It will hardly be possible fully to explain the many reasons which led to the selection of Palestine as the land for Jesus’s birth, and especially as to just why the family of Joseph and Mary should have been chosen as the immediate setting for the appearance of this Son of God on our planet Urantia.
After a study of a special report (detailed in the Urantia Book) prepared by the Melchizedeks (divine sons created to serve between the higher and divine levels of living existence and the lower, even the material forms of life on the evolutionary worlds [as we live ourselves]), in counsel with Gabriel, the Chief Executive Officer of Michael, the Sovereign Ruler of Nebadon, the Local Universe of which our planet Urantia belongs, Urantia was finally chosen by Michael as the planet whereon to enact his final bestowal as a Son of Man and Son of God.
Subsequent to this decision Gabriel made a personal visit to Urantia, and, as a result of his study of human groups and his survey of the spiritual, intellectual, racial, and geographic features of our world and its peoples, he decided that the Hebrews possessed those relative advantages which warranted their selection as the bestowal race. Upon Michael’s approval of this decision, Gabriel appointed and dispatched to Urantia the Family Commission of Twelve – selected from among the higher orders of universe personalities – which was intrusted with the task of making an investigation of Jewish family life. When this commission ended its labors, Gabriel was present on Urantia and received the report nominating three prospective unions as being, in the opinion of the commission, equally favorable as bestowal families for Michael’s projected incarnation.
From the three couples nominated, Gabriel made the personal choice of Joseph and Mary, subsequently making his personal appearance to Mary, at which time he imparted to her the glad tidings that she had been selected to become the earth mother of the bestowal child.
Of all couples living in Palestine at about the time of Jesus’ projected birth, Joseph and Mary possessed the most ideal combination of widespread racial connections and superior average of personality endowments. It was the plan for this Son of God and Son of Man to appear on earth as an “average” man, that the common people might understand him and receive him; wherefore Gabriel selected (detailed in the Urantia Book) just such persons as Joseph and Mary to become Jesus’ parents.
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 (so-called white) man, to Andon and Fonta, the actual first two human beings, of revelatory record. David and Solomon were not in the direct line of Joseph’s ancestry, neither did Joseph’s lineage go directly back to Adam (of Adam and Eve). 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, particularly emphasized at any time and in a short time by the appearance of unusual individuals who had distinguished themselves in connection with the evolution of religion on our planet, Urantia.
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 our planet. 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 period had a more illustrious lineage of common offspring or one extending back to more fortunate 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.
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 condition of the Jewish people at the time caused Joseph much sadness.
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. As a mother, Mary was composed, courageous, and fairly wise in relationship with her strange and little understood first-born son (Jesus) and his surviving brothers and sisters.
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 all manner of his mother’s optimistic and determined disposition. All in all, Mary’s temperament tended to dominate the career of Jesus as he grew up and swung into the momentous stride of his adult life.
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.
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 to immediate execution. Joseph was a black-eyed brunette; Mary a brown-eyed well-near blond type.
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 relative, but always was she steadied in her final attitude by the memory of Gabriel’s appearance to her immediately after the child was conceived.
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.
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.
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 nearby 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.
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 deliver and political ruler. Mary’s ancestors had been prominently identified with the Maccabean activities of the then but recent times.
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.