Novak’s research uncovered extensive data from both scientific and scriptural sources that all pointed to the same promising yet highly disturbing conclusion – that the human psyche does survive physical death, but often divides entirely apart in the process into separate conscious and unconscious components. Novak suggests that the traditional “reincarnation” and “resurrection” hypotheses can, at long last, be reconciled by factoring the dissimilar scientific qualities and functions of the conscious and unconscious minds into the equation, pointing out that scriptures from a great number of different traditions already reflect just such a divided, “binary-soul” vision of the afterlife.
Basically, Novak’s theory states that the soul body and spirit body separate after death. The soul body is discarded and the spirit ultimately reincarnates with a new soul body. After a large number of reincarnations, the spirit has discarded a large number of soul bodies. At the time of the “Final Judgment,” a doctrine held by all Middle Eastern religions, the so-called “resurrection” will occur. Novak theorizes that at this time, all the discarded soul bodies will reunited with the spirit body. The result will be a world of highly enlightened people knowing all their past lives and their associated life experience and knowledge. Thus, reincarnation and resurrection are not mutually exclusive concepts according to Novak’s theory.
If this extraordinary hypothesis is proven to be true, it will revolutionize the entire field of religion. A number of respected scientists, theologians, and philosophers are already convinced Novak’s “Division Theory” will do just that.
The following are excerpts from Peter Novak’s book reprinted by permission from Peter Novak.
2. The Science of the Division
Early this century, our scientists discovered and proceeded to map out the basic characteristics and functions of the conscious and unconscious halves of the human mind. But for nearly a century, those psychological discoveries have quietly contained an unnoticed surprise of incalculable significance to the world of theology and life-after-death research. According to the commonly accepted tenets of modern scientific theory, if the human psyche actually was to survive and continue to function after death, but did so in a divided state, then the two surviving components of the psyche would, due to their very natures, encounter entirely different conditions after death, conditions startlingly similar to those described in Eastern and Western traditions:
The conscious would completely lose all traces of its memory, but it would also remain free to go on to new experiences (in effect, reincarnating). Its partner, meanwhile, would undergo a memory-review, and then become trapped in a dreamlike, unconscious heavenly or hellish netherworld.
In short, modern science has found that the conscious and unconscious each possess the very characteristics necessary for them to perfectly reproduce the millennia-old afterlife scenarios of Eastern and Western traditions, but only if they divided apart at death.
Such an after-death split was widely recognized in ancient times, being mentioned in Gnostic scriptures as the division of the soul and spirit, in Egyptian texts as the detaching of the “ba” from the “ka“, in Greek teachings as the rending of the “thymos” from the “psyche“, in Hindu doctrine as the withdrawing of the “vital spirit” from the “reasonable soul“, and in Zoroastrian works as the separation of the “urvan” and “daena“.
Just as with today’s conscious and unconscious, each of the above traditions held that one of the two soul-units was more willful, objective, and intellectual, while the other was more responsive, subjective, and emotional. And in each case, the two soul-units encountered radically different afterlife conditions after separating.
As did the cultures surrounding them, the Gnostics viewed man’s inner being as bipartite in nature, differentiated into two entirely different elements – soul and spirit:
“…without thesoul the body does not sin, just as the soul is not saved without the spirit. But if the soul is saved when it is without evil, and the spirit is also saved, then the body becomes free from sin. For it is the spirit that quickens the soul….” – The Apocryphon of James 11:38-39, 12-1-6
For the Gnostics, death specifically meant having these two parts divide apart, having one’s inner being sliced right down the middle at death:
“For such [death] is the judgment which had come down from above. It has passed judgment on everyone; it is a drawn sword, with two edges, cutting on either side.” – The Gospel of Truth 25:35-26:4
“On the day you were one you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?” – The Gospel of Thomas 11
They were even under the impression that Jesus himself underwent such a division at his death:
“‘My God, my God, why, O Lord, have you forsaken me?’ It was on the cross that he said these words, for it was there that he was divided.” – The Gospel of Philip 68:26-29
To be “divided” was spiritual doom, while being “undivided” meant spiritual salvation:
“If he is undivided, he will be filled with light, but if he is divided, he will be filled with darkness …” – The Gospel of Thomas 61
The story of Adam and Eve was inextricably linked to their ideas about death, seeing the separation of Eve from Adam as a profoundly seminal “First Division”, the tragic origin of death itself:
“When Eve [the soul] was still in Adam [the spirit], death did not exist. When she separated from him, death came into being. If he again becomes complete and attains his former self, death will be no more.” – The Gospel of Philip 68:22-26
This division and its reparation are themes these Gnostic scriptures return to again and again, often using the term “woman” to indicate “soul”, and “man” for “spirit” :
“For they [the soul and spirit] were originally joined to one another when they were with the Father before the woman [the soul] led astray the man [the spirit], who is her brother. This marriage has brought them back together again and the soul [the woman] has been joined to her true love, her master [the man, the spirit]….” – The Exegesis on the Soul 133:4-9
Repairing this ancient division was expected to restore the souls of the dead to life:
“If the woman [soul] had not separated from the man [spirit], she would not die with the man. His separation became the beginning of death. Because of this, Christ came to repair the separation which was from the beginning, and again unite the two, and to give life to those [souls] who died as a result of the separation and unite them.” – The Gospel of Philip 70:9-22
This “Reunion of the Two” is a common theme in the Gnostic scriptures. But instead of always calling them “soul and spirit” or “Adam and Eve”, they sometimes portray the two in terms very reminiscent of science’s “conscious and unconscious”:
“When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside, and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female … then you will enter the Kingdom.” – The Gospel of Thomas 22
To firmly unite these two, they thought, would make a person like Christ himself:
“Jesus said, ‘If two [the soul and spirit, the conscious and unconscious] make peace with each other in this one house [body], they will say to the mountain, `Move away’, and it will move away’ … ” – The Gospel of Thomas 48
Given Novak’s extensive research on this subject and the evidence he provides to support it, his Division Theory should be considered to be one of the best theories ever devised to explain the mysteries of reincarnation and resurrection.
A lot of media attention is being given to the novel “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown because of its radical claims purporting to be historical truth. The book may be riding the popular crest of another recent religious story about Jesus called “The Passion.” Since the book was released, a primetime television special was broadcast about the book. Hollywood director Ron Howard is said to be planning to make a movie about it. Cable programs have been airing debates about the book and the controversy surrounding it. The following is an article about the Gnostic “Gospel of Mary.”
(4) There was a covered-up, either intentionally or ignorantly, by the Church centuries after Jesus’ death which attempted to hide these controversies.
These controversial claims may be the only thing about The Da Vinci Code which are actually true. The leading authority on the women of ancient Christianity is the Harvard professor Karen L. King who has commented on the entire book by saying it is “good fiction.”
In the 60s and 70s, there were controversial books and movies about Jesus such as “Jesus Christ Superstar” which assumed that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a sexual relationship. Of recent date, Martin Scorsese’s 1988 movie “The Last Temptation of Christ” included a sex scene between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The idea of a married Jesus is a controversy thousands of years old.
Concerning “The Da Vinci Code,” I only want to mention the importance of Leonardo Da Vinci‘s painting entitled “The Last Supper” which you can see on the right. If you look at the painting you will notice that the disciple seated to Jesus’ right appears to be either a woman or a very, very effeminate man. Historically, the orthodox Church has assumed the identity of the “disciple whom Jesus loved” to be the Apostle John. The disciple whom Jesus loved is the disciple described in the Bible as resting his head on the bosom of Jesus during the Last Supper. If this “beloved disciple” really is John, this raises an interesting question: What kind of relationship did this “disciple whom Jesus loved” actually have with Jesus?
If we assume that Jesus loved everyone, then what made this special disciple become more favored by Jesus? Such questions have led some scholars (and movie producers) to speculate that Jesus may have been a homosexual. This theory is even more controversial. Besides Jesus having a special male disciple to love, Jesus is described in the Bible as kissing men, living and sleeping with men, washing their bodies, and teaching them to love other men. The Bible also records Jesus “giving his body” to his disciples to “eat.” Jesus also preached tolerance for so-called “sinners” such as adulterers, prostitutes, and even homosexuals (Matthew 10:14-15). He rejected the social norms of his day which considered such outcasts as worthy of death. In those days, women had the same status as cattle, slavery was sanctioned, and so-called sexually immoral people were stoned to death. Not only did Jesus not follow the social norms of his day, he hung out with the sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors and even made some of them apostles. He even told the religious bigots that the prostitutes were entering heaven before they were.
2. Evidence Revealing Jesus was Married to Mary Magdalene
Despite all these things, I am convinced that the evidence shows that Jesus was not a homosexual (although I would not think less of Jesus if he was) but that the “special disciple” whom Jesus loved was none other than Mary Magdalene. There are some very good reasons to believe that Jesus was married. Here are the major ones:
(1) Jesus was culturally obligated to be married. In those days, Jewish law required every Rabbi to be married. Unmarried men were considered a curse to Jewish society. Jesus said he fulfilled the law and the prophets. The first positive commandment found in the Bible deals with the propagation of the human race (Genesis 1:28). It was therefore considered the duty of every male in Israel to marry – usually at the age of eighteen. Anyone who remained unmarried after age twenty was considered cursed by God (source: Kid. 29b). So important was marriage to the Jews of ancient Israel that men were frequently compelled by the courts to take a wife (source: M. Zvi Udley, Ph.D.). Given the cultural conditions in which Jesus lived, the burden of proof lies with those who do not believe Jesus was married. They must show why Jesus and his parents would have been derelict in their civic responsibilities and not contracted a marriage for Jesus.
(2) According to Josephus, the great Jewish historian, the descendants of David felt a moral obligation to perpetuate their royal heritage because they never knew which one of their descendants would be the chosen Messiah. The Bible shows that Jesus was a direct descendant of David and this made him morally obligated to be married.
(4) While the Bible “appears” to be silent on the subject of Jesus’ marital status, it was not until late in the second century that any Christian leader denied that Jesus was married. Justin Martyr and Clement of Alexandria believed that a married Jesus was inconsistent with his role as the Savior of the world. Other Church fathers denied that Jesus was married based upon the supposed silence in the Bible about his marital status. They also believed it conflicted with the Church’s doctrine of a celibate priesthood and the Church’s general view of sex as sinful. The evidence shows that the Church eventually denied the very humanity of Jesus when the council declared him God.
(5)Irenaeus, a major second century Christian leader, wrote about the so-called “Doctrine of Recapitulation” which supports the idea of a married Jesus. Irenaeus taught that Jesus symbolically entered every critical stage of human existence and sanctified it. This included a person’s family and sexual life.
(6) There was a second century tradition among certain early Christian sects which held that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. There is also Biblical and extra-Biblical evidence of their special relationship as man and wife.
3. Who was Mary Magdalene?
Throughout history, Mary Magdalene has been a mysterious figure for many Christians. She is the most prominent woman in the Gospels and is mentioned first in seven of the eight lists of women who walked with Jesus. An orthodox tradition exists which claims that Mary Magdalene was a repentant prostitute – even though there is no Biblical evidence suggesting she was a prostitute. She is mentioned in the Bible as being among the women of Galilee who followed Jesus and his disciples. She was present at Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. She was one of the women who went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. She was the first to see the risen Christ. By definition, this meant she was the “first apostle.” She was the one who announced Jesus’ resurrection to the apostles. Because she was the first to announce his resurrection, the Catholic Church honored her with the title “apostola apostolorum” which means “the apostle to the apostles.”
The Bible never claims that Mary Magdalene was the repentant prostitute who washes the feet of Jesus with her hair in Luke 7:36-50. But this incident of a woman anointing the feet of Jesus is cited by some scholars as the most direct witness to Jesus being married. This incident is recorded in all four Gospels and was a story in which Jesus himself gave express command that it be preserved. This feet anointing ceremony was an ancient ritual among royalty in the ancient world. It was a ritual which sealed the marital union between a king and his spouse. The ritual is even mentioned briefly in the Song of Solomon.
The Bible never claims that Mary Magdalene was the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and saved from being stoned to death by Jesus in John 8:1-11. However, she is identified as having once been possessed by seven demons in Luke 8:2. This may be the source of the orthodox tradition that Mary was a prostitute before she met Jesus.
The Bible records that Mary met Jesus after his resurrection. The Bible records a degree of intimacy between them during this incident which one would expect between lovers, not friends. When Mary is referred to as “woman” by Jesus, it can just as easily be translated as “wife”. The Greek word for “woman” and “wife” is the same and translators have to rely on the context in determining how to translate it. Sometimes, the translation between “woman” and “wife” is completely arbitrary.
4. The Orthodox Mary Magdalene Versus the Gnostic Mary Magdalene
In 1945, ancient texts which yielded more information about Mary Magdalene and the early Christians were discovered in Upper Egypt. Many early Christian texts were found which included several previously unknown gospels. These gospels reveal teachings and events surrounding Jesus and the disciples which had never been known before. For example, one gospel mentions that Jesus kissed Mary Magdalene frequently and “on the mouth.” Another text shows that Jesus called Mary Magdalene the “woman who knows all.” These early writings affirm that Mary was the “companion,” even the consort, of Jesus. Mary is even the author of her own gospel called the Gospel of Mary.
All these facts begs the question: Why would there be two different traditions of Mary Magdalene? The most plausible explanation can be found in the historical schism which developed very early in the Christian community. It is apparent that the early Christian community was split by doctrinal disagreements. The majority of the community were Christians who leaned toward so-called “heretical doctrines” such as Docetism, Montanism, and Gnosticism. The rest of the community were incorporated into the emerging institutional Church. They became known as “orthodox” believers who conformed to the political and spiritual authority of the Church. These orthodox believers labeled those outside of their organization as “heretics” because they did not conform to the authority of the priests.
While the Christian Gnostics preserved the tradition of Mary Magdalene as the beloved disciple and a leader in the Christian community, the orthodox Christians, on the other hand, removed all references to Mary Magdalene as being the founder of the Johannine Community. They did this by turning the references to “the disciple whom Jesus loved” into an anonymous male disciple. Grammatical flaws found by Bible scholars within various Bible passages in the Gospel of John support this transformation. It is theorized that the emerging Church did this because they could not accept the authenticity of a gospel written by a woman. And not only did the Church suppress the prominent role of Mary Magdalene, it suppressed the role of women in general within the Church. It did this by denying the historical role that women had in Judaism.
5. Jesus’ Elevation of the Role of Women
Despite the historical treatment of women as having the same status of cattle, the Bible records that a woman once ruled ancient Israel: “Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time” (Judges 4:4). The Bible even declares Rahab the prostitute to be “righteous” for giving lodging to the spies and sending them off in a different direction (James 2:25). Besides Deborah, the Bible recognizes other female prophetesses such as the four daughters of Philip, Mary (the sister of Aaron), and Mary (the mother of God) whom the Bible states: “Henceforth all women and all generations shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:48). The Bible also reports that many women became missionaries and even martyrs for the Christian cause. While women in general held a low status in society in those days, Jesus is seen ignoring these social norms concerning women. In one incident, the disciples marvel that they find Jesus talking to a woman – and not just any woman – a Samaritan woman. Jews were forbidden to associate with Samaritans. Men were also forbidden to even touch a woman because they never knew if they would be breaking their tradition of not touching a woman while she is in her menstrual phase (Leviticus 15:19-24). Compared to the Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Luke, and Mark) the Gospel of John shows women playing a bigger role. In the Gospel of Mark, there are only 5 instances where women are recorded as speaking. In the Gospel of Matthew, there are 9 instances. In the Gospel of Luke, there are 11 instances. But the Gospel of John records 22 instances of women speaking. Of course, the Christian Gnostics maintained a tradition which started with Jesus of having women perform equal functions with men in the community. This suggests the author of this gospel, the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” viewed women more favorably. And there is evidence that the identity of the author of the Gospel of John and the “disciple whom Jesus loved” is Mary Magdalene.
6. The Fall of the Role of Women by Orthodox Christianity
As the orthodox Church gained increasing political power, the role of women in the Church decreased. This can be directly attributed to the influence of the letters and teachings of Paul. Paul frequently takes an anti-women stance in his letters. While the so-called “heretical” believers allowed women to serve as priests and gave them equal status, the orthodox Church adopted Pauline Christianity which rejected the role of women. Paul taught that women are too poor of judgment to teach; that they must remain silent in Church; that they are forbidden to have authority over a man (1 Timothy 2:12-14). In essence, Paul was saying that because women were created second and sinned first, they should shut up. Paul also demanded that women be submissive to men (Ephesians 5:22-23); that women are inferior to men (1 Corinthians 11:7); that women are “saved through childbearing” (1 Timothy 2:15); and although God declares the institution of marriage to be “good” (Genesis 2:18), Paul declares marriage to be “not good” (1 Corinthians 7:8). Paul demanded that women should wear veils to indicate their secondary status in the order of creation (1 Corinthians 11:4-16). Paul’s anti-women stance may have come from the fact that he himself was not married (although unmarried Jewish men were considered cursed) or it may be because his anti-Gnostic crusade caused him to reject the Christian Gnostic idea of equality among the sexes. Here is a comprehensive article on Paul as the source of misogyny, antisemitism, and slavery in western civilization.
The Gospel of John was written by someone who was an eyewitness to the events (John 21:24). This is a claim which the Synoptic gospels cannot make. But for some reason, the writer of the Gospel of John wanted to remain anonymous. The writer was obviously an extremely important figure. It is clear that the “disciple whom Jesus loved” was highly favored by Jesus over the other disciples. Most Biblical scholars today do not believe the Gospel of John was written by the Apostle John. The author is assumed to be the anonymous disciple of Jesus referred to as “the beloved disciple” and “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” As mentioned earlier, there is compelling evidence suggesting that the identity of this beloved disciple was Mary Magdalene. In fact, some scholars believe she may have been the true founder of what has come to be known as the Johannine Community. But at some point after the death of Jesus, the emerging male leadership of that community simply became embarrassed about having a female founder. The theory goes that in the Gospel of John, the “beloved disciple” was transformed into a male disciple in the text because this beloved disciple was clearly the founder and champion of the community that produced this gospel. That disciple was Mary Magdalene.
The Gospel of John was initially not accepted by orthodox authorities. The oldest known commentary on the Gospel of John is that of the Gnostic Heracleon (AD 180). Irenaeus of Lyons (AD 202) refuted the Gnostic exegesis of it. There is an abundant amount of correlation between the ideas found in the Gospel of John and the early Christian Gnostic writings discovered in 1945 which strongly suggests that the Gospel of John was a Gnostic gospel. It is the Gospel of John which shows Jesus teaching doctrines considered to be heresies to the Orthodox Church such as: (1)pre-existence (John 1:2; John 8:58; John 9:1-2; John 9:34); (2)reincarnation (John 3:3-8; Revelation 3:12); (3) the Jewish leaders believing in reincarnation (John 1:19-25); (4) the mystery of God within human beings (John 10:30-38; John 14:20; John 17:20-23); and (5) Jesus paying the karmic debt for the sins of humanity (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 3:5; 1 John 4:10). In the Secret Revelation of John, a Gnostic gospel written by 185 A.D. at the latest, reincarnation is placed at the center of the discussion concerning the salvation of souls. John’s perspective of reincarnation in his secret teachings is that everyone is born into this world having drunk from the water of forgetfulness and lives in a state of spiritual ignorance. People are able to overcome this ignorance by having the life-giving Spirit descend upon them. These souls “will be saved and will become perfect,” that is, escape the cycle of birth and rebirth. John asks Jesus what will happen to those who do not attain salvation. Jesus answers that they are hurled down “into forgetfulness” and thrown into “prison” – the Christian Gnostic symbol for a new body. The secret teachings of Jesus reveal that the only way for souls to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth is to acquire knowledge (“gnosis“) after coming from forgetfulness by finding a teacher who can lead the soul in the right direction:
“This soul needs to follow another soul in whom the Spirit of life dwells, because she is saved through the Spirit. Then she will never be thrust into flesh again.” (Secret Book of John 14:20)
As the Church gained political power, it not only denied women their rightful place in the Church, it also denied the humanity of Jesus by declaring him to be God. This made it even more impossible to assert that Jesus was ever married. Deifying Jesus also elevated him beyond humanity’s ability to become like him in attaining one-ness and son-ship with God as he did. Salvation through the example of Jesus was replaced with salvation through Jesus-worship.
