Most people know Jesus primarily from the New Testament writing - the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And many believe that every word that is ascribed to Jesus in the Bible is exactly what he said...but are those words all exact? I find this a very interesting article, and hope you do, too. It is called: Jesuit Superior General: We Don't Know 'What Jesus Really Said' by Thomas De Williams, PhD
As the priest in the article points out: "at that time no one had a tape recorder to record his words." We have to understand that having 1) been recorded by humans, and then 2) granted official status by humans, mistakes might have been, and likely were, made.
Readers of The Uantia Book know - and rejoice in knowing - that there were real living "tape recorders" of a sort who were present during Jesus entire life on our world - superhuman beings called Midwayers who actually DID record every detail of the Masters life. These records have been carefully preserved over the centuries until the time when they could be presented once more to the world in unadulterated form - in BOOK form. That time is NOW! We blog about this subject below, but first here are a few snips from this article:
"Asked whether Jesus' words have an 'absolute value,' Father Sosa said that scholars have been struggling 'to understand exactly what Jesus meant to say.'
" 'The word is relative, the Gospel is written by human beings, it is accepted by the Church which is made up of human persons,' " he said.
" 'It is true,' he said, 'that no one can change the word of Jesus, but we need to know what it was!'
Curiously, the Second Vatican Council, which Father Sosa appeals to, taught that 'everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit,' and that the books of Scripture 'must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation.' "
It also declared that the Church has always firmly held that the four Gospels faithfully hand on "what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven."
Click to read the whole article
Wouldn't it be nice to know what Jesus really said?
In The Urantia Book, we discover Jesus, his life, and his teachings recorded in a stunning narrative that spans his entire life, from birth to death, with even all the "missing years" intact.
We thrill to read his discourses, his sermons, his day-to-day teachings delivered to his followers and his apostles - and his intimate exchanges with his parents, Mary and Joseph, his childhood associates, his siblngs, and others.
To an open-minded truthseeker who wishes to know more about Jesus, The Urantia Book will prove invaulable! Even more important than the things that Jesus SAID, is the WAY that he lived his life - the things that he DID. This narrative of Jesus' life clarifies, contextualizes, and illuminates the Master; Part IV of The Urantia Book is a treasure-trove that builds upon the New Testament, but that adds incredible detail and vitality to the greatest story ever told. The new telling of this amazing story is a gift beyond measure!
There are large sections of The Urantia Book that are presented in quotes as the words of Jesus; in other sections his teachings are paraphrased for absorption by 21st century seekers. But in all instances, one is struck at the resonant feel of this narrative...the authentic fragrance of the Master is unmistakable!
But what about Scripture? Should we disregard it?
First of all, it's important to know just how the New Testament came to be. The Urantia Book offers a good amount of insight on that subject, which can be read near the beginning of Jesus' story. As you will see, there are the same questions about its veracity now as there had been in Jesus' day about the Old Testament records. And this section also gives us insight as to the mindset of the superhuman authors of The Urantia Book. It does tell us that the existing records "imperfect as they are, have been sufficient to change the course of the history of Urantia for almost two thousand years." And so, they should certainly not be lightly disregarded.
