May 18 is Pentecost; the last event of the bestowal of Jesus on this world; the event that ensures that Jesus did not really leave us, but instead, sent a version of himself that would fellowship all people for all time ... a version of himself that is universal, inclusive, and powerful.
Carrying On After Jesus Is 'Gone' by Wendy Alsup is a very nice article about Pentecost and the Spirit of Truth, well-written and steeped in Scripture. All Christian people will enjoy reading it; Urantia Book readers may also enjoy it, as it helps us to see how far The Urantia Book takes us towards understanding this important event, and how far we have yet to go to share these amazing truths with the Christian world, the Muslim world, the Jewish world... all of God's children. Here are a couple of snips that will give you the article's flavor:
"These disciples had been utterly spiritually dependent on Jesus during his earthly life, and yet he expected them to take the gospel to the rest of the world. It makes sense that they stared up after him, I suspect with confusion and concern on their faces, needing angels to finally tell them to stop straining their necks to see him. How could they possibly do this monumental task to which he had commissioned them on their own? Surely he was coming right back.
"What a moment of sanctifying faith for this small band of believers! Jesus told them in John 14:18 that he would not leave them as orphans, that an Advocate, Comforter, or Counselor (depending on your translation of the Bible) would come to remind them of all of his teachings and equip them in a way that would be even better than walking and talking with him in person. But Jesus had left, and no advocate had yet come."
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We hope that this blog offering Urantia Book teachings about the Spirit of Truth and Pentecost may inspire all truthseekers no matter what their religious leanings may be, to harmonize, contrast, and compare the traditional views from Scripture as presented in this article above with the amazing revelation that is The Urantia Book. There's no better subject to make this effort, as that good Spirit that Jesus left for all mankind is designed to unerringly point the way into all truth for all seekers.
It's hard not to wonder sometimes what our world would look like if Jesus had been able to live a really long life - say 80 or 90 years. It's hard not to wonder, but we can't allow ourselves to become too sad about the past; we must all turn our faces towards the future.
Pentecost, and the bestowal of the promised Spirit of Truth on that long-ago day is a reason to keep looking forward. The Spirit of Truth that Jesus left on our confused world that day started to work immediately and has not stopped working. Even through the Dark Ages, wars, famines, confusions, heresies and tragedies of all kinds, that good Spirit has been here, working in the minds and hearts of truthseekers everywhere to uplift our world, one mind at a time.
With the arrival of The Urantia Book, seekers after truth now have a new way to understand just what the Spirit of Truth is. Knowing that that good Spirit is alive and well in our minds might be a good incentive to deliberately activate its influence as we reach out for more information, more truth through the revelation of The Urantia Book.
As is nearly always the case, the teachings of The Urantia Book clarify the Biblical records, fill in all missing gaps, and place the narrative of Jesus life and teachings in a coherent, understandable context. And this is true of ALL the Master's life, through his death, resurrection, and bestowal of his Spirit in his stead after his ascension to the Father.
Spirit of Truth? or Holy Spirit?
There is still a good deal of confusion about just what the Spirit of Truth really is. In Christianity, this good Spirit is often confused with the "Holy Spirit." In fact the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Truth are two different spiritual forces. Here are two topical studies helping the reader to make the distinction:
Click to read selected Urantia Book teachings about the Holy Spirit
Click to read selected Urantia Book teachings about the Spirit of Truth
But briefly stated, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity (also called the Divine Minister), while the Spirit of Truth is the Advocate, the Comforter that Jesus promised to send once he had left the earth. But notwithstanding that they are different, these two spiritual forces do work together in the experience of all mortals, along with the indwelling Thought Adjuster, whose presence in the mind of man became a universal endowment at Pentecost:
101:2.12 Revelation as an epochal phenomenon is periodic; as a personal human experience it is continuous. Divinity functions in mortal personality as the Adjuster gift of the Father, as the Spirit of Truth of the Son, and as the Holy Spirit of the Universe Spirit, while these three supermortal endowments are unified in human experiential evolution as the ministry of the Supreme.
