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People who have made a religious impact on humanity February 23, 2006 8:13 AM

  1996 B.C. – 1821 B.C.
Abraham: The root of three religions

As a baby Abraham gave his first lusty cry at being brought into this cold and cruel world, few would have guessed that his influence would be felt down through the ages. Three of today’s major religions trace their roots back to him, each viewing him as their founder or at least their forefather. Although Judaism, Christianity, and Islam see Abraham as an important character in their past, each sees him this way for a different reason.

Abraham is very important to Judaism. Jews believe that God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees (Mesopotamia) in order to make a covenant with him. Through this covenant, God would bless him and give Abraham’s descendants a new land. Abraham left his home to become a wandering herdsman because he had faith in God’s promise: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-4) God led Abraham through a series of trials in order to test whether or not Abraham really believed God’s promise. The most drastic trial Abraham experienced occurred when God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac through whom the future Messiah (Savior) was promised. Although greatly troubled, Abraham went through with God’s request because he reasoned that God would still somehow fulfill his promise. God rewarded Abraham’s obedience by sending and angel to stop him from killing Isaac and providing a lamb to take Isaac’s place. In essence, without Abraham, Jews would not be the “chosen people” among the nations through which a Savior would later come.

Abraham is indispensable to Christianity, but for a far different reason than he is to Judaism or Islam. Christians hold to the same historical account as the Jews do; but Christians make a further-reaching conclusion. Christians view God’s interaction and covenant with Abraham as something leading up to the coming of Jesus Christ. God’s love for his creation was so infinite that he determined to somehow bridge the immeasurable gap that man had made when he sinned. To this end God made the first covenant with Abraham which included the promise of a future savior, Jesus, who would come through Abraham’s descendants. Any covenant that was made demanded blood to seal the pact. Just as Abraham killed “…a heifer, a goat, and a ram each three years old, along with a dove and young pigeon, “ (NIV, Genesis 15:9) to seal the first covenant, Christians believe that Christ’s blood, when he died on the cross, sealed the second. Christians draw many parallels between Jesus and Abraham’s life. One of the best known examples is the story of Isaac. Isaac was Abrahams dearly loved, only son through whom God had promised the future salvation of the world. Yet God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to see if Abraham’s faith extended that far. Just before Abraham was about to plunge the knife into his only son, an angel stopped him and God provided a ram to die in Isaac’s stead. Christians see Jesus as God’s only son whom he loved infinitely, yet for the sake of mankind God sacrificed his only son. Jesus became the sacrificial lamb so that: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [Jesus] will be saved.” (NIV, Romans 10:13) In conclusion, although they don’t trace their lineage back to Abraham, Christians view themselves as adopted sons because they consider themselves sons of Jesus who was the future promise for Abraham’s descendents.

Abraham’s role in Islam is different from that which he plays in either Christianity or Judaism. Arab Muslims trace their lineage back to Abraham through Ishmael. They also see Ishmael as the one through whom God’s covenant would be fulfilled. The Koran says about Ishmael: “And mention Ishmael in the Book; surely he was truthful in (his) promise, and he was an apostle, a prophet. And he enjoined on his family prayer and almsgiving, and was one in whom his Lord was well pleased.” (Marium 19:54-55). Islam’s historical account is a second distinction from the other two. Abraham’s story in the Koran is not as extensive as that of the Hebrew account. The Koran account of Abraham dwells mostly on a struggle going on between Abraham and his father over Abraham’s father’s idol worship. Abraham tries to convince his father not to worship these things that cannot see, hear, feel, taste, or smell, but he only manages to get himself rejected. So he leaves his father to become a true Allah worshipper and in return for his faithfulness Allah gives Abraham two sons Jacob and Ishmael. In summary, Abraham is not so much the founder of Islam, as he is an example of someone who sought Allah’s will.

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 February 23, 2006 8:23 AM

Abraham grew up in one of the most advanced cities of his day. Yet when God asked him, Abraham turned away from a life of comfort. He lived a life of faith, seeking after God with all his heart. Perhaps the reason why three major religions claim him as their father is not so much that they can trace their lineage back to him, but the fact that Abraham had such a successful relationship with God.

It is common for Jews to affectionately refer to the first Patriarch as Avraham Avinu, "Abraham our Father." But Abraham is not their father alone..Since Christianity was started by people of the Jewish faith Abraham is also the father of Christians.. The Christians were not the only group who claimed to be the true successors of Abraham. With the rise of Islam in the seventh century the Arabs also came to emphasize their descent from the Patriarch.

Interestingly, the descriptions of Abraham's life as found in the Koran are strongly influenced by Jewish traditions. They incorporate many events not mentioned in the biblical accounts, such as Abraham's disputes with his idol-worshipping father and his conflict with the wicked king Nimrod who cast him into a fiery furnace. All this provides ample proof that Mohammed had Jewish teachers.

The story of the akedah also found its way into the Koran (37:103), where the story conforms in most respects with the biblical version. Later Islamic tradition took it for granted that the sacrificed son was actually Ishmael, the ancestor of the Arabs.

Yet another aspect of the complex inter-relationships between Judaism, Christianity and Islam is demonstrated by the following example.

The covenant between God and Abraham, as described in Genesis 15, is accompanied by a queer ceremony of splitting the carcasses of various animals into pieces. Verse 11 relates, "And the birds of prey came down upon the carcases, and Abraham drove them away."

A medieval Yemenite midrashic anthology, the Midrash Ha-Gadol, explains this as meaning that "when Abraham laid the halves of the pieces over against each other, they became alive and flew away," this being God's way of demonstrating to him the doctrine of Resurrection of the Dead.

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 February 23, 2006 8:25 AM

This detail is not mentioned, as far as I am aware, by any talmudic source, though it is alluded to in the Arabic translation of the great 10th Century scholar Rav Saadya Ga'on, who interpreted the Hebrew phrase vayashev otam Avram, normally rendered as "Abram drove [the birds] away," as "Abraham revived them."

The earliest attested version of the legend seems to be the following:

And when Abraham said: "Lord show me how you will revive the dead," He said, "What, do you not yet believe?" Said he, "Yea, but that my heart may be quieted." He said, "Then take four birds, and take them close to yourself; then put a part of them on every mountain; then call them, and they will come to you in haste; and know that God is mighty, wise."
The source for this midrash? It is found in the Koran (2:260)!

It would appear possible that later Jewish commentators were making free use of an Islamic tradition that provided corroboration for the Jewish belief in resurrection. The desire to find biblical support for the crucial doctrine of resurrection had long preoccupied the talmudic Rabbis, and Mohammed's exegesis offered a convenient proof-text. The interpretation sounded so "orthodox" that its true origin was eventually forgotten. The possibility should not however be discounted that Mohammed himself may have been citing an originally Jewish teaching which was not preserved in our own sources.

It is evident that all three of the great Western religions have laid claim to "Abraham our father." And the intricate web of relationships between these religions--including both conflicts and points of agreement and harmony--can be traced through the examination of their respective interpretations of Abraham's life.

In addition, as has been evident throughout our history, the interpretations Jews have given to the Scriptures often reflect pressing concerns that go far beyond the particular verses that are being expounded.

For this reason, the study of Jewish biblical exegesis offers a most challenging and rewarding way of exploring the development of Jewish thought and history.

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 February 23, 2006 8:42 AM

Ishmael

Abraham is widely regarded as the Patriarch of monotheism and the common father of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Through His second son, Isaac, came all Israelite prophets including such towering figures as Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus. May peace and blessings be upon them all. The advent of these great prophets was in partial fulfillment of God's promises to bless the nations of earth through the descendents of Abraham (Genesis12:2-3).Such fulfillment is wholeheartedly accepted by Muslims whose faith considers the belief in and respect of all prophets an article of faith.

BLESSINGS OF ISHMAEL AND ISAAC

Was the first born son of Abraham (Ishmael) and his descendants included in God's covenant and promise? A few verses from the Bible may help shed some light on this question;

1) Genesis 12:2-3 speaks of God's promise to Abraham and his descendants before any child was born to him.

2) Genesis 17:4 reiterates God's promise after the birth of Ishmael and before the birth of Isaac.

3) In Genesis, ch. 21. Isaac is specifically blessed but Ishmael was also specifically blessed and promised by God to become "a great nation" especially in Genesis 21:13, 18.

4) According to Deuteronomy 21:15-17 the traditional rights and privileges of the first born son are not to be affected by the social status of his mother (being a "free" woman such as Sarah, Isaac's mother, or a "Bondwoman" such as Hagar, Ishmael's mother). This is only consistent with the moral and humanitarian principles of all revealed faiths.

5) The full legitimacy of Ishmael as Abraham's son and "seed" and the full legitimacy of his mother, Hagar, as Abraham's wife are clearly stated in Genesis 21:13 and 16:3.


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 February 23, 2006 12:09 PM

Is not this the time period of Zoroaster, as well?  I don't believe that the religion he founded is as widely considered to be "revealed" as the Abrahamic faiths.  Still, I find him of great interest.  He developed the concept of a single God at about the same time, but apparently quite independently of Judaism.   I've often wondered if some of Zoroastrianism didn't influence the development of Christianity in some indirect or unrecognized ways.  I'm thinking particularly of the doctrine of Purgatory, which is not explicitly Biblical but has deep roots in Christianity.  In Zoroaster's theology, the souls of the damned go to Hell, but on resurrection day, Hell ceases to exist and those who were there are purified of their sins and are received into Heaven.

