Friday, March 15, 2013

Jesus' Thirty Six Hours in the Tomb: What the Bible Didn't Say !

The Bible says that Jesus of Nazareth was the human incarnation of the only Son of God on our earth who was killed by crucifixion on the cross during the time of the Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate. It also says that his dead body was buried in the tomb of one Joseph of Arimethia and he was resurrected on the third day. The risen Jesus ascended to his heavenly abode after appearing to many of his followers.

The narratives in the Bible about the life of Jesus are written by various human authors a few decades after the ascension of Jesus. The biblical authors of the new testament biographies (the four gospels according to St.Matthew, St.Mark, St.Luke and St.John) depended on their human memories to write these accounts about the life and teachings of Jesus and therefore are incomplete in many respects and influenced by their own viewpoints and knowledge levels, though maintaining the same essence.

On the other hand, the human beings of earth of the present modern era are fortunate to have a book-called the Urantia Book which means the Earth Book or the Book for the Humans of Earth- written and presented to them by invisible non-human authors having superior abilities and immortal existence in this vast universe of ours. Incidentally, this book has now become my favorite book of life guidance.

It may be difficult for us, human beings, to believe in some thing which we cannot sense or see for ourselves and the same authors of this wonderful book seem to understand that problem well. I have meticulously considered all that and finally came to the conclusion that what the authors of the book say is hundred percent true. As I have stated many times in my blogs in this site and in my urantia-india website, I consider it my bounden duty to do such things to dissemenate the knowlege of this book to my fellow beings, in whatever small way that I can, because I am truly convinced that this super human imparted knowledge could do wonders in their lives as far as their approach to life as a whole is concerned, just as it has done in me. 

The human bestowal life of Jesus Christ on earth is depicted in Part-4 of the Urantia Book. This part of the book is authored by the lowest order of the invisible beings, that too by an empowered group, identified as the Midwayer Commission who are a few select members of the United Midwayers of Urantia (earth). These invisible beings are told as permanent residents of earth and to know about them the best source is the Urantia Book itself. However, if you want a quick condensed reading about these invisible personalities you may read my earlier blog titled : Are Ghosts Real ?

The various topical papers in the Urantia Book are handled by various orders of  intelligent celestial beings who are invisible to humans but  competent to give authentic information about that topic. This I find a very important aspect of this book. The book contains details about the class and functions of various orders of celestial beings about whom they want the humans to know now, excluding those orders which are specifically withheld or not important for humans to know.

The Midwayers reside on earth invisible to us and are in a way immortals and super intelligent as compared to we humans. They had witnessed the life of Jesus as a human and they know much about his existence in the spiritual realm. But they are not so knowledgeable as the superior orders of celestials as some of the other authors of the Urantia Book dealing with more sophisticated topics.

Yet, there is a seamless flow , rhythm and a divine beauty in the whole of the book.

At the time of Jesus' death, the present day Christian Era calender did not exist. It came centuries later and refined many times later to the form what we have now. It is for the first time in human history that we now have many of the dates, days and timing of the happenings of Jesus' earth ministry given to us in our own modern calender. A fantastic and accurate work which is humanly almost impossible at the time when the book got first printed in the USA way back in 1955. A few enthusiastic and knowledgeable Urantia Book readers have now varified the authenticity and correctness of these dates using elaborate computer algorithms. 

The above background information, I thought essential before I reproduce the statements of the authors of the Jesus' Papers in the Urantia Book (ie, the Midwayer Commission) regarding the time when Jesus' body rested in the tomb of Joseph of Arimethia .

As this blog is part of the series of blogs that I thought to publish during this lent season of 2013, I request those interested readers to have a look at the previous blogs which covered the trial and death of Jesus. This you may do by clicking the 'Older Posts' button at the bottom of this blog.

Now you may read the commentary of the Midwayer Commission regarding the sequence of events after the death of Jesus on the cross and the time Jesus' dead body rested in the tomb, something never told to humans any where other than the Urantia Book:

The day-and-the-half that Jesus’ mortal body lay in the tomb of Joseph, the period between his death on the cross and his resurrection, is a chapter in the earth career of Michael which is little known to us.

We can narrate the burial of the Son of Man and put in this record the events associated with his resurrection, but we cannot supply much information of an authentic nature about what really transpired during this epoch of about thirty-six hours, from three o’clock Friday afternoon to three o’clock Sunday morning. This period in the Master’s career began shortly before he was taken down from the cross by the Roman soldiers. He hung upon the cross about one hour after his death. He would have been taken down sooner but for the delay in dispatching the two brigands.

