing but questions. This story must have made a temendous impression on Peter, James and John. If it happened today, I suspect it would have an equal impact, and leave as many questions as then. As it is, people have wondered about this event in Jesus life for centuries.

The biggest question to me? Why did such a thing happen?

The Urantia Book, containing the complete, restated Life and Teachings of Jesus includes this story in its matchless acount of Jesus life. The facts are the same, but the true meaning of the event, in the context of Jesus' mission to the world, is revealed as never before.

As a sort of preamble to the Transfiguration, we learn:

"IT WAS NEAR sundown on Friday afternoon, August 12, A.D. 29, when Jesus and his associates reached the foot of Mount Hermon, near the very place where the lad Tiglath once waited while the Master ascended the mountain alone to settle the spiritual destinies of Urantia and technically to terminate the Lucifer rebellion. And here they sojourned for two days in spiritual preparation for the events so soon to follow.

"In a general way, Jesus knew beforehand what was to transpire on the mountain, and he much desired that all his apostles might share this experience. It was to fit them for this revelation of himself that he tarried with them at the foot of the mountain. But they could not attain those spiritual levels which would justify their exposure to the full experience of the visitation of the celestial beings so soon to appear on earth. And since he could not take all of his associates with him, he decided to take only the three who were in the habit of accompanying him on such special vigils. Accordingly, only Peter, James, and John shared even a part of this unique experience with the Master."

Here's the complete story:

Early on the morning of Monday, August 15, Jesus and the three apostles began the ascent of Mount Hermon, and this was six days after the memorable noontide confession of Peter by the roadside under the mulberry trees.

Jesus had been summoned to go up on the mountain, apart by himself, for the transaction of important matters having to do with the progress of his bestowal in the flesh as this experience was related to the universe of his own creation. It is significant that this extraordinary event was timed to occur while Jesus and the apostles were in the lands of the gentiles, and that it actually transpired on a mountain of the gentiles.

They reached their destination, about halfway up the mountain, shortly before noon, and while eating lunch, Jesus told the three apostles something of his experience in the hills to the east of Jordan shortly after his baptism and also some more of his experience on Mount Hermon in connection with his former visit to this lonely retreat.

When a boy, Jesus used to ascend the hill near his home and dream of the battles which had been fought by the armies of empires on the plain of Esdraelon; now he ascended Mount Hermon to receive the endowment which was to prepare him to descend upon the plains of the Jordan to enact the closing scenes of the drama of his bestowal on Urantia. The Master could have relinquished the struggle this day on Mount Hermon and returned to his rule of the universe domains, but he not only chose to meet the requirements of his order of divine sonship embraced in the mandate of the Eternal Son on Paradise, but he also elected to meet the last and full measure of the present will of his Paradise Father. On this day in August three of his apostles saw him decline to be invested with full universe authority. They looked on in amazement as the celestial messengers departed, leaving him alone to finish out his earth life as the Son of Man and the Son of God.

The faith of the apostles was at a high point at the time of the feeding of the five thousand, and then it rapidly fell almost to zero. Now, as a result of the Master’s admission of his divinity, the lagging faith of the twelve arose in the next few weeks to its highest pitch, only to undergo a progressive decline. The third revival of their faith did not occur until after the Master’s resurrection.

It was about three o’clock on this beautiful afternoon that Jesus took leave of the three apostles, saying: "I go apart by myself for a season to commune with the Father and his messengers; I bid you tarry here and, while awaiting my return, pray that the Father’s will may be done in all your experience in connection with the further bestowal mission of the Son of Man." And after saying this to them, Jesus withdrew for a long conference with Gabriel and the Father Melchizedek, not returning until about six o’clock. When Jesus saw their anxiety over his prolonged absence, he said: "Why were you afraid? You well know I must be about my Father’s business; wherefore do you doubt when I am not with you? I now declare that the Son of Man has chosen to go through his full life in your midst and as one of you. Be of good cheer; I will not leave you until my work is finished."

