Reincarnation And The Bible
By J J Dewey ONE LIFE OR MANY?
During my childhood I did not go to any particular church and my parents did not try to influence me toward any particular religion or philosophy. Therefore, as I look back I see that my earliest thoughts on life were those of a little child forming his most natural conclusions.
One of those natural ideas I formulated was that if God is indeed good as everyone had said then he must give us all the chances we need to gain all the experience we want and to live full abundant lives. I thought of how much I looked forward to growing up and making my mark on the world, then of how terrible it would be if some accident took my life. I thought that surely God would provide some way for me to come back and have the opportunity to fulfill my hopes and dreams.
One day a visiting neighbor was telling my mother about a book she had read entitled: The Search For Bridie Murphy and she explained the theory of how we are born again and again into this earth life. I was immediately attracted to this idea for it blended in with my natural thoughts and I continued to believe it until I became active in a conservative church about the age of thirteen.
Around this period I mentioned my belief in reincarnation to one of the brethren. He seemed shocked and said: "You've got it all wrong. Reincarnation is the doctrine of the devil. We only live one life, then we are resurrected to die no more."
I asked him if there was anything in the scriptures about having only one life.
At that point he turned to Hebrews 9:27 and read: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."
I then looked at the verse and read it several times. Sure enough. The Bible did seem to say that we live only once. There fore, there could be no reincarnation. I was very disappointed. It seemed unfair that many people are cut off and unable to enjoy the full fruits of mortality.
On the other hand, I was told by the brethren that the next world was better than this one and it was really a blessing to die early to escape trials and tribulations. This idea did not help, however, for I looked forward to whatever trials this life may have to offer and, furthermore, I noticed that my fellow church members did not look forward to ending their life either. None seemed anxious to enter that better "other world"; instead, I heard comments such as: "I hope Jesus doesn't come till I am older and I get a chance to do a few things. "I hope I live until I can raise my family." Often they would express an interest in living until they are a certain ripe old age.
Nevertheless, I reluctantly accepted the idea of the one life "because the Bible said so" and held to it faithfully for about fourteen years. But during this period I did not feel satisfied with the answers I had to the questions of: Where did I come from? Why am I here? and Where am I going? The church had pat answers, but they left many unanswered questions they called mysteries that were not important to our salvation.
The unfairness of orthodox doctrine is what bothered me most. What about people who die with dreams unfulfilled? What about babies that die with no chance of participating in mortality? What about those who are killed before accomplishing their heart's desire?
The mindless answer that God would take care of things just left me vacant and helped to keep my mind open to greater light and truth.
It was my study of regression, however, that caused me to seriously consider reincarnation again. It has long been known that a person can be guided back to any time in his past and relive it as if it were occurring all over again. This can be done through hypnosis or by merely directing the mind to return.
I did many experiments with regression and watched with fascination as people returned to their early childhood, even the day they were born to recall events verified by older family members. I was often tempted to take individuals back beyond the date they were born, but for a long time I almost felt it was sacrilege,. I also found myself being somewhat fearful and apprehensive of what I may find.
Nevertheless, one can only suppress curiosity so long and eventually I did take someone back before birth.
The first person I regressed to a previous life was a young lady. I was quite surprised at the ease and familiarity with which she went back. She recalled a life over one hundred years ago in the North east of England and began speaking in an English accent recounting events from that life. Anyone listening would have been amazed at the accent coming from one who had never been to England in this life. However, I was particularly startled because I had spent several years in Britain and most of it in the area she described.
Anyone who travels England becomes acutely aware that most of England does not speak the "Queen's English", but there are numerous dialects. There can be a noticeable accent change in a distance of fifty miles. However, there is a marked difference between the way the people in the North and South of England speak. I believe it is a greater difference than the accent change between the North and South of the United States.
What amazed me is that this young lady said she had lived in the northeastern part of England and her accent exactly duplicated the dialect in that area. We must take into consideration that the Northeast British accent is much more difficult to imitate than the Queen's English which is usually used by movie stars.
In America one rarely hears a North British accent over the media and I was 99% sure that the female involved had never even once heard a North Englander speak - at least in this life.
Another time I was attending a church party and decided to liven it up somewhat. I told the group that I could take people back to any point in their lives, even the day of birth, and have them re call it. People seemed interested in this and the first volunteer was a newly married lady whose husband was out shopping for some snacks for us.
I not only took her back to her youth, but before the entire non believing crowd I took her back into three past lives. In two of them she knew her current husband. One life was back in prehistoric times when they had no names and the other was in the days of the Roman Empire. She said she was married to a Roman senator named Marcus Aurelius who was later killed in a battle.
The details she gave certainly awed everyone there, but the best was still to come. When her husband came home everyone insisted that I take him back also. He was a good subject and regressed to prehistoric times and described the same surroundings that his wife had. But then, amazingly, he went back to the days of the Roman Empire and said his name was Marcus Aurelius, a Roman senator who was killed in Battle.
Everyone was so stunned at this that they began to doubt their belief in the church and I found myself being the one to reassure their beliefs and not to let this bother them for I still felt that there must be some logical explanation besides reincarnation. Even this and other amazing regressions did not make me cast aside my church's doctrine in the one mortal life.
I will not make the effort here to recall how, time after time, I was presented with evidence that there is more than one mortal life, but each time I refused to believe it until I was hit with an explosive piece of personal evidence that had no other explanation than reincarnation. I found myself face to face with reality. I had to either deny the logical process completely and doubt my own ability to come to a truthful conclusion, or open my mind and sincerely ask myself if I could have been wrong.
Since that time many years ago, I have learned that there are many proofs of reincarnation in the scriptures and that passage that made me doubt my natural beliefs when I was a child has a very rational explanation.
Let us again quote: Hebrews 9:27: "And as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment."
The "once to die" sounds like an absolute statement not open to debate until we realize that it is boldly contradicted by the Bible itself: "They (the dead) were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast (to suffer a second death) into the lake of fire." Rev 20:12-15
The book of Revelations has quotes from John, an angel, and Jesus Christ, all using the phrase "second death" so we know there has to be one. Thus it is quite obvious that if Paul were writing the truth he did not literally mean "once to die" except perhaps once per lifetime, or that there is one general mortality passed upon all mankind.
There are other scriptures that are quite deceiving if they are read with a black and white state of mind: A pertinent one was made by Paul again. He said: "I die daily." I Cor 15:31 He also said: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience...It is a shame for women to speak in the church." I Cor 14:34-35 Paul also advised the saints to remain single as he was (I Cor 7:7) and if they were married to not have sex (I Cor 7:29).
