This simple, stark title caught my eye: Jesus Died by Jeff Hood; turns out that the article is itself, pretty stark, too, but full of hope.
Please see our blog below, where we'll expand upon the idea of death and what The Urantia Book teaches us about it, but first, here's a small snip from the article:
"Yesterday, my son and I were coming home from his preschool. In the midst of our ride, I got a message. Someone I'd known for a long time had passed away. After processing the news, I expressed my sadness. In the midst of my grief, my son spoke up and said, 'Dad, don't you remember that Jesus died.' In his mind, the fact that Jesus died makes death ok."
Click to read the whole article
IS Death Okay?
The simple statement by the author's child that: 'Dad, don't you remember that Jesus died" and that this fact made death seem okay to him was very heartwarming to me. Out of the mouths of children come amazing truths sometimes...
Whether we believe that death is okay or not, the fact is that all of us on on our way to dying; from the day we are born, we are progressing towards death. In our modern Western culture, we tend to deny the reality of death; our medical establishment tries to help us avoid it and when death does overtake a patient, there is a feeling that science has failed, that medicine has failed, that death itself is a failure.
The Urantia Book helps us so much when we consider the subject of death; we learn that it is something that must be in place as a "technique of escape from the material life in the flesh."
The life and teachings of Jesus contain clues that death is not only okay, but that it contains the promise of a new life AFTER death.
Jesus himself died, of course, but after three days, he rose in a new form from the sleep of death. Before that, Jesus demonstrated that death had no hold on mortals when he resurrected Lazarus from death.
As we approach Holy Week in April, it might be helpful to remember that even for Jesus, death was inevitable. As a true human being, he had to have a death experience; it was not necessary that he be killed in the way that he was, but it was necessary that he die, just as all humans do. But as a human, he did show us that death is far from the end of life.
Why do we fear death?
It could be that we learn our fear of death from our culture; it could be that humans just naturally fear the unknown - and death is certainly THE great unknown. No one that we know - except Lazarus and Jesus - has returned from death, and so we have no concrete evidence of life after death from anyone we've ever known.The stories of Jesus' resurrection and of Lazarus restoration are stories that we may believe, but when it comes to our PERSONAL feelings, we may still be wary and anxious when we think about dying.
Again, the teachings of The Urantia Book help us to expand our perspective and to stretch our comprehension of death, so that our faith is ignited and our fears lessened.
What awaits us?
Many of us may have somewhat confused or murky ideas of life after death. We may expect streets of gold, angelic choirs, or a life of carefree existence. The facts as revealed in The Urantia Book are quite different.
Remember Jesus' counsel about the Fathers "many mansions?" These mansions are real - not edifices of brick and mortar, but architectural worlds that have been specially created and manufactured - worlds that lie outside of our view from earth, but within the universe we live in. They are called, appropriately enough, Mansion Worlds, and about them, The Urantia Book teaches:
47:0.1 The Creator Son [aka Jesus], when on Urantia, spoke of the "many mansions in the Father's universe." In a certain sense, all fifty-six of the encircling worlds of Jerusem are devoted to the transitional culture of ascending mortals, but the seven satellites of world number one are more specifically known as the mansion worlds.
Beginning with Mansion World #1, The Mansion Worlds are the stopping places for mortals when they die; on these worlds, we gradually shed the vestiges of material life. We receive new bodies that accurately reflect our spiritual essence; we are able to reconcile the handicaps under which we labored while in our earthly life ... handicaps of heredity, of health, of misadaptation:
47:3.7 On mansion world number one (or another in case of advanced status) you will resume your intellectual training and spiritual development at the exact level whereon they were interrupted by death. Between the time of planetary death or translation and resurrection on the mansion world, mortal man gains absolutely nothing aside from experiencing the fact of survival. You begin over there right where you leave off down here.
47:3.8 Almost the entire experience of mansion world number one pertains to deficiency ministry. Survivors arriving on this first of the detention spheres present so many and such varied defects of creature character and deficiencies of mortal experience that the major activities of the realm are occupied with the correction and cure of these manifold legacies of the life in the flesh on the material evolutionary worlds of time and space.
And on we go, through all seven of these worlds, until finally, we achieve "graduation" as true morontia beings before moving on to the next phase of our eternal lives:
47:10.7 Mortal death is a technique of escape from the material life in the flesh; and the mansonia experience of progressive life through seven worlds of corrective training and cultural education represents the introduction of mortal survivors to the morontia career, the transition life which intervenes between the evolutionary material existence and the higher spirit attainment of the ascenders of time who are destined to achieve the portals of eternity.
What is Morontia?
Morontia is a revealed term, unique to The Urantia Book. Here's how it is explained to us:
48:0.1 The Gods cannot—at least they do not—transform a creature of gross animal nature into a perfected spirit by some mysterious act of creative magic. When the Creators desire to produce perfect beings, they do so by direct and original creation, but they never undertake to convert animal-origin and material creatures into beings of perfection in a single step.
The morontia life, extending as it does over the various stages of the local universe career, is the only possible approach whereby material mortals could attain the threshold of the spirit world. What magic could death, the natural dissolution of the material body, hold that such a simple step should instantly transform the mortal and material mind into an immortal and perfected spirit? Such beliefs are but ignorant superstitions and pleasing fables.
Always this morontia transition intervenes between the mortal estate and the subsequent spirit status of surviving human beings. This intermediate state of universe progress differs markedly in the various local creations, but in intent and purpose they are all quite similar. The arrangement of the mansion and higher morontia worlds in Nebadon is fairly typical of the morontia transition regimes in this part of Orvonton.
Read all about the Morontia Life in The Urantia Book
And after that...?
We have an amazing journey ahead of us. The Father has a plan of ascension that actually begins here on earth and that spans a near-eternity of experiences; beginning with the seven Mansion Worlds, we progress through seven more stages of transformation until we at last stand in the presence of God and the perfect worlds of the central Universe.
And even then, we are not finished, for we have a thrilling destiny after achieveing the Father as Finaliters in endless service to the now-forming universes in the outer space levels.
Click to read about the Father's Acsension Plan
Click to see a chart of the Ascension Career
Click to read about the Corps of the Finality
So, in the end, the little boy who saw death as benign because "Jesus died," was absolutely right. Death need hold no fear for us. Once we understand how loving, how complete the Father's plan for each of his children is, we can certainly understand and gain comfort from the Urantia Book passage that states:
14:5.10 Love of adventure, curiosity, and dread of monotony—these traits inherent in evolving human nature—were not put there just to aggravate and annoy you during your short sojourn on earth, but rather to suggest to you that death is only the beginning of an endless career of adventure, an everlasting life of anticipation, an eternal voyage of discovery.
Curiosity—the spirit of investigation, the urge of discovery, the drive of exploration—is a part of the inborn and divine endowment of evolutionary space creatures. These natural impulses were not given you merely to be frustrated and repressed. True, these ambitious urges must frequently be restrained during your short life on earth, disappointment must be often experienced, but they are to be fully realized and gloriously gratified during the long ages to come.
Click to read a compilation of inspiring Urantia Book teachings about Death