The rulers of the Jews had planned to have Jesus’ body thrown in the open burial pits of Gehenna, south of the city; it was the custom thus to dispose of the victims of crucifixion. If this plan had been followed, the body of the Master would have been exposed to the wild beasts.

In the meantime, Joseph of Arimathea, accompanied by Nicodemus, had gone to Pilate and asked that the body of Jesus be turned over to them for proper burial. It was not uncommon for friends of crucified persons to offer bribes to the Roman authorities for the privilege of gaining possession of such bodies.

Joseph went before Pilate with a large sum of money, in case it became necessary to pay for permission to remove Jesus’ body to a private burial tomb. But Pilate would not take money for this. When he heard the request, he quickly signed the order which authorized Joseph to proceed to Golgotha and take immediate and full possession of the Master’s body.

In the meantime, the sandstorm having considerably abated, a group of Jews representing the Sanhedrin had gone out to Golgotha for the purpose of making sure that Jesus’ body accompanied those of the brigands to the open public burial pits.

When Joseph and Nicodemus arrived at Golgotha, they found the soldiers taking Jesus down from the cross and the representatives of the Sanhedrin standing by to see that none of Jesus’ followers prevented his body from going to the criminal burial pits.

When Joseph presented Pilate’s order for the Master’s body to the centurion, the Jews raised a tumult and clamored for its possession. In their raving they sought violently to take possession of the body, and when they did this, the centurion ordered four of his soldiers to his side, and with drawn swords they stood astride the Master’s body as it lay there on the ground.

The centurion ordered the other soldiers to leave the two thieves while they drove back this angry mob of infuriated Jews.

When order had been restored, the centurion read the permit from Pilate to the Jews and, stepping aside, said to Joseph:

“This body is yours to do with as you see fit. I and my soldiers will stand by to see that no man interferes.”

A crucified person could not be buried in a Jewish cemetery; there was a strict law against such a procedure. Joseph and Nicodemus knew this law, and on the way out to Golgotha they had decided to bury Jesus in Joseph’s new family tomb, hewn out of solid rock, located a short distance north of Golgotha and across the road leading to Samaria.

No one had ever lain in this tomb, and they thought it appropriate that the Master should rest there.

Joseph really believed that Jesus would rise from the dead, but Nicodemus was very doubtful.

These former members of the Sanhedrin had kept their faith in Jesus more or less of a secret, although their fellow Sanhedrists had long suspected them, even before they withdrew from the council.

From now on they were the most outspoken disciples of Jesus in all Jerusalem.

At about half past four o’clock the burial procession of Jesus of Nazareth started from Golgotha for Joseph’s tomb across the way. The body was wrapped in a linen sheet as the four men carried it, followed by the faithful women watchers from Galilee.

The mortals who bore the material body of Jesus to the tomb were: Joseph, Nicodemus, John, and the Roman centurion.

They carried the body into the tomb, a chamber about ten feet square, where they hurriedly prepared it for burial. The Jews did not really bury their dead; they actually embalmed them. Joseph and Nicodemus had brought with them large quantities of myrrh and aloes, and they now wrapped the body with bandages saturated with these solutions. When the embalming was completed, they tied a napkin about the face, wrapped the body in a linen sheet, and reverently placed it on a shelf in the tomb.

After placing the body in the tomb, the centurion signaled for his soldiers to help roll the doorstone up before the entrance to the tomb. The soldiers then departed for Gehenna with the bodies of the thieves while the others returned to Jerusalem, in sorrow, to observe the Passover feast according to the laws of Moses.

There was considerable hurry and haste about the burial of Jesus because this was preparation day and the Sabbath was drawing on apace. The men hurried back to the city, but the women lingered near the tomb until it was very dark.

While all this was going on, the women were hiding near at hand so that they saw it all and observed where the Master had been laid. They thus secreted themselves because it was not permissible for women to associate with men at such a time. These women did not think Jesus had been properly prepared for burial, and they agreed among themselves to go back to the home of Joseph, rest over the Sabbath, make ready spices and ointments, and return on Sunday morning properly to prepare the Master’s body for the death rest.

The women who thus tarried by the tomb on this Friday evening were: Mary Magdalene, Mary the wife of Clopas, Martha another sister of Jesus’ mother, and Rebecca of Sepphoris.

Aside from David Zebedee and Joseph of Arimathea, very few of Jesus’ disciples really believed or understood that he was due to arise from the tomb on the third day.

