Urantia Gospel Parallels

There are more than 10,000 cross references between the Bible and the Urantia Book. Part IV, a New Revelation of Jesus, is a 774 pg. section which has many parallels to the Gospel stories of the Bible. This blog will be a study of such parallels, and hopefully will increase and expand the love of those already familiar with the Gospel stories of Jesus, or, conversely show the Urantia Book's New Revelation equivalents of Gospel stories.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Salvation Parallels


The major question of mankind has always been whether there is life after death. Various world religions have different approaches and beliefs about this. I don’t want to go into a comparative religions study at this time, but I do want to state that Jesus promised eternal life based upon the simple fact of the believer having faith in God the Father, through Jesus himself. He stated “All who come to the Father come through me”.

There are so many books on this subject that no one writing a blog would attempt such an exposition. However, for the purpose of showing this blog’s Gospel parallels, I would attempt some examples. Every Christian knows generally what the Gospels say. I would however like to emphasize the Gospel story of Jesus teaching about having faith like a little child.

 The Gospel of Matthew states:

Matthew 18:2-4 (New International Version)

 2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.


The New Revelation states:

(1861.2) 170:2.20 Jesus taught that, by faith, the believer enters the kingdom now. In the various discourses he taught that two things are essential to faith-entrance into the kingdom:
(1861.3) 170:2.21 1. Faith, sincerity. To come as a little child, to receive the bestowal of sonship as a gift; to submit to the doing of the Father’s will without questioning and in the full confidence and genuine trustfulness of the Father’s wisdom; to come into the kingdom free from prejudice and preconception; to be open-minded and teachable like an unspoiled child.
(1861.4) 170:2.22 2. Truth hunger. The thirst for righteousness, a change of mind, the acquirement of the motive to be like God and to find God.



Commentary

Both the Gospels and the New Revelation have other similar references. The Gospel verses above indicates “change”, and the New Revelation expands the Gospel reference to include “faith”, and a “change of mind”, adding a thirst for righteousness and a motive to find God.

Of course the Bible adds these additional elements in other verses.

A change of mind can often precipitate faith. When one can’t find an answer to the issue of life after death, or an answer to many of life’s problems, and decides to change, he/she can simply ask Jesus for help. And he will help, through the spirit he sent at Pentecost to all believers.

A little child is innocent, trusting and easy to teach. This is how God looks at one who comes humbly to him. Both the Gospels and the New Revelation teach that faith itself is a gift from God available for the asking.

This spirit may not necessarily be felt emotionally, but when Jesus’ help is sincerely sought, this spirit will begin to work in the human mind. Most people who ask for help then begin to learn about Jesus and the Father through Bible study and church attendance, and their choice of church then subjects them to various church doctrines, and the variances in doctrines becomes confusing to some.

Faith comes from God, not from anywhere or anyone else. Faith found in a church may be found in oneself there, but it is still a gift from God. Faith is between the believer and God.

A Short Note About Churches

The Bible’s account of the early church is explained in the Book of Acts, believed to be authored by Luke. The Letters of Paul to the early churches also are instructive.  The Gospels don’t have any reference to a church. Jesus refers to an assembly of believers.

The assembly of believers were part of Judaism after the resurrection. As the Greek believers spread the words of Jesus, and the persecutions of both Jewish and Greek believers began in Jerusalem, the believers in Jesus separated from Judaism and started the churches. First Peter was the Apostle who preached to the Jews, and then Paul spread the word to the non Jewish Gentiles. Later Peter assisted Paul in his endeavors.


The New Revelation teaches that churches are the socialization of religion, whereas true religion is between the believer and Jesus himself, which is what Jesus taught in the Gospels. It is the believers who socialize religion. This is the normal outgrowth of an association of like believers.

The New Revelation explains that the “religion of Jesus” is what he taught, whereas the churches are a religion about the risen Jesus. The New Revelation states that Jesus wholeheartedly supports the churches, and just wants each believer to have a personal relationship with the Father through him.