As they partook of their meager evening meal, Peter asked the Master, "How long do we remain on this mountain away from our brethren?" And Jesus answered: "Until you shall see the glory of the Son of Man and know that whatsoever I have declared to you is true." And they talked over the affairs of the Lucifer rebellion while seated about the glowing embers of their fire until darkness drew on and the apostles’ eyes grew heavy, for they had begun their journey very early that morning.

When the three had been fast asleep for about half an hour, they were suddenly awakened by a near-by crackling sound, and much to their amazement and consternation, on looking about them, they beheld Jesus in intimate converse with two brilliant beings clothed in the habiliments of the light of the celestial world. And Jesus’ face and form shone with the luminosity of a heavenly light. These three conversed in a strange language, but from certain things said, Peter erroneously conjectured that the beings with Jesus were Moses and Elijah; in reality, they were Gabriel and the Father Melchizedek. The physical controllers had arranged for the apostles to witness this scene because of Jesus’ request.

The three apostles were so badly frightened that they were slow in collecting their wits, but Peter, who was first to recover himself, said, as the dazzling vision faded from before them and they observed Jesus standing alone: "Jesus, Master, it is good to have been here. We rejoice to see this glory. We are loath to go back down to the inglorious world. If you are willing, let us abide here, and we will erect three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." And Peter said this because of his confusion, and because nothing else came into his mind at just that moment.

While Peter was yet speaking, a silvery cloud drew near and overshadowed the four of them. The apostles now became greatly frightened, and as they fell down on their faces to worship, they heard a voice, the same that had spoken on the occasion of Jesus’ baptism, say: "This is my beloved Son; give heed to him." And when the cloud vanished, again was Jesus alone with the three, and he reached down and touched them, saying: "Arise and be not afraid; you shall see greater things than this." But the apostles were truly afraid; they were a silent and thoughtful trio as they made ready to descend the mountain shortly before midnight.

This wonderful story from The Urantia Book illuminates the amazing event of the Transfiguration like no other account ever has. It is hard to imagine the sheer astonishment of Peter, James, and John when they witnessed this incedible sight; it is little wonder that the accounts of the apostles are garbled and confused. I wonder what any of us might have done, were we in the apostles' place? How we might have interpreted this astonishing occurrence?

Now we have The Urantia Book, to help us understand what the apostles could not...what none of us have been able to understand ever since then...and that is the true meaning of the Transfiguration.

Click to read aout the Meaning of the Transfiguration

Here's part of that section:

That which Peter, James, and John witnessed on the mount of transfiguration was a fleeting glimpse of a celestial pageant which transpired that eventful day on Mount Hermon. The transfiguration was the occasion of:

1. The acceptance of the fullness of the bestowal of the incarnated life of Michael on Urantia by the Eternal Mother-Son of Paradise. As far as concerned the requirements of the Eternal Son, Jesus had now received assurance of their fulfillment. And Gabriel brought Jesus that assurance.

2. The testimony of the satisfaction of the Infinite Spirit as to the fullness of the Urantia bestowal in the likeness of mortal flesh. The universe representative of the Infinite Spirit, the immediate associate of Michael on Salvington and his ever-present coworker, on this occasion spoke through the Father Melchizedek.

The Urantia Book is a true revelation from God to our struggling planet. Its pages contain some of the most inspiring teachings on religion anywhere, and it has given us "the knowledge of greatest value" that can be learned right now: the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it. This story of the Transfiguration is just one of hundreds of stories of Jesus' life in The Urantia Book...many familiar, many unknown, but all narrated with the voice of authority and truth.

Click to see the Table of Contents

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Thu, July 10, 2014

The Nature of Jesus in Christianity?

