Sat, July 22, 2017
How did Jesus fund his ministry?
By Truthbook Staff
Who Paid Jesus' Bills? by Greg Garrison. This is such an interesting question; not something that most of us think about when we think about Jesus and his life. So when I saw it, I decided that there's enough information in The Urantia Book to make a nice blog, which you'll find below. But first, here's a snippet from the article:
Former megachurch pastor Rob Bell, the bestselling author of "Love Wins," was in Birmingham Wednesday to talk about his latest book, "What is the Bible?' and sold out an event at the 1,300-capacity Iron City venue.
One chapter of his book tackles an interesting question: "Who paid Jesus' bills?"
He points to an often overlooked passage in the Gospel of Luke, the opening verses of Chapter 8:
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
"Luke drops this little bomb," Bell said in an interview with AL.com. "There are these women who pay Jesus' bills. One of them is married to the steward of Herod's household."
Click to read the whole article
"There are these women who pay Jesus' bills." WHAT?
The excerpt from Luke above is but a fragmentary account of one of the most fascinating and important events in the public life of Jesus: The commissioning of the Women's Evangelistic Corps. You can read the entire account HERE. And here is a corresponding passage that parallels the one cited above from Luke:
150:1.1 Of all the daring things which Jesus did in connection with his earth career, the most amazing was his sudden announcement on the evening of January 16: "On the morrow we will set apart ten women for the ministering work of the kingdom." At the beginning of the two weeks' period during which the apostles and the evangelists were to be absent from Bethsaida on their furlough, Jesus requested David to summon his parents back to their home and to dispatch messengers calling to Bethsaida ten devout women who had served in the administration of the former encampment and the tented infirmary. These women had all listened to the instruction given the young evangelists, but it had never occurred to either themselves or their teachers that Jesus would dare to commission women to teach the gospel of the kingdom and minister to the sick. These ten women selected and commissioned by Jesus were: Susanna, the daughter of the former chazan of the Nazareth synagogue; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas; Elizabeth, the daughter of a wealthy Jew of Tiberias and Sepphoris; Martha, the elder sister of Andrew and Peter; Rachel, the sister-in-law of Jude, the Master's brother in the flesh; Nasanta, the daughter of Elman, the Syrian physician; Milcha, a cousin of the Apostle Thomas; Ruth, the eldest daughter of Matthew Levi; Celta, the daughter of a Roman centurion; and Agaman, a widow of Damascus. Subsequently, Jesus added two other women to this group— Mary Magdalene and Rebecca, the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea.
150:1.2 Jesus authorized these women to effect their own organization and directed Judas to provide funds for their equipment and for pack animals. The ten elected Susanna as their chief and Joanna as their treasurer. From this time on they furnished their own funds; never again did they draw upon Judas for support.
So we see that in fact, the women did not support Jesus' ministry; the apostle Judas Iscariot (the keeper of the funds) helped the woment to get started, after which they became self-supporting.
That's an important expansion of a Biblical story - something that is quite common in one's reading and appreciation of the Urantian revelation of Jesus' life. And it leads us to another question:
How was Jesus' ministry funded?
At the beginning of the training period with with his new apostles, and long before the commissioning of the women:
138:7.4 Jesus now asked them how much money they had among them; he also inquired as to what provision had been made for their families. When it developed that they had hardly sufficient funds to maintain themselves for two weeks, he said: "It is not the will of my Father that we begin our work in this way. We will remain here by the sea two weeks and fish or do whatever our hands find to do; and in the meantime, under the guidance of Andrew, the first chosen apostle, you shall so organize yourselves as to provide for everything needful in your future work, both for the present personal ministry and also when I shall subsequently ordain you to preach the gospel and instruct believers." They were all greatly cheered by these words; this was their first clear-cut and positive intimation that Jesus designed later on to enter upon more aggressive and pretentious public efforts.
138:7.7 This plan of fishing two weeks and going out to do personal work in behalf of the kingdom for two weeks was followed for more than five months, even to the end of this year of A.D. 26, until after the cessation of those special persecutions which had been directed against John's disciples subsequent to his imprisonment.