7. Mary Magdalene – The Beloved Disciple
The orthodox view is that Peter was the leader of the twelve disciples and head of the Church. But the early Christian writings discovered in 1945 tell a different story – that Mary Magdalene was the beloved disciple who had more authority than Peter. This is also supported by Biblical facts. In John 13:23-26, the beloved disciple is “resting on bosom of Jesus” while Peter must petition the beloved disciple to ask Jesus a question for him. In John 18:15-16, the beloved disciple has access to the high priest’s palace while Peter does not. In John 20:2-10, the beloved disciple immediately believes in Jesus’ resurrection while Peter and the rest of the disciples do not understand what’s going on. In John 21:7, the beloved disciple is the only one who recognizes the risen Christ while he speaks from the shore to the disciples on their fishing boat. In John 21:20-23, Peter jealously asks Jesus about the fate of the beloved disciple. Even more struggles between Peter and Mary are recorded in the newly discovered writings.
These writings portray Peter as being jealous of the revelations that Mary received from the risen Christ. For example, the Gospel of Thomas describes Peter as saying: “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.” In the Gospel of Philip, the favorable relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene is contrasted with Jesus’ relationship with the rest of the disciples. Similar examples of Mary Magdalene being favored by Jesus over Peter can be found in the Gospel of the Egyptians and Pistis Sophia. These texts also describe Peter rejecting the authority of women to teach.
The Gospel of Mary describes Mary Magdalene as Jesus’ beloved disciple who possessed and taught superior knowledge than the public orthodox tradition had.
The Gospel of Thomas records a very interesting promise made to Peter by Jesus. He is promised that Jesus will lead Mary Magdalene in order to:
“…make her male so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Gospel of Thomas)
This seemingly strange comment can only be understood in the context of Jesus teaching the one-ness of all things which can be found throughout these writings.
In the Acts of Philip, Jesus praises Mary Magdalene for her manly character. Because of this he gives her the task of joining the weaker Philip on his mission journey – but not as a woman:
“As for you, Mary,” Jesus says, “change your clothing and your outward appearance: reject everything which from the outside suggests a woman.” (Acts of Philip)
This shows how society in those days generally rejected the authority of women.
In the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the Pistis Sophia, Peter is described as denying Mary Magdalene’s closeness to Jesus. These writings give Mary Magdalene a special position. In the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary, she is the only person to whom the other disciples refer to as the one loved by Jesus more than the others and as the one who has a greater insight.
“And the companion of the [Savior is] Mary Magdalene. [But Christ loved] her more than [all] the disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her [mouth]. The rest of [the disciples were offended] by it [and expressed disapproval]. They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The Savior answered and said to them, “Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.” (Gospel of Philip)
The Gospel of Philip states:
“There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion.” (Gospel of Philip)
His sister and his mother and his companion were each named Mary.
These passages establish the fact that Christian Gnostics believed Mary Magdalene to be the “beloved disciple” and the companion of the Lord. She is repeatedly singled out as the disciple whom Jesus loved the most.
8. Mary Magdalene’s Near-Death Experience
Mary Magdalene is seen in the Gospel of Mary as a disciple who is singled out by Jesus for special teachings. This gospel also shows Mary describing her vision of the soul’s journey after death and the challenges it must overcome. These passages from the Gospel of Mary contain concepts similar to concepts found in near-death experiences and Tibetan Buddhism‘s Book of the Dead.
The Gospel of Mary describes how, after the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were gathered together and weeping. At Peter’s request, Mary tells the disciples about revelations given to her that were hidden from them. The basis for her knowledge is the vision of the Lord she had and a private dialogue with him. What is incredibly unfortunately is that four pages of the Gospel of Mary are missing and only the beginning and end of Mary’s revelation exist. Nevertheless, judging by what does exist of this gospel, Mary’s vision certainly resembles an NDE.
The revelation is in the form of a dialogue. The first question Mary asks the risen Christ is how one sees a vision. Jesus replies that the soul sees through the mind which is between the soul and the spirit. At this point the text breaks off. When the text resumes at the end of the gospel, Mary is in the midst of describing her revelation concerning the rise of the soul past the four afterlife “powers.” The four powers represent the four of the multi-dimensional levels of the afterlife hierarchy. According to Mary’s vision, the enlightened soul becomes free of their bonds, rises past the four powers, conquering them with “gnosis” (spiritual knowledge), and finally attain eternal life.
9. The Gospel of Mary
The following is the Gospel of Mary which describes this vision further:
The Gospel of Mary
…They wept greatly, saying, “How shall we go to the Gentiles and preach the gospel of the kingdom of the Son of Man? If they did not spare him, how will they spare us?” Then Mary stood up, greeted them all, and said to her brethren, “Do not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute, for his grace will be entirely with you and will protect you. But rather let us praise his greatness, for he has prepared us and made us into men.” When Mary said this, she turned their hearts to the Good, and they began to discuss the words of the [Savior]. Peter said to Mary, “Sister, we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of women. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember – which you know (but) we do not, nor have we heard them.” Mary answered and said, “What is hidden from you will proclaim to you.” And she began to speak to them these words: “I,” she said, ” I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to him, “Lord, I saw you today in a vision.” He answered and said to me, “Blessed are you, that you did not waver at the sight of me. For where the mind is, there is the treasure.” I said to him, “Lord, now does he who sees the vision see it (through) the soul (or) through the spirit?” The Savior answered and said, “He does not see through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind which (is) between the two – that is (what) sees the vision and it is ….’ (Missing pages here) “I did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending. Why do you lie, since you belong to me?” The soul answered and said, “I saw you. You did not see me nor recognize me. I served you as a garment, and you did not know me.” When it had said this, it went away rejoicing greatly. Again it came to the third power, which is called ignorance. It (the power) questioned the soul saying, “Where are you going? In wickedness are you bound. But you are bound; do not judge!” And the soul said, “Why do you judge me although I have not judged? I was bound though I have not bound. I was not recognized. But I have recognized that the All is being dissolved, both the earthly (things) and the heavenly.” When the soul had overcome the third power, it went upwards and saw the fourth power, (which) took seven forms. The first form is darkness, the second desire, the third ignorance, the fourth is the excitement of death, the fifth is the kingdom of the flesh, the sixth is the foolish wisdom of flesh, the seventh is the wrathful wisdom. These are the seven (powers) of wrath. They ask the soul, “Whence do you come, slayer of men, or where are you going, conqueror of space?” The soul answered and said, “What binds me has been slain, and what surrounds me has been overcome, and my desire has been ended, and ignorance has died. In a (world) I was released from a world, (and) in a type from a heavenly type, and (from) the fetter of oblivion which is transient. From this time on will I attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the aeon, in silence.” When Mary had said this, she fell silent, since it was to this point that the Savior had spoken with her. But Andrew answered and said to the brethren, “Say what you (wish to) say I about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas.” Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things. He questioned them about the Savior: “Did he really speak with a woman without our knowledge (and) not openly? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?” Then Mary wept and said to Peter, “My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?” Levi answered and said to Peter, “Peter, you have always been hot-tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why he loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect man and acquire him for ourselves as he commanded us, and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said. When [ …] and they began to go forth (to) proclaim and to preach.
10. An Analysis of Mary Magdalene’s NDE
Mary’s description of her experience with “seven powers of wrath” causes me to wonder if this incident is somehow related to Luke’s mentioning of Mary Magdalene having seven demons cast out of her. Luke was the companion of Paul who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. If this vision by Mary is the cause of her being smeared with the accusation of being demon possessed, it may be merely a reflection of the orthodox rejection of Christian Gnosticism and the rejection of Mary Magdalene‘s traditional authority among the disciples.
According to her vision, the first afterlife state or “power” she describes is said to be “darkness”. This may correspond to the so-called “void” experienced by NDErs immediately after death. The second afterlife state that Mary describes is referred to as “desire”. This may correspond to the earthbound realm that people with strong physical desires are attracted to after death. The third afterlife state that Mary describes is referred to as “ignorance” where judgment occurs. This may correspond to the life review and the self-judgment which NDErs often describe. The fourth afterlife level that Mary describes is referred to as “the excitement of death”. This may correspond to the feeling of joy that NDErs describe when they realize they have escaped from these darker, lower realms and the joy of entering the realm of light. The fifth afterlife state that Mary describes is referred to as “the kingdom of the flesh”. This may be a reference to how heaven has a similar appearance and environment as Earth with mountains, cities, lakes, etc… The sixth afterlife state that Mary describes is referred to as “the foolish wisdom of the flesh”. This may be a reference to how living in the higher realms is completely different to living in the environment on Earth. The seventh afterlife state that Mary describes is called the “wrathful wisdom”. Surprisingly, this is a good description of one of the afterlife phases in the Tibetan Buddhist afterlife cosmology. Wisdom is also another correlation to the NDE which frequently involves tremendous knowledge.
According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, on the seventh “day” after death there appears the “knowledge-holding” deities, who appear fierce and demonic-looking to the unenlightened. To the enlightened, however, they appear as “peaceful deities.” But because of ignorance, the unenlightened soul cannot face these knowledge-holding deities who appear to them as “wrathful“. According to Buddhism, this confusion causes the soul to descend back to Earth to be reincarnated. On the other hand, the enlightened soul recognizes that these deities are really “peaceful” and only appear wrathful to ignorant people. It is the soul’s own negative karma which perceives these deities as they perceive them. But liberation from reincarnation is attained when the soul recognizes their one-ness with the deities. Those who do not recognize their one-ness with them will ignorantly flee out of fear to lower afterlife states.
Although this may seems very unusual to some people, a perfect example of this concept can be found in the NDE of Pastor Howard Pittman. During his NDE, Pittman is brought before God but perceives God to be the jealous and angry God of wrath he preached about for 35 years and is often incorrectly portrayed to be God in the Bible. Pittman is chased away from God’s “angry” presence because of judgment he feels before God (which is really self-judgment). But, amazingly, Pittman is allowed a second chance to go before God. This second time he is astonished to perceive God as a “God of love.” Pittman doesn’t realize it but his perception of God as a “God of wrath” was a figment of his own religious mind-set and an illusion created by his own ignorance. Pittman’s NDE is the epitome of how we create our own reality on Earth, but infinitely more so in heaven. The kingdom of heaven (or hell) is within us. Death is merely a body problem. What lives within us will become our environment after death. This is why it is critically important what a person has living within them. Is it love, joy and peace? Or do you see the devil everywhere?
In December, 1945, early Christian writings containing many secrets of the early Christian religion were found in upper Egypt, a location where many Christians fled during the Roman invasion of Jerusalem. Undisturbed since their concealment almost two thousand years ago, these manuscripts of Christian mysticism rank in importance with the Dead Sea Scrolls. These writings affirmed the existence of the doctrine of reincarnation being taught among the early Jews and Christians. These Christian mystics, referred to as Christian Gnostics, were ultimately destroyed by the orthodox Church for being heretics. Their sacred writings were destroyed and hidden with the belief that they would be revealed at an appropriate time in the future. The discovery in 1945 yielded writings that included some long lost gospels, some of which were written earlier than the known gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Brian A. Bain, M.A., has this to say about the 1945 discovery:
“Long considered to be heretical, ancient Gnostic Christian texts unearthed this century display compelling similarities between Gnostic conceptions of life and death and modern near-death experiences. The Gnostic texts devoted extensive tracts to what readers could expect to encounter when they died. Other passages make numerous allusions to near-death-like experiences that can be realized in this life, most notably the human encounter with a divine light. The Gnostic Christian literature gives us one more example of NDEs and similar experiences in the ancient world.”
Another interesting fact comes from Edgar Cayce (a near-death experiencer) who affirmed that Gnosticism is the highest form of Christianity.
The Christian Gnostics were regarded by some as a new Jewish sect who believed they had finally found the long-awaited Messiah and not a new religion. Some of the apostles became Gnostic and because of this, Christianity could well have grown up as a Gnostic religion had it not been for their eventual persecution by the organized Church centuries later.
An important Christian Gnostic teaching was the “Logos” which in Greek is translated as “the image of the Word.” It is an important concept found in the Gospel of John:
“In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
Logos is the part of God that acts in the world. It is the perfect unity of the human and the divine. This is affirmed by John when he wrote that “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” When John stated that Jesus is the Logos, he is stating that Jesus became the Logos, the Christ. The Logos is the “divine spark” of God within humans that needs to awakened. Everyone has the “image of the Word (Logos)” within them and it is for this reason that Genesis describes humanity as created “in the image and likeness of God.” The Logos is the divine Spirit in humanity. By using the Christian Gnostic idea of the Logos, John is not only affirming the pre-existence and divinity of Jesus, but he is affirming that all sons of God created in the “image of the Word” as Jesus was, preexisted in spirit before being born. In other words, every human is an incarnation of the Logos and every human has to potential of becoming like Jesus, a manifestation of the human-divine unity. Every human can attain “Christhood” and because of this, every soul will eventually be drawn back to God.
The Roman Church misunderstood what the Logos was in John and incorrectly concluded from this that only Jesus is divine – the Word made flesh. The orthodox Church either rejected or ignored this Christian Gnostic concept found in John. This may have been a factor when the Gospel of John was almost rejected from New Testament canon when it was being put together. This was during a time when Christian Gnosticism became an enemy of the organized Church. Nevertheless, it was the idea of the pre-existence of the soul and its corresponding doctrine of reincarnation that the Roman Church had great difficulty with:
The Christian Gnostics emphasized spiritual knowledge rather blind faith as the road to salvation. They indicated that they possessed secret knowledge (i.e., “gnosis” in Greek) concerning the hidden meaning of the “resurrection.” This was a part of the secret teachings of Jesus handed down to them by the apostles. This special knowledge was not given to people who were only given the public teachings of Christianity. They were given only to those initiated to receive these secret teachings. In contrast, the very term “Catholic” means “universal”, implying that anyone could become a member of the Church by adhering to the public teachings of faith and rituals. The Christian Gnostics were harsh critics of the orthodox Church and accused the Church of watering down the gospel in order to popularize it for the masses. The orthodox Church stressed salvation through faith alone and by the rituals of the Church.
This secret gnosis emphasized spiritual “resurrection” (i.e,. spiritual rebirth) and physical “resurrection” (i.e., reincarnation) as opposed to a resurrection defined as people sleeping in their graves until it is time for all corpses to come out of their graves on the Last Day. Christian Gnostics held the view that if spiritual resurrection was not attained in one lifetime, then the soul would be subjected to as many reincarnations as it takes until spiritual regeneration is attained.
One of the great Church leaders was Clement of Alexandria in Egypt (150-211 A.D.) who indicated that he possessed the secret teaching handed down from the apostles.
In the Gnostic text entitled the Secret Gospel of Mark, one of the Christian Gnostic texts discovered in 1945, describes Jesus performing secret initiation rituals. Before the discovery of this secret gospel, our only knowledge of it came from a letter written by Clement. Clement quotes from this secret gospel and refers to it as:
“…a more spiritual gospel for the use of those who were being perfected.” He also states, “It even yet is most carefully guarded [by the church at Alexandria], being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries.”
Clement mentions elsewhere that Jesus revealed a secret teaching to those who were:
“…capable of receiving it and being molded by it” He also affirmed that, “The gnosis (secret knowledge) itself is that which has descended by transmission to a few, having been imparted unwritten by the apostles.” (Miscell. Book VI, Chapter 7)
The existence of a secret teaching can be found in the New Testament:
“He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding.'” (Mark 4:11-12)
“He replied, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.'” (Matthew 13:11-12)
“We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” (1 Corinthians 2:6-7)
“This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.” (1 Corinthians 4:1)
“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.'” (Matthew 11:25-26)
Paul wrote about teachings which are taught to spiritual “babies,” teachings about righteousness for the more mature, and then teachings for the spiritually mature. Paul reveals this fact immediately after equating Melchizedek to Jesus by stating:
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:11-14)
According to tradition, after the Roman invasion of Jerusalem, the author of the Gospel of Mark established a church in Alexandria, Egypt. Mark may also have been the author of a “secret gospel” containing more advanced teaching for those being initiated into the Christian mysteries. This secret gospel contains passages portraying Jesus teaching secret doctrines.
2. Origen: The Champion for the Secret Teachings of Jesus
As the orthodox church in Rome gained more and more political power the more it viewed secret teachings as a threat to their own public teachings. But the Church leader who made the final and greatest attempt to revive the secret teachings of Jesus within the orthodox teachings was the first Church Father named Origen (183-253 A.D.) of Alexandria in Egypt who was a disciple of Clement of Alexandria. Origen was the first person since Paul to develop a system of theology around the teachings of Jesus. His effort was the first within the orthodox church to systematize a theology on such a vast scale. Although Origen defended orthodoxy, he included in his system the wisdom of the Christian Gnostics. His theology was a perfect synthesis of “orthodox” and “gnostic” teachings and came the closest to reviving the “Lost Christianity” of the original sects, communities and schools, at a time when the Christian Gnosticism was falling into disrepute. Unfortunately, hundreds of years later, the Church declared him a heretic and his teachings as heresy mostly because they affirmed pre-existence and reincarnation.
Origen had this to say about the secret teachings of Jesus:
“[Jesus] conversed with His disciples in private, and especially in their sacred retreats, concerning the Gospel of God; but the words which He uttered have not been preserved, because it appeared to the evangelists that they could not be adequately conveyed to the multitude in writing or in speech and they saw what things were to be committed to writing, and how this was to be done, and what was by no means to be written to the multitude, and what was to be expressed in words, and what was not to be so conveyed.” (Contra Celsus, Chap. VI. 18)
Concerning these secret teachings, Clement stated:
“James the Righteous, John and Peter were entrusted by the Lord after his resurrection with the higher knowledge. They imparted it to the other apostles, to the seventy.” (Outlines Book VI)
3. The Theology of Christian Gnosticism
According to Gnostic theology, a series of “falling away” from “the Whole” (God) occurred in eternity which resulted in all that exists today. After the first “fall”, the divine consciousness descended to the level of the divided consciousness; now after another “fall”, it has fallen even further, into the depths of the unconscious; it has been “forgotten.” It is now humanity’s privilege to discover the potential realms of human existence and face the great challenge of the “ascension of consciousness” through the Man-God-Spirit transformation.
Once souls fell into the lower levels of consciousness, they became enamored of it and burned with the desire to experience the pleasures of matter. The souls then no longer wanted to disengage itself from these lower levels. Thus the world was born. From that moment souls forgot themselves. They forgot they original habitation, their true center and eternal being.
Gnosticism proceeds from one fundamental insight: this world in which we find ourselves is thoroughly and irretrievably less than holy. The soul is trapped in a prison of flesh, and the flesh is intrinsically less than divine. According to Gnostic theology, the creation of the cosmos came about as the result of a tragicomic mistake: the fall of the soul from God. Thanks to the advent of Christ in the lower realms of consciousness, the power of reconciling the fallen souls has been given to restore the One-ness and usher in the kingdom of light over the kingdom of flesh and matter. The unity of the Godhead is assured thanks to the introduction of the new uniting force, the Logos, the part of God who acts in the flesh and the material. It is important to distinguish the Logos (Christ) from the soul named Jesus. Any person has the potential of becoming a Logos but it was the soul known as Jesus who actually incarnated as a Logos and therefore became a Christ on Earth.
We, as humans, cannot comprehend the omnipotent power available to us until we utilize the Christ power. When we effectively use the divine “Christ awareness” we have the ability to help in the liberation of the imprisoned “sparks of divinity” from flesh and rejoin them to the Source. The divine plan of creation will become complete as the divine outpouring of Christ gnosis liberates humanity from ignorance. The result of this will be the redemption of all human beings.
The Christ power can only liberate souls through the call and revelation of Christ gnosis to, “Awake, remember who you are and where you come from!” But since the soul cannot by itself hear the gnosis, the Christ power resorts to elaborate strategies to create the conditions for which all souls will be saved.