Jesus told us to cut off our right hand if it offends us (Matt 5:30) and talked about making oneself a eunuch (literally a castrated person) for the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 19:12)
If we do not read difficult passages like these in their correct context and with some knowledge of the customs and beliefs of that ancient era we may reject the whole Bible as being the work of madmen.
Let us examine the verse that precedes the "once to die" scripture: "But now once in the end of the world hath he (Christ) appeared to put away sin by sacrifice of himself." Heb 9:26
If we read this verse laterally we are led to believe that Jesus appeared only once at the end of the world to sacrifice himself. Two thousand years has passed since then so those who thought Paul was talking about the real "end of the world" were wrong. Also, Jesus did not appear once but appeared many times to many people.
To interpret this scripture accurately one has to read it in its correct context as well as examine the Greek from which it was translated.
In examining the Greek we find that the word "world" is a mistranslation. It comes from the word AION. The modern English word "eon" is derived from this and it means "an age". Thus we see that Jesus came once at not the end of the world, but the end of the age. We realize that his "one" coming refers to his general life (with all his numerous appearances counted as one) at the end of one age and the beginning of a new one.
Here we see that Hebrews 9:26 cannot be interpreted in a black and white literal manner. How about the next verse? Does it mean what it seems to mean? Are we really appointed only "once to die" or is there more meaning here below the surface? Are there many deaths within the one death as there were many "comings" within the one general first coming of Christ? Is it talking about physical death or spiritual death? If it is talking about spiritual death, then that would leave open the possibility of more than one physical death.
In examining this scripture there are three words that are generally overlooked: "men", "but", and "judgment". We'll quote this scripture one more time emphasizing these: 'And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Men comes from the Greek ANTHROPOS which in this context indicates the human race as a whole.
The word "but" here is quite interesting. It comes from the Greek ALLA which literally means contrariwise. In other words, it indicates that the information that is forthcoming may contradict that which has just been said.
That would mean that "after this the judgment" may have an opposite meaning to "it is appointed unto men once to die". It would indicate an exception as in the sentence: "I rise every morning at 8:00 A.M., except when the alarm doesn't go off."
"After this the judgment" does not sound like it contradicts or has an opposite meaning to "once to die" so let us look closer to see what the original language says. Judgment comes from the Greek word KRISIS. This is one of the most misunderstood words in the entire Bible. Translators don't quite seem to know how to handle it and seem to render it according to their bias rather than the actual meaning. In the King James version they have rendered it: accusation, condemnation, damnation, and judgment. These words all have diverse meanings, but none of them are an exact translation.
The modern English word "crisis" (which is derived from the Greek KRISIS) is a more accurate rendering than the Bible translations. The actual Greek word implies a decision that brings correction. If it is used in connection with the word "judgment" the idea of a corrective judgment should be implied.
Another mistranslation in this verse is the phrase "to die". It is more correctly rendered "to be dying". Let us now take into consideration these corrections and render the verse as close as possible to the Greek: "And as it is reserved for mankind once tr. be dying, but on the other hand, after this [after the state of dying is over we have] the judgment [or KRISIS the decision to correct the state of death].
The verse could be describing either a spiritual death, physical death or both.
The word KRISlS is used in another very interesting scripture:
"The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (KRISIS)." John 5:28-29
Notice here that John tells us that there are two resurrections: (1) The resurrection of life, and (2) the resurrection of damnation or KRISIS.
"Damnation" is an incorrect word for translators to use. The second resurrection should more appropriately be called "the resurrection of correction" or "the resurrection which forces correct decisions".
The word "resurrection" comes from the Greek ANASTASIS which literally means "to stand up again" or "to come to life again". The word does not imply that the new life will always be an immortal one as indicated by the following scripture: "Women received their dead raised to life again (from the same Greek word ANASTASIS): and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection." (ANASTASIS) Heb. 11:35.
The reference "women received their dead raised to life again" refers to miracles performed by Elijah and Elisha where the dead were revived to a mortal existence. Here the word ANASTASIS refers to something other than an immortal life.
Here is another interesting scripture spoken by the Christ years before his resurrection: "The Son can do nothing of him self, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise...For as the Father RAISETH UP THE DEAD, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." John 5:19h21
Here we are plainly told that the dead were raised to life again by the power of the Father BEFORE the resurrection of Jesus.
On the other hand Paul said that Jesus was "THE FIRST that should raise from the dead." Acts 26:23.
This seems like a paradox. On one hand we are told that there were resurrections before Jesus and that both the Father and the Son raised up any of the dead that they wished. On the other hand it is written that Jesus was the first to raise from the dead. How is this to be explained?
It is quite simple. There are two resurrections. Jesus was the first to attain to the resurrection of life. But the second type of resurrection, the resurrection of KRISIS or correction has been occurring since the beginning.
The resurrection of KRISIS or correction can refer to one being revived to mortal life in the same body as Lazareth was, or it could refer to being "born again" in a new body with a new life experience giving us an opportunity to "correct" our imperfections.
Jesus was not the first to attain the resurrection of KRISIS, but he was the first to gain the resurrection of life.
It was the resurrection of life that Paul spoke of when he said that it was something he had to attain: "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after." Phil 3:11-12.
Paul indicates that we must be "perfect" to "attain" this resurrection. He can only be referring to the resurrection of life for Jesus said that all the evil ones go to "the resurrection of correction" while they who have done good attain the "better resurrection".
This makes sense doesn't it? We are sent again and again to the resurrection of correction to live life after life on the earth and then when we have corrected our errors and become without sin as was Jesus we "attain" unto the resurrection of "life" and "this mortal must put on immortality". I Cor 15:53.
How do we avoid the resurrection of correction? The Lord tells us: "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (from KRISIS, the resurrection of correction): but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24
The scriptures plainly tell us that by hearing, believing, and doing the words of God so that we are perfected leads to escaping the resurrection of Krisis and "attaining" the resurrection of life.
With this knowledge in mind we can place still another interpretation on Hebrews 9:27: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die (in this present age), on the other hand after this comes the resurrection of correction" (where we will be born and die again in a future age.)
WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH
Paul tells us plainly that all will not attain the resurrection of life. He said "the wages of sin is death". When we sin we need correction so we are sent to the resurrection of KRISIS where we are again in mortal bodies subjected to death. Paul further said: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God (sin), him shall God DESTROY; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." I Cor 3:16-17.