Several of the apostles had duties that included dispersal of funds:
4. Nathaniel watched over the needs of the families of the twelve. He received regular reports as to the requirements of each apostle's family and, making requisition on Judas, the treasurer, would send funds each week to those in need.
5. Matthew was the fiscal agent of the apostolic corps. It was his duty to see that the budget was balanced, the treasury replenished. If the funds for mutual support were not forthcoming, if donations sufficient to maintain the party were not received, Matthew was empowered to order the twelve back to their nets for a season. But this was never necessary after they began their public work; he always had sufficient funds in the treasurer's hands to finance their activities.
9. Judas Iscariot was appointed treasurer. He carried the bag. He paid all expenses and kept the books. He made budget estimates for Matthew from week to week and also made weekly reports to Andrew. Judas paid out funds on Andrew's authorization.
Incidentally, this same Matthew Levi, the seventh aspostle - the tax collector - was himself an effective fundraiser, as well as a secret contributor to the mission:
139:7.8 Matthew received freely tendered offerings from believing disciples and the immediate auditors of the Master's teachings, but he never openly solicited funds from the multitudes. He did all his financial work in a quiet and personal way and raised most of the money among the more substantial class of interested believers. He gave practically the whole of his modest fortune to the work of the Master and his apostles, but they never knew of this generosity, save Jesus, who knew all about it. Matthew hesitated openly to contribute to the apostolic funds for fear that Jesus and his associates might regard his money as being tainted; so he gave much in the names of other believers. During the earlier months, when Matthew knew his presence among them was more or less of a trial, he was strongly tempted to let them know that his funds often supplied them with their daily bread, but he did not yield. When evidence of the disdain of the publican would become manifest, Levi would burn to reveal to them his generosity, but always he managed to keep still.
139:7.9 When the funds for the week were short of the estimated requirements, Levi would often draw heavily upon his own personal resources. Also, sometimes when he became greatly interested in Jesus' teaching, he preferred to remain and hear the instruction, even though he knew he must personally make up for his failure to solicit the necessary funds. But Levi did so wish that Jesus might know that much of the money came from his pocket! He little realized that the Master knew all about it. The apostles all died without knowing that Matthew was their benefactor to such an extent that, when he went forth to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom after the beginning of the persecutions, he was practically penniless.
Regularly, the apostles would fish and sell their catches as a means of earning money:
148:0.2 Throughout this period the apostles would go fishing at least one day a week, selling their catch to David for consumption by the seaside encampment. The funds thus received were turned over to the group treasury. The twelve were permitted to spend one week out of each month with their families or friends. And here's more about the management of the apostolic funds:
163:2.11 Jesus never taught that it was wrong to have wealth. He required only the twelve and the seventy to dedicate all of their worldly possessions to the common cause. Even then, he provided for the profitable liquidation of their property, as in the case of the Apostle Matthew. Jesus many times advised his well-to-do disciples as he taught the rich man of Rome. The Master regarded the wise investment of excess earnings as a legitimate form of insurance against future and unavoidable adversity. When the apostolic treasury was overflowing, Judas put funds on deposit to be used subsequently when they might suffer greatly from a diminution of income. This Judas did after consultation with Andrew. Jesus never personally had anything to do with the apostolic finances except in the disbursement of alms. But there was one economic abuse which he many times condemned, and that was the unfair exploitation of the weak, unlearned, and less fortunate of men by their strong, keen, and more intelligent fellows. Jesus declared that such inhuman treatment of men, women, and children was incompatible with the ideals of the brotherhood of the kingdom of heaven.
And there are more references in The Urantia Book about the apostolic funding; but let's go back further...into Jesus adolescent years, when he became sole support to his family of brothers and sisters following Joseph's untimely death. Jesus was no stranger to financial realities.