As more and more people hear the call to “Wake up!” and attain the Christ gnosis and become liberated, their souls are received back into the bosom of Divine Consciousness. The soul becomes free from unholy flesh and from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Christian Gnostics seek to achieve this by cultivating the Higher Self within people to seek reunification with the Godhead. But each soul returning to its divine source must, after death, pass through the various levels of consciousness. Sometimes Christian Gnostics describe seven of these heavenly realms, other times ten.
In another part of the Book of Thomas the Contender, Jesus tells the disciple Thomas that after death, those people who were once believers but have remained attached to things of “transitory beauty,” will be consumed “in their concern about life” and will be “brought back to the visible realm.”
The following quote from Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas affirms Jesus teaching reincarnation to his disciples:
“When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will bear!” (Gospel of Thomas, saying 84)
More excerpts from this very interesting gospel will be profiled later.
In the Secret Book of John, written by 185 A.D. at the latest, reincarnation is placed at the center of the discussion concerning the salvation of souls. The following is a summary of the Secret Book of John’s perspective on reincarnation:
Everyone has drunk from the water of forgetfulness and lives in a state of ignorance. Some people are able to overcome ignorance by having the life-giving Spirit descend upon them. These souls “will be saved and will become perfect,” that is, escape the cycle of birth and rebirth. John asks Jesus what will happen to those who do not attain salvation. They are hurled down “into forgetfulness” and thrown into “prison,” the Christian Gnostic symbol for a new body.
Jesus says the only way for these souls to escape is to acquire knowledge after coming from forgetfulness. A soul can accomplish this by finding a teacher who can lead the soul in the right direction:
“This soul needs to follow another soul in whom the Spirit of life dwells, because she is saved through the Spirit. Then she will never be thrust into flesh again.” (Secret Book of John 14:20)
Another Christian Gnostic book, the Pistis Sophia (Greek for “Faith Wisdom”), outlines a system of punishment and rewards that includes reincarnation. The book explains the differences in one’s fate as a result of past-life actions. A “man who curses” will be given a body that is continually “troubled in heart.” A “man who slanders” will be given an “oppressed” body. A thief will be given a “lame, crooked and blind body.” A “proud” and “scornful” man will be given “a lame and ugly body” that “everyone continually despises.” From this, we can see how this Earth, as well as hell, is a place of education through suffering.
According to the Pistis Sophia, some souls experience hell as a place of shadows and torture. However, after these souls pass through hell, they return to Earth for further experiences. Only a relatively few extremely evil souls are not permitted to reincarnate. These souls are cast into “outer darkness” until a time when they are “destroyed and dissolved.”
The Pistis Sophia combines the ideas of reincarnation and divine union in a verse beginning with the question:
“[What happens to] a man who has committed no sin, but done good persistently, but has not found the mysteries?” (Pistis Sophia)
The Pistis Sophia reveals such a soul will receive “a cup filled with thoughts and wisdom,” allowing the soul to remember its divine origin and pursue the “mysteries of the light” until it finds them and is able to “inherit the light forever.” To “inherit the light forever” is a Gnostic term for union with God.
“Those who say that the Lord first died and then arose, are confused. For first he arose and (then) he died. If someone first acquires the resurrection [of the Spirit], he will not die; (as) God lives, that one was [not] going to [die]” (Gospel of Philip 22)
In the Apocryphal book, Wisdom of Solomon, recognized as canonical by the Catholic Church, is the following verse:
This verse raises the following question: How is it possible to get a body after you have already been good, unless reincarnation is true?
Among the works of the Christian Gnostics are some of the early gospels, including secret gospels which were not preserved in the New Testament. The Gospel of Thomas was the first gospel ever written and is considered by scholars to be the most reliable gospel. Much of this gospel contains sayings of Jesus that are contained in the four New Testament gospels.
The Christian Gnostic gospels reveal a clear and strong vision of the resurrection as a past and present event. Below is a verse from the Gospel of Thomas that shows the “resurrection” to be a past event:
“His followers said to him, ‘When will the rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?’ He said to them, ‘What you look for has come, but you do not know it.'” (Gospel of Thomas, saying 51)
In the verse above, Jesus says the resurrection and the kingdom are already here. In Gnostic terms, this quote from Jesus refers to a person’s past “resurrection” (i.e., physical rebirth, reincarnation) and the fact that we are already living in the kingdom of God which exists within us. Only through the Christ gnosis can this kingdom be realized and the cycle of resurrection end.
5. The Gospel of Thomas
The sayings that are presented below are excerpts of the Gospel of Thomas that are not present in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
“These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Judas Thomas the Twin recorded. Jesus said, “Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.” Jesus said, “Let one who seeks not stop seeking until one finds. When one finds, one will be disturbed. When one is disturbed, one will be amazed, and will reign over all.” Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Behold, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds in the sky will get there before you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will get there before you. Rather, the kingdom is inside you and outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and embody poverty.” Jesus said, “Know what is within your sight, and what is hidden from you will become clear to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.” Jesus said, “I have thrown fire on the world and, behold, I am guarding it until it is ablaze.” Jesus said to his disciples, “Compare me with someone, and tell me whom I am like.” Simon Peter said to him, “You are like a just angel.” Matthew said to him, “You are like a wise philosopher.” Thomas said to him, “Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say whom you are like.” Jesus said, “I am not your teacher. You have become intoxicated because you have drunk from the bubbling spring that I have tended.” And he took Thomas and withdrew, and told him three things. When Thomas came back to his friends, they asked him, “What did Jesus tell you?” Thomas said to them, “If I tell you even one of the things he told me, you will pick up rocks and stone me. Then fire will come forth from the rocks and devour you.” The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us about the end.” Jesus said, “Have you already discovered the beginning, that now you can seek after the end? For where the beginning is, the end will be. Blessed is one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end, and will not taste death.” Jesus said, “Blessed is one who came to life before coming to life.” Jesus said, “If you become my disciples and hearken to my sayings, these stones will serve you.” Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, “These nursing babies are like those who enter the kingdom.” They said to him, “Then shall we enter the kingdom as babies?” Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male and the female will not be female, when you make eyes replacing an eye, a hand replacing a hand, a foot replacing a foot, and an image replacing an image, then you will enter the kingdom.” Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are alone and chosen: you will find the kingdom. For you have come from it, and you will return there again.” His disciples said to him, “When will the final rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?” He said to them, “What you look for has already come, but you do not know it.” Jesus said, “I disclose my mysteries to those who are worthy of my mysteries. Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Jesus said, “Whoever knows everything but lacks within lacks everything.” Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you will kill you.” Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: all came forth from me, and all attained to me. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Pick up a stone, and you will find me there.” Jesus said, “Whoever is close to me is close to the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the kingdom.” Jesus said, “Images are visible to people, but the light within is hidden in the Father’s image of light. He will reveal himself, but his image is hidden by his light.” Jesus said, “When you see a likeness of yourself, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before you, and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will be able to tolerate!” Jesus said, “When you make the two into one, you will become sons of man, and when you say, ‘Mountain, move!’ it will move.” Jesus said, “Whoever drinks from my mouth will be like me, and I shall be that person, and what is hidden will be revealed to that one.” Jesus says, “Whoever finds self is worth more than the world.” His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?” “It will not come by looking for it. Nor will it do to say, ‘Behold, over here!’ or ‘Behold, over there!’ Rather, the kingdom of the Father is spread out on the Earth, but people do not see it.” (Gospel of Thomas)
(1) The First Apocalypse of James contains the secret teachings of Christ that were given to James the Just, the Lord’s brother. In it, James refers to Jesus as “rabbi.” Jesus warns James to leave Jerusalem, for the city is a dwelling place of a great number of “archons” or evil angels. Jerusalem is stigmatized as the city which “gives the cup of bitterness to the sons of light.” Jesus coaches James on what to say when he is judged and challenged by the “toll collectors” of heaven in order to pass through the gates of heaven.
(5) The Apocalypse of Peter is a record of the vision of Peter the apostle in which he speaks with Christ in the spirit. In this, Peter is clearly seen as the true successor to Christ and the founder of the Gnostic community. In the vision, Peter first sees hostile priests who seem to be intent upon stoning him and Christ to death. Next, Peter recalls the crucifixion during which Jesus stood nearby talking with him.
Peter asks, “Who is this one glad and laughing on the tree (i.e., cross)? And is it another one whose feet and hands they are striking?” Christ replies, “He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshy part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me.” (Apocalypse of Peter)
Peter seemed to realize that it would be a long time before his book was read and understood, for he writes:
“These things, then, which you saw you shall present to those of another race who are not of this age.” (Apocalypse of Peter)
He seems to be right, as this apocalypse has only just seen the light of day before we enter the age that many believe will begin with the second coming of Christ.
7. The Apocalypse of Paul
The Apocalypse of Paul is an account of the apostle’s ascent into heaven and what he found there, with instructions for other souls on how to conduct themselves during judgment. One of the most interesting aspects of this text is that it corresponds to events found in the New Testament and includes references to reincarnation. Several Christian Gnostic texts combine the ideas of reincarnation and union with God.
As Paul passes through the fourth heaven, he witnesses a soul being punished for murder. This soul is brought “out of the land of the dead” (i.e., Earth) by angels where three witnesses charge the soul with murder. The soul looks sorrowfully down and is cast down into a body that has been prepared for it. The book describes Paul’s journey through the heavens, which is also symbolic for the Gnostic process of union with God.
The New Testament contains a letter by the apostle Paul to the Christians in the city of Corinth, Greece, where he had founded a church on his first visit there. The Christians at this church were being divided by the teachings of so-called “false teachers” that were infiltrating the church there and Paul wrote a letter telling them to not forget what they were taught by Paul. These “false teachers” were trying to get people to follow their teachings and not Paul’s. In order to put these false teachers to shame, Paul rebukes the Corinthians by using false pride and boasting about himself and telling the church why he is more qualified than the false teachers. He tells them of his sufferings and how he was once stoned and left for dead (2 Corinthians 11:23-26). The letter goes on to say:
“I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows. And I know that this person – whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows – was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that humans are not permitted to tell.” (2 Corinthians 12:1-4)
In the above passage, Paul continued his “boasting” by telling about visions and revelations he had received from the Lord. “I know a person in Christ” means that he was speaking about himself. He explained that he didn’t know if he was taken up in his body or in his spirit, but he was in paradise (“the third heaven“). This incident cannot be positively identified with a recorded event in Paul’s career, although some think this may have been when he was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19-20). Paul told about this incident to show that he had been uniquely touched by God.
Many people are unaware of this passage of the Bible and that it is a near-death experience which Paul had. The person who wrote most of the New Testament, the sacred writings of orthodox Christianity, had a near-death experience which he based his authority as an apostle of Christ to the Corinthian church. It can even be argued that his near-death experience directly or indirectly inspired his epistles.
The Apocalypse of Paul reveals how each soul must rise as best it can after death through a hierarchy of heavens and face the increasingly difficult challenges posed by the guardian angels of each heaven. The journey begins with Paul meeting a child on the mountain of Jericho on the way to heaven (symbolized by Jerusalem). This child turns out to be the Holy Spirit, who takes Paul first to the third heaven.
The Holy Spirit warns Paul to keep his wits about him for they are about to enter the realm of “principalities … archangels and powers and the whole race of demons.” The Holy Spirit also mentions that they will pass “one that reveals bodies to a soul-seed,” that is, the being that takes souls and plants them in new bodies for reincarnation. For the soul who wished to ascend to the highest heaven, reincarnation was to be avoided.
When Paul reaches the fourth heaven, the Holy Spirit encourages him to look down upon his body which he has left behind on the mountain of Jericho. As Paul ascends, he witnesses in the fourth heaven the judgment and punishment of another soul. He says, “I saw the angels resembling gods … bringing a soul out of the land of the dead.” The soul has been resurrected so that it can be judged, one of the four events promised for the end of the world. The angels were whipping it.
The soul spoke, saying, “What sin was it that I committed in the world?” The “toll collector” of this heavenly gate accuses the soul. The soul replies, “Bring witnesses! Let them show you in what body I committed lawless deeds.” Three bodies rise up as witnesses and accuse the soul of anger and envy, and finally murder. When the soul heard these things, it gazed downwards in sorrow … It was cast down.
At this point we expect the soul to be cast into hell, as in later Christian doctrine, but no: “the soul that had been cast down went to a body which had been prepared for it,” and was reincarnated.
Paul, somewhat shaken by this experience, was beckoned forward by the Holy Spirit and allowed to pass through the gate of the fifth heaven. Here he saw his fellow apostles and “a great angel in the fifth heaven holding an iron rod in his hand.” This angel and three other angels, with whips in their hands, scourge the souls of the dead and drive them on to judgment. Paul remains with the Holy Spirit and the gates to the sixth heaven swing open effortlessly before him.
In the sixth heaven, Paul sees a strong light shining down on him from the heaven above. He is motioned by the “toll collector” through the gates of the seventh heaven. Here, he sees “an old man filled with light and whose garment was white. His throne, which is in the seventh heaven, was brighter than the sun by seven times.” This old man bears a striking resemblance to Jehovah as he is described in the vision of Ezekiel.
The old man asks, “Where are you going, Paul?” Only reluctantly, after some encouragement from the Holy Spirit, does Paul speak with him and give the Gnostic sign he has learned. The eighth heaven then opens and Paul ascends. Here he embraces the twelve disciples, most of whom he has not met before, and together they rise to the ninth heaven. Finally, Paul reaches the tenth and highest heaven, where he is transformed.
8. The Suppression of Christian Gnosticism
The Christian Gnostics believed in reincarnation and the pre-existence of the soul. They refused to believe in a resurrection of corpses at the end of time. They emphasized meeting Jesus on a spiritual level to become liberated and attain permanent citizenship in heaven. The Church of Rome of the second century A.D., on the other hand, declared that those who deny a Last Dayresurrection of corpses are heretics.
Many Christian Gnostics regarded themselves as part of the organized body of Christians of the early church. However, as the organized Church gained political control of the Roman Empire, the Christian Gnostics were persecuted by the organized Church and many were martyred. The Christian Gnostic tradition is one of many branches of early Christianity labeled as heretical by the early Church fathers. The Gnostic influences and writings were removed from official Church doctrines as heresy. Because of their suspected Christian Gnostic origins, the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation were almost rejected from the New Testament. Nevertheless, the organized Church succeeded in hiding its Christian Gnostic doctrines.
It is not surprising that the orthodox Church bishops edited out the practical spiritual knowledge which were once an integral part of Christianity and was known and practiced by the apostle Paul. For these fathers, it was far more convenient and gratifying for their egos to assert that spiritual grace could only be attained through them as Christ’s representatives on Earth. To control the masses, the political organization of the church declared that salvation was attained only through the church rituals and through the priesthood. Salvation through a personal mystical experience with Christ apart from the organized church was cast away. In a move that is very likely to have met with the disapproval of Christ himself, the worldly political aspirations of a few priests won out over the spiritual enlightenment of the many.
And as it is with any religion or movement, the successors of its founder decided which things to keep and which to throw out. The organized Church discarded the spiritual knowledge of Christian Gnosticism as being too dangerous and kept the concept of blind acceptance of church doctrine.
Ultimately, the organized Church declared Christian Gnosticism a heresy and began killing those who adhered to its doctrines. Thus the powerful Roman Church began its crusade of eliminating all rivals to its authority. Christian Gnosticism was obliterated and relatively little historical and theological information was left to fully understand early Christian history. This all changed in 1945 with the discovery of the Gnostic Christian scriptures discovered in Egypt. Then in 1947, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls of early Jewish Gnostic writings occurred. Today, with many Christians wondering if the Second Coming of Christ is soon to happen, it may not be a coincidence that these secret writings have come to surface after two thousand years of being hidden. Finally, after two thousands years, the secret is finally out again.
It really shouldn’t matter much whether or not a Christian believes in reincarnation. Doctrines and beliefs matter very little in comparison to a mystical experience with the light of God. A multitude of near-death accounts affirm that God is not concerned about the theology that people profess; rather it is the inward spirituality that matters most. Whether reincarnation is true or not, near-death accounts reveal that it is the life we are currently living that is more important. This may be one of the reasons that reincarnation was suppressed by the Church. Forgetting an existence before birth is also an important revelation from NDEs. Accordingly, people are required to forget their prior existence in order to not dwell on the “mission” they are to accomplish in life. It is also the reason why NDE experiencers are made to forget details of their pre-existent life when they return to life. Focusing on the life we are living also ensures that we are not so heavenly minded, we are no earthly good. While debating whether or not reincarnation was once a doctrine of the early Church is like debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, reincarnation is certainly a concept that ties the other Christian doctrines together and solves many of the mysteries found in the Bible.
Jesus affirmed the way to overcome death and rebirth, and attain eternal life, is simply through the practice of love (Luke 10:25-28). Faith assumes the possibility of doubt; but knowledge implies certainty. Knowledge of God is attained through love according to John (1 John 4:7-8). When it comes to living a life of love, having faith in reincarnation does not give anyone an advantage before God. Reincarnation is a theory that, at most, explains the apparent inequities and apparent injustices between people and the dispensing of divine justice. But the spiritual life of love does not depend upon the particular creed one professes. With this in mind, the following information is an excerpt from Dr. Quincy Howe, Jr.‘s excellent book entitled Reincarnation for the Christian.
During the period from A.D. 250 to 553 controversy raged, at least intermittently, around the name of Origen (183-253 A.D.), and from this controversy emerged the major objections that orthodox Christianity raises against reincarnation. Origen of Alexandria, one of Christianity’s greatest systematic theologians, was a believer in reincarnation.
Origen was a man devoted to scriptural authority, a scourge to the enemies of the church, and a martyr for the faith. He was the spiritual teacher of a large and grateful posterity and yet his teachings were declared heresy in 553 AD. The debates and controversies that flared up around his teachings are in fact the record of reincarnation in the church.
The case against Origen grew by fits and starts from about A.D. 300 (fifty years after his death) until 553. There were writers of great eminence among his critics as well as some rather obscure ecclesiasts. They included Methodius of Olympus, Epiphanius of Salamis, Theophilus the Bishop of Jerusalem, Jerome, and the Emperor Justinian. The first of these, Methodius of Olympus, was a bishop in Greece and died a martyr’s death in the year 311. He and Peter of Alexandria, whose works are almost entirely lost, represent the first wave of anti-Origenism. They were concerned chiefly with the pre-existence of souls and Origen’s notions about the resurrection of the dead. Another more powerful current against Origenism arose about a century later. The principals were Ephiphanius of Salamis, Theophilus of Alexandria, and Jerome. From about 395 to 403 Origen became the subject of heated debate throughout Christendom. These three ecclesiats applied much energy and thought in search of questionable doctrine in Origen. Again the controversy flared up around 535, and in the wake of this the Emperor Justinian composed a tract against Origen in 543, proposing nine anathemas against “On First Principles“, Origen’s chief theological work. Origen was finally officially condemned in the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, when fifteen anathemas were charged against him.
The critics of Origen attacked him on individual points, and thus did not create a systematic theology to oppose him. Nonetheless, one can glean from their writings five major points that Christianity has raised against reincarnation:
It seems to minimize Christian salvation.
It is in conflict with the resurrection of the body.
It creates an unnatural separation between body and soul.
It is built on a much too speculative use of Christian scriptures.
There is no recollection of previous lives.
Any discussion of these points will be greatly clarified by a preliminary look at Origen’s system. Although it is of course impossible to do justice in a few pages to a thinker as subtle and profound as Origen, some of the distinctive aspects of his thought can be summarized.
2. The Theological System of Origen
Looking at the sequence of creation from its inception to its conclusion, one could summarize his system as follows: Originally all beings existed as pure mind on an ideational or thought level. Humans, angels, and heavenly bodies lacked incarnate existence and had their being only as ideas. This is a very natural view for anyone like Origen who was trained in both Christian and Platonic thought. Since there is no account in the scriptures of what preceded creation, it seemed perfectly natural to Origen to appeal to Plato for his answers.
