Episode:Jesus Goes Public—Precursor and Prelude (Part 1)
John the Baptist was born March 25, 7 B.C., in accordance with the promise that Gabriel made to his mother, Elizabeth, in June of the previous year. For five months Elizabeth kept secret Gabriel’s visitation; and when she told her husband, Zacharias, he was greatly troubled and fully believed her narrative only after he had an unusual dream about six weeks before the birth of John.
Opening thought: 400 billion years ago Michael of Nebadon selected the site of his adventure in universe building; his staff arrived 100 billion years later. 950 million years ago Urantia was placed on the life registry; a scouting party arrived 50 million years later. March, 7 B.C. witnessed the birth of John the Baptist; Jesus of Nazareth was born about 5 months later. "Jesus’ lifework on Urantia was really begun by John the Baptist. As a religious teacher, Jesus of Nazareth started out with the cult which had been established by John."
Summary by Kermit
Commentary after Review
SoS took a second look at the revelator’s hardly veiled attack on Marxism in Paper 56, describing materialism, atheism as the maximation of ugliness and the antithesis of the beautiful. The juxtaposition of terms materialism, atheism, and antithesis leave little doubt to the discerning reader as to the object of the revelator’s disdain.
As many times mentioned previously on SoS, the revelation can be thought of as a revealed upper hemisphere of philosophic truth, which must be joined with a lower hemisphere of acquired human philosophic truth in order to arrive at a correct understanding of the meanings of the revelation. In the same way do the authors expect the student to have some familiarity with the Bible for a correct understanding of Part IV.
The revelation calls its devotees to strive for greater quality of thinking. This quality is not to be confused with quantity. Quality of thought begins with recognition and appreciation of the holistic context in which the facts or parts of reality are arranged.
Paper 135 John the Baptist
Note [122:2.1] Jesus’ lifework on Urantia was really begun by John. Further, his date of birth as reckoned by the Julian calendar was on New Year’s Day. Coupled with the statement that with only two exceptions there was nothing unusual or supernatural connected with John’s birth, are we to consider this date a coincidence? In keeping with appreciating the holistic context in which we consider these facts, think first of the universe as a coordinated system (whole) within which the parts are ordered and arranged. And which facet of Deity is responsible for this coordination? God the Mother! Consider the revelation an invitation to wean ourselves from our bias towards thinking of God the Father as the author of all cosmic events. Begin considerations of cosmic reality with the context, the whole not with the parts. It is in the context of the whole that the parts and their arrangement can be recognized and appreciated appropriately.
From the description of some of the details of John’s early years and the context of systematized and orderly religious training in which he was reared we can discern that John presents an ideal divine law and religious order foundation for Jesus’ subsequent gospel of the love of God and service to one’s fellows. It is sad to record that the 5th ER finds itself on the world stage amidst an infrastructure of divine law which finds ever diminishing recognition and appreciation among so many people even those who profess to be religious. The establishment of a religious bedrock of divine law is a necessary condition for the safe promulgation of Jesus’ gospel of love, mercy and service, lest Jesus’ hearers, at their peril, feel encouraged to presume on an indulgent and permissive God in place of genuine righteousness.
135:1 John Becomes a Nazarite
John’s commitment to the divine law is underscored in his taking Nazarite vows. Observe, it is the seriousness and sincerity of John’s commitment and not the particulars of the Nazarite vows themselves that are important.
The bottom-up conscious experience of us mortals to first be drawn to God by his love and mercy, and subsequently recognize the obligations of the divine law should not obscure the superconscious predicate of divine law as a foundation for such conscious experience.
John’s choice to emulate the Prophet Elijah’s flamboyant style of dress will serve to attract the attention of the populace as a worthy herald of Jesus’ mission.
135:2 The Death of Zacharias
John’s religious sincerity is further established after his father Zacharias’ death in John's submission at the temple at Jerusalem for cleansing following his real or imagined failure to comply with the Nazarite vow concerning contact with the dead.
The same year as Zacharias’ death, eighteen-year-old John traveled with his mother Elizabeth to visit Mary and Jesus. Intending to begin his life’s work he was admonished by Jesus’ words and example to return home and await the “coming of the Father’s hour.” This was their last meeting until Jesus’ baptism.
John’s refusal to accept a priest’s allowance (further evidence of his righteousness) led to his and Elizabeth’s removal south to Hebron where John tended his sheep in the so-called “wilderness of Judea”, in proximity to the Engedi colony of Nazarites and other ascetic herdsmen. It was here he made the acquaintance of Abner.
135:3 The Life of a Shepherd
John’s life as a shepherd was well suited to reflective thought and study. He was partial to the writings of the Prophet Daniel. John’s view of world affairs, plus his reading of Daniel’s prophecies as well as what he was told by his parents concerning Jesus and finally his talk with Jesus when he was eighteen led to considerable confusion in his mind. Throughout all his perplexity Elizabeth assured him that Jesus was the true Messiah come to sit on David’s throne, and John’s mission was to be his advance herald and chief support.
John recognized divine law but erroneously sought to apply it in the outer life. He saw the world as being ripe for the establishment of a kingdom of heaven, an everlasting dominion. And he was to be the last of the old prophets and the first of the new. He fairly vibrated with the mounting impulse to go forth proclaiming this new kingdom and calling all to repent! Even with this confusion as to the real nature of the kingdom of heaven, John understood just enough to fulfill his job as herald of the coming of the Deliverer.
Notes by Brad
- Atheism is literally: a + the + ism: god + less + ideals/religion. Godless ideals.