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PAPER 170 - THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN


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#1 Rick Warren

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 05:14 AM

Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today's Presentation

 

Paper 170 - The Kingdom of Heaven

 

[INTRODUCTION]

 

   SATURDAY afternoon, March 11, Jesus preached his last sermon at Pella. This was among the notable addresses of his public ministry, embracing a full and complete discussion of the kingdom of heaven. He was aware of the confusion which existed in the minds of his apostles and disciples regarding the meaning and significance of the terms “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God,” which he used as interchangeable designations of his bestowal mission. Although the very term kingdom of heaven should have been enough to separate what it stood for from all connection with earthly kingdoms and temporal governments, it was not. The idea of a temporal king was too deep-rooted in the Jewish mind thus to be dislodged in a single generation. Therefore Jesus did not at first openly oppose this long-nourished concept of the kingdom.

 

(1858.2) 170:0.2 This Sabbath afternoon the Master sought to clarify the teaching about the kingdom of heaven; he discussed the subject from every viewpoint and endeavored to make clear the many different senses in which the term had been used. In this narrative we will amplify the address by adding numerous statements made by Jesus on previous occasions and by including some remarks made only to the apostles during the evening discussions of this same day. We will also make certain comments dealing with the subsequent outworking of the kingdom idea as it is related to the later Christian church.

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#2 Rick Warren

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 06:04 AM

 


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Greetings Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,
 
Welcome everyone to the OPAD presentation of Paper 170. This Paper has eight pages and five Sections. It covers just two and a half days of instruction, from Saturday March 11 to Monday morning, March 13, 30 AD. All of it spent at the Pella camp teaching on this one subject.
 
But we are given even more than the Pella campers. The Midwayers drew from other teachings and times:
 
...In this narrative we will amplify the address by adding numerous statements made by Jesus on previous occasions.... (1858.2) 170:0.2
 
 
***
 
Overview of Paper 170: The Kingdom of Heaven
 

 

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.
 
Synopsis of Paper 170:
 
The term, "kingdom of heaven" was one that had many meanings in Jesus' era. Jewish people thought the kingdom would mark the coming of the Messiah who was to establish Jewish power on earth. Persians believed that a divine kingdom would be established miraculously at the end of the world.
 
Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven centered in the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. He taught the apostles to pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done." He earnestly sought, without success, to have them exchange the phrase "the kingdom of God" for "the will of God." The apostles' distorted ideas were compounded after his death by their belief that Jesus would return within their lifetimes to establish the new kingdom in power and glory.
 
The kingdom of God in this world is the supreme desire to do the will of God and an unselfish love of others. Humans enter the kingdom by faith, sincerity, trust in the Father, open-mindedness, truth-hunger, and the desire to find God and be like Him. Acceptance of God's forgiveness creates a path that ensures the continuing progress of children of God toward righteousness.
 
True righteousness is the natural result of unselfish love for others. Although righteousness is more than merely doing good works, the true religion of the kingdom unfailingly manifests itself in social service. Jesus did not concern himself with morals and ethics as such, rather, he was concerned with an inward spiritual fellowship with God that outwardly manifests as loving service. Religion is personal, but the results of religion are familial and social.
 
Jesus observed five phases of the kingdom of God: personal experience of spiritual relationship with God, enhanced social ethics resulting from the influence of God's spirit in the heart, supermortal brotherhood of spiritual beings in heaven and on earth, hope of a more perfect fulfillment of God's will in the next age of humanity, and the spiritual age of light and life on earth.
 
Features of the kingdom of heaven are: pre-eminence of the individual; will as determining factor in man's experience; spiritual fellowship with God the Father; supreme satisfaction of loving service; and the transcendence of the spiritual over the material in human personality.
 
The world has yet to seriously implement Jesus' ideals of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus' teachings nearly failed because of his followers' distortion of his concepts. Jewish believers persisted in regarding him as the Messiah who would return to establish a kingdom on earth. Gentile Christians accepted the doctrines of Paul, who described Jesus as the redeemer of the church.
 
The church as a social outgrowth of the kingdom is desirable, but not if it becomes an institutional substitute for the kingdom of heaven. Jews thought of the kingdom as the Jewish community; gentiles thought of it as the church. Jesus taught that it was all people who confess their faith in the Fatherhood of God, and declare their wholehearted dedication to doing his will. The Christian church is the cocoon in which Jesus' concept of the kingdom now slumbers. Someday, a new John the Baptist will revive the actual teachings of the Master, and the religion of Jesus will replace the religion about Jesus.

 

 
 
In tomorrow's reading, Section 1. Concepts of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Midwayers list the many confused ideas and lingering traditions about the expected kingdom still very much alive in the Jewish mind, ahead of Jesus' clear concepts presented in Section 2.
 
Ruins_of_Pella_350.jpg
 
 
 
Listen to Paper 170 (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited.

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.


#3 Rick Warren

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 05:08 AM

Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today's Presentation

 

Paper 170 - The Kingdom of Heaven

 

 

1. Concepts of the Kingdom of Heaven

 

 

 

   In connection with the recital of Jesus’ sermon it should be noted that throughout the Hebrew scriptures there was a dual concept of the kingdom of heaven. The prophets presented the kingdom of God as:

 

1. A present reality; and as

 

2. A future hope — when the kingdom would be realized in fullness upon the appearance of the Messiah. This is the kingdom concept which John the Baptist taught.

 

From the very first Jesus and the apostles taught both of these concepts. There were two other ideas of the kingdom which should be borne in mind:

 

3. The later Jewish concept of a world-wide and transcendental kingdom of supernatural origin and miraculous inauguration.

 

4. The Persian teachings portraying the establishment of a divine kingdom as the achievement of the triumph of good over evil at the end of the world.

 

(1858.9) 170:1.7 Just before the advent of Jesus on earth, the Jews combined and confused all of these ideas of the kingdom into their apocalyptic concept of the Messiah’s coming to establish the age of the Jewish triumph, the eternal age of God’s supreme rule on earth, the new world, the era in which all mankind would worship Yahweh. In choosing to utilize this concept of the kingdom of heaven, Jesus elected to appropriate the most vital and culminating heritage of both the Jewish and Persian religions.

 

(1859.1) 170:1.8 The kingdom of heaven, as it has been understood and misunderstood down through the centuries of the Christian era, embraced four distinct groups of ideas:

 

1. The concept of the Jews.

 

2. The concept of the Persians.

 

3. The personal-experience concept of Jesus — “the kingdom of heaven within you.”

 

4. The composite and confused concepts which the founders and promulgators of Christianity have sought to impress upon the world.