Over the centuries the Christian Church has splintered into many denominations, each with different doctrines and emphases. This is what confuses some believers, both old and new.

The Historical Jesus

The New Revelation doesn’t in any way condemn the churches, it supports them. It simply states that it hopes to fill the “splinter” gap by presenting the life of the historical Jesus in modern form. It teaches the “religion of Jesus". Christianity is missing the historical Jesus, even though many scholars and authors have tried to re-create him. One memorable attempt was made by Fr. Hans Kung, who wrote “On Being a Christian”.

Thus anyone really wanting to change their lives, can only add a spiritual dimension, through faith. All religions have truth, and morality, but none have a savior that one can interact with personally except Christianity. Those who believe, including myself, also agree that God the Father, through Jesus, in changing us through changing our thinking and helping our character growth, helps us to change our attitude towards others, and generally enhances our lives. As our morality increases, our self respect also increases. As we begin to understand evil, we begin to avoid it, and evil is always what complicates and undermines our lives. However, we first must understand it. In this sense I am equating evil with sin. God’s love will erase it in your life when you are tuned into him through Jesus, through prayer. 

Jesus taught that “the Kingdom of God is within you”. This refers to our spiritual dimension, originating in our minds. Once we believe, by faith, God can communicate with us. We can pray, and He can answer prayer. The channel to the Father opens. Jesus came to save all people from spiritual darkness.

Jesus told the Apostles he couldn’t save them from persecution, nor the accidents of time, but that he would be with them through it all. This has of course been proven through the recorded lives of many believers throughout the history of the last 2000 years.

So, the advantages of faith are not only a better life here on earth, but the hope of eternal life. Nothing will give a believer a better perspective or knowledge of this than knowing the life of the  historical Jesus in Palestine 2000 years ago.

I hope by now that any reader sees that a presentation without doctrine (external rules), is an unfettered one. I have made no pronouncements about baptism, communion, confession, marriage, sex, Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Muslims, race, ethnicity, or any other pronouncement. I believe true religion is the Fatherhood of God and the resultant Brotherhood of man.

God is truly the God of love, and he loves everyone.Many don't know that. Once we do, we accept sonship. Then we can love our brothers.


Healing of Ten Lepers


The Pastor at a Church I recently attended spoke on the following verses in the Gospel of Luke:
 
Healing of Ten Lepers

The Bible Gospel of Luke states:

Luke 17:11-19

"[11] Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. [12] As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance [13] and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"
[14] When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed.
[15] One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. [16] He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him -- and he was a Samaritan.
[17] Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? [18] Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" [19] Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."


Jesus: A New Revelation states:

"(1827.6) 166:2.1 The next day Jesus went with the twelve over to Amathus, near the border of Samaria, and as they approached the city, they encountered a group of ten lepers who sojourned near this place. Nine of this group were Jews, one a Samaritan. Ordinarily these Jews would have refrained from all association or contact with this Samaritan, but their common affliction was more than enough to overcome all religious prejudice. They had heard much of Jesus and his earlier miracles of healing, and since the seventy made a practice of announcing the time of Jesus’ expected arrival when the Master was out with the twelve on these tours, the ten lepers had been made aware that he was expected to appear in this vicinity at about this time; and they were, accordingly, posted here on the outskirts of the city where they hoped to attract his attention and ask for healing. When the lepers saw Jesus drawing near them, not daring to approach him, they stood afar off and cried to him: “Master, have mercy on us; cleanse us from our affliction. Heal us as you have healed others.”
(1827.7) 166:2.2 Jesus had just been explaining to the twelve why the gentiles of Perea, together with the less orthodox Jews, were more willing to believe the gospel preached by the seventy than were the more orthodox and tradition-bound Jews of Judea. He had called their attention to the fact that their message had likewise been more readily received by the Galileans, and even by the Samaritans. But the twelve apostles were hardly yet willing to entertain kind feelings for the long-despised Samaritans.
(1827.8) 166:2.3 Accordingly, when Simon Zelotes observed the Samaritan among the lepers, he sought to induce the Master to pass on into the city without even hesitating to exchange greetings with them. Said Jesus to Simon: But what if the Samaritan loves God as well as the Jews? Should we sit in judgment on our fellow men? Who can tell? if we make these ten men whole, perhaps the Samaritan will prove more grateful even than the Jews. Do you feel certain about your opinions, Simon? And Simon quickly replied, “If you cleanse them, you will soon find out.” And Jesus replied: So shall it be, Simon, and you will soon know the truth regarding the gratitude of men and the loving mercy of God.
(1827.9) 166:2.4 Jesus, going near the lepers, said: If you would be made whole, go forthwith and show yourselves to the priests as required by the law of Moses.” And as they went, they were made whole. But when the Samaritan saw that he was being healed, he turned back and, going in quest of Jesus, began to glorify God with a loud voice. And when he had found the Master, he fell on his knees at his feet and gave thanks for his cleansing. The nine others, the Jews, had also discovered their healing, and while they also were grateful for their cleansing, they continued on their way to show themselves to the priests.
(1828.1) 166:2.5 As the Samaritan remained kneeling at Jesus’ feet, the Master, looking about at the twelve, especially at Simon Zelotes, said: Were not ten cleansed? Where, then, are the other nine, the Jews? Only one, this alien, has returned to give glory to God. And then he said to the Samaritan, Arise and go your way; your faith has made you whole.”
(1828.2) 166:2.6 Jesus looked again at his apostles as the stranger departed. And the apostles all looked at Jesus, save Simon Zelotes, whose eyes were downcast. The twelve said not a word. Neither did Jesus speak; it was not necessary that he should.
(1828.3) 166:2.7 Though all ten of these men really believed they had leprosy, only four were thus afflicted. The other six were cured of a skin disease which had been mistaken for leprosy. But the Samaritan really had leprosy.
(1828.4) 166:2.8 Jesus enjoined the twelve to say nothing about the cleansing of the lepers, and as they went on into Amathus, he remarked: You see how it is that the children of the house, even when they are insubordinate to their Father’s will, take their blessings for granted. They think it a small matter if they neglect to give thanks when the Father bestows healing upon them, but the strangers, when they receive gifts from the head of the house, are filled with wonder and are constrained to give thanks in recognition of the good things bestowed upon them.” And still the apostles said nothing in reply to the Master’s words."

Commentary

I used this story in Luke as the first example as it is indicative of the parallels in the New Revelation to the Bible story. It also shows how the New Revelation expands the story. For instance, Jesus was obviously trying to help Simon overcome his aversion to Samaritans, as only one of the lepers, a Samaritan,  returned to give thanks. The Luke version makes no mention of Simon and his aversion to Samaritans, and, while it doesn’t change the Gospel message, it expands it.

In the New Revelation, Jesus expanded the one word “foreigner” in Luke to show that the foreigner can thank God for his help, when the Jews would not, taking it for granted. This also shows that this exercise by Jesus was aimed at teaching his Apostles these facts, as well as their witnessing this miracle of healing.


It also indicates how closely the New Revelation parallels the Bible in this story, notwithstanding its expansion of the Bible version. This is indicative of the New Revelation’s adherence to the Bible story as well.

Bible scholars have argued and discussed the differences in the Gospels for centuries, and whether they had a common “Q Document”. They refer to the first three Gospels as “Synoptic”. These discussions are mainly for scholars. 

The ordinary person goes to an occasional Bible study, and may read the Bible when time is available. He/She is more interested in the message than the academic aspects. The New Revelation is written in today’s language, similar to a Bible Translation like the New International Version.
 
There has been a lot of disinformation posted on the Internet, demeaning this Urantia New Revelation, without any concrete references. The references cited herein are concrete and factual, not opinions without basis. There are few non biblical historical resources available about Jesus, i.e. Josephus and Tertullian. The New Revelation has thus provided both scholars and ordinary readers with a resource heretofore unavailable. 

No church has been organized or has grown up around or out of this New Revelation. Neither does the New Revelation fit into a "New Age" publication description. Its content is well worth exploration for both believers and non believers. 

