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Mon, May 15, 2017

Going Through Jesus to God

By Truthbook Staff

Upon seeing this article: Is Jesus Really the Only Way? by Dane Davis, we thought it merited a blog post, which you can read below. But first, here's the heart of the question as presented by the author of the article:

"As you probably know, by many measures Christianity is on a decline in America. Fifty years ago, the overwhelming majority of Americans identified as "Christian" and considered the United States to be a Christian nation. But as much as I hate to admit it, America is a Christian nation no longer. Each year hundreds of churches close their doors. More than ever before, Christians are marginalized and criticized. A large percentage of Americans don't believe the Bible to be God's word. And millions of Americans — even many professed "Christians" — proclaim, "If there is a heaven, Jesus is certainly not the only way to get there."

"In this age of inclusivity and tolerance, many Christians are hesitant or embarrassed to affirm the exclusivity of the gospel. They deem it to be a huge cultural blunder to declare Christianity to be true and every other religion to be wrong. Let's face it: We don't like to be labeled "intolerant," "narrow-minded" or "bigoted" by our culture. Therefore, we find ourselves second-guessing what the New Testament teaches about heaven. We think: Perhaps Christians have been too narrow-minded with their doctrine of salvation. Maybe we have misunderstood what Jesus and Scripture teach about salvation. Could it be that our belief in "Christ alone" is illogical and doesn't stand up to intellectual scrutiny?"

"Jesus couldn't have been more clear than he is in John 14:6: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." So, is Jesus the only way to heaven? Yes! Jesus revealed it."

Click to read the entire article here.

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Questions that arise as we read this snippet from the article are: why are Christian churches closing their doors? Why are some Christians thought of as bigoted, intolerant and narrow-minded? Could it be that their insistence of accepting Jesus as the imperative for salvation is at fault? Could it be that they have mis-understood Jesus' teachings, thereby driving people away from Jesus, rather than to him? There's no blame intended here; after all, believers have only had the scanty accounts of Jesus' life and his teachings for two centuries. But now, we have The Urantia Book, which clarifies and completes these teachings in a way that is truly accessible to all seekers.

Anyone who is a serious student/reader of The Urantia Book will have no trouble whatsoever accepting Jesus; they know that Jesus and his teachings ARE the way to God … the way, the truth, and the life. At the same time, Urantia Book readers know that finding and knowing God is the mortal's primary purpose in life. This is what Jesus taught.

What did Jesus Say?

Context is everything. In The Urantia Book, we see these sayings of Jesus in a different light than those who see the acceptance of Jesus as a Biblically-mandated imperative for salvation. The Urantia Book reveals to us the true nature and purposes of the Master; it reaveals Jesus as Sovereign of a vast universe of his making; a universe teeming with planets and personalities who have benefitted from his bestowal on Urantia; beings who will all eventually meet Jesus before meeting the Father. Following is the discussion between Jesus and his apostles that contains the "No one comes to the Father except through me" statement. (The bolding of passages are added by ed.)

180:3.4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; continue to believe also in me. Even though I must leave you, I will not be far from you. I have already told you that in my Father's universe there are many tarrying-places. If this were not true, I would not have repeatedly told you about them. I am going to return to these worlds of light, stations in the Father's heaven to which you shall sometime ascend. From these places I came into this world, and the hour is now at hand when I must return to my Father's work in the spheres on high.

“If I thus go before you into the Father's heavenly kingdom, so will I surely send for you that you may be with me in the places that were prepared for the mortal sons of God before this world was. Even though I must leave you, I will be present with you in spirit, and eventually you shall be with me in person when you have ascended to me in my universe even as I am about to ascend to my Father in his greater universe. And what I have told you is true and everlasting, even though you may not fully comprehend it. I go to the Father, and though you cannot now follow me, you shall certainly follow me in the ages to come.”

When Jesus sat down, Thomas arose and said: “Master, we do not know where you are going; so of course we do not know the way. But we will follow you this very night if you will show us the way.”

When Jesus heard Thomas he answered: “Thomas, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man goes to the Father except through me. All who find the Father, first find me. If you know me, you know the way to the Father. And you do know me, for you have lived with me and you now see me.”

But this teaching was too deep for many of the apostles, especially for Philip, who, after speaking a few words with Nathaniel, arose and said: “Master, show us the Father, and everything you have said will be made plain.”

And when Philip had spoken, Jesus said: “Philip, have I been so long with you and yet you do not even now know me? Again do I declare: He who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you then say, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? Have I not taught you that the words which I speak are not my words but the words of the Father? I speak for the Father and not of myself. I am in this world to do the Father's will, and that I have done. My Father abides in me and works through me. Believe me when I say that the Father is in me, and that I am in the Father, or else believe me for the sake of the very life I have lived—for the work's sake.”

Elsewhere, we have the beautiful "I AM" statements that identify Jesus as the Father incarnate. Anyone reading these beautiful statement might turn wholeheartedly to Jesus and his teachings!

What’s More Important…Knowing Jesus or Knowing God?

There are subtle differences between what traditional Christianity would have us believe and what Jesus actually taught. He was definitely declaring that he IS God, and that his teachings were to be considered as if God himself were teaching. But he never said we must first accept him as Savior before knowing God. He invited us to do so; he gave of himself in order to reveal God; he said that he was the way;  but he never made knowing him as a requisite for salvation, as does modern-day Christianity.

Of course, once a seeker does know Jesus, they have found God; and conversely, when a seeker has found God, they can know him better by understanding Jesus, for Jesus has made the way to God plain; however, not all who find God find Jesus first. Does this make their experience invalid? Is their salvation in jeopardy?

On this troubled world, where even the very reality of God is in question with many, being told that you must receive Jesus before you can have salvation can be a real sticking point. Coming primarily from "churched" people, this imperative can have unwelcomed ramifications for the seeker who is only seeking assurance of salvation - life after death. Jesus can then become a hurdle - especially Jesus in the context of the numerous religions that exist in his name, but which are not always worthy representatives of his true teachings. Again, note the self-described adjectives in the article above: bigoted, intolerant and narrow-minded. These are not attractive qualities! Nor are they Jesusonian qualities.

The Transcendent Jesus

Many times in this blog, we have attempted to convey the idea that Jesus is not a Christian; he did not come to earth to establish a church, and in fact, Jesus transcends all church teachings of any evolutionary religion - Christianity included. He stands alone and above all of them.

Knowing Jesus as revealed in The Urantia Book may be a different experience than knowing Jesus as portrayed in the Bible, and by Bible-readers. Nonetheless, Jesus in The Urantia Book is a true revelation of his nature and mission, given to us by those who were witnesses to his life. This may be a jarring statement to some, but it may ring true for the sincere seeker as nothing else ever has.

It is certainly possible to know Jesus in our earthly life- we hold his Spirit of Truth in us, and through the ministry of that good spirit, we are equipped to fellowship with the Master; this good Spirit aids every seeker to find not only Jesus, but all truth, which always leads to God. But even if a believer fails to find Jesus on earth, that ascender WILL meet him in eternity.

How Will We Meet Jesus? And When?

In the ascension experience, there are many, many stops that the ascender will take before being ready to actually stand in the presence of God. And Jesus mentions this in the bolded passages above. Meeting God is not something that happens automatically, but is, instead, the culmination of a long series of transformations and spiritual advancements. And one of the steps that will take place is the actual meeting of the ascender with Jesus.

Jesus is the Creator Son - the Creator of this very universe in which we live. As such, we will all literally meet him before we have the opportunity to meet the Universal Father of all creation. That meeting is described here:

113:7.4 Before leaving the mansion worlds, all mortals will have permanent seraphic associates or guardians. And as you ascend the morontia spheres, eventually it is the seraphic guardians who witness and certify the decrees of your eternal union with the Thought Adjusters. Together they have established your personality identities as children of the flesh from the worlds of time. Then, with your attainment of the mature morontia estate, they accompany you through Jerusem and the associated worlds of system progress and culture. After that they go with you to Edentia and its seventy spheres of advanced socialization, and subsequently will they pilot you to the Melchizedeks and follow you through the superb career of the universe headquarters worlds. And when you have learned the wisdom and culture of the Melchizedeks, they will take you on to Salvington, where you will stand face to face with the Sovereign of all Nebadon [aka Jesus of Nazareth].

And the reason for this is simple: Christ Michael of Nebadon is the Sovereign of this universe; he is the representative of the Universal Father, and so, just as in an earthly kingdom, a subject may not be brought directly into the king's presence, but will first be received by those who are responsible for their particular part of the kingdom - we go up the chain of command, as it were.

Our particular part of the Father's creation is Nebadon, the universe that Michael (Jesus) created. And so, we will literally meet Jesus before we meet the Father, in his "greater universe"; this is the meaning of Jesus' statement: "No man goes to the Father except through me."

Creator Sons are the way-showers

The Urantia Book teaches that knowing God is of primary importance to a mortal being in order to secure salvation. The Paradise Sons - the Creator Sons, of whom Jesus is one, are the leaders, the divine-made-flesh who make it easier to find and know God because they are one of us – mortals such as was Jesus of Nazareth.

But is it possible to know God independent of these Creator Son bestowals? God has given a "spark" of himself - the Thought Adjuster - to each human in order to make that possible:

1:2.8 Those who know God have experienced the fact of his presence; such God-knowing mortals hold in their personal experience the only positive proof of the existence of the living God which one human being can offer to another. The existence of God is utterly beyond all possibility of demonstration except for the contact between the God-consciousness of the human mind and the God-presence of the Thought Adjuster that indwells the mortal intellect and is bestowed upon man as the free gift of the Universal Father.

5:1.7 Man is spiritually indwelt by a surviving Thought Adjuster. If such a human mind is sincerely and spiritually motivated, if such a human soul desires to know God and become like him, honestly wants to do the Father's will, there exists no negative influence of mortal deprivation nor positive power of possible interference which can prevent such a divinely motivated soul from securely ascending to the portals of Paradise.

5:5.13 Eternal survival of personality is wholly dependent on the choosing of the mortal mind, whose decisions determine the survival potential of the immortal soul. When the mind believes God and the soul knows God, and when, with the fostering Adjuster, they all desire God, then is survival assured.

99:5.2 Always keep in mind: True religion is to know God as your Father and man as your brother. Religion is not a slavish belief in threats of punishment or magical promises of future mystical rewards.

In Jesus' ministry, he did not often speak of himself; but he did speak of "knowing God' many times. He did not speak of himself in terms that would create the error that in order to know God, one must first know Jesus.

True, any seeker will find it vastly easier to find and fellowship with God as revealed by Jesus. But if Jesus is used to frighten and coerce a believer, the whole point may be lost.

Jesus – like the God he revealed – is a kind, gentle, loving, forgiving Father. He never pointed anyone to himself, but only to God. God-consciousness is the goal of every mortal’s quest for truth.

Knowing God - What Jesus Taught

Jesus, throughout his ministry exhorted his followers to find GOD - he did not refer to himself, but to the Father. For example, we find these advices of the Master. And these are but a few:

130:8.2 At Syracuse they spent a full week. The notable event of their stop here was the rehabilitation of Ezra, the backslidden Jew, who kept the tavern where Jesus and his companions stopped. Ezra was charmed by Jesus' approach and asked him to help him come back to the faith of Israel. He expressed his hopelessness by saying, “I want to be a true son of Abraham, but I cannot find God.” Said Jesus: “If you truly want to find God, that desire is in itself evidence that you have already found him. Your trouble is not that you cannot find God, for the Father has already found you; your trouble is simply that you do not know God.

132:4.7 To the speaker at the forum he said: “Your eloquence is pleasing, your logic is admirable, your voice is pleasant, but your teaching is hardly true. If you could only enjoy the inspiring satisfaction of knowing God as your spiritual Father, then you might employ your powers of speech to liberate your fellows from the bondage of darkness and from the slavery of ignorance.”

132:7.2 “Man must become hungry for truth as a result of the experiences of living, or he must desire to know God as the result of contact with the lives of those who are acquainted with the divine Father before another human being can act as the means of leading such a fellow mortal to the Father in heaven. If we know God, our real business on earth is so to live as to permit the Father to reveal himself in our lives, and thus will all God-seeking persons see the Father and ask for our help in finding out more about the God who in this manner finds expression in our lives.”

133:0.3 Said Jesus: “Though human beings differ in many ways, the one from another, before God and in the spiritual world all mortals stand on an equal footing. There are only two groups of mortals in the eyes of God: those who desire to do his will and those who do not. As the universe looks upon an inhabited world, it likewise discerns two great classes: those who know God and those who do not. Those who cannot know God are reckoned among the animals of any given realm.