 

 

(1859.6) 170:1.13 At different times and in varying circumstances it appears that Jesus may have presented numerous concepts of the “kingdom” in his public teachings, but to his apostles he always taught the kingdom as embracing man’s personal experience in relation to his fellows on earth and to the Father in heaven. Concerning the kingdom, his last word always was, “The kingdom is within you.”

 

(1859.7) 170:1.14 Centuries of confusion regarding the meaning of the term “kingdom of heaven” have been due to three factors:

 

1. The confusion occasioned by observing the idea of the “kingdom” as it passed through the various progressive phases of its recasting by Jesus and his apostles.

 

2. The confusion which was inevitably associated with the transplantation of early Christianity from a Jewish to a gentile soil.

 

3. The confusion which was inherent in the fact that Christianity became a religion which was organized about the central idea of Jesus’ person; the gospel of the kingdom became more and more a religion about him.

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#4 Rick Warren

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 06:32 AM

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Good Day Bonita, Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

 

Looking at it 2000 years later, one might wonder why the Master chose to use the kingdom concept at all. Apparently prevailing conditions dictated it. And John the Baptist's use of the concept had a compelling influence that left Jesus with little or no choice.

 

It is obvious John was building on bits of Old Testament scripture. From Isaiah 9:

 

7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.

 

From Isaiah 10:

 

10 But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

 

From Daniel 6:

 

26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and steadfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

 

From Psalms 22:

 

27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

28 For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations.

 

The words king and kingdom appear in over two thousand Bible verses, it was the way people of that day conceptualized the world. This is from 2 Samuel, chapter 7:

 

13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

 

 

From today’s reading:

 

...The kingdom of heaven, as it has been understood and misunderstood down through the centuries of the Christian era, embraced four distinct groups of ideas.... (1859.1) 170:1.8

 

3. The personal-experience concept of Jesus — “the kingdom of heaven within you.”

 

All these verses, from Old and New Testament, allude to the Kingdom within you:

 

Luke 17:21

Ezekiel 37:14

Galatians 02:20

Isaiah 63:11

Job 32:08

John 17:21-23

Matthew 10:20

Revelation 21:03

Romans 08:09-11

1 Corinthians 03:16-17

1 Corinthians 08:19

1 John 03:24

1 John 04:12-15

2 Corinthians 06:16

 

 

***

 

Many times in Papers to come will we read this idea that Christianity became more a religion about Jesus than the religion of Jesus. Even in previous Papers does it appear. From a Melchizedek in Paper 98:

 

...Christianity, today, has become a religion well adapted to the social, economic, and political mores of the white races. It has long since ceased to be the religion of Jesus.... (1084.10) 98:7.11

 

The Midwayers used italics in both of these quotes. From Paper 195:

 

...These various groupings of Christians may serve to accommodate numerous different types of would-be believers among the various peoples of Western civilization, but such division of Christendom presents a grave weakness when it attempts to carry the gospel of Jesus to Oriental peoples. These races do not yet understand that there is a religion of Jesus separate, and somewhat apart, from Christianity, which has more and more become a religion about Jesus.... (2086.1) 195:10.15

 

From the last Paper, 196:

 

...Some day a reformation in the Christian church may strike deep enough to get back to the unadulterated religious teachings of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. You may preach a religion about Jesus, but, perforce, you must live the religion of Jesus.... (2091.10) 196:2.1

 

***

 

In tomorrow's reading, Section 2. Jesus’ Concept of the Kingdom, Jesus lays out seven endowments of a religion based on the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of all his children. And how he tried, but failed, to exchange the 'kingdom of God' for the 'will of God'.

 

 

Overview of Paper 170: The Kingdom of Heaven

 

1. Concepts of the Kingdom of Heaven

2. Jesus’ Concept of the Kingdom

3. In Relation to Righteousness

4. Jesus’ Teaching about the Kingdom

5. Later Ideas of the Kingdom

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen to Paper 170 (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#5 Rick Warren

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:30 AM

Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

Today's Presentation

Paper 170 - The Kingdom of Heaven

2. Jesus’ Concept of the Kingdom
 
 
[Part 1 of 2]
 
 
   The Master made it clear that the kingdom of heaven must begin with, and be centered in, the dual concept of the truth of the fatherhood of God and the correlated fact of the brotherhood of man. The acceptance of such a teaching, Jesus declared, would liberate man from the age-long bondage of animal fear and at the same time enrich human living with the following endowments of the new life of spiritual liberty:
 
1. The possession of new courage and augmented spiritual power. The gospel of the kingdom was to set man free and inspire him to dare to hope for eternal life.
 
2. The gospel carried a message of new confidence and true consolation for all men, even for the poor.
 
3. It was in itself a new standard of moral values, a new ethical yardstick wherewith to measure human conduct. It portrayed the ideal of a resultant new order of human society.
 
4. It taught the pre-eminence of the spiritual compared with the material; it glorified spiritual realities and exalted superhuman ideals.
 
5. This new gospel held up spiritual attainment as the true goal of living. Human life received a new endowment of moral value and divine dignity.
 
6. Jesus taught that eternal realities were the result (reward) of righteous earthly striving. Man’s mortal sojourn on earth acquired new meanings consequent upon the recognition of a noble destiny.
 
7. The new gospel affirmed that human salvation is the revelation of a far-reaching divine purpose to be fulfilled and realized in the future destiny of the endless service of the salvaged sons of God.

 

(1860.4) 170:2.9 These teachings cover the expanded idea of the kingdom which was taught by Jesus. This great concept was hardly embraced in the elementary and confused kingdom teachings of John the Baptist.
 
(1860.5) 170:2.10 The apostles were unable to grasp the real meaning of the Master’s utterances regarding the kingdom. The subsequent distortion of Jesus’ teachings, as they are recorded in the New Testament, is because the concept of the gospel writers was colored by the belief that Jesus was then absent from the world for only a short time; that he would soon return to establish the kingdom in power and glory — just such an idea as they held while he was with them in the flesh. But Jesus did not connect the establishment of the kingdom with the idea of his return to this world. That centuries have passed with no signs of the appearance of the “New Age” is in no way out of harmony with Jesus’ teaching.
 
(1860.6) 170:2.11 The great effort embodied in this sermon was the attempt to translate the concept of the kingdom of heaven into the ideal of the idea of doing the will of God. Long had the Master taught his followers to pray: “Your kingdom come; your will be done”; and at this time he earnestly sought to induce them to abandon the use of the term kingdom of God in favor of the more practical equivalent, the will of God. But he did not succeed.
 
(1860.7) 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.




***




[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]


#6 Rick Warren

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 05:55 AM

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Greetings Alina, Bonita, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

 

If only the Master could have persuaded his followers to believe and teach this:

 

...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....(1860.7) 170:2.12

 

...Urantia might be a veritable heaven now.