Please see Previous Written Records
For the purposes of this blog, I am reproducing here a speech given by Jesus to Nathaniel, in response to a qustion that Nathaniel posed to him about this very issue...in this case the Old Testament records, but one can just as easily apply the Master's teachings to the New Testament as well, which have also been written by men, as seen in the above section on previous written records. Jesus speaks very forthrightly and plainly about how HE viewed the written records of his times that were thought to be inerrant, just as ours are today:
The Talk with Nathaniel
And then went Jesus over to Abila, where Nathaniel and his associates labored. Nathaniel was much bothered by some of Jesus' pronouncements which seemed to detract from the authority of the recognized Hebrew scriptures. Accordingly, on this night, after the usual period of questions and answers, Nathaniel took Jesus away from the others and asked: "Master, could you trust me to know the truth about the Scriptures? I observe that you teach us only a portion of the sacred writings—the best as I view it—and I infer that you reject the teachings of the rabbis to the effect that the words of the law are the very words of God, having been with God in heaven even before the times of Abraham and Moses. What is the truth about the Scriptures?" When Jesus heard the question of his bewildered apostle, he answered:
"Nathaniel, you have rightly judged; I do not regard the Scriptures as do the rabbis. I will talk with you about this matter on condition that you do not relate these things to your brethren, who are not all prepared to receive this teaching. The words of the law of Moses and the teachings of the Scriptures were not in existence before Abraham. Only in recent times have the Scriptures been gathered together as we now have them. While they contain the best of the higher thoughts and longings of the Jewish people, they also contain much that is far from being representative of the character and teachings of the Father in heaven; wherefore must I choose from among the better teachings those truths which are to be gleaned for the gospel of the kingdom.
"These writings are the work of men, some of them holy men, others not so holy. The teachings of these books represent the views and extent of enlightenment of the time in which they had their origin. As a revelation of truth, the last are more dependable than the first. The Scriptures are faulty and altogether human in origin, but mistake not, they do constitute the best collection of religious wisdom and spiritual truth to be found in all the world at this time.
"Many of these books were not written by the persons whose names they bear, but that in no way detracts from the value of the truths which they contain. If the story of Jonah should not be a fact, even if Jonah had never lived, still would the profound truth of this narrative, the love of God for Nineveh and the so-called heathen, be none the less precious in the eyes of all those who love their fellow men. The Scriptures are sacred because they present the thoughts and acts of men who were searching for God, and who in these writings left on record their highest concepts of righteousness, truth, and holiness. The Scriptures contain much that is true, very much, but in the light of your present teaching, you know that these writings also contain much that is misrepresentative of the Father in heaven, the loving God I have come to reveal to all the worlds.
"Nathaniel, never permit yourself for one moment to believe the Scripture records which tell you that the God of love directed your forefathers to go forth in battle to slay all their enemies—men, women, and children. Such records are the words of men, not very holy men, and they are not the word of God. The Scriptures always have, and always will, reflect the intellectual, moral, and spiritual status of those who create them. Have you not noted that the concepts of Yahweh grow in beauty and glory as the prophets make their records from Samuel to Isaiah? And you should remember that the Scriptures are intended for religious instruction and spiritual guidance. They are not the works of either historians or philosophers.
"The thing most deplorable is not merely this erroneous idea of the absolute perfection of the Scripture record and the infallibility of its teachings, but rather the confusing misinterpretation of these sacred writings by the tradition-enslaved scribes and Pharisees at Jerusalem. And now will they employ both the doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures and their misinterpretations thereof in their determined effort to withstand these newer teachings of the gospel of the kingdom. Nathaniel, never forget, the Father does not limit the revelation of truth to any one generation or to any one people. Many earnest seekers after the truth have been, and will continue to be, confused and disheartened by these doctrines of the perfection of the Scriptures.
"The authority of truth is the very spirit that indwells its living manifestations, and not the dead words of the less illuminated and supposedly inspired men of another generation. And even if these holy men of old lived inspired and spirit-filled lives, that does not mean that their words were similarly spiritually inspired. Today we make no record of the teachings of this gospel of the kingdom lest, when I have gone, you speedily become divided up into sundry groups of truth contenders as a result of the diversity of your interpretation of my teachings. For this generation it is best that we live these truths while we shun the making of records.
"Mark you well my words, Nathaniel, nothing which human nature has touched can be regarded as infallible. Through the mind of man divine truth may indeed shine forth, but always of relative purity and partial divinity. The creature may crave infallibility, but only the Creators possess it.