What did Jesus say?
180:4.1 Jesus continued to teach, saying: "When I have gone to the Father, and after he has fully accepted the work I have done for you on earth, and after I have received the final sovereignty of my own domain, I shall say to my Father: Having left my children alone on earth, it is in accordance with my promise to send them another teacher. And when the Father shall approve, I will pour out the Spirit of Truth upon all flesh. Already is my Father's spirit in your hearts, and when this day shall come, you will also have me with you even as you now have the Father. This new gift is the spirit of living truth. The unbelievers will not at first listen to the teachings of this spirit, but the sons of light will all receive him gladly and with a whole heart. And you shall know this spirit when he comes even as you have known me, and you will receive this gift in your hearts, and he will abide with you. You thus perceive that I am not going to leave you without help and guidance. I will not leave you desolate. Today I can be with you only in person. In the times to come I will be with you and all other men who desire my presence, wherever you may be, and with each of you at the same time. Do you not discern that it is better for me to go away; that I leave you in the flesh so that I may the better and the more fully be with you in the spirit?
Jesus looked down upon [the apostles], smiled, and said: "My little children, I am going away, going back to my Father. In a little while you will not see me as you do here, as flesh and blood. In a very short time I am going to send you my spirit, just like me except for this material body. This new teacher is the Spirit of Truth who will live with each one of you, in your hearts, and so will all the children of light be made one and be drawn toward one another. And in this very manner will my Father and I be able to live in the souls of each one of you and also in the hearts of all other men who love us and make that love real in their experiences by loving one another, even as I am now loving you."
What actually happened at Pentecost?
Once Jesus had ascended to the Father on that May 18th, he sent the promised Spirit - not only to the 120 gathered in the upper room, but to all mankind throughout the world.
"Do not overlook the fact that the Spirit of Truth was bestowed upon all sincere believers; this gift of the spirit did not come only to the apostles. The one hundred and twenty men and women assembled in the upper chamber all received the new teacher, as did all the honest of heart throughout the whole world. This new teacher was bestowed upon mankind, and every soul received him in accordance with the love for truth and the capacity to grasp and comprehend spiritual realities. At last, true religion is delivered from the custody of priests and all sacred classes and finds its real manifestation in the individual souls of men.
"The bestowal of the Spirit of Truth was independent of all forms, ceremonies, sacred places, and special behavior by those who received the fullness of its manifestation. When the spirit came upon those assembled in the upper chamber, they were simply sitting there, having just been engaged in silent prayer. The spirit was bestowed in the country as well as in the city. It was not necessary for the apostles to go apart to a lonely place for years of solitary meditation in order to receive the spirit. For all time, Pentecost disassociates the idea of spiritual experience from the notion of especially favorable environments.
"The coming of the Spirit of Truth purifies the human heart and leads the recipient to formulate a life purpose single to the will of God and the welfare of men. The material spirit of selfishness has been swallowed up in this new spiritual bestowal of selflessness. Pentecost, then and now, signifies that the Jesus of history has become the divine Son of living experience. The joy of this outpoured spirit, when it is consciously experienced in human life, is a tonic for health, a stimulus for mind, and an unfailing energy for the soul."
Read more about the bestowal of the Spirit of Truth on Pentecost
What did this outpoured spirit have to do with the early church?
194_0_4 The gospel of the kingdom is: the fact of the fatherhood of God, coupled with the resultant truth of the sonship-brotherhood of men. Christianity, as it developed from that day, is: the fact of God as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, in association with the experience of believer-fellowship with the risen and glorified Christ.
These believers felt themselves suddenly translated into another world, a new existence of joy, power, and glory. The Master had told them the kingdom would come with power, and some of them thought they were beginning to discern what he meant.
And when all of this is taken into consideration, it is not difficult to understand how these men came to preach a new gospel about Jesus in the place of their former message of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men.