133:3.7 As they stood there in the moonlight, Jesus went on to say: “There lives within every human mind a divine spirit, the gift of the Father in heaven. This good spirit ever strives to lead us to God, to help us to find God and to know God.”

Following Jesus

Jesus did say that we should follow him, but in the opinion of this writer, he meant that we should follow him because he was leading us to the Father - not himself. The Urantia Book exhorts us to follow Jesus by studying his life and how he lived it - and the way he lived his life was to reveal God the Father.

196:0.13 Jesus does not require his disciples to believe in him but rather to believe with him, believe in the reality of the love of God and in full confidence accept the security of the assurance of sonship with the heavenly Father. The Master desires that all his followers should fully share his transcendent faith. Jesus most touchingly challenged his followers, not only to believe what he believed, but also to believe as he believed. This is the full significance of his one supreme requirement, “Follow me.”

God Revealed to the Individual

In reality, the revelation of The Urantia Book teaches us that all ascenders WILL eventually come to Jesus before seeing God, but isn't it of primary importance that a truthseeker might find the one, true God in and of him/herself as Jesus taught us to do? Jesus was, and is, the way-shower, but the path he shows us leads to God. The life he lived here revealed the invisible God to our "creature eyes."

180:6.8“...the Father himself loves you and desires to be more fully revealed to you. Mortal man cannot see the spirit Father; therefore have I come into the world to show the Father to your creature eyes. But when you have become perfected in spirit growth, you shall then see the Father himself.”

So, if a sincere soul seeks God,  s/he certainly may successfully grasp God, even if s/he may not know Jesus all that well as yet. The Father has given a spark of himself for that very purpose - the Thought Adjuster - which aids the sincere soul to do just that.  And that spark of God is sufficient to guide the seeker to God, with all other spirit influences as complimentary to that purpose. Those influences include Jesus' good Spirit of Truth and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, all of which work together with the soul and mind of man to deliver him to the safe shores of fellowship with God, even while in the earthly estate.

Jesus came to fellowship us, to help us find God. He is God, true - and he is also our human brother whose life is a testimony to the love of God. We can follow him unreservedly; and in following Jesus, we do find God. Let’s not make Jesus a stumbling block, but a friend, an example, an inspiration who will lead us to our ultimate adventure – standing in the Presence of God.

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Mon, May 15, 2017

What Happened to Jesus' Physical Body

By Truthbook Staff

When I saw this headline: 5 Reasons to Believe in Jesus' Bodily Resurrection by Cale Clark, I considered it a great opportunity to discuss this idea of - not only Jesus' physical body after his crucifixion - but the fate of OUR human bodies following our deaths here on earth; what happened to Jesus' physical body, and what's going to happen to ours.

The prevailing view in Christianity is that Jesus physical body resurrected; likewise, it is thought that our physical bodies will resurrect at some time. But is it true? See our blog below in which we discuss Urantia Book teachings on this subject, but first, here's the heart of the article, presented in Q+A form:

"Q. This Easter season, how can I convince my friends that Jesus physically rose from the dead?

"A. The good news is that it is possible to show your friends plausible evidence that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. ... There are five historical facts concerning the Resurrection of Jesus that must be accounted for, no matter what one believes. They are:

"1. Jesus died by crucifixion. This is an event of history that is recorded outside the Bible.

"2. The tomb of Jesus was empty on Easter Sunday.

"3. Jesus' disciples were willing to suffer and die for their belief in the Resurrection. While many people are willing to die for what they believe is true, no one willingly dies for what they know to be a lie.

"4. The Church persecutor known as Saul the Pharisee converted to the Catholic Christian faith, became Paul the Apostle, and was martyred for his faith in the Risen Jesus.

"5. The skeptic James, a relative of Jesus, converted because the Risen Jesus appeared to him."

Click to read the entire article

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What is the truth about Jesus' resurrection?

For so long, believers have been asked to believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus' body, but is it true? Let's take the points one by one and see how these facts are explained, and the truth revealed, in The Urantia Book:

1. Jesus died by crucifixion. This is an event of history that is recorded outside the Bible.

There's no dispute here whatsoever. Both the Bible and The Urantia Book agree completely about this fact. However, in The Urantia Book, Jesus' crucifixion is covered and details revealed that you will see nowhere else. An entire paper is devoted to this horrible event with details you cannot read anywhere else. And that is because the details have been supplied by eyewitnesses - spiritual eyewitness who were actually there.

Click to read "The Crucifixion"

2. The tomb of Jesus was empty on Easter Sunday.

Again, no dispute here; however, while most Bible students believe that the tomb was empty because Jesus physical body had resurrected, The Urantia Book corrects this error by explaining a different reason that the tomb was empty.

Not only was the tomb empty, but the gravecloths were undisturbed. It goes against reason to think that Jesus' physical body could have somehow been disentangled from these burial wrappings without their being disturbed.

So, what DID happen to Jesus physical body?

The authors of The Urantia Book explain that after Jesus' resurrection in "morontia" form had taken place, the chief of archangels requested custody of Jesus' material body:

189:2.1 At ten minutes past three o'clock, as the resurrected Jesus fraternized with the assembled morontia personalities from the seven mansion worlds of Satania, the chief of archangels—the angels of the resurrection—approached Gabriel and asked for the mortal body of Jesus. Said the chief of the archangels: "We may not participate in the morontia resurrection of the bestowal experience of Michael our sovereign, but we would have his mortal remains put in our custody for immediate dissolution. We do not propose to employ our technique of dematerialization; we merely wish to invoke the process of accelerated time. It is enough that we have seen the Sovereign live and die on Urantia; the hosts of heaven would be spared the memory of enduring the sight of the slow decay of the human form of the Creator and Upholder of a universe. In the name of the celestial intelligences of all Nebadon, I ask for a mandate giving me the custody of the mortal body of Jesus of Nazareth and empowering us to proceed with its immediate dissolution."

189:2.2 And when Gabriel had conferred with the senior Most High of Edentia, the archangel spokesman for the celestial hosts was given permission to make such disposition of the physical remains of Jesus as he might determine.

This is one of the most fascinating parts of Jesus' resurrection. You can read about the "near-instantaneous" dissolution of his physical form in this section called The Material Body of Jesus

The authors end this section by explaining:

189:2.6 The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus has been based on the fact of the "empty tomb." It was indeed a fact that the tomb was empty, but this is not the truth of the resurrection. The tomb was truly empty when the first believers arrived, and this fact, associated with that of the undoubted resurrection of the Master, led to the formulation of a belief which was not true: the teaching that the material and mortal body of Jesus was raised from the grave. Truth having to do with spiritual realities and eternal values cannot always be built up by a combination of apparent facts. Although individual facts may be materially true, it does not follow that the association of a group of facts must necessarily lead to truthful spiritual conclusions.

189:2.7 The tomb of Joseph was empty, not because the body of Jesus had been rehabilitated or resurrected, but because the celestial hosts had been granted their request to afford it a special and unique dissolution, a return of the "dust to dust," without the intervention of the delays of time and without the operation of the ordinary and visible processes of mortal decay and material corruption.

189:2.8 The mortal remains of Jesus underwent the same natural process of elemental disintegration as characterizes all human bodies on earth except that, in point of time, this natural mode of dissolution was greatly accelerated, hastened to that point where it became well-nigh instantaneous.

189:2.9 The true evidences of the resurrection of Michael are spiritual in nature, albeit this teaching is corroborated by the testimony of many mortals of the realm who met, recognized, and communed with the resurrected morontia Master. He became a part of the personal experience of almost one thousand human beings before he finally took leave of Urantia.

3. Jesus' disciples were willing to suffer and die for their belief in the Resurrection. While many people are willing to die for what they believe is true, no one willingly dies for what they know to be a lie.

No dispute here, either. We could not agree more

4. The Church persecutor known as Saul the Pharisee converted to the Catholic Christian faith, became Paul the Apostle, and was martyred for his faith in the Risen Jesus.

Even though Paul never met Jesus, his entire reborn life was based on his conviction that the resurrection was a fact.

5. The skeptic James, a relative of Jesus, converted because the Risen Jesus appeared to him.

In The Urantia Book, we discover that James was indeed a relative of Jesus - was, in fact, Jesus' next-younger brother. Jesus did, indeed appear to James; however, James was already a convert and follower of the Master. In fact, he and Jude, another of Jesus' brothers, was baptised with Jesus by John in the Jordan. And incidentally, Jesus had eight siblings in all. You can read about them all HERE.

When Jesus resurrected, he resurrected in a form that was not physical - he was able to make this new form visible at will, which he did, nineteen sepatrate times, to over one thousand people. But he did not look like himself - if you'll recall, Mary Magdalene, when seeing the risen Jesus for the first time, did not recognioze him. It was only when he spoke to her that she was able to recognize that this was the same Jesus she had known and loved.

And what does this mean for us?

Jesus' resurrection in this glorified form is a demonstration of what will happen to each of us, too, when we resurrect in heaven. Jesus stayed here on earth for a time, in order to appear to his friends, family, and followers - to leave them with words of comfort and a reiteration of his teachings to them. We will not have that experience, but we will resurrect in a new form, just as Jesus did. Our physical bodies will stay here on earth - dust to dust. But our bodies will undergo dissolution until we are indeed dust - while the immortal part of us - our soul will have gone on to eternal life. Reunited with our personality and our memories, with the indwelling Spirit og God, we will have become morontia beings like Jesus - in a form that is not altogether physical, but not altogther spiritul as yet. That takes place after our sojoiurn on the "many mansion" to which we will be sent. Jesus showed us the way - being a human being like us, he has now demonstrated the reality of eternal life that is the destiny of all of the children of God.

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Thu, May 04, 2017

Jesus and His Parables

By Truthbook Staff

The parables of Jesus...what a great topic for a blog! The article I saw today is called: Faith in Focus: Why did Jesus speak in parables? by Pastor Charles Fitzpatrick. This article is full of good observation and commentary by the good pastor. I wonder what he might say if he had the revelation of The Urantia Book at hand...! No one can fault this servant of the Lord for falling short in his understanding, for the Bible has been the only source of real information about the teachings of Jesus for the past 2000+ years.

We'll try to help each reader gain a new understanding of the parables of Jesus from the teachings of The Urantia Book in our blog below, but first, here's a snippet or two from the article. You might want to do this, too - in both the Bible AND The Urantia Book! Check out the differences!

"Let me challenge you to see whether you can understand two of Jesus' parables. Read Matthew 13:3-9 and 24-30. Think about or even write what you think these two parables mean. Then check your answers with Jesus' explanations in 18-23 and 36-43."

Click to read the entire article

_________________

The parables that the article cites are the ones about the Sower - greatly beloved stories. And we'll address them - and even more - one at a time. But first, this preliminary information only found in The Urantia Book about Jesus' use of parables. This section will actually answer the question posed by the article.

(Note: all passages in this blog come from Paper 151 - Tarrying and Teaching by the Seaside):

Why did Jesus use parables to teach?

151:1.3 ...Matthew said to Jesus: "Master, what is the meaning of the dark sayings which you present to the multitude? Why do you speak in parables to those who seek the truth?" And Jesus answered:

"In patience have I instructed you all this time. To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to the undiscerning multitudes and to those who seek our destruction, from now on, the mysteries of the kingdom shall be presented in parables. And this we will do so that those who really desire to enter the kingdom may discern the meaning of the teaching and thus find salvation, while those who listen only to ensnare us may be the more confounded in that they will see without seeing and will hear without hearing. My children, do you not perceive the law of the spirit which decrees that to him who has shall be given so that he shall have an abundance; but from him who has not shall be taken away even that which he has. Therefore will I henceforth speak to the people much in parables to the end that our friends and those who desire to know the truth may find that which they seek, while our enemies and those who love not the truth may hear without understanding. Many of these people follow not in the way of the truth. The prophet did, indeed, describe all such undiscerning souls when he said: `For this people's heart has waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed lest they should discern the truth and understand it in their hearts.'"

151:3.14 Jesus also resorted to the use of parables as the best possible refutation of the studied effort of the religious leaders at Jerusalem to teach that all of his work was done by the assistance of demons and the prince of devils. The appeal to nature was in contravention of such teaching since the people of that day looked upon all natural phenomena as the product of the direct act of spiritual beings and supernatural forces. He also determined upon this method of teaching because it enabled him to proclaim vital truths to those who desired to know the better way while at the same time affording his enemies less opportunity to find cause for offense and for accusations against him.