"But the greatest error of the teaching about the Scripture is the doctrine of their being sealed books of mystery and wisdom which only the wise minds of the nation dare to interpret. The revelations of divine truth are not sealed except by human ignorance, bigotry, and narrow-minded intolerance. The light of the Scriptures is only dimmed by prejudice and darkened by superstition. A false fear of sacredness has prevented religion from being safeguarded by common sense. The fear of the authority of the sacred writings of the past effectively prevents the honest souls of today from accepting the new light of the gospel, the light which these very God-knowing men of another generation so intensely longed to see.
"But the saddest feature of all is the fact that some of the teachers of the sanctity of this traditionalism know this very truth. They more or less fully understand these limitations of Scripture, but they are moral cowards, intellectually dishonest. They know the truth regarding the sacred writings, but they prefer to withhold such disturbing facts from the people. And thus do they pervert and distort the Scriptures, making them the guide to slavish details of the daily life and an authority in things nonspiritual instead of appealing to the sacred writings as the repository of the moral wisdom, religious inspiration, and the spiritual teaching of the God-knowing men of other generations."
Nathaniel was enlightened, and shocked, by the Master's pronouncement. He long pondered this talk in the depths of his soul, but he told no man concerning this conference until after Jesus' ascension; and even then he feared to impart the full story of the Master's instruction.
In this discussion with Nathaniel, Jesus speaks some hard truths. We are told that Nathaniel was "shocked," and it seems sure that many in today's Christian communities would be likewise shocked. Nonetheless, Jesus' approach is sane, solid, and perfectly reasonable.
In Jesus' life and ministry, he employed Scripture liberally, but he was careful to choose his selections. He never shared passages that did not support his mission of portraying God as a loving Father, for example. And he did not ever hold the Scriptures to be anything but "humanly sacred."
Is The Urantia Book a holy book?
Te Urantia Book is not a holy book, although many who love it consider its teachings to be very holy, indeed. Especially in the case of the Life and Teachings of Jesus, the book provides a window into the daily life of the Incarnated Christ, son of man and Son of God; it clarifies and details the events of Jesus' life in a way that makes him fully accessible and fully understandable; it restates his teachings in a way that is instantly applicable to our 21st century world and our individual lives. And The Urantia Book clarifies the things that Jesus said...remember, this is a record kept by eyewitnesses who were actually there.
There ARE instances in the New Testament that ascribe certain statements to Jesus that are decidedly un-Jesusonian; for example, in the story of the Syrio-Phoenician woman, Jesus is thought to have made the statement about the woman being a "dog," but when we read The Urantia Book account of this story we learn that it was actually Simon who made this unkind statement - not Jesus. For centureis, people have wondered about this seeming discrepancy in the Master's character.
Likewise, in the Last Supper story, certain statements have been ascribed to Jesus that he did not make, according to the authors of The Urantia Book; and these mis-statements have colored centuries of belief in the atonement doctrine - a doctrine that Jesus did not teach.
In these instances, reading the real story of Jesus' life through the Urantia revelation is tremendously enlightening, and erases centuries of confusion.
How can we be sure it is true?
There is only one way to evaluate the validity of The Urantia Book, and that is to read it. Once one opens their mind and looks into it with that opened mind, the Spirit of Truth which Jesus left for us here will be ble to assist the reader in evaluating whether this book is worthy or not. The Urantia Book stands alone; the teachings of Jesus stand alone; the surest way to prove to yourself whether it is true is to read, and apply its lessons to your life. We are admonished:
196:1.3 To "follow Jesus" means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master's life of unselfish service for man. One of the most important things in human living is to find out what Jesus believed, to discover his ideals, and to strive for the achievement of his exalted life purpose. Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.
This passage does not emphasize the things that Jesus said, but emphasizes the way he lived his life...this is what will prove most valuable to the seeker. With The Urantia Book, we can explore the whole of the Master's life; and we can do that in a way that is so much more complete, so much more inspiring, and so much more meaningful than with any other account of his life - including the Bible account. Knowing how the book came to us, and how its accuracy has been preserved, we can go forth confidently, assessing and applying Jesus' life lessons in our own lives.
Read The Urantia Book if you want to know more - much more - about Jesus!