 


Monday, December 13, 2010

Parallels between the Gospels and Jesus A New Revelation



INTRODUCTION

There are more than 10,000 cross references between the Bible and Jesus, a New Revelation, a 774 page book. I have studied the Bible for 34 years, and the New Revelation for 20. I always loved the story of Jesus in the Gospels, but the New Revelation made me love them even more, as it is the most moving story I've ever read. The New Revelation has now been purchased by more than 500,000 readers, and has been translated into most major languages. It is available for free on many websites, so it is available to everyone.

Being a long time Bible student, and then discovering "Jesus: A New Revelation" which is Part IV of the Urantia Book, I decided that it was high time that I blogged about the substantial similarities of both stories of Jesus. While I realize that many fundamentalist Christians see the Urantia Book as a threat, since every word of the Holy Bible's content is believed sacred, and inspired by God, I also don't believe they have read the Life of Jesus as portrayed in the 774 pages of Part IV, which expands the Gospels to a great degree.

To begin, I have to start with the fact that I love Christianity, but am also well educated in the sense that I majored in Philosophy in undergraduate school. I have also read several versions (translations) of the Bible, and understand that the modern translations became clearer after scholars studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, as they had access to Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts, and thus could get a better handle on the meanings of words and phrases by comparison.

There are also many historical persons who are considered Seers, who loved Jesus, and while some were not Christians, i.e. Gandhi, the Father of Modern India, author of "All Men Are Brothers", others were from diifferent Christian denominations, i.e. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Nun who wrote "Little Way". I thus am writing from the perspective of not only a Christian, but all who honor Jesus as the most spiritual person who ever lived on this planet.

I have found in recent years that there are people of all nationalities, and age groups who want to  understand Jesus, but who have been turned off by the rigidity of Christian "Doctrine". This rigidity permeates all denominations, whether Catholic, Protestant or other derivations thereof, i.e. Orthodox, Pentecostal, Mormon, Mennonite, Methodist, Baptist and so many others.

However, all of these denominations agree that Jesus is the Son of God, and most agree that that there is a third person, the Holy Spirit, who together with the Father and Son constitute the Holy Trinity, referred to in the Hebrew  as the "Elohim" or Triune God.

Where their doctrines differ is in their interpretations of scripture, and in their mission emphases, i.e. the Baptists have "the Great Commission", the Presbyterians have their "elect", and so on. I won't try to outline all of that doctrine here, as this information is simply background for the thrust of this blog, which is simply to provide some unstilted, and hopefully unbiased information for those seeking spiritual answers.

I have further found that the Jesus of the Gospels lived a life of love, for his Apostles, for common people, sinners, for those in power, and for foreigners (Samaritans, Greeks, Lebanese and Syrians). His life was one of love, and his teachings were centralized on each individual knowing that God loved them individually, as a Father, rather than tribally as YAHWEH, a group God. He taught that individual faith was to replace adherence to the law as the basis for salvation, and salvation means survival, eternal life.

These teachings were a paradigm change to the Jewish religion and all religions of that time. He did not advocate breaking the laws brought by Moses, but he railed against the 630 daily rituals of the Pharisees. He was on a collision course with the religious establishment from the first day. His life was the hardest religious undertaking of all time theretofore.

Thus, with this introduction, I will rest for now and await any response. I hope to continue with comparisons of Bible Gospel scripture and New Revelation scripture, and my usual commentary. Suffice to say that at this juncture I hope any reader would sense that this will hopefully not be seen as an egotistical presentation, nor an argumentative one. I will not try to overwhelm readers with passion, nor doctrine. This is my first shot at blogging, even though I have been a technical, legal writer for years.

I will try to present Jesus through a new lens, oblivious of doctrine, and oblivious of the traditions of all churches and denominations. This will be a heavy challenge for me, but after 34 years of study it may bring someone to faith. Of course I could easily expect some serious flaming, but hopefully even a flamer will be reminded that the Jesus of love of the Gospels taught forgiveness, respect, and humility before God, even to love one's enemies.