God for the Platonist is pure intelligence and all things were reconciled with God before creation – an assumption which scripture does not appear to contradict. Then as the process of fall began, individual beings became weary of their union with God and chose to defect or grow cold in their divine ardor. As the mind became cool toward God, it made the first step down in its fall and became soul. The soul, now already once removed from its original state, continued with its defection to the point of taking on a body. This, as we know from Platonism, is indeed a degradation, for the highest type of manifestation is on the mental level and the lowest is on the physical.
Such an account of man’s fall does not mean that Origen rejected Genesis. It only means that he was willing to allow for allegorical interpretation; thus Eden is not necessarily spatially located, but is a cosmic and metaphysical event wherein pure disincarnate idea became fettered to physical matter. What was essential for Christianity, as Origen perceived, is that the fall be voluntary and result in a degree of estrangement from God.
Where there is a fall, there must follow the drama of reconciliation. Love is one of God’s qualities, as Origen himself acknowledged, and from this it follows that God will take an interest in the redemption of his creatures. For Origen this means that after the drama of incarnation the soul assumes once again its identity as mind and recovers its ardor for God.
It was to hasten this evolution that in the fullness of time God sent the Christ. The Christ of Origen was the Incarnate Word (he was also the only being that did not grow cold toward God), and he came both as a mediator and as an incarnate image of God’s goodness. By allowing the wisdom and light of God to shine in one’s life through the inspiration of Jesus Christ, the individual soul could swiftly regain its ardor for God, leave behind the burden of the body, and regain complete reconciliation with God. In fact, said Origen, much to the outrage of his critics, the extent and power of God’s love is so great that eventually all things will be restored to him, even Satan and his legions.
Since the soul’s tenancy of any given body is but one of many episodes in its journey from God and back again, the doctrine of reincarnation is implicit. As for the resurrection of the body, Origen created a tempest of controversy by insisting that the physical body wastes away and returns to dust, while the resurrection takes on a spiritual or transformed body. This is of course handy for the reincarnationist, for it means that the resurrected body either can be the summation and climax of all the physical bodies that came before or indeed may bear no resemblance at all to the many physical bodies.
There will come a time when the great defection from God that initiated physical creation will come to an end. All things, both heavenly bodies and human souls, will be so pure and ardent in their love for God that physical existence will no longer be necessary. The entire cohesion of creation will come apart, for matter will be superfluous. Then, to cite one of Origen’s favorite passages, all things will be made subject to God and God will be “all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:28) This restoration of all things proposed by Origen gave offense in later centuries. It seemed quite sensible to Origen that anything that defects from God must eventually be brought back to him. As he triumphantly affirmed at the end of his “On First Principles“, men are the “blood brothers” of God himself and cannot stay away forever.
3. Objections and Rebuttals to Origen’s Theology
Objection #1: It seems to minimize Christian salvation.
This objection was expressed very clearly by Theophilus (385-412 AD), patriarch of Alexandria:
“What is the point of preaching that souls are repeatedly confined in bodies, only to be released again, and that we experience many deaths? Does he [Origen] not know that Christ came, not in order to free souls from bodies after their resurrection or to clothe freed souls from bodies once again in bodies that they might come down from heavenly regions to be invested once again with flesh and blood? Rather, he came so that he might present our revived bodies with incorruptibility and eternal life.” (Jerome, Letters 98.11.)
Rebuttal #1: The essential difference between Theophilus and Origen is this: For Origen, man, the creature of free choice, stands responsible before God for his initial defection. God uses all his love and persuasion to hasten man along his way, but man must go the whole journey. For Theophilus, however, part of the responsibility for man’s defection from God is lifted from his shoulders by the Son. Thus man is a completely free and sovereign agent only when he falls; when he rises, however, much of the travail is being borne by another. Man does what he can in a single life and Christ will make good the rest.
Reincarnation should be understood, however, not as a statement on Christ, but as a statement on man. Theophilus is in effect charging that man is so feeble that he must depend on Christ to take him most of the way. The reincarnationalist, however, is convinced of man’s divinity and hence of his innate ability to return to God’s favor.
Objection #2: It is in conflict with the resurrection of the body.
“First of all if, as the Origenists say, another body succeeds this one, then the judgment of God is not just, for he will either be condemning the new body for the sins of the former one, or he will be ushering it into its glorious and heavenly inheritance in recognition of the fastings, vigils, and persecution suffered for the name of God by an earlier body.” (Epiphanius, Ancoratus 87.)
Rebuttal #2: For the Platonic philosopher, as for Origen, the entire goal of life is to disentangle the soul from the pernicious influence of the body. This stands in strong contrast to the statement of Epiphanius that the body is itself a living principle and whatever it has endured, it will carry before God for judgment. For Origen, it is unthinkable that the body of flesh and blood should be resurrected into immortality. This body, after all, belongs to the transient world of matter and passes away as all matter must. Origen, the Christian and the Platonist, found it much more likely that a new spiritual body have nothing in common with the material elements of the “natural” body should enjoy the resurrected life. Furthermore, he found ampler support for this in 1 Corinthians 15:44. (Against Celsus 5.19.)
Objection #3: It creates an unnatural separation between body and soul.
Probably the best statement of this is to be found in a letter of the Emperor Justinian to Mennas, patriarch of Constantinople. This letter from the year 543 was the prelude to Origen’s condemnation in 553 AD:
“Therefore it is clear that souls are not cast into bodies for the punishment of sins as they [the Origenists] foolishly claim, but rather that God fashioned body and soul simultaneously, creating man in his perfected entirety [i.e., body and soul].” (Letter to Menna, PG 86.1, p. 951)
Rebuttal #3: This again raises the question of how one views the human creature. Is he basically a spiritual being, or does he exist only as a composite creature with body and soul? With pre-existence goes the assumption that he is essentially spirit. Indeed the reincarnationalist can even find Scriptural support for personal disincarnate pre-existence. Origen took Ephesians 1:4 as proof for his case:
“He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in his sight and love.” (Ephesians 1:4)
Jerome, who is just as uncomfortable as Justinian about pre-existence, interprets the passage to mean that we preexisted, not in distinct disincarnate form, but simply in the mind of God (Against Rufinus 1.22), and from this throng of thoughts God chose the elect before the creation of the world. The distinction is indeed a fine one, for Jerome is asking us to distinguish between that which exists as a soul and that which exists as a thought. What is illuminating for the reincarnationalist is that this passage from Ephesians offers very explicit Scriptural testimony for individual pre-existence.
Objection #4: It is built on a much too speculative use of Christian scriptures.
Rebuttal #4: This resistance to speculative thought is implicit in so much of what is said against Origen. Epiphanius, for example, cannot conceive of a spiritual body coming into man’s heavenly inheritance. Justinian cannot conceive of a soul that preexists the body. Methodius (311 AD) cannot conceive of man as a disincarnate creature. All these objections show an unwillingness of the early church to deal in speculative ideas that do not find immediate confirmation in the Scriptures. Origen constructed a theology and cosmology that accounts for the rise and fall of creation and the state of man both prior to the beginning and after the end. This was a very natural thing for him to do, for Greek philosophy had always been engaged in inquiry of this sort.
Objection #5: There is no recollection of previous lives.
If reincarnation is indeed true, why do we have no recollection of earlier lives? Justinian raise this question in connection with Luke 16:19-31 (Letter to Mennas, PG 86.1, p. 959). The evangelist tells of how Lazarus, the impoverished and sore-ridden beggar, sits at the bosom of Abraham after his passing, while the rich man, whose very crumbs from the table had been a boon to Lazarus, is buried in hell. The rich man calls out to Abraham in distress, only to be reminded of the profligate manner of his life. Justinian takes this as an indication that while man is in the disincarnate interval after life, he recalls what has transpired during his incarnate life – after all, the rich man does recall the manner of his life. If this is so, then surely incarnate man, upon his return to a new body, should recall the incidents of earlier incarnations. Origen does not address himself to this specific problem, but he may very well have been satisfied with the myth that Plato used to account for the lapse of recollection between lives. According to the account of Er at the end of Plato’s Republic (621 BCE), the souls of men drink from the waters of forgetfulness as they proceed from one life to another.
With the condemnation of Origen, so much that is implied in reincarnation was officially stigmatized as heresy that the possibility of a direct confrontation with this belief was effectively removed from the church. In dismissing Origen from its midst, the church only indirectly addressed itself to the issue of reincarnation. The encounter with Origenism did, however, draw decisive lines in the matter of pre-existence, the resurrection of the dead, and the relationship between body and soul. What an examination of Origen and the church does achieve, however, is to show where the reincarnationist will come into collision with the posture of orthodoxy. The extent to which he may wish to retreat from such a collision is of course a matter of personal conscience.
With the Council of 553 one can just about close the book on this entire controversy within the church. There are merely two footnotes to be added to the story, emerging from church councils in 1274 and 1439. In the Council of Lyons in 1274 it was stated that after death the soul goes promptly either to heaven or to hell. On the Day of Judgment all will stand before the tribunal of Christ with their bodies to render account of what they have done. The Council of Florence of 1439 uses almost the same wording to describe the swift passage of the soul either to heaven or to hell. Implicit in both of these councils is the assumption that the soul does not again venture into physical bodies.
5. Origen’s Theology on Human Pre-Existence
Origen was a champion for the doctrine of pre-existence. Even if we didn’t have any references by Origen concerning the subject of reincarnation, hisbelief in pre-existence alone shows that he was a believer in reincarnation. The reason is because all of his other beliefs cannot be true without reincarnation. His other beliefs would be impossible without the assumption of reincarnation to be a fact. His beliefs in the fall of souls, pre-existence, the divinity of the soul, and universal salvation are Neo-Platonic doctrines that, without the tie that binds them together (reincarnation), his theology is not only impossible, it is irrational, illogical, and ridiculous. We don’t need any quotes from Origen concerning reincarnation. Everything he has written, in context, demonstrates his clear stance on this subject. The Church didn’t fight so hard to get rid of pre-existence for nothing. They knew that pre-existence implied reincarnation because they are virtually the same concept. And because the Church destroyed the Origenists and their texts, the rest of orthodox theology, in my humble opinion, is ridiculous and dishonoring to God.
Origen taught that the pre-existence of souls can be found in both the Old and New Testaments in the story of Esau and Jacob and how God loved Jacob and hated Esau before they were even born (Malachi 1:2-3 and Romans 9:11-24).
“So the one nature of every soul being in the hands of God, and, so to speak, there being but one collection of reasoning entities, certain causes of more ancient date led to some of these being made vessels unto honor, and others vessels unto dishonor.” (Origen, de Principiis, Bk. III, ch. i)
The phrase “certain causes of more ancient date,” is a clear and distinct reference to the pre-existence of Esau and Jacob whose past life karma(and karma implies reincarnation) caused Jacob to be a “vessel created for honor” and Esau a “vessel created for dishonor” (i.e. destruction).”
“Those who maintain that everything in the world is under the rule of the divine foresight, as is also our own belief, can give no other reply, it seems to me, in order to show that no shadow of injustice can rest upon the divine government of the world than by holding that there were certain exact causes of prior existence by consequence of which all souls before their birth in the present body contracted a certain amount of guilt in their reasoning nature, or perhaps by the actions, on account of which they have been condemned by the divine providence to be placed in their present life … Even in such a case we must admit that there sometimes existed certain causes preceding the present bodily birth.” (Origen, de Principiis, Bk. III, ch. iii, sec. 5)
These last two citations from Origen are taken from Rufinus‘ Latin translation. Rufinus took great liberties in watering down Origen’s writings to fit orthodoxy.
“Rational creatures had also a similar beginning. Indeed, if they had a beginning such as the end for which they hope, they must have unquestionably existed from the very beginning of the ages which are not seen … If this be so, then of course there has been a descent from a higher to a lower condition not only by those souls who have deserved this change by the variety of their inner movements of consciousness, but also by those who in order to serve the world, came down from the higher and invisible spheres to these lower and visible ones.” (Origen, de Principiis, Bk. III, ch. v, sec.4)
“We see that not then for the first time did Divinity begin its work when it made this visible world: but just as after the destruction of this visible world there will be another world, its product, so also we believe that other worlds existed before the present came into being.” (Origen, de Principiis, Bk. III, ch. iii, sec.3)
“Every one, therefore, of the souls descending to the Earth, is strictly following his merits, or according to the position which he formerly occupied, is destined to be returned to this world in a different country or among a different nation, or in a different sphere of existence on Earth, or afflicted with infirmities of another kind, or mayhap to be the children of religious parents or of parents who are not religious: so that of course it may sometimes happen that a Hebrew will be born among the Syrians, or an unfortunate Egyptian may be born in Judea.” (Origen, de Principiis, Bk. IV, ch. i, sec. 23)
The following are quotes from Origen’s writings and supporting texts that display his reincarnational beliefs. Origen wrote that the resurrection of corpses was preached in Churches for the “simpler class of believers” and for the ears of the “common people” and that Paul “wished to conceal the secret meaning” of 1 Corinthians 15:35-58:
“God, then, gives to each thing its own body as He pleases… the Scripture teaching us at great length the difference between that which is, as it were, “sown,” and that which is, as it were, “raised” from it in these words: “It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” And let him who has the capacity understand the meaning of the words: “As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” And although the apostle wished to conceal the secret meaning of the passage, which was not adapted to the simpler class of believers, and to the understanding of the common people, who are led by their faith to enter on a better course of life, he was nevertheless obliged afterwards to say (in order that we might not misapprehend his meaning), after “Let us bear the image of the heavenly,” these words also: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.” (Origen, Against Celsus 5.19)
When Clement states that the Mysteries of God are never written, but rather, only spoken between teacher and disciple, the ultimate meaning of this great truth is only comprehended when one arrives at the level where they realize that the true oral teaching is that which is whispered in the ear when a consecrated disciple is able to come into the presence of the True Prophet (i.e., the indwelling Son of God).
Among the mysteries that were concealed from the masses was the doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul. In “The True Word“, Celsus accused the early Church of teaching the masses the doctrine of heaven and hell while teaching the elect the doctrine of reincarnation. Origen does not refute Celsus, but rather explains that:
“But on these subjects much and that of a mystical kind, might be said; in keeping with which is the following: It is good to keep close the secret of a king, (Tobit 12:7), in order that the doctrine of the entrance of souls into bodies, not, however, that of the transmigration from one body into another, may not be thrown before the common understanding, nor what is holy given to the dogs, nor pearls be cast before swine. For such a procedure would be impious, being equivalent to a betrayal of the mysterious declaration of God’s Wisdom.” (Origen, Against Celsus)
The key verse is: “It is good to keep secret the entrance of souls into bodies, but not the transmigration from one body into another.”
Here, Origen openly affirms the doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul, as well as the doctrine of transmigration (reincarnation), are openly revealed to Christians who have been purified and matured sufficiently to comprehend the mysteries of God, while the knowledge of why the soul even came into this world is kept secret, and is not openly revealed to carnal minds. In explanation, Origen quotes scripture and writes:
“It is good to keep close the secret of a king, and affirms that certain mysteries only belong to the spiritually mature in the word, and that one should not permit what is holy given to the dogs, nor pearls be cast before swine.” (Origen, Against Celsus)
6. Origen’s Theology on Reincarnation
Perhaps the most well-known quote by Origen concerning his belief in reincarnation is the following quote:
“The soul has neither beginning nor end. [They] come into this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of their previous lives.” (Origen, de Principiis)
In view of this very well defined Biblical doctrine, isn’t this the same exact message that Jesus mentions in his Parable of the Talents?:
“Again, it [the kingdom of heaven] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability.” (Matthew 25:14-30)
Origen wrote in On First Principles, Chap V, that he believed that the wicked will be resurrected with “dark and black bodies” according to their previous state of spiritual darkness and spiritual ignorance. Those who have lived a holy life will receive bright and glorious bodies. He then explains further in a passage that was removed from his work, but preserved by Jerome:
Origen writes: “Perhaps, however, the ‘gloom and darkness’ should be taken to mean this coarse and earthly body, through which at the end of the world each man that must pass into another world will receive the beginnings of a fresh birth.” (G. W. Butterworth, ed., Origen: On First Principles, (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1973), Intro., p. xxiii.)
The passage of Origen’s view on resurrection, along with Jerome’s comment of it, shows that he is referring to holy people reincarnating to another world at the end of the age (which is an astrological reference, not the end of the world). But concerning the “dark” person (spiritually ignorant) that Origen refers to had a past life in the body before the end of the age. After the end of the age, if there is more spiritual ignorance within the individual, he is incarnated again to a different world. Origen is talking about more than one incarnations and that is reincarnation. Jerome certainly knew what he meant.
Gregory of Nyssa preserved the following writing from Origen:
“By some inclination toward evil, certain souls … come into bodies, first of men; then through their association with the irrational passions, after the allotted span of human life, they are changed into beasts, from which they sink to the level of plants. From this condition they rise again through the same stages and are restored to their heavenly place.” (G. W. Butterworth, On First Principles, Book I, Chapter VIII (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), p. 73)
The above writing by Origen clearly describes not only pre-existence, but multiple incarnations as well.
“I am an angel of God; one of the first order of spirits. Men call me Jacob, but my true name, which God has given me, is Israel.” (Orat. Joseph. apud ORIG). Many of the Jewish doctors have believed that the souls of Adam, Abraham, and Phineas, have successively animated the great men of their nation. Philo says that the air is full of spirits, and that some, through their natural propensity, join themselves to bodies; and that others have an aversion from such a union.” (Origen, Commentary on John, Book II)
Origen also discussed reincarnation with the skeptic Celsus:
“Is it not more in conformity with reason that every soul for certain mysterious reasons (I speak now according to the opinion of Pythagoras and Plato and Empedocles, whom Celsus frequently names) is introduced into a body, and introduced according to its deserts and former actions? … Is it not rational that souls should be introduced into bodies, in accordance with their merits and previous deeds, and that those who have used their bodies in doing the utmost possible good should have a right to bodies endowed with qualities superior to the bodies of others? … The soul, which is immaterial and invisible in its nature, exists in no material place without having a body suited to the nature of that place; accordingly, it at one time puts off one body, which was necessary before, but which is no longer adequate in its changed state, and it exchanges it for a second.” (Origen, Contra Celsus, Book I., chap. XXXII)
Even with the obvious attempt by a pious scribe to qualify Origen’s clear statement of reincarnation with “I speak now…etc.,” it is clear that Origen was discussing his own belief in reincarnation by referring to multiple incarnations.
In the next passage, Origen refers to “fallen souls” (which alone shows his Neo-Platonic and Gnostic reincarnation leanings) and then discusses how they have multiple incarnations:
“It can be shown that an incorporeal and reasonable being has life in itself independently of the body… then it is beyond a doubt bodies are only of secondary importance and arise from time to time to meet the varying conditions of reasonable creatures. Those who require bodies are clothed with them, and contrariwise, when fallen souls have lifted themselves up to better things their bodies are once more annihilated. They are ever vanishing and ever reappearing.” (Letter CXXIV, to Avitus)
Origen describes four types of bodies: (1) ethereal, (2) aereal, (3) gross, and (4) fleshly. This doctrine of the descent of the soul into four lower bodies is preeminently Platonic and has much in common with the doctrines of the various schools of Christian Gnostics. Origen teaches that God created matter to accommodate the fallen souls so that they could be restored to their spiritual state.
The divisive result of Origen’s doctrine on the reincarnation of men, angels and demons cannot be overestimated. The idea of fallen angels walking the Earth as humans paying their “karmic debts” for past life sins is the key to Origen’s doctrine of universal salvation – even the salvation of the devil.
Origen and early Christians believed in a higher form of “metempsychosis“, a form of reincarnation which rejected the possibility of humans reincarnating as animals (i.e., transmigration.) It is this confusion that anti-reincarnationalists have today which leads them to falsely conclude that Origen’s theology did not include reincarnation.
