Urantia Book 71. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Yeshua, Christ Michael, Creator Son, Son of Man, Sovereign God of Nebadon. Jesus and the 12 went to Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles and stayed four and a half weeks. Jesus spent October with Abner and his associates. He also boldly preached in the Temple. There were many reasons why Jesus was able publicly to preach in the temple courts throughout the days of the feast, and chief of these was the fear that had come over the officers of the Sanhedrin as a result of the secret division of sentiment in their own ranks. Many members of the Sanhedrin either secretly believed in Jesus or were decidedly averse to arresting him during the feast, when such large numbers of people were in Jerusalem, many of whom either believed in him or were friendly to the spiritual movement he sponsored. The efforts of Abner and his associates throughout Judea had also done much to consolidate sentiment favorable to the kingdom, so much so that the enemies of Jesus dared not be too outspoken in their opposition. But the audacious boldness of Jesus in publicly appearing in Jerusalem overawed his enemies; they were not prepared for such a daring challenge. In fact, they thought Jesus might be protected by a secret understanding with the Romans. Most of Jesus’ followers were greatly astonished when he appeared in the temple and began to preach, and the Jewish authorities were surprised beyond expression when it was reported that he was teaching in the temple. These teachings were really the official or formal announcement of the divinity of Jesus to the Jewish people and the whole world. The multitudes who listened to Jesus’ teachings were divided in their opinions. Some said he was a good man; some a prophet; some that he was truly the Messiah; others said he was a mischievous meddler, that he was leading the people astray with his strange doctrines. Every time Jesus went to Jerusalem, his apostles were filled with terror. They were more afraid as, from day to day, they listened to his increasingly bold pronouncements regarding the nature of his mission on earth.***********************************On the first day he taught in the temple, a listener interrupted Jesus to ask: “Teacher, how is it that you can quote the scriptures and teach the people so fluently when I am told you are untaught in the learning of the rabbis?” Jesus replied: “No man has taught me the truths which I declare to you. And this teaching is not mine but his who sent me. If any person really desires to do my Father’s will, he shall certainly know about my teaching, whether it be God’s or whether I speak for myself. He who speaks for himself seeks his own glory, but when I declare the words of the Father, I thereby seek the glory of the one who sent me. But before you try to enter into the new light, should you not rather follow the light you already have? Moses gave you the law, yet how many of you seek to fulfill its demands? Moses says “You shall not kill,” but in spite of this command, some of you want to kill the Son of Man.” After hearing this, the crowd started arguing among themselves. Some said he was mad; some said he was possessed; some said he was a prophet. After the arguing died down, one turned to Jesus and asked: “Why do the rulers seek to kill you?” And Jesus replied: “The rulers seek to kill me because they resent my teaching about the good news of the kingdom, a gospel that sets people free from the burdensome traditions of a formal religion of ceremonies which these teachers are determined to uphold at any cost. They circumcise in accordance with the law on the Sabbath day, but they would kill me because I once healed a man on the Sabbath and set him free from affliction. They seek to kill me because they know that, if you honestly believe and dare to accept my teaching, their system of traditional religion will be overthrown, forever destroyed. Thus will they be deprived of the authority they love so much. So, judge not according to appearances, but rather judge by the true spirit of these teachings; judge righteously.”************ When the Pharisees heard the people talking this way, they conferred with the rulers and decided that something must be done about this bold teaching in the temple. Accordingly, Eber, an officer of the Sanhedrin, and two assistants were sent to arrest Jesus. When Eber came within talking distance of Jesus, Jesus said such kind words to him that he refused to arrest him and went back to the rulers without Jesus. When the Pharisees and chief priests expressed their anger at this, Eber said: “Even so, my masters, but this man speaks to the multitude words of mercy and hope. He cheers the downhearted, and his words were comforting even to our souls. What can there be wrong in these teachings, even though he may not be the Messiah? And even then does not our law require fairness? Do we condemn a man before we hear him?” The chief of the Sanhedrin was not amused and they broke up in confusion.******************************* The feast of Tabernacles was a favorite feast. Booths of branches were set up. The temple was illuminated by hundreds of candelabras. Seventy bulls were sacrificed during the feast, the symbol of the seventy nations of heathendom. The ceremony of the pouring out of water symbolized the outpouring of the divine spirit. On the last day of the feast almost 450 priests with a corresponding number of Levites officiated. The worshipers would be divided into three group which would approach the temple from three different directions. At the altar wine and water would be poured out and that was the signal for the chanting of Psalms 113 to 118, after which the sacrifices started.

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