Those who continue to sin and suffer the resurrection of KRISIS are reborn and live a mortal existence where their temple of God (their body) dies or is destroyed. Interestingly "destroy" comes from the Greek PHTHIO which means "to waste, spoil, or decay". That certainly describes the mortality we experience in the resurrection of KRISIS.
It is only fitting that Paul said that "the last enemy to be destroyed is death." I Cor 15:26. This is because we are born again and again into the resurrection of KRISIS until we have corrected all of our mistakes. The very last correction we make is when we overcome death and "put on immortality".
Jesus admonished us to follow in his footsteps: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, EVEN AS I ALSO OVERCAME, and am sat down with the Father in his throne." Rev. 3:21 If we are to overcome as did Jesus then we must obey the injunction: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matt 5:48 I do not know of even one person who has attained perfection and overcome all things as did Jesus. Consequently, the only way the scriptures can be fulfilled is for one to be physically born again until he can live a life without sin just as Jesus did. Those in the kingdom of man must literally be "born again" to enter the kingdom of God.
When that happens the promise will be fulfilled where Jesus said: "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and HE SHALL GO NO MORE OUT." Rev. 3:12 We will have to "go no more out" of one physical body into another- one when we have overcome all things.
Until that time Jesus tells us that "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, (of physical bodies), and find pasture." John 10:9.
After we go in and out and find pasture the time will come when: "he that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I GIVE POWER OVER THE NATIONS: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: EVEN AS I RECEIVED OF MY FATHER." Rev. 2:26-27
These scriptures we have quoted make it very clear that there are two resurrections. We enter the resurrection of KRISIS each time we fall short of the glory of Christ. When this happens God causes our bodies to be destroyed. He asks us to "overcome" "even as I overcame". Obviously we cannot overcome AS he did unless we will eventually live a perfect life as he did on the Earth.
Jesus said that we will do "greater works" than he did. John 14:12. To this day I know of no one who has done greater works than Jesus, but when the time comes that some of us are living our last life to "attain" the resurrection of life, then will the world see these greater works. At that time we will come to the "knowledge of the Son of God, UNTO A PERFECT MAN, unto the-measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Eph 4:13. When one becomes "a perfect man" he then receives "power over the nations" as promised.
Reincarnation is merely the result of the law of cause and effect as pointed out by Paul: 'if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that SHALL HE ALSO REAP. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh REAP CORRUPTION (the resurrection of KRISIS or rebirth in mortality); but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap LIFE EVERLASTING" (or the resurrection of life).. Gal 6:3-6.
Again we have here a vivid description of the two resurrections. The word "corruption" here comes from the Greek PHTHORA which is derived from PHTHEIRO the word that is used when Paul said that God shall "destroy" the defiled temples. PHTHORA indicates a state of "decay". Thus Paul is simply telling us over and over again that if our mind is centered on carnal things we will return not to some state of immortality, but will "reap corruption" or decay.
Paul even goes so far as to warn us to not be deceived for God is not mocked on this matter. He further says that "flesh and blood CANNOT inherit the kingdom of God; neither doeth corruption (obviously referred to here as flesh and blood) inherit incorruption." I Cor 15:50.
Here the "corruption" that we reap is, identified as "flesh and blood". This is only logical since all flesh and blood is proceeding toward death and decay. After all Paul said that the corruption would be reaped "of the flesh".
Since flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God that simply means that if we fall short of it we will be "born again" in this state of "corruption" or flesh and blood. Flesh and blood is the resurrection of KRISIS and we must come back again and a gain and inherit this corruption until we have "corrected" all of our mistakes and attain the resurrection of life or "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Eph 4:13
Jesus was subtly referring to the resurrection of KRISIS when he said: "Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." Matt 5:26
No orthodox Christian has ever answered this question: If we reap according to how we have sowed and if we "of the flesh reap corruption" and we die before we have reaped all that is due us, then how can we reap "of the flesh" with no flesh? How can we reap corruption if there is no corruption?
The only answer is reincarnation. We must return to mortality if we are to reap corruption in the flesh. Is there another way to fulfill the scripture without mocking God? Verily no.
The principle of reaping as we sow is repeated many times in the Bible. Jesus said: "ALL they that take the sword shall PERISH with the sword." Matt 26:52. Now it is obvious that many people in history have slain with the sword, yet died a peaceful death. Why then did Jesus use the word "all"? Why did he say these words to Peter in an effort to get him to put away his sword and cease his attack on the angry mob? Obviously, if Peter went forth and killed with the sword then he would have to reap what he sowed and come back (even if it was a future life) and reap destruction by a sword or some similar destructive weapon.
This is confirmed in the thirteenth chapter of Revelations where we are told about the Anti-Christ who will slay all those who will not worship his image and will have power over the Saints. Here the saints are told why they must suffer: "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword MUST be killed with the sword. HERE IS THE PATIENCE AND THE FAITH OF THE SAINTS." Rev 13:10
In other words, the reason the patience and the faith of the saints is tested so is because of mistakes they made in past lives. In previous lives they killed with the sword as Peter wanted to do. They also lead others into captivity even as did Paul before his conversion. Thus when the saints are persecuted they are often reaping what they have sowed in previous lives. This answers the eternal question as to why some of the best people must suffer so. They are paying off debts from a past era when they were not so good. When one becomes a disciple of Christ he must pay the "utter most farthing", for Jesus said: "Everyone shall be salted with fire." Mark 9:49
This principle was further emphasized by the Lord's own mouth to Noah: "And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, BY MAN SHALL HIS BLOOD BE SHED: for in the image of God made he man." Gen 9:5-6
Of course, there have been many who have shed blood who have not reaped what they have sowed. But remember "God will not be mocked" and let the person escape the punishment he has decreed. He will be reborn and "of the flesh" reap his just reward with interest.
~ The principle of rebirth also helps us to understand the dialog that God had with Cain: [God said to Cain:] "A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth... [And Cain said:] I shall be a fugitive and vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that everyone that findeth me shall slay me." Gen 4:12-14
Notice here that Cain expects to be slain more than once. Also study the Lord's response: "And the Lord said unto him, therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him SEVENFOLD. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him." Gen 4:15
There are several things that do not make sense here without re incarnation. First, Cain was told he would be a fugitive and vagabond in the earth, but instead the scripture tells us that he settled in the land of Nod and built a city named Enoch. (See Gen 4:16-17) It sounds as if Cain was fairly settled in that life. One would have to stretch the imagination to call him a fugitive and vagabond in the earth so how could the decree of God be fulfilled? Reincarnation is a possible answer. It's quite probable that Cain has been reborn a number of times and has been a vagabond in the earth more than once.