I don't believe there are many Zoroastrians left in the world.  But this faith is very interesting to me.  Do others in this group have more/better information?

thanks,

Patrick
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 February 23, 2006 12:10 PM

Isaac

He was named Isaac because his mother, Sarah, laughed when God told Abraham of the impending birth of a son. It was a laugh that resounded through religious history, for Isaac’s life career served as a paradigm for the life of the Christian savior. Not a little disbelief surrounded the announcement of Jesus’ birth as well, who, according to the Gospel of Matthew, also descended from the loins of Abraham. Add the picture of Isaac, carrying wood, walking behind his father toward the sacrificial altar and a “lamb” mercifully replacing the thirty-seven year old “lad” before Abraham can execute His will, and the connection of the two Testament figures becomes more tenable. Isaac acts the part of the lamb; Jesus is the lamb’s fulfillment.

Isaac, despite tradition’s equalization of his personality with Abraham, never quite measures up to the deeds or personality of his father. Which is not necessarily a pejorative. Isaac is still considered one of the patriarchs and remains part of our daily liturgy which honors the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

But from all accounts, Isaac is a passive figure. It is Abraham who actively pursues the destiny of Israel, through the resolution of national and familial conflict. Isaac is more contemplative. Things happen to him at least in part because he cannot seem to get out of the way.

The effect is cumulative. Beginning with the sibling rivalry with Ishmael, continuing with the infamous “trial” on Mount Moriah and the resultant death of his mother, Isaac seems directionless. Fortunately, Rebecca enters his life, and she is not afraid to make decisions. Unfortunately, some of those decisions lead to further family strife. In Rebecca’s most nefarious scheme Isaac is duped and inadvertently awards Jacob with his patrimony, depriving the sullen Esau of the birthright. The two sons of this ambivalent father become mortal enemies, bringing sadness to Isaac, who, frail and blind at the end of his life, must have wondered what all the laughter was about that heralded his creation.



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 February 23, 2006 12:19 PM

Thanks for your input Patrick I will be posting about Zoraster and placing him after Moses because it is unknown when he was born and the timeline varies by thousands of years some placing him at 6000 BC while others at 700 BC..I will place him in between Moses and David in these postings..


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 February 23, 2006 12:27 PM

Jacob

Best Known As: The Biblical patriarch who wrestled with an angel

Jacob enters the Old Testament in the twenty-fifth chapter of Genesis. He is the brother of Esau, the younger son of Rebecca and Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. While Esau wandered off to hunt (a "man of the field"), Jacob stayed put with his parents and tended the sheep. Jacob, though devoted to God, was a bit of a cheater: he conned his brother out of his birthright and got his father's blessing by pretending to be Esau. This deception made Jacob fear that God would allow Esau to come and kill him. During a marathon prayer session, Jacob was visited by a "Man" with whom he wrestled. They wrestled all night, and at one point the Man touched Jacob's hip and it miraculously went out of whack. Jacob realized he was communicating with God and felt rotten about what he'd done in his life. In spite of his flaws, or because of his persistence, Jacob was chosen by God to continue the patriarchal line that became the nation of Israel. Jacob ended up having two wives and twelve children (the roots of the twelve tribes of Israel).

Jacob named the place where the wrestling happened the Peniel ("face of God").

FOUR GOOD LINKS


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 February 23, 2006 12:33 PM

Sidharta Gautama (Buddha)

Prince Siddhartha? Better known as Buddha, he was born on April 8, 2 in the year 566, 563 3, or 560 4 B.C. to King Suddhodana and Queen Maya (also known as Mahamaya or Mayadevi) of Sakya (or Sakhya or Shakya) in present day Nepal. Both of his parents came from the Gautama (or Gotama) clan of the royal warrior caste. Maya died one week after Siddhartha was born, and he was raised by her sister, Mahaprajapati.

Buddha grew up in the midst of great luxury. When he was born, prophets had predicted that he would either be a great king or a buddha (truly enlightened one.) He would become a buddha after seeing four signs - an old man, a monk, a corpse, and someone who was ill. Siddhartha's father wanted him to become a king, so he kept him away from all places where he might meet such people. When Buddha was either 16 or 19, he was married to a young woman named Yashodhara. Buddha was apparently somewhat content with the life at his father's palace for the first twenty-nine years of his life, but in his late twenties, he encountered the four signs. He began to think about life in general, and came to the conclusion that all things are changeable. However, instead of acknowledging the one true unchangable God, he sought 'enlightenment' to free him from the cycle of reincarnation which he believed existed. To do this, he left behind his wife, son, and family.

For six years, Siddhartha wandered, begged, starved himself, and tried by other means to find enlightenment. Nothing worked. Finally, he ate a good meal, bathed in a river, and sat down under a tree, later named the Bo-tree, or tree of wisdom, vowing not to leave it until he was enlightened. That night, he passed into a "super-conscious state" and was enlightened. After he came out of the super-conscious state, he danced for seven days and seven nights5. Another account says that he meditated for forty-nine days before being enlightened and does not mention any dancing6.

It was at this time that Buddha received his name, which means 'enlightened one'. He was also known as 'Sakyamuni'(sage of the Sakya clan), Gautama Buddha (since that was his family name), or simply 'Blessed One' 7. He immediately began to tell others of his experience. For the next forty-five years, he traveled, teaching throughout India. The area in which he taught was particularly receptive to the new religion because the former religion had become extremely corrupt.

Buddha re-visited his family seven years after he'd left it. His wife had also practiced the severe austerities from the day he left, and became the first of an order of Buddhistic nuns. Buddha's son, Rahula, was sent by his mother to ask for his inheritance, and Buddha made him a monk and bequeathed his wisdom to his son.

Buddha died between 486 and 480 at the age of eighty. It seems that, although feeble, he decided to make one last trip. On this trip, he evidently ate something which caused him to become very ill. He died between two sala trees, teaching up until the moment of his death. His final words were: "Now, monks, I declare to you: all elements of personality are subject to decay. Strive on untiringly!"8 Many Buddhists think that his power is still present in his relics, and in the many images of Buddha.
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 February 23, 2006 12:44 PM

Joseph


The eleventh son of Jacob, the firstborn of Rachel, and the immediate ancestor of the tribes of Manasses and Ephraim. His life is narrated in Gen., %#&!*%, 22-24; xxxvii; xxxix-1, wherein contemporary scholars distinguish three chief documents (J, E, P). (See ABRAHAM) The date of his eventful career can be fixed only approximately at the present day, for the Biblical account of Joseph's life does not name the particular Pharaoh of his time, and the Egyptian customs and manners therein alluded to are not decisive as to any special period in Egyptian history. His term of office in Egypt falls probably under one of the later Hyksos kings (seeJehoseph (Psalm 81:6, in the Hebrew) or abbreviated from Joseph-El (cf. Karnak inscription of Thothmes III, no. 78), is distinctly connected in Gen., %#&!*%, 23, 24, with the circumstances of his birth and is interpreted: "may God add". He was born in Haran, of Rachel, Jacob's beloved and long-barren wife, and became the favourite son of the aged patriarch. After Jacob's return to Chanaan, various circumstances made Joseph the object of the mortal hatred of his brothers. He had witnessed some very wicked deed of several among them, and they knew that it had been reported to their father. Moreover, in his partiality to Joseph, Jacob gave him an ample garment of many colours, and this manifest proof of the patriarch's greater love for him aroused the jealousy of Joseph's brothers to such an extent that "they could not speak peaceably to him". Finally, with the imprudence of youth, Joseph told his brothers two dreams which clearly portended his future elevation over them all, but which, for the present, simply caused them to hate him all the more (Genesis 37:1-11). In this frame of mind, they seized upon the first opportunity to get rid of the one of whom they spoke as "the dreamer". As they fed their father's flocks in Dothain (now Tell Dothain, about fifteen miles north of Sichem), they saw from afar Joseph, who had been sent by Jacob to inquire about their welfare, coming to them, and they at once resolved to reduce to naught all his dreams of future greatness. At this point the narrative in Genesis combines two distinct accounts of the manner in which the brothers of Joseph actually carried out their intention of avenging themselves upon him. These accounts present slight variations, which are examined in detail by recent commentators on Genesis, and which, far from destroying, rather confirm the historical character of the fact that, through the enmity of his brothers, Joseph was brought down to Egypt. To protect themselves they dipped Joseph's fine garment into the blood of a kid, and sent it to their father. At the sight of this blood-stained garment, Jacob naturally believed that a wild beast had devoured his beloved son, and he gave himself up to the most intense grief.
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 February 23, 2006 12:45 PM