By By J. Warner Wallace

For over two thousand years, seekers and believers have examined the person of Jesus in an effort to understand who He was and what He said about Himself. All of us, whether we are believers or not, believe something about the man named Jesus. Did He really live? Was He just a man? Is He God? Christianity describes Jesus as more than simply a wise teacher or inspired prophet, and what we believe about Jesus defines us as Christians. Those who believe Jesus is the eternal, uncreated Creator of the Universe are within the Christian family; those who think He is something less may be theists, but they aren’t Christian theists. As we examine the claims of the Christian Scripture, let’s step toward the Biblical Jesus and consider some of the possibilities as we examine some of the groups who hold to differing views about the nature of Jesus of Nazareth

1. Is He A Real Man?

2. Is He A Great Moral Teacher?

3. Is He A Prophet of God?

4. Is He A Prophet of God with Supernatural Powers?

5. Is Jesus God?

 

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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This article is pretty wonderful, in my opinion...it is evidntial analysis of some of the primary Christian tenets, and the religious groups that believe them, so that by the end, you can't help but realize-from the evidence-that Jesus WAS God, incarnated on earth...Anyone who loves Jesus will enjoy this article. And it looks like he's a very interesting author of other similar books. When you go to the article, you'll see more about Mr Wallace at the bottom.

Everyone wants to know more about Jesus these days. If they're like me, they just want MORE of Jesus. What we have had, via Scripture, since his life here is pretty scanty; and, we've read the same New Testament stories, by the same authors for generations. Yet, we know that Jesus lived a full human life - he was an infant, a toddler, an adolescent, a teenager, and he grew to manhood for 30 some-odd years before his story really starts. All of the author's evidences of Jesus are hard-won, for he has had to glean them through deductive reasoning, using (mostly) the NT alone. And he does a great job.

Maybe you wish there was more to the story. I always have...

Doesn't it seem reasonable to think that-somewhere-there's a repository of Jesus' entire life...every minute recorded by the angels?

Wouln't it be nice if some of that record of Jesus' life was given to us, here in the midst of 21st century life, so that we might study his life much more fully? Imagine Jesus as an inquisitive five year-old, as a student of music and astronomy, as sole support for his family when Joseph died unexpectedly, as a seasoned traveler in his young adulthood...how many more people did he meet, and what did he say to them?

Well, it IS nice - nice to actually have a lot of those stories that anyone can read. I am referring to The Urantia Book...maybe you've heard of it? In it, we read Jesus life in a week-to-week - and often a day-by-day - account. This account was indeed, recorded by angelic beings when Jesus lived here.

Could it be true that God has not stopped speaking to his children? Could it be that a loving heavenly Father looked upon this planet and perceived how valuable it would be for this world's peoples to discover the real Jesus - the God/man who lived a full life in the flesh?

Does it seem reasonable to think that Jesus' life - his family relationships, his response to hardship, his sense of duty, his friendships, his heartaches and his victories - that this life of Jesus and how he lived it might be of value to human beings in this day and age?

I am not as skilled as the author of the article above, but I am trying to appeal to that in all of us that wants evidence. I can't offer proof that Part IV of The Urantia Book, wherein is found this very same life and teachings of Jesus, is the actual life of Jesus, but I can say that when I first found The Urantia Book, I wept reading just the table of contents of Part IV. So much to read and discover! And there was no looking back, as it rings truer and truer as the years pass.

As we delve through Part IV of The Urantia Book, we actually DO begin to see and observe his life - long before he went into public ministry. His childhood, his adolescence, early manhood, and those later years right before his public ministry...lessons are embedded in every page on how to live a spirit-led life.

Well, I can only offer and share my own experience. I loved the article above, and if nothing else, you should read it. But I also hope you'll do yourself a favor, and check out The Life and Teachings of Jesus as Part IV of The Urantia Book.

To anyone who is fearlessly seeking Jesus, who is seeking MORE of Jesus: This book is for you...

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Fri, May 23, 2014

Faith Insight: Revelation tells us about Jesus

By By Steve Evenson

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John” (Revelation 1:1).

We are living in a time of massive change. It seems almost impossible now, particularly for the younger generation, but 30 years ago we had no personal computers, no cellphones, no DVD or BluRay players, no smartphones and no Internet. These few items have changed our lives as much as all the inventions from the dawn of time until 1980.