Cain also made the interesting statement: "Everyone, that findeth me shall slay me." indicating he expected to be slain more than once. But the scriptures give no indication that Cain died other than a natural death in that life.
Finally we are told that whoever kills Cain will have vengeance taken on him "sevenfold". The question arises: How do you take seven fold vengeance on murder? If a killer is put to death then the vengeance is merely onefold; yet, short of torture, that is the worst punishment that can be inflicted. Taking this into consideration how else can the Lord take vengeance "sevenfold" on murder unless the man gives his life seven times?
In other words, if a man kills Cain, or possibly one of his descendants, thinking he deserves it then he would have to forfeit his life in seven different lifetimes to pay for the deed. That seems like a stiff punishment, but we probably do not know the whole story here.
We are told that a terrible reaping will be given out to those who change the revelations of God: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book (the book of Revelations), If any man shall add unto these things, God shall ADD unto him THE PLAGUES that are written in this book. Rev. 22:18
Now for an interesting question... Why did John warn those in the first century that if they added extra words to his book that they would suffer the plagues, which plagues would not come upon the earth for another two thousand years? How could a scribe living in the first century (who commits the sin of adding words to John's book) suffer the plagues unless he were here reborn thousands of years later?
The plagues from the book of Revelation include such things as men dying of waters that are polluted, men being killed by the symbolic beast, men being scorched by the heat of the sun. people receiving sores over their bodies and numerous others.
How could a person from the first century possibly receive these physical plagues unless he is here, born again in a physical body???
We also find that those who have shed the blood of saints and the prophets in past ages will come back and suffer the plagues: "And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and upon the fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. FOR THEY HAVE SHED THE BLOOD OF SAINTS AND PROPHETS, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy." Rev. 16:4-6
It seems only fair that those who have shed the blood of the prophets through the ages will have to come back and reap the harvest of their deeds by drinking blood in a future lifetime.
PROOF THAT MAN EXISTED BEFORE BIRTH
The orthodox Christian believes that man began at birth, but after that point in time he will live on endlessly never dying again. In other words, before birth for every person there is a total blank. He was nothing. He did not exist.
To begin with this is a mathematical impossibility. If a line has a beginning and no end then it extends in to infinity. Every mathematics class teaches that one half of infinity is still infinity. In other words, if a thing has no end mathematically it has to have no beginning. Nothing exists in nature which has no end unless it had no beginning. Anything in nature that has a beginning can be proven to have an end.
A ring provides a good example of this principle. It is circular and has no beginning and no ending point. On the other hand, if one puts a slit in it one will have both a beginning and an end. Nevertheless, it is impossible to cut or mold the ring in such a fashion as to produce an object with a beginning but no end. Such a form does not exist anywhere because one half of infinity is still infinity.
Those who believe in reincarnation recognize the fact that the body of form we live in has both a beginning and an end, but there is within us an intelligent part of God that is one with God and never had a beginning or end. Paul talks about this and calls it "eternal" which would mean without beginning or end: "The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (the physical body) were dissolved, we have a building of God, (our Spirits) an house not made with hands, ETERNAL in the heavens." II Cor 4:18; 5:1.
Here we are clearly told that if the body were dissolved we will yet have an "eternal" house to live in, or that eternal part of ourselves we call the Spirit. If it is eternal as Paul says then it existed before birth for that which is everlasting has neither beginning or end.
Paul tells us that this eternal part of us is connected with the Heavens. No wonder Jesus told us that "The kingdom of God is within".
Paul mentions again this spirit: "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, "whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether OUT OF THE BODY, I cannot tell: God knoweth) such an one caught up to the third heaven." II Cor 12:2.
Paul's out of body experience isreally not that unusual for now that mankind has ceased burning out-of-the-ordinary persons at the stake people are talking more-about their spiritual experiences. Many who have experienced the near death state have re ported actually leaving their bodies in the spirit and returning with an accurate memory of all the conversations of the doctors and nurses.
Some who have gone through this report that their spirit body is connected to their physical by a silver cord of great elasticity. Many believe that death occurs when this silver cord is severed. Interestingly, the Bible makes reference to this: "Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall RETURN unto God who gave it." ECCL. 12:6-7
Evidently Solomon had knowledge of the silver cord which connects the spirit and body as well as the golden bowl which is a golden etheric life energy (invisible to the untrained eye) which ceases or is "broken" also at death. The broken pitcher and wheel describe a cessation of bodily functions.
Next we are told that at death the spirit "returns" to God. One may object here and say that if there is reincarnation then why doesn't the spirit go to a new body. The objector forgets that there is always a resting space between lives and during this interim period the spirit returns to God.
The word "return" here is a powerful proof for a premortal existence. If all that which is us began at birth how can we return to God? If orthodox Christian thought is true all we could return to would be nothingness. We can only return to God if we came from God and we can only come from the presence of God if we had some form of existence with him before birth.
The scriptures reveal that the Lord knew numerous people before they were born. Concerning Jacob and Esau he said: "The Elder shall serve the younger." Gen 25:23 Eve said of Cain: "I have gotten a man FROM the Lord." Gen 4:1 Another good example comes from Jeremiah: "Then came the word of the Lord unto me saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Jer 1:4-5
Concerning himself Isaiah said: "The Lord called me from (can be translated 'before') the womb; and from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name." Isa 49:1
Of John the Baptist it is written: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John." John 1:6
Evidently The Lord knew Paul before his birth for he said: "He (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel." This was spoken before Paul began his work.Paul also wrote that God "set me apart from (or before) birth and called me through his grace." Gal 1:15 New English.We are told that the saints are written in "the book of life from the foundation of the world." Rev. 17:8
In addition we are supposed to be "In hope of eternal life which God who cannot lie promised BEFORE the world began." Titus 1:2 How did God promise eternal life to us before the world began if we were not there? It would be silly for God to make promises to nothingness.
The scriptures seem to make it crystal clear that people existed, were called, ordained, and had promises made to them before they were born. It makes it amazing to see the objections that come forth. The objector says that Jeremiah and others were not in existence before they were born, but they were in God's mind like an architect has a building in his mind. Therefore, they feel it was like God "sanctified", "ordained", "knew", and "promised" to a blueprint. The argument sounds very weak to anyone who thinks about it. One doesn't have to "Wrest" the scriptures when he merely accepts them the way they read.
