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The Kingdom of Heaven: our forever family

kingdom of heaven, Urantia Book, family, God the Father, Jesus,

Jesus DOES rock our world...and even moreso when we discover him as revealed in The Urantia Book. This article: Across the Pastor's Desk: Jesus turns our world upside down by Katelyn Rakotoarivelo seemed like a fairly typical Christian-oriented piece, but when I read it, I was inspired to blog about it. The article commemorates "Christ the King Sunday," a special Sunday in which Chrsitians remember Jesus as the King - and a prelude to Advent. The concept of the Kingdom - and Jesus as its king - is one that Urantia Book readers can remember because of Jesus' teachings about that whole concept. He really does turn it upside down, to our eternal benefit. Read the blog below, but first, a snip or two from the article:

After all, what is a king? In the U.S. today, we don't really think about kings and queens too much. For many of us, the term "king" either brings up fairytale images of servants and a fancy gold crown, or images of tyrannical kings and emperors of the past.

n John 18:36, Jesus says, "My kingdom is not from this world." Jesus is not a king who adheres to the world's ways of violence and of seeking wealth and power at any expense. Jesus is not a king who absentmindedly watches us from afar. Jesus is not a king who favors those the world deems most successful.

Jesus' kingdom is not from this world. Rather, Jesus as king and his kingdom turn all our notions of power, kingship and what's important upside down.

Click to read more...

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Jesus, the king?

In Jesus time here on earth, the Jews were looking for a king - a Messiah - who would wrest power away from the Romans and restore the former glory of the Jewish nation. They looked for him to come in power and glory and to do amazing things. And Jesus fulfilled some of those expectations. At one point - after the feeding of the five thousand - those who were following Jesus were determined to crown him as their king. After all, what he had done in this miracle was so astonishing...surely only the Messiah could have done it!

 

But Jesus refused to be their king.

152:3.1 The reaction of the multitude to this sudden and spectacular supplying of their physical needs was profound and overwhelming. For a long time the Jews had been taught that the Messiah, the son of David, when he should come, would cause the land again to flow with milk and honey, and that the bread of life would be bestowed upon them as manna from heaven was supposed to have fallen upon their forefathers in the wilderness. And was not all of this expectation now fulfilled right before their eyes? When this hungry, undernourished multitude had finished gorging itself with the wonder-food, there was but one unanimous reaction: "Here is our king." The wonder-working deliverer of Israel had come. In the eyes of these simple-minded people the power to feed carried with it the right to rule. No wonder, then, that the multitude, when it had finished feasting, rose as one man and shouted, "Make him king!"

152:3.2 This mighty shout enthused Peter and those of the apostles who still retained the hope of seeing Jesus assert his right to rule. But these false hopes were not to live for long. This mighty shout of the multitude had hardly ceased to reverberate from the near-by rocks when Jesus stepped upon a huge stone and, lifting up his right hand to command their attention, said: "My children, you mean well, but you are shortsighted and material-minded." There was a brief pause; this stalwart Galilean was there majestically posed in the enchanting glow of that eastern twilight. Every inch he looked a king as he continued to speak to this breathless multitude: "You would make me king, not because your souls have been lighted with a great truth, but because your stomachs have been filled with bread. How many times have I told you that my kingdom is not of this world? This kingdom of heaven which we proclaim is a spiritual brotherhood, and no man rules over it seated upon a material throne. My Father in heaven is the all-wise and the all-powerful Ruler over this spiritual brotherhood of the sons of God on earth. Have I so failed in revealing to you the Father of spirits that you would make a king of his Son in the flesh! Now all of you go hence to your own homes. If you must have a king, let the Father of lights be enthroned in the heart of each of you as the spirit Ruler of all things."

The prevailing belief in a king that would come with a show of great material power and strength was being transformed; and as a result, many abandoned Jesus when he refused to be their king, not understanding - maybe not wanting to understand - that their hopes for former glory would once again be thwarted.

The turnabout

And in fact, the whole notion of the Kingdom of heaven, with a king in charge of it, was one that Jesus really did turn on its head. In his teachings on the Kingdom, he put forth a novel idea of the kingdom as a family structure with - not a king - but a loving Father in charge of it, and all its inhabitants the children of that Father and brethren with each other.

170:2.12 Jesus desired to substitute for the idea of the kingdom, king, and subjects, the concept of the heavenly family, the heavenly Father, and the liberated sons of God engaged in joyful and voluntary service for their fellow men and in the sublime and intelligent worship of God the Father.

149:6.8 "In the kingdom of heaven, which I have come to declare, there is no high and mighty king; this kingdom is a divine family. The universally recognized and unreservedly worshiped center and head of this far-flung brotherhood of intelligent beings is my Father and your Father. I am his Son, and you are also his sons. Therefore it is eternally true that you and I are brethren in the heavenly estate, and all the more so since we have become brethren in the flesh of the earthly life. Cease, then, to fear God as a king or serve him as a master; learn to reverence him as the Creator; honor him as the Father of your spirit youth; love him as a merciful defender; and ultimately worship him as the loving and all-wise Father of your more mature spiritual realization and appreciation.

My experience

This teaching of Jesus that reveals the kingdom as a family is a concept that I had never heard before discovering The Urantia Book. The statement just above is so comforting; such a relief to discover God the Father as a loving, merciful, and all-wise parent, rather than an angry, judgmental and jealous god. So many of us grew up with that idea; and as a result, the literal fear of God (discussed by Jesus in the above passage; click on the link) has become standard operating procedure for much of the world. In my view, it is one of the most damaging (and erroneous) of beliefs. It shows itself in the blind adherence to tradition and ritual, in the atonement doctrine, in the belief in punishment, hell and damnation...

Not all of us have known the comfort and security of a loving family or loving parents; the discovery of the existence of a real and eternal spiritual family embodied in the kingdom of heaven can be a welcome lifeline for all who crave the true love of an ideal parent. It is part and parcel of the spiritual civilization that permeates the universe and that will never end. We are all part of it, if we so choose.

No loving parent wants to be feared; good parents want the best for their children, and want their love in return. Through adoption of the practical methods of God-consciousness given to us throughout The Urantia Book, we can prove to ourselves that God is, indeed, a loving person who is on our side and at our side - all the time. And the religion of Jesus is the most practical method for this proof.

Our Father is not a god who keeps tabs on us in order to catch us in wrongdoing, but a loving partner whose holy Presence within enriches and ennobles our lives and teaches us the joy and the peace that follow seeking and doing his will. When we approach him with the faith of the child that we truly are, the rewards are great. Life in the Kingdom is as close to heaven on earth as one can get!

And of course, we always have the amazing example of Jesus and his inspiring life; a life that he lived here in order to reveal the loving nature of God - his Father and our Father - to our creature eyes. If we really want to follow him and to discover the real nature of God, we have only to read PART IV of The Urantia Book. In its pages we discover this loving, tolerant, forgiving, and friendly God that all of our hearts crave.

Read more about the Kingdom of Heaven HERE and HERE

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