Jesus Learned Finances Early in Life
Joseph had been an able provider, and by the time he died (when Jesus was 14) they owned several properties: the family home including a working garden and attached carpenter shop, and a couple of other properties - one that was held in common with partners of Joseph's.
In this section, we learn of the period of poverty through which Jesus and his family passed after Joseph died - and how hard Jesus worked to keep their household afloat:
126:5.5 The pay of a common day-laboring carpenter was slowly diminishing. By the end of this year Jesus could earn, by working early and late, only the equivalent of about twenty-five cents a day. By the next year they found it difficult to pay the civil taxes, not to mention the synagogue assessments and the temple tax of one-half shekel. During this year the tax collector tried to squeeze extra revenue out of Jesus, even threatening to take his harp.
They were forced eventually to sell a house that Joseph had owned, and later were forced to sell even one more that had been mortgaged. These funds went for taxes and other expenses. Finally, Jesus sold an equity share in a house that was jointly owned with Zebedee, a friend of Joseph's. And it was this Zebedee who eventually hired Jesus to work in his boatshop. And Zebedee's son, David, also became a leading fundraiser for the apostolic mission, soliciting funds from "liberal men and women of means."
Later, as Jesus and his apostles geared up for their public mission, Zebedee offered his large home to Jesus to be used as their headquarters throughout the public ministry.
But, from this early trying time in Jesus' life, the family gradually were able to lift themselves back up into a more comfortable existence, and it was not easy. Jesus was no stranger to material problems. But he was a wise steward of all that came to him, and was able to see to it that all of the family were able to have a good start in life by the time he left them.
You can start HERE to read the progression of the Nazareth family from poverty to relative comfort by the time Jesus left home.
Have you enjoyed learning about Jesus' finances?
This is a subject that is not often addressed - if ever. In fact, the article that I cited above is probably the first one I've ever seen. So it was fun to go into The Life and Teachings of Jesus and explore the topic. I hope you have enjoyed it, and that you are inspired to explore this topic even further.
And by the way, this is something that anyone can do. We have a great search engine, that can be found at the top right of every Truthbook page - the top box is used to search our site for topics or studies, or pages you might want to see, and the bottom box is used to search the Urantia Book text for words and/or phrases.
I guess the main thing to takaway from this blog is that Jesus and his ministry were always self-sufficient; they did have contributors, but the Women's Corps was not one of those contributors. In fact, it was the other way around.
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Thu, July 13, 2017
Did Jesus Lose His Faith?
By Truthbook Staff
When Jesus was reaching the end of his life on the cross, he was heard to pray to God: "Why have you forsaken me?" This is in both the Bible and in The Urantia Book. What do we make of this? The topic is featured in this article called: What did Jesus Believe? by Bill Cummings. We'll be blogging about this statement below, but here's the author's take on it. From the article:
I know there are many "Jesus quotes" in the gospels which make me wonder how Jesus — as a Jew — could say them, like the "divinity statements" in John's gospel. But this one rings frightfully true. Someone stood beneath the cross and heard him say in Aramaic, "Eloi, Eloi…etc." right before he died. This memory was passed down for 40 years in Aramaic, and translated into Hebrew and then into Greek. Mark picks up the original Aramaic and Matthew has the Hebrew and Greek.
There can be no doubt he said it. Jesus lost his God. He was quoting Psalm 22 and he was feeling worse pain than the writer of the Psalm could ever feel. Jesus was dying. Where was Yahweh? Where was the God who had said, "You are my beloved son."? Where was the God whose Kingdom Jesus had worked so hard to restore? Gone. Some say, oh well, Psalm 22 ends with praise and hope in Yahweh. Hope, yes, Faith no. Jesus died without his God.
Click to read the article
"Jesus lost his God?" What a terrible idea!
It might be easy to assume that this prayer that Jesus speaks from the cross means that he believed that he was left alone by God, and that he felt forsaken by his heavenly Father.
But, nothing could be further from the truth.