While thus bewailed as dead by his father, Joseph was sold into Egypt, and treated with the utmost consideration and the greatest confidence by his Egyptian master, to whom Gen., xxxvii, 36, gives the name of Putiphar ["He whom Ra (the sun-god) gave"] and whom it describes as Pharaoh's eunuch and as the captain of the royal body-guard (cf. xxxix, 1). Quick and trustworthy, Joseph soon became his master's personal attendant. He was next entrusted with the superintendence of his master's house, a most extensive and responsible charge, such as was unusual in large Egyptian households. With Yahweh's blessing, all things, "both at home and in the field", became so prosperous under Joseph's management that his master trusted him implicitly, and "knew not any other things, save the bread which he ate". While thus discharging with perfect success his manifold duties of major-domo (Egyp. mer-per), Joseph was often brought in contact with the lady of the house, for at that time there was as much free intercourse between men and women in Egypt as there is among us in the present day. Oftentimes she noticed the youthful and handsome Hebrew overseer, and carried away by passion, she repeatedly tempted him to commit adultery with her, till at length, resenting his virtuous conduct, she accused him of those very criminal solicitations wherewith she had herself pursued him. The credulous master believed the report of his wife, and in his wrath cast Joseph into prison. There also Yahweh was with His faithful servant: He gave him favour with the keeper of the prison, who soon placed in Joseph implicit confidence, and even committed to his charge the other prisoners (xxxix, 2-23). Shortly afterwards two of Pharaoh's officers, the chief butler and chief baker, having incurred the royal displeasure for some reason unknown to us, were put in ward in the house of the captain of the guard. They also were placed under Joseph's charge, and as he came in to them one morning, he noticed their unusual sadness. They could not catch the meaning of a dream which each had had during the night, and there was no professional interpreter of dreams near at hand. Then it was that Joseph interpreted their dreams correctly, bidding the chief butler to remember him when restored to his office, as indeed he was three days after, on Pharaoh's birthday (xl). Two years rolled by, after which the monarch himself had two dreams, the one of the fat and lean kine, and the other of the full and withered ears. Great was Pharaoh's perplexity at these dreams, which no one in the realm could interpret. This occurrence naturally reminded the chief butler of Joseph's skill in interpreting dreams, and he mentioned to the king what had happened in his own case and in that of the chief baker. Summoned before Pharaoh, Joseph declared that both dreams signified that seven years of plenty would immediately be followed by seven years of famine, and further suggested that one-fifth of he produce of the years of plenty be laid by as provision for the years of famine. Deeply impressed by the clear and plausible interpretation of his dreams, and recognizing in Joseph a wisdom more than human, the monarch entrusted to him the carrying out of the practical measure which he had suggested. for this purpose he raised him to the rank of keeper of the royal seal, invested him with an authority second only to that of the throne, bestowed on him the Egyptian name of Zaphenath-paneah ("God spoke, and he came into life"), and gave him to wife Aseneth, the daughter of Putiphares, the priest of the great national sanctuary at On (or Heliopolis, seven miles north east of the modern Cairo).  [ send green star]
 
 February 23, 2006 12:48 PM

Soon the seven years of plenty predicted by Joseph set in, during which he stored up corn in each of the cities from which it was gathered, and his wife, Aseneth, bore him two sons whom he called Manasses and Ephraim, from the favorable circumstances of the time of their birth. Next came the seven years of dearth, during which by his skilful management Joseph saved Egypt from the worst features of want and hunger, and not only Egypt, but also the various countries around, which had to suffer from the same grievous and protracted famine (xli). Among these neighbouring countries was counted the land of Chanaan where Jacob had continued to dwell with Joseph's eleven brothers. Having heard that corn was sold in Egypt, the aged patriarch sent his sons thither to purchase some, keeping back, however, Rachel's second child, Benjamin, "lest perhaps he take harm in the journey". Admitted into Joseph's presence, his brothers failed to recognize in the Egyptian grandee before them the lad whom they had so cruelly treated twenty years before. He roughly accused them of being spies sent to discover the undefended passes of the eastern frontier of Egypt, and when they volunteered information about their family, he, desirous of ascertaining the truth concerning Benjamin, retained one of them as hostage in prison and sent the others home to bring back their youngest brother with them. On their return to their father, or at their first lodging-place on the way, they discovered the money which Joseph had ordered to be placed in their sacks. Great was their anxiety and that of Jacob, who for a time refused to allow his sons to return to Egypt in company with Benjamin. At length he yielded under the pressure of famine, sending, at the same time, a present to conciliate the favour of the Egyptian prime minister. at the sight of Benjamin Joseph understood that his brothers had told him the truth at their first appearance before him, and he invited them to a feast in his own house. At the feast he caused them to be seated exactly according to their age, and he honoured Benjamin with "a greater mess", as a mark of distinction (xlii-xliii). Then they left for home, unsuspecting that at Joseph's order his divining cup had been hidden in Benjamin's sack. They were soon overtaken, charged with theft of that precious cup, which, upon search, was found in the sack where it had been hidden. In their dismay they returned in a body to Joseph's house, and offered to remain as his bondmen in Egypt, an offer which Joseph declined, declaring that he would only retain Benjamin. Whereupon Juda pleads most pathetically that, for the sake of his aged father, Benjamin be dismissed free, and that he be allowed to remain in his brother's place as Joseph's bondman. Then it was that Joseph disclosed himself to his brothers, calmed their fears, and sent them back with a pressing invitation to Jacob to come and settle in Egypt (xliv-xlv, 24).

It was in the land of Gessen, a pastoral district about forty miles north-east of Cairo, that Joseph called his father and brothers to settle. There they lived as prosperous shepherds of the king, while in their misery the Egyptians were gradually reduced to sell their lands to the Crown, in order to secure their subsistence from the all-powerful prime minister of Pharaoh. And so Joseph brought it to pass that the former owners of landed property — with the exception, however, of the priests — became simple tenants of the king and paid to the royal treasury, as it were, an annual rent of one-fifth of the produce of the soil (xlvi, 28-xlvii, 26). During Jacob's last moments, Joseph promised his father that he would bury him in Chanaan, and caused him to adopt his two sons, Manasses and Ephraim (xlvii, 25-xlviii). After his father's demise, he had his body embalmed and buried with great pomp in the Cave of Machpelah (l, 1-14). He also allayed the fears of his brothers who dreaded that he should now avenge their former ill-treatment of him. He died at the age of 110, and his body was embalmed and put in a coffin in Egypt (l, 15-25). Ultimately, his remains were carried into Chanaan and buried in Sichem (Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32).


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 February 23, 2006 12:52 PM

Moses


  • Born: Between 1300 and 1150 B.C.
  • Birthplace: Egypt
  • Died: Between 1300 and 1150 B.C. (God's decree)
  • Best Known As: Hebrew liberator who received the Ten Commandments

Name at birth: Moshe

The most important figure in Judaism, Moses parted the Red Sea to free his people and brought them the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. His story appears early in the Bible and is filled with miracles and talks with God. At his birth, the Hebrews, descendants of Moses
Informative BBC package includes the Commandments, plus Judeo-Christian and Muslim stories

  • Moses
    From Judaism "crash course" at Jerusalem-based Aish International
  • Moses, Aaron and Miriam
    JewFAQ.org's profile incorporates rabbinical stories
  • Torah of Moses
    MyJewishLearning.com explores who wrote the "five books of Moses"

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     February 23, 2006 12:55 PM

    Zoroaster

    There is no certainty at all about the age in which Zoroaster lived. Some say that Zoroaster lived about 6000 B.C. Others maintain that he flourished in the middle of the seventh century B.C.

    Zoroaster was the greatest prophet among the ancient Iranians. He took his birth in order to establish the worship of Ahura Mazda, the Supreme Lord of the Universe and to fulfil the Divine Mission. His own original writings, the precious Gathas in the Avestan language, indicate that he was a God-intoxicated person.

    Zoroaster’s father was the venerable Porushaspo and his mother Dughdhvo. Zoroaster was born in the west of Iran in Takht-e-Suleman in the district of Azerbaijan. He was a direct descendant in the royal line of the house of Manushcihar, the ancient King of Iran.

    The Prophet of Iran is known to his followers as Zarathustra. (Possessor of yellow or old camels. ‘Ustra’ means camels.)

    When the Prophet of Iran was born, nature rejoiced. The trees, rivers and flowers expressed their joy and delight. The demons were frightened. As soon as the child was born, he did not cry like an ordinary mortal. He made a loud laughter. Many angels and archangels came to adore him.

    Zoroaster’s family name was ‘Spitama’, which means ‘White’. Zoroaster had two elder brothers and two younger brothers.

    The birth of Zoroaster was miraculous. The glory of Ahura Mazda descended from heaven and entered the house of the future mother of the prophet. When she was pregnant, archangels came to her and worshipped and praised the unborn child.

    Zoroaster married three times and had many children. His first wife had one son and three daughters. The youngest daughter Pourucista married Jamaspa, who was the uncle of Zoroaster’s third wife. Zoroaster had two sons by his second wife.

    We know very little of the early life of Zoroaster. Even when he was a boy, he showed great wisdom. He argued with wise men and censured the heretics.

    Demons and evil spirits tried to kill him. The Turanian King Durasrobo also tried to kill the child, but the life of the prophet was miraculously saved by the all-merciful Lord.

    Zoroaster developed dispassion when he attained the age of sixteen. The objects of the world lost all attraction for him. He despised all mundane pleasures. He rose above all sensual cravings. He showed intense love and compassion for all living beings

    Zoroaster left his home at the age of twenty and wandered from place to place. He led a life of purity and righteousness. He roamed about in forests. He lived alone in caves and mountain-tops. He controlled his tongue and subjugated his other senses also. He was very abstemious in his diet. He spent his time in calm meditation.

    Zoroaster experienced Samadhi or communion with Ahura Mazda, the Supreme Lord of the Universe, on the top of Mount Sabatam. He had prophetic divine visions. He conversed directly with Ahura Mazda and received the wisdom of the Lord. He received seven revelations from Ahura Mazda. At the age of thirty, he came out as the Prophet of God. After receiving the divine light of revelation, he became the renowned messenger of Ahura Mazda.