The era when the biblical author wrote the book of Revelation also witnessed a significant change in technology. The turn of the first Christian century witnessed a transition from scrolls to the codex style of book making. A scroll consisted of a single long sheet of paper, made from animal skins or papyrus reeds, rolled up on a stick. Constructing a codex involved gluing or sticking many pieces of paper together at one end, much like the books you have had in your hands.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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This article discusses the Bible, the Book of Revelation, technology, and how technology affects revelation. And this should be of great interest to Urantia Book readers, in that all previous revelations of God to mankind have been in the form of personages: Caligastia, Adam and Eve, Melchizedek, and Jesus; The Urantia Book is an epochal revelation on an equal par with these previous four revelations, but in the form of a book.

It was not until about 600 years ago that the printing press was invented; and it is only in the past 50 years or so that the miracle of the internet began to make its presence known as a disseminator of information to the world. I feel sure that the revelators well knew of this coming development when The Urantia Book was given to our world, back in the early days of the twentieth century.

What scrolls and papyrus were in Biblical times, the internet is to us in our modern age.; And, what the Book of Revelation was to its times, The Urantia Book is to our times.

The revelation of The Urantia Book is a modern-day example of God's continuing communication with us. In it, we learn:

92:3.5 Only two influences can modify and uplift the dogmas of natural religion: the pressure of the slowly advancing mores and the periodic illumination of epochal revelation. And it is not strange that progress was slow; in ancient days, to be progressive or inventive meant to be killed as a sorcerer...Evolutionary belief in ghosts laid the foundation for a philosophy of revealed religion which will eventually destroy the superstition of its origin.

101:2.12 Revelation as an epochal phenomenon is periodic; as a personal human experience it is continuous.

103:0.2   As natural religious experience continues to progress, periodic revelations of truth punctuate the otherwise slow-moving course of planetary evolution.

As helpful as the Bible has been - as inspired as those books may be - one can't help but realize that the world is in sore need of new ways to apply spiritual principles to modern problems; expecting that the Bible is God's last word to us mortals can only hold the world back.

When we realize that God has never stopped trying to talk to us through periodic revelations, and DOES talk to each of us continuously in our "personal human experience,"  it becomes more and more reasonable to look into this revelation that is The Urantia Book .

In this revelation, all the gaps in our knowledge are filled in - knowledge about the universe, its composition and its purpose and what all those blazing stars and galaxies are for - knowledge about the earth's history and its formation and destiny - knowledge about the evolution of life on earth and the purposes of evolution - and knowledge about Jesus, who he was, why he came here, and where he is now. And that's only a partial list of the information we can find in The Urantia Book .

Revelation in the Bible, and revelation in The Urantia Book...

Even though presented over 2000 years apart from each other, each has the potential to inspire, but The Urantia Book has the additional potential to EXPLAIN the Book of Revelation and put it into correct context. And it carries us through and forward to an even greater revelation of God's goodness and love to his children on earth. 

The title of this article: "Revelation tells us about Jesus," was the first thing that caught my eye, though. I was of course, thinking about the revelation of Jesus found in The Urantia Book; of course, the author of the article is speaking about the Book of Revelation found in the Bible.

The Urantia Book has several references to this very important book of the Bible, including its authorship and its content. I hope you find these passages interesting and informative:

139:4.14 When in temporary exile on Patmos, John wrote the Book of Revelation, which you now have in greatly abridged and distorted form. This Book of Revelation contains the surviving fragments of a great revelation, large portions of which were lost, other portions of which were removed, subsequent to John’s writing. It is preserved in only fragmentary and adulterated form.