As we often point out in this blog, one of the greatest advantages of reading the Life and Teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book is that the narrative contains vast amounts of detail, including correct context for all the events and sayings of Jesus' life. Using The Urantia Book to augment the Bible is an enlightening exercise. The events of the Crucifixion are no different; in fact the Urantia Book account of the crucifixion is one of the most searing and detailed of accounts of those dark doings ever to appear on this world. It stands head and shoulders above the Bible accounts.
Jesus Knew Scripture Very Well
Here are just a few Urantia Book passages that recount Jesus' familiarity with Scripture from an early age. See the Table of Contents to access any entry by paper number:
122:5.4 From Joseph Jesus secured his strict training in the usages of the Jewish ceremonials and his unusual acquaintance with the Hebrew scriptures.
123:3.1 The textbook for the study of the Greek language was the copy of the Hebrew scriptures—a complete version of the law and the prophets, including the Psalms —which had been presented to them on leaving Egypt. ... Before this year ended, Jesus had assumed custody of this priceless manuscript, having been told on his sixth birthday that the sacred book had been presented to him by Alexandrian friends and relatives. And in a very short time he could read it readily.
124:3.5 The chazan spent one evening each week with Jesus, helping him to master the Hebrew scriptures.
125:6.2 ... the teachers were astonished that Jesus was so familiar with the Scriptures, in Hebrew as well as Greek. But they were amazed not so much by his knowledge of truth as by his youth.
126:2.6 This year it became the custom for the neighbors to drop in during the winter evenings to hear Jesus play upon the harp, to listen to his stories (for the lad was a master storyteller), and to hear him read from the Greek scriptures.
126:4.1 With the coming of his fifteenth birthday, Jesus could officially occupy the synagogue pulpit on the Sabbath day. Therefore on the first Sabbath after his fifteenth birthday the chazan arranged for Jesus to conduct the morning service of the synagogue. And when all the faithful in Nazareth had assembled, the young man, having made his selection of Scriptures, stood up and began to read
And throughout his ministry, Jesus made liberal use of Scripture, delivering speech after speech in which he quoted the sacred texts from memory
The Final Days
From Paper 183: The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus to Paper 189: The Resurrection, The Urantia Book explains in great detail everything that happened to the Master and to the apostles during those terrible last days.
Jesus was under a terrible strain, as anyone can imagine, by the time he had been hoisted up on the cross; he had not eaten since Thursday night, nor slept, nor had any water. The Urantia Book tells us that the Master was beginning to "fail in human consciousness." And his human mind clung to recitation of the "twentieth, twenty-first, and twenty-second Psalm." We know from the passages above that he was well-schooled in these Psalms.
From "Last Hour on the Cross:
187:5.1 Although it was early in the season for such a phenomenon, shortly after twelve o'clock the sky darkened by reason of the fine sand in the air. The people of Jerusalem knew that this meant the coming of one of those hot-wind sandstorms from the Arabian desert. Before one o'clock the sky was so dark the sun was hid, and the remainder of the crowd hastened back to the city. When the Master gave up his life shortly after this hour, less than thirty people were present, only the thirteen Roman soldiers and a group of about fifteen believers. These believers were all women except two, Jude, Jesus' brother, and John Zebedee, who returned to the scene just before the Master expired.
187:5.2 Shortly after one o'clock, amidst the increasing darkness of the fierce sandstorm, Jesus began to fail in human consciousness. His last words of mercy, forgiveness, and admonition had been spoken. His last wish—concerning the care of his mother—had been expressed. During this hour of approaching death the human mind of Jesus resorted to the repetition of many passages in the Hebrew scriptures, particularly the Psalms. The last conscious thought of the human Jesus was concerned with the repetition in his mind of a portion of the Book of Psalms now known as the twentieth, twenty-first, and twenty-second Psalm. While his lips would often move, he was too weak to utter the words as these passages, which he so well knew by heart, would pass through his mind. Only a few times did those standing by catch some utterance, such as, "I know the Lord will save his anointed," "Your hand shall find out all my enemies," and "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus did not for one moment entertain the slightest doubt that he had lived in accordance with the Father's will; and he never doubted that he was now laying down his life in the flesh in accordance with his Father's will. He did not feel that the Father had forsaken him; he was merely reciting in his vanishing consciousness many Scriptures, among them this twenty-second Psalm, which begins with "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And this happened to be one of the three passages which were spoken with sufficient clearness to be heard by those standing by.