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     February 23, 2006 12:58 PM

    Several archangels helped Zoroaster in the spiritual path. Archangels are divine messengers of the highest order. They are the attendants of Ahura Mazda. They correspond to the Siva-Ganas—the attendants of Lord Siva;—and to Jaya, Vijaya, Nanda, Sunanda, etc.—the attendants of Lord Vishnu. They are the guardian-deities or the Lokapalas of the world. Zoroaster had direct conversation with these archangels.

    Vohumanah is the archangel of good thought. He is also the presiding Lord of domestic animals. He appeared before Zoroaster and helped him to cast off the physical sheath and directed his soul to the supreme abode of Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda Himself gave instructions to the Prophet and imparted divine wisdom to him. Zoroaster obeyed the commands of Ahura Mazda.

    When Zoroaster was coming down from the celestial abode of Ahura Mazda, he was terribly attacked by the evil force Ahriman, the Satan of Zoroastrianism. Ahriman wanted to kill Zoroaster, but Zoroaster’s spiritual powers saved him. The Prophet became the master of all demons after conquering Ahriman. He began to preach again.

    Zoroaster experienced a second vision. The same archangel asked the prophet to take great care of the animals and to protect them.

    Then Zoroaster conversed in his third vision with Asha Vahishta, the archangel of righteousness who is the presiding Lord of sacred fires. The archangel commanded Zoroaster to protect the sacred fire and all fires.

    Zoroaster conversed with Khehathra Vairya, the archangel of good royalty who is the presiding Lord of metals. The archangel commanded the Prophet to take care of the metals. Then Zoroaster conversed with Spenta Armaith, the archangel of modesty, who is the presiding Lord of earth. Then he conversed with Hauravatat, the archangel of health who is the presiding Lord of the waters. Lastly, he conversed with Ameretat, the archangel of immortality who presides over plants.

    Zoroaster had a perfect knowledge of the celestial hierarchy of gods through these visions. Zend Avesta, which is the Bible and the Gita of the Parsis, contains the wisdom which the Prophet received from Ahura Mazda, the Supreme Lord.

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     February 23, 2006 12:59 PM

    The divine experiences of Zoroaster are similar to the experiences of Satyakama Jabala of the Chhandogya Upanishad. The Wind-God, the God of Fire, the Sun-God, and Varuna or the presiding Deity of the Waters imparted divine wisdom to Satyakama. Archangel Vahishta is the Fire-God or Agni of the Hindus. Archangel Hauravatat is Varuna of the Hindus.

    Zoroaster disliked the Kavis and the Karpans, who were the chiefs of the demon-worshippers. The Karpans were devoted to rites and ceremonies. They were addicted to the use of Homa, the intoxicating drink, in their religious ceremonies. The Prophet tried to convert all the demon-worshippers, the evil men and women and their chiefs, viz., the Kavis and the Karpans. The Kavis and the Karpans were the priests. Naturally, all orthodox priests are opponents of broad reforms. Zoroaster failed in his attempt.

    Zoroaster travelled from place to place. He went to India and China, but no one received his message in the beginning. He first converted his own cousin Maidhyoi-madnha. This disciple remained faithful to Zoroaster till the end of his life.

    The Kavis and the Karpans, the learned priests of the courts, poisoned the ears of Vishtasp, the Sovereign of Iran. They intrigued against the Prophet and accused him before the king of being a sorcerer. They persuaded the king to put him in prison to die of starvation. Zoroaster remained in the prison for sometime and was saved by the Lord.

    The favourite black horse of the king fell ill. Its four legs were drawn up into its belly. Zoroaster sent word to the king that he would cure the horse. He imposed four conditions, which the king readily accepted. Vishtasp had to accept the new faith. He had to consent that his son Isfendiar would defend the new faith. Zoroaster was to be allowed to convert Queen Hutaosa. The king had to reveal the names of all those who had plotted against Zoroaster and punish them. When each leg of the horse came out, each of the four conditions was granted by the king.

    The king, in turn, demanded that four conditions of his should be accepted by Zoroaster. First, the king wanted to know his final destiny and his place in heaven; second, he wanted that his body might become invulnerable; third, he desired that he might have universal knowledge; and lastly, the king wished that his soul might not leave his body until the resurrection. Three archangels appeared before the king and the queen and dazzled their eyes. The king and the queen trembled at their sight. They heard the voice from the light which said that they had come at the command of the Lord to show the king and the queen the glory of the religion of Zoroaster.

    King Vishtasp was convinced. He was also convinced of the supernatural powers of the Prophet. He fell at the feet of Zoroaster, accepted his creed and worshipped him as the Prophet of Iran. He experienced a glimpse of heaven. The archangel Ashavahishta gave the king nectar to drink. The queen and other chieftains, and also the brother of the king, and Frashaoshtra, the father-in-law of Zoroaster, became devoted followers of Zoroastrianism. The new faith spread far and wide with the help of the royal patron. The masses also accepted the new faith. Zoroastrianism became the religion of the Iranian Kingdom.

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     February 23, 2006 1:01 PM

    The success of the new religion became the cause for two bitter religious wars between Iran and Turan. Zarir, the brother of King Vishtasp and the king himself defeated the enemies. Zarir played a wonderful part. He was a formidable hero in the war. His gallantry was beyond description. But he was treacherously slain by a poisoned spear hurled from behind by Vidrasfsh. Aryasp, the Turanian king, promised to give his daughter in marriage to Vidrasfsh for doing this horrible, ignominious act.

    Bastwar, the young son of Zarir, a mighty hero, who might be called a Maharatha, who was equal in strength to Bhishma, killed Vidrasfsh and defeated Aryasp.

    King Aryasp again invaded Iran eighteen years after his defeat. He destroyed the temples, killed the priests and burnt the Zend Avesta. In the second war, the hero was Ispendiar, the son of King Vishtasp. He defeated Aryasp, drove him out of Iran and killed him.

    The Prophet of Iran was praying before the altar in the temple of Nush-Adar with a rosary in his hand. A Turanian, Bratrok-resh by name, killed the prophet with his sword.

    Zoroaster threw his rosary at Bratrok-resh. A fire proceeded from the rosary. It fell on Bratrok-resh and destroyed him. Zoroaster died at the age of seventy-seven. Thus the glorious Prophet of Iran, the great messenger of Ahura Mazda and the founder of Zoroastrianism or the religion of Mazda-worship passed away.

    Zoroaster did many miracles. He carried out the behests of the angels. He protected the fires and the cattle. He healed the sick and restored the sight of a blind man. He had a great reputation as a scholar and physician. He established many fire-temples. He spread the new faith all over the country. He suppressed the worship of demons, witchcraft and sorcery. He drove pestilence and removed national calamities and disasters. He cured diseases, counteracted the noxious creatures and brought abundant rain on earth.

    Zoroaster was pious, noble and compassionate. His message was the noble message of high moral life which paves the way for the attainment of immortality and eternal bliss and the doctrine of the God of Righteousness or Ahura Mazda. "Love the righteous. Have compassion for the distressed."—These constitute Zoroaster’s main ethical teachings.

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     February 23, 2006 1:07 PM

    King David

    David was born about 1040 B.C., the eighth and youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem (see also Ruth). Little is recorded of David's parents - Jesse was apparently of modest means, and there is no record of David's mother's name.

    David's appearance is not known in great detail, however we do know that he was described as handsome, had red hair (i.e. "ruddy"), and was relatively short in stature (1 Samuel 16:12, 17:42).

    David was a Shepherd, which out of necessity at the time also taught him fighting skills when defending the flocks from predatory wild animals, including lions and bears (1 Samuel 17:34-35). In quieter times, he also developed his musical skills with the flute and harp.

    After God rejected the foolish and corrupt Saul, Israel's first king, He sent Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint David as the successor (1 Samuel 16:1-13). The transition would be gradual however. David returned to caring for the sheep, but "The Spirit of The Lord came upon David from that day forward," (1 Samuel 16:13) and "The Spirit of The Lord departed from Saul" (1 Samuel 16:14).

    David served King Saul from time to time as a musician and armor bearer (1 Samuel 16:21-23). It is quite certain that Saul did not yet know that his young harp player would soon take his place as king. If he had, he would have killed him - just as he actually tried to do over and over again later.



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     February 23, 2006 1:09 PM

    Then followed one of the most famous incidents of The Bible - David And Goliath (1 Samuel 17:1-58) in the valley of Elah, about 15 miles / 24 kilometers southwest of Bethlehem. David's defeat of Goliath put the Philistines to flight and resulted in a great victory for Israel. The heroic act made David a favorite of the people, much to the disfavor and jealousy of Saul (1 Samuel 18:6-16). From then on, Saul wanted David killed, and personally made a number of attempts (1 Samuel chapters 18-30).

    When Saul made his first attempt to kill David, the young shepherd fled to Samuel in Ramah where he was given refuge for a time among the prophets (1 Samuel 19:12-18). Some are of the opinion that David composed the 6th, 7th and 11th Psalms while he was there.

    When Saul discovered David's whereabouts, David fled again, this time to Nob (1 Samuel 21:1-9), and then to Gath among the Philistines. The Philistine king refused him, so David continued over to Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1-4, 1 Chronicles 12:8-18) where 400 men joined him and accepted him as their leader.

    In the mean time, upon the orders of Saul, Doeg the Edomite murdered 85 priests and their families who had innocently given refuge to David at Nob. The news of the massacre reached David by the sole survivor, Abiathar, a son of the high priest Ahimelech (1 Samuel 22:11-23)

    For a while, David found himself in the rather bizarre situation of fighting Saul's enemies and fleeing Saul at the same time. David and his men drove the Philistines from Keilah (1 Samuel 23:1-14) and then moved to the hill country of Judah to escape Saul. While there, David met with Jonathan, Saul's son, who had been, and always remained, a loyal friend with David (1 Samuel 23:16-18). Jonathan was killed in battle with the Philistines not long after.