 

John the Baptist was fearless in presenting the coming kingdom, but virtually clueless as to its real significance:

 

...This great concept was hardly embraced in the elementary and confused kingdom teachings of John the Baptist.... (1860.4) 170:2.9

 

So was Paul. So many human teachers fail to plumb the depths of the Master's beautiful lessons, all based in this simple two-fold concept stated in the first paragraph of today's reading:

 

...the dual concept of the truth of the fatherhood of God and the correlated fact of the brotherhood of man.... (1859:11) 170:2.1

 

 

Even though his followers failed to perceive and carry his message in the sermon presented on this day, much of it was recorded in scripture, albeit fragmentary. The list of Bible verses related to today's reading is very long.

 

Here are but a few:

 

On liberty, from John 8:

 

32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

Eternal life, from John 3:

 

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

 

Consoling the poor, from Matthew 11:

 

5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

 

A new ethical yardstick, from Luke 6:

 

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.

30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

 

 

Spiritual over physical, from Matthew 6:

 

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 

Spiritual attainment/the goals of living, from John 6:

 

27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

 

 

Results/rewards, from Matthew 5:

 

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven...

 

From Luke 6:

 

23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven...

 

Salvation, from Luke 20:

 

36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

 

From John 6:

 

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

 

***

 

ALAS! They listened but did not hear:

 

...The apostles were unable to grasp the real meaning of the Master’s utterances regarding the kingdom.... (1860.5) 170:2.10

 

In tomorrow's reading, the last half of Section 2. Jesus’ Concept of the Kingdom, the Midwayers define what the apostles believed, then go on with Jesus' presentation of a two phase concept of the Father's will, kingdom entrance requirements, sin, and reconsideration of the use of the kingdom idea after Jesus left.

 

Kingdom-of-heaven-city-heavenly-city-mary-k-baxter.jpg

 

IMAGE SOURCE

 

Overview of Paper 170: The Kingdom of Heaven

 

1. Concepts of the Kingdom of Heaven

2. Jesus’ Concept of the Kingdom

3. In Relation to Righteousness

4. Jesus’ Teaching about the Kingdom

5. Later Ideas of the Kingdom

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen to Paper 170 (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#7 Rick Warren

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 08:44 AM

Not too surprising is it.

Word Cloud of Paper 170.

 

PAPER 170 WORD CLOUD.jpg



#8 Rick Warren

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 04:47 AM

 


Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

Today's Presentation

Paper 170 - The Kingdom of Heaven

2. Jesus’ Concept of the Kingdom

[Part 2 of 2]

 
   Up to this time the apostles had acquired a double viewpoint of the kingdom; they regarded it as:
 
1. A matter of personal experience then present in the hearts of true believers, and
 
2. A question of racial or world phenomena; that the kingdom was in the future, something to look forward to.

(1860.11) 170:2.16 They looked upon the coming of the kingdom in the hearts of men as a gradual development, like the leaven in the dough or like the growing of the mustard seed. They believed that the coming of the kingdom in the racial or world sense would be both sudden and spectacular. Jesus never tired of telling them that the kingdom of heaven was their personal experience of realizing the higher qualities of spiritual living; that these realities of the spirit experience are progressively translated to new and higher levels of divine certainty and eternal grandeur.
 
(1860.12) 170:2.17 On this afternoon the Master distinctly taught a new concept of the double nature of the kingdom in that he portrayed the following two phases:
 
(1860.13) 170:2.18 “First. The kingdom of God in this world, the supreme desire to do the will of God, the unselfish love of man which yields the good fruits of improved ethical and moral conduct.
 
(1861.1) 170:2.19 “Second. The kingdom of God in heaven, the goal of mortal believers, the estate wherein the love for God is perfected, and wherein the will of God is done more divinely.”
 
(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:
 
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.
 
2. Truth hunger. The thirst for righteousness, a change of mind, the acquirement of the motive to be like God and to find God.

(1861.5) 170:2.23 Jesus taught that sin is not the child of a defective nature but rather the offspring of a knowing mind dominated by an unsubmissive will. Regarding sin, he taught that God has forgiven; that we make such forgiveness personally available by the act of forgiving our fellows. When you forgive your brother in the flesh, you thereby create the capacity in your own soul for the reception of the reality of God’s forgiveness of your own misdeeds.
 
(1861.6) 170:2.24 By the time the Apostle John began to write the story of Jesus’ life and teachings, the early Christians had experienced so much trouble with the kingdom-of-God idea as a breeder of persecution that they had largely abandoned the use of the term. John talks much about the “eternal life.” Jesus often spoke of it as the “kingdom of life.” He also frequently referred to “the kingdom of God within you.” He once spoke of such an experience as “family fellowship with God the Father.” Jesus sought to substitute many terms for the kingdom but always without success. Among others, he used: the family of God, the Father’s will, the friends of God, the fellowship of believers, the brotherhood of man, the Father’s fold, the children of God, the fellowship of the faithful, the Father’s service, and the liberated sons of God.
 
(1861.7) 170:2.25 But he could not escape the use of the kingdom idea. It was more than fifty years later, not until after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies, that this concept of the kingdom began to change into the cult of eternal life as its social and institutional aspects were taken over by the rapidly expanding and crystallizing Christian church.




***



[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]


#9 Rick Warren

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 06:26 AM

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Good Day Alina, Bonita, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

 

This idea that the kingdom is available now, in today's reading:

 

...Jesus taught that, by faith, the believer enters the kingdom now.... (1861.2) 170:2.20

 

...also appears in Papers 140 and 102, also with italics:

 

...seekers after truth do not have to wait for rewards in a distant future; they are rewarded now. They find the kingdom of heaven within their own hearts, and they experience such happiness now.... (1574:0) 140:5.7

 

...the religious soul of spiritual illumination knows, and knows now.... (1120:1) 102:2.4

 

In today's reading the Midwayers mention that Jesus taught child-like faith, craving truth, and seeking for God-likeness. Many are the other mentions of these three. From a Melchizedek in Paper 94:

 

...His concept of true faith was unusual, and he too likened it to the “attitude of a little child....” (1033.8) 94:6.5

 

On truth & righteousness, from Papers 130 and 193:

 

"...And when such disheartened souls sincerely seek for God--hunger for truth and thirst for righteousness--there is nothing that can hold them in further captivity...." (1428:2) 130:1.2

 

"...The bread of life and the water thereof are given only to those who hunger for truth and thirst for righteousness--for God...." (2054:3) 193:2.2

 

On Godlikeness, from Jesus in Paper 130, and an Archangel in Paper 44:

 

"...Will is that manifestation of the human mind which enables the subjective consciousness to express itself objectively and to experience the phenomenon of aspiring to be Godlike...." (1431:5) 130:3.10

 

...And every God-knowing man or angel possesses the potential of unlimited self-expression on ever-progressive levels of unified self-realization by the technique of the never-ending achievement of Godlikeness--the experiential blending in the evolutionary experience of eternal truth, universal beauty, and divine goodness.... (507:5) 44:7.4

 

 

***

 

With the notable exception of striving for Godlikeness, Biblical corollaries with today's reading are abundant. This is from Matthew 13, on leaven and the kingdom:

 

33 ...The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

 

This includes reference to the mustard seed. From Luke 13:

 

18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?