Jesus Never Doubted
And so, it can be seen that Jesus statement at the very end of his life were part of the Scripture that he had memorized many years before, and from which he now derived solace. We are told definitively that he never for one moment doubted he was doing the Father's will. He may have recited these things for any number of reasons, but not because he felt forsaken by God. Just before he breathed his last, Jesus commended himself to the Father:
187:5.5 It was just before three o'clock when Jesus, with a loud voice, cried out, "It is finished! Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." And when he had thus spoken, he bowed his head and gave up the life struggle. When the Roman centurion saw how Jesus died, he smote his breast and said: "This was indeed a righteous man; truly he must have been a Son of God." And from that hour he began to believe in Jesus.
Sometimes when one reads the Bible, one may be confused over things that are said or done by Jesus...e.g., his calling the Syrian woman a "dog," his calling Peter "Satan," and other events that may appear inconsistent with what one believes about the Master, including this statement of Jesus right before his death.
But when one compares the Bible stories with corresponding accounts from The Urantia Book, there is alsmost always a clear and understandable explanation for these misunderstandings. And this account of Jesus' death on the cross is no exception. We don't have to guess whether Jesus lost his faith at the last - he didn't.
A Superb Faith
As an example of what faith meant to Jesus, here is a passage from Paper 196: The Faith of Jesus
196:0.5 Theology may fix, formulate, define, and dogmatize faith, but in the human life of Jesus faith was personal, living, original, spontaneous, and purely spiritual. This faith was not reverence for tradition nor a mere intellectual belief which he held as a sacred creed, but rather a sublime experience and a profound conviction which securely held him. His faith was so real and all- encompassing that it absolutely swept away any spiritual doubts and effectively destroyed every conflicting desire. Nothing was able to tear him away from the spiritual anchorage of this fervent, sublime, and undaunted faith. Even in the face of apparent defeat or in the throes of disappointment and threatening despair, he calmly stood in the divine presence free from fear and fully conscious of spiritual invincibility. Jesus enjoyed the invigorating assurance of the possession of unflinching faith, and in each of life's trying situations he unfailingly exhibited an unquestioning loyalty to the Father's will. And this superb faith was undaunted even by the cruel and crushing threat of an ignominious death.
The Urantia Book's account of Jesus' life is an accurate one and can be believed. It is an account that was recorded by celestial beings and that has been preserved for this time in our history when the world is once again ready to discover the true Life and Teachings of Jesus. Exploring its matchless revelation of the Master's life can enrich and deepen your love for Jesus!
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Thu, June 29, 2017
The Gospel of the Kingdom
By Truthbook Staff
Proclaim the gospel! This was a cornerstone of Jesus' teachings, and so, this article about Pope Francis and this recent address of his to the faithful caught my eye. The article is called: Pope Francis: Don't be afraid to proclaim the Gospel message, from the Independent Catholic News.
We will blog about the gospel as taught by Jesus in The Urantia Book below, but one thing that I wanted to see in this article was an explanation of just what the Catholic gospel is; I was not really able to find it, but I did want to share what I think comes closest to an explanation:
"In his Angelus address today, to pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis urged Christians not to be afraid to proclaim the Gospel message. Although they might experience failure and even persecutions, Christians always live in the knowledge that Lord will always be with them.
"Reflecting on the liturgical reading of the day in which Jesus said to his disciples "Fear no one" but instructed them and prepared them to face the trials and persecutions the would suffer, the Pope said: 'Jesus' mission did not guarantee the disciples success, nor did it shield them from failure or suffering.... this is a bit scary, but it is the truth.'