The Bible gives us powerful evidence that Job was with God before he was born. In chapter 38 God is reprimanding Job for questioning his wisdom and sovereignty and reminds him of works and events which he is supposed to already be aware of. He tells Job that he will demand an answer of him evidently aware that Job should know the answer to the following: "Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding...When the morning stars sang together, and all the SONS OF GOD shouted for joy?" Job 38:4~6.
Who are the "sons of God"? The scriptures give a clear answer. John the beloved said: "WE are the sons of God..." I John 3:2
It is only fitting that we should be called the "sons of God" for he is called the Father of our spirits in Heb 12:9 Paul also said: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that WE are the children of God." Rom. 8:16
Since Job was one of the sons of God and "ALL the sons of God shouted for joy" at the foundation of the earth then Job had to be there shouting for joy with them. Evidently, the sons of God (which included you and me) were rejoicing over the planet that was prepared for us to inhabit.
Who are the "morning stars (that) sang together"? They were the lightbringers and the prophets to the people of earth with the Christ being at the head. Jesus said: "I AM ... the bright and morning star." Rev 22:16 Others will be given the morning star and evidently become morning stars them selves in a future round. (See Rev. 2:28)
The writer of Proverbs gives us a definite confirmation that the sons of men were present at the foundation of the world. The voice speaking in the eighth chapter of Proverbs is identified as wisdom and understanding. In other words, the wisdom and understanding of God has always been in existence and Solomon writes of it as if it were an entity: "Doth not wisdom cry? and under standing put forth her voice?"
After explaining some of the attributes of wisdom the writer emphasizes how long wisdom has been around and how eternal she is: "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: When he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: When he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of HIS EARTH; and my delights were WITH THE SONS OF MEN. " Prov 8:1,22-31.
This scripture makes it clear that when God promised us "eternal life...before the world began" (Titus 1.2) that he was not merely speaking to blueprints, but the "sons of men" were with him in "the habitable part of HIS EARTH." Evidently, we dwelt on another earth in another time where the wisdom of God was manifested. Here the Bible clearly tells us that the sons of men are very ancient beings.
Orthodox people will not like the above interpretation, but they can produce no argument against it. It must be frustrating for them to even read it.
This Proverbs scripture, however, helps us understand numerous scriptures from the New Testament. For instance, Paul said: "For whom he did fore know he did predestinate." Peter said that the Saints were "elect according to the foreknowledge of God." Evidently God gained this "foreknowledge" of us "in the habitable part of his (God's) earth".
Another powerful witness that we have had a pre-mortal existence comes from the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. This is a famous chapter on the faith of the prophets (the Morning Stars) on the promises of God. One of the most interesting promises God has made concerns the heavenly city of the New Jerusalem. In describing this city John said he "saw the holy city of the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband ( Jesus Christ). And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the TABERNACLE OF GOD is with men, and he shall dwell with them...And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Rev. 21:2-3,14
It's quite possible that the new Jerusalem is presently located "in the habitable part of his (God's) earth." The author of Hebrews tells the saints who presently dwell there' "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant." Heb. 12:22-24
From these verses we have quoted we find that the inhabitants of the heavenly city Sion (Zion) or the new Jerusalem are: (1) God (2) The twelve apostles (3) Jesus (4) Angels (5) The general assembly (6) The church of the firstborn (7) The spirits of just men made perfect.
The question naturally arises as to how long the city of the New Jerusalem has been in existence and how long the various types of inhabitants have been there.
Since the New Jerusalem in heaven is the habitation of God one would assume it is very ancient. One thing we know for sure is that it is older than Abraham for the scripture says: "He (Abraham) looked for a city which hath foundations (the twelve apostles of the Lamb), whose builder and maker is God." Heb. 11:10.
Since Abraham was aware of the foundations of the city and the foundations had in them the "names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb" it is natural to assume that the twelve apostles lived in the city from the days of Abraham or earlier.
The writer of Hebrews tells us concretely that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sara, Noah, Enoch, and Able all lived in the Heavenly New Jerusalem before they were born: "These (those just named) all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS ON THE EARTH. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country ('country' is from the Greek PATRIS which literally means FATHERLAND and figuratively means: Heavenly Home) And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. (If they were looking for any country on the earth they would have had no trouble finding and returning to it). But now they desire a better country, THAT IS AN HEAVENLY: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them A CITY." (The New Jerusalem) Heb. 11:13-16.
This interesting scripture deserves a closer examination. First, the prophets are called "strangers and pilgrims on the earth." This is significant because both words imply that they originated somewhere else besides the earth.
"Strangers" comes from the Greek XENOS and means "foreigner" or "alien". "Pilgrim" comes from PAREPIDEMOS and literally means "resident foreigner".
No matter which translation one uses a previous existence is indicated here. For instance if a man were a stranger in New York it means he had an existence and residence in another city before he arrived there.
The prophets are "strangers" on the earth; therefore, they lived somewhere else before they lived here.
If a man is a foreigner or an alien in the United States then he had to have a true citizenship in another country before he arrived here.
Therefore, if the prophets are foreigners or aliens on the earth, then their true citizenship belongs to another country that they originated from before they were born.
The pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth Rock did not originate in America but came from a distant land. They had a pre-America existence.
The prophets are called "Pilgrims on the earth" meaning that they had a "pre-mortal" existence. A pilgrim is a traveler who comes from somewhere else.
The next verse makes it crystal clear that the choice of these words was no accident. We'll quote it using the more accurate translation of "fatherland" instead of "country": "For they that say such things (that they are strangers and pilgrims) declare plainly that they SEEK A FATHERLAND." Verse 14
It's amazing that this scripture is not universally accepted as proving that the prophets lived before they were born for the writer says that it is "declare(d) plainly" that those who say they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth are seeking a Fatherland, or an origination point that they could have only lived in before they were born.
The next verse puts a seal on this point: "And truly, if they had been mindful of that country (fatherland) from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned." verse 15.
In other words, if their originating country was on the earth they could have returned to it while in the flesh. They were in an unfortunate position in that they were citizens of a Father land that was not on the earth, and that they could only return to after they died.
The next verse elaborates this: "But now they desire a better country, that is an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for he hath prepared for them a city." (the New Jerusalem) Verse 16.
The prophets all sought the day when the heavens and the earth would come together and their Fatherland, the New Jerusalem, would descend on the earth so the tabernacle of God would be with men, and the prophets would no longer be strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
John talks of those whose names are "written in the book of life from the foundation of the world." Rev 17:8 Most probably these would be those who lived in the heavenly New Jerusalem since that time. Those who are true citizens of the city would have their names recorded there. This record could very well be the book of life, since the inhabitants thereof are living life most abundantly.