19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?

21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

 

 

There is much more about the hardening of Christian doctrine in the last Papers. From today's reading:

 

...this concept of the kingdom began to change into the cult of eternal life as its social and institutional aspects were taken over by the rapidly expanding and crystallizing Christian church....(1861.7) 170:2.25

 

From Paper 194:

 

...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 concept 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.... (2067.1) 194:4.6

 

From 195:

 

...Christianity is threatened by slow death from formalism, overorganization, intellectualism, and other nonspiritual trends. The modern Christian church is not such a brotherhood of dynamic believers as Jesus commissioned continuously to effect the spiritual transformation of successive generations of mankind.... (2083.6) 195:9.10

 

***

 

In tomorrow's reading, Section 3. In Relation to Righteousness, the Midwayers connect Jesus' teachings on righteousness with faith, forgiveness, motive (intention), social service, and Urantia's glorious future when the true values of the real kingdom become manifest.

 

 

Overview of Paper 170: The Kingdom of Heaven

 

1. Concepts of the Kingdom of Heaven

2. Jesus’ Concept of the Kingdom

3. In Relation to Righteousness

4. Jesus’ Teaching about the Kingdom

5. Later Ideas of the Kingdom

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen to Paper 170 (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#10 Rick Warren

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 05:10 AM

Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

 

Today's Presentation

 

Paper 170 - The Kingdom of Heaven

 

3. In Relation to Righteousness

 

 

   Jesus was always trying to impress upon his apostles and disciples that they must acquire, by faith, a righteousness which would exceed the righteousness of slavish works which some of the scribes and Pharisees paraded so vaingloriously before the world.

 

(1861.9) 170:3.2 Though Jesus taught that faith, simple childlike belief, is the key to the door of the kingdom, he also taught that, having entered the door, there are the progressive steps of righteousness which every believing child must ascend in order to grow up to the full stature of the robust sons of God.

 

(1861.10) 170:3.3 It is in the consideration of the technique of receiving God’s forgiveness that the attainment of the righteousness of the kingdom is revealed. Faith is the price you pay for entrance into the family of God; but forgiveness is the act of God which accepts your faith as the price of admission. And the reception of the forgiveness of God by a kingdom believer involves a definite and actual experience and consists in the following four steps, the kingdom steps of inner righteousness:

 

1. God’s forgiveness is made actually available and is personally experienced by man just in so far as he forgives his fellows.

 

2. Man will not truly forgive his fellows unless he loves them as himself.

 

3. To thus love your neighbor as yourself is the highest ethics.

 

4. Moral conduct, true righteousness, becomes, then, the natural result of such love.

 

(1862.5) 170:3.8 It therefore is evident that the true and inner religion of the kingdom unfailingly and increasingly tends to manifest itself in practical avenues of social service. Jesus taught a living religion that impelled its believers to engage in the doing of loving service. But Jesus did not put ethics in the place of religion. He taught religion as a cause and ethics as a result.

 

(1862.6) 170:3.9 The righteousness of any act must be measured by the motive; the highest forms of good are therefore unconscious. Jesus was never concerned with morals or ethics as such. He was wholly concerned with that inward and spiritual fellowship with God the Father which so certainly and directly manifests itself as outward and loving service for man. He taught that the religion of the kingdom is a genuine personal experience which no man can contain within himself; that the consciousness of being a member of the family of believers leads inevitably to the practice of the precepts of the family conduct, the service of one’s brothers and sisters in the effort to enhance and enlarge the brotherhood.

 

(1862.7) 170:3.10 The religion of the kingdom is personal, individual; the fruits, the results, are familial, social. Jesus never failed to exalt the sacredness of the individual as contrasted with the community. But he also recognized that man develops his character by unselfish service; that he unfolds his moral nature in loving relations with his fellows.

 

(1862.8) 170:3.11 By teaching that the kingdom is within, by exalting the individual, Jesus struck the deathblow of the old society in that he ushered in the new dispensation of true social righteousness. This new order of society the world has little known because it has refused to practice the principles of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. And when this kingdom of spiritual pre-eminence does come upon the earth, it will not be manifested in mere improved social and material conditions, but rather in the glories of those enhanced and enriched spiritual values which are characteristic of the approaching age of improved human relations and advancing spiritual attainments.

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#11 Rick Warren

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:34 AM

 


 


Greetings Bonita, Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,
 
The UB authors don't necessarily agree with the human definition of this word righteousness. The Midwayers say this in Paper 140:
 
...Experiential righteousness is a pleasure, not a duty. Jesus’ righteousness is a dynamic love — fatherly-brotherly affection. It is not the negative or thou-shalt-not type of righteousness.... (1574.2) 140:5.9
 
From Jesus in Paper 150:
 
"...You cannot buy salvation; you cannot earn righteousness. Salvation is the gift of God, and righteousness is the natural fruit of the spirit-born life of sonship in the kingdom. You are not to be saved because you live a righteous life; rather is it that you live a righteous life because you have already been saved, have recognized sonship as the gift of God and service in the kingdom as the supreme delight of life on earth. When men believe this gospel, which is a revelation of the goodness of God, they will be led to voluntary repentance of all known sin. Realization of sonship is incompatible with the desire to sin. Kingdom believers hunger for righteousness and thirst for divine perfection....” (1683.2) 150:5.5
 
From Wikipedia:
 
Righteousness (also called rectitude) is an important theological concept in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism (Dharma), and Zoroastrianism. It is an attribute that implies that a person's actions are justified, and can have the connotation that the person has been "judged" or "reckoned" as leading a life that is pleasing to the god/s portrayed in these belief systems.

