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Fri, September 15, 2017

The Truth About Eternal Punishment

By TruthBook Staff

Would you agree that it's time to have a conversation about hell and put this terrible concept to rest? Is it really true that Jesus spoke of such a horrid place? This current article in the religious press caught my eye and inspired me to bring this subject up again: Why would Jesus talk about hell? by Harold N Miller. If it is true, as Jesus tells us, "He who has seen me has seen the Father" - we have to acknowledge that we never saw Jesus condemn anyone to hell - and we never heard him speak of the heavenly Father as a vindictive, punishing Father. And if that's true, then we must, in all fairness, question these saying that are attributed to the God of Love. We'll blog about this idea below, but first, here are some selections from the article that are worth reading, and considering. This author asks:

"Why would Jesus — the Lord of love, the author of grace — talk about a fate that horrible?

"Our minds tend to go toward worst-case answers:

"Jesus was not as compassionate and wise as us.

"He allowed the brutality and barbarism of his day to rub off on him.

"Or maybe he himself never spoke threats of hell, but over-zealous followers put them in his mouth.

"But there are also best-case answers available:

"Jesus' images of horror and agony may simply be a description of a chosen path of sinful selfishness going on forever, on a trajectory toward abject misery. Jesus, more perceptive and wiser than any other prophet or teacher, was more aware of this danger than any other. And so he in compassion warned us of it more than any other."

Click to read more

We tend to think that the author of this article has pretty much hit the nail on the head with that last statement - and Urantia Book teachings supply all the missing pieces. Let's get started.

What really IS the result of choosing sin?

In the article above, there is a sense that this author feels Jesus did not really ever say that there was a hell created by his Father for his erring children; and this is something that Urantia Book readers wholeheartedly believe...but If there is not actual place of eternal damnation, what happens to people who are truly evil - people who have knowingly sinned against God so often and so consistently that they have become iniquitous?

We cannot ever judge another's heart or their motivations; but having said that, we do believe that there are those people whose disdain for the good, the true and the beautiful - for God - seems obvious. What happens to a person who has become "sin-identified"?

The Urantia Book provides answers

In The Urantia Book, we discover a solution to this age-old dilemma of eternal damnation. The book teaches us that the greatest punishment that can ever be meted out to such a one is eternal annihilation - cessation of existence as a person for all eternity. There's no physical manifestation of fire or torment (which would be futile anyway, since there is no physical body to burn) ... instead, the punishment is an extinguishing of that person's being for all time.

From Justice and Righteousness

2:3.2 The greatest punishment (in reality an inevitable consequence) for wrongdoing and deliberate rebellion against the government of God is loss of existence as an individual subject of that government. The final result of wholehearted sin is annihilation. In the last analysis, such sin-identified individuals have destroyed themselves by becoming wholly unreal through their embrace of iniquity. The factual disappearance of such a creature is, however, always delayed until the ordained order of justice current in that universe has been fully complied with.

2:3.4 When this sentence is finally confirmed, the sin-identified being instantly becomes as though he had not been. There is no resurrection from such a fate; it is everlasting and eternal. The living energy factors of identity are resolved by the transformations of time and the metamorphoses of space into the cosmic potentials whence they once emerged. As for the personality of the iniquitous one, it is deprived of a continuing life vehicle by the creature's failure to make those choices and final decisions which would have assured eternal life. When the continued embrace of sin by the associated mind culminates in complete self-identification with iniquity, then upon the cessation of life, upon cosmic dissolution, such an isolated personality is absorbed into the oversoul of creation, becoming a part of the evolving experience of the Supreme Being. Never again does it appear as a personality; its identity becomes as though it had never been. In the case of an Adjuster-indwelt personality, the experiential spirit values survive in the reality of the continuing Adjuster.

Further, in The Goodness of God, this concept is further explained:

2:6.8 God loves the sinner and hates the sin: such a statement is true philosophically, but God is a transcendent personality, and persons can only love and hate other persons. Sin is not a person. God loves the sinner because he is a personality reality (potentially eternal), while towards sin God strikes no personal attitude, for sin is not a spiritual reality; it is not personal; therefore does only the justice of God take cognizance of its existence. The love of God saves the sinner; the law of God destroys the sin. This attitude of the divine nature would apparently change if the sinner finally identified himself wholly with sin just as the same mortal mind may also fully identify itself with the indwelling spirit Adjuster. Such a sin-identified mortal would then become wholly unspiritual in nature (and therefore personally unreal) and would experience eventual extinction of being. Unreality, even incompleteness of creature nature, cannot exist forever in a progressingly real and increasingly spiritual universe.

God is the ultimate reality. And God IS truth, goodness, and beauty. So we see, that deliberate and continued sin against God renders the sinner increasingly unreal. As the sinner becomes so far removed from God, he/she progressively loses reality, and so it becomes inevitable that s/he cannot continue existing in a universe that is progressive, as God's universe of universes is.

God is kind and he is merciful

It is wonderful to know that there is not - and never has been - and never will be - a scary place of fire and brimstone and eternal torment of the body and the spirit. God is not vengeful like that: he is the God of Love - the God that Jesus revealed to us through his life and teachings.

From The Love of God

2:5.1 "God is love"; therefore his only personal attitude towards the affairs of the universe is always a reaction of divine affection. The Father loves us sufficiently to bestow his life upon us. "He makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

2:5.2 It is wrong to think of God as being coaxed into loving his children because of the sacrifices of his Sons or the intercession of his subordinate creatures, "for the Father himself loves you." It is in response to this paternal affection that God sends the marvelous Adjusters to indwell the minds of men. God's love is universal; "whosoever will may come." He would "have all men be saved by coming into the knowledge of the truth." He is "not willing that any should perish."

2:5.3 The Creators are the very first to attempt to save man from the disastrous results of his foolish transgression of the divine laws. God's love is by nature a fatherly affection; therefore does he sometimes "chasten us for our own profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness." Even during your fiery trials remember that "in all our afflictions he is afflicted with us."

2:5.4 God is divinely kind to sinners. When rebels return to righteousness, they are mercifully received, "for our God will abundantly pardon." "I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins." "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God."

2:5.5 After all, the greatest evidence of the goodness of God and the supreme reason for loving him is the indwelling gift of the Father—the Adjuster who so patiently awaits the hour when you both shall be eternally made one. Though you cannot find God by searching, if you will submit to the leading of the indwelling spirit, you will be unerringly guided, step by step, life by life, through universe upon universe, and age by age, until you finally stand in the presence of the Paradise personality of the Universal Father.