More Advice and Commentary from Jesus about Parables

151:3.2 The continued discussion of parables and further instruction as to their interpretation may be summarized and expressed in modern phraseology as follows:

1. Jesus advised against the use of either fables or allegories in teaching the truths of the gospel. He did recommend the free use of parables, especially nature parables. He emphasized the value of utilizing the analogy existing between the natural and the spiritual worlds as a means of teaching truth. He frequently alluded to the natural as "the unreal and fleeting shadow of spirit realities."

(Ed. NOTE: a fable is defined as "a short story, typically with animals as characters, conveying a moral."

An allegory is defined as: "a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one."

A parable is defined as "a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson" These definitions are important to keep in mind)

2. Jesus narrated three or four parables from the Hebrew scriptures, calling attention to the fact that this method of teaching was not wholly new. However, it became almost a new method of teaching as he employed it from this time onward.

3. In teaching the apostles the value of parables, Jesus called attention to the following points:

The parable provides for a simultaneous appeal to vastly different levels of mind and spirit. The parable stimulates the imagination, challenges the discrimination, and provokes critical thinking; it promotes sympathy without arousing antagonism.

The parable proceeds from the things which are known to the discernment of the unknown. The parable utilizes the material and natural as a means of introducing the spiritual and the supermaterial.

Parables favor the making of impartial moral decisions. The parable evades much prejudice and puts new truth gracefully into the mind and does all this with the arousal of a minimum of the self-defense of personal resentment.

To reject the truth contained in parabolical analogy requires conscious intellectual action which is directly in contempt of one's honest judgment and fair decision. The parable conduces to the forcing of thought through the sense of hearing.

The use of the parable form of teaching enables the teacher to present new and even startling truths while at the same time he largely avoids all controversy and outward clashing with tradition and established authority.

The parable also possesses the advantage of stimulating the memory of the truth taught when the same familiar scenes are subsequently encountered.

In this way Jesus sought to acquaint his followers with many of the reasons underlying his practice of increasingly using parables in his public teaching.

And now... the Parable of the Sower

Here is the parable in its entirety, as related in The Urantia Book:

"A sower went forth to sow, and it came to pass as he sowed that some seed fell by the wayside to be trodden underfoot and devoured by the birds of heaven. Other seed fell upon the rocky places where there was little earth, and immediately it sprang up because there was no depth to the soil, but as soon as the sun shone, it withered because it had no root whereby to secure moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns, and as the thorns grew up, it was choked so that it yielded no grain. Still other seed fell upon good ground and, growing, yielded, some thirtyfold, some sixtyfold, and some a hundredfold." And when he had finished speaking this parable, he said to the multitude, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Interpreting the Parable

Following Jesus' presentation of this parable, the apostles went off by themselves to discuss its meaning. Later on, and before his own commentary on the parable, Jesus asked them what they had decided about its true meaning. First, Peter replied with his interpretation:

After a moment of silence, Peter said: "Master, we have talked much concerning the parable, and this is the interpretation I have decided upon: The sower is the gospel preacher; the seed is the word of God. The seed which fell by the wayside represents those who do not understand the gospel teaching. The birds which snatched away the seed that fell upon the hardened ground represent Satan, or the evil one, who steals away that which has been sown in the hearts of these ignorant ones. The seed which fell upon the rocky places, and which sprang up so suddenly, represents those superficial and unthinking persons who, when they hear the glad tidings, receive the message with joy; but because the truth has no real root in their deeper understanding, their devotion is short-lived in the face of tribulation and persecution. When trouble comes, these believers stumble; they fall away when tempted. The seed which fell among thorns represents those who hear the word willingly, but who allow the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches to choke the word of truth so that it becomes unfruitful. Now the seed which fell on good ground and sprang up to bear, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundredfold, represents those who, when they have heard the truth, receive it with varying degrees of appreciation—owing to their differing intellectual endowments—and hence manifest these varying degrees of religious experience."

Jesus, after listening to Peter's interpretation of the parable, asked the other apostles if they did not also have suggestions to offer. To this invitation only Nathaniel responded. Said he: "Master, while I recognize many good things about Simon Peter's interpretation of the parable, I do not fully agree with him. My idea of this parable would be: The seed represents the gospel of the kingdom, while the sower stands for the messengers of the kingdom. The seed which fell by the wayside on hardened ground represents those who have heard but little of the gospel, along with those who are indifferent to the message, and who have hardened their hearts. The birds of the sky that snatched away the seed which fell by the wayside represent one's habits of life, the temptation of evil, and the desires of the flesh. The seed which fell among the rocks stands for those emotional souls who are quick to receive new teaching and equally quick to give up the truth when confronted with the difficulties and realities of living up to this truth; they lack spiritual perception. The seed which fell among the thorns represents those who are attracted to the truths of the gospel; they are minded to follow its teachings, but they are prevented by the pride of life, jealousy, envy, and the anxieties of human existence. The seed which fell on good soil, springing up to bear, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundredfold, represents the natural and varying degrees of ability to comprehend truth and respond to its spiritual teachings by men and women who possess diverse endowments of spirit illumination."

When Nathaniel had finished speaking, the apostles and their associates fell into serious discussion and engaged in earnest debate, some contending for the correctness of Peter's interpretation, while almost an equal number sought to defend Nathaniel's explanation of the parable. Meanwhile Peter and Nathaniel had withdrawn to the house, where they were involved in a vigorous and determined effort the one to convince and change the mind of the other.

Finally, Thomas offered his interpretation:

151:2.5 The Master permitted this confusion to pass the point of most intense expression; then he clapped his hands and called them about him. When they had all gathered around him once more, he said, "Before I tell you about this parable, do any of you have aught to say?" Following a moment of silence, Thomas spoke up: "Yes, Master, I wish to say a few words. I remember that you once told us to beware of this very thing. You instructed us that, when using illustrations for our preaching, we should employ true stories, not fables, and that we should select a story best suited to the illustration of the one central and vital truth which we wished to teach the people, and that, having so used the story, we should not attempt to make a spiritual application of all the minor details involved in the telling of the story. I hold that Peter and Nathaniel are both wrong in their attempts to interpret this parable. I admire their ability to do these things, but I am equally sure that all such attempts to make a natural parable yield spiritual analogies in all its features can only result in confusion and serious misconception of the true purpose of such a parable. That I am right is fully proved by the fact that, whereas we were all of one mind an hour ago, now are we divided into two separate groups who hold different opinions concerning this parable and hold such opinions so earnestly as to interfere, in my opinion, with our ability fully to grasp the great truth which you had in mind when you presented this parable to the multitude and subsequently asked us to make comment upon it."

151:2.6 The words which Thomas spoke had a quieting effect on all of them. He caused them to recall what Jesus had taught them on former occasions, and before Jesus resumed speaking, Andrew arose, saying: "I am persuaded that Thomas is right, and I would like to have him tell us what meaning he attaches to the parable of the sower." After Jesus had beckoned Thomas to speak, he said: "My brethren, I did not wish to prolong this discussion, but if you so desire, I will say that I think this parable was spoken to teach us one great truth. And that is that our teaching of the gospel of the kingdom, no matter how faithfully and efficiently we execute our divine commissions, is going to be attended by varying degrees of success; and that all such differences in results are directly due to conditions inherent in the circumstances of our ministry, conditions over which we have little or no control."

151:2.7 When Thomas had finished speaking, the majority of his fellow preachers were about ready to agree with him, even Peter and Nathaniel were on their way over to speak with him, when Jesus arose and said: "Well done, Thomas; you have discerned the true meaning of parables; but both Peter and Nathaniel have done you all equal good in that they have so fully shown the danger of undertaking to make an allegory out of my parables. In your own hearts you may often profitably engage in such flights of the speculative imagination, but you make a mistake when you seek to offer such conclusions as a part of your public teaching."

What the Master Said Then

Finally, Jesus added a new twist to this parable with the following:

151:3.13 Toward the close of the evening's lesson Jesus made his first comment on the parable of the sower. He said the parable referred to two things: First, it was a review of his own ministry up to that time and a forecast of what lay ahead of him for the remainder of his life on earth And second, it was also a hint as to what the apostles and other messengers of the kingdom might expect in their ministry from generation to generation as time passed.

151:3.15 Before he dismissed the group for the night, Jesus said: "Now will I tell you the last of the parable of the sower. I would test you to know how you will receive this: The kingdom of heaven is also like a man who cast good seed upon the earth; and while he slept by night and went about his business by day, the seed sprang up and grew, and although he knew not how it came about, the plant came to fruit. First there was the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And then when the grain was ripe, he put forth the sickle, and the harvest was finished. He who has an ear to hear, let him hear."

151:3.16 Many times did the apostles turn this saying over in their minds, but the Master never made further mention of this addition to the parable of the sower.

Parables can serve a good purpose when we understand how to use them

As Jesus pointed out, a parable is not meant to be a fable, where an object or an animal is used to represent a truth; nor is a parable to be an allegory, where all elements of a story have a definite meaning for the hearer. Rather, a parable is a simple story that can have varying degrees of meaning, and varying degrees of understanding.

As Thomas rightly discerned: "our teaching of the gospel of the kingdom, no matter how faithfully and efficiently we execute our divine commissions, is going to be attended by varying degrees of success; and that all such differences in results are directly due to conditions inherent in the circumstances of our ministry, conditions over which we have little or no control."

Nevertheless, these simple nature stories contain layers of meaning for those who are sincere seekers after the truth. To those who are not seekers, they will likely seem meaningless.

Finally, Jesus advises believers about the use of parables in ministry:

151:3.1 The apostles were parable-minded, so much so that the whole of the next evening was devoted to the further discussion of parables. Jesus introduced the evening's conference by saying: "My beloved, you must always make a difference in teaching so as to suit your presentation of truth to the minds and hearts before you. When you stand before a multitude of varying intellects and temperaments, you cannot speak different words for each class of hearers, but you can tell a story to convey your teaching; and each group, even each individual, will be able to make his own interpretation of your parable in accordance with his own intellectual and spiritual endowments. You are to let your light shine but do so with wisdom and discretion. No man, when he lights a lamp, covers it up with a vessel or puts it under the bed; he puts his lamp on a stand where all can behold the light. Let me tell you that nothing is hid in the kingdom of heaven which shall not be made manifest; neither are there any secrets which shall not ultimately be made known. Eventually, all these things shall come to light. Think not only of the multitudes and how they hear the truth; take heed also to yourselves how you hear. Remember that I have many times told you: To him who has shall be given more, while from him who has not shall be taken away even that which he thinks he has."

More Parables

In this section, Jesus relates the parable of the "darnel," a weed that chokes the good wheat:

151:4.1 The next day Jesus again taught the people from the boat, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while he slept, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and hastened away. And so when the young blades sprang up and later were about to bring forth fruit, there appeared also the weeds. Then the servants of this householder came and said to him: `Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Whence then come these weeds?' And he replied to his servants, `An enemy has done this.' The servants then asked their master, `Would you have us go out and pluck up these weeds?' But he answered them and said: `No, lest while you are gathering them up, you uproot the wheat also. Rather let them both grow together until the time of the harvest, when I will say to the reapers, Gather up first the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn and then gather up the wheat to be stored in my barn.'"

And more...

151:4.2 After the people had asked a few questions, Jesus spoke another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man sowed in his field. Now a mustard seed is the least of seeds, but when it is full grown, it becomes the greatest of all herbs and is like a tree so that the birds of heaven are able to come and rest in the branches thereof."

151:4.3 "The kingdom of heaven is also like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, and in this way it came about that all of the meal was leavened."

151:4.4 "The kingdom of heaven is also like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man discovered. In his joy he went forth to sell all he had that he might have the money to buy the field."

151:4.5 "The kingdom of heaven is also like a merchant seeking goodly pearls; and having found one pearl of great price, he went out and sold everything he possessed that he might be able to buy the extraordinary pearl."

151:4.6 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a sweep net which was cast into the sea, and it gathered up every kind of fish. Now, when the net was filled, the fishermen drew it up on the beach, where they sat down and sorted out the fish, gathering the good into vessels while the bad they threw away."

A Lesson for all of Us

This entire Paper 151, titled: Tarrying and Teaching by the Seaside contains valuable lessons for all those who wish to attract believers to the Kingdom. We would all be wise to think about creating our own parables as we go about our lives - simple stories that, like the story of the Sower, will resonate with our audiences - even an audience of one.