 If Jesus’ followers were unmindful of his promise to rise from the grave on the third day, his enemies were not. The chief priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees recalled that they had received reports of his saying he would rise from the dead.

This Friday night, after the Passover supper, about midnight a group of the Jewish leaders gathered at the home of Caiaphas, where they discussed their fears concerning the Master’s assertions that he would rise from the dead on the third day. This meeting ended with the appointment of a committee of Sanhedrists who were to visit Pilate early the next day, bearing the official request of the Sanhedrin that a Roman guard be stationed before Jesus’ tomb to prevent his friends from tampering with it.

Said the spokesman of this committee to Pilate:

“Sir, we remember that this deceiver, Jesus of Nazareth, said, while he was yet alive, `After three days I will rise again.’ We have, therefore, come before you to request that you issue such orders as will make the sepulchre secure against his followers, at least until after the third day. We greatly fear lest his disciples come and steal him away by night and then proclaim to the people that he has risen from the dead. If we should permit this to happen, this mistake would be far worse than to have allowed him to live.”

When Pilate heard this request of the Sanhedrists, he said:

“I will give you a guard of ten soldiers. Go your way and make the tomb secure.”

They went back to the temple, secured ten of their own guards, and then marched out to Joseph’s tomb with these ten Jewish guards and ten Roman soldiers, even on this Sabbath morning, to set them as watchmen before the tomb.

These men rolled yet another stone before the tomb and set the seal of Pilate on and around these stones, lest they be disturbed without their knowledge.

And these twenty men remained on watch up to the hour of the resurrection, the Jews carrying them their food and drink.

We are not able fully to explain just what happened to Jesus of Nazareth during this period of a day and a half when he was supposed to be resting in Joseph’s new tomb. Apparently he died the same natural death on the cross as would any other mortal in the same circumstances. We heard him say, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” We do not fully understand the meaning of such a statement inasmuch as his Thought Adjuster had long since been personalized and so maintained an existence apart from Jesus’ mortal being. The Master’s Personalized Adjuster could in no sense be affected by his physical death on the cross. That which Jesus put in the Father’s hands for the time being must have been the spirit counterpart of the Adjuster’s early work in spiritizing the mortal mind so as to provide for the transfer of the transcript of the human experience to the mansion worlds. There must have been some spiritual reality in the experience of Jesus which was analogous to the spirit nature, or soul, of the faith-growing mortals of the spheres. But this is merely our opinion—we do not really know what Jesus commended to his Father.

We know that the physical form of the Master rested there in Joseph’s tomb until about three o’clock Sunday morning, but we are wholly uncertain regarding the status of the personality of Jesus during that period of thirty-six hours. We have sometimes dared to explain these things to ourselves somewhat as follows:

1. The Creator consciousness of Michael must have been at large and wholly free from its associated mortal mind of the physical incarnation.

2. The former Thought Adjuster of Jesus we know to have been present on earth during this period and in personal command of the assembled celestial hosts.

3. The acquired spirit identity of the man of Nazareth which was built up during his lifetime in the flesh, first, by the direct efforts of his Thought Adjuster, and later, by his own perfect adjustment between the physical necessities and the spiritual requirements of the ideal mortal existence, as it was effected by his never-ceasing choice of the Father’s will, must have been consigned to the custody of the Paradise Father. Whether or not this spirit reality returned to become a part of the resurrected personality, we do not know, but we believe it did. But there are those in the universe who hold that this soul-identity of Jesus now reposes in the “bosom of the Father,” to be subsequently released for leadership of the Nebadon Corps of the Finality in their undisclosed destiny in connection with the uncreated universes of the unorganized realms of outer space.

4. We think the human or mortal consciousness of Jesus slept during these thirty-six hours. We have reason to believe that the human Jesus knew nothing of what transpired in the universe during this period. To the mortal consciousness there appeared no lapse of time; the resurrection of life followed the sleep of death as of the same instant.

And this is about all we can place on record regarding the status of Jesus during this period of the tomb. There are a number of correlated facts to which we can allude, although we are hardly competent to undertake their interpretation.

In the vast court of the resurrection halls of the first mansion world of Satania, there may now be observed a magnificent material-morontia structure known as the “Michael Memorial,” now bearing the seal of Gabriel. This memorial was created shortly after Michael departed from this world, and it bears this inscription: “In commemoration of the mortal transit of Jesus of Nazareth on Urantia.”

There are records extant which show that during this period the supreme council of Salvington, numbering one hundred, held an executive meeting on Urantia under the presidency of Gabriel. There are also records showing that the Ancients of Days of Uversa communicated with Michael regarding the status of the universe of Nebadon during this time.