"In fact, he explained, the disciple is called to conform his life to Christ, who was persecuted, rejected and abandoned to die on the cross."
Click to read the article
What is the Christian Gospel?
I was surprised that there was not some sort of statement regarding the actual gospel in this article, as taught in the Catholic Church, so I went to try and find it. And these next two examples seemed to explain it pretty well. In essence, it is much the same as all other Christian versions of the gospel: Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again on the third day.
The Basic [Christian] Gospel Message:
God is a loving Father.
Sin separates us from God.
Jesus died for our sins.
Jesus offers us eternal salvation.
Conversion and turn to Christ.
And here's another version of the Christian gospel:
That's it —the gospel in a nutshell: Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again on the third day. That is the cornerstone, the foundation of our faith.
In the first example, the first two statement are entirely consistent with Urantia Book teachings, i.e., God is a loving Father, and sin separates us from God. But the rest of the statements are simply re-wordings of traditional Christian teachings about the atonement doctrine - that God required the sacrifice of an innocent person to make up for the sins of humanity.
In The Urantia Book, we learn that this doctrine is false; not only false, but an actual affront to the goodness of God. Once a person has read and has grasped the reality and nature of God as revealed in The Urantia Book, it does become impossible to reconcile the atonement doctrine with the beautiful portrayal of God that we understand from this revelation.
Why doesn't the atonement make sense?
The atonement assumes that mankind is inherently sinful. Jesus corrects that assumption. He declares:
156:5.8 Do not become discouraged by the discovery that you are human. Human nature may tend toward evil, but it is not inherently sinful.
This is one piece of really good news that is revealed in The Urantia Book; and it is fully explained when we understand the revelations concerning the mission of Adam and Eve to our world. Rather than a Biblical fable about the first two humans whose sins forever stained mankind, we discover that the default of Adam and Eve (who were celestial personalities) while devastating to humanity, did not somehow infect all succeeding generations of humanity. We do not carry some kind of "original sin" with us as an evil birthright.
Instead, we see this default as what it really was: a failure of these celestial visitors to fulfill their mission of improving the races of mankind through genetic sharing of a higher form of life plasm. Their mission was to have helped humanity to advance materially, physically and spiritually by interbreeding with a superior race. Their default was realized because they were impatient to make it happen, and they did not follow the Divine plan in that regard. But this failure, while it did retard our progress, did not mark succeeding humans with some sort of inborn sin.
Read Urantia Book teachings about "The So-called Fall of Man" HERE
In that light, we can see that there was no original sin to be eradicated...no need for a ransomer...no need for an atonement, or a punishment that could only be effected by sacrificing an innocent Son of God.
What is the gospel according to Jesus?
To be clear, Urantia Book teachings are consistent with these truths: Jesus did die on the cross; he was buried; and he did rise again on the third day. But this is not the gospel that Jesus taught.
Jesus' gospel is truly good news...not only is mankind not destined to labor under sin from birth, Jesus declares that all humans are children of God. And by faith, anyone can grasp and accept this reality, thereby securing eternal salvation.
Additionally, this fact of sonship with God brings into reality the brotherhood of all people - a brother/sisterhood that is to be served by every child of God. We are all related - all brothers and sisters under this benevolent Fatherhood of God.
What Jesus taught
Simply go forth proclaiming: This is the kingdom of heaven: —God is your Father and you are his sons, and this good news, if you wholeheartedly believe it, is your eternal salvation." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (141:6.4)
Love is the greatest of all spirit realities. Truth is a liberating revelation, but love is the supreme relationship. And no matter what blunders your fellow men make in their world management of today, in an age to come the gospel which I declare to you will rule this very world. The ultimate goal of human progress is the reverent recognition of the fatherhood of God and the loving materialization of the brotherhood of man. ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (143:1.4)
"Today, the unbelievers may taunt you with preaching a gospel of nonresistance and with living lives of nonviolence, but you are the first volunteers of a long line of sincere believers in the gospel of this kingdom who will astonish all mankind by their heroic devotion to these teachings. No armies of the world have ever displayed more courage and bravery than will be portrayed by you and your loyal successors who shall go forth to all the world proclaiming the good news—the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men. ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (143:1.7)
The gospel of Jesus is a simple one: it proclaims the Fatherhood of God and the resultant brother/sisterhood of men/women.