In Christianity:
 
The New Testament continues the Hebrew Bible's tradition of the ethical (1 Thessalonians 2:10) and legal (1 Corinthians 4:4) aspects of righteousness. William Lane Craig argues that we should think of God as the paradigm, the locus, the source of all righteousness.[1]
 
Jesus asserts the importance of righteousness by saying in Matthew 5:20, "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
 
However, Paul the Apostle speaks of two ways, at least in theory, to achieve righteousness: through the Law of Moses (or Torah); and through faith in the atonement made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:3-13). Some interpret that he repeatedly emphasizes that faith is the only effective way, an antinomistic interpretation. For example, just a few verses earlier, he says the Jews did not attain the law of righteousness because they sought it not by faith, but by works (Romans 9:30-33). The New Testament speaks of a salvation founded on God's righteousness, as exemplified throughout the history of salvation narrated in the Old Testament (Romans 9-11). Paul writes to the Romans that righteousness comes by faith: "...a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'" (Romans 1:17)
 
 
***
 
Forgiveness and righteousness are connected in other Papers, this is in 188:
 
...Jesus disclosed to this world a higher quality of righteousness than justice — mere technical right and wrong. Divine love does not merely forgive wrongs; it absorbs and actually destroys them. The forgiveness of love utterly transcends the forgiveness of mercy. Mercy sets the guilt of evil-doing to one side; but love destroys forever the sin and all weakness resulting therefrom. Jesus brought a new method of living to Urantia. He taught us not to resist evil but to find through him a goodness which effectually destroys evil. The forgiveness of Jesus is not condonation; it is salvation from condemnation. Salvation does not slight wrongs; it makes them right.... (2018.1) 188:5.2
 
 
***
 
Social service the Revelators mention many, many times, as a natural off-shoot of discovering and loving God who serves us all without end. From a Divine Counselor in Paper 5:
 
...Social service is the result of moral thinking and religious living. Morality does not biologically lead to the higher spiritual levels of religious experience.... (68.7) 5:5.4
 
From a Melchizedek in Paper 103:
 
...The early evolutionary mind gives origin to a feeling of social duty and moral obligation derived chiefly from emotional fear. The more positive urge of social service and the idealism of altruism are derived from the direct impulse of the divine spirit indwelling the human mind.... (1133.6) 103:5.1
 
***
 
In tomorrow's reading, Section 4. Jesus’ Teaching about the Kingdom, Jesus outlines ten phases and features of the "kingdom". And the Midwayers refer to his second coming.


Overview of Paper 170: The Kingdom of Heaven
 

 

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

 

Listen to Paper 170 (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited.

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.


#12 Rick Warren

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:34 AM

 
This sounds tantalizing (from the last paragraph of today's reading), doesn't it! Must be about the dawning of the age of Light and Life.
 
...This new order of society the world has little known because it has refused to practice the principles of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. And when this kingdom of spiritual pre-eminence does come upon the earth, it will not be manifested in mere improved social and material conditions, but rather in the glories of those enhanced and enriched spiritual values which are characteristic of the approaching age of improved human relations and advancing spiritual attainments.... (1862.8) 170:3.11
 
How do we get to Light and Life? Practice, practice, practice.
 


#13 Rick Warren

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 04:28 AM

Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

 

Today's Presentation

 

Paper 170 - The Kingdom of Heaven

 

4. Jesus’ Teaching about the Kingdom

 

 

    Jesus never gave a precise definition of the kingdom. At one time he would discourse on one phase of the kingdom, and at another time he would discuss a different aspect of the brotherhood of God’s reign in the hearts of men. In the course of this Sabbath afternoon’s sermon Jesus noted no less than five phases, or epochs, of the kingdom, and they were:

 

1. The personal and inward experience of the spiritual life of the fellowship of the individual believer with God the Father.

 

2. The enlarging brotherhood of gospel believers, the social aspects of the enhanced morals and quickened ethics resulting from the reign of God’s spirit in the hearts of individual believers.

 

3. The supermortal brotherhood of invisible spiritual beings which prevails on earth and in heaven, the superhuman kingdom of God.

 

4. The prospect of the more perfect fulfillment of the will of God, the advance toward the dawn of a new social order in connection with improved spiritual living — the next age of man.

 

5. The kingdom in its fullness, the future spiritual age of light and life on earth.

 

(1863.5) 170:4.7 Wherefore must we always examine the Master’s teaching to ascertain which of these five phases he may have reference to when he makes use of the term kingdom of heaven. By this process of gradually changing man’s will and thus affecting human decisions, Michael and his associates are likewise gradually but certainly changing the entire course of human evolution, social and otherwise.

 

(1863.6) 170:4.8 The Master on this occasion placed emphasis on the following five points as representing the cardinal features of the gospel of the kingdom:

 

1. The pre-eminence of the individual.

 

2. The will as the determining factor in man’s experience.

 

3. Spiritual fellowship with God the Father.

 

4. The supreme satisfactions of the loving service of man.

 

5. The transcendency of the spiritual over the material in human personality.

 

(1863.12) 170:4.14 This world has never seriously or sincerely or honestly tried out these dynamic ideas and divine ideals of Jesus’ doctrine of the kingdom of heaven. But you should not become discouraged by the apparently slow progress of the kingdom idea on Urantia. Remember that the order of progressive evolution is subjected to sudden and unexpected periodical changes in both the material and the spiritual worlds. The bestowal of Jesus as an incarnated Son was just such a strange and unexpected event in the spiritual life of the world. Neither make the fatal mistake, in looking for the age manifestation of the kingdom, of failing to effect its establishment within your own souls.

 

(1863.13) 170:4.15 Although Jesus referred one phase of the kingdom to the future and did, on numerous occasions, intimate that such an event might appear as a part of a world crisis; and though he did likewise most certainly, on several occasions, definitely promise sometime to return to Urantia, it should be recorded that he never positively linked these two ideas together. He promised a new revelation of the kingdom on earth and at some future time; he also promised sometime to come back to this world in person; but he did not say that these two events were synonymous. From all we know these promises may, or may not, refer to the same event.

 

(1863.14) 170:4.16 His apostles and disciples most certainly linked these two teachings together. When the kingdom failed to materialize as they had expected, recalling the Master’s teaching concerning a future kingdom and remembering his promise to come again, they jumped to the conclusion that these promises referred to an identical event; and therefore they lived in hope of his immediate second coming to establish the kingdom in its fullness and with power and glory. And so have successive believing generations lived on earth entertaining the same inspiring but disappointing hope.

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]

 



#14 Rick Warren

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 06:18 AM

.

 

Good Day Bonita, Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

 

We well know about the Fatherhood of God and the fraternity of all creatures, but the authors' prediction of a culminating age of Light and Life is unique to the UB. Christians and others have fantasized and prophesied about the "end times", when God claims his chosen, and takes his revenge on evildoers. Some have dreamed of a secular utopian age when wars have somehow been eliminated and all human groups have learned to get along.

 

William_Lees_Judson_Golden_Dream_400.jpg

 

 

 

From today's reading:

 

...The prospect of the more perfect fulfillment of the will of God, the advance toward the dawn of a new social order in connection with improved spiritual living — the next age of man.... (1863.12) 170:4.14 4

 

Christianity and other belief systems have long imagined their founders will return to reclaim the Earth and establish 'a new world order'. The Old Testament book of Daniel may have initiated the prophesies about end times, and Jesus' coming (once or twice). Here he even refers to Michael:

 

From Daniel 12:

 

1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.