Origen’s writings show that the controversy was not about reincarnation (a higher form of metempsychosis) but about Plato’s doctrine of transmigration:
“And the expulsion of the man and woman from paradise, and their being clothed with tunics of skins (which God, because of the transgression of men, made for those who had sinned), contain a certain secret and mystical doctrine (far transcending that of Plato) of the souls losing its wings, and being borne downwards to Earth, until it can lay hold of some stable resting-place.” (Contra Celsus, Book IV., chap. XL)
Origen, who had obviously been initiated in the Eleusinian Mysteries, does not teach transmigration of the souls of human beings into the bodies of beasts:
“We think that those views are by no means to be accepted which some people most unnecessarily advance and support, to the effect that rational souls can reach such a pitch of abasement that they forget their rational nature and high dignity and sink into the bodies of irrational beasts, either large or small.” (Origen, de Principiis, Bk. I, ch. viii, sec.3)
Origen regarded the Biblical “fall” as separating souls from God. He taught that redemption required the active application of free will to earn reunion with God and, in the interim, souls could go around again and again, occupying human bodies as one might put on and put off clothes until salvation was achieved.
In his chapter on “Loss or Falling Away,” Origen explains that the fall necessitated the use of bodies of various levels of density. He writes:
“All rational creatures who are incorporeal and invisible, if they become negligent, gradually sink to a lower level and take for themselves bodies suitable to the regions into which they descend; that is to say, first ethereal bodies, and then aereal. And when they reach the neighborhood of the Earth they are enclosed in grosser bodies, and last of all are tied to human flesh.” (G. W. Butterworth, ed., Origen: On First Principles, (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1973), p. 40- 41.)
7. Other Church Fathers on Reincarnation
Other prominent figures in the Church affirmed that reincarnation was a part of early Christian doctrine:
Rufinus assured Anastasius in a letter that belief in repeated lives was a matter of common knowledge among the church fathers and had always been imparted to the initiated as an ancient tradition. (Reincarnation and Karma, Pfullingen 1962, p. 41)
According to Jerome (340-420 AD):
“The transmigrations (reincarnation) of souls was taught for a long time among the early Christians as an esoteric and traditional doctrine which was to be divulged to only a small number of the elect.” (Jerome, Letter to Demetrias)
“The resurrection is no other thing than ‘the re-constitution of our nature in its original form'”, and states that there will come a time “when the complete whole of our race shall have been perfectedfrom the first man to the last.” (On the Soul and Resurrection)
“And what do those suffer who are judged to be unworthy of this spectacle? said he. They are imprisoned in the bodies of certain wild beasts, and this is their punishment.” (Dialogue with Trypho)
Jerome wrote in a letter to Demetrius that among the early Christians, the doctrine of reincarnation had been passed on to the elect, as an occult tradition. (Reincarnation and Karma, Pfullingen 1962, p. 41)
According to Origen, Basilides (117-138 AD) held a doctrine of reincarnation that was identical to the Pythagorean belief that human souls may take on the bodies of animals in future lives (i.e. transmigration). (Basilides, “Fragment F,” in Layton, Gnostic Scriptures, p. 439.)
8. The Christian Neo-Platonist Clement of Alexandria
The famous Neoplatonic School was founded to restore the Platonic philosophy and theology. Reincarnation was accepted by the Christian Neoplatonists in Alexandria, Egypt.
In a passage surviving only with Eusebius, he quotes Clement in “Institutions, Book 6”:
“…preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John and Paul.” (Miscellanies, Book I, chap.1)
Clement on the divine mysteries of Jesus:
“The Lord … allowed us to communicate of those divine Mysteries, and of that holy light, to those who are able to receive them …. The Mysteries are delivered mystically, that what is spoken may be in the mouth of the speaker; rather not in his voice, but in his understanding…” (Miscellanies, Book I, chap.1)
9. Biblical Support for Pre-Existence
The Church of Rome in declaring Origen and his teachings heresy declared:
“If anyone assert the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema.” (Anathema I, 5th Ecumenical Council)
The whole idea of reincarnation is connected inextricably with the principle of pre-existence, and of the restoration of the soul to its former condition after the death of the body. Below is a Bible verse supporting pre-existence:
“He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in his sight and love.” (Ephesians 1:4)
The above verse reveals God choosing people before the world existed and before they could have physically been born. This suggests the people the verse is referring to, must have existed somewhere even if only in the Mind of God. Such an existence does not rule out the pre-existence of souls. After all, there is likely no difference between a soul and a thought in the Mind of God. Here is another Bible verse on pre-existence:
“Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad – in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls – she was told, The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written: Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'” (Romans 9:11-13)
This verse shows that God loved Jacob and hated Esau before they were even born. Again, even if it was merely in the Mind of God, it would still be pre-existence. Below is an excellent verse in the Old Testament on pre-existence:
“The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the Earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the Earth. Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.” (Proverbs 8:22-31)
In the above passage, Solomon states that when the Earth was made he was present, and that, long before he could have been born as Solomon, his delights were in the habitable parts of Earth with the sons of men.
Many Christians have the misconception that the concept of reincarnation means that, at the time of death, people reincarnate immediately and do not have any experiences in the spirit realms in between Earth lives. Near-death experiences prove this misconception to be untrue. Because time does not exist in the spirit world, a person can spend “eons of time” in the spirit realms, if they wish to do so, and have the freedom to decide if they want to reincarnate or not. The ultimate goal of reincarnation is to learn enough lessons from Earth lives that reincarnation is no longer necessary.
But does it make any difference whether or not one believes in reincarnation? The doctrine of reincarnation, like any dogmatic tenet, is not very important when it comes to living a spiritual life. Debating about whether reincarnation exists or not is the equivalent of debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. There is probably no special spiritual advantage for a person to believe or not believe in reincarnation. However, reincarnation does provide a reasonable theory to account for the apparent absurdities in the dispensation of divine justice.
Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s meticulous and impressive research into the history of reincarnation in the early Christian movement provides the seeker of truth a valid reason to believe that the early Church officials decided to halt the long history of reincarnation in the early Christian sects in order to further their own political purposes. The following information comes from my favorite book by Ms. Prophet, Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianity.
A Libyan priest named Arius stood up and posed the following simple question:
“If the Father begat the Son, he that was begotten had a beginning of existence.”
In other words, if the Father is the parent of the Son, then didn’t the Son have a beginning?
Apparently, no one had put it this way before. For many bishops, Arius spoke heresy when he said that the Son had a beginning. A debate erupted, led by Arius on the one side and by Alexander and his deacon Athanasius on the other. Athanasius became the Church’s lead fighter in a struggle that lasted his entire life.
In 320 A.D., Alexander held a Council of Alexandria to condemn the errors of Arius. But this did not stop the controversy. The Church had nearly split over the issue when the controversy reached the ears of the Roman emperor Constantine. He decided to resolve it himself in a move that permanently changed the course of Christianity.
The orthodox accused the Arians of attempting to lower the Son by saying he had a beginning. But, in fact, the Arians gave him an exalted position, honoring him as “first among creatures.” Arius described the Son as one who became “perfect God, only begotten and unchangeable,” but also argued that he had an origin.
If he was a human who became God’s Son, then that implied that other humans could also become Sons of God. This idea was unacceptable to the orthodox, hence their insistence that Jesus had always been God and was entirely different from all created beings. As we shall see, the Church’s theological position was, in part, dictated by its political needs. The Arian position had the potential to erode the authority of the Church since it implied that the soul did not need the Church to achieve salvation.
The outcome of the Arian controversy was crucial to the Church’s position on both reincarnation and the soul’s opportunity to become one with God. Earlier, the Church decided that the human soul is not now and never has been a part of God. Instead it belongs to the material world and is separated from God by a great chasm.
Rejecting the idea that the soul is immortal and spiritual, which was a part of Christian thought at the time of Clement of Alexandria and Origen, the Fathers developed the concept of “creatio ex nihilo“, creation out of nothing. If the soul were not a part of God, the orthodox theologians reasoned, it could not have been created out of his essence.
The doctrine persists to this day. By denying man’s divine origin and potential, the doctrine of creation out of nothing rules out both pre-existence and reincarnation. Once the Church adopted the doctrine, it was only a matter of time before it rejected both Origenism and Arianism. In fact, the Arian controversy was only one salvo in the battle to eradicate the mystical tradition Origen represented.
Origen and his predecessor, Clement of Alexandria, lived in a Platonist world. For them it was a given that there is an invisible spiritual world which is permanent and a visible material world that is changeable. The soul belongs to the spiritual world, while the body belongs to the material world.
In the Platonists’ view, the world and everything in it is not created but emanates from God, the One. Souls come from the Divine Mind, and even when they are encased in bodily form, they retain their link to the Source.
Clement tells us that humanity is “of celestial birth, being a plant of heavenly origin.” Origen taught that man, having been made after the “image and likeness of God,” has “a kind of blood-relationship with God.”
While Clement and Origen were teaching in Alexandria, another group of Fathers was developing a counter-theology. They rejected the Greek concept of the soul in favor of a new and unheard of idea: The soul is not a part of the spiritual world at all; but, like the body, it is part of the mutable material world.
They based their theology on the changeability of the soul. How could the soul be divine and immortal, they asked, if it is capable of changing, falling and sinning? Because it is capable of change, they reasoned, it cannot be like God, who is unchangeable.
Origen took up the problem of the soul’s changeability but came up with a different solution. He suggested that the soul was created immortal and that even though it fell (for which he suggests various reasons), it still has the power to restore itself to its original state.
For him the soul is poised between spirit and matter and can choose union with either:
“The will of this soul is something intermediate between the flesh and the spirit, undoubtedly serving and obeying one of the two, whichever it has chosen to obey.” If the soul chooses to join with spirit, Origen wrote, “the spirit will become one with it.”
This new theology, which linked the soul with the body, led to the ruling out of pre-existence. If the soul is material and not spiritual, then it cannot have existed before the body. As Gregory of Nyssa wrote:
“Neither does the soul exist before the body, nor the body apart from the soul, but … there is only a single origin for both of them.”
When is the soul created then? The Fathers came up with an improbable answer: at the same time as the body – at conception. “God is daily making souls,” wrote Church Father Jerome. If souls and bodies are created at the same time, both pre-existence and reincarnation are out of the question since they imply that souls exist before bodies and can be attached to different bodies in succession.
The Church still teaches the soul is created at the same time as the body and therefore the soul and the body are a unit.
This kind of thinking led straight to the Arian controversy. Now that the Church had denied that the soul pre-exists the body and that it belongs to the spiritual world, it also denied that souls, bodies and the created world emanated from God.
2. The Arian Controversy
When Arius asked whether the Son had a beginning, he was, in effect, pointing out a fundamental flaw in that doctrine. The doctrine did not clarify the nature of Christ. So he was asking: If there is an abyss between Creator and creation, where does Christ belong? Was he created out of nothing like the rest of the creatures? Or was he part of God? If so, then how and why did he take on human form?
The Church tells us that the Arian controversy was a struggle against blasphemers who said Christ was not God. But the crucial issue in the debate was: How is humanity saved – through emulating Jesus or through worshiping him?
The Arians claimed that Jesus became God’s Son and thereby demonstrated a universal principle that all created beings can follow. But the Orthodox Church said that he had always been God’s Son, was of the same essence as God (and therefore was God) and could not be imitated by mere creatures, who lack God’s essence. Salvation could come only by accessing God’s grace via the Church.
The Orthodox Church, by creating a gulf between Jesus and the rest of us, denied that we could become Sons in the same way he did. The reason why the Church had such a hard time seeing Jesus’ humanity was that they could not understand how anyone could be human and divine at the same time. Either Jesus was human (and therefore changeable) or he was divine (and therefore unchangeable).
The orthodox vision of Jesus as God is based in part on a misunderstanding of the Gospel of John. John tells us:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Later John tells us the “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”
The orthodox concluded from these passages that Jesus Christ is God, the Word, made flesh.
What they didn’t understand was that when John called Jesus “the Word,” he was referring to the Greek tradition of the Logos. When John tells us that the Word created everything, he uses the Greek term for Word – “Logos.” In Greek thought, Logos describes the part of God that acts in the world. Philo called the Logos “God’s Likeness, by whom the whole cosmos was fashioned.” Origen called it the soul that holds the universe together.
Philo believed that great human beings like Moses could personify the Logos. Thus, when John writes that Jesus is the Logos, he does not mean that the man Jesus has always been God the Logos. What John is telling us is that Jesus the man became the Logos, the Christ.
Some early theologians believed that everyone has that opportunity. Clement tells us that each human has the “image of the Word (Logos)” within him and that it is for this reason that Genesis says that humanity is made “in the image and likeness of God.”
The Logos, then, is the spark of divinity, the seed of Christ, that is within our hearts. Apparently the orthodox either rejected or ignored this concept.
We should understand that Jesus became the Logos just as he became the Christ. But that didn’t mean he was the only one who could ever do it. Jesus explained this mystery when he broke the bread at the Last Supper. He took a single loaf, symbolizing the one Logos, the one Christ, and broke it and said, “This is my body, which is broken for you.”
He was teaching the disciples that there is one absolute God and one Universal Christ, or Logos, but that the body of that Universal Christ can be broken and each piece will still retain all the qualities of the whole. He was telling them that the seed of Christ was within them, that he had come to quicken it and that the Christ was not diminished no matter how many times his body was broken. The smallest fragment of God, Logos, or Christ, contains the entire nature of Christ’s divinity – which, to this day, he would make our own.
The orthodox misunderstood Jesus’ teaching because they were unable to accept the reality that each human being has both a human and a divine nature and the potential to become wholly divine. They didn’t understand the human and the divine in Jesus and therefore they could not understand the human and the divine within themselves. Having seen the weakness of human nature, they thought they had to deny the divine nature that occasionally flashes forth even in the lowliest of human beings.
The Church did not understand (or could not admit) that Jesus came to demonstrate the process by which the human nature is transformed into the divine. But Origen had found it easy to explain:
He believed that the human and divine natures can be woven together day by day. He tells us that in Jesus “the divine and human nature began to interpenetrate in such a way that the human nature, by its communion with the divine, would itself become divine.” Origen tells us that the option for the transformation of humanity into divinity is available not just for Jesus but for “all who take up in faith the life which Jesus taught.”
Origen did not hesitate to describe the relationship of human beings to the Son. He believed that we contain the same essence as the Father and the Son:
“We, therefore, having been made according to the image, have the Son, the original, as the truth of the noble qualities that are within us. And what we are to the Son, such is the Son to the Father, who is the truth.”
Since we have the noble qualities of the Son within us, we can undergo the process of divinization (at-onement with God).
To the Arians, the divinization process was essential to salvation; to the orthodox, it was heresy. In 324 A.D., the Roman emperor Constantine, who had embraced Christianity twelve years earlier, entered the Arian controversy. He wrote a letter to Arius and Bishop Alexander urging them to reconcile their differences, and he sent Bishop Hosius of Corduba to Alexandria to deliver it. But his letter could not calm the storm that raged over the nature of God – and man. Constantine realized that he would have to do more if he wanted to resolve the impasse.
3. The Council of Nicea
In June, 325 A.D., the Council of Nicea opened and continued for two months, with Constantine attending. The bishops modified an existing creed to fit their purposes. The creed, with some changes made at a later fourth century council, is still given today in many churches. The Nicene Creed, as it came to be called, takes elaborate care by repeating several redundancies to identify the Son with the Father rather than with the creation:
“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made … Who … was incarnate and was made human …”
Only two bishops, along with Arius, refused to sign the creed. Constantine banished them from the empire, while the other bishops went on to celebrate their unity in a great feast at the imperial palace.
The creed is much more than an affirmation of Jesus’ divinity. It is also an affirmation of our separation from God and Christ. It takes great pains to describe Jesus as God in order to deny that he is part of God’s creation. He is “begotten, not made,” therefore totally separate from us, the created beings. As scholar George Leonard Prestige writes, the Nicene Creed’s description of Jesus tells us “that the Son of God bears no resemblance to the … creatures.”
The description of Jesus as the only Son of God is carried forward in the Apostles’ Creed, which is used in many Protestant churches today. It reads: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty … I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.” But even that language – calling Jesus God’s only Son – denies that we can ever attain the sonship that Jesus did.
Christians may be interested to know that many scholars analyzing the Bible now believe that Jesus never claimed to be the only Son of God. This was a later development based on a misinterpretation of the Gospel of John.
There is further evidence to suggest that Jesus believed all people could achieve the goal of becoming Sons of God. But the churches, by retaining these creeds, remain in bondage to Constantine and his three hundred bishops.
Some of the bishops who attended the council were uncomfortable with the council’s definition of the Son and thought they might have gone too far. But the emperor, in a letter sent to the bishops who were not in attendance at Nicea, required that they accept “this truly divine injunction.”
Constantine said that since the council’s decision had been “determined in the holy assemblies of the bishops,” the Church officials must regard it as “indicative of the divine will.”
The Roman god Constantine had spoken. Clearly, he had concluded that the orthodox position was more conducive to a strong and unified Church than the Arian position and that it therefore must be upheld.
Constantine also took the opportunity to inaugurate the first systematic government persecution of dissident Christians. He issued an edict against “heretics,” calling them “haters and enemies of truth and life, in league with destruction.”
Even though he had begun his reign with an edict of religious toleration, he now forbade the heretics (mostly Arians) to assemble in any public or private place, including private homes, and ordered that they be deprived of “every gathering point for [their] superstitious meetings,” including “all the houses of prayer.” These were to be given to the orthodox Church.
The heretical teachers were forced to flee, and many of their students were coerced back into the orthodox fold. The emperor also ordered a search for their books, which were to be confiscated and destroyed. Hiding the works of Arius carried a severe penalty – the death sentence.
Nicea, nevertheless, marked the beginning of the end of the concepts of both pre-existence, reincarnation, and salvation through union with God in Christian doctrine. It took another two hundred years for the ideas to be expunged.
But Constantine had given the Church the tools with which to do it when he molded Christianity in his own image and made Jesus the only Son of God. From now on, the Church would become representative of a capricious and autocratic God – a God who was not unlike Constantine and other Roman emperors.
Tertullian, a stanch anti-Origenian and a father of the Church, had this to say about those who believed in reincarnation and not the resurrection of the dead:
“What a panorama of spectacle on that day [the Resurrection]! What sight should I turn to first to laugh and applaud? … Wise philosophers, blushing before their students as they burn together, the followers to whom they taught that the world is no concern of God’s, whom they assured that either they had no souls at all or that what souls they had would never return to their former bodies? These are things of greater delight, I believe, than a circus, both kinds of theater, and any stadium.”
Tertullian was a great influence in having so-called “heretics” put to death.
4. The Fifth General Council
After Constantine and Nicea, Origen’s writings had continued to be popular among those seeking clarification about the nature of Christ, the destiny of the soul and the manner of the resurrection. Some of the more educated monks had taken Origen’s ideas and were using them in mystical practices with the aim of becoming one with God.
Toward the end of the fourth century, orthodox theologians again began to attack Origen. Their chief areas of difficulty with Origen’s thought were his teachings on the nature of God and Christ, the resurrection and the pre-existence of the soul.
Their criticisms, which were often based on ignorance and an inadequate understanding, found an audience in high places and led to the Church’s rejection of Origenism and reincarnation. The Church’s need to appeal to the uneducated masses prevailed over Origen’s coolheaded logic.
The bishop of Cyprus, Epiphanius, claimed that Origen denied the resurrection of the flesh. However, as scholar Jon Dechow has demonstrated, Epiphanius neither understood nor dealt with Origen’s ideas. Nevertheless, he was able to convince the Church that Origen’s ideas were incompatible with the merging literalist theology. On the basis of Ephiphanius’ writings, Origenism would be finally condemned a century and a half later.
The Origenist controversy spread to monasteries in the Egyptian desert, especially at Nitria, home to about five thousand monks. There were two kinds of monks in Egypt – the simple and uneducated, who composed the majority, and the Origenists, an educated minority.
The controversy solidified around the question of whether God had a body that could be seen and touched. The simple monks believed that he did. But the Origenists thought that God was invisible and transcendent. The simple monks could not fathom Origen’s mystical speculations on the nature of God.
In 399 A.D., Bishop Theophilus wrote a letter defending the Origenist position. At this, the simple monks flocked to Alexandria, rioting in the streets and even threatening to kill Theophilus.
