Episode:Last Ministry of the Master—Detour for Lazarus (Part 4)

From Symmetry of Soul

The angelic hosts are a separate order of created beings; they are entirely different from the material order of mortal creatures. Angels are not the glorified spirits of mortal men who have gone on to progress through the mansions on high. The angels are the spirit servants in heaven, and they are neither all-wise nor all-powerful. But all of the loyal angels are truly pure and holy.

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Keywords: Urantia, Jesus, Angels, Soul Guardians, Lazarus's Bereaved Sisters

Note: Justin Armstrong filled in for Andrea this week.

Summary by Kermit

Commentary after Review

SoS continued the discussion about piety and whether genuine sincere piety is in its truest sense a form of self-righteousness. This discussion stems from Jesus’ remarks leading up to the parable of the publican and the Pharisee. “Works of self-righteousness cannot buy the favor of God, and much praying in public will not atone for lack of living faith in the heart.” Listen to the archive for our nuanced and wide-ranging conversation wherein even sincere piety, when approached in a bottom-up scrupulous adherence to the social usages of what piety “looks like,” is a form of self-righteousness. This might be how a sincere “first miler” appears and stands in contrast to the top-down piety, which is derived from self-forgetful, cosmically conformative righteousness taught by the Master. Now we might appear to be beating a dead horse lingering on this issue, yet its exploration has yielded elucidation of aspects of righteousness and piety otherwise unnoticed. However, after all is said and done note the revelators never used the word piety in the passage in question.

167:7 The Talk About Angels

The paper concludes with what appears to be a stand-alone section detailing a conversation between Jesus and Nathaniel about the ministry of angels sparked by Nathaniel’s question for direction in light of the fact that the Sadducees do not believe in angels. While this conversation finds no parallel in New Testament gospels, numerous scriptural references are to be found as Jesus reveals details and attempts to dispel erroneous notions of angels for Nathaniel.

We are encouraged to note how with the 5th ER’s extensive disclosures of angelic origins, nature, and activities the details of what Jesus actually said to Nathaniel would have been appropriate for his knowledge base. Even today misconceptions of angels being one-time mortals or being all-wise and powerful are widely held and in need of revision.

All of the loyal angels are truly pure and holy, that is how they are created however, they are not immune to sin. In general, intended for horizontal ministry and service they lack strong vertical orientation. They follow the direction of their superiors but when their superiors fall into sin and rebellion, they often follow them. This accounts for the large number of seraphim who followed Lucifer and Caligastia into rebellion. Their proclivity for following orders is reflected in the nomenclature of their administrative structure, being denominated along military lines e.g., armies of heaven.

Jesus also touched on the roles of angels in their concern for the spiritual welfare and divine progress of mortals and heavenly guidance of mortal souls during the intervening time between death of the flesh and the new life in the spirit abodes.

Paper 168 The Resurrection of Lazarus

Back to our narrative. The resurrection of Lazarus is covered is only in John’s gospel. The parallel is quite close yet important differences found in the 5th ER provide a more complete picture of the episode than John’s account. Here the midwayer account provides a fuller range of cosmic substance than the spiritual essence found in the gospels. Our familiarity with disclosures in the revelation allow us to appreciate in greater depth the subtleties and nuance in the interplay between the mourners, Mary, Martha, and Jesus. Lazarus and his sisters were children of a well to do and honorable Jew and thus were held in high regard by all who knew them even though they were well known to be ardent followers of Jesus. We wondered to what degree the respect accorded this Bethany family was influenced by the fact that they were wealthy, a sure sign in those days among those people of God’s favor.

Interestingly, Jesus finds Martha, the sister known for her tendency to be overly concerned with trifles, more hopeful than Mary of Jesus’ arrival and intervention in their sorrow. Upon Martha’s meeting Jesus, the Master immediately speaks words to her to help antidote her many fears and re-establish her faith foundation before addressing the issue of her dead brother.

The section concludes with a far clearer picture of Jesus’ state of mind than is available in the gospels. His love for Lazarus and sisters was in contention with his disdain, contempt, and indignation for the mourners whose forced outward show of sorrow could not obscure their bitter enmity for him.

Notes by Brad

  • True and false piety: is piety praiseworthy? Or self righteous?
    • Start by asking: is it mere piety? a bottom-up phenomenon? Or has this state of mind been born again from the top down?
      • Bottom-up piety is no higher than an outward manifestation of reverence
    • So there is a piety that originates from righteousness, or one from self-righteousness.
      • There is "Jesus' superb piety," which had nothing to do with Pharisaic constructs.
      • An inner life does, indeed, cast a shadow onto the level of feelings. A sublime piety, not mere piety.
    • Only insight (a person's reflective thinking) can discern whether some pious display is mere piety or sublime piety.
    • An actor can portray mere piety on the stage. We know they're playing the part.
      • But what about the sincere person who thinks their piety is sincere, sublime piety?
    • Can your left hand not even know what the right hand is doing? "Oh? Was I being pious? I didn't notice."

  • A self-righteous, works-based piety can be exemplified by a first miler.
    • And yet without second milers, we languish and stumble along in moral darkness.
    • A first miler thinks they're exuding light but it's really darkness.
    • A first miler shows us the best of US--an archetype of bottom-up us.
    • A second miler shows us the cosmos. Something never before seen, something unpredictable.
      • Most people would think a second miler is beside themself, as many thought of Jesus.
      • A second miler is cosmos first, not humanism first. God-likeness, transcendent of all self and humanity.

  • A second miler can handle times when the world gets difficult. Something more than a well-programmed machine.
  • Can you take witting possession of what you were given by grace?

  • Saducees dismissed angels.
    • They allowed for "the angel of the Lord," as some high manifestation of God.
      • which could be accurate... maybe a Brilliant Evening Star more than a seraphim.
    • Also dismissed the afterlife, hence any idea of humans becoming angels.
    • Many today do this today too, or at least say that everything non-human is an angel.

  • A loyal angel is "truly pure and holy"--they are made, by design, to be this way.
    • A 2-year old child is also, by grace, pure and holy. Only after being encircuited and obtaining free well can they lead themselves astray.
    • Angels are stationary beings--not vertically oriented as humans are.
    • They are very loyal to whomever is leading them.
    • They have a soldier-like flavor to them, they follow orders brilliantly. But oh dear, what if the commander is corrupt?
    • There is no cynicism in them, so they are easy to be led astray.
    • But can they be courageous and independent in their thinking like true humans? No, by design they cannot.
      • A primary midwayer is somewhat of the angelic nature, too. Hence they can be led astray relatively easy, too.
    • An angel might be a bright and gleaming machine--but are you really any different? Are you much of a human yet?

  • Angel literally means "messenger," which they also literally are.
    • They also are ministering spirits

  • This author considers it fascinating that only the gospel of John recites the resurrection of Lazarus. It sure was vivid!
  • Real versus actual. Lazarus's death was not really dead--from the top down he still had an expression in eternity. He was "only" actually dead.
      • There are no accidental adverbs in the 5th ER.
      • Really is not a synonym for fervent actuality.

  • Curious to note that, when the chips were down, Martha was the one holding it together more than Mary.
    • Martha was the oldest sibling.
    • But Mary was the one who sat at Jesus' feet while Martha cooked all day, some time before.

  • [168:0.6] parallels John closely except for "Only have faith," as an antidote for the fears in her mind.
    • And her improvement is instantaneous. "Start with eternity, Martha. Have faith." And she does.

  • Note the richness of this narrative--what is not in John's gospel
    • Inner states of mind.
    • Jesus "exhorting" the sisters to grasp their faith as never before.