THE PROPHETS LIVED MORE THAN ONE LIFE
The Bible gives numerous indications that the holy men-of the scriptures have lived before. The Lord actually revealed to David two of his previous lives. He wrote: "This he ordained in JOSEPH for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I HEARD A LANGUAGE THAT I UNDERSTOOD NOT. I (the Lord) removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots. Thou callest in trouble, and I delivered thee; and answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I PROVED THEE AT THE WATERS OF MERIBAH." Psalms 81:5-7
David here gives us the startling revelation that as Joseph in Egypt he heard a language he didn't understand. Read the scripture carefully and see that when David said "I heard" he was referring the strange language that Joseph heard when he was taken captive in Egypt.
The Lord also told David that he was proved (or tested) at the "waters of Meribah". This is a flashback to his life as Moses where he smote the rock at the place he named Meribah and brought forth water for Israel to drink, but at that time Moses failed the test and did not give glory to the Lord; thus he was not allowed to enter into the promised land. (See Exodus 17:5-7)
Seeing then that the Lord was aware of David's valiant lives as Moses and Joseph he called David "a. man after his own heart" (I Sam 13:14) when he was but a lad. We can also see why "Moses took the bones of Joseph with him" (Ex 13:19) when he left Egypt, for Moses was once Joseph. In a strange way Moses was taking the bones of Joseph with him by merely taking himself out of Egypt. It was quite fitting for this entity to deliver Israel, for it was because of him that Israel moved into Egypt in the first place.
The prophet Daniel was promised a life at the end of the age: "And he said, Go thy way Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end...But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." Daniel 12:9~13. The New English version gives a clearer rendering of that last verse: "But go your way to the end and rest, and you shall arise to your destiny at the end of the age."
The scriptures also give a prophesy about the coming of Elijah the prophet to do a great work on the earth: "Behold, I will send you ELIJAH THE PROPHET before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Malachi 4:5-6
Here we have a clear prophecy that Elijah the prophet will come back before the Lord comes. When the Bible speaks of the "fathers" it is usually referring to the prophets and patriarchs of Israel. Thus his work will be connected with turning the hearts of the children (humanity today) to the teaching of the fathers (the prophets). If the teachings of the prophets are not planted in the hearts of this generation then the earth will be smitten with a curse.
Now if Elijah is to make an appearance before "the great and dreadful day of the Lord", commonly called the second coming, does it not make sense that he would also precede the first coming of Christ?
The disciples were curious about this possibility so they asked the Lord: "Why then do our teachers say that Elijah must come first? He replied, Yes Elijah WILL COME and set everything right. But I tell you that ELIJAH HAS ALREADY COME, and they failed to recognize him, and worked their will upon him; and in the same way the Son of Man is to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that HE MEANT JOHN THE BAPTIST." Matt. 17:10-13 New English
Notice how definite the statement made by Jesus is here. Even so, orthodox interpreters refuse to accept it. They say that John was not Elijah reborn but was merely like Elijah. They quote Luke to support their case: "And he (John) shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just." Luke 1:17 (Remember that Elias is Greek for Elijah)
This was spoken by the angel Gabriel to Zacharias, and objectors tell us that this proves that John was just similar to Elijah. On the other hand, if John was Elijah reborn it would certainly explain why he could go forth "in the spirit (with Elijah's spirit) and power of Elias". This scripture does not in any way void the words of Jesus.
Another objection is that both Elijah and Moses appeared to Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. If Elijah was later John why didn't the apostles recognize him as such?
It's quite possible they did recognize Elijah as John. There's not enough information to tell for sure, but a few verses later as Jesus was talking about Elijah it is written: "Then the disciples understood that he spake to them of John the Baptist." Matt. 17:13 (read all of verses 1-13)
This appearance was shortly after John was killed and we have no way of knowing whether he appeared in the form of Elijah or John, but it could have been either for an advanced entity can appear in any of his bodies. This was demonstrated by Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Mark says that "He appeared in another form unto two of them (disciples), as they walked and went into the country." Mark 16:12 When Jesus was in this other form we are told they could not recognize him. See Luke 24:13-31
Those who do not think that John is Elijah quote one more scripture. The Jews sent priests and Levites to John to find who John was: "And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No." John 1:21
Here we have an interesting contradiction. Jesus said definitely that John the Baptist was Elijah and John says he is not. Jesus said that he was the prophet to fulfill the prophecy of Malachi (Matt. 11:9-10) and John said he was not. What is the explanation.?
First, we must realize that the words of Jesus are reliable above all other men so let us accept them as true. Why did John contradict them?
The answer is quite simple. As John the Baptist he had lost all memory of his life as Elijah. It is quite possible that he was not aware of who he was in the past. It is also possible that he did not know that he was the prophet that Malachi predicted. He was probably looking upon himself as merely a man who was seeking to teach the truth.
On the other hand, even if John suspected his true identity the priests and Levites would be the last ones he would want to tell who he was. The Jews kept pestering Jesus to identify him self as the Christ, and this he didn't do until he was ready to die. John knew that if he identified himself as either Elijah or a great prophet then the Jews would try and put him to death for blasphemy. Even if John knew or suspected he was Elijah in a past life he was technically telling the truth because in that life his name was John, not Elijah.
Whatever the case John had to keep his identity from the Jews until his mission was finished.
We will close this train of thought with a second powerful statement from Jesus: "...Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John...A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written, Behold I send my messenger before my face, which shall prepare thy way before thee (This is a quote from Malachi near the prophesy of Elijah) Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven (Christ) is greater than he...For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, THIS IS ELIAS, which was for to come." Matt. 11:7,9-11,13-14
This is really a poor translation evidently because of bias against reincarnation. The Concordant version says it most accurately: "And if you are willing to receive HIM, HE IS ELIJAH..."
Now we can see why Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest prophet. He was aware of his past lives. He was possibly other great prophets besides Elijah.
It seems at this point that one would have to go out on a limb to claim that John was not Elijah, but merely one like Elijah. For one thing his mission was quite different from the historical Elijah and most importantly Malachi says that Elijah, THE PROPHET (Malachi 4:5) shall return, not Elijah the personality.
Accordingly, we may look for the appearance of Elijah again in this age to prepare the way for the coming of Christ. Rest assured though that his name will not be Elijah in this life, but it will be the entity that was Elijah and John the Baptist nevertheless.