Sin and salvation?
It is true that sin can separate a soul from God; but sin, we learn in The Urantia Book, is a choice - it is not a stain placed on a soul without the soul's participation. Jesus helps us to understand sin; he re-frames sin in a clear and understandable way. Jesus taught:
148:4.3 "Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfectness of obedience to the Father's will.
148:4.4 "Sin is the conscious, knowing, and deliberate transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Sin is the measure of unwillingness to be divinely led and spiritually directed.
148:4.5 "Iniquity is the willful, determined, and persistent transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Iniquity is the measure of the continued rejection of the Father's loving plan of personality survival and the Sons' merciful ministry of salvation.
Click to read more of Jesus' teachings about evil, sin, and iniquity.
About sin and the gospel, Jesus teaches
In preaching the gospel of the kingdom, you are simply teaching friendship with God. And this fellowship will appeal alike to men and women in that both will find that which most truly satisfies their characteristic longings and ideals. Tell my children that I am not only tender of their feelings and patient with their frailties, but that I am also ruthless with sin and intolerant of iniquity. I am indeed meek and humble in the presence of my Father, but I am equally and relentlessly inexorable where there is deliberate evil-doing and sinful rebellion against the will of my Father in heaven. ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (159:3.9)
Salvation is the gift of God, and righteousness is the natural fruit of the spirit-born life of sonship in the kingdom. You are not to be saved because you live a righteous life; rather is it that you live a righteous life because you have already been saved, have recognized sonship as the gift of God and service in the kingdom as the supreme delight of life on earth. When men believe this gospel, which is a revelation of the goodness of God, they will be led to voluntary repentance of all known sin. Realization of sonship is incompatible with the desire to sin. Kingdom believers hunger for righteousness and thirst for divine perfection." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (150:5.5)
Please see more about the Gospel of the Kingdom in TruthBook's Topical study on the Gospel
So, are we excited about proclaiming the Gospel? Yes! And we always want to remember this commission that Jesus left with us. This quote is from the Master's sixteenth resurrection appearance:
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193:0.4"I admonish you ever to remember that your mission among men is to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom—the reality of the fatherhood of God and the truth of the sonship of man. Proclaim the whole truth of the good news, not just a part of the saving gospel. Your message is not changed by my resurrection experience. Sonship with God, by faith, is still the saving truth of the gospel of the kingdom. You are to go forth preaching the love of God and the service of man. That which the world needs most to know is: Men are the sons of God, and through faith they can actually realize, and daily experience, this ennobling truth. My bestowal should help all men to know that they are the children of God, but such knowledge will not suffice if they fail personally to faith-grasp the saving truth that they are the living spirit sons of the eternal Father. The gospel of the kingdom is concerned with the love of the Father and the service of his children on earth.
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Thu, June 29, 2017
The Road to Siloam
By Truthbook Staff
Here's a new discovery made in Israel that is connected to one of the most thrilling of Jesus' miracles: Archaeologists discover road on which Jesus walked from Pool of Siloam to temple in Evangelical Focus.
As anyone who follows Jesus knows - Bible-believing Christians and Urantia Book students alike - the healing of the blind beggar at the pool of Siloam was an amazing event. We will blog about it below, but first, here's the news:
Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists have unearthed a road running from Jerusalem's gates and the Pool of Siloam to the Temple.
"Jesus would have walked on this newly excavated road to the Temple Mount", said Moran Hagbi, one of the directors of the excavation.
Click to read the entire article and enjoy the photos
A well-Known Event from Jesus' life portrayed in the Bible
The Bible shows this story in John Chapter 9. It is more lengthy than many of the stories about Jesus, and not all that different from the Urantia Book account, but is still very incomplete, as the Master's true purpose for the healing is not shown. And as usual, the story lacks much significant detail and contains very little context.