The bishop quickly reversed himself, telling the monks that he could now see that God did indeed have a body: “In seeing you, I behold the face of God.” Theophilus’ sudden switch was the catalyst for a series of events that led to the condemnation of Origen and the burning of the Nitrian monastery.
Under Theodosius, Christians, who had been persecuted for so many years, now became the persecutors. God made in man’s image proved to be an intolerant one. The orthodox Christians practiced sanctions and violence against all heretics (including Gnostics and Origenists), pagans and Jews. In this climate, it became dangerous to profess the ideas of innate divinity and the pursuit of union with God.
It may have been during the reign of Theodosius that the Gnostic Nag Hammadi manuscripts were buried – perhaps by Origenist monks. For while the Origenist monks were not openly Gnostic, they would have been sympathetic to the Gnostic viewpoint and may have hidden the books after they became too hot to handle.
The Origenist monks of the desert did not accept Bishop Theophilus’ condemnations. They continued to practice their beliefs in Palestine into the sixth century until a series of events drove Origenism underground for good.
Justinian (ruled 527-565 A.D.) was the most able emperor since Constantine – and the most active in meddling with Christian theology. Justinian issued edicts that he expected the Church to rubber-stamp, appointed bishops and even imprisoned the pope.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire at the end of the fifth century, Constantinople remained the capital of the Eastern, or Byzantine, Empire. The story of how Origenism ultimately came to be rejected involves the kind of labyrinthine power plays that the imperial court became famous for.
Around 543 A.D., Justinian seems to have taken the side of the anti-Origenists since he issued an edict condemning ten principles of Origenism, including pre-existence. It declared “anathema to Origen … and to whomsoever there is who thinks thus.” In other words, Origen and anyone who believes in these propositions would be eternally damned. A local council at Constantinople ratified the edict, which all bishops were required to sign.
In 553 A.D., Justinian convoked the Fifth General Council of the Church to discuss the controversy over the so-called “Three Chapters.” These were writings of three Originist theologians whose views bordered on the heretical. Justinian wanted the writings to be condemned and he expected the council to oblige him.
He had been trying to coerce the pope into agreeing with him since 545 A.D. He had essentially arrested the pope in Rome and brought him to Constantinople, where he held him for four years. When the pope escaped and later refused to attend the council, Justinian went ahead and convened it without him.
This council produced fourteen new anathemas against the authors of the Three Chapters and other Christian theologians. The eleventh anathema included Origen’s name in a list of heretics.
The first anathema reads:
“If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema.” (“Restoration” means the return of the soul to union with God. Origenists believed that this took place through a path of reincarnation.)
It would seem that the death blow had been struck against Origenism and reincarnation in Christianity.
After the council, the Origenist monks were expelled from their Palestinian monastery, some bishops were deposed and once again Origen’s writings were destroyed. The anti-Origenist monks had won. The emperor had come down firmly on their side.
In theory, it would seem that the missing papal approval of the anathemas leaves a doctrinal loophole for the belief in reincarnation among all Christians today. But since the Church accepted the anathemas in practice, the result of the council was to end belief in reincarnation in orthodox Christianity.
In any case, the argument is moot. Sooner or later the Church probably would have forbade the beliefs. When the Church codified its denial of the divine origin of the soul (at Nicea in 325 A.D.), it started a chain reaction that led directly to the curse on Origen.
Church councils notwithstanding, mystics in the Church continued to practice divinization. They followed Origen’s ideas, still seeking union with God.
But the Christian mystics were continually dogged by charges of heresy. At the same time as the Church was rejecting reincarnation, it was accepting original sin, a doctrine that made it even more difficult for mystics to practice.
With the condemnation of Origen, so much that is implied in reincarnation was officially stigmatized as heresy that the possibility of a direct confrontation with this belief was effectively removed from the church. In dismissing Origen from its midst, the church only indirectly addressed itself to the issue of reincarnation. The encounter with Origenism did, however, draw decisive lines in the matter of pre-existence, the resurrection of the dead, and the relationship between body and soul. What an examination of Origen and the church does achieve, however, is to show where the reincarnationist will come into collision with the posture of orthodoxy. The extent to which he may wish to retreat from such a collision is of course a matter of personal conscience.
With the Council of 553 A.D. one can just about close the book on this entire controversy within the church. There are merely two footnotes to be added to the story, emerging from church councils in 1274 and 1439 A.D. In the Council of Lyons, in 1274 A.D., it was stated that after death the soul goes promptly either to heaven or to hell. On the Day of Judgment, all will stand before the tribunal of Christ with their bodies to render account of what they have done. The Council of Florence of 1439 A.D. uses almost the same wording to describe the swift passage of the soul either to heaven or to hell. Implicit in both of these councils is the assumption that the soul does not again venture into physical bodies.
The disciples’ reply was that people were saying he was one of the Old Testament prophets such as Elijah or Jeremiah. The nature of Jesus’ question, and his disciples’ reply, reveals the question was assumed to be one about who the people were saying Jesus was in a past life. His disciples knew this and so they gave a reincarnational answer. And Jesus made no comment against the popular belief in reincarnation and his question sealed it with his approval. Belief in reincarnation during the time of Jesus was almost universal including in all the so-called pagan religions. Nowhere in the New Testament is reincarnation denied, disputed or questioned. If reincarnation was a false doctrine it would almost certainly have been denounced in the same harshest terms as idolatry, sorcery and evil throughout the entire Bible. Instead, as we have seen, reincarnation is referenced throughout the Bible and taught by Jesus.
More evidence of reincarnation as a teaching of Jesus can be found in the belief systems of the early Judeo-Christians. One group, known as the Ebionites, believed the Holy Spirit had incarnated first as Adam and later as Jesus. Other early Judeo-Christians, such as the Elkasaites and Nazarenes, also believed this. In the Clementine Homilies, an early Judeo-Christian document, also taught of Jesus having many previous incarnations. The Jewish sect of Samaritans in Jesus’ day, believed the spirit of Adam had reincarnated as Seth, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Even today, Orthodox Judaism teaches reincarnation (gilgul).
As was discussed in Part 4 of this article, all human beings are participating in an evolving, reincarnational, perfecting process toward sanctification and holiness. The Epistle to the Hebrews states that Jesus himself, as a human being, also needed perfecting and it was through his suffering on the cross which accomplished this (Hebrews 2:10, Hebrews 5:9). This implies Jesus himself had enduring the perfecting process of past lives, and the biblical evidence shows this. One of those past lives is King David (1000 BC) who was anointed the king of Israel and Judah. David conquered Jerusalem, took the Ark of the Covenant into the city, and established the Kingdom there. David is mentioned in the prophetic Hebrew literature as an ideal king and Messiah. The Hebrew word translated as “Messiah” comes from the Hebrew noun meaning “the anointed one.” In the First Book of Samuel, the young shepherd David is anointed King (“Messiah”) of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1,10-13). In the Second Book of Samuel, the dying King David is called “the anointed (“Messiah”) of the God of Jacob (2 Samuel 23:1). As we will see, the Hebrew Bible is filled with references of David as God’s first Messiah and references of Jesus as the reincarnation of David.
(2) Whose Son is the Messiah?
In Jewish eschatology, the Messiah also refers to a future Jewish king from the Davidic line who will be the king of God’s kingdom on Earth and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age. In Judaism, he is referred to as “Messiah ben David,” which means “Messiah, son of David.” Belief in the eventual coming of a future Messiah is a fundamental part of Judaism and Christianity. The early Church believed the life of David foreshadowed the life of Christ; Bethlehem is the birthplace of both; the shepherd life of David points out Christ the Good Shepherd; the five stones chosen to slay Goliath are typical of the five wounds on Christ; the betrayal by his trusted counselor, Achitophel, and the passage over the Cedron remind us of Christ’s sacred Passion. Many of the Davidic Psalms, as we learn from the New Testament, are clear references to Jesus. In the Gospel of Luke, the archangel Gabriel informs the Virgin Mary she will give birth to Jesus whom God will give the throne of “his father David.”
“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:31–33)
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, ‘What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?‘ ‘The son of David,’ they replied. He said to them, ‘How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’ If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?’ No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.” (Matthew 22:41-45, See also Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44)
In the above verse, Jesus references David’s Psalm 110:
“The Lord says to my lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'” (Psalm 110:1)
Although Jesus doesn’t give us the answer to his question on how the Messiah can be David’s son when David calls him “lord,” we already know the answer. Jesus knew that he himself, as the Messiah, was not a genetic son of David because he was the only “begotten son of God” — the title given to the soul whom God first gave to David:
David as God’s only begotten son:
“I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to me, ‘You are my son, today I have begotten you.'” (Psalm 2:7)
Jesus as God’s only begotten son:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Jesus’ human father, Joseph, was a genetic descendant of David; but because Jesus was supposedly not a genetic descendant of Joseph — and therefore not of David — the only way he could be the “son of David,” David’s “lord,” and God’s “only begotten son” would be if David’s soul was a past life soul of Jesus.
(3) David and Jesus as Firstborn, Seed, Root, Melchizedek, Savior
And as the “only begotten son,” both David and Jesus are said to be the “firstborn” of God:
David as firstborn of God:
“I have found My servant David; with My holy oil I have anointed him, with whom My hand shall be established; also My arm shall strengthen him… He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’ And I will appoint him to be My firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth.” (Psalm 89:20, 26-27)
In the gospels and in Paul’s epistles, the soul (spirit) is metaphorically referred to as a “seed” (See Matthew 13:24-30; 1 Peter 1:23). God promised David that his “seed” and throne would be established forever to all generations suggesting his “seed” would be his reincarnation:
The seed of David established with David:
“I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to my servant David: ‘Your seed I will establish forever, and build up your throne to all generations.'” (Psalm 89:3-4)
The seed of David established with Jesus:
“Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” (John 7:42)
An even more direct reference to the soul of Jesus as a reincarnation of the soul of David is the Messianic title “Root of Jesse.” Jesse was the father of David and a direct descendant from Judah, Jacob, Isaac and Abraham. So “Root of Jesse” is the literal son of Jesse, who is David himself. Isaiah the prophet, whose ministry was active hundreds of years after David’s death from 740 BC to 698 BC, prophesied of a “Branch” which will rise from the “Root of Jesse” (David) of whom “the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him” during a time when “the wolf will live with the lamb.” The apostle Paul confirms that Isaiah’s prophesy applies to Jesus:
Root of Jesse anointed Messiah:
“Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king (David) among his sons.” (1 Samuel 16:1)
Messiah as Branch from “Root of Jesse”:
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit… In that day the Root of Jesse (David) will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:1,10)
Jesus as One from the “Root of Jesse”:
“And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse (David) will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.'” (Romans 15:12)
Again, because Jesus was not the genetic descendant of David, he could only be the “Root of Jesse” if his soul was a reincarnation of David who WAS a genetic descendant of Jesse. And genetic ancestry is critical in Judaism. In the Book of Revelation, Jesus is also referred to as the “Root of David” (Revelation 5:5) which is also a Messianic title. Concerning the “shoot” and “Branch” rising from the “Root of Jesse,” as previously mentioned, the gospels and epistles use the metaphor of a “seed” for the soul (Matthew 13:24-30; 1 Peter 1:23). From the seed arises the “shoot” — the “resurrected” body — which we’ve already made the case is the reincarnated soul in a new body (a fetus). The prophet Jeremiah, whose ministry was active from 626 BC until 587 BC, like the prophet Isaiah, also prophesied of a future “Branch” — another Messianic reference to Jesus — whom God will one day “raise up” (reincarnate) as King to rule after the Jews are brought back to their homeland from all the nations:
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.” (Jeremiah 23:5)
Another connection between David and Jesus is their “Priesthood of Melchizedek.” Melchizedek was a king and priest appearing in the Book of Genesis whose name means “King of Righteousness” — a name echoing kingly and priestly functions. He is the first individual to be given the title of “priest” in the Hebrew Bible. The majority of Chazalic literature attributes the primary character of the following Psalm as King David who was a “righteous king” of Salem (Jerusalem) and, like Melchizedek, had certain priest-like responsibilities:
David as “priest of Melchizedek”:
“The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You (David) are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'” (Psalm 110:4)
Jesus as “priest of Melchizedek”:
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:19-20)
As we will also see, there is also biblical evidence of Jesus, and therefore David, as having a past life as Melchizedek. Other Messianic titles shared between David and Jesus include “King of Israel,” “King of Righteous,” “Servant of the Lord,” and “Shepherd.” In Psalm 22, David also demonstrated his ability as a prophet when describing — in uncanny detail — the experience of Jesus on the cross:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?… (v.1) But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone despised by the people… (v.6) All who see me mock me; they hurl insults… (v.7) ‘He trusts in the Lord,’ they say, ‘let the Lord rescue him’… (v.8) From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God… (v.10) Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me… (v.12) I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint… (v.14) My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me… (v.14) My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth… (v.15) You lay me in the dust of death… (v.15) Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me… (v.16) They pierce my hands and my feet… (v.16) All my bones are on display… (v.17) People stare and gloat over me… (v.17) They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment… (v.18) For he (God) has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one… (v.24) He has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help (v.24) (Psalm 22:1-24)
(4) David Will Be Reincarnated in the Last Days
The prophet Hosea‘s ministry was active just before the destruction of Israel in 722 BC — several hundred years after the death of King David. Hosea prophesied that “in the last days” Israel will be restored and King David himself will rule over them:
“For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their King. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.” (Hosea 3:4-5)
Note that Israel was established as a Jewish nation in 1948, and they are still awaiting their Messiah — as Christians are awaiting the return of Christ. The implication is that Jesus, as the reincarnation of David, will rule at that time.
The prophet Ezekiel (622-570 BC) prophesied incessantly for five years and acted out the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple several hundred years after the death of David. Like Hosea, Ezekiel prophesied the future return of the Jews to Israel and the reincarnation of David himself to rule them:
“I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land… I will place over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.” (Ezekiel 34:13, 23-24)
In Part 6 of this article, in Ezekiel’s “vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones” in Chapter 37, Ezekiel described the entire nation of Israel reincarnating in the last days and King David himself reincarnating to rule over them:
“I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.” (Ezekiel 37:22-24)
The prophet Jeremiah was a contemporary of Ezekiel whose prophetic ministry was active from 626 BC until after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of Solomon’s Temple in 587 BC. During that time, Babylon conquered Jerusalem and began taking Jews as captives to Babylon. Jeremiah prophesied that the Jews would be scattered from their homeland and persecuted; but God would protect them from total destruction and one day return to their homeland. He also prophesied a day when Israel will no longer be enslaved by foreigners and God would “raise up” King David himself to rule over them:
“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess… In that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.'” (Jeremiah 30:1-3; 8-9)
Notice also Jeremiah 30:9 says that King David himself will be “raised up” (reincarnated) sometime after Israel is restored. As previously mentioned, “raised up” is a reference to reincarnation. Notice also that even if we assume a corpse resurrection interpretation, Jeremiah says it will be King David himself who will be “raised up.” From this information, we can conclude that the so-called “Second Coming” of Jesus will actually be the “Third Coming” of King David assuming Jesus and King David were the same soul. See also Jeremiah 23:5-6 and Jeremiah 33:15-16 for more support for the raising of King David.
The prophet Zechariah began his ministry in the second year of Darius, king of Persia (520 BC), about sixteen years after the beginning of the Jews returning to Israel from their Babylonian exile and hundreds of years after the death of David. Jeremiah prophesied of a future time when all the nations of the world will be against Jerusalem causing God to destroy all Israel’s enemies and establish the House of David (the Davidic line of kingship):
“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves… On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zechariah 12:2-3; 8-10)
The “Angel of the Lord” (in Hebrew “Messenger of Yahweh“) is an entity appearing 65 times in the Old Testament on behalf of God (Yahweh). In some instances it is made clear that the reference is to an appearance of Yahweh himself rather than a separate entity acting on his behalf. The Angel of the Lord is identified by the early Church Fathers, such as Justin Martyr and Tertullian, as the pre-incarnate Christ whose appearance is recorded in the Old Testament. Zechariah’s prophecy reveals it will be a reincarnation of the “house of David” (David himself) — the Angel of the Lord (Jesus), the one who was pierced (Jesus), who will save Israel in the latter days.
(5) More Evidence of David as a Past Life of Jesus
The following biblical comparisons show David and Jesus as having the same identity. Both are “the most exalted king of the Earth”:
David as the most exalted king of the Earth:
“I have found My servant David; with My holy oil I have anointed him, with whom My hand shall be established; also My arm shall strengthen him…. He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’ And I will appoint him to be My firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the Earth.” (Psalm 89:20, 26-27)
Jesus as the most exalted king of the Earth:
“On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” (Revelation 19:16)
Both David and Jesus are “the Holy One”, the Messiah:
David as the “Holy One”:
“For our shield belongs to the Lord, and our king to the Holy One of Israel. Then You spoke in a vision to your Holy One, and said: ‘I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found My servant David; with My holy oil I have anointed him“. (Psalm 89:18-20)
Jesus as the “Holy One”:
“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.'” (John 6:68-69) (See also Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34)
David said God would not leave his soul in Sheol, nor allow God’s “Holy One” to see corruption:
“I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. for you will not leave my (David’s) soul in Sheol, nor will You allow your Holy One (Messiah) to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:8-10)
The above Psalm of David corresponds with the Acts of the Apostles where Peter revealed Jesus to be a past life of David during his sermon at Pentecost when he explained how Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of David concerning how God would not leave David’s soul, as Jesus, in Sheol:
“For David says concerning him (Jesus): ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’ Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that his (Jesus’) soul was not left in Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.” (Acts 2:25-31)
In the above verse, Peter equated David mentioning his soul would not be allowed to be left in Hades (Sheol) with Jesus’ soul not allowed to be left in Hades.
In the next verse, James (the brother of Jesus) quotes an end time prophecy in Amos 9:9-12 concerning David’s fallen “tent” being restored as a metaphor for the resurrection of Jesus’ “body” which implies David and Jesus were the same soul:
“The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up. ‘Brothers,’ he said, ‘listen to me. Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ — things known from long ago. It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” (Acts 15:12-19)
In the Bible, the word “tent” is used as a metaphor for the physical body, such as in the New Testament, by both the apostles Paul and Peter for example:
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body.” (2 Peter 1:12-13)
b. Melchizedek as a Past Life of Jesus Christ
As we have seen in Part 1 of this article with the case of John the Baptist as the reincarnation of Elijah the Prophet, events in one lifetime often repeat in another lifetime for a variety of reasons, such as the fact that life is a cycle (Ecclesiastes 3:15), bad karma extending into future lifetimes (Numbers 14:18), personality traits transferring from one lifetime to other lifetimes, etc. For these reasons, we can find biblical parallels between one biblical personality and another.
Such careful examination of the evidence reveals another past life of Jesus is the Old Testament figure known as Melchizedek, the High Priest and King of Salem (Jerusalem). It is clear from the Book of Hebrews that Melchizedek was not an ordinary man, assuming he even was a man, “without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:2-3). There are strong parallels between Melchizedek and Jesus. Besides the Biblical evidence, there exists evidence from the discoveries of early Christian texts in 1945 and the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. There is also extra-Biblical revelations supporting this Melchizedek-Jesus connection. Read this article describing the biblical parallels between Melchizedek and Jesus.
c. Joseph as a Past Life of Jesus Christ
Another past life of Jesus apparently is Joseph, the son of Jacob and Rachel in the Old Testament. Joseph is an important figure in the Book of Genesis and also in Islam’s Quran. Joseph’s father was Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. Jacob fathered twelve sons from whom have sprung the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Because of this, Jacob’s name was later changed to Israel. Joseph was Rachel’s firstborn and Jacob’s eleventh son. Of all the sons, Joseph was preferred by his father, and this is represented by a “long coat of many colors.” When Joseph was seventeen years old he had two dreams that made his brothers plot his demise. In the first dream, Joseph and his brothers gathered bundles of grain, of which those his brothers gathered, bowed to his own. In the second dream, the sun (father), the moon (mother), and eleven stars (brothers) bowed to Joseph himself. These dreams, implying Joseph’s supremacy, angered his brothers who sold him into slavery. But Joseph rose to become the second most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh, where his presence and office caused Israel to leave Canaan and settle in Egypt. Joseph, the Hebrew Prince of Egypt, has some of the most interesting parallels to the life of Jesus suggesting Joseph was a previous incarnation of Jesus. In Judaism, the Messiah was thought of as the “son of Joseph” (Messiah ben Joseph) as well the “son of David.”