6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?

7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

 

 

Mark, Matthew and Luke definitely tie the "end times" to the return of Jesus. Indeed, they appear to have copied each other.

 

From Matthew 24:

 

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

 

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

 

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

From Mark 13:

 

24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

 

25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

 

26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

 

27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

 

From Luke 21:

 

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

 

26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

 

27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

 

28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

 

 

***

 

From today's reading:

 

...He promised a new revelation of the kingdom on earth and at some future time.... (1863.13) 170:4.15

 

We have it now, in this book, in Paper 170, no?

 

...he also promised sometime to come back to this world in person; but he did not say that these two events were synonymous.... (1863.13) 170:4.15

 

If the UB is that new revelation, then obviously the two are not synonymous. But this idea of a world crisis in today's reading is intriguing:

 

...Although Jesus referred one phase of the kingdom to the future and did, on numerous occasions, intimate that such an event might appear as a part of a world crisis.... (1863.13) 170:4.15

 

There are so many crisis possibilities it is difficult to speculate about. Nuclear holocaust? Asteroid hit? Climate disaster? Another World War? Or will it be a purely spiritual crisis?

 

 

The Midwayers make other prophesies, like the coming of "a new John the Baptist". And an Archangel suggests a great world changing musician could appear at some time.

 

From Paper 44:

 

...some day a real musician may appear on Urantia, and whole peoples will be enthralled by the magnificent strains of his melodies. One such human being could forever change the course of a whole nation, even the entire civilized world.... (500.6) 44:1.15

 

 

I'm predicting Michael will return at the dawn of Light and Life after several magisterial missions have occurred, but of course it's rank speculation. The Midwayers close Section 4 with this:

 

...so have successive believing generations lived on earth entertaining the same inspiring but disappointing hope.... (1863.14) 170:4.16

 

 

Nothing to do really but keep working and not worrying. Great One has everything under control, trust Him and his Sons to evolve a genuine kingdom of love and progress--even on stubborn, tardy, backward Urantia.

 

 

***

 

In tomorrow's reading, part 1 of Section 5. Later Ideas of the Kingdom, the Midwayers discuss how the kingdom concept and the Christian church have evolved, even making a "prophetic forecast" about how it will evolve.

 

 

Overview of Paper 170: The Kingdom of Heaven

 

1. Concepts of the Kingdom of Heaven

2. Jesus’ Concept of the Kingdom

3. In Relation to Righteousness

4. Jesus’ Teaching about the Kingdom

5. Later Ideas of the Kingdom

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen to Paper 170 (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#15 Rick Warren

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 03:29 AM

Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today's Presentation

 

Paper 170 - The Kingdom of Heaven

 

5. Later Ideas of the Kingdom

 

[Part 1 of 2]

 

 

   Having summarized the teachings of Jesus about the kingdom of heaven, we are permitted to narrate certain later ideas which became attached to the concept of the kingdom and to engage in a prophetic forecast of the kingdom as it may evolve in the age to come.

 

(1864.2) 170:5.2 Throughout the first centuries of the Christian propaganda, the idea of the kingdom of heaven was tremendously influenced by the then rapidly spreading notions of Greek idealism, the idea of the natural as the shadow of the spiritual — the temporal as the time shadow of the eternal.

 

(1864.3) 170:5.3 But the great step which marked the transplantation of the teachings of Jesus from a Jewish to a gentile soil was taken when the Messiah of the kingdom became the Redeemer of the church, a religious and social organization growing out of the activities of Paul and his successors and based on the teachings of Jesus as they were supplemented by the ideas of Philo and the Persian doctrines of good and evil.

 

(1864.4) 170:5.4 The ideas and ideals of Jesus, embodied in the teaching of the gospel of the kingdom, nearly failed of realization as his followers progressively distorted his pronouncements. The Master’s concept of the kingdom was notably modified by two great tendencies:

 

1. The Jewish believers persisted in regarding him as the Messiah. They believed that Jesus would very soon return actually to establish the world-wide and more or less material kingdom.

 

2. The gentile Christians began very early to accept the doctrines of Paul, which led increasingly to the general belief that Jesus was the Redeemer of the children of the church, the new and institutional successor of the earlier concept of the purely spiritual brotherhood of the kingdom.

 

(1864.7) 170:5.7 The church, as a social outgrowth of the kingdom, would have been wholly natural and even desirable. The evil of the church was not its existence, but rather that it almost completely supplanted the Jesus concept of the kingdom. Paul’s institutionalized church became a virtual substitute for the kingdom of heaven which Jesus had proclaimed.

 

(1864.8) 170:5.8 But doubt not, this same kingdom of heaven which the Master taught exists within the heart of the believer, will yet be proclaimed to this Christian church, even as to all other religions, races, and nations on earth — even to every individual.

 

(1864.9) 170:5.9 The kingdom of Jesus’ teaching, the spiritual ideal of individual righteousness and the concept of man’s divine fellowship with God, became gradually submerged into the mystic conception of the person of Jesus as the Redeemer-Creator and spiritual head of a socialized religious community. In this way a formal and institutional church became the substitute for the individually spirit-led brotherhood of the kingdom.

 

(1864.10) 170:5.10 The church was an inevitable and useful social result of Jesus’ life and teachings; the tragedy consisted in the fact that this social reaction to the teachings of the kingdom so fully displaced the spiritual concept of the real kingdom as Jesus taught and lived it.

 

(1865.1) 170:5.11 The kingdom, to the Jews, was the Israelite community; to the gentiles it became the Christian church. To Jesus the kingdom was the sum of those individuals who had confessed their faith in the fatherhood of God, thereby declaring their wholehearted dedication to the doing of the will of God, thus becoming members of the spiritual brotherhood of man.

 

(1865.2) 170:5.12 The Master fully realized that certain social results would appear in the world as a consequence of the spread of the gospel of the kingdom; but he intended that all such desirable social manifestations should appear as unconscious and inevitable outgrowths, or natural fruits, of this inner personal experience of individual believers, this purely spiritual fellowship and communion with the divine spirit which indwells and activates all such believers.

 

(1865.3) 170:5.13 Jesus foresaw that a social organization, or church, would follow the progress of the true spiritual kingdom, and that is why he never opposed the apostles’ practicing the rite of John’s baptism. He taught that the truth-loving soul, the one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, for God, is admitted by faith to the spiritual kingdom; at the same time the apostles taught that such a believer is admitted to the social organization of disciples by the outward rite of baptism.

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#16 Rick Warren

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 05:53 AM

.