    Although Saul would readily have killed David, David refused to lift his sword against Saul. David actually saved Saul's life on occasion during all the time that Saul was hunting him (1 Samuel 24:10, 26:9). David remained a fugitive until Saul was killed in battle against the Philistines near Mount Gilboa (1 Samuel 31:1-6)

    Upon Saul's death, David went to Hebron where he was anointed as king of Judah, according to The Lord's instructions, at about age 30 (2 Samuel 2:1-4). A seven and a half year civil war followed between the forces that supported David, and those that supported Ish-bosheth, Saul's only surviving son, for the kingship of all Israel. The military and political situation grew steadily in favor of David however, and when Ish-bosheth was assassinated, David was anointed king over all Israel (2 Samuel 4:1-12, 5:1-5).

    David then moved his capital from Hebron to Jebus, an earlier name for Jerusalem: "The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, "You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off." They thought, "David cannot get in here." Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David." (2 Samuel 5:6-7 NIV)

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     February 23, 2006 1:11 PM

    David then brought The Ark Of The Covenant to the new capital city of Jerusalem (2 Samuel chapter 6) (in illustration above) from the house of Abinadab (2 Samuel 6:3) at Kirjath-jearim, about 7 miles / 11 kilometers from Jerusalem, where it had been for many years. It was during this movement that The Lord put Uzzah to death for touching The Ark (only the Levites were permitted to touch it). David then became afraid to have The Ark in the City of David, so he left it in the house of Obed-Edom, a Philistine from Gath (2 Samuel 6:9-11). Three months later, David brought The Ark to Jerusalem where it was placed in a new tabernacle that David set up for it. It had been about seventy years since The Ark had been in the original Tabernacle In The Wilderness (see also What Happened To The Tabernacle?).

    David's rise to greatness was characterized by great territorial gains for Israel (2 Samuel 8:1-14). Within a relatively short period of time, he ruled from The Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River in the The Tigris-Euphrates Valley (2 Samuel 8:3-13) (see also Solomon's Kingdom).

    As has happened with so many of the great, David's success was focused too heavily on material gains, and it corrupted him. His committing of adultery with Bathsheba, and the murder of her husband Uriah in an attempt to cover it up was perhaps the darkest event of his life. David truly repented of it, and God did forgive him.

    David's troubles were far from over however. His many wives and children were constantly in fierce competition with each other within the family. One of David's sons, Amnon, assaulted his step sister Tamar, for which the girl's brother Absalom killed him. Absalom later attempted to take over the kingdom from his father David which triggered a civil war.

    Despite his human faults, David was always a dedicated and repentant man of God who served God's purpose in that stage of Bible History. After a reign of forty years and six months (2 Samuel 5:5, 1 Chronicles 3:4) David died at the age of seventy, "and was buried in the city of David." (1 Kings 2:10-11)

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    Chief RunningFox! February 23, 2006 9:04 PM

       Thank you, for providing all this information in one stop! It makes it so much easier to learn about it. I start googling for info and sometimes get lost, so...  [ send green star]
     
     February 24, 2006 12:02 PM

    Solomon

    (Around 1000-922 BCE) King of united Israel and Judah 961-922 BCE. Solomon was son of King David and Bathsheba, and was appointed heir to the throne at the sacrifice of his older brother Adonijah.
    The exact dates of his life are disputed, but generally with variations no larger than 10 years.
    Solomon is by Biblical tradition considered to be the greatest king of Israel. He is remembered for keeping a large kingdom together, comprising most of today's Middle East; for building the Temple of Jerusalem; and for his wisdom.
    Solomon married daughters of neighbouring kings, which according to 1 Kings 11:3 resulted in a total of 700 wives and 300 concubines. His main wife was the daughter of the Egyptian pharaoh.

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     February 24, 2006 12:04 PM

    ADMINISTRATOR

    Solomon is a king who has been described as a great leader, administrator and even artist. But there are elements in the sources that indicate that he could be ruthless and not attentive to the needs of his people, which eventually could have led to the disintegration of the united Israel and Judah.
    Among Solomon's main achievements as an administrator was to divide the country into 12 administrative districs run by goverors, in addition to Judah. It is important to note that the districts were not bordered according to the 12 tribes.
    Other achievements were to strengthened the fortifications of major towns, he made the Canaanites into slaves and entered into important alliances with King Hiram of Tyre (modern Lebanon) as well as other neighbour states.
    There were advances in the fields of trade and mining, mainly because of the long period of peace between countries of the region. But the sources also indicate that the taxation burdened the society in many ways, and hindered much of the development of prosperity.

    RELIGIOUS IMPORTANCE

    Several books have been ascribed to Solomon, like the Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, the Wisdom of Solomon, Psalms of Solomon and Odes of Solomon. Few scholars believe this to be correct today, many are dated to be centuries younger and the Odes of Solomon appears to be 1000 years too young.
    It was the building of the Temple of Jerusalem which became the main act of importance in the emerging Judaism.

    BIOGRAPHY

    1000 BCE: Born as the 4th son of King David, son of Bathsheba.
    961: Following the death of King David, Solomon becomes new king of Israel and Judah. Solomon feared the challenge from David's oldest living son, Adonijah, and had him killed.
    957: Starts the building process of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is largely built with cedar and cypress wood provided for him by his ally, King Hiram of Tyre. Hiram also sent craftsmen and artisans to help in the building. The temple was part of a structure including the royal palace, the porch for the throne and the House of the Forest of Lebanon.
    937: The entire temple complex is completed.
    922: Dies, and is succeeded by his son Rehobaom.
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     February 24, 2006 12:11 PM

    A biography of Jesus

    Synthesized from the Biblical account expanded with excerpts from hundreds of inspired literary sources, this is the most spiritually compelling biography of Jesus
    anywhere in print.

    Joseph And Mary




    P1344:4, 122:1.1
    Joseph, the human father of Jesus (Joshua ben Joseph), was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, albeit he carried many non-Jewish racial strains which had been added to his ancestral tree from time to time by the female lines of his progenitors. The ancestry of the father of Jesus went back to the days of Abraham and through this venerable patriarch to the earlier lines of inheritance leading to the Sumerians and Nodites and, through the southern tribes of the ancient blue man, to Andon and Fonta. David and Solomon were not in the direct line of Joseph's ancestry, neither did Joseph's lineage go directly back to Adam. Joseph's immediate ancestors were mechanics -- builders, carpenters, masons, and smiths. Joseph himself was a carpenter and later a contractor. His family belonged to a long and illustrious line of the nobility of the common people, accentuated ever and anon by the appearance of unusual individuals who had distinguished themselves in connection with the evolution of religion on Urantia.


    P1345:1, 122:1.2
    Mary, the earth mother of Jesus, was a descendant of a long line of unique ancestors embracing many of the most remarkable women in the racial history of Urantia. Although Mary was an average woman of her day and generation, possessing a fairly normal temperament, she reckoned among her ancestors such well-known women as
    Annon, Tamar, Ruth, Bathsheba, Ansie, Cloa, Eve, Enta, and Ratta. No Jewish woman of that day had a more illustrious lineage of common progenitors or one extending back to more auspicious beginnings. Mary's ancestry, like Joseph's, was characterized by the predominance of strong but average individuals, relieved now and then by numerous outstanding personalities in the march of civilization and the progressive evolution of religion. Racially considered, it is hardly proper to regard Mary as a Jewess. In culture and belief she was a Jew, but in hereditary endowment she was more a composite of Syrian, Hittite, Phoenician, Greek, and Egyptian stocks, her racial inheritance being more general than that of Joseph.

    P1345:2, 122:1.3
    Of all couples living in Palestine at about the time of Michael's projected bestowal, Joseph and Mary possessed the most ideal combination of widespread racial connections and superior average of personality endowments. It was the plan of Michael to appear on earth as an average man, that the common people might understand him and receive him; wherefore Gabriel selected just such persons as Joseph and Mary to become the bestowal parents.


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     February 24, 2006 12:14 PM

    Gabriel's Announcement To Mary



    P1346:4, 122:3.1
    One evening about sundown, before Joseph had returned home, Gabriel appeared to Mary by the side of a low stone table and, after she had recovered her composure, said: "I come at the bidding of one who is my Master and whom you shall love and nurture. To you, Mary, I bring glad tidings when I announce that the conception within you is ordained by heaven, and that in due time you will become the mother of a son; you shall call him Joshua, and he shall inaugurate the kingdom of heaven on earth and among men. Speak not of this matter save to Joseph and to Elizabeth, your kinswoman, to whom I have also appeared, and who shall presently also bear a son, whose name shall be John, and who will prepare the way for the message of deliverance which your son shall proclaim to men with great power and deep conviction. And doubt not my word, Mary, for this home has been chosen as the mortal habitat of the child of destiny. My benediction rests upon you, the power of the Most Highs will strengthen you, and the Lord of all the earth shall overshadow you."