From Beginnings of the Christian Church:
Christ was about to become the creed of the rapidly forming church. Jesus lives; he died for men; he gave the spirit; he is coming again. Jesus filled all their thoughts and determined all their new concepts of God and everything else. They were too much enthused over the new doctrine that "God is the Father of the Lord Jesus" to be concerned with the old message that "God is the loving Father of all men," even of every single individual. True, a marvelous manifestation of brotherly love and unexampled good will did spring up in these early communities of believers. But it was a fellowship of believers in Jesus, not a fellowship of brothers in the family kingdom of the Father in heaven. Their good will arose from the love born of the concept of Jesus' bestowal and not from the recognition of the brotherhood of mortal man. Nevertheless, they were filled with joy, and they lived such new and unique lives that all men were attracted to their teachings about Jesus. They made the great mistake of using the living and illustrative commentary on the gospel of the kingdom for that gospel, but even that represented the greatest religion mankind had ever known.
But it is important to note that, while a church was established as a result of this Spirit in the hearts of mankind as an understandable repercussion, it is not a requirement that one be associated with a church to enjoy the ministrations of that Spirit. It is that Spirit that unites all of Jesus' "invisible brotherhood," now and forevermore.
The Spirit of Truth and the individual
The Spirit of Truth functions independently of churches or other organized groups, just as Jesus always did during his life; because Jesus is absent as a physical presence, this new Spirit is an endowment of mind and influences the individual:
From the Spirit of Truth
The new helper which Jesus promised to send into the hearts of believers, to pour out upon all flesh, is the Spirit of Truth. This divine endowment is not the letter or law of truth, neither is it to function as the form or expression of truth. The new teacher is the conviction of truth, the consciousness and assurance of true meanings on real spirit levels. And this new teacher is the spirit of living and growing truth, expanding, unfolding, and adaptative truth.
The true child of universe insight looks for the living Spirit of Truth in every wise saying. The God-knowing individual is constantly elevating wisdom to the living-truth levels of divine attainment; the spiritually unprogressive soul is all the while dragging the living truth down to the dead levels of wisdom and to the domain of mere exalted knowledge.
The True Mission of the Spirit of Truth
from The Significance of Pentecost
The first mission of this spirit is, of course, to foster and personalize truth, for it is the comprehension of truth that constitutes the highest form of human liberty. Next, it is the purpose of this spirit to destroy the believer's feeling of orphanhood. Jesus having been among men, all believers would experience a sense of loneliness had not the Spirit of Truth come to dwell in men's hearts.
Do not make the mistake of expecting to become strongly intellectually conscious of the outpoured Spirit of Truth. The spirit never creates a consciousness of himself, only a consciousness of Michael, the Son. From the beginning Jesus taught that the spirit would not speak of himself. The proof, therefore, of your fellowship with the Spirit of Truth is not to be found in your consciousness of this spirit but rather in your experience of enhanced fellowship with Michael (Jesus).
The spirit also came to help men recall and understand the words of the Master as well as to illuminate and reinterpret his life on earth.
Next, the Spirit of Truth came to help the believer to witness to the realities of Jesus' teachings and his life as he lived it in the flesh, and as he now again lives it anew and afresh in the individual believer of each passing generation of the spirit-filled sons of God.
Thus it appears that the Spirit of Truth comes really to lead all believers into all truth, into the expanding knowledge of the experience of the living and growing spiritual consciousness of the reality of eternal and ascending sonship with God.
And this "reality of eternal and ascending sonship with God" is the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus came to present to humanity - sonship with God and loving service to the kingdom of spiritual brotherhood under this same Fatherhood of God - the gospel that he gotten lost in favor of the Christian Gospel of the risen Christ.
So, when we come together in our churches this month to celebrate and remember and be grateful for the outpouring of the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, the spirit presence of Jesus himself ... it may be with an expanded and new understanding of the function of this good Spirit as we co-ordinate the traditional with the new for the benefit of all.
Please follow the links provided in this blog to find out even more about Pentecost and the Spirit of Truth.