Lucifer awaits such a fate

We all know of at least a few angelic beings who have become so sin-identified that their fate could very well be that of total annihilation - Lucifer, Satan, Caligastia (aka the devil), and others of their kind who betrayed God, betrayed Jesus, and betrayed all of us through their nefarious rebellion:

53:9.7 The rebellion has ended on Jerusem. It ends on the fallen worlds as fast as divine Sons arrive. We believe that all rebels who will ever accept mercy have done so. We await the flashing broadcast that will deprive these traitors of personality existence. We anticipate the verdict of Uversa will be announced by the executionary broadcast which will effect the annihilation of these interned rebels. Then will you look for their places, but they shall not be found. "And they who know you among the worlds will be astonished at you; you have been a terror, but never shall you be any more." And thus shall all of these unworthy traitors "become as though they had not been." All await the Uversa decree.

53:9.8 But for ages the seven prison worlds of spiritual darkness in Satania have constituted a solemn warning to all Nebadon, eloquently and effectively proclaiming the great truth "that the way of the transgressor is hard"; "that within every sin is concealed the seed of its own destruction"; that "the wages of sin is death."

Are there others?

Again, it is not our prerogative to pass judgment on any personality...certainly not human beings like us. No one can rightly judge another or their motivations for what they do. What may look totally evil to us may, in God's eyes, have a shred of reason or an extenuating circumstance upon which mercy may be placed as a tempering force.

But we do know that this final extinguishing of personality is the worst thing that can possibly happen; and so it behooves all of us to choose God and choose good as we go through our lives.

In the end, once one really know God and his goodness, one very naturally chooses good over evil. Sin becomes something that is just not done deliberately because it is inconsistent with a life lived according to God's holy will.

Read what Jesus teaches about evil, sin, and iniquity

Finally, here is positive religious instruction at its best from Jesus:

150:5.5 In summing up his final statement, Jesus said: "You cannot buy salvation; you cannot earn righteousness. 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."

Many of the passages that are quoted in this blog are found in Paper 2 of The Urantia Book: The Nature of God. Understanding more about our loving heavenly Father and his good and merciful nature can uplift and comfort even the most worried soul. And we've placed numerous other links in this blog so that you, the reader, may be drawn to explore some of the concepts that are being discussed and taught in The Urantia Book about what becomes of the persistent evildoer; we hope you'll take advantage of them and gain the comfort and assurance that comes from understand more about its positive life-saving and life-enhancing teachings.

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Mon, September 11, 2017

Jesus: Before Abraham was, I am

By TruthBook Staff

This article, titled: Abraham, the prophets and Jesus by Ralph A Kelly resonated with me today as I recalled this thrilling statement of Jesus, and below, you'll find our latest blog on the subject. This is indeed a thrilling encounter that Jesus had with the Jewish rulers. Maybe you remember it from your Bible, and after you read our blog, maybe you'll have a new way of looking at it. But first, here's a few snips from the article:

"Even though they are religious rulers and should be thinking from a religious viewpoint, they go directly to a physical viewpoint and tell Jesus, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and You have seen Abraham?'

"Apparently, fifty years was the time of full manhood, and at that time it had been about 2,000 years since Abraham had died. Their thought was, 'You are still a young man and you have seen Abraham who died so many years ago?'

"Jesus responded to the comment of the religious rulers saying, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am."

"They had to have been shocked to the core of their being at what they considered blasphemy. They had accused Him before on the basis of such straightforward statements, but this statement could not be misunderstood. Whatever Jesus had meant previously was now obviously clear that He was claiming to have eternal existence, to have been in existence long before Abraham. Jesus was saying that He was the 'I Am', the eternal existing God, the One Who existed even before the world was created. And they were correct; Jesus was claiming to have pre-existed Abraham and to have everlasting existence."

Click to read the whole article

_____________________

Jesus counsels on Spiritual Freedom

Both Bible believers and Urantia Book students will be familiar with this event from Jesus' life. This meeting of Jesus with the Jewish rulers took place at a precarious time for Jesus; he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles at a time when the authorities were threatening to have him arested. The apostles had warned the Master not to go, but he was unafraid.

You can read the entire account of this amazing trip to Jerusalem in Paper 162: The Feast of Tabernacles. It contains not only this story of Jesus declaring he is I AM, but also the story of Jesus' first temple talk, the woman taken in adultery, the sermon on the "light of the world," the discourse on the water of life, the visit with Martha and Mary, and the Bethlehem meeting of Jesus' apostles with Abner.

But back to our story: the gospel of John (Chap 8:53-58) has a good deal of the material that The Urantia Book has; this is not always the case, but here, we have two similar stories. However, the speech that Jesus delivers in The Urantia Book is somewhat different and is titled "Discourse on Spiritual Freedom," and it goes like this:

On the afternoon of the last day of the feast and after the apostles had failed in their efforts to persuade him to flee from Jerusalem, Jesus again went into the temple to teach. Finding a large company of believers assembled in Solomon's Porch, he spoke to them, saying:

"If my words abide in you and you are minded to do the will of my Father, then are you truly my disciples. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. I know how you will answer me: We are the children of Abraham, and we are in bondage to none; how then shall we be made free? Even so, I do not speak of outward subjection to another's rule; I refer to the liberties of the soul. Verily, verily, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the bond servant of sin. And you know that the bond servant is not likely to abide forever in the master's house. You also know that the son does remain in his father's house. If, therefore, the Son shall make you free, shall make you sons, you shall be free indeed.

"I know that you are Abraham's seed, yet your leaders seek to kill me because my word has not been allowed to have its transforming influence in their hearts. Their souls are sealed by prejudice and blinded by the pride of revenge. I declare to you the truth which the eternal Father shows me, while these deluded teachers seek to do the things which they have learned only from their temporal fathers. And when you reply that Abraham is your father, then do I tell you that, if you were the children of Abraham, you would do the works of Abraham. Some of you believe my teaching, but others seek to destroy me because I have told you the truth which I received from God. But Abraham did not so treat the truth of God. I perceive that some among you are determined to do the works of the evil one. If God were your Father, you would know me and love the truth which I reveal. Will you not see that I come forth from the Father, that I am sent by God, that I am not doing this work of myself? Why do you not understand my words? Is it because you have chosen to become the children of evil? If you are the children of darkness, you will hardly walk in the light of the truth which I reveal. The children of evil follow only in the ways of their father, who was a deceiver and stood not for the truth because there came to be no truth in him. But now comes the Son of Man speaking and living the truth, and many of you refuse to believe.