We know that at least one message passed between Michael and Immanuel on Salvington while the Master’s body lay in the tomb.

There is good reason for believing that some personality sat in the seat of Caligastia in the system council of the Planetary Princes on Jerusem which convened while the body of Jesus rested in the tomb.

The records of Edentia indicate that the Constellation Father of Norlatiadek was on Urantia, and that he received instructions from Michael during this time of the tomb.

And there is much other evidence which suggests that not all of the personality of Jesus was asleep and unconscious during this time of apparent physical death.

[These personalities and places (shown in red above) are explained in detail in the Urantia Book. Here, I am giving some brief explanation about those for the understanding of the readers of this blog:

Michael : The class name of  a high order sons of God who are the creators and rulers of material universe regions called local universes. There are about 7000 local universes in the whole of the grand universe now all created and ruled by different Michaels. Creation of these local universes is a controlled evolutionary process and hence their ages and degree of completion are not same. Our earth belongs to one of the youngest local universes called Nebadon whole creator is known as Michael of Nebadon. This Son of God took the human incarnation on earth and lived here as Jesus of Nazareth in Israel some 2000 years ago. Administratively it is divided into 100 Constellations, each containing 100 Systems of planets and each System containing 1000 planets with intelligent mortal life. At present, this local universe has only about 3.8 Million mortal worlds, though its ultimate capacity when fully complete in evolution is about 10 Million.

Gabriel: The Chief Celestial Chief Executive of Michael of Nebadon.

Salvington: The capital of Nebadon and the seat of power of Michael of Nebadon which is a group of huge non-evolutionary planets.

Urantia: The name given to our material world earth by the Urantia Book authors.

Uversa: The capital of the Super Universe (out of the total seven Super Universes) called Orvonton which has 1000 local universes in all including the local universe of Nebadon.

Ancients of Days : The Divine Judge Rulers of the Super Universes. There is a trio of three personalities each for each of the Super Universe. They too are High Order Sons of the Universal Father God.

Immanuel: The proper name used to denote  a High Son  of God coming in the class identified as Unions of Days. Immanuel functions as the Super Universe representative in the Local Universe of Nebadon. He assumes the responsibility of the Michael of Nebadon, when the latter is not in his HQ.

Planetary Prince: The divine ruler of any material mortal planet like earth, subordinate to the System Head. Normally they are invisible to the mortals/humans. The numerous invisible beings present in the planet functions under the supervision of the Planetary Prince.
Caligastia: The Planetary Prince of Earth for the last many thousands of  years who became rebellious to the Universal Administration of God by siding with his rebellious System head Lucifer and his assistant, Satan, the latter two are now quarantined in a world coming under the Satania System HQ group called Jerusem together with their numerous subordinate rebel personalities. Though Caligastia is removed from the Planetary Prince position just after Michael of Nebadon returned to his HQ after completing his life as Jesus of Nazareth, he has not been quarantined yet. He and his followers are still free to do many nefarious activities, they do not have any power to damage the people of God. The Urantia Book authors predict that these rebels will meet with their ultimate destiny very soon once their fate is adjudged by the Ancients of Days of Orvonton.

Norlatiadek: The name of the Constellation under which earth is a material world.

Edentia: The HQ worlds of Norlatiadek which are non-evolutionary.

Constellation Fathers: The divine rulers of a Constellation subordinate to the Local Universe Sovereign. Also referred to as the Most Highs.

Satania: One among the 100 Systems under the Constellation Norlatiadek previously ruled by Lucifer. Satania presently has 619 mortal worlds where intelligent human like life is established and other worlds are under advanced stages of life establishment. Our earth belongs to this System and it is world number 606 of Satania. Only a couple of worlds like earth in this System have become corrupt due to their divine rulers becoming rebellious to God. It is the misfortune of we humans of earth that we come under a world spoilt by a corrupt divine ruler. Michael of Nebadon purposefully dicided to live like a human being in a corrupt world like our earth just to show that even under a corruptly ruled world it is possible to live a life characterised by love and goodness and that too without the use of power or authority.

Jerusem: The name used to identify the HQ group of non-evolutionary worlds of Satania System.]

[Passages in bigger font as above are directly quoted from the Urantia Book . To know more about this wonderful book of non human origin, visit my  urantia-India website. Reproduced for those interested in knowing more about the mortal death of Jesus Christ and what happened before his resurrection as Christians world over observe the lent season of fasting and prayers in this year, 2013 in commemoration of his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection ]

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