Jewish tradition actually alludes to four messianic figures. Called “the Four Craftsmen” discussed in Babylonian Talmud, each will be involved in ushering in the Messianic Age. They are mentioned in the Talmud and the Book of Zechariah (Zechariah 2:1-5). Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (aka “Rashi”) in his commentary on the Talmud gives more details. His commentaries which covers nearly all of the Babylonian Talmud has been included in every edition of the Talmud since its first printing. Rashi explains that Messiah ben Joseph is called a craftsman because he will help rebuild the temple. Nahmanides also commented on Messiah ben Joseph’s rebuilding of the temple. The roles of the Four Craftsmen are as follows:
Elijah will be the herald of Jewish eschatology. If necessary, Messiah ben Joseph will wage war against the evil forces and die in combat with the enemies of God and Israel. According to Saadia Gaon the need for his appearance will depend on the spiritual condition of the Jewish people. In the Sefer Zerubbabel and later writings, after his death a period of great calamities will befall Israel. God will then “resurrect the dead” and usher in the Messianic Era of universal peace. Messiah ben David will reign as a Jewish king during the period when God will resurrect the dead.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam all accept the account of Adam and Eve as part of their religion. The Bible gave the distinct title of “Son of God” to only four personalities in the entire Bible: Adam, Melchizedek, David and Jesus. So, it should not be surprising that these four personalities have a connection that goes well beyond coincidence. This connection is proof that these personalities were indeed the same soul appearing in different incarnations. This evidence shows how the Bible is the story of the sojourn of the “Son of God” beginning with humanity in Paradise lost and ending with Paradise restored by the same “Son of God.” Read this article describing this Adam-Jesus connection.
The religious concept of the “Resurrection of the Dead,” a massive worldwide reanimation of corpses at the end of time, is a foreign concept originating from ancient Persia – not Judaism or Christianity. The few instances recorded in the Bible where corpses were reanimated were “miracles”. A massive worldwide reanimation of corpses is bizarre, repulsive, unnatural, and against science.
Reincarnation was widely believed by the people of Israel in the days of Jesus, the Roman Empire, Hellenistic culture, and by people all around the world. Reincarnation was also a Christian salvation “mystery” teaching and oral tradition handed down from the apostles only to those initiated into the Christian mysteries.
Reincarnation has been a tenet in Orthodox Judaism for thousands of years and continues to this day.
Many of the Biblical references to “resurrection” refer to spiritual regeneration of the Holy Spirit to people already alive instead of the reanimation of corpses on the so-called “Last Day.”
Biblical reincarnation is shown to be God’s design for the soul, through good works, to “work its way up” through the afterlife realms immediately after death with the goal of becoming permanent citizens in God’s Kingdom in heaven.
Based upon the biblical evidence of John the Baptist as the reincarnation of Elijah alone, it can be easily declared that Jesus taught reincarnation. John had both the spirit and power of Elijah — meaning he was the reincarnation of Elijah.
All skeptical objections to Elijah’s reincarnation as John have been debunked in Part 1 of this article.
John and Elijah shared many similarities suggestive of reincarnation including appearance, diet, personality, relationships, life situations, ministry, locations inhabited throughout in Israel, and karma.
If John was not the reincarnation of Elijah as prophecy foretold, then Jesus was not the Messiah as prophecy foretold.
Elijah and Moses appeared transfigured with Christ at his First Coming. The Bible shows Elijah and Moses reincarnating for Christ’s Second Coming.
Part 2 of this article described more biblical reincarnating prophets and other holy people; also Jesus’ teachings on bodily and spiritual rebirth.
Throughout the Bible is the expression of a common knowledge among God’s people that God occasionally reincarnates prophets to warn the people of Israel.
The Bible describes God taking the dead from Sheol (Hades) and bringing them up, and bringing those in heaven back down to Earth — a perfect description of reincarnation — and a contradiction of an end time corpse resurrection.
Jesus taught his followers that they would be alive on Earth at his Second Coming which could only occur through reincarnation. Jesus promised reincarnation and “good karma” to those who have forsaken everything to follow him. Jesus taught his followers they must spread the gospel throughout the entire world before he returns implying their reincarnation.
The New Testament describes people who had an opportunity to return to Earth after death and describes women receiving their dead — “raised to life again” — which cannot be a reference to corpse resurrection because the verse also mentions people refusing to die so they can live longer to do good works so they may obtain more favorable conditions in their next reincarnation — a “better resurrection.”
The Book of Ecclesiastes describes life as a cycle and teaches reincarnation. In the Book of James, there is a reference to this cycle as the “wheel of birth” which is another clear reference to reincarnation.
In the Book of Job, Job wondered if he will live again after death. He answered his own question by saying he will live again at the time of his “renewal.” According to the Hebrew dictionary, the word translated “renewal” is “chaliyphah” (pronounced “khal-ee-faw”) which is an obvious reference to a “change in body” as a “change in garments” as in reincarnation.
Jesus taught Nicodemus that, “You must be born again,” which has a literal meaning of bodily “rebirth” (reincarnation), but is also used metaphorically to mean spiritual “rebirth” (regeneration) by the Holy Spirit. So “born again” has a reincarnational meaning and a spiritual “resurrection” meaning — not a corpse resurrection meaning.
Because the phrase “born again” literally means “reincarnation,” there is nothing in the Bible to warrant putting only a metaphorical interpretation on the phrase “you must be born again” although we know Jesus meant it to be understood both metaphorically and literally.
The Bible also contains many references to “born again” (reincarnation), baptism, and Christ’s resurrection as metaphors for the transformation from spiritual death to spiritual rebirth by the Holy Spirit.
According to Strong’s Concordance, the phrase “rise again” is translated “egeirontai” which means repeated embodiments which also negates a one-time resurrection.
In all the verses in the New Testament where the word “resurrection” is a translation of the Greek word “anastasis” — according to Strong’s Concordance — the word can mean either a one-time “resurrection” or repeated embodiments of “rising again.”
Jesus taught the Sadducees how “resurrection” involves living souls becoming “like angels” and then as “children of the resurrection” such as the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Part 3 of this article proves it is God’s will that everyone is saved which can only realistically occur through reincarnation. Part 3 also describes how God’s law of divine justice (also known universally as “karma“) is the same as the law of reincarnation
Throughout the Bible are declarations that it is God’s will that everyone is saved. Because God wills everyone to be saved — and nobody can thwart the will of God — then everyone will be saved. Universal salvation implies the reality of reincarnation. There are numerous Bible verses mentioning the salvation of all humanity.
Universal salvation, like pre-existence and reincarnation, was widely believed by Christians and Jews during the first 500 years of Christianity and was championed by the early Church Father Origen.
Several of Jesus’ parables declare how a person will not get out of “prison” (hell) until their “debt” (transgressions) has been paid in full which falsifies eternal punishment. Because these parables imply people getting out of hell, one wonders where they would go? It would be reasonable to assume they would be reincarnated. The New Testament Apocrypha states that this is exactly what happens.
God’s law of divine justice of “an eye for an eye,” also known as “karma,” is the law of reincarnation and is mentioned throughout the Old and New Testaments, the gospels, Jesus’ parables, and the Epistles.
According to the biblical concept of “original sin,” Adam’s sin created “bad karma” for himself and for his descendants — spiritual death — which was “paid” by Christ at the cross (1 Corinthians 15:22). However, Christ’s atonement for sins and the redemption of sinners of original sin does not nullify karma.
Karmic debts against other people are separate from our karmic debts to God for sin because God’s law was not nullified at the cross (Matthew 5:17-20). God may forgive a man for killing another man; but God’s forgiveness of his sins doesn’t nullify the murderer’s obligation to seek forgiveness, pay restitution, and restore the karmic “balance” with his victims.
The Christian “mystery” of reincarnation is that a person’s accumulation of “bad” and “good” karma determines which level of heaven or hell in God’s hierarchy of afterlife realms they dwell in between earth lifetimes.
Jesus taught people how to overcome and reverse the cycle of bad karma when it happens to them by “turning the other check when slapped” for example, and through good karma or good works, and through the greater divine laws of love, forgiveness, and grace.
Part 4 of this article describes the biblical case of how God’s demand for human perfection and holiness can only realistically occur through reincarnation. Part 4 also describes how God’s salvation and judgment “according to works” also can only realistically occur through reincarnation.
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus said that once a person overcomes the world, they will never “again” have to leave heaven which means they will never again have to reincarnate.
Paul said the sanctification process continues until the Second Coming of Christ implying reincarnation.
Sanctification is the perfecting process by the Holy Spirit working together with the soul of the person toward becoming transformed into Christ’s image. It is self-evident that this perfection process is much more than a single lifetime process to accomplish.
The belief in the soul “resting in peace” until a final corpse resurrection at the end times makes any personal identity of the soul, salvation, and personal spiritual growth after death impossible. However, the Bible mentions Jesus descended to Hades to preach to the “imprisoned spirits” for their possible salvation after his death, an event called the “Harrowing of Hell” — an event which supports reincarnation.
All Bible verses about people being judged and “saved according to their works” proves God’s law (the Ten Commandments) remains in effect and has not been abrogated. Such verses also support the existence of a perfecting sanctification process involved in God’s plan of salvation which implies reincarnation.
According to numerous Bible verses, everyone is judged according to God’s law, according to their works both good and bad. It is self-evident that if everyone, without exception, is judged according to their works, and a perfecting process in salvation exists, then this is a very high standard for attaining entrance into God’s Kingdom in heaven, and this can only realistically occur through reincarnation. Perhaps this is why Jesus said the way to heaven is narrow.
At this point, the idea of God giving a person only one chance at salvation in one very short life needs to be forever abandoned.
In the Bible, a Greek word “palingenesía” is sometimes translated “regeneration” but is a word the Greeks used when referring to reincarnation.
The “life review” undergone by people who have an NDE resembles God’s judgment “according to works” as mentioned in the Bible requiring them to return from their NDE which also supports reincarnation.
Part 5 of this article describes the biblical doctrines of the pre-existence of the soul and the Christian “mystery” of God within human beings as important principles involving Christian reincarnation.
Pre-existence is the doctrine of the soul/spirit not being created at birth; but rather having existed before birth in past lives on Earth and in afterlife realms. All Bible verses referring to reincarnation assumes the reality of the pre-existence of the soul. All Bible verses referring to pre-existence of the soul implies the reality of reincarnation.
Both concepts of reincarnation and pre-existence are inseparable and both concepts were common knowledge in Jesus’ day.
The disciples asked Jesus if a man committed a sin causing him to be born blind. Given the fact the man was blind since birth, this was an unusual question to ask unless they believed in pre-existence and reincarnation.
The Bible affirms the pre-existence of Adam, Jacob and Esau, Jeremiah, Jesus, John the Baptist, and all of humanity.
The biblical doctrines of predestination, election, calling and God’s foreknowledge also implies the reality of reincarnation.
The nature of an eternal, immortal, and indestructible human soul/spirit shows that all human beings partake in the divine spirit as Jesus did. Jesus taught, “the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21) which implies divinity within humanity. An immortal human soul/spirit makes reincarnation a necessity. One lifetime isn’t enough to attain divinization.
Because the human spirit is a part of God, it cannot be destroyed nor can it suffer eternally in hell. It is the spirit – the “spark” of the divine – within human beings that is reincarnated.
It is the flesh which must be overcome, and through reincarnation, that this becomes possible. As co-heirs with Christ, humans can attain at-onement with God as Jesus did. It is self-evident that this requires more than one lifetime and this implies the necessity of reincarnation.
The Bible describes a “Trinity” (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), three parts of Christ (the Mind of Christ, the Body of Christ, and the Spirit of Christ), and three dimensions of God (light, life, and love) which the three-dimensional enlightened Christian shares (mind, body, and spirit). So the mystery of God in man defines all of humanity created with a spirit in the image and likeness of God’s Spirit which is immortal and indestructible and refutes eternal damnation or destruction.
Because of the fallen nature of the pre-existent human spirit from the highest heaven created before the world began, the human spirit is “trapped in flesh” (a “prison”) and subjected to reincarnation which, like Jesus himself, is the way for the soul to regain the highest heaven through soul growth according to good works.
The mystery of God in man is the reality of human beings evolving into the image of Christ. In Christian theology, the Greek word “theosis” is translated divinization (deification, making divine) and is the perfecting effect of divine grace by the atonement of Christ and spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
Divinization mean exactly what Jesus and the Bible says, humans can become “gods” or “godlings” — not “Gods” — but “sons” of God, “children” of God, an “image” of God, like “the Logos,” like Christ, a “part” of God, a “thought” within the Mind of God.
According to NDE studies, everyone is born into this world with a “mission” from God — lessons in life to learn toward spiritual growth and perfection. The life review also affirms reincarnation and often reveals how one lifetime is not enough to accomplish all a person must accomplish on Earth including the process of spiritual growth.
The story of “Jacob’s Ladder” in Genesis describes “angels” ascending and “angels” descending a heavenly “stairway.” Ascending this stairway implies death and going to heaven. Descending this stairway implies returning to Earth and reincarnation.
The idea of a “stairway to heaven” is also a useful metaphor for the near-death experience (NDE) tunnel which so many NDE experiencers travel through during their NDEs.
Another example of angels reincarnating as humans can be found in the story of the Nephilim (“fallen” angels). The “Nephilim” is a metaphor for “fallen” souls from heaven because angels don’t have genitals and cannot have sex, neither do they marry according to Jesus.
According to the cosmology of Christian Gnosticism and Jewish mystery teachings, God’s plan for the fallen human souls was a limited series of reincarnations with periods in between of dwelling in other heavenly dimensions (afterlife realms) where increasingly righteous souls dwell in higher afterlife realms and increasingly unrighteous souls dwell in lower afterlife realms. Reincarnation continues until the soul completes its plan originally laid out for the soul toward a human-divine unity.
The Christian psychic, Edgar Cayce, confirmed the evidence from early Christian Gnostic writings which shows that humanity, as pre-existent souls, had fallen from the highest spiritual realm before the creation of the physical realm (a lower realm). The Bible allegorically refers to this event as “the Fall” in the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis and “the revolt of the angels” in the Book of Revelation.
The Bible refers to the entire nation of Israel reincarnating and holy men reincarnating such as the apostles John and Paul.
The case was made against a resurrection interpretation of “dead bodies coming out of tombs” and in favor of a reincarnation interpretation of “live babies coming out of wombs.” It is a case against “resting in peace” until a final “night of the living dead” of a worldwide corpse resurrection.
A verse in Hebrews 9:27-28 is often used to refute reincarnation; but instead refutes the traditional concept of resurrection that “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” This verse has historically been interpreted to mean people die only once, then they rest in peace in Abraham’s bosom until the body is resurrected at the end times to face judgment. But this verse simply declares a “one life, one death, one judgment” principle which doesn’t refute reincarnation. According to reincarnation, a person’s body dies once, never to be inhabited again. Then the spirit immediately faces judgment. Later, if a person chooses to reincarnate, a different body having a different life is subjected to a different death and judgment. Therefore, reincarnation upholds the principle of “one life, one death, one judgment.” But this verse in Hebrews 9 does not, in fact, support corpse resurrection. Corpse resurrection is the reanimation of a dead body, which happened to Lazarus and many other people in the Bible. All such people experienced death not once, but twice, violating the “one life, one death, one judgment” principle. Corpse resurrection also contradicts the doctrine of the “second death” mentioned in the Bible. And this verse in Hebrews implies judgment occurs immediately after death which also refutes the idea of resting in peace until an end time corpse resurrection Judgment Day.
The original Greek translation of the word “judgment” in Strong’s Bible Concordance comes from the Greek word “krisis” which is one of the most misunderstood words in the entire Bible. The King James version rendered the word as: “accusation, condemnation, damnation, and judgment.” But the actual Greek word “krisis” implies a decision that brings correction. The resurrection of “krisis” should more appropriately be called “the resurrection of correction” or “the resurrection which forces correct decisions.” Such a “resurrection” would be a reincarnation into a lifetime involving a “reincarnation of correction.”
A “resurrection of damnation” limits God’s grace by requiring God to pronounce judgment of horrible eternal consequences because of a short, single, earthly life lived under conditions of apparent unjust inequity among human beings.
The traditional doctrine of salvation of “faith alone” involving only one lifetime creates spiritual laziness by lulling the Christian into believing one life is enough to attain spiritual perfection in Christ. It also allows for immoral behavior by suggesting that people can avoid the consequences of their transgressions against others by simply “accepting Christ” without realizing that no one who truly accepts Christ can escape seeking forgiveness and paying restitution to those they have transgressed.
The return of the fallen condition of the cosmos to its original state is the object of the entire cosmic process. Through reincarnation, all souls will eventually return to Paradise — a process which the Bible refers to as the “apocatastasis.” God created the universe in which all individual acts work freely together toward one cosmic end which culminates in returning all souls to God as co-creators.
Humanity, conceived in the image of God with an eternal soul (spirit), is able by imitating Christ in good works to become like Christ — the perfect image of God in man — refutes eternal damnation and supports reincarnation.
Symbolic interpretations of the Book of Revelation refers to — not only actual people and events — but also an allegory of the spiritual path through reincarnation and the ongoing struggle between good and evil both within individual human beings and within humanity as a whole.
The Christian psychic, Edgar Cayce, gave an idealist dream interpretation of the Book of Revelation by which he unlocked all of its religious symbolism. Cayce revealed the Bible to be the symbolic account of the Fall of the human soul from its divine origins, as symbolically described in the Book of Genesis, culminating with the restoration of the human soul to heaven symbolically described in the Book of Revelation. The literal “thousand year reign of Christ” in the Book of Revelation is the future “golden age of humanity” predicted in the Bible.
Later in the Book of Revelation, it describes how the “first heaven” and the “first Earth” is replaced with a new heaven and new Earth. God’s people on the old Earth can rise to the new first heaven. The people who are purified in the lower “Lake of Fire” (or “Gehenna” as Jesus taught) can then eventually reincarnate to the new Earth where there will be “no remembrance of former things” mentioned in Revelation.
Concerning a person’s citizenship in Gehenna, most biblical translations render the Greek “aionas ton aionon” to mean “forever and ever.” However, the correct translation of “aionas ton aionon” is “ages of the ages.” The Greek word “aion” is English for “age.” In the context of Biblical Hebrew cosmology, “age” refers to an astrological age which is one of twelve astrological ages corresponding to the twelve zodiacal signs of the Zodiac (“Mazzaroth” in Hebrew). The Greek word “aion” is also the root word for “eon” which is a finite, long period of time.
In the final chapter of the Book of Revelation, John foresaw the “Garden of Eden” restored on Earth. The Book of Revelation reveals the Kingdom of Heaven is here and growing now — within us and around us — just as is the “resurrection” (reincarnation) has been constantly occurring here and now.
The Book of Revelation describes the final judgment of the unrighteous, death, and Hades being thrown into the “Lake of Fire” which is called the “second death.” Revelation states that anyone whose name is not found written in the “Book of Life” was thrown into the “Lake of Fire.” This event in Revelation contradicts the dogma of eternal damnation in hell because hell itself is thrown into the “Lake of Fire” which implies purification. Death is never the end of life. The immortal soul cannot be destroyed. The spirit cannot be punished forever as an image of God. Eternal damnation contradicts everything presented in this article as biblically true.
Fire is a metaphor used in the Bible to describe God and manifestations of God through the metaphor of purifying fire. Fire is also a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the purification of people on Earth through tribulation. According to NDE studies, God’s judgment on “Judgment Day” is actually a “life review” which occurs immediately after death which results in determining the next stage in the life of the soul or the next afterlife realm.
The idea of a literal 24-hour “Last Day” time period when corpses are reanimated for Jesus to judge them can be refuted with the following Bible verse: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8). The evidence shows today is the day of salvation, now is the “resurrection” occurring and the “harvest” of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth growing, and the “day of the Lord” is approaching.