    P1346:5, 122:3.2
    Mary pondered this visitation secretly in her heart for many weeks until of a certainty she knew she was with child, before she dared to disclose these unusual events to her husband. When Joseph heard all about this, although he had great confidence in Mary, he was much troubled and could not sleep for many nights. At first Joseph had doubts about the Gabriel visitation. Then when he became well-nigh persuaded that Mary had really heard the voice and beheld the form of the divine messenger, he was torn in mind as he pondered how such things could be. How could the offspring of human beings be a child of divine destiny? Never could Joseph reconcile these conflicting ideas until, after several weeks of thought, both he and Mary reached the conclusion that they had been chosen to become the parents of the Messiah, though it had hardly been the Jewish concept that the expected deliverer was to be of divine nature. Upon arriving at this momentous conclusion, Mary hastened to depart for a visit with Elizabeth.

    P1347:1, 122:3.3
    Upon her return, Mary went to visit her parents,
    Joachim and Hannah. Her two brothers and two sisters, as well as her parents, were always very skeptical about the divine mission of Jesus, though, of course, at this time they knew nothing of the Gabriel visitation. But Mary did confide to her sister Salome that she thought her son was destined to become a great teacher.


    P1347:2, 122:3.4
    Gabriel's announcement to Mary was made the day following the conception of Jesus and was the only event of supernatural occurrence connected with her entire experience of carrying and bearing the child of promise.

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     February 24, 2006 12:17 PM

    Joseph's Dream


    P1347:3, 122:4.1
    Joseph did not become reconciled to the idea that Mary was to become the mother of an extraordinary child until after he had experienced a very impressive dream. In this dream a brilliant celestial messenger appeared to him and, among other things, said: "Joseph, I appear by command of him who now reigns on high, and I am directed to instruct you concerning the son whom Mary shall bear, and who shall become a great light in the world. In him will be life, and his life shall become the light of mankind. He shall first come to his own people, but they will hardly receive him; but to as many as shall receive him to them will he reveal that they are the children of God." After this experience Joseph never again wholly doubted Mary's story of Gabriel's visit and of the promise that the unborn child was to become a divine messenger to the world.


    P1347:4, 122:4.2
    In all these visitations nothing was said about the house of David. Nothing was ever intimated about Jesus' becoming a "deliverer of the Jews," not even that he was to be the long-expected Messiah. Jesus was not such a Messiah as the Jews had anticipated, but he was the world's deliverer. His mission was to all races and peoples, not to any one group.

    P1347:5, 122:4.3
    Joseph was not of the line of King David. Mary had more of the Davidic ancestry than Joseph. True, Joseph did go to the City of David, Bethlehem, to be registered for the Roman census, but that was because, six generations previously, Joseph's paternal ancestor of that generation, being an orphan, was adopted by one
    Zadoc, who was a direct descendant of David; hence was Joseph also accounted as of the "house of David."

    P1347:6, 122:4.4
    Most of the so-called Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament were made to apply to Jesus long after his life had been lived on earth. For centuries the Hebrew prophets had proclaimed the coming of a deliverer, and these promises had been construed by successive generations as referring to a new Jewish ruler who would sit upon the throne of David and, by the reputed miraculous methods of Moses, proceed to establish the Jews in Palestine as a powerful nation, free from all foreign domination. Again, many figurative passages found throughout the Hebrew scriptures were subsequently
    misapplied to the life mission of Jesus. Many Old Testament sayings were so distorted as to appear to fit some episode of the Master's earth life. Jesus himself onetime publicly denied any connection with the royal house of David. Even the passage, "a maiden shall bear a son," was made to read, "a virgin shall bear a son." This was also true of the many genealogies of both Joseph and Mary which were constructed subsequent to Michael's career on earth. Many of these lineages contain much of the Master's ancestry, but on the whole they are not genuine and may not be depended upon as factual. The early followers of Jesus all too often succumbed to the temptation to make all the olden prophetic utterances appear to find fulfillment in the life of their Lord and Master.


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     February 24, 2006 12:21 PM

    Jesus' Earth Parents


    P1348:1, 122:5.1
    Joseph was a mild-mannered man, extremely conscientious, and in every way faithful to the religious conventions and practices of his people. He talked little but thought much. The sorry plight of the Jewish people caused Joseph much sadness. As a youth, among his eight brothers and sisters, he had been more cheerful, but in the earlier years of married life (during Jesus' childhood) he was subject to periods of mild spiritual discouragement. These temperamental manifestations were greatly improved just before his untimely death and after the economic condition of his family had been enhanced by his advancement from the rank of carpenter to the role of a prosperous contractor.

    P1348:2, 122:5.2
    Mary's temperament was quite opposite to that of her husband. She was usually cheerful, was very rarely downcast, and possessed an
    ever- sunny disposition. Mary indulged in free and frequent expression of her emotional feelings and was never observed to be sorrowful until after the sudden death of Joseph. And she had hardly recovered from this shock when she had thrust upon her the anxieties and questionings aroused by the extraordinary career of her eldest son, which was so rapidly unfolding before her astonished gaze. But throughout all this unusual experience Mary was composed, courageous, and fairly wise in her relationship with her strange and little-understood first-born son and his surviving brothers and sisters.

    P1348:3, 122:5.3
    Jesus derived much of his unusual gentleness and marvelous sympathetic understanding of human nature from his father; he inherited his gift as a great teacher and his tremendous capacity for righteous indignation from his mother. In emotional reactions to his
    adult-life environment, Jesus was at one time like his father, meditative and worshipful, sometimes characterized by apparent sadness; but more often he drove forward in the manner of his mother's optimistic and determined disposition. All in all, Mary's temperament tended to dominate the career of the divine Son as he grew up and swung into the momentous strides of his adult life. In some particulars Jesus was a blending of his parents' traits; in other respects he exhibited the traits of one in contrast with those of the other.

    P1348:4, 122:5.4
    From Joseph Jesus secured his strict training in the usages of the Jewish ceremonials and his unusual acquaintance with the Hebrew scriptures; from Mary he derived a broader viewpoint of religious life and a more liberal concept of personal spiritual freedom.


    P1349:1, 122:5.5
    The families of both Joseph and Mary were well educated for their time. Joseph and Mary were educated far above the average for their day and station in life. He was a thinker; she was a planner, expert in adaptation and practical in immediate execution. Joseph was a
    black-eyed brunet; Mary, a brown-eyed well-nigh blond type.

    P1349:2, 122:5.6
    Had Joseph lived, he undoubtedly would have become a firm believer in the divine mission of his eldest son. Mary alternated between believing and doubting, being greatly influenced by the position taken by her other children and by her friends and relatives, but always was she
    steadied in her final attitude by the memory of Gabriel's appearance to her immediately after the child was conceived.

    P1349:3, 122:5.7
    Mary was an expert weaver and more than
    averagely skilled in most of the household arts of that day; she was a good housekeeper and a superior homemaker. Both Joseph and Mary were good teachers, and they saw to it that their children were well versed in the learning of that day.


    P1349:4, 122:5.8
    When Joseph was a young man, he was employed by Mary's father in the work of building an addition to his house, and it was when Mary brought Joseph a cup of water, during a noontime meal, that the courtship of the pair who were destined to become the parents of Jesus really began.


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     February 24, 2006 12:23 PM

    P1349:5, 122:5.9 Joseph and Mary were married, in accordance with Jewish custom, at Mary's home in the environs of Nazareth when Joseph was twenty-one years old. This marriage concluded a normal courtship of almost two years' duration. Shortly thereafter they moved into their new home in Nazareth, which had been built by Joseph with the assistance of two of his brothers. The house was located near the foot of the near-by elevated land which so charmingly overlooked the surrounding countryside. In this home, especially prepared, these young and expectant parents had thought to welcome the child of promise, little realizing that this momentous event of a universe was to transpire while they would be absent from home in Bethlehem of Judea.


    P1349:6, 122:5.10
    The larger part of Joseph's family became believers in the teachings of Jesus, but very few of Mary's people ever believed in him until after he departed from this world. Joseph leaned more toward the spiritual concept of the expected Messiah, but Mary and her family, especially her father, held to the idea of the Messiah as a temporal deliverer and political ruler. Mary's ancestors had been prominently identified with the Maccabean activities of the then but recent times.

    P1349:7, 122:5.11
    Joseph held vigorously to the Eastern, or Babylonian, views of the Jewish religion; Mary leaned strongly toward the more liberal and broader Western, or Hellenistic, interpretation of the law and the prophets.

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     February 24, 2006 12:28 PM

    The Birth Of Jesus


    P1351:5, 122:8.1
    All that night Mary was restless so that neither of them slept much. By the break of day the pangs of childbirth were well in evidence, and at noon, August 21, 7 B.C., with the help and kind ministrations of women fellow travelers, Mary was delivered of a male child. Jesus of Nazareth was born into the world, was wrapped in the clothes which Mary had brought along for such a possible contingency, and laid in a near-by manger.

    P1351:6, 122:8.2
    In just the same manner as all babies before that day and since have come into the world, the promised child was born; and on the eighth day, according to the Jewish practice, he was circumcised and formally named Joshua (Jesus).

    P1351:7, 122:8.3
    The next day after the birth of Jesus, Joseph made his enrollment. Meeting a man they had talked with two nights previously at Jericho, Joseph was taken by him to a well-to-do friend who had a room at the inn, and who said he would gladly exchange quarters with the Nazareth couple. That afternoon they moved up to the inn, where they lived for almost three weeks until they found lodgings in the home of a distant relative of Joseph.