 

 

Greetings Bonita, Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

 

Where would Jesus' message be without the Greeks!? From today's reading:

 

...the idea of the kingdom of heaven was tremendously influenced by the then rapidly spreading notions of Greek idealism, the idea of the natural as the shadow of the spiritual — the temporal as the time shadow of the eternal.... (1864.2) 170:5.2

 

Nothing epitomizes that idea of our shadowy temporal nature than Plato's cave allegory:

 

...Plato has Socrates describe a gathering of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to designate names to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.

 

Source/more

 

At least Plato could see the world thru a philosophical lens. It was left to other Greeks to develop the religious side of Jesus' teaching. But first Jesus had to be liberated from the prison of the Jewish messiah.

 

From today's reading:

 

...the Messiah of the kingdom became the Redeemer of the church.... (1864.3) 170:5.3

 

Paul is well known and credited with both advancing and distorting the teaching of Jesus. Philo is less well known, but the UB authors mention him more than 20 times, beginning in Paper 5, in the same sentence with Jesus and Paul:

 

...It must therefore be evident that composite Christian theology encounters great difficulty in attaining consistency. This difficulty is further aggravated by the fact that the doctrines of early Christianity were generally based on the personal religious experience of three different persons: Philo of Alexandria, Jesus of Nazareth, and Paul of Tarsus.... (68.2) 5:4.14

 

About Philo:

 

Philo of Alexandria, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt.

 

Philo used philosophical allegory to attempt to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy...He believed that literal interpretations of the Hebrew Bible would stifle humanity's view and perception of a God too complex and marvelous to be understood in literal human terms.

 

Some scholars hold that his concept of the Logos as God's creative principle influenced early Christology. Other scholars, however, deny direct influence but say both Philo and Early Christianity borrow from a common source.

 

Source/more

 

About the Redeemer concept:

 

In Christian theology, Jesus is sometimes referred to as a Redeemer. This refers to the salvation he is believed to have accomplished, and is based on the metaphor of redemption, or "buying back". Although the Gospels do not use the title "Redeemer", the word "redemption" is used in several of Paul's letters. Leon Morris says that "Paul uses the concept of redemption primarily to speak of the saving significance of the death of Christ."

 

200px-Titian_-_Christ_the_Redeemer_-_WGA

Christ the Redeemer by Titian (c.1534)

Palazzo Pitti, Florence.

 

Text & Image Source/More

 

***

 

From today's reading:

 

...Paul’s institutionalized church became a virtual substitute for the kingdom of heaven which Jesus had proclaimed.... (1864.7) 170:5.7

 

The Midwayers have much more to say about Paul, both positive and negative, especially in the last two Papers.

 

This is from the introduction to 195:

 

...Peter was the real founder of the Christian church; Paul carried the Christian message to the gentiles, and the Greek believers carried it to the whole Roman Empire.... (2069.1) 195:0.1

 

From Paper 196:

 

...Almost the whole of the New Testament is devoted, not to the portrayal of the significant and inspiring religious life of Jesus, but to a discussion of Paul’s religious experience and to a portrayal of his personal religious convictions...The New Testament is a superb Christian document, but it is only meagerly Jesusonian.... (2091.10) 196:2.1

 

***

 

The Midwayers seem certain that a real Jesusonian institution will yet arise. From today's reading:

 

...But doubt not, this same kingdom of heaven which the Master taught exists within the heart of the believer, will yet be proclaimed to this Christian church, even as to all other religions, races, and nations on earth — even to every individual.... (1864.8) 170:5.8

 

So, even though faith is the only requirement for "entering the kingdom", Jesus saw no harm in baptism. From today's reading:

 

...he never opposed the apostles’ practicing the rite of John’s baptism.... (1865.3) 170:5.13

 

Most people want/need some kind of ritual to mark their entrance, their commitment to Jesus and God. This is from the Chief of Midwayers in Paper 91:

 

...Those who are God-conscious without symbolism must not deny the grace-ministry of the symbol to those who find it difficult to worship Deity and to revere truth, beauty, and goodness without form and ritual.... (999.3) 91:5.7

 

***

 

Tomorrow's reading, part 2 of Section 5. Later Ideas of the Kingdom, tells not only how the kingdom idea was mangled, distorted, and compromised by his partially enlightened followers, but how they also made it unavailable to the seeker, put off into the foggy future. Christianity still awaits his return, his kingdom, even as it continues to divide itself, sect by sect, one erroneous ideology set against another.

 

But this Paper ends on a positive note, with another prediction of the triumph of Jesus' true gospel. The universal family of Our Father will surely and certainly replace the earthly kingdom of God some fine day.

 

 

Overview of Paper 170: The Kingdom of Heaven

 

1. Concepts of the Kingdom of Heaven

2. Jesus’ Concept of the Kingdom

3. In Relation to Righteousness

4. Jesus’ Teaching about the Kingdom

5. Later Ideas of the Kingdom

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen to Paper 170 (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#17 Rick Warren

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 04:33 AM

Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today's Presentation

 

Paper 170 - The Kingdom of Heaven

 

5. Later Ideas of the Kingdom

 

[Part 2 of 2]

 

 

   When Jesus’ immediate followers recognized their partial failure to realize his ideal of the establishment of the kingdom in the hearts of men by the spirit’s domination and guidance of the individual believer, they set about to save his teaching from being wholly lost by substituting for the Master’s ideal of the kingdom the gradual creation of a visible social organization, the Christian church. And when they had accomplished this program of substitution, in order to maintain consistency and to provide for the recognition of the Master’s teaching regarding the fact of the kingdom, they proceeded to set the kingdom off into the future. The church, just as soon as it was well established, began to teach that the kingdom was in reality to appear at the culmination of the Christian age, at the second coming of Christ.

 

(1865.5) 170:5.15 In this manner the kingdom became the concept of an age, the idea of a future visitation, and the ideal of the final redemption of the saints of the Most High. The early Christians (and all too many of the later ones) generally lost sight of the Father-and-son idea embodied in Jesus’ teaching of the kingdom, while they substituted therefor the well-organized social fellowship of the church. The church thus became in the main a social brotherhood which effectively displaced Jesus’ concept and ideal of a spiritual brotherhood.

 

(1865.6) 170:5.16 Jesus’ ideal concept largely failed, but upon the foundation of the Master’s personal life and teachings, supplemented by the Greek and Persian concepts of eternal life and augmented by Philo’s doctrine of the temporal contrasted with the spiritual, Paul went forth to build up one of the most progressive human societies which has ever existed on Urantia.