This writer is not all that good at doing this but I can recall at least one nature idea that has always resonated with me, and that is the simple observation of the activity of water - how it always seeks the lowest place and yet it has the greatest ability to wear away even the hardest, most dense of substances. It can wear away rock, even! It serves by fitting itself into all lowly places and by its persistence, it wears away and makes smooth its surroundings.

Another one I heard recently is a story about a man who went to a beautiful mountain lake; he could see the pebbles at the bottom very clearly. But when he went into the lake, it was far deeper than he realized because the water was so clear! The water threatened to drown him before he could get to the bottom for those beautiful pebbles.

What parables can you think of?

Lastly ... this is a discussion that can only be found in The Urantia Book, and is only one reason that readers from all over the world love and study The Urantia Book. It is a great illustration of how studying the life of Jesus really is the most important knowledge that one can gain. And it's all RIGHT HERE!

 

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Mon, April 24, 2017

The Resurrected Jesus Appears to his Apostles

By Truthbook Staff

This simple article: Jesus appears to the apostles from The Manila Bulletin, is basically a retelling of the Bible story found at John 20:19-31. The stories of Jesus' appearances to the apostles are some of the most poignant of all his appearances, so we have made a blog below with reference to the Urantia Book story of the same events. But first, this short snippet from the Bible, which comes after the story of Jesus' second appearance to apostle, including "doubting" Thomas; it feels like a clear invitation to share more Urantia Book truth with our readers:

"30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name."

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Respect for the Bible

Far from trying to discredit, or somehow minimize the traditional Bible stories of Jesus' life, we here at TruthBook always respect and applaud the Bible. For over 20 centuries the New Testament, scanty though it is in detail, has been sufficient to bring countless souls to Jesus. In our blogs, we simply show the reader the new and expanded stories that have been given to us through The Urantia Book. The authors of these papers refer to the Life and Teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book as being "restated." And the restatement comes from the detailed records that were kept by these authors; kept in safekeeping for this time in our history when we are ready to hear them in their fullness.

NOTE: In these stories, you will read a new term: "Morontia." Morontia refers to a state of being which is not fully material but not fully spiritual. Just as Jesus did, all of us human beings will resurrect in much the same kind of form as Jesus in these stories - but not on earth. Normally, a being in the morontia state is not visible to mortals, but in Jesus' case, he was able to appear and disappear at will and his changed state is one of the reasons that people who had long known him did not recognize him at first; but once he spoke, his personality became unmistakable.

Why did Jesus wait so long to appear to the apostles?

191:0.13 The Master put off the first morontia appearance to the apostles for a number of reasons. First, he wanted them to have time, after they heard of his resurrection, to think well over what he had told them about his death and resurrection when he was still with them in the flesh. The Master wanted Peter to wrestle through with some of his peculiar difficulties before he manifested himself to them all. In the second place, he desired that Thomas should be with them at the time of his first appearance. John Mark located Thomas at the home of Simon in Bethphage early this Sunday morning, bringing word to that effect to the apostles about eleven o'clock. Any time during this day Thomas would have gone back to them if Nathaniel or any two of the other apostles had gone for him. He really wanted to return, but having left as he did the evening before, he was too proud to go back of his own accord so soon. By the next day he was so depressed that it required almost a week for him to make up his mind to return. The apostles waited for him, and he waited for his brethren to seek him out and ask him to come back to them. Thomas thus remained away from his associates until the next Saturday evening, when, after darkness had come on, Peter and John went over to Bethphage and brought him back with them. And this is also the reason why they did not go at once to Galilee after Jesus first appeared to them; they would not go without Thomas.

Read more about the apostles in the upper room

Prior to the appearance of Jesus to the eleven as they gathered at the Mark home, he had appeared to Peter alone, and then to ten of the apostles (excepting Thomas), as they huddled in the upper room behind a bolted door. As mentioned above, Thomas was absent for the first appearance in the upper room. Here's more information about why:

191:5.1 Thomas spent a lonesome week alone with himself in the hills around about Olivet. During this time he saw only those at Simon's house and John Mark. It was about nine o'clock on Saturday, April 15, when the two apostles found him and took him back with them to their rendezvous at the Mark home. The next day Thomas listened to the telling of the stories of the Master's various appearances, but he steadfastly refused to believe. He maintained that Peter had enthused them into thinking they had seen the Master. Nathaniel reasoned with him, but it did no good. There was an emotional stubbornness associated with his customary doubtfulness, and this state of mind, coupled with his chagrin at having run away from them, conspired to create a situation of isolation which even Thomas himself did not fully understand. He had withdrawn from his fellows, he had gone his own way, and now, even when he was back among them, he unconsciously tended to assume an attitude of disagreement. He was slow to surrender; he disliked to give in. Without intending it, he really enjoyed the attention paid him; he derived unconscious satisfaction from the efforts of all his fellows to convince and convert him. He had missed them for a full week, and he obtained considerable pleasure from their persistent attentions.

Read more about Thomas' personality traits 

Jesus Appears to Peter

You'll recall that Peter's last experiences with Jesus had to do with Peter's denial of the Master. He was sad, full of guilt, and very worried that he was no longer an apostle. This poignant meeting of Jesus with Peter before appearing to the other apostles shows us the endless forgiveness of the Master:

191:1.1 It was near half past eight o'clock this Sunday evening when Jesus appeared to Simon Peter in the garden of the Mark home. This was his eighth morontia manifestation. Peter had lived under a heavy burden of doubt and guilt ever since his denial of the Master. All day Saturday and this Sunday he had fought the fear that, perhaps, he was no longer an apostle. He had shuddered at the fate of Judas and even thought that he, too, had betrayed his Master. All this afternoon he thought that it might be his presence with the apostles that prevented Jesus' appearing to them, provided, of course, he had really risen from the dead. And it was to Peter, in such a frame of mind and in such a state of soul, that Jesus appeared as the dejected apostle strolled among the flowers and shrubs.

When Peter thought of the loving look of the Master as he passed by on Annas's porch, and as he turned over in his mind that wonderful message brought him early that morning by the women who came from the empty tomb, "Go tell my apostles— and Peter" —as he contemplated these tokens of mercy, his faith began to surmount his doubts, and he stood still, clenching his fists, while he spoke aloud: "I believe he has risen from the dead; I will go and tell my brethren." And as he said this, there suddenly appeared in front of him the form of a man, who spoke to him in familiar tones, saying: "Peter, the enemy desired to have you, but I would not give you up. I knew it was not from the heart that you disowned me; therefore I forgave you even before you asked; but now must you cease to think about yourself and the troubles of the hour while you prepare to carry the good news of the gospel to those who sit in darkness. No longer should you be concerned with what you may obtain from the kingdom but rather be exercised about what you can give to those who live in dire spiritual poverty. Gird yourself, Simon, for the battle of a new day, the struggle with spiritual darkness and the evil doubtings of the natural minds of men."

Peter and the morontia Jesus walked through the garden and talked of things past, present, and future for almost five minutes. Then the Master vanished from his gaze, saying, "Farewell, Peter, until I see you with your brethren."

The First Appearance to the Ten Apostles (minus Thomas)

191:2.1 Shortly after nine o'clock that evening, after the departure of Cleopas and Jacob [the two brothers from Emmaus], while the Alpheus twins comforted Peter, and while Nathaniel remonstrated with Andrew, and as the ten apostles were there assembled in the upper chamber with all the doors bolted for fear of arrest, the Master, in morontia form, suddenly appeared in the midst of them, saying: " Peace be upon you. Why are you so frightened when I appear, as though you had seen a spirit? Did I not tell you about these things when I was present with you in the flesh? Did I not say to you that the chief priests and the rulers would deliver me up to be killed, that one of your own number would betray me, and that on the third day I would rise? Wherefore all your doubtings and all this discussion about the reports of the women, Cleopas and Jacob, and even Peter? How long will you doubt my words and refuse to believe my promises? And now that you actually see me, will you believe? Even now one of you is absent. When you are gathered together once more, and after all of you know of a certainty that the Son of Man has risen from the grave, go hence into Galilee. Have faith in God; have faith in one another; and so shall you enter into the new service of the kingdom of heaven. I will tarry in Jerusalem with you until you are ready to go into Galilee. My peace I leave with you."

When the morontia Jesus had spoken to them, he vanished in an instant from their sight. And they all fell on their faces, praising God and venerating their vanished Master. This was the Master's ninth morontia appearance.

The second appearance to the apostles - this time to the Eleven

191:5.2 They were having their evening meal a little after six o'clock, with Peter sitting on one side of Thomas and Nathaniel on the other, when the doubting apostle said: "I will not believe unless I see the Master with my own eyes and put my finger in the mark of the nails." As they thus sat at supper, and while the doors were securely shut and barred, the morontia Master suddenly appeared inside the curvature of the table and, standing directly in front of Thomas, said:

"Peace be upon you. For a full week have I tarried that I might appear again when you were all present to hear once more the commission to go into all the world and preach this gospel of the kingdom. Again I tell you: As the Father sent me into the world, so send I you. As I have revealed the Father, so shall you reveal the divine love, not merely with words, but in your daily living. I send you forth, not to love the souls of men, but rather to love men. You are not merely to proclaim the joys of heaven but also to exhibit in your daily experience these spirit realities of the divine life since you already have eternal life, as the gift of God, through faith. When you have faith, when power from on high, the Spirit of Truth, has come upon you, you will not hide your light here behind closed doors; you will make known the love and the mercy of God to all mankind. Through fear you now flee from the facts of a disagreeable experience, but when you shall have been baptized with the Spirit of Truth, you will bravely and joyously go forth to meet the new experiences of proclaiming the good news of eternal life in the kingdom of God. You may tarry here and in Galilee for a short season while you recover from the shock of the transition from the false security of the authority of traditionalism to the new order of the authority of facts, truth, and faith in the supreme realities of living experience. Your mission to the world is founded on the fact that I lived a God-revealing life among you; on the truth that you and all other men are the sons of God; and it shall consist in the life which you will live among men—the actual and living experience of loving men and serving them, even as I have loved and served you. Let faith reveal your light to the world; let the revelation of truth open the eyes blinded by tradition; let your loving service effectually destroy the prejudice engendered by ignorance. By so drawing close to your fellow men in understanding sympathy and with unselfish devotion, you will lead them into a saving knowledge of the Father's love. The Jews have extolled goodness; the Greeks have exalted beauty; the Hindus preach devotion; the faraway ascetics teach reverence; the Romans demand loyalty; but I require of my disciples life, even a life of loving service for your brothers in the flesh."

When the Master had so spoken, he looked down into the face of Thomas and said: "And you, Thomas, who said you would not believe unless you could see me and put your finger in the nail marks of my hands, have now beheld me and heard my words; and though you see no nail marks on my hands, since I am raised in the form that you also shall have when you depart from this world, what will you say to your brethren? You will acknowledge the truth, for already in your heart you had begun to believe even when you so stoutly asserted your unbelief. Your doubts, Thomas, always most stubbornly assert themselves just as they are about to crumble. Thomas, I bid you be not faithless but believing—and I know you will believe, even with a whole heart."

When Thomas heard these words, he fell on his knees before the morontia Master and exclaimed, "I believe! My Lord and my Master!" Then said Jesus to Thomas: "You have believed, Thomas, because you have really seen and heard me. Blessed are those in the ages to come who will believe even though they have not seen with the eye of flesh nor heard with the mortal ear."

And then, as the Master's form moved over near the head of the table, he addressed them all, saying: "And now go all of you to Galilee, where I will presently appear to you." After he said this, he vanished from their sight.

What about the wounds in Jesus' hands and side?

Those who have been taught that Jesus rose in physical form on Easter Sunday may not be able to easily reconcile this revelation of what really happened regarding this neeting of Jesus and Thomas. The fact is, there were no wounds on Jesus' resurrected body; he had risen in a more spiritual form - and it is just this type of form in which all the dead will resurrect - just as Jesus did.

The mortal body of Jesus was left in the tomb, just as our bodies will remain in the tomb, or in the earth. As explained above, this is why, when the Master appeared to many, they did not readily recognize him - he was changed. But when he spoke, all doubt was removed, as the essence of the personality of Jesus was easily discerned. And as the story relates, Jesus explains the absence of the wounds to Thomas.

But what happened to Jesus' physical body? Was it allowed to decay and dissolve in Joseph's tomb? Not at all. Even though decay and dissolution is the fate of all human bodies after death ("dust to dust"), the celestial hosts of heaven, having just witnessed the horror of Jesus crucifixion, implored Gabriel to release the Master's physical body for a more instantaneous disposal. To discover what happened to the physical body of Jesus, please see THIS LINK to the Urantia Book story.