    P1351:8, 122:8.4
    The second day after the birth of Jesus, Mary sent word to Elizabeth that her child had come and received word in return inviting Joseph up to Jerusalem to talk over all their affairs with Zacharias. The following week Joseph went to Jerusalem to confer with Zacharias. Both Zacharias and Elizabeth had become possessed with the sincere conviction that Jesus was indeed to become the Jewish deliverer, the Messiah, and that their son John was to be his chief of aides, his right-hand man of destiny. And since Mary held these same ideas, it was not difficult to prevail upon Joseph to remain in Bethlehem, the City of David, so that Jesus might grow up to become the successor of David on the throne of all Israel. Accordingly, they remained in Bethlehem more than a year, Joseph meantime working some at his carpenter's trade.


    P1352:1, 122:8.5
    At the noontide birth of Jesus the seraphim of Urantia, assembled under their directors, did sing anthems of glory over the Bethlehem manger, but these utterances of praise were not heard by human ears. No shepherds nor any other mortal creatures came to pay homage to the babe of Bethlehem until the day of the arrival of certain priests from Ur, who were sent down from Jerusalem by Zacharias.

    P1352:2, 122:8.6
    These priests from Mesopotamia had been told sometime before by a strange religious teacher of their country that he had had a dream in which he was informed that "the light of life" was about to appear on earth as a babe and among the Jews. And thither went these three teachers looking for this "light of life." After many weeks of futile search in Jerusalem, they were about to return to Ur when Zacharias met them and disclosed his belief that Jesus was the object of their quest and sent them on to Bethlehem, where they found the babe and left their gifts with Mary, his earth mother. The babe was almost three weeks old at the time of their visit.

    P1352:3, 122:8.7
    These wise men saw no star to guide them to Bethlehem. The beautiful legend of the star of Bethlehem originated in this way: Jesus was born August 21 at noon, 7 B.C. On May 29, 7 B.C., there occurred an extraordinary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of
    Pisces. And it is a remarkable astronomic fact that similar conjunctions occurred on September 29 and December 5 of the same year. Upon the basis of these extraordinary but wholly natural events the well-meaning zealots of the succeeding generation constructed the appealing legend of the star of Bethlehem and the adoring Magi led thereby to the manger, where they beheld and worshiped the newborn babe. Oriental and near-Oriental minds delight in fairy stories, and they are continually spinning such beautiful myths about the lives of their religious leaders and political heroes. In the absence of printing, when most human knowledge was passed by word of mouth from one generation to another, it was very easy for myths to become traditions and for traditions eventually to become accepted as facts.


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     February 24, 2006 12:34 PM

    Teaching About The Father


    P1590:4, 141:4.1
    While sojourning at Amathus, Jesus spent much time with the apostles instructing them in the new concept of God; again and again did he impress upon them that God is a Father, not a great and supreme bookkeeper who is chiefly engaged in making damaging entries against his erring children on earth, recordings of sin and evil to be used against them when he subsequently sits in judgment upon them as the just Judge of all creation. The Jews had long conceived of God as a king over all, even as a Father of the nation, but never before had large numbers of mortal men held the idea of God as a loving Father of the individual.

    P1590:5, 141:4.2
    In answer to Thomas's question, "Who is this God of the kingdom?" Jesus replied: "God is your Father, and religion -- my gospel -- is nothing more nor less than the believing recognition of the truth that you are his son. And I am here among you in the flesh to make clear both of these ideas in my life and teachings."

    P1590:6, 141:4.3
    Jesus also sought to free the minds of his apostles from the idea of offering animal sacrifices as a religious duty. But these men, trained in the religion of the daily sacrifice, were slow to comprehend what he meant. Nevertheless, the Master did not grow weary in his teaching. When he failed to reach the minds of all of the apostles by means of one illustration, he would restate his message and employ another type of parable for purposes of illumination.


    P1590:7, 141:4.4
    At this same time Jesus began to teach the twelve more fully concerning their mission "to comfort the afflicted and minister to the sick." The Master taught them much about the whole man -- the union of body, mind, and spirit to form the individual man or woman. Jesus told his associates about the three forms of affliction they would meet and went on to explain how they should minister to all who suffer the sorrows of human sickness. He taught them to recognize:

    1. Diseases of the flesh -- those afflictions commonly regarded as physical sickness.
    2. Troubled minds -- those nonphysical afflictions which were subsequently looked upon as emotional and mental difficulties and disturbances.
    3. The possession of evil spirits.


    P1591:4, 141:4.5
    Jesus explained to his apostles on several occasions the nature, and something concerning the origin, of these evil spirits, in that day often also called unclean spirits. The Master well knew the difference between the possession of evil spirits and insanity, but the apostles did not. Neither was it possible, in view of their limited knowledge of the early history of Urantia, for Jesus to undertake to make this matter fully understandable. But he many times said to them, alluding to these evil spirits: " They shall no more molest men when I shall have ascended to my Father in heaven, and after I shall have poured out my spirit upon all flesh in those times when the kingdom will come in great power and spiritual glory."

    P1591:5, 141:4.6
    From week to week and from month to month, throughout this entire year, the apostles paid more and more attention to the healing ministry of the sick.


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     February 24, 2006 12:36 PM

    Jesus' Human And Divine Minds


    P1787:3, 161:3.1
    Consciousness of divinity was a gradual growth in the mind of Jesus up to the occasion of his baptism. After he became fully self-conscious of his divine nature, prehuman existence, and universe prerogatives, he seems to have possessed the power of variously limiting his human consciousness of his divinity. It appears to us that from his baptism until the crucifixion it was entirely optional with Jesus whether to depend only on the human mind or to utilize the knowledge of both the human and the divine minds. At times he appeared to avail himself of only that information which was resident in the human intellect. On other occasions he appeared to act with such fullness of knowledge and wisdom as could be afforded only by the utilization of the superhuman content of his divine consciousness.

    P1787:4, 161:3.2
    We can understand his unique performances only by accepting the theory that he could, at will, self-limit his divinity consciousness. We are fully cognizant that he frequently withheld from his associates his foreknowledge of events, and that he was aware of the nature of their thinking and planning. We understand that he did not wish his followers to know too fully that he was able to discern their thoughts and to penetrate their plans. He did not desire too far to transcend the concept of the human as it was held in the minds of his apostles and disciples.

    P1787:5, 161:3.3
    We are utterly at a loss to differentiate between his practice of
    self-limiting his divine consciousness and his technique of concealing his preknowledge and thought discernment from his human associates. We are convinced that he used both of these techniques, but we are not always able, in a given instance, to specify which method he may have employed. We frequently observed him acting with only the human content of consciousness; then would we behold him in conference with the directors of the celestial hosts of the universe and discern the undoubted functioning of the divine mind. And then on almost numberless occasions did we witness the working of this combined personality of man and God as it was activated by the apparent perfect union of the human and the divine minds. This is the limit of our knowledge of such phenomena; we really do not actually know the full truth about this mystery.


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     February 24, 2006 12:41 PM

    The Crucifixion


    P2006:5, 187:2.1
    The soldiers first bound the Master's arms with cords to the crossbeam, and then they nailed his hands to the wood. When they had hoisted this crossbeam up on the post, and after they had nailed it securely to the upright timber of the cross, they bound and nailed his feet to the wood, using one long nail to penetrate both feet. The upright timber had a large peg, inserted at the proper height, which served as a sort of saddle for supporting the body weight. The cross was not high, the Master's feet being only about three feet from the ground. He was therefore able to hear all that was said of him in derision and could plainly see the expression on the faces of all those who so thoughtlessly mocked him. And also could those present easily hear all that Jesus said during these hours of lingering torture and slow death.

    P2007:1, 187:2.2
    It was the custom to remove all clothes from those who were to be crucified, but since the Jews greatly objected to the public exposure of the naked human form, the Romans always provided a suitable loin cloth for all persons crucified at Jerusalem. Accordingly, after Jesus' clothes had been removed, he was thus
    garbed before he was put upon the cross.

    P2007:2, 187:2.3
    Crucifixion was resorted to in order to provide a cruel and lingering punishment, the victim sometimes not dying for several days. There was considerable sentiment against crucifixion in Jerusalem, and there existed a society of Jewish women who always sent a representative to crucifixions for the purpose of offering
    drugged wine to the victim in order to lessen his suffering. But when Jesus tasted this narcotized wine, as thirsty as he was, he refused to drink it. The Master chose to retain his human consciousness until the very end. He desired to meet death, even in this cruel and inhuman form, and conquer it by voluntary submission to the full human experience.

    P2007:3, 187:2.4
    Before Jesus was put on his cross, the two brigands had already been placed on their crosses, all the while cursing and spitting upon their executioners. Jesus' only words, as they nailed him to the crossbeam, were, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." He could not have so mercifully and lovingly interceded for his executioners if such thoughts of affectionate devotion had not been the
    mainspring of all his life of unselfish service. The ideas, motives, and longings of a lifetime are openly revealed in a crisis.


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     February 24, 2006 12:42 PM

    After the Master was hoisted on the cross, the captain nailed the title up above his head, and it read in three languages, "Jesus of Nazareth -- the King of the Jews." The Jews were infuriated by this believed insult. But Pilate was chafed by their disrespectful manner; he felt he had been intimidated and humiliated, and he took this method of obtaining petty revenge. He could have written "Jesus, a rebel." But he well knew how these Jerusalem Jews detested the very name of Nazareth, and he was determined thus to humiliate them. He knew that they would also be cut to the very quick by seeing this executed Galilean called "The King of the Jews."