45:4.1 At the center of the seven angelic residential circles on Jerusem is located the headquarters of the Urantia advisory council, the four and twenty counselors. John the Revelator called them the four and twenty elders: “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats, and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment.” The throne in the center of this group is the judgment seat of the presiding archangel, the throne of the resurrection roll call of mercy and justice for all Satania. This judgment seat has always been on Jerusem, but the twenty-four surrounding seats were placed in position no more than nineteen hundred years ago, soon after Christ Michael was elevated to the full sovereignty of Nebadon. These four and twenty counselors are his personal agents on Jerusem, and they have authority to represent the Master Son in all matters concerning the roll calls of Satania and in many other phases of the scheme of mortal ascension on the isolated worlds of the system. They are the designated agents for executing the special requests of Gabriel and the unusual mandates of Michael.

47:10.2 John the Revelator saw a vision of the arrival of a class of advancing mortals from the seventh mansion world to their first heaven, the glories of Jerusem. He recorded: “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and those who had gained the victory over the beast that was originally in them and over the image that persisted through the mansion worlds and finally over the last mark and trace, standing on the sea of glass, having the harps of God, and singing the song of deliverance from mortal fear and death.” (Perfected space communication is to be had on all these worlds; and your anywhere reception of such communications is made possible by carrying the “harp of God,” a morontia contrivance compensating for the inability to directly adjust the immature morontia sensory mechanism to the reception of space communications.)

It is wonderful to know - not only more about John's authorship, but also what it actually is that he was seeing in his visions. This is the gift of revelation...

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Fri, May 16, 2014

Jesus and the man born blind

By By Tempo News - Staff

As [Jesus] passed by He saw a man blind from birth. He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is,” but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” He said, “I am.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.” So some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.” [But] others said, “How can a sinful man do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, “What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

They answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.”

 He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.

The light that makes one see or renders one blind

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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This is such an interesting story - both in the Bible and in The Urantia Book. In the Bible story, rendered in this article with appropriate commentary, we see a fairly straightforward accounting of a pretty amazing miracle; however, in The Urantia Book, we learn the Master's reasoning behind the miracle. And the story takes on new life and new meaning.  In the Bible story, emphasis is placed on the bilnd man, the miracle, and the teachings about antecedent sin. In The Urantia Book, we see also the bigger picture - how this miracle was a means by which Jesus was actually forcing the hand of the Pharisees, as well as imparting a lesson on miracle-working itself.

Here is the full Urantia Book story

In this story, we read, in the 1st paragraph:

164:3.1 The next morning the three went over to Martha's home at Bethany for breakfast and then went immediately into Jerusalem. This Sabbath morning, as Jesus and his two apostles drew near the temple, they encountered a well-known beggar, a man who had been born blind, sitting at his usual place. Although these mendicants did not solicit or receive alms on the Sabbath day, they were permitted thus to sit in their usual places. Jesus paused and looked upon the beggar. As he gazed upon this man who had been born blind, the idea came into his mind as to how he would once more bring his mission on earth to the notice of the Sanhedrin and the other Jewish leaders and religious teachers.
Further:
164:3.6 Jesus entered into the discussion of this case with Nathaniel and Thomas, not only because he had already decided to use this blind man as the means of that day bringing his mission once more prominently to the notice of the Jewish leaders, but also because he always encouraged his apostles to seek for the true causes of all phenomena, natural or spiritual. He had often warned them to avoid the common tendency to assign spiritual causes to commonplace physical events.

164:3.7 Jesus decided to use this beggar in his plans for that day's work, but before doing anything for the blind man, Josiah by name, he proceeded to answer Nathaniel's question. Said the Master: "Neither did this man sin nor his parents that the works of God might be manifest in him. This blindness has come upon him in the natural course of events, but we must now do the works of Him who sent me, while it is still day, for the night will certainly come when it will be impossible to do the work we are about to perform. When I am in the world, I am the light of the world, but in only a little while I will not be with you."

164:3.8 When Jesus had spoken, he said to Nathaniel and Thomas: "Let us create the sight of this blind man on this Sabbath day that the scribes and Pharisees may have the full occasion which they seek for accusing the Son of Man."