Did Jesus Bestow the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) during this appearance?

Finally, despite what this Bible passage indicates, Jesus did not give his Spirit of Truth to all mankind until the day of Pentecost - the day that he ascended into heaven, no more to walk our world. Remember, the Comforter was promised to take Jesus' place after he should return to the Father - not before.

Again, as we do frequently in this blog, we encourage all readers to discover for themselves the full life and teachings of Jesus as presented in The Urantia Book. These stories of Jesus' appearances to the apostles are but a fracion of the detailed stories of the Master's life that will thrill, inspire, and amaze you.

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Tue, April 11, 2017

The Beautiful Beatitudes of Jesus

By TruthBook Staff

This "article" is really not an article such as we are used to using in this blog, but nonetheless, it lays out for the reader the eight beatitudes of Jesus. See our blog below, where we will supply a Urantia Book discussion of the momentous speech in which the Master gifted us with these "words of comfort" to be shared as we go about doing good. But first, here are the beatitudes in the article (which, BTW, is a pretty site to see):

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-101

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Are the Beatitudes seen in Matthew 5 the same in The Urantia Book?

Yes, these beloved encouragements have come down to us in The Urantia Book in essentially the same form as in the Gospel of Matthew; however, as is usual in The Urantia Book, we discover the accurate purpose and true context of the event, and we are gifted with a wealth of corollary information regarding their delivery. In Matthew, we are told only that Jesus saw the crowds and went up to talk to them and that the disciples joined him. No further information is given regarding what prompted him to give this speech.

Setting the Stage

From The Urantia Book:

140:0.1 Just before noon on Sunday, January 12, A.D. 27, Jesus called the apostles together for their ordination as public preachers of the gospel of the kingdom. The twelve were expecting to be called almost any day; so this morning they did not go out far from the shore to fish. Several of them were lingering near the shore repairing their nets and tinkering with their fishing paraphernalia.

As Jesus started down the seashore calling the apostles, he first hailed Andrew and Peter, who were fishing near the shore; next he signaled to James and John, who were in a boat near by, visiting with their father, Zebedee, and mending their nets. Two by two he gathered up the other apostles, and when he had assembled all twelve, he journeyed with them to the highlands north of Capernaum, where he proceeded to instruct them in preparation for their formal ordination.

For once all twelve of the apostles were silent; even Peter was in a reflective mood. At last the long-waited-for hour had come! They were going apart with the Master to participate in some sort of solemn ceremony of personal consecration and collective dedication to the sacred work of representing their Master in the proclamation of the coming of his Father's kingdom.

But before he delivered the sermon, he gave a lengthy set of preliminary instructions on establishing the Kingdom of heaven, which you can READ HERE.

And at the end of this instruction, he said:

140:1.7 "And this which your eyes now behold, this small beginning of twelve commonplace men, shall multiply and grow until eventually the whole earth shall be filled with the praise of my Father. And it will not be so much by the words you speak as by the lives you live that men will know you have been with me and have learned of the realities of the kingdom. And while I would lay no grievous burdens upon your minds, I am about to put upon your souls the solemn responsibility of representing me in the world when I shall presently leave you as I now represent my Father in this life which I am living in the flesh."

Continuing the ceremony:

140:2.1 Jesus now instructed the twelve mortals who had just listened to his declaration concerning the kingdom to kneel in a circle about him. Then the Master placed his hands upon the head of each apostle, beginning with Judas Iscariot and ending with Andrew, When he had blessed them, he extended his hands and prayed:

"My Father, I now bring to you these men, my messengers. From among our children on earth I have chosen these twelve to go forth to represent me as I came forth to represent you. Love them and be with them as you have loved and been with me. And now, my Father, give these men wisdom as I place all the affairs of the coming kingdom in their hands. And I would, if it is your will, tarry on earth a time to help them in their labors for the kingdom. And again, my Father, I thank you for these men, and I commit them to your keeping while I go on to finish the work you have given me to do."

When Jesus had finished praying, the apostles remained each man bowed in his place. And it was many minutes before even Peter dared lift up his eyes to look upon the Master. One by one they embraced Jesus, but no man said aught. A great silence pervaded the place while a host of celestial beings looked down upon this solemn and sacred scene— the Creator of a universe placing the affairs of the divine brotherhood of man under the direction of human minds.

The Ordination Sermon

According to The Urantia Book, this momentous discourse "was Jesus' ordination charge to the twelve apostles. It was the Master's personal commission to those who were to go on preaching the gospel and aspiring to represent him in the world of men even as he was so eloquently and perfectly representative of his Father."

And, as noted above, the beatitudes themselves are essentially the same as in the account of Matthew, including the addition of Jesus' statements regarding the "salt of the earth," and the importance of being the "light of the world."

The rest of the Master's speech is included here:

"I am sending you out into the world to represent me and to act as ambassadors of my Father's kingdom, and as you go forth to proclaim the glad tidings, put your trust in the Father whose messengers you are. Do not forcibly resist injustice; put not your trust in the arm of the flesh. If your neighbor smites you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Be willing to suffer injustice rather than to go to law among yourselves. In kindness and with mercy minister to all who are in distress and in need.

"I say to you: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who despitefully use you. And whatsoever you believe that I would do to men, do you also to them.

"Your Father in heaven makes the sun to shine on the evil as well as upon the good; likewise he sends rain on the just and the unjust. You are the sons of God; even more, you are now the ambassadors of my Father's kingdom. Be merciful, even as God is merciful, and in the eternal future of the kingdom you shall be perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect.

"You are commissioned to save men, not to judge them. At the end of your earth life you will all expect mercy; therefore do I require of you during your mortal life that you show mercy to all of your brethren in the flesh. Make not the mistake of trying to pluck a mote out of your brother's eye when there is a beam in your own eye. Having first cast the beam out of your own eye, you can the better see to cast the mote out of your brother's eye.

"Discern the truth clearly; live the righteous life fearlessly; and so shall you be my apostles and my Father's ambassadors. You have heard it said: `If the blind lead the blind, they both shall fall into the pit.' If you would guide others into the kingdom, you must yourselves walk in the clear light of living truth. In all the business of the kingdom I exhort you to show just judgment and keen wisdom. Present not that which is holy to dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample your gems under foot and turn to rend you.

"I warn you against false prophets who will come to you in sheep's clothing, while on the inside they are as ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree brings forth good fruit, but the corrupt tree bears evil fruit. A good tree cannot yield evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is presently hewn down and cast into the fire. In gaining an entrance into the kingdom of heaven, it is the motive that counts. My Father looks into the hearts of men and judges by their inner longings and their sincere intentions.

"In the great day of the kingdom judgment, many will say to me, `Did we not prophesy in your name and by your name do many wonderful works?' But I will be compelled to say to them, `I never knew you; depart from me you who are false teachers.' But every one who hears this charge and sincerely executes his commission to represent me before men even as I have represented my Father to you, shall find an abundant entrance into my service and into the kingdom of the heavenly Father."

Never before had the apostles heard Jesus speak in this way, for he had talked to them as one having supreme authority. They came down from the mountain about sundown, but no man asked Jesus a question.

What else Does the Urantia Book account rell us?

Following the "red-letter" text of the Master's words, the reader is treated to midwayer commentary - the Midway creatures being the authors of PART IV of The Urantia Book - about the meanings and implication of this sermon of Jesus. For example, we read:

140:4.2 "You are the salt of the earth, salt with a saving savor. But if this salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men."

In Jesus' time salt was precious. It was even used for money. The modern word "salary" is derived from salt. Salt not only flavors food, but it is also a preservative. It makes other things more tasty, and thus it serves by being spent.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and be led to glorify your Father who is in heaven."

While light dispels darkness, it can also be so "blinding" as to confuse and frustrate. We are admonished to let our light so shine that our fellows will be guided into new and godly paths of enhanced living. Our light should so shine as not to attract attention to self. Even one's vocation can be utilized as an effective "reflector" for the dissemination of this light of life.

Read more from: "You Are the Salt of the Earth"

And this, from Section 5 of the same paper "Fatherly and Brotherly Love":

From the Sermon on the Mount to the discourse of the Last Supper, Jesus taught his followers to manifest fatherly love rather than brotherly love. Brotherly love would love your neighbor as you love yourself, and that would be adequate fulfillment of the "golden rule." But fatherly affection would require that you should love your fellow mortals as Jesus loves you.

Jesus loves mankind with a dual affection. He lived on earth as a twofold personality— human and divine. As the Son of God he loves man with a fatherly love—he is man's Creator, his universe Father. As the Son of Man, Jesus loves mortals as a brother—he was truly a man among men.

Jesus did not expect his followers to achieve an impossible manifestation of brotherly love, but he did expect them to so strive to be like God—to be perfect even as the Father in heaven is perfect—that they could begin to look upon man as God looks upon his creatures and therefore could begin to love men as God loves them—to show forth the beginnings of a fatherly affection. In the course of these exhortations to the twelve apostles, Jesus sought to reveal this new concept of fatherly love as it is related to certain emotional attitudes concerned in making numerous environmental social adjustments.

The Master introduced this momentous discourse by calling attention to four faith attitudes as the prelude to the subsequent portrayal of his four transcendent and supreme reactions of fatherly love in contrast to the limitations of mere brotherly love.

He first talked about those who were poor in spirit, hungered after righteousness, endured meekness, and who were pure in heart. Such spirit-discerning mortals could be expected to attain such levels of divine selflessness as to be able to attempt the amazing exercise of fatherly affection; that even as mourners they would be empowered to show mercy, promote peace, and endure persecutions, and throughout all of these trying situations to love even unlovely mankind with a fatherly love. A father's affection can attain levels of devotion that immeasurably transcend a brother's affection.

The faith and the love of these beatitudes strengthen moral character and create happiness. Fear and anger weaken character and destroy happiness. This momentous sermon started out upon the note of happiness.

And this section then continues with a lengthy and worthwhile commentary regarding the beatitudes themselves, and their deeper implications.

Is There More?

The remainder of this paper discusses what happened on the Evening of the Ordination and on into the Week Following the Ordination.

There are lessons and events of great interest here, that will be edifying and instructive to all who read them.

And the paper ends with a special "consecration ceremony," in which:

Jesus reviewed many features of the ordination sermon, delivered on this same spot, and then, calling them before him one by one, he commissioned them to go forth in the world as his representatives. The Master's consecration charge was: "Go into all the world and preach the glad tidings of the kingdom. Liberate spiritual captives, comfort the oppressed, and minister to the afflicted. Freely you have received, freely give."

The entire paper, titled "The Ordination of the Twelve" is a must-read for all who aspire to do as Jesus instructed, and spread the good news of the gospel into all the world. Using this paper as a guide, the believer can fashion a ministry of truth, beauty and goodness that can impact the world in a most positive way.

The Urantia Book - Heaven's Gift to Humanity

Finally, we once again invite the reader to explore The Urantia Book. These events, these teachings, these discourses and sermons of the Master - all have been faithfully preserved for all the centuries that have intervened since Jesus walked our earth. Now, finally, they have been brought to us, printed on pages of a book for all to read and benefit from. But this narration of Jesus' life is so much more than words on a page - it is the information about Jesus and his life that, if heeded, followed, and shared, can change our world for the better.

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Fri, April 07, 2017

What Really Happened on Easter Sunday?

By TruthBook Staff

This Easter season, we're revisiting a blog that we wrote a few years back, inspired by an article called: Jesus' Resurrection: What Really Happened by Jay Parini. Below, you can read the updated blog, but here are a few excerpts from the article:

"Easter morning arrived with a holy hush, the day after the Sabbath, with little fanfare. The gospels pass over the Resurrection, and we never actually see Jesus waken, rub his eyes, stand and stretch. We don’t even see the rock that sealed the tomb actually rolled away. The joyous resurrection of Jesus happens off-stage, as it were. The first inkling of change occurred when some of the women close to Jesus came to visit his tomb. The gospel narratives vary on who turned up in the garden first: Mary Magdalene alone or with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with Salome (Mary’s sister or the mother of James and John). In John, the story plays out in suspenseful detail as Mary Magdalene visited the tomb by herself to mourn. To her amazement, she found the stone removed. In panic, she ran to tell Peter and another (unnamed) disciple, who hurried back to the tomb and discovered it empty, much to their distress and confusion. They assumed that someone had stolen the body. Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene sat outside the tomb by herself, crying softly. She could hardly believe the things that had happened in the past few days, and the missing body of Jesus was really too much to bear.