    P2007:5, 187:2.6
    Many of the Jewish leaders, when they learned how Pilate had sought to deride them by placing this inscription on the cross of Jesus, hastened out to Golgotha, but they dared not attempt to remove it since the Roman soldiers were standing on guard. Not being able to remove the title, these leaders mingled with the crowd and did their utmost to incite derision and ridicule, lest any give serious regard to the inscription.

    P2007:6, 187:2.7
    The Apostle John, with Mary the mother of Jesus, Ruth, and Jude, arrived on the scene just after Jesus had been hoisted to his position on the cross, and just as the captain was nailing the title above the Master's head. John was the only one of the eleven apostles to witness the crucifixion, and even he was not present all of the time since he ran into Jerusalem to bring back his mother and her friends soon after he had brought Jesus' mother to the scene.

    P2007:7, 187:2.8
    As Jesus saw his mother, with John and his brother and sister, he smiled but said nothing. Meanwhile the four soldiers assigned to the Master's crucifixion, as was the custom, had divided his clothes among them, one taking the sandals, one the turban, one the girdle, and the fourth the cloak. This left the
    tunic, or seamless vestment reaching down to near the knees, to be cut up into four pieces, but when the soldiers saw what an unusual garment it was, they decided to cast lots for it. Jesus looked down on them while they divided his garments, and the thoughtless crowd jeered at him.


    P2008:1, 187:2.9
    It was well that the Roman soldiers took possession of the Master's clothing. Otherwise, if his followers had gained possession of these garments, they would have been tempted to resort to superstitious relic worship. The Master desired that his followers should have nothing material to associate with his life on earth. He wanted to leave mankind only the memory of a human life dedicated to the high spiritual ideal of being consecrated to doing the Father's will.

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     February 24, 2006 12:45 PM

    he Dispensational Resurrection


    P2024:3, 189:3.1
    A little after half past four o'clock this Sunday morning, Gabriel summoned the archangels to his side and made ready to inaugurate the general resurrection of the termination of the Adamic dispensation on Urantia. When the vast host of the seraphim and the cherubim concerned in this great event had been marshaled in proper formation, the morontia Michael appeared before Gabriel, saying: "As my Father has life in himself, so has he given it to the Son to have life in himself. Although I have not yet fully resumed the exercise of universe jurisdiction, this self-imposed limitation does not in any manner restrict the bestowal of life upon my sleeping sons; let the roll call of the planetary resurrection begin."

    P2024:4, 189:3.2
    The circuit of the archangels then operated for the first time from Urantia. Gabriel and the archangel hosts moved to the place of the spiritual polarity of the planet; and when Gabriel gave the signal, there flashed to the first of the system mansion worlds the voice of Gabriel, saying: "By the mandate of Michael, let the dead of a Urantia dispensation rise!" Then all the survivors of the human races of Urantia who had fallen asleep since the days of Adam, and who had not already gone on to judgment, appeared in the resurrection halls of mansonia in readiness for morontia investiture. And in an instant of time the seraphim and their associates made ready to depart for the mansion worlds. Ordinarily these seraphic guardians, onetime assigned to the group custody of these surviving mortals, would have been present at the moment of their awaking in the resurrection halls of mansonia, but they were on this world itself at this time because of the necessity of Gabriel's presence here in connection with the morontia resurrection of Jesus.

    P2024:5, 189:3.3
    Notwithstanding that countless individuals having personal seraphic guardians and those achieving the requisite attainment of spiritual personality progress had gone on to mansonia during the ages subsequent to the times of Adam and Eve, and though there had been many special and millennial resurrections of Urantia sons, this was the third of the planetary roll calls, or complete dispensational resurrections. The first occurred at the time of the arrival of the Planetary Prince, the second during the time of Adam, and this, the third, signalized the morontia resurrection, the mortal transit, of Jesus of Nazareth.


    P2024:6, 189:3.4
    When the signal of the planetary resurrection had been received by the chief of archangels, the Personalized Adjuster of the Son of Man relinquished his authority over the celestial hosts assembled on Urantia, turning all these sons of the local universe back to the jurisdiction of their respective commanders. And when he had done this, he departed for Salvington to register with Immanuel the completion of the mortal transit of Michael. And he was immediately followed by all the celestial host not required for duty on Urantia. But Gabriel remained on Urantia with the morontia Jesus.


    P2024:7, 189:3.5
    And this is the recital of the events of the resurrection of Jesus as viewed by those who saw them as they really occurred, free from the limitations of partial and restricted human vision.

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     February 24, 2006 12:51 PM

    The previous postings I made about the Biography of Jesus was taken from TEXT OF THE URANTIA BOOK which I only posted selected portions due to the great amount of information that is found..It is a very good place to go to get information and  the entire book can be found at http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/disc_post_reply.html?gpp=4858&pst=336094
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     February 24, 2006 12:55 PM

    Saint Peter

    Name:
    Simon
    Saint Peter
    Pope Peter
    Apostle Peter

    Dates:
    Born: ?
    Died: c. 68

    Biography:
    Saint Peter is an important figure in Christianity generally and Roman Catholicism specifically. For all Christians, he is regarded as one of Jesus' leading disciples. For Roman Catholics, tradition says that Peter was the first bishop of Rome and therefore also the first pope, thus in theory establishing an unbroken line between the current Catholic leadership and the disciples personally chosen by Jesus.

    According to the synoptic gospels, Peter was originally a fisherman from the village named Capernaum named Simon and was the first chosen by Jesus to be a disciple. Jesus chosen the name Cephas (or Peter) which means "rock" as a symbolic name for this first of his followers. Capernaum would become an important center of Jesus' ministry - the gospels depict him returning here often.

    Unlike other disciples in the early church, Peter doesn't appear to have stayed in Jerusalem. Despite his apparently important status there, he traveled around the empire and eventually ended upon in Rome. Unfortunately, nothing it really known about his time there. Roman leader Clement records his trials and Eusebius records that he was crucified. None of that is attested to by any outside sources and it is all that we have.

    According to tradition, Peter established the line of popes in Rome. In reality, the monarchical episcopate of a single bishop ruling over a diocese doesn't seem to have developed until the second century. Before that - and therefore during the time Peter was there - the Roman church was controlled by a body of presbyter-bishops who worked together.


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     February 25, 2006 12:06 PM

    The Apostle Paul also known as Saint Paul

    Saul (Paul) was born around the same time as Christ. His given name was Saul and later he would be called Paul. Paul was a citizen of the capital city of Cilicia, Tarsus. This country was a Roman land located along the river Cydnus. Tarsus was home to a university and Saul while young received the best education possible. Saul’s father was of the tribe of Benjamin, pure and unmixed was his Jewish blood and he was molded it what one would interpret from his youth to adulthood in a staunch and upright character.

    “Acts 23:6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” “Philippians 3:5-6 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”

    Paul was sent to the Jewish school of learning at Jerusalem to study law. He was around 13 when he began his studies under the well-known Gamaliel. Gamaliel was a rabbi and very educated. After his studies he returned to Tarsus but soon after the death of Christ he returned to Jerusalem where Christianity was becoming wide-spread. It seemed that through out Jerusalem and the outskirt areas Christianity was becoming very popular. Saul was a key player in what was to take place in the life of the Christians and he became very active in the part of persecuting the Christians. Although Paul had never met Jesus he became first a vital part of the persecution of the Christians and then became a very vital player in the spreading of the Gospel of Christ to the nations.



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     February 25, 2006 12:23 PM

    Paul was on the Damascus road carrying a list of suspected Christians when something happened to him. On the Damascus road Saul was converted and this conversion changed the course of his life and the Christian faith. The journey that Saul was on with the list of names of Christians was a long journey and would take Saul around 7 days. Saul was on the road with his attendants when he was struck blind on the road and fell before the living Lord. A brilliant light shone bright and Saul heard a voice saying,

    “Acts 9:4 … Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

    Saul, now baptized Paul by Ananais was taken from the city for his safety to Arabia where he lived for a short time. Soon though Paul visited Jerusalem staying with Peter and James, Jesus’ brother. Paul was approached by Barnabas a friend from Jerusalem to help the church of Antioch. Paul and Barnabas began traveling together preaching the Gospel of Christ. Paul’s preaching aroused the tempers of the Jewish leaders and he was quickly opposed by both the Jewish and Christian communities. Paul insisted that the only requirement to be a Christian was to be saved through Jesus Christ, and not saved by keeping the law of man.

    Paul against the warnings of others insisted on going to Jerusalem where he was captured and put in prison. Paul spent a little more than two years in prison without a trial and was finally granted a hearing before the Emperor of Rome. At this hearing Paul was finally released but soon arrested again. It is believed that it was shortly after this arrest that Paul was beheaded. It is thought that the beheading took place most probably around 66 A.D. four years before Jerusalem fell. Most all of Paul’s writings were done during his times of imprisonment. His true love for the Christ he never physically met is a shining example for all believers today.

    Paul’s writings consisted of letters to the churches and a large percentage of the New Testament is credited to Paul. Paul’s writings are as follows:

    · Romans

    · 1st & 2nd Corinthians

    · Galatians

    · Ephesians

    · Philippians

    · Colossians

    · 1st & 2nd Thessalonians

    · 1st & 2nd Timothy

    · Titus

    · Philemon

    Resources:

    Holy Bible, KJV

    Holy Bible, RSV

    This completes my posting of people who influenced religion BCE..I will begin my posting of people who influened religion in the AD until present time after I do some more research..I am now opening this thread for your comments or additions..The next person I will be posting about will be The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)...

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