"Which of you convicts me of sin? If I, then, proclaim and live the truth shown me by the Father, why do you not believe? He who is of God hears gladly the words of God; for this cause many of you hear not my words, because you are not of God. Your teachers have even presumed to say that I do my works by the power of the prince of devils. One near by has just said that I have a devil, that I am a child of the devil. But all of you who deal honestly with your own souls know full well that I am not a devil. You know that I honor the Father even while you would dishonor me. I seek not my own glory, only the glory of my Paradise Father. And I do not judge you, for there is one who judges for me.

"Verily, verily, I say to you who believe the gospel that, if a man will keep this word of truth alive in his heart, he shall never taste death. And now just at my side a scribe says this statement proves that I have a devil, seeing that Abraham is dead, also the prophets. And he asks: `Are you so much greater than Abraham and the prophets that you dare to stand here and say that whoso keeps your word shall not taste death? Who do you claim to be that you dare to utter such blasphemies?' And I say to all such that, if I glorify myself, my glory is as nothing. But it is the Father who shall glorify me, even the same Father whom you call God. But you have failed to know this your God and my Father, and I have come to bring you together; to show you how to become truly the sons of God. Though you know not the Father, I truly know him. Even Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and by faith he saw it and was glad."

And then, we have the confrontation by the rulers, who challenge Jesus as if he were just an ordinary man:

When the unbelieving Jews and the agents of the Sanhedrin who had gathered about by this time heard these words, they raised a tumult, shouting: "You are not fifty years of age, and yet you talk about seeing Abraham; you are a child of the devil!" Jesus was unable to continue the discourse. He only said as he departed, "Verily, verily, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." Many of the unbelievers rushed forth for stones to cast at him, and the agents of the Sanhedrin sought to place him under arrest, but the Master quickly made his way through the temple corridors and escaped to a secret meeting place near Bethany where Martha, Mary, and Lazarus awaited him.

It might be a good exercise to compare the two accounts and decide for yourself which rings most true to you...remember, The Urantia Book is a gift to our world; and among the treasures in that gift is the restatement of the Life and Teachings of Jesus - a restatement that is free from centuries of error, free from any theological misinterpretation, and free from any attempt to skew the facts in favor of any one religion about Jesus. The angels preserved the account of the Master's life that was witnessed by spiritual beings who were actually present and saved it for this time in our history when it will do the most good for the greatest number of souls. If you have not explored it before, now might be a good time to give it a sincere perusal. 

Jesus declares that he is the I AM more than once

Shortly after Peter's confession that he and the apostles believe him to be God incarnate, Jesus and the twelve, while waiting for financial reinforcements, have a significant discussion; a discussion made all the more important because, from this time on, Jesus is openly declaring himself as the Son of God:

A new significance attaches to all of Jesus' teachings from this point on. Before Caesarea-Philippi he presented the gospel of the kingdom as its master teacher. After Caesarea-Philippi he appeared not merely as a teacher but as the divine representative of the eternal Father, who is the center and circumference of this spiritual kingdom, and it was required that he do all this as a human being, the Son of Man.

Jesus had sincerely endeavored to lead his followers into the spiritual kingdom as a teacher, then as a teacher-healer, but they would not have it so. He well knew that his earth mission could not possibly fulfill the Messianic expectations of the Jewish people; the olden prophets had portrayed a Messiah which he could never be. He sought to establish the Father's kingdom as the Son of Man, but his followers would not go forward in the adventure. Jesus, seeing this, then elected to meet his believers part way and in so doing prepared openly to assume the role of the bestowal Son of God.

Accordingly, the apostles heard much that was new as Jesus talked to them this day in the garden. And some of these pronouncements sounded strange even to them. Among other startling announcements they listened to such as the following:

"From this time on, if any man would have fellowship with us, let him assume the obligations of sonship and follow me. And when I am no more with you, think not that the world will treat you better than it did your Master. If you love me, prepare to prove this affection by your willingness to make the supreme sacrifice."

"And mark well my words: I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. The Son of Man came not to be ministered to, but to minister and to bestow his life as the gift for all. I declare to you that I have come to seek and to save those who are lost."

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

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

Read all of Jesus' startling statements to his apostles HERE

From the Rodan papers

Rodan of Alexandria and the apostles Nathaniel and Thomas had extensive discussions regarding the teachings of Jesus. Among other things, they discussed The personality of God, the Divine nature of Jesus, and Jesus' human and divine minds.

In the discussion of Jesus' divine nature, the two apostles reiterate the fact that Jesus had spoken of himself as the I AM:

He constantly talks about God as an ever-present associate in all that he does. He goes about doing good, for God seems to be in him. He makes the most astounding assertions about himself and his mission on earth, statements which would be absurd if he were not divine. He once declared, "Before Abraham was, I am." He has definitely claimed divinity; he professes to be in partnership with God. He well-nigh exhausts the possibilities of language in the reiteration of his claims of intimate association with the heavenly Father. He even dares to assert that he and the Father are one. He says that anyone who has seen him has seen the Father. And he says and does all these tremendous things with such childlike naturalness. He alludes to his association with the Father in the same manner that he refers to his association with us. He seems to be so sure about God and speaks of these relations in such a matter-of-fact way.

see Paper 160 for more about Rodan, the Greek philosopher.

Jesus earns the right to claim: I AM

Finally, soon after Jesus final prayers with his apostles before his arrest, the revelators tell us clearly how Jesus has earned this right. These "I AM" statements are some of the most thrilling and inspiring of all the declarations about Jesus in The Urantia Book:

182:1.9 The Father in heaven had sought to reveal himself to Moses, but he could proceed no further than to cause it to be said, "I AM." And when pressed for further revelation of himself, it was only disclosed, "I AM that I AM." But when Jesus had finished his earth life, this name of the Father had been so revealed that the Master, who was the Father incarnate, could truly say:

I am the bread of life.

I am the living water.

I am the light of the world.

I am the desire of all ages.

I am the open door to eternal salvation.

I am the reality of endless life.

I am the good shepherd.

I am the pathway of infinite perfection.

I am the resurrection and the life.

I am the secret of eternal survival.

I am the way, the truth, and the life.

I am the infinite Father of my finite children.