"Huge questions confront anyone thinking about Jesus. Did he really rise from the dead? Was there an actual Resurrection? If so, what would that look like? A large number of Christians throughout history have imagined a resuscitation, refusing to countenance the slightest hint that the Resurrection should be regarded as something beyond human understanding. I myself would argue this: life and death are mysterious, at best, and the membrane between the living and the dead is a porous one, perilously thin. Jesus rose from the dead, the scriptures say. I see no reason to doubt this. And yet a literalistic belief in the Resurrection cannot be, as many fundamentalist churches insist, the only important part of the “good news” of Christianity. The message of God’s love in operation in the world trumps everything and must be regarded as the necessary extension of the idea of rebirth, the social basis for true spiritual enlightenment. Nowhere more so than here does it matter that we find a proper balance between the literal and the figurative, giving full weight to the concrete meaning while relishing the mythic contours of the story.

"The fundamentalist view of the cross, with its emphasis on the sacrificial or “substitutionary” aspect of the Crucifixion, evolved in the Middle Ages and solidified with Martin Luther’s insistence on the single, simple, and stable meaning of scripture; the text of the Bible itself became a mighty fortress that resists symbolic interpretations. (I would note that early in his career Luther was much more amenable to symbolic readings of scriptural passages.) To many, the idea of Christ as sacrificial lamb becomes the whole of the Christian message, to the disparagement of every other reading, leading to an exclusionary view of salvation. Yet the apostle Paul himself warned early Christians in his second letter to Corinth that to become an able minister of the new covenant one should not read the scriptures in ways that undercut their fullest meanings, “for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (II Corinthians 3:6)."

Click to read the whole article.

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This article is quite lengthy, but well worth the read. The passages above are the passages that I wish to expand upon in this blog.

Looking for the Human Jesus

It is a quite beautiful account of the resurrection of Jesus, written by a man who is focused on looking for the human side of Jesus - an endeavor that is every bit as satisfying as simply accepting Jesus as the divine Son of God. He was, of course, both - son of man and Son of God. However, owing to the scarcity of information that we were left with in the Bible, much thought, reflection and imagination has to be undertaken to wrap one's mind around this amazing event. As the author says,

"The gospels pass over the Resurrection, and we never actually see Jesus waken, rub his eyes, stand and stretch. We don’t even see the rock that sealed the tomb actually rolled away. The joyous resurrection of Jesus happens off-stage, as it were."

And of course, he's right. Nevertheless, Christians and others who want to know about this event have only had these scanty Biblical accounts which say virtually nothing about the resurrection except after the fact. Even so, it is a testament to the power of the Scriptures that for these past 20 centuries, just these accounts have been sufficient to inspire generations of believers.

Now comes the 21st century, and still people are yearning to know more about Jesus. The internet is full of his name, book after book is written, exploring the different facets of his life and teachings...and his death and resurrection, as this article (excerpted from yet another book) does.

A Complete Record Was Kept

What if I told you that the every second of the resurrection was recorded by the angels; every question you may have had about it, answered; every niggling doubt you may have harbored, resolved?

Well, it's true. Part IV of The Urantia Book contains the entire life of Jesus, including every detail from his crucifixion, his resurrection, and his subsequent resurrection appearances. The Urantia Book account is indeed a center-stage presentation.

Rather than try to tell you what it says, I want to give you some links to The Urantia Book story, so that you can read these details for yourself, and come to your own conclusions whether it is a more satisfying and illuminating account than you have ever read. I am referencing the same events that are covered in the article above:

(NOTE: The Urantia Book authors use a term: "Morontia," which is a tern designation a state of existence midway between the material and the spiritual.)

Get Started Here

Please see: the whole of Paper 188 The Time of the Tomb, which also includes The Burial of Jesus

Paper 189 deals with The Resurrection, and includes the details of the disposition of Jesus' material body, as well as Jesus' first appearance - to Mary Magdalene, and why he was not at first recognizable to her and the others.

The Urantia Book tells us that Jesus appeared to nearly 1000 people, in nineteen separate appearances, between the time of his death and the time of his resurrection, on Thursday, May 18, 30, A.D.  The following links will take you to all of them

Paper 190

Paper 191

Paper 192,  and

Paper 193

Finally, the author of the article above states:

"To many, the idea of Christ as sacrificial lamb becomes the whole of the Christian message, to the disparagement of every other reading, leading to an exclusionary view of salvation."

This is a profound observation. And in The Urantia Book, we are given two additional amazing "other readings" - treatises that give all believers a greatly expanded view of the meanings behind these world-changing events.

Two "Other Readings" - Must Reads!

Please see: The Meaning of the Death on the Cross and, Lessons from the Cross

Everyone who loves Jesus can be grateful for the Bible and its accounts of Jesus' life in the gospels. Doesn't it always make you want to know even more? We all know that there are many details not covered in the Bible; but now, we have been given this amazing restatement of Jesus' life that is Part IV of The Urantia Book. It is a greatly expanded view of this God/man who we all love so dearly - a new way to look at him and his life - a new and inspiring re-telling of his matchless life and teachings for the minds of modern truthseekers.

Please have a look. Compare and prayerfully reflect...maybe you'll find some new insights, some new inspirations, some new validation that Jesus truly was ( and still is) the greatest human being ever to have lived. And his story really is the greatest story ever told

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Tue, April 04, 2017

Pontius Pilate in The Urantia Book

By TruthBook Staff

As this season of Easter proceeds on into Holy Week, we are reminded once again of the tragic events of that time, and the personalities that played such a large role in killing Jesus. One of those personalities is Pontius Pilate. So, when I saw this book review about him, it seemed a good opportunity to share some Urantia Book revelations about him, too. See our blog on this topic below, but first, here are a few snippets from the book review, called Killing Jesus: Who Was the Real Pontius Pilate? By Randall Balmer:

"At the end of Jesus' life, Pontius Pilate presided over the proceedings that culminated in Jesus' crucifixion. Although the Roman governor has been the subject of countless sermons over the centuries, typically portrayed as dithering and reviled for posing the temporizing question "What is truth?," he remains something of a cipher. Working both from the Gospels and from ancient texts, Aldo Schiavone, a professor of Roman law based at the University of Rome La Sapienza, provides a fresh perspective in "Pontius Pilate: Deciphering a Memory" and, in the process, offers new insights into the final days of Jesus.

"Schiavone portrays Pilate as increasingly reluctant to pass judgment against Jesus; he tried repeatedly to suggest a punishment short of death, but the Jewish authorities would have none of it. Schiavone believes that the turning point came when Pilate recognized that Jesus' refusal to defend himself was part of a larger scheme: "The governor put all the pieces together into a single picture, fully grasped the prisoner's attitude, and became persuaded — strongly influenced by the man's aura — not to oppose his design."

Click to read the whole book review

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The Urantia Book devotes an entire paper to the Trial Before Pilate. Following is a brief synopsis of the story. Click on the blue links to go to the full narrative:

The Urantia Book tells us that Pontius Pilate began his rule as governor of Judea in A.D. 26, the same year that Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by John.

Pilate had an uneasy relationship with the Jewish authorities, and in fact, did not like them, nor they him - but he happened to be in Jerusalem during Passover, and the Jews needed his approval to bring charges against Jesus for his supposed lawbreaking and blasphemy. And so, they drew up their formal charges against Jesus and took them, along with Jesus, to Pilate at 6am on Friday morning, so that Pilate could confirm the death sentence that they had decreed.

Pontius Pilate

Included in this gripping narrative, is a very telling biography of Pilate, in which we read something about his personality and his uneasy ties with the Jews:

If Pontius Pilate had not been a reasonably good governor of the minor provinces, Tiberius would hardly have suffered him to remain as procurator of Judea for ten years. Although he was a fairly good administrator, he was a moral coward. He was not a big enough man to comprehend the nature of his task as governor of the Jews. He failed to grasp the fact that these Hebrews had a real religion, a faith for which they were willing to die, and that millions upon millions of them, scattered here and there throughout the empire, looked to Jerusalem as the shrine of their faith and held the Sanhedrin in respect as the highest tribunal on earth.

Pilate's disfavor with the Jews came about as a result of a number of unfortunate encounters. First, he failed to take seriously their deep-seated prejudice against all images as symbols of idol worship. Therefore he permitted his soldiers to enter Jerusalem without removing the images of Caesar from their banners, as had been the practice of the Roman soldiers under his predecessor. A large deputation of Jews waited upon Pilate for five days, imploring him to have these images removed from the military standards. He flatly refused to grant their petition and threatened them with instant death. Pilate, himself being a skeptic, did not understand that men of strong religious feelings will not hesitate to die for their religious convictions; and therefore was he dismayed when these Jews drew themselves up defiantly before his palace, bowed their faces to the ground, and sent word that they were ready to die. Pilate then realized that he had made a threat which he was unwilling to carry out. He surrendered, ordered the images removed from the standards of his soldiers in Jerusalem, and found himself from that day on to a large extent subject to the whims of the Jewish leaders, who had in this way discovered his weakness in making threats which he feared to execute.

Another thing which brought him into great disfavor with the Jews was that he dared to take money from the temple treasury to pay for the construction of a new aqueduct to provide increased water supply for the millions of visitors to Jerusalem at the times of the great religious feasts. The Jews held that only the Sanhedrin could disburse the temple funds, and they never ceased to inveigh against Pilate for this presumptuous ruling. No less than a score of riots and much bloodshed resulted from this decision. The last of these serious outbreaks had to do with the slaughter of a large company of Galileans even as they worshiped at the altar.

And all this explains much that transpired on this tragic Friday forenoon. It is easy to understand why the Jews presumed to dictate to Pilate—to get him up at six o'clock to try Jesus—and also why they did not hesitate to threaten to charge him with treason before the emperor if he dared to refuse their demands for Jesus' death.

A worthy Roman governor who had not become disadvantageously involved with the rulers of the Jews would never have permitted these bloodthirsty religious fanatics to bring about the death of a man whom he himself had declared to be innocent of their false charges and without fault. Rome made a great blunder, a far-reaching error in earthly affairs, when she sent the second-rate Pilate to govern Palestine. Tiberius had better have sent to the Jews the best provincial administrator in the empire.

Jesus Appears before Pilate

As the early morning meeting began,

Pilate would have liked to postpone this hearing, but he saw the Jewish leaders were determined to proceed with the case. He knew that this was not only the forenoon of preparation for the Passover, but that this day, being Friday, was also the preparation day for the Jewish Sabbath of rest and worship.

Pilate, being keenly sensitive to the disrespectful manner of the approach of these Jews, was not willing to comply with their demands that Jesus be sentenced to death without a trial. When, therefore, he had waited a few moments for them to present their charges against the prisoner, he turned to them and said: "I will not sentence this man to death without a trial; neither will I consent to examine him until you have presented your charges against him in writing."

Pilate was confused in mind, fearful of the Jews in his heart, and mightily stirred in his spirit by the spectacle of Jesus' standing there in majesty before his bloodthirsty accusers and gazing down on them, not in silent contempt, but with an expression of genuine pity and sorrowful affection.

The Private Examination by Pilate

And in this first private interview with Pilate, Jesus is asked whether it's true that he is a king., and Jesus replies:

"Yes, I am such a king, and my kingdom is the family of the faith sons of my Father who is in heaven. For this purpose was I born into this world, even that I should show my Father to all men and bear witness to the truth of God. And even now do I declare to you that every one who loves the truth hears my voice."

We next hear Pilate's most famous question of Jesus:

Then said Pilate, half in ridicule and half in sincerity, "Truth, what is truth—who knows?"

Pilate was not able to fathom Jesus' words, nor was he able to understand the nature of his spiritual kingdom, but he was now certain that the prisoner had done nothing worthy of death. One look at Jesus, face to face, was enough to convince even Pilate that this gentle and weary, but majestic and upright, man was no wild and dangerous revolutionary who aspired to establish himself on the temporal throne of Israel. Pilate thought he understood something of what Jesus meant when he called himself a king, for he was familiar with the teachings of the Stoics, who declared that "the wise man is king." Pilate was thoroughly convinced that, instead of being a dangerous seditionmonger, Jesus was nothing more or less than a harmless visionary, an innocent fanatic.

Jesus Returns to Pilate

After Jesus is returned to Herod for another interview, Pilate again sees the prisoner, but he is becoming very concerned, and realizes that he does not want to condemn him to death. All the more so, because of the note from his wife, Claudia, who had become a follower of Jesus:

Pilate knew Jesus was innocent of the charges brought against him, and had he been a just and courageous judge, he would have acquitted him and turned him loose. But he was afraid to defy these angry Jews, and while he hesitated to do his duty, a messenger came up and presented him with a sealed message from his wife, Claudia.