Paul tells us that he lived a past life where he was not under the law of Moses: "FOR I WAS ALIVE WITHOUT THE LAW ONCE: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." Rom 7:9
Here Paul could only be speaking of a previous life because in his life as Paul he was born under the law of Moses. So when was the time that he "was alive without the law"? He could have only been referring to previous lives when he was not subjected to the law of Moses. "When the commandment came" refers to the period of Moses. When he was born on earth after this period "sin revived" and he suffered spiritual death.
The scriptures make it clear that John the Revelator will have numerous incarnations. Peter, wondering about the future of this man said: "And what shall this man do? Jesus said unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said NOT unto him, he shall not die; but if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" John 21:21-23
It sounds as if disciples have been misinterpreting the words of Jesus from the beginning. Some believe that John was translated so he would not suffer death, but John's own book declares that Jesus did not promise him that he would not die, but indicated that it was his will that John tarry till he come. If then John did not have the promise of deathlessness the only way he could tarry here on the earth until the Lord comes is by a series of lives.
Indeed he will have to be born again to fulfill the prophesy that is written of him: "And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, THOU MUST PROPHESY AGAIN BEFORE MANY PEOPLES, AND NATIONS, AND TONGUES, AND KINGS." Rev. 10:10-11
Have we heard any announcement over the news lately that John the Revelator has prophesied to kings and is appearing in many different lands speaking in numerous languages??? No, we have not, nor will we for when he comes he will not be known as John the Revelator, but will be in a different body having a new name.
Jesus gave us an interesting indication as to what was in store for his disciples. He said: "There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, and sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but HE SHALL RECEIVE AN HUNDREDFOLD IN THIS TIME, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the WORLD TO COME eternal life. And many that are first shall be last and the last first." Mark 10:29-31
Here Jesus talks about two time periods or ages. The first he calls "in this time" or the period of our mortal existence. The second he calls "the world to come". In the world to come we receive "eternal life", but in this age or period of normal earth life if we accept the gospel we will receive "an hundred fold" of houses, at least a hundred brothers, a hundred sisters, a hundred mothers, a hundred children, and a hundred different lands or places where we will live. This prophecy cannot be liter ally fulfilled without reincarnation. On the other hand, Jesus knew that "in this time" or period of human existence we go through more than a hundred lifetimes. Thus he realized his words would be accurate.
Up to the time that Paul wrote the letter to Timothy we see that Jesus Christ was the only man that possessed immortality, or deathlessness: "That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he will shew, who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; WHO ONLY HATH IMMORTALITY, dwelling in a light which no man can approach unto." I Tim 6:14-16.
Even though we have an indication that others came out of their graves at the resurrection of Jesus (Matt 27:52-53) we see that only Jesus had obtained the resurrection of-life or "put on immortality". Before we can achieve the same immortality we have to overcome all things as Jesus did.
We are told that "the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." I Cor 3:13. Paul had the hope "that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." Col 1:28. Paul spoke of God "WHO WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." I Tim 2:4
I believe that God has power to carry out his "will" and the scriptures say that he "WILL have all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. Every man will be tried in the fire, and Paul has the hope that "every man" will be perfect. These scriptures cannot be fulfilled if every person is merely given one shot at life, but if men are born over and over until they fulfill the commandment to "overcome" exactly as Jesus did (Rev 3:21) then these passages can be literally fulfilled.
INTERESTING SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE
The great Solomon wrote: "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing." Pro. 25:2 Imagine. God actually conceals things from us so when his secrets are revealed it will add to his glory. Jesus said: "For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known." Luke 12:2 Isaiah prophesied: "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:9 Daniel said that at the time of the end "knowledge shall be increased." Dan. 12:4.
What are some of the things that God has concealed from us? What are the things "which have been kept secret from the foundations of the world"? Matt 13:35
Obviously one of the doctrines kept secret is the law of re birth. Many of the prophets did not openly teach it because they felt the people would misuse the knowledge. Many people will not try hard in the present if they think they will get a second chance in the future. The emotionally polarized person will tend to feel that it is no big deal to waste a lifetime if he has another one coming down the road. However, the mentally polarized person will use common sense and will not want to waste a month let alone a lifetime. Thus the Spirit of God has waited until the race of man is more mental, as it is approaching now, before it caused the doctrine to permeate our consciousness. Most of the prophets, initiates, and wise men of the past, however, have been aware of it, but have used constraint in speaking of it.
There were many things that even Jesus could not speak to his most trusted followers: "I have many things to say unto you, but ye CANNOT bear them now." John 16:12
In other words, Jesus knew many things that would be hard for them to accept. If he would have told them some of the secrets he knew they probably would have thought their master was mad and turned against him.
As it was he revealed more than the Jews could accept and they fought against him. Even so this treatise will be difficult for many people to accept and they will refuse to believe it even though the truth stares them in the face. We must mentally force ourselves to remain open and "rejoiceth in the truth; Heareth all things, believeth ALL things, hopeth all things..." I Cor 13:6-7
If we become as a little child and are open to believing all things then we will avoid becoming modern day Pharisees and scribes who fight against truth. Isaiah declared: "Wo unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet. and sweet for bitter!" Isa 5:20 Many Christians have formed the non scriptural opinion that reincarnation is evil, but why is this when the doctrine is interspersed throughout the Bible? And why do they call it evil when it is such a good and holy doctrine?
Why do they call it "good" if their child fails the first grade and he gets a chance to repeat it so he can honorably go on to the second, yet call it "evil" to consider the thought that if someone fails in one of his lifetimes then God will give him a chance to correct his errors in the "resurrection of correction"? Let us be more consistent than the Jews in the days of Jesus.
Jesus certainly attracted a lot of attention when he began his work and many people were speculating as to who he was. There were many who actually considered that he may have been one of the prophets born again. Jesus asked his disciples: "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist: some Elias, others Jeremias, or one of the prophets." Matt 16:13-14
Notice here that Jesus did not refute this belief in rein carnation, but merely accepted Peter's answer that he was the Christ.
The apostles evidently believed in reincarnation at the time that they were current disciples of Jesus: "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" John 9:1-2
We see here that the disciples thought that the man who was born blind may have had to suffer so because of a previous sin. In other words, they thought he may have committed sins in a previous lifetime that led to his present condition. Jesus pointed out that the man was a special case. He was not born blind because of sin, but so that the works of God should be manifest. In other words, the man came with a mission to glorify the works of Christ by the great miracle to his eyes. Jesus did not, however, say anything to indicate that the disciples belief in a sin before birth was not a possibility.