Part 7 (this article) describes the biblical case for the past lives of Jesus Christ as King David, Melchizedek, Joseph, and Adam. Part 7 includes a final summary of this article and a final conclusion by Kevin Williams.
The Biblical case was made for Melchizedek as a past life of Jesus. Both Melchizedek and Jesus share titles such as: Son of God, King of Righteousness, King of Peace, of the order of Melchizedek high priesthood, appointed by God, an eternal priesthood, pre-existent, personally associated with Abraham, who used ritualistic symbols of bread and wine.
The Biblical case was made for Joseph as a past life of Jesus. Both Joseph and Jesus were miraculously born; were taken into Egypt to avoid being killed; whose families were called out of Egypt and back to Israel as an act of salvation; began their ministry at the age of thirty; became a humble servant; were hated for their teachings; miraculously gave bread to hungry people who came to him; were betrayed by the advice of Judah (Judas), one of the Twelve; were betrayed for the price of a slave in silver; were persecuted because of false witnesses; were condemned with two other prisoners; had one of the prisoners released and exalted with him; were stripped of their robes; forgave the people who wanted to kill them; descended into a pit; arose victorious to be great princes; and had people who refused to believe they were not dead.
The Biblical case was made for Adam as a past life of Jesus. Both Adam and Jesus shared titles such as: Son of God, Son of Man, “firstborn” of every creature, an immortal soul from the beginning, the “Image” of God, the “human-divine” unity, “father” of the human race, “ruler” of God’s creation, the “first” and “last” sacrifice, the “Alpha” and “Omega”, associated with the Tree of Life, and having identical karma which required them to pay for Original sin.
Part 8 of this article provides references, resources, and links related to reincarnation and Christian reincarnation in particular. Internet links to websites provided include reincarnation main websites, researchers, case studies, news, YouTube videos, articles, Wikipedia and Psi Encyclopedia references.
3. Conclusion by Kevin Williams
The Biblical evidence of John the Baptist as the reincarnation of Elijah the Prophet should be enough proof to the Christian for the reality of reincarnation. Also if reincarnation were a false doctrine it would almost certainly have been denounced in the same harshest terms as idolatry, sorcery and evil throughout the entire Bible. Instead, as we have seen, reincarnation is referenced throughout the Bible and taught by Jesus.
By studying the historical records and allowing NDE concepts to guide me, I reached the same conclusion many others have which is that reincarnation is actually a gift from God allowing humans to have as many opportunities as necessary to become permanent residents of God’s highest heaven. “Hell” means having to dwell in lower, hellish afterlife realms, then reincarnating to be subjected to the cycle of life and death repeatedly until eternal life in heaven is attained. These hidden mysteries of Jesus were not limited to Jesus or to Judeo-Christianity. Examples of these mystery teachings of attaining a human-divine unity can also be found in the Perennial Philosophy and the more modern school of psychology called Transpersonal Psychology which includes NDE studies. All assume the same goal which is the liberation of the soul from the lower, animalistic nature of the flesh through the awakening of the spirit within — our higher nature.
Reincarnation is to the soul, what evolution is to the body. And for scientists who are skeptical of reincarnation, there is the reincarnation and NDE research of Dr. Ian Stevenson whose 40+ years of research yielded much scientific evidence suggestive of reincarnation. Dr. Kenneth Ring also studied reincarnation in NDE studies. Then there is my own reincarnation research where I provide evidence for the reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln and in my own NDE studies. From all that has been presented in this article, it must be admitted by the open mind that Christianity originally began with reincarnation as an assumed teaching and special doctrine, and that reincarnation should be a doctrine preached from the pulpits of every Christian Church.
In Genesis 28, the concept of reincarnation appears through the continued coming and going of spirits (described as “angels” of God) from the Earth to the spiritual realm. Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, had a dream in which he saw a “stairway” on the Earth reaching to heaven:
“He (Jacob) had a dream in which he saw a stairwayresting on the Earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12)
This story of “Jacob’s Ladder” describes “angels” ascending and “angels” descending a heavenly “stairway.” Ascending this stairway implies death and going to heaven. Descending this stairway implies returning to Earth and reincarnation. The clue is in the phrase “resting on the Earth” meaning the “stairway” is positioned upon Earth where the body is located. In other parts of the Bible where angels are mentioned, such as Gabriel who appeared before Mary in Luke 1:26, there is no mention of a stairway as a means of travel. This verse in Genesis and the concept of spirit beings entering and leaving the Earth realm through divine means is supported by other Bible verses dealing with reincarnation such as the following:
“Though they dig into Sheol, from there shall my hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down.” (Amos 9:2)
The idea of a “stairway to heaven” is also a useful metaphor for the near-death experience (NDE) tunnel which so many NDE experiencers travel through during their NDEs. One particular experiencer, David Oakford, has provided an excellent description of the NDE tunnel resembling the description of “Jacob’s Ladder”:
“We started to head back toward Gaia (the personal name for Earth). We went to a place in the shadow of Gaia. It was a great city in the clouds. The city had these beautiful white buildings as far as I could see. I saw spirits living there all of which had vibration but no real physical body. These inhabitants went to and from the buildings — going to work and play too. I saw a place where spirits went to get what I thought was water. There were no vehicles there. Spirits seemed to get around the same way my being and I got around, by flying. The city had no boundaries that I could see. This was a place full of life of all kinds. There was nature there, many pure plants, trees, and water just like on Gaia but more pure. Nature there was absolutely perfect. It was untainted by human manipulation. This place was just like Gaia only without the problems and negativity. I felt that this was what is called heaven in Earth terms. I saw spirits going to and from Gaia and the city. I could tell the development of the spirits going to and from by the energy they emanated. I could see that animals came to and from Gaia just like humans do. I could see many spirits leave Gaia with guides and could see spirits returning to Gaia without guides. The being told me that some of the spirits passing were the ones that were doing the work with humans on Gaia. I could make out the type of spirits that were doing the work and the spirits that were coming to the great city to become replenished to eventually go back to Gaia to experience and further evolve. I could feel the emotions of the ones coming back for replenishment. I could feel that some of them were sad, beaten and scared, much like I felt before my being came to me.” (David Oakford, near-death experiencer)
One very interesting proof in the Bible of angels reincarnating as humans can be found in the story of the Nephilim:
“When human beings began to increase in number on the Earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose… The Nephilim were on the Earth in those days — and also afterward — when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:1-4)
We know this story in the Bible is a metaphor for an event having a more deeper spiritual meaning for a number of reasons:
Why the Story of the Nephilim (Fallen Angels) is a Metaphor For Fallen Souls
(1)Angels don’t have genitals and cannot have sex. So the “children” of the union between “daughters of humans” and the “sons of God” is a metaphor for something else. NDE studies reveal that spiritual bodies don’t have genitals.
(2) Angels neither marry nor are given in marriage as Jesus indicated in Matthew 22:23-30. So the “marriage” of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of humans” is a metaphor for something else.
(3) The Hebrew word for “Nephilim” has been mistranslated as “giants” when the actual translation is “those who fell” (another reference appears in Ezekiel 32:27 translated as “the fallen warriors of old”).
“Where were you when I began building the Earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who decided how big it was to be, since you know? Who looked to see if it was as big as it should be? What was it built upon? Who laid its first stone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God called out for joy?” (Job 38:4-7)
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” (Job 1:6)
“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.” (Job 2:1)
So the evidence shows that all of humanity, as pre-existent souls, had fallen from God’s grace from the highest spiritual heaven before the creation of the physical realm (a lower spiritual realm). The Bible allegorically refers to this event as the Fall in the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis and the revolt of the angels in the Book of Revelation. This event is also the basis for the cosmology of Christian Gnosticism and Jewish mystery teachings.
According to this cosmology, God’s plan for fallen human souls is a limited series of reincarnations with periods in between of dwelling in other heavenly dimensions (afterlife realms) with increasingly righteous souls dwelling in higher afterlife realms while increasingly unrighteous souls dwelling in lower afterlife realms. Reincarnation would continue until a soul’s every thought and action of the physical body was in accord with the plan originally laid out for the soul (i.e., toward a human-divine unity, Christ consciousness). This plan of the conquest of the physical body that had trapped souls was fostered by a soul who had completed his experience of creation, attained Christhood, returned to God, and became a companion to God and a co-creator. This is the soul known as Jesus (4 BC-30 AD). The soul of Jesus was deeply concerned about the plight of his fellow souls trapped in Earth. Jesus realized it was necessary to give humanity a pattern by which they could follow in order to return to God. Jesus achieved this goal by incarnating and becoming victorious over the death of the physical body by laying aside the ego, and accepting the crucifixion of the body in order to return to God. Through the acts of leading a perfect life and becoming unjustly killed, Jesus reversed the negative karma which originated from Adam. When a person has successfully followed the pattern set by Christ and attained complete human-divine unity, its cycle of reincarnations finished. The person’s soul is then liberated and merges with God in the highest heaven becoming a permanent citizen.
b. Satan as a Reincarnating Human Being
There are two specific instances in the Book of Ezekiel where Satan is referred to as a man. One of them is in Ezekiel 28 where the King of Tyre is referred to as an incarnation of Satan. In Ezekiel 27, God condemns the city of Tyre because of its many sins and its dishonest trade. Then in Ezekiel 28, God condemns the King of Tyre himself:
“The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the Earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.'” (Ezekiel 28:11-19)
The second instance is in Isaiah 14 where the King of Babylon is referred to as an incarnation of Lucifer (the “morning star”, son of the dawn):
“On the day the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labor forced on you, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon… “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the Earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: ‘Is this the man who shook the Earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?'” (Isaiah 14:3-17)
There are also two instances in the gospels where Satan momentarily “possesses” the bodies of two of the apostles of Jesus in an attempt to thwart Jesus’ mission. This type of possession of a body by a discarnate spirit is the same kind of reincarnation called a “walk-in” only it is temporary. Here are the two instances:
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’ Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.'” (Matthew 16:21-23)
“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.” (Luke 22:3-4)
Then there are the historical cases of “evil incarnate” individuals such as Adolf Hitler, Genghis Khan and Nero. The Bible also refers to the Antichrist and the “man of sin” who are described in terms of the “son of Satan” in the same manner Christians are described as “sons of God.” So if the leader of the earthly rebellion of fallen angels incarnates and reincarnates as a human being, then it is no great leap of faith to believe all fallen angels on Earth incarnate and reincarnate as human beings as well.
c. Human Beings as Angels and Vice Versa
In the Epistle of Jude, the author (Jude, the brother of Jesus) used heavy Christian Gnostic terminology when referring to “some sinful men” who crept into the church who were actually Nephilim fallen “angels” of Genesis 6:1-4 who “left” heaven of whom “long ago it was written”:
“Some sinful men have come into your church without anyone knowing it. They are living in sin and they speak of the loving-favor of God to cover up their sins. They have turned against our only Leader and Lord, Jesus Christ. Long ago it was written that these people would die in their sins. You already know all this, but think about it again. The Lord saved His people out of the land of Egypt. Later He destroyed all those who did not put their trust in Him. Angels who did not stay in their place of power, but left the place where they were given to stay, are chained in a dark place. They will be there until the day they stand before God to be judged.” (Jude 1:4-6)
In the above verse, Jude demonstrated he was familiar with the Christian Gnostic mystery teachings including the Hebrew mystery writings of the Book of Enoch. These mystery teachings viewed the human soul as pre-existent, incarnating into a “prison” of flesh and being subject to reincarnation. The metaphor of a “prison” appears in many of the parables of Jesus such as Matthew 5:25-26 (and Luke 12:58-59) and Matthew 18:34-35. The metaphor of “souls” being freed from “prison” also appears in the New Testament implying reincarnation. The Gnostics believed humans were identical to the fallen angels whose origin was heaven. Jude quoted directly from the Book of Enoch — a remarkable fact considering the Epistle of Jude is part of the Bible and the Book of Enoch is not:
“Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.'” (Jude 1:14-15)
Jude had harsh words for these “ungodly men” whom he refers to as “stars” — a Biblical metaphorical reference to angels — “morning stars.” Jude also referred to them as “twice dead” — another reference to reincarnation:
“These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm — shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted — twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jude 1:12-13)
The Book of Enoch was cherished by the Essenes, ancient Jews and early Christians. The Book of Enoch was considered as scripture by many of the early Church Fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Tertullian, who wrote in 200 AD that the Book of Enoch had been rejected by Rabbinical Jews because it contained prophecies pertaining to Christ. However, later Fathers denied the canonicity of the Book of Enoch, and some later Church Fathers even considered the Epistle of Jude uncanonical because it refers to an “apocryphal” work. Thus, the Book of Enoch was denounced, banned and “lost” for over a thousand years until, in 1773, a Scottish explorer discovered three copies in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, in the Bible, the Book of Genesis says:
“Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Genesis 5:24)
The Book of Enoch reveals God allowed Enoch to be taken into heaven and return to Earth to give his children certain secrets. The premise of the Book of Enoch is angels left their positions in heaven and incarnated into human bodies (the “Nephilim“). Yahweh saw the lawlessness which resulted and sent a flood to destroy them. Then the archangels Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and Uriel bound the fallen souls “under the Earth” for “Judgment Day.”
Another extra-Biblical text, the Book of Jubilees, describes how the archangels bound the “ancestors” of the Nephilim, the fallen “angels” (souls) referred to as “the Watchers,” in the “depths of the Earth” and imprisoned them in great darkness in a mysterious “second heaven.” This “outer darkness” realm appears in many NDEs as a transitory realm known as The Void. The Book of Jubilees was considered canonical by Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews) as well as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. This is important because the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible is the largest and most diverse biblical canon in traditional Christendom having escaped the political purges of the Roman Church. So the Book of Jubilees is considered part of the Pseudepigrapha by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Book of Jubilees was well known to early Christians, as evidenced by the writings of Origen, Epiphanius, Justin Martyr and others. The text was also utilized by the Essene community of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Throughout the gospels, Jesus taught of the spiritual “resurrection” (regeneration, spiritual rebirth) of the Holy Spirit of the living, and the bodily “resurrection” (reincarnation, physical rebirth) of the dead. In Luke 20:27-38, the Sadducees, who did not believe in resurrection either, tested Jesus by posing a hypothetical they believed disproved the concept of an afterlife. Jesus answered their hypothetical by refuting their assumption of resurrection to mean “resting in peace” in “Abraham’s bosom” until corpses come out of their graves at the end times. He did this by defining the true nature of bodily resurrection as not “of the dead,” but as a reincarnation “of the living.” In doing so, Jesus equated the souls of human beings to angels, then as children “of the resurrection” (i.e., reincarnation). The passage is as follows:
“Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. Finally, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?’ Jesus replied, ‘The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.'” (Luke 20:27-38)
The Sadducees wanted to know which brother would be married to the woman when their corpses would be resurrected at the end times assuming the Persian form of resurrection. Jesus corrected the Sadducees by teaching them how, at death, people become like angels. They do not rest in Abraham’s bosom until the end times as the Sadducees assumed Jesus believed. Jesus’ metaphor of death as people becoming “like the angels” is a good way to refute the Sadducees who didn’t even believe in angels. Death means the soul leaves the corpse and returns to heaven with the possibility of returning to Earth. Jesus said becoming like the angels after death is to become “children of the resurrection” which is a good description of how the soul returns to heaven after death with the possibility of reincarnating and becoming a child again. Jesus corrected the Sadducees’ misunderstanding of life after death by telling them God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. These words of Jesus are the key to his teachings. People do not wait until the end times for the “resurrection.” It can be attained during life. People are physically reborn until they become spiritually reborn through the Holy Spirit to attain eternal life and escape the cycle of birth-death and rebirth (John 3:3).
Throughout the gospels, Jesus expressed a special concern for children. Jesus’ reference to the “children of the resurrection” can be better understood when comparing it with the following Bible verses:
“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'” (Matthew 18:3-5)
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)
As for children having “angels in heaven,” the word “angels” is a great metaphor for “souls” in general and how children are “closer to the Source” than are adults. When Jesus taught of human beings having “angels in heaven” he may have been expressing the concept well-known in his day — the concept found in the Book of Enoch of fallen angels becoming human beings.
There are also Bible verses which specifically refers to human beings as angels and vice versa:
“Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!’ ‘You’re out of your mind,’ they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, ‘It must be his angel.‘” (Acts 12:13-15)
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)
“The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground… He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate…” (Genesis 18:1-8)
“The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. ‘My lords,’ he said, ‘please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.’ ‘No,’ they answered, ‘we will spend the night in the square.’ But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom — both young and old — surrounded the house. They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.'” (Genesis 19:1-5)
“If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!” (1 Corinthians 6:1-3)
In the above verse, Paul mentions humans judging angels. Because the NDE “life review” reveals people judge themselves, rather than God or Jesus judging people (John 5:22-27, John 8:15-16, John 12:47-48), Paul’s reference of people judging themselves as “angels” is true. This supports the early Christian Gnostic cosmology of humans as spirit beings who fell from heaven as angels before the creation of the physical world who are imprisoned in flesh and in lower afterlife realms who are subjected to reincarnation with the goal of attaining the highest heaven and oneness with God as it was in the beginning.
“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) — if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.” (2 Peter 2:4-9)
In the First Epistle of Peter, the Apostle Peter referred to Jesus descending into hell to rescue these same imprisoned spirits including the Nephilim. This is an event known in Christianity as the “Harrowing of Hell“:
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits — to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.” (1 Peter 3:18-20)
“For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6)
The above references to imprisoned souls/angels whom Jesus freed from hell is incompatible with a corpse resurrection at the end times; but is a good reference to reincarnation. As Jesus mentioned about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it should be self-evident by now that such liberated spirits were “resurrected” to life through reincarnation. This liberation of spirits is mentioned several times in the Bible:
“When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people. What does ‘he ascended’ mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.” (Ephesians 4:8-10)
“Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains, because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.” (Psalm 107:10-14)
“”For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)
In the above verse in Matthew, Jesus’ Harrowing of Hell is compared to the Hebrew myth of Jonah. According to the myth, Jonah was swallowed by a whale and lived in its belly for three days until being spit out. However, it is impossible for a whale to swallow something as large as a man because whales only eat plankton. And although their mouths are cavernous, their throats are only a few inches wide. So like other Hebrew myths, there must be a higher spiritual interpretation to the story of Jonah. This myth was not limited to the Hebrews either. The story is important in Islam as well. The myth of Jonah has an astrological and a spiritual interpretation. The Semitic translation for the name “Jonah” is “sun”. This international myth refers to the sun as it “dies” for three days on December 22nd, the winter solstice. When the sun stops in its movement south, it is “born again” or “resurrected” on December 25th when it resumes its movement north. Because Jesus himself referred to this myth when referring to his three-day Harrowing of Hell after his death, it is worth examining the myth as described in the Book of Jonah:
“From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: ‘In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the Earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.” (Jonah 2:1-6)
We can now see how the myth of Jonah, when applied to the human soul in general, is a metaphor for the soul rising to heaven after death and reincarnating to life. It also nullifies the idea of people resting in Abraham’s bosom until a corpse resurrection day at the end times. All of the above Bible verses refer to the same event: souls (angels) who are liberated from hell. And because these references of freeing of souls from hell is past tense, it means the event has already occurred. The conclusion is “judgment day” for these souls has already happened. This is incompatible with a universal corpse resurrection, but compatible with reincarnation. Souls being liberated from hell — even by Jesus — is a familiar motif in NDE studies such as that of Howard Storm’s NDE.
e. The Nation of Israel Reincarnated
The Book of Ezekiel contains in detail those elements necessary for the reincarnation of the spirit. Until Aristotle (384-322 BC), the ancients believed emotional functions took place in the heart where the soul is located. The understanding of emotional functions being carried out in the brain is relatively modern. Because of this, whenever the prophet Ezekiel (622-570 BC) refers to the “heart” he is really referring to the soul. For this reason, when Ezekiel described how a person is given a new life, he not only receives a new spirit (ruach) but also a new soul (nephesh):
“The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, the people of Jerusalem have said of your fellow exiles and all