Pilate indicated to those assembled before him that he wished to read the communication which he had just received before he proceeded further with the matter before him. When Pilate opened this letter from his wife, he read: "I pray you have nothing to do with this innocent and just man whom they call Jesus. I have suffered many things in a dream this night because of him." This note from Claudia not only greatly upset Pilate and thereby delayed the adjudication of this matter, but it unfortunately also provided considerable time in which the Jewish rulers freely circulated among the crowd and urged the people to call for the release of Barabbas and to clamor for the crucifixion of Jesus.

Finally, Pilate addressed himself once more to the solution of the problem which confronted him, by asking the mixed assembly of Jewish rulers and the pardon-seeking crowd, "What shall I do with him who is called the king of the Jews?" And they all shouted with one accord, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" The unanimity of this demand from the mixed multitude startled and alarmed Pilate, the unjust and fear-ridden judge.

Then once more Pilate said: "Why would you crucify this man? What evil has he done? Who will come forward to testify against him?" But when they heard Pilate speak in defense of Jesus, they only cried out all the more, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

Then again Pilate appealed to them regarding the release of the Passover prisoner, saying: "Once more I ask you, which of these prisoners shall I release to you at this, your Passover time?" And again the crowd shouted, "Give us Barabbas!"

Then said Pilate: "If I release the murderer, Barabbas, what shall I do with Jesus?" And once more the multitude shouted in unison, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

Pilate was terrorized by the insistent clamor of the mob, acting under the direct leadership of the chief priests and the councilors of the Sanhedrin; nevertheless, he decided upon at least one more attempt to appease the crowd and save Jesus.

Pilate's Last Appeal

Again, Pilate tries to calm the angry crowd with his also-famous: "Ecce homo" - Behold the man!

Then Pilate led forth this bleeding and lacerated prisoner and, presenting him before the mixed multitude, said: "Behold the man! Again I declare to you that I find no crime in him, and having scourged him, I would release him."

There stood Jesus of Nazareth, clothed in an old purple royal robe with a crown of thorns piercing his kindly brow. His face was bloodstained and his form bowed down with suffering and grief. But nothing can appeal to the unfeeling hearts of those who are victims of intense emotional hatred and slaves to religious prejudice. This sight sent a mighty shudder through the realms of a vast universe, but it did not touch the hearts of those who had set their minds to effect the destruction of Jesus.

Then the high priest himself stepped forward and, going up to Pilate, angrily declared: "We have a sacred law, and by that law this man ought to die because he made himself out to be the Son of God." When Pilate heard this, he was all the more afraid, not only of the Jews, but recalling his wife's note and the Greek mythology of the gods coming down on earth, he now trembled at the thought of Jesus possibly being a divine personage. He waved to the crowd to hold its peace while he took Jesus by the arm and again led him inside the building that he might further examine him. Pilate was now confused by fear, bewildered by superstition, and harassed by the stubborn attitude of the mob.

Pilate's Last Interview

In desperation, Pilate sits down by Jesus and speaks earnestly to him:

As Pilate, trembling with fearful emotion, sat down by the side of Jesus, he inquired: "Where do you come from? Really, who are you? What is this they say, that you are the Son of God?"

But Jesus could hardly answer such questions when asked by a man-fearing, weak, and vacillating judge who was so unjust as to subject him to flogging even when he had declared him innocent of all crime, and before he had been duly sentenced to die. Jesus looked Pilate straight in the face, but he did not answer him. Then said Pilate: "Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not realize that I still have power to release you or to crucify you?" Then said Jesus: "You could have no power over me except it were permitted from above. You could exercise no authority over the Son of Man unless the Father in heaven allowed it. But you are not so guilty since you are ignorant of the gospel. He who betrayed me and he who delivered me to you, they have the greater sin."

This last talk with Jesus thoroughly frightened Pilate. This moral coward and judicial weakling now labored under the double weight of the superstitious fear of Jesus and mortal dread of the Jewish leaders.

Pilate's Tragic Surrender

Finally, Pilate, the coward, capitulates to the Jews' demands

Here stood the Son of God incarnate as the Son of Man. He was arrested without indictment; accused without evidence; adjudged without witnesses; punished without a verdict; and now was soon to be condemned to die by an unjust judge who confessed that he could find no fault in him. If Pilate had thought to appeal to their patriotism by referring to Jesus as the king of the Jews," he utterly failed. The Jews were not expecting any such a king. The declaration of the chief priests and the Sadducees, "We have no king but Caesar," was a shock even to the unthinking populace, but it was too late now to save Jesus even had the mob dared to espouse the Master's cause.

Pilate was afraid of a tumult or a riot. He dared not risk having such a disturbance during Passover time in Jerusalem. He had recently received a reprimand from Caesar, and he would not risk another. The mob cheered when he ordered the release of Barabbas. Then he ordered a basin and some water, and there before the multitude he washed his hands, saying: "I am innocent of the blood of this man. You are determined that he shall die, but I have found no guilt in him. See you to it. The soldiers will lead him forth." And then the mob cheered and replied, "His blood be on us and on our children."

The Master's Attitude

And, what of Jesus?

Jesus had acquired that type of human character which could preserve its composure and assert its dignity in the face of continued and gratuitous insult. He could not be intimidated. When first assaulted by the servant of Annas, he had only suggested the propriety of calling witnesses who might duly testify against him.

From first to last, in his so-called trial before Pilate, the onlooking celestial hosts could not refrain from broadcasting to the universe the depiction of the scene of "Pilate on trial before Jesus."

When before Caiaphas, and when all the perjured testimony had broken down, Jesus did not hesitate to answer the question of the chief priest, thereby providing in his own testimony that which they desired as a basis for convicting him of blasphemy.

Pilate spoke more truly than he knew when, after Jesus had been scourged, he presented him before the multitude, exclaiming, "Behold the man!" Indeed, the fear-ridden Roman governor little dreamed that at just that moment the universe stood at attention, gazing upon this unique scene of its beloved Sovereign thus subjected in humiliation to the taunts and blows of his darkened and degraded mortal subjects. And as Pilate spoke, there echoed throughout all Nebadon, "Behold God and man!" Throughout a universe, untold millions have ever since that day continued to behold that man, while the God of Havona, the supreme ruler of the universe of universes, accepts the man of Nazareth as the satisfaction of the ideal of the mortal creatures of this local universe of time and space. In his matchless life he never failed to reveal God to man. Now, in these final episodes of his mortal career and in his subsequent death, he made a new and touching revelation of man to God.

This story and its amazing details of Pilate and the proceedings of that tragic day can be found nowhere but in The Urantia Book, a modern-day revelation of God, from God, to man. The Life and Teachings of Jesus, which comprise PART IV of the book, is filled with stories of the Master's life; the details of this most terrible week of his life are unlike any you have ever read, and are but one example of the kind of things that are revealed by the authors of The Urantia Book - in the case of PART IV, eyewitnesses, chroniclers, and preservers of the whole of Jesus life for just this time in our troubled history, when we so desperately need his unadulterated, complete teachings.

This Easter season, we invite you to read the true Easter story, as told in The Urantia Book.

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Fri, March 17, 2017

Not for the Faint of Heart

By TruthBook Staff

Here's a very good article from current popular press that will likely resonate with many Urantia Book readers, as it did me: Christianity ain't easy by Bill Cummings. There's a good deal of material in The Urantia Book that speaks directly to this statement, and those following; our blog will explore some of it below. But first, here's a list of points from the article that makes walking the Christian talk a challenge...

"if I'm going to be an imitating Christian and not just a believing Christian, here are just a few of the things I must do:

"1. I must love other people. Many Christians say they love God, and that's enough.

"2. I must exclude favoritism. Jesus welcomed everybody, prostitutes, the hated tax collectors, the unclean Samaritans.

"3. I must serve other people. Jesus said: I am among you as one who serves (Luke 22:24), and he acted like it.

"4. I must be a pacifist. Jesus was a sucker for bullies. "Turn the other cheek," he said. I seldom do that. How about you?"

Click to read the entire article

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The challenges of actually following Jesus

154:4.6 There was much talk about Jesus' preaching doctrines which were upsetting for the common people; his enemies maintained that his teachings were impractical, that everything would go to pieces if everybody made an honest effort to live in accordance with his ideas. And the men of many subsequent generations have said the same things. Many intelligent and well-meaning men, even in the more enlightened age of these revelations, maintain that modern civilization could not have been built upon the teachings of Jesus—and they are partially right. But all such doubters forget that a much better civilization could have been built upon his teachings, and sometime will be. This world has never seriously tried to carry out the teachings of Jesus on a large scale, notwithstanding that halfhearted attempts have often been made to follow the doctrines of so-called Christianity.

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

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

What Does The Urantia Book teach?

Now, let's look at these four behaviors mentioned in the article, one at a time, and see what we can find in Urantia Book teachings about them

I must love other people.

The Urantia Book teaches that love is the cornerstone of the kingdom of heaven. God IS love.

188:4.8 The infinite love of God is not secondary to anything in the divine nature.

Said Jesus: 143:1.4 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."

192:2.1 When they had finished breakfast, and while the others sat by the fire, Jesus beckoned to Peter and to John that they should come with him for a stroll on the beach. As they walked along, Jesus said to John, "John, do you love me?" And when John answered, "Yes, Master, with all my heart," the Master said: "Then, John, give up your intolerance and learn to love men as I have loved you. Devote your life to proving that love is the greatest thing in the world. It is the love of God that impels men to seek salvation. Love is the ancestor of all spiritual goodness, the essence of the true and the beautiful."

Read more about LOVE

I must exclude favoritism.

190:4.1 "Peace be upon you. While the Son of Man appeared on earth among the Jews, he came to minister to all men. In the kingdom of my Father there shall be neither Jew nor gentile; you will all be brethren—the sons of God. Go you, therefore, to all the world, proclaiming this gospel of salvation as you have received it from the ambassadors of the kingdom, and I will fellowship you in the brotherhood of the Father's sons of faith and truth."

191:6.2 "Peace be upon you. That which my Father sent me into the world to establish belongs not to a race, a nation, nor to a special group of teachers or preachers. This gospel of the kingdom belongs to both Jew and gentile, to rich and poor, to free and bond, to male and female, even to the little children. And you are all to proclaim this gospel of love and truth by the lives which you live in the flesh.

I must serve other people.

3:5.7 Is altruism—service of one's fellows—desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality.

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.

100:3.1 Religion is not a technique for attaining a static and blissful peace of mind; it is an impulse for organizing the soul for dynamic service. It is the enlistment of the totality of selfhood in the loyal service of loving God and serving man. Religion pays any price essential to the attainment of the supreme goal, the eternal prize. There is a consecrated completeness in religious loyalty which is superbly sublime. And these loyalties are socially effective and spiritually progressive.

192:6.2 You shall love one another with a new and startling affection, even as I have loved you. You will serve mankind with a new and amazing devotion, even as I have served you. And when men see you so love them, and when they behold how fervently you serve them, they will perceive that you have become faith-fellows of the kingdom of heaven, and they will follow after the Spirit of Truth which they see in your lives, to the finding of eternal salvation.

Read more about SERVICE

I must be a pacifist.

99:2.5 The institutionalized church may have appeared to serve society in the past by glorifying the established political and economic orders, but it must speedily cease such action if it is to survive. Its only proper attitude consists in the teaching of nonviolence, the doctrine of peaceful evolution in the place of violent revolution— peace on earth and good will among all men.

149:2.11 [Jesus] was not a militant revolutionist; he was a progressive evolutionist. He engaged in the destruction of that which was only when he simultaneously offered his fellows the superior thing which ought to be.

140:3.14 "I am sending you out into the world to represent me and to act as ambassadors of my Father's kingdom, and as you go forth to proclaim the glad tidings, put your trust in the Father whose messengers you are. Do not forcibly resist injustice; put not your trust in the arm of the flesh. If your neighbor smites you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Be willing to suffer injustice rather than to go to law among yourselves. In kindness and with mercy minister to all who are in distress and in need.

159:5.9 Jesus did not hesitate to appropriate the better half of a Scripture while he repudiated the lesser portion. His great exhortation, "Love your neighbor as yourself," he took from the Scripture which reads: "You shall not take vengeance against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus appropriated the positive portion of this Scripture while rejecting the negative part. He even opposed negative or purely passive nonresistance. Said he: "When an enemy smites you on one cheek, do not stand there dumb and passive but in positive attitude turn the other; that is, do the best thing possible actively to lead your brother in error away from the evil paths into the better ways of righteous living." Jesus required his followers to react positively and aggressively to every life situation. The turning of the other cheek, or whatever act that may typify, demands initiative, necessitates vigorous, active, and courageous expression of the believer's personality.