I am the true vine; you are the branches.

I am the hope of all who know the living truth.

I am the living bridge from one world to another.

I am the living link between time and eternity.

Thus did Jesus enlarge the living revelation of the name of God to all generations. As divine love reveals the nature of God, eternal truth discloses his name in ever-enlarging proportions.

We hope that you'll take the time to explore this wonderful story and the links given here. Studying the life and teachings of Jesus is probably the most important study you will ever do, and the knowledge gained will prove to be the important knowledge you'll ever receive. If we take it to heart, the Master can certainly live again through any of us who truly and sincerely endeavor to "follow Jesus."

As the revelators tell us:

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

 

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Thu, August 31, 2017

Jesus' Pattern Prayers

By Truthbook Staff

When Jesus came to us, his followers could not help but notice that he often went of by himself to pray. It's no wonder that they asked him for instructions on prayer for themselves and those they would be ministering to. This article: Want to learn to pray? Just follow the pattern of Jesus By Steve Horn gives a great analysis of the structure of the prayer that Jesus gave as the model prayer. More in our blog below, but here's the heart of the article - and the heart of the prayer:

As Max Lucado noted in his book Before the Amen, "When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer."

"Let's observe the prayer and so observe the pattern.

"We approach God out of relationship but also out of reverence.

We acknowledge His coming Kingdom.
We ask God about both the physical and the spiritual.
We can count on God, our Heavenly Father, to provide our physical needs.
And we count on God for our spiritual needs.

Click to read the entire article

________

The power of The Lord's Prayer

This most beloved prayer is still said countless times throughout each day by legions of Jesus' followers. No matter what Christian religion people belong to, the Lord's Prayer is a mainstay. It is even used in some secular applications, such as many 12-Step programs, where it is said at the end of meetings.

In the Bible, the account of this prayer in Matthew 6 earns about three paragraphs. Of course those have been enough to make this prayer universal, but did you know that Jesus said many, many more things about prayer? Before The Urantia Book, this was not known, but thanks to the angels prserving the records, and thanks to the restatement of his complete life and teachings in Part IV, we now know much, much more about how Jesus thought about prayer, and what he taught his followers.

Let's start with what The Urantia Book calls : The Believer's Prayer

In addition to the actual prayer, the Urantia Book account echoes somewhat the account in Matthew, but with so much more. Here's that account:

When James had finished speaking, Jesus said: "If, then, you still desire such a prayer, I would present the one which I taught my brothers and sisters in Nazareth":

Our Father who is in heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come; your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our bread for tomorrow;

Refresh our souls with the water of life.

And forgive us every one our debts

As we also have forgiven our debtors.

Save us in temptation, deliver us from evil,

And increasingly make us perfect like yourself.

It is not strange that the apostles desired Jesus to teach them a model prayer for believers. John the Baptist had taught his followers several prayers; all great teachers had formulated prayers for their pupils. The religious teachers of the Jews had some twenty-five or thirty set prayers which they recited in the synagogues and even on the street corners. Jesus was particularly averse to praying in public. Up to this time the twelve had heard him pray only a few times. They observed him spending entire nights at prayer or worship, and they were very curious to know the manner or form of his petitions. They were really hard pressed to know what to answer the multitudes when they asked to be taught how to pray as John had taught his disciples.

Jesus taught the twelve always to pray in secret; to go off by themselves amidst the quiet surroundings of nature or to go in their rooms and shut the doors when they engaged in prayer.

After Jesus' death and ascension to the Father it became the practice of many believers to finish this so-called Lord's prayer by the addition of—"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." Still later on, two lines were lost in copying, and there was added to this prayer an extra clause, reading: "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forevermore."

Jesus gave the apostles the prayer in collective form as they had prayed it in the Nazareth home. He never taught a formal personal prayer, only group, family, or social petitions. And he never volunteered to do that.

Jesus taught that effective prayer must be:

1. Unselfish —not alone for oneself.

2. Believing—according to faith.

3. Sincere—honest of heart.

4. Intelligent—according to light.

5. Trustful—in submission to the Father's all-wise will.

When Jesus spent whole nights on the mountain in prayer, it was mainly for his disciples, particularly for the twelve. The Master prayed very little for himself, although he engaged in much worship of the nature of understanding communion with his Paradise Father.

Instructions about Prayer from Jesus

But right before this prayer and instruction was offered by Jesus, he had been teaching the twelve about prayer and worship in preparation for the preachings tours, so soon to come. Thomas asked Jesus: "Master, teach us how to pray."

144:1.10 John had taught his disciples a prayer, a prayer for salvation in the coming kingdom. Although Jesus never forbade his followers to use John's form of prayer, the apostles very early perceived that their Master did not fully approve of the practice of uttering set and formal prayers. Nevertheless, believers constantly requested to be taught how to pray. The twelve longed to know what form of petition Jesus would approve. And it was chiefly because of this need for some simple petition for the common people that Jesus at this time consented, in answer to Thomas's request, to teach them a suggestive form of prayer. Jesus gave this lesson one afternoon in the third week of their sojourn on Mount Gilboa.

The lesson began with these words:

"John indeed taught you a simple form of prayer. `O Father, cleanse us from sin, show us your glory, reveal your love, and let your spirit sanctify our hearts forevermore, Amen!' He taught this prayer that you might have something to teach the multitude. He did not intend that you should use such a set and formal petition as the expression of your own souls in prayer.

"Prayer is entirely a personal and spontaneous expression of the attitude of the soul toward the spirit; prayer should be the communion of sonship and the expression of fellowship. Prayer, when indited by the spirit, leads to co-operative spiritual progress. The ideal prayer is a form of spiritual communion which leads to intelligent worship. True praying is the sincere attitude of reaching heavenward for the attainment of your ideals."

Read the entire Discourse on Prayer

And More about Prayer

Also, here is a page on our site that holds more of the Master's thoughts from all the prayer discourses

How did Jesus feel about prayer?