Jesus then proceeds to perform the miracle of restoring Josiah's sight. Further on in the section, more information is revealed as to the means of performing the miracle:
164:3.12 Jesus made use of the clay and the spittle and directed him to wash in the symbolic pool of Siloam for three reasons:

1. This was not a miracle response to the individual's faith. This was a wonder which Jesus chose to perform for a purpose of his own, but which he so arranged that this man might derive lasting benefit therefrom.

2. As the blind man had not asked for healing, and since the faith he had was slight, these material acts were suggested for the purpose of encouraging him. He did believe in the superstition of the efficacy of spittle, and he knew the pool of Siloam was a semisacred place. But he would hardly have gone there had it not been necessary to wash away the clay of his anointing. There was just enough ceremony about the transaction to induce him to act.

3. But Jesus had a third reason for resorting to these material means in connection with this unique transaction: This was a miracle wrought purely in obedience to his own choosing, and thereby he desired to teach his followers of that day and all subsequent ages to refrain from despising or neglecting material means in the healing of the sick. He wanted to teach them that they must cease to regard miracles as the only method of curing human diseases.

164:3.16 Jesus gave this man his sight by miraculous working, on this Sabbath morning and in Jerusalem near the temple, for the prime purpose of making this act an open challenge to the Sanhedrin and all the Jewish teachers and religious leaders. This was his way of proclaiming an open break with the Pharisees. He was always positive in everything he did. And it was for the purpose of bringing these matters before the Sanhedrin that Jesus brought his two apostles to this man early in the afternoon of this Sabbath day and deliberately provoked those discussions which compelled the Pharisees to take notice of the miracle

Again, in The Urantia Book, we see the familiar Biblical stories, heretofore fairly dry and straightforward, but now fleshed out and rife with detail and new meaning as to the Master's purposes and deliberations.

The Urantia Book is a wellspring of these kinds of stories...retellings of the events of Jesus life and teachings that offer modern-day mankind a whole new view of Jesus - a whole new way to understand him and his mission of revealing the loving heavenly Father to a new generation, and for the edification of all humanity.

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Tue, May 06, 2014

How Did Jesus Become God?

By By NPR - Fresh Air

NPR Interview Highlights

On a major difference between the first three gospels — Matthew, Mark and Luke — and the last gospel, John

“ During his lifetime, Jesus himself didn't call himself God and didn't consider himself God, and ... none of his disciples had any inkling at all that he was God.

- Historian Bart Ehrman

You do find Jesus calling himself God in the Gospel of John, or the last Gospel. Jesus says things like, "Before Abraham was, I am." And, "I and the Father are one," and, "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father." These are all statements you find only in the Gospel of John, and that's striking because we have earlier gospels and we have the writings of Paul, and in none of them is there any indication that Jesus said such things. ...

I think it's completely implausible that Matthew, Mark and Luke would not mention that Jesus called himself God if that's what he was declaring about himself. That would be a rather important point to make. This is not an unusual view amongst scholars; it's simply the view that the Gospel of John is providing a theological understanding of Jesus that is not what was historically accurate.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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The search for the real Jesus goes on...

As Urantia Book reader/students, we are given a unique perspective on this subject of Jesus' divinity. Even the fact that an entire part (out of four parts) of this amazing epochal revelation is devoted to Jesus attests to the significance of this subject. Part I of The Urantia Book is devoted entirely to God and his creation; Part IV is devoted entirely to the life and teachings of Jesus, who, we are taught, WAS and IS the revelation of this same God to the entire universe of Jesus' making. He was, in fact, the fourth epochal revelation of God to our world, and even after 2000 years, his life and his teachings are still making waves and influencing people every day. The complete restatement of that life and those teachings are included in The Urantia Book for the edification of modern-day humankind.

So, what DOES Jesus say about his divinity? In the article above, the author correctly quotes Jesus, and The Urantia Book corroborates these statements - and adds to them further.