143:1.7 "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. The courage of the flesh is the lowest form of bravery. Mind bravery is a higher type of human courage, but the highest and supreme is uncompromising loyalty to the enlightened convictions of profound spiritual realities. And such courage constitutes the heroism of the God- knowing man.

If you are a Bible-believing Christian and reading this blog, you may be looking for more of Jesus. Perhaps these passages offered above might stir your heart, as they do for so many Urantia Book readers, who have found Jesus in its pages. He is the same Jesus that you've always known and loved...there's just so much MORE of him to know and love in The Urantia Book. And by the study of his matchless life that has been restated and re-gifted to mankind in PART IV, we can really delve into the way he lived HIS life - and then go, and do likewise.

The authors of the book admonish us:

196:1.3 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.

So find out - so discover - so strive...you'll be happy you did!

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Tue, March 07, 2017

The Forty Days - Real or Myth?

By TruthBook Staff

Folks, this is a very good article in the popular press that I saw today, and I wanted to share it with you: Ash Wednesday Sermon by Jason Micheli.

Now that we have officially enetered the pre-Easter season of Lent, it's good to get some inspiration for the season and what it can mean for us. I do recommend this one. I like the author's style and his good grasp of the real Jesus and what he can do for, and with us.

In the article, Pastor Micheli mentions Jesus' forty-day sojourn in the wilderness - the time when, according to the Bible, Jesus is said to have been tempted by the devil before he formulates the principles which would govern him in his work; I see it as a great opportunity for a blog about the Urantia Book account of this pivotal event in the Master's lfe and ministry. We'll do that blog below, but first, here's a small snip from the article.

"Beginning in the 18th century, Christians began to take their cues from the Enlightenment. Now, only that which was rationally demonstrable and confirmed by our own private experience was considered 'true.'

Rather than conforming their definitions of truth to scripture, Christians looked to scripture to confirm their a priori presumptions about what was 'true.' Where it did not, scripture was now considered 'myth.'

"So, for example, the story of Jesus' 40 Day testing by Satan in the wilderness is no longer a 'true' or realistic story about what Jesus has done. Instead Christians turned to the story of Jesus' trials in the wilderness and saw in it a parable for their own times of trial and temptation.

"Rather than being a unique story about Jesus' absolutely singular vocation, it became a generalized story about our common human experience. "

Click to read the entire article: I recommend it!

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Is the Forty Days story real?

There is a question raised in this article about the forty days; it's seen here as a sort of myth...but is it? According to The Urantia Book, the forty days was not only real, but this period was a stunningly important time in Jesus' life. Both the Bible and The Urantia Book place this forty-day period right after Jesus' baptism; however, The Urantia Book teaches that the "temptation of Jesus" actualy happened months before.

In both books, The forty days is the time when Jesus formulates his plans for the remainder of his msssion to the world. In The Urantia Book, we can read the thrilling details of Jesus' plans for public work, as well as thrilling details of each of the Master's 6 great decisions that he made. This is no attempt to diminish the Biblical accounts, but the comparison between the two accounts is more than striking, I think you'll agree...

In the Biblical accounts, Jesus is said to have had the encounter with the devil during the forty days; instead, The Urantia Book teaches that while Jesus WAS visited by superhuman beings, those he met that day were far more benign; having already dealt with Lucifer months before, Jesus was visited by Gabriel and also met with a personal representative of the Most Highs who assured him that technically, his mission of incarnating as a man among men was completed; going forward was now his choice. And of course, he did choose to continue and complete the whole of his mission: that of revealing the Father to mortal man and estabishing the kingdom as a reality in the personal experience of mankind. Planning the details of that mission naturally followed.

Please see Paper 136: Baptism and the Forty Days

When did Jesus' Great Temptation Occur?

The great temptation, the subject of this article, actually occurred about six months previously. Jesus had just completed a year of solitary travel before he would be called once more to do the "Father's business." In August of that year, A.D 25, Jesus was led in his Spirit "to forsake the dwelling places of men and betake himself up to Mount Hermon that he might finish his work of mastering his human mind and complete the task of effecting his full consecration to the remainder of his lifework on earth."

And that full consecration evidently entailed meeting with his enemies - those who initiated the disastrous rebellion that had nearly destroyed our world thousands of years earlier:

Please see The Sojourn on Mount Hermon, where we read:

134:8.6 Near the end of the mountain sojourn Jesus asked his Father if he might be permitted to hold conference with his Satania enemies as the Son of Man, as Joshua ben Joseph. This request was granted. During the last week on Mount Hermon the great temptation, the universe trial, occurred. Satan (representing Lucifer ) and the rebellious Planetary Prince, Caligastia, were present with Jesus and were made fully visible to him. And this "temptation," this final trial of human loyalty in the face of the misrepresentations of rebel personalities, had not to do with food, temple pinnacles, or presumptuous acts. It had not to do with the kingdoms of this world but with the sovereignty of a mighty and glorious universe. The symbolism of your records was intended for the backward ages of the world's childlike thought. And subsequent generations should understand what a great struggle the Son of Man passed through that eventful day on Mount Hermon.

134:8.7 To the many proposals and counterproposals of the emissaries of Lucifer, Jesus only made reply: "May the will of my Paradise Father prevail, and you, my rebellious son, may the Ancients of Days judge you divinely. I am your Creator-father; I can hardly judge you justly, and my mercy you have already spurned. I commit you to the adjudication of the Judges of a greater universe."

134:8.8 To all the Lucifer-suggested compromises and makeshifts, to all such specious proposals about the incarnation bestowal, Jesus only made reply, "The will of my Father in Paradise be done." And when the trying ordeal was finished, the detached guardian seraphim returned to Jesus' side and ministered to him.

134:8.9 On an afternoon in late summer, amid the trees and in the silence of nature, Michael of Nebadon won the unquestioned sovereignty of his universe. On that day he completed the task set for Creator Sons to live to the full the incarnated life in the likeness of mortal flesh on the evolutionary worlds of time and space. The universe announcement of this momentous achievement was not made until the day of his baptism, months afterward, but it all really took place that day on the mountain. And when Jesus came down from his sojourn on Mount Hermon, the Lucifer rebellion in Satania and the Caligastia secession on Urantia were virtually settled. Jesus had paid the last price required of him to attain the sovereignty of his universe, which in itself regulates the status of all rebels and determines that all such future upheavals (if they ever occur) may be dealt with summarily and effectively. Accordingly, it may be seen that the so-called "great temptation" of Jesus took place sometime before his baptism and not just after that event.

Later that year:

134:9.8 ...rumors came to Capernaum of one John who was preaching while baptizing penitents in the Jordan, and John preached: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent and be baptized." Jesus listened to these reports as John slowly worked his way up the Jordan valley from the ford of the river nearest to Jerusalem. But Jesus worked on, making boats, until John had journeyed up the river to a point near Pella in the month of January of the next year, A.D. 26, when he laid down his tools, declaring, "My hour has come," and presently presented himself to John for baptism.

134:9.9 But a great change had been coming over Jesus. Few of the people who had enjoyed his visits and ministrations as he had gone up and down in the land ever subsequently recognized in the public teacher the same person they had known and loved as a private individual in former years. And there was a reason for this failure of his early beneficiaries to recognize him in his later role of public and authoritative teacher. For long years this transformation of mind and spirit had been in progress, and it was finished during the eventful sojourn on Mount Hermon.

Following his baptism then, of course we go back to the forty days...

The Urantia Book provides "Ourstory"

If you are new to The Urantia Book, seeing these familiar stories so large, so expanded might seem strange, maybe even intimidating. But much in the Life and Teachings of Jesus is like that. Much like Jesus himself, The Urantia Book is larger than life. These pivotal events in the life of Jesus are part of our world's history - it is truly "our-story," and it is vital that we know and understand the significance of the totality of Jesus' matchless incarnation here as a Son of God.

The Urantia Book is a gift of revelation about the incarnation of this divine Son of God as a mortal man - a revelation that fills in all the details about Jesus that we have never had before. Not only these famous stories of the Forty Days and the Temptation of Christ, but unfamiliar ones like those never known from Jesus' "missing years," his childhood, his siblings, his travels. And many, many more...

The Urantia Book teaches:

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 (emphasis mine) is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.

If you love Jesus and sincerely want to know more about his life - how he lived, what were his religious values, what did he say, what did he do, how did he interact with his world, what did he think about - you really owe it to yourself to explore Jesus in The Urantia Book.

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Thu, March 02, 2017

Let's Watch Some Jesus Movies!

By TruthBook Staff

This looked like a good article that our readers might like to see: My Turn Lenten offering: Best films starring Jesus By Don Lechman.

We'll offer a new movie about Jesus you may not have seen yet in our blog (below), but here's a partial list of the 10 favorites that are listed in this article. Did yours make the cut?

1. "JESUS OF NAZARETH" (1977)

2. "BEN HUR" (1959)

3. "KING OF KINGS" (1961)

4. "THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD" (1965)

5. "SPARTACUS" (1960)

Click to read the author's comments about his picks, and to see the entire list

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People have been making movies about Jesus since movies were invented, back in the early 20th century - that's probably 100 years of movies about the Master! Some are very good - I remember seeing some of these films in the article - Ben-Hur was one of my favorites as a teen, and The Robe (another favorite in the article) was an Easter staple for many years - it probably still is in many places. There was one in the group that I had not heard of...called The Fourth Wise Man...it looks good, and is a new spin on the Magi.

Since discovering The Urantia Book it's been harder for this reader of the revelation to find and enjoy movies about Jesus just because there's a such a limited amount of material available, i.e., moviemakers have had to rely on information in the New Testament as their source, and there are only so many ways to treat this familiar material. On the other hand, The Urantia Book is crammed with new material about Jesus - his life, his teachings, the "missing years," his family, the apostles...there's a long list of possible screenplays contained in The Urantia Book!

So, it's been a great joy to discover that a devoted reader decided to take on the challenge of creating a movie about Jesus using the new and revealed material in PART IV.

Re-Imagining Jesus is a feature length film based on the matchless story of Jesus' ministry in The Urantia Book. The film is accompanied by a lovely and original musical score composed by critically acclaimed composer and Urantia Book reader, Gary Deinstadt. The film is narrated by David Kantor, Jennifer Siegel, and Stephen Zendt.

Now, in this Lenten season of 2017, we are happy to announce that Re-Imagining Jesus has been remastered (complete with closed-captions) and is better than ever!

* Click here to see the remastered movie now *

And you may wish to access the official poster as well. You can find it in the TruthBook gallery, where you’ll be able to print it out, if you so wish. Click here to download the printable poster.

David spent five years in the production of this superb film. Much of it is filmed in the very places where Jesus lived and launched his momentous preaching missions; the footage of many of the important places in the master's ministry, such as the Jordan River and Mt Hermon, are beautiful, even today. Archaeology plays a part in the discovery of Jesus' missions, giving the viewer a fuller understanding of life in Jesus' times.

Modern seekers of Jesus are thirsty for more of Jesus than has been available for 20 centuries. Re-Imagining Jesus is meant to engage any and all followers of the Master, and it is hoped that this new view of Jesus will open meaningful discussion among all those who seek a deeper understanding, and a closer walk, with Jesus.

Highlights of the film include:

  • The classic New Testament story illuminated with detail from The Urantia Book's biography of Jesus
  • Beautiful footage of seldom seen places associated with some of the most important events in the Master's life
  • Detailed maps providing important geographic orientation
  • Timeline of events between the baptism in the Jordan and the resurrection
  • A compelling story about his primary mission -- the revelation of a spiritual kingdom accessible here and now
  • Closed-captioning

We encourage you to set aside some time during this Lenten season; maybe plan a family movie night, or even a neighborhood movie night, and make it an occasion to share with your family, friends, church associates or neighbors.

From The Urantia Book:

196:1.2 The time is ripe to witness the figurative resurrection of the human Jesus from his burial tomb amidst the theological traditions and the religious dogmas of nineteen centuries. Jesus of Nazareth must not be longer sacrificed to even the splendid concept of the glorified Christ. What a transcendent service if, through this revelation, the Son of Man should be recovered from the tomb of traditional theology and be presented as the living Jesus to the church that bears his name, and to all other religions!

See Blog on One Page  |  Link to External Source Article


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