The following passage is probably one of the longest sentences in The Urantia Book, but well-worth reading and absorbing. It is a beautiful passage that really sums up what prayer meant to Jesus during his life. It is a good thing to read and to apply, when we perform this most intimate way of communing with God. We've taken the liberty of listing them as bullet points for ease of reading:

196:0.10 Jesus brought to God, as a man of the realm, the greatest of all offerings: the consecration and dedication of his own will to the majestic service of doing the divine will. Jesus always and consistently interpreted religion wholly in terms of the Father's will. When you study the career of the Master, as concerns prayer or any other feature of the religious life, look not so much for what he taught as for what he did. Jesus never prayed as a religious duty. To him prayer was

a sincere expression of spiritual attitude,

a declaration of soul loyalty,

a recital of personal devotion,

an expression of thanksgiving,

an avoidance of emotional tension,

a prevention of conflict,

an exaltation of intellection,

an ennoblement of desire,

a vindication of moral decision,

an enrichment of thought,

an invigoration of higher inclinations,

a consecration of impulse,

a clarification of viewpoint,

a declaration of faith,

a transcendental surrender of will,

a sublime assertion of confidence,

a revelation of courage,

the proclamation of discovery,

a confession of supreme devotion,

the validation of consecration,

a technique for the adjustment of difficulties, and

the mighty mobilization of the combined soul powers to withstand all human tendencies toward selfishness, evil, and sin.

He lived just such a life of prayerful consecration to the doing of his Father's will and ended his life triumphantly with just such a prayer. The secret of his unparalleled religious life was this consciousness of the presence of God; and he attained it by intelligent prayer and sincere worship—unbroken communion with God—and not by leadings, voices, visions, or extraordinary religious practices.

Finally: Other Forms of the Lord's Pattern Prayer

Many believers know that Jesus spoke more than once about other of his children who were "not of this flock." The first time he mentions these children was during the ordination, when he said to the apostles:

140:6.8 "Also must you remember that I have sheep not of this flock, and that I am beholden to them also, to the end that I must provide for them the pattern of doing the will of God while living the life of the mortal nature."

And later, when Jesus was saying his final farewells to the apostles, he once again spoke of these others when he said to Andrew:

181:2.18 Go on with your work on earth to the end, and then shall you continue this ministry in the eternal kingdom, for have I not many times told you that I have other sheep not of this flock?

Who are those not of the earthly flock?

The Urantia Book gives us a magnificent and sweeping view of the universe - a universe that includes many, mnay inhabited planets, and myriads of beings. In our universe alone - the universe of Nebadon that is the handiwork of Jesus - there are 10 million possible inhabited planets.

After Jesus had gfive the apostles the Lord's Prayer, he then gave them a series of other prayers - prayers that maintain the same "formula" outlined in the article above, and the same formula of The Lord's Prayer.

These Parable Prayers are a comforting glimpse into the universe. It is good to know that, even in far-away worlds there are mortals like us who pray to the Father the same way that we do.

The Urantia Book tells us:

144:5.102 Though the apostles were not at liberty to present these prayer lessons in their public teachings, they profited much from all of these revelations in their personal religious experiences. Jesus utilized these and other prayer models as illustrations in connection with the intimate instruction of the twelve, and specific permission has been granted for transcribing these seven specimen prayers into this record.

Please click this link to read them all...you won't be disappointed!

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Wed, August 23, 2017

Jesus: His Small Town Beginnings

By Truthbook Staff

This article gives an unusual take on Jesus: Don't Despise Small Town Living: Jesus Didn't by Tyson Lambertson. It does seem a little bit obvious, in that probably most cities and towns in Jesus' day were fairly small. Except for the big cities like Jerusalem, most people lived in small, agrarian communities like Nazareth and Capernaum. But there's a bigger picture here, and we like this angle; Jesus always ministered where he was and as he was, even in his childhood and young adulthood. There's good advice for other small-town residents, too, in this article, and we recommend it. We'll blog about it below. But first here's a snippet or two from the article:

"Jesus ... spent his childhood years in Nazareth, but referred to Capernaum as his hometown. Capernaum was strategically placed on the Via Maris, an ancient trade route, and was home to about 1,500 people. The Via Maris was a direct passage connecting Egypt to Syria, and whenever something happened on this route, word spread all the way from Egypt to Syria. It was from here, the small town of Capernaum, that Jesus became a household name.

"Jesus was simply doing the work of His Father. People would listen in amazement as He taught in the synagogue. He cast out the demons of those who were suffering. He healed Peter's mother-in-law. Word began to travel not only through Capernaum, but also down the Via Maris. People started coming from all over just to receive healing. With fame comes notoriety, and Jesus was not immune to heartache. He had developed deep relationships in this town and even though many had seen miracles, they were still skeptical of Him. As it's still true today, credibility is hard won (and easily lost)."

Click to read the article

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Jesus' small town beginnings

Jesus was born in Bethlehem but by age three, Mary and Joseph had settled their little family back in Nazareth, the town where they met and married. Those three years between Jesus' birth and their return to Nazareth were years of anxiety and stress, owing to the evil attempt by Herod to find and kill the newborn child. They were forced to trek to Alexandria in Egypt in order to ascape the tentacles of harm that threatened their child of promise; but by the time Jesus was three, they did finally settle back into their home in Nazareth. Nazareth was notable as a nexus of caravan travel in those days, an opportunity for Jesus to learn at an early age the variety of people in the world:

121:2.2 Many of the great highways joining the nations of antiquity passed through Palestine, which thus became the meeting place, or crossroads, of three continents. The travel, trade, and armies of Babylonia, Assyria, Egypt, Syria, Greece, Parthia, and Rome successively swept over Palestine. From time immemorial, many caravan routes from the Orient passed through some part of this region to the few good seaports of the eastern end of the Mediterranean, whence ships carried their cargoes to all the maritime Occident. And more than half of this caravan traffic passed through or near the little town of Nazareth in Galilee.

Advantages for Jesus at Nazareth:

123:1.6 And Jesus, as he grew up, when not at school, spent his time about equally between helping his mother with home duties and watching his father work at the shop, meanwhile listening to the conversation and gossip of the caravan conductors and passengers from the four corners of the earth.

124:0.1 At Nazareth he secured an education and received a training which more acceptably prepared him to understand the gentiles, and which gave him a better and more balanced idea of the relative merits of the Eastern, or Babylonian and the Western, or Hellenic, views of Hebrew theology.

124:4.8 As time passed, Jesus did much to modify their practice of religious forms, such as the family prayers and other customs. And it was possible to do many such things at Nazareth, for its synagogue was under the influence of a liberal school of rabbis, exemplified by the renowned Nazareth teacher, Jose.

What was Jesus' home in Nazareth like?