Jesus declares:

157:6.10 “No man in this world now sees the Father except the Son who came forth from the Father. But if the Son be lifted up, he will draw all men to himself, and whosoever believes this truth of the combined nature of the Son shall be endowed with life that is more than age-abiding.”

157:6.11 “We may not yet proclaim openly that the Son of Man is the Son of God, but it has been revealed to you; wherefore do I speak boldly to you concerning these mysteries. Though I stand before you in this physical presence, I came forth from God the Father. Before Abraham was, I am. I did come forth from the Father into this world as you have known me, and I declare to you that I must presently leave this world and return to the work of my Father.”

Also see

157:6.13 “Nevertheless, I tell you that the Father and I are one. He who has seen me has seen the Father. My Father is working with me in all these things, and he will never leave me alone in my mission, even as I will never forsake you when you presently go forth to proclaim this gospel throughout the world.

And, here, Jesus talks to Pilate:

185:3.4 “Then you are a king after all?” said Pilate. And Jesus answered: “Yes, I am such a king, and my kingdom is the family of the faith sons of my Father who is in heaven. For this purpose was I born into this world, even that I should show my Father to all men and bear witness to the truth of God. And even now do I declare to you that every one who loves the truth hears my voice.”

And, here is a statement by the revelators of The Urantia Book about this reality of the divinity of the "Son of the Eternal Son," aka, Jesus:

6:1.4 When a Son of the Eternal Son appeared on Urantia, those who fraternized with this divine being in human form alluded to him as “He who was from the beginning, whom we have heard, whom we have seen with our eyes, whom we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, even the Word of life.” And this bestowal Son came forth from the Father just as truly as did the Original Son, as is suggested in one of his earthly prayers: “And now, O my Father, glorify me with your own self, with the glory which I had with you before this world was.”

The gospels are fragmentary accounts of Jesus life; nonetheless, they are in essence, the only written evidence of Jesus' life that we have had up until the indictment of The Urantia Book.

To read more about the gospels, and how they came to be, please see THIS LINK. In this explanation, we see that the gospels of Matthew Mark and Luke had questionable authorship at best...and so, the fact that these statements are not contained therein is not a cause for doubt about the truth of Jesus' divinity

We live in a time when many things are coming to light...as mentioned above, the search for Jesus goes on, and for those who have ears to hear and eyes to se, The Urantia Book will satisfy that search fully...

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Mon, April 07, 2014

Jesus and Buddha on Suffering: A Lenten Meditation

By By Paul Wallace

It's Lent, the season of honesty. And the honest truth is: I hate suffering. I want it to go away, but it doesn't, so I try to get away from it.

Here in Atlanta there's a long straggly fellow who's always hanging around a particular exit ramp. He holds up signs asking for help. He doesn't walk up to my car. He just stands there looking at me. I don't look back. I sit and stare at the light, praying for green and despising his suffering because it suggests my own. I despise him because he is a mirror. When the light finally changes I hit the gas and turn the corner and immediately I feel better. But suffering -- his and mine and the world's -- has only increased.

In seminary I had a New Testament professor who said something I will always remember. He said that of all the world's religions he preferred Buddhism and Christianity because these two alone are sufficiently pessimistic about the human condition. Both, he said, turn toward suffering and look it in the eye without flinching. Buddhism does so through its hard-as-nails philosophy of detachment and Christianity does so by placing suffering at the exact center of its narrative. And although they do so differently, both insist that something -- something unspeakably good -- lies beyond suffering.

Suffering is everyone's problem. Jesus knows it and Buddha knows it, and they suggest a solution: invite suffering in. Be hospitable to it. Offer it a meal. Look the tall stranger in the eye, they say. But if I do I'll die, I say. Yes, they say, but the only thing that will die is what you think you are: your ego.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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Yes, suffering is certainly an ever-present reality in our world...it is hard to avoid it...hard to just "hit the gas and turn the corner" and put it behind us, as this writer so aptly phrases it. Whether it is a personal kind of suffering that we experience in our lives, or whether it is the considerable suffering of the world-at-large, we always have a choice: be a part of the problem, or be a part of the solution.