 

(1865.7) 170:5.17 The concept of Jesus is still alive in the advanced religions of the world. Paul’s Christian church is the socialized and humanized shadow of what Jesus intended the kingdom of heaven to be — and what it most certainly will yet become. Paul and his successors partly transferred the issues of eternal life from the individual to the church. Christ thus became the head of the church rather than the elder brother of each individual believer in the Father’s family of the kingdom. Paul and his contemporaries applied all of Jesus’ spiritual implications regarding himself and the individual believer to the church as a group of believers; and in doing this, they struck a deathblow to Jesus’ concept of the divine kingdom in the heart of the individual believer.

 

(1866.1) 170:5.18 And so, for centuries, the Christian church has labored under great embarrassment because it dared to lay claim to those mysterious powers and privileges of the kingdom, powers and privileges which can be exercised and experienced only between Jesus and his spiritual believer brothers. And thus it becomes apparent that membership in the church does not necessarily mean fellowship in the kingdom; one is spiritual, the other mainly social.

 

(1866.2) 170:5.19 Sooner or later another and greater John the Baptist is due to arise proclaiming “the kingdom of God is at hand” — meaning a return to the high spiritual concept of Jesus, who proclaimed that the kingdom is the will of his heavenly Father dominant and transcendent in the heart of the believer — and doing all this without in any way referring either to the visible church on earth or to the anticipated second coming of Christ. There must come a revival of the actual teachings of Jesus, such a restatement as will undo the work of his early followers who went about to create a sociophilosophical system of belief regarding the fact of Michael’s sojourn on earth. In a short time the teaching of this story about Jesus nearly supplanted the preaching of Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom. In this way a historical religion displaced that teaching in which Jesus had blended man’s highest moral ideas and spiritual ideals with man’s most sublime hope for the future — eternal life. And that was the gospel of the kingdom.

 

(1866.3) 170:5.20 It is just because the gospel of Jesus was so many-sided that within a few centuries students of the records of his teachings became divided up into so many cults and sects. This pitiful subdivision of Christian believers results from failure to discern in the Master’s manifold teachings the divine oneness of his matchless life. But someday the true believers in Jesus will not be thus spiritually divided in their attitude before unbelievers. Always we may have diversity of intellectual comprehension and interpretation, even varying degrees of socialization, but lack of spiritual brotherhood is both inexcusable and reprehensible.

 

(1866.4) 170:5.21 Mistake not! there is in the teachings of Jesus an eternal nature which will not permit them forever to remain unfruitful in the hearts of thinking men. The kingdom as Jesus conceived it has to a large extent failed on earth; for the time being, an outward church has taken its place; but you should comprehend that this church is only the larval stage of the thwarted spiritual kingdom, which will carry it through this material age and over into a more spiritual dispensation where the Master’s teachings may enjoy a fuller opportunity for development. Thus does the so-called Christian church become the cocoon in which the kingdom of Jesus’ concept now slumbers. The kingdom of the divine brotherhood is still alive and will eventually and certainly come forth from this long submergence, just as surely as the butterfly eventually emerges as the beautiful unfolding of its less attractive creature of metamorphic development.

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#18 Rick Warren

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 06:05 AM

.

 

Good Day Bonita, Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

 

The notion that the kingdom of God is off in the future, not available right now, is well documented in one of the most popular of all Christian prayers, one copied in each of the Gospel books. This is from Matthew 6:

 

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven...

 

In fact, Jesus was the author of that prayer. From Paper 144:

 

...When James had finished speaking, Jesus said: “If, then, you still desire such a prayer, I would present the one which I taught my brothers and sisters in Nazareth”:

 

Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come; your will be done.... (1619.6) 144:3.2

 

But Jesus, the Midwayers, and a Melchizedek, teach the kingdom of heaven is available now:

 

...Jesus taught that, by faith, the believer enters the kingdom now.... (1861.2) 170:2.20

 

...seekers after truth do not have to wait for rewards in a distant future; they are rewarded now. They find the kingdom of heaven within their own hearts, and they experience such happiness now.... (1574:0) 140:5.7

 

...the religious soul of spiritual illumination knows, and knows now.... (1120:1) 102:2.4

 

 

Twice in the UB Jesus is quoted: "the kingdom of heaven is at hand", but he actually didn't put it off into the future. From Papers 163 & 137 :

 

“...And everywhere you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand,’ and minister to all who may be sick in either mind or body....”(1801.1) 163:1.4

 

“...The kingdom of heaven is at hand, and all who enter therein shall find abundant liberty and joyous salvation...." (1537.2) 137:8.15

 

 

So, confusion is understandable.

 

***

 

For all his errors, misogyny, and misleading teachings, Paul did some good. From today's reading:

 

...Paul went forth to build up one of the most progressive human societies which has ever existed on Urantia.... (1865.6) 170:5.16

 

With imperfect helpers like Paul and John the Baptist leading the way, Jesus' pristine message was doomed to be down-graded and derailed. The Midwayers say this twice in today's text:

 

...Jesus’ ideal concept largely failed.... (1865.6) 170:5.16

 

...The kingdom as Jesus conceived it has to a large extent failed on earth.... (1866.4) 170:5.21

 

 

Maybe the UB's revelations will inspire one of us to fulfill this prophesy from the Midwayers in today's reading:

 

...Sooner or later another and greater John the Baptist is due to arise proclaiming “the kingdom of God is at hand....” (1866.2) 170:5.19

 

The Midwayers give us the formula:

 

...There must come a revival of the actual teachings of Jesus, such a restatement as will undo the work of his early followers.... (1866.2) 170:5.19

 

And they offer another (barely imaginable right now) prophesy, about the eventual unification of his followers:

 

...someday the true believers in Jesus will not be thus spiritually divided in their attitude before unbelievers.... (1866.3) 170:5.20

 

***

 

Such beautiful writing the Midwayers close 170 with, leaving us contemplating the image of God's glorious "kingdom" emerging as a heavenly butterfly, from what was once an ugly earth-bound worm:

 

...as surely as the butterfly eventually emerges as the beautiful unfolding of its less attractive creature of metamorphic development.... (1866.4) 170:5.21

 

EMERGENCE.jpg

 

IMAGE SOURCE

 

 

***

 

Tomorrow's reading is the introduction to Paper 171: On the Way to Jerusalem. The Master and his apostles are about to leave Pella for good. Everyone thinks he is ready to establish an earthly kingdom, and that prompts the mother of the Zebedee boys to seek preference for her sons. It turns out OK, but her presumptuous request ruffles some feathers, especially the apostles.

 

 

Overview of Paper 170: The Kingdom of Heaven

 

1. Concepts of the Kingdom of Heaven

2. Jesus’ Concept of the Kingdom

3. In Relation to Righteousness

4. Jesus’ Teaching about the Kingdom

5. Later Ideas of the Kingdom

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen to Paper 170 (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members' thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today's OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.





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