122:6.1 The home of Jesus was not far from the high hill in the northerly part of Nazareth, some distance from the village spring, which was in the eastern section of the town. Jesus' family dwelt in the outskirts of the city, and this made it all the easier for him subsequently to enjoy frequent strolls in the country and to make trips up to the top of this near-by highland, the highest of all the hills of southern Galilee save the Mount Tabor range to the east and the hill of Nain, which was about the same height.

Read more about The Home at Nazareth

Why did Jesus abandon his hometown?

A political crisis caused "division of sentiment" about Jesus when he was 17 years-old:

"At about this time there was considerable agitation, especially at Jerusalem and in Judea, in favor of rebellion against the payment of taxes to Rome. There was coming into existence a strong nationalist party, presently to be called the Zealots. The Zealots, unlike the Pharisees, were not willing to await the coming of the Messiah. They proposed to bring things to a head through political revolt."

Jesus was aksed to join the rebellion; even his mother wanted him to join the revolt, but Jesus refused. He was even offered money, but still he refused, defusing the situation by explaining that he was too busy with the rearing of his brothers and sisters to become politically active.

Read more about this significant event in Jesus' teenaged years HERE

127:2.10 The crisis for the time being was over, but never was this incident forgotten in Nazareth. The agitation persisted; not again was Jesus in universal favor; the division of sentiment was never fully overcome. And this, augmented by other and subsequent occurrences, was one of the chief reasons why he moved to Capernaum in later years. Henceforth Nazareth maintained a division of sentiment regarding the Son of Man.

How Capernaum became Jesus' home

Joseph, Jesus' earth father, had once owned property in Capernaum; even though Jesus was forced to liquidate the property after Jeseph's untimely death, it still remained an attractive place for him. One of his father's friends, Zebedee, lived there, and when Jesus was 27 years-old, having made plans and provisions for the care of his mother Mary and his younger siblings, Jesus left Nazareth, never to be a resident there again. He went to Capernaum, stopping to visit Zebedee, whose profession was that of boat builder. Zebedee asked Jesus to work for him, and Jesus consented. Please see the following link about this year of work, study, and preaching that Jesus spent there:

The Twenty-Seventh Year

Later, after Jesus' long trip to the Mediterranean with the Indian travelers (Gonod and Ganid) Jesus once more returned to Capernaum, where Mary and the remaining children in her household had moved in his absence. By April, AD 25, we are told that " No longer did he regard Nazareth as his home. Capernaum had become the home of Jesus, James, Mary, and Ruth. But Jesus never again lived with his family; when in Capernaum he made his home with the Zebedees."

Capernaum as Jesus' Headquarters

Following the assemply of the apostles, Zebedee and his wife, Salome, offered to turn over their large home in Capernaum to Jesus and the twelve. It was in this home, now Jesus' headquarters, where much of the training of the apostles took place, in the year before the public preaching tours. And in the highlands to the north of this home was the scene of The Ordination.

138:5.4 Zebedee and Salome had gone to live with their son David so that their large home could be turned over to Jesus and his twelve apostles. Here Jesus spent a quiet Sabbath with his chosen messengers; he carefully outlined the plans for proclaiming the kingdom and fully explained the importance of avoiding any clash with the civil authorities...

And it was in the front room of this home that Jesus later performed the healing of the paralytic. You can read that beloved story in great detail HERE.

Meanwhile, Back in Nazareth

150:7.2 The people of Nazareth were never reputed for piety and righteous living. As the years passed, this village became increasingly contaminated by the low moral standards of near-by Sepphoris. Throughout Jesus' youth and young manhood there had been a division of opinion in Nazareth regarding him; there was much resentment when he moved to Capernaum. While the inhabitants of Nazareth had heard much about the doings of their former carpenter, they were offended that he had never included his native village in any of his earlier preaching tours. They had indeed heard of Jesus' fame, but the majority of the citizens were angry because he had done none of his great works in the city of his youth. For months the people of Nazareth had discussed Jesus much, but their opinions were, on the whole, unfavorable to him.

Read more about Jesus' frosty welcome in his hometown HERE

Yes, Jesus was the product of small towns. It was in these small towns that he was nurtured, educated, socialized, and celebrated - and later villified. Like all small towns, all the residents knew each other and were aware of all that was going on; and Jesus was one of the most famous of all these small towns' residents.

In Nazareth and in Capernaum Jesus did some of the most important work of his life, insofar as his meshing of his human and divine self. He assembled the twelve apostles from the local environs and prepared the momentous preachings tours. He preached in the synagogues and honed his public presence. It was from these smaller towns that Jesus and apostles went forth to conquer the entire world.

And this blog covers only a fraction of the events in Jesus' life that played out in these small towns. For the most complete picture of those times, those places, those people, and those events, please treat yourself to a reading of these early years in Part IV of The Urantia Book, the Life and Teachings of Jesus

And, never be discouraged to be from a small town. Learn from the life of Jesus how it can be the very best place from which to launch an illustrious career!

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Sun, August 20, 2017

Jesus' Birthday 2017

By Truthbook Staff jesus birthday, urantia book,

Ordinarity, our blog is based on some interesting news article in the manistream religious press - one that we find would serve to help educate others about the truths of The Urantia Book. And this is especially true about articles that feature Jesus and his life. So, today, when Urantia Book readers celebrate the birth of Jesus, we find no mainstream articles, but still would like to offer a simple blog about this most momentous day in the life of our world, Urantia.

Also of note is the fact that there will be a total solar eclipse on Jesus' birthday this year; not only on the day, but near the exact hour of his birth: Noon, August 21, 7 B.C. Do we feel there is a connection? Not particularly...The Urantia Book does not support belief in "signs and wonders," and yet, it is certainly a spectacular coincidence! And a wonderful way to remember the Master on his 2023rd birthday!

Again - we never find any news articles that we can point to for Jesus' special day, unless we delve back into articles from December, when the world celebrates the birth of Jesus. Unfortunately, the world has not yet recognized the truths of The Urantia Book, nor the superb and uplifting narration of the life and teachings of Jesus; however, we did want to make a special attempt today, to at least give some inspiration for the reader, especially in light of the amazing conjunction of celestial splendor that is to come...perhaps we can imagine a metaphor of Jesus as light of the world, always triumphant over evil, now and forevermore!

To that end, we offer a not-to-be-missed short video to enjoy: a lovely tribute to Jesus, Light of the World

Following are some links for you to enjoy the true Christmas story

The Birth and Infancy of Jesus

And speaking of celestial events: here's a wonderful explanation of how the legend of the "star of Bethlehem" began.