The Urantia Book Account
The story of this miracle of the healing of the blind beggar in The Urantia Book is in section 3 of the paper titled "At the Feast of Dedication"
Even though Nathaniel and Thomas begged him not to go, Jesus was determined to "give these teachers in Israel another opportunity to see the light, before my hour comes." And so, the three went to Jerusalem, in spite of the danger, and likely walked this same road that has been recently unearthed in the article above.
After finding the blind beggar - Josiah by name,
164:3.8 Jesus 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." Then, stooping over, he spat on the ground and mixed the clay with the spittle, and speaking of all this so that the blind man could hear, he went up to Josiah and put the clay over his sightless eyes, saying: "Go, my son, wash away this clay in the pool of Siloam, and immediately you shall receive your sight." And when Josiah had so washed in the pool of Siloam, he returned to his friends and family, seeing.
What was Jesus' purpose in performing this miracle?
As is usual with The Urantia Book, many details are added to these familiar stories; the inner workings of Jesus' mind are given as well, so that we can fully understand the WHY of what Jesus did, and not only the facts of what happened.
164:3.11 This is one of the strangest of all the Master's miracles. This man did not ask for healing. He did not know that the Jesus who had directed him to wash at Siloam, and who had promised him vision, was the prophet of Galilee who had preached in Jerusalem during the feast of tabernacles. This man had little faith that he would receive his sight, but the people of that day had great faith in the efficacy of the spittle of a great or holy man; and from Jesus' conversation with Nathaniel and Thomas, Josiah had concluded that his would-be benefactor was a great man, a learned teacher or a holy prophet; accordingly he did as Jesus directed him.
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.
As in the Bible story, Josiah was brought before the authorities.
Click to read Josiah before the Sanhedrin
Jesus was hoping to be called before this group of Sanhedrin himself, but they were afraid to bring Jesus in and accuse him.
164:5.1 All of the time this Sabbath-breaking session of the Sanhedrin was in progress in one of the temple chambers, Jesus was walking about near at hand, teaching the people in Solomon's Porch, hoping that he would be summoned before the Sanhedrin where he could tell them the good news of the liberty and joy of divine sonship in the kingdom of God. But they were afraid to send for him. They were always disconcerted by these sudden and public appearances of Jesus in Jerusalem. The very occasion they had so ardently sought, Jesus now gave them, but they feared to bring him before the Sanhedrin even as a witness, and even more they feared to arrest him.
As it was, the Sanhedrin cast Josiah out of the temple, which was pretty distressing to him. But in the end, Jesus saves the day:
164:5.5 When Josiah learned that he had been cast out of the synagogue, he was at first greatly downcast, but he was much encouraged when Jesus directed that he should immediately prepare to go with them to the camp at Pella. This simple-minded man of Jerusalem had indeed been cast out of a Jewish synagogue, but behold the Creator of a universe leading him forth to become associated with the spiritual nobility of that day and generation.
164:5.6 And now Jesus left Jerusalem, not again to return until near the time when he prepared to leave this world. With the two apostles and Josiah the Master went back to Pella. And Josiah proved to be one of the recipients of the Master's miraculous ministry who turned out fruitfully, for he became a lifelong preacher of the gospel of the kingdom.
Please follow the links above to access the complete - and highly detailed - story of this momentous event in Jesus life.
Respect for the Bible
We never mean to imply by our blogs that there is something wrong with the Bible. The Bible is to be respected; however, when we have the new revelation of the Life and Teachings of Jesus at hand, it is difficult not to rejoice - difficult not to proclaim these superior stories and revelations of the real events of Jesus' life.
We hope that you, the reader, whether a Bible-believing Christian, a spiritual seeker, or a Urantia Book reader - will enjoy the comparisons and be encouraged to study even further the amazing revelation that is The Urantia Book. If you are a lover of Jesus and wish to know more about him, you will be thrilled at what you discover!
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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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