Many people attribute unusual questions such as these to the ignorance of the apostles. They believed that Jesus just picked up a handful of uneducated derelicts and his teachings were all the education they received. This is not correct. John the Baptist was their first teacher and Jesus called John the greatest prophet in history, partly because he did such a good job in preparing and teaching the disciples. If the disciples believed in reincarnation (which they undoubtedly did) then they had to first learn it from John.
In the Apocrypha we are warned that the way we live in one life can affect our bodies in a future life: "Woe to you, ungodly men, who have forsaken the law of the Most High Lord. AND IF YOU BE BORN, (indicating born in a future life) you shall be born in malediction, and if ye die, in malediction shall be your portion." Ecclesiasticus 4:11-12 Another example: "And I was a witty child and had received a good soul, and where as I was more good (in a previous life), I came to a body undefiled." Wisdom 8:19-20
No wonder David wrote: "Guilt was with me already when my mother conceived me." Psalms 51:7 Knox Version In other words, we have original sin because of previous lives. "All these things God may do to a man, again and yet again, bringing him BACK FROM THE PIT (death) to enjoy the full light of life." Job 33:29-30 New English
No wonder Jesus told a man who had been sick for thirty eight years to "sin no more lest a worse thing come upon thee." (See John 5:1-9) If it was any worse than suffering for thirty eight years he would have to pay the debt in a future life. This also illustrates that sin can result in the punishment of a physical affliction as the apostles believed.
The doctrine of reincarnation teaches us that when we commit any act either good or evil then we must receive a payment for that deed either later in the present life or in a future one. This reward i5 called Karma. If we are said to have "good karma" it is indicated that we have paid off most of our bad debts and can now collect on our good ones. If we have "bad karma" then we have debts coming due that we have to pay for. Jesus confirmed this doctrine when he said "he shall reward every man according to his works." Matt 16:27
John also wrote the words of an angel: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord...their works do FOLLOW them." Rev 14:13
Again he said: "They (the dead) were judged every man ac cording to their works." Rev 20:13
If the dead are judged according to their works and their works follow them then the doctrine of karma coincides perfectly with the Bible. There are some works that could only follow us if there were future lives on the earth awaiting. Either killing or saving physical lives would fit in this category.
One may naturally wonder about the fate of those who crucified our Lord. What is their destiny? How could they possibly pay for their sin? What punishment could be fitting enough to recompense such an evil deed?
This is one of the most interesting thoughts of the entire range of the scriptures and amazingly the question is answered with startling clarity.
First, we know they will be forgiven because Jesus requested it. On the cross he said: "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34
Later Peter was preaching to these Jews and said: "Ye denied the Holy One and the Just...and killed the Prince of life... Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, WHEN THE TIMES OF REFRESHING SHALL COME FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD. And he shall send Jesus Christ (speaking of the second coming), which before was preached unto you. whom the heaven must receive (hold - Greek) until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:14-15,19-21
We are told that the heavens must hold Jesus until all things are restored that was spoken of by the prophets. Reincarnation is one of those things for many of the teachings about the doctrine of rebirth were taken out of the church in the days of Constantine.
Peter told those who crucified the Lord to repent but told them that they would not receive forgiveness in this life, but in the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord or at the time of the second coming. Why do they have to wait until then? Because no one can repent unless they realize they are wrong and the Bible goes on to tell us that these murderers will not realize they are wrong until they see their Lord again.
They certainly did not believe the first time he told them who he was: "And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless, I say unto you, Hereafter SHALL YE SEE the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Matt 26:63-64
No wonder Peter promised forgiveness at the second coming because those who put him to death will see him coming in the clouds.
John the Revelator makes this point clear beyond dispute: "Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, AND THEY ALSO WHICH PIERCED HIM (The Jews in 34 AD): and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." Rev 1:17
At the second coming they will finally be able to be for given because they will realize they made a great mistake: "They (The Jews of 34 AD who will be reborn for the second coming) shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born." Zech 12:10
There is perhaps no punishment greater than coming face to face with a great error and having to accept the truth whether you want to or not. When Jesus comes again the ancient Jews reborn will definitely recognize him for who he is. They will also see their blindness in their current lives, but it is also quite possible that their memory of their past lives in the days of Jesus will return to them so they can feel the enormity of their shame. After two thousand years they will realize they killed their Savior.
Jesus spoke further of this: "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the Children of the kingdom (the Jews 34 AD) shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt 8: 11-12
When the reincarnated Jews (and they may not be Jews in this life) face their rude awakening they will weep and gnash their teeth in despair and disgust with themselves and may not feel worthy or ready for the teachings of Christ for sometime. Forgiveness is promised them at the second coming, but apparently they have to go through some anguish (and who knows what else) first.
Our prayer should be that we will not be caught in the same predicament as the ancient Jews where the blind were following the blind and refused to examine any doctrine that was not approved by authorities. Let us be open as a little child and be pre pared to "believe ALL things" so when the Christ does come again we will not be caught without our wedding garment.
Jesus taught a very important principle: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For EVERY ONE that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, HOW MUCH MORE shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Matt 7:7-11
Indeed. We know how to give good gifts to our children, and whenever they ask for any good thing no matter how bad they have previously been, we will go out of our way to give it to them. We would not consider saying to our children: "I will forgive you for a certain time period, and then no more for all eternity."
Hypocrites! They think they are more righteous than God, that they will go to greater extremes to save their children than God will for us. NO NO NO!!! The opposite is true. God knows how to give better gifts than we do and when we ask for a good thing he is committed to give it to us. He has put no time limit on it. He did not say ask only until you die but merely ASK. Period. If we ask during this life, the space between lives, or in the next life, then he is our committed Father waiting with love to respond and has devised a plan where we can all receive a second chance because a father (that is a loving Father) will ALWAYS give his children a second chance, and a third, and a forth...etc.
One should feel good about contemplating the doctrine of reincarnation, especially when thinking of all those who died in ignorance of the gospel, many who may be good friends, loved ones, or family. It is scriptural to believe the following: If we wish our loved ones could achieve salvation, then God wishes something better and has complete power to carry out his will. "God having provided something better for us, that they (the dead) WITHOUT US should not be made perfect." Heb 11:40
The dead and the living have a karma that is intertwined and we must both work together in the flesh again to correct all of our problems and the problems of the planet. We shall all rise again and work together and be perfected until the "last enemy" of death is destroyed and we achieve immortality or the resurrection of eternal life.
© By JJ Dewey All Rights Reserved