Jesus was no stranger to astronomy; he loved the starry skies and was a student of their courses in the heavens. At the tender age of six, "He evinced a troublesome penchant for lying on his back and gazing wonderingly up into the starry heavens long after his usual bedtime in this well-ordered Nazareth household." ( 123:3.10). And later in his life, "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."( 167:6.5)

Jesus always taught that the universe was a friendly place; he loved science and taught it to his followers, as in this discourse to the Greek philosopher, where he declared: "There is unity in the cosmic universe if you could only discern its workings in actuality. The real universe is friendly to every child of the eternal God."

Both in the beauty of the upcoming eclipse and the staggering beauty that is the bestowal of the Creator Son as the humble carpenter of Nazareth, we see this unity, we see the overarching watchcare of the heavenly Father for his children on earth (Urantia).

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

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Mon, July 31, 2017

Jesus is One of Us

By Truthbook Staff jesus, urantia book, jesus one of us, John Backman

This is a sweet article, and one that many of us can relate to: Incarnation: Maybe It's Not Just a Jesus Thing by C. In it, the author laments about his realization that he's a pretty ordinary guy, even though he is unique (like everyone else!). He talks about the Son of God incarnating as a human being, becoming one of us. And like one of us, he lived a real life "tempted and challenged in the same ways we are." We'll blog about this below, but first, here are some points from the article...love this article!:

"If you're familiar with Christian thought, you know the word well. The Incarnation is the name given to God's becoming fully and utterly human in the person of Jesus. This isn't about taking on a human shell or form: it's becoming one of us. Which means a lot of schmutzy stuff for Jesus: pooping his diapers, banging his thumb with a carpenter's hammer, possibly squabbling with his saintly parents, wandering off like a normal curious preteen in a big city like Jerusalem, having wild visions of his own destiny, making life choices that looked scary and strange from the outside.

Dying.

As the Bible says, Jesus suffered and was tempted and challenged in the same ways we are (Hebrews 4:15, 5:8). For me, it's a wonderful doctrine—maybe the best Christianity has to offer. What it says to me is that God, the One force and creator behind the entire Universe, gets us. Firsthand. From the inside out."

What if we're called to the same thing?

Click to read the article - I recommend it!

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When God Walked the Earth

It's important to remember that by incarnating in the body of an average human being, God really became one of us - truly he was a human being. Yes, he really does "get" us. That he was also a Son of God is a mystery for the ages, but the fact that God walked the earth in the body of a human should inspire all of us to study his life and find out just how he did it; how he lived his life as the son of man.

Before the revelation of The Urantia Book, finding out a lot about Jesus was hard to do. We have the gospels, of course, and in those gospels we do have some clues about the way Jesus lived - many of the things he said and did. But the narrations are scanty - one is always left wanting more. The details are lacking, inconsistent, and many times, the context is murky or absent altogether.

The Urantia book is comprised of over 700 pages of almost day-to-day narration of Jesus' life and teachings; it could be rightly called a true biography of Jesus - something never before seen here on earth. These accounts of his life have always been in existence; they have just been preserved by the angels for this time in our history, when they can be showcased to best advantage. Through the internet, The Urantia Book has become available to the global community and it is spreading rapidly, through book sales and downloads worldwide.

One of Us

As mentioned in the article, Jesus was "one of us." And he was. Here's a piece from a section titled: "The Twenty-First Year (A.D. 15) that speaks beautifully of Jesus' humanity:

With the attainment of adult years Jesus began in earnest and with full self-consciousness the task of completing the experience of mastering the knowledge of the life of his lowest form of intelligent creatures, thereby finally and fully earning the right of unqualified rulership of his self-created universe. He entered upon this stupendous task fully realizing his dual nature. But he had already effectively combined these two natures into one—Jesus of Nazareth.

Joshua ben Joseph knew full well that he was a man, a mortal man, born of woman. This is shown in the selection of his first title, the Son of Man. He was truly a partaker of flesh and blood, and even now, as he presides in sovereign authority over the destinies of a universe, he still bears among his numerous well-earned titles that of Son of Man. It is literally true that the creative Word—the Creator Son—of the Universal Father was "made flesh and dwelt as a man of the realm on Urantia." He labored, grew weary, rested, and slept. He hungered and satisfied such cravings with food; he thirsted and quenched his thirst with water. He experienced the full gamut of human feelings and emotions; he was "in all things tested, even as you are," and he suffered and died.

He obtained knowledge, gained experience, and combined these into wisdom, just as do other mortals of the realm. Until after his baptism he availed himself of no supernatural power. He employed no agency not a part of his human endowment as a son of Joseph and Mary.

As to the attributes of his prehuman existence, he emptied himself. Prior to the beginning of his public work his knowledge of men and events was wholly self-limited. He was a true man among men.

It is forever and gloriously true: "We have a high ruler who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. We have a Sovereign who was in all points tested and tempted like as we are, yet without sin." And since he himself has suffered, being tested and tried, he is abundantly able to understand and minister to those who are confused and distressed.

The Nazareth carpenter now fully understood the work before him, but he chose to live his human life in the channel of its natural flowing. And in some of these matters he is indeed an example to his mortal creatures, even as it is recorded: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being of the nature of God, thought it not strange to be equal with God. But he made himself to be of little import and, taking upon himself the form of a creature, was born in the likeness of mankind. And being thus fashioned as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross."

He lived his mortal life just as all others of the human family may live theirs, "who in the days of the flesh so frequently offered up prayers and supplications, even with strong feelings and tears, to Him who is able to save from all evil, and his prayers were effective because he believed." Wherefore it behooved him in every respect to be made like his brethren that he might become a merciful and understanding sovereign ruler over them.

How Can we Really Follow Jesus?

But back to this article above... The Urantia Book counsels its readers:

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

And

2:0.2 The nature of God can be studied in a revelation of supreme ideas, the divine character can be envisaged as a portrayal of supernal ideals, but the most enlightening and spiritually edifying of all revelations of the divine nature is to be found in the comprehension of the religious life of Jesus of Nazareth, both before and after his attainment of full consciousness of divinity.

Before the Urantia Book, these studies would only be possible in a limited way; now, they are possible in a comprehensive and detailed way. From birth to death - all the "missing years," all the sermons, all the discourses, all the parables, all of his important relationships, his ministry strategies...all of it, all in one place is available for all of us to more fully understand the life of Jesus and how he lived it. Each page contains clues on how to live as a true son of God.