Jesus taught the triumph of good over evil, the triumph of love over hate, the triumph of truth over falsehood...and yes, I'd have to agree with this writer that the main thing that can stand in the way of these victories is pandering to, and over-indulging, our little selves.  When we forget to see the big picture, when we look through the eyes of ego, when we have too narrow a view of reality, we can get wound up in suffering, and lose the lesson altogether.

I was raised a Catholic, where I was taught that suffering is redemptive, that even little children can "offer it up," or use suffering for the good of another. As an adult, I still use this strategy at times, as it really does seem effective at assuaging the pain of physical problems, and even other kinds of pain, such as emotional or psychological...

The Urantia Book gives us some food for thought as regards suffering...quite unique ways of viewing what we think of as suffering: for example:

Some of the amazingly fortuitous conditions occasionally prevailing on the evolutionary worlds may be due to the gradually emerging presence of the Supreme, the foretasting of his future universe activities. Most of what a mortal would call providential is not; his judgment of such matters is very handicapped by lack of farsighted vision into the true meanings of the circumstances of life. Much of what a mortal would call good luck might really be bad luck; the smile of fortune that bestows unearned leisure and undeserved wealth may be the greatest of human afflictions; the apparent cruelty of a perverse fate that heaps tribulation upon some suffering mortal may in reality be the tempering fire that is transmuting the soft iron of immature personality into the tempered steel of real character. ~ The Urantia Book, (118:10.9)

The universe view that is offered in Urantia Book teachings tends to put all of life's problems into a new a fresh package...taking the sting out of much of suffering's barbs by providing a goal that can definitely help the believer to transcend life's suffering, even while being in the midst of it...being thankful above all for ALL of life's circumstances is always a good perspective.

Here's a short vignette from The Urantia Book, where Jesus instructs Nathaniel about suffering:

At another of these private interviews in the garden Nathaniel asked Jesus: "Master, though I am beginning to understand why you refuse to practice healing indiscriminately, I am still at a loss to understand why the loving Father in heaven permits so many of his children on earth to suffer so many afflictions." The Master answered Nathaniel, saying: "Nathaniel, you and many others are thus perplexed because you do not comprehend how the natural order of this world has been so many times upset by the sinful adventures of certain rebellious traitors to the Father's will. And I have come to make a beginning of setting these things in order. But many ages will be required to restore this part of the universe to former paths and thus release the children of men from the extra burdens of sin and rebellion. The presence of evil alone is sufficient test for the ascension of man—sin is not essential to survival.

"But, my son, you should know that the Father does not purposely afflict his children. Man brings down upon himself unnecessary affliction as a result of his persistent refusal to walk in the better ways of the divine will. Affliction is potential in evil, but much of it has been produced by sin and iniquity. Many unusual events have transpired on this world, and it is not strange that all thinking men should be perplexed by the scenes of suffering and affliction which they witness. But of one thing you may be sure: The Father does not send affliction as an arbitrary punishment for wrongdoing. The imperfections and handicaps of evil are inherent; the penalties of sin are inevitable; the destroying consequences of iniquity are inexorable. Man should not blame God for those afflictions which are the natural result of the life which he chooses to live; neither should man complain of those experiences which are a part of life as it is lived on this world. It is the Father's will that mortal man should work persistently and consistently toward the betterment of his estate on earth. Intelligent application would enable man to overcome much of his earthly misery.

...good food for thought in this season of preparation for the Master's powerful declaration of liberation from the wages of sin and death - the resurrection. Even though suffering may be a given in this life, we have the ability to overcome completely the doom and gloom - simply by  entrenching ourselves fully in the kingdom and using our God-given capabilities to use it - or temper it -  for a higher good. Knowing that evil may be our natural estate, and also knowing that evil can be overcome by goodness, and by intelligent application of kingdom principles, is freeing indeed.

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