Finally...in the spirit of the article above, I want to share with you another inspiring piece about Jesus' human life - one that can point each of us into the right direction as we struggle with our lives on this world:

THE ACME OF RELIGIOUS LIVING

Although the average mortal of Urantia cannot hope to attain the high perfection of character which Jesus of Nazareth acquired while sojourning in the flesh, it is altogether possible for every mortal believer to develop a strong and unified personality along the perfected lines of the Jesus personality. The unique feature of the Master's personality was not so much its perfection as its symmetry, its exquisite and balanced unification.

The most effective presentation of Jesus consists in following the example of the one who said, as he gestured toward the Master standing before his accusers, "Behold the man!"

The unfailing kindness of Jesus touched the hearts of men, but his stalwart strength of character amazed his followers. He was truly sincere; there was nothing of the hypocrite in him. He was free from affectation; he was always so refreshingly genuine. He never stooped to pretense, and he never resorted to shamming. He lived the truth, even as he taught it. He was the truth. He was constrained to proclaim saving truth to his generation, even though such sincerity sometimes caused pain. He was unquestioningly loyal to all truth.

But the Master was so reasonable, so approachable. He was so practical in all his ministry, while all his plans were characterized by such sanctified common sense. He was so free from all freakish, erratic, and eccentric tendencies. He was never capricious, whimsical, or hysterical. In all his teaching and in everything he did there was always an exquisite discrimination associated with an extraordinary sense of propriety.

The Son of Man was always a well-poised personality. Even his enemies maintained a wholesome respect for him; they even feared his presence. Jesus was unafraid. He was surcharged with divine enthusiasm, but he never became fanatical. He was emotionally active but never flighty. He was imaginative but always practical. He frankly faced the realities of life, but he was never dull or prosaic. He was courageous but never reckless; prudent but never cowardly. He was sympathetic but not sentimental; unique but not eccentric. He was pious but not sanctimonious. And he was so well-poised because he was so perfectly unified.

Jesus' originality was unstifled. He was not bound by tradition or handicapped by enslavement to narrow conventionality. He spoke with undoubted confidence and taught with absolute authority. But his superb originality did not cause him to overlook the gems of truth in the teachings of his predecessors and contemporaries. And the most original of his teachings was the emphasis of love and mercy in the place of fear and sacrifice.

Jesus was very broad in his outlook. He exhorted his followers to preach the gospel to all peoples. He was free from all narrow-mindedness. His sympathetic heart embraced all mankind, even a universe. Always his invitation was, "Whosoever will, let him come."

Of Jesus it was truly said, "He trusted God." As a man among men he most sublimely trusted the Father in heaven. He trusted his Father as a little child trusts his earthly parent. His faith was perfect but never presumptuous. No matter how cruel nature might appear to be or how indifferent to man's welfare on earth, Jesus never faltered in his faith. He was immune to disappointment and impervious to persecution. He was untouched by apparent failure.

He loved men as brothers, at the same time recognizing how they differed in innate endowments and acquired qualities. "He went about doing good."

Jesus was an unusually cheerful person, but he was not a blind and unreasoning optimist. His constant word of exhortation was, "Be of good cheer." He could maintain this confident attitude because of his unswerving trust in God and his unshakable confidence in man. He was always touchingly considerate of all men because he loved them and believed in them. Still he was always true to his convictions and magnificently firm in his devotion to the doing of his Father's will.

The Master was always generous. He never grew weary of saying, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Said he, "Freely you have received, freely give." And yet, with all of his unbounded generosity, he was never wasteful or extravagant. He taught that you must believe to receive salvation. "For every one who seeks shall receive."

He was candid, but always kind. Said he, "If it were not so, I would have told you." He was frank, but always friendly. He was outspoken in his love for the sinner and in his hatred for sin. But throughout all this amazing frankness he was unerringly fair.

Jesus was consistently cheerful, notwithstanding he sometimes drank deeply of the cup of human sorrow. He fearlessly faced the realities of existence, yet was he filled with enthusiasm for the gospel of the kingdom. But he controlled his enthusiasm; it never controlled him. He was unreservedly dedicated to "the Father's business." This divine enthusiasm led his unspiritual brethren to think he was beside himself, but the onlooking universe appraised him as the model of sanity and the pattern of supreme mortal devotion to the high standards of spiritual living. And his controlled enthusiasm was contagious; his associates were constrained to share his divine optimism.

This man of Galilee was not a man of sorrows; he was a soul of gladness. Always was he saying, "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad." But when duty required, he was willing to walk courageously through the "valley of the shadow of death." He was gladsome but at the same time humble.

His courage was equaled only by his patience. When pressed to act prematurely, he would only reply, "My hour has not yet come." He was never in a hurry; his composure was sublime. But he was often indignant at evil, intolerant of sin. He was often mightily moved to resist that which was inimical to the welfare of his children on earth. But his indignation against sin never led to anger at the sinner.

His courage was magnificent, but he was never foolhardy. His watchword was, "Fear not." His bravery was lofty and his courage often heroic. But his courage was linked with discretion and controlled by reason. It was courage born of faith, not the recklessness of blind presumption. He was truly brave but never audacious.

The Master was a pattern of reverence. The prayer of even his youth began, "Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name." He was even respectful of the faulty worship of his fellows. But this did not deter him from making attacks on religious traditions or assaulting errors of human belief. He was reverential of true holiness, and yet he could justly appeal to his fellows, saying, "Who among you convicts me of sin?" 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.

Jesus was the perfectly unified human personality. And today, as in Galilee, he continues to unify mortal experience and to co-ordinate human endeavors. He unifies life, ennobles character, and simplifies experience. He enters the human mind to elevate, transform, and transfigure it. It is literally true: "If any man has Christ Jesus within him, he is a new creature; old things are passing away; behold, all things are becoming new."

[Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.]

It's true - Jesus really was one of us...he really did - and does - "get" us. Now, it's time for all of us to "get" him...to understand how he lived, to let his life demonstrate to us how to live as true children of God. START HERE!

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Sat, July 22, 2017

How did Jesus fund his ministry?

By Truthbook Staff Jesus, urantia book, funding, money, christianity, women ministry

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

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"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 the crucifixion, jesus, psalms, urantia book,  Bill Cummings

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

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"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 gospel, the gospel of jesus, urantia book, salvation, atonement, pope francis

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

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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:

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 jesus, urantia book, heling, blind beggar, pool of siloam

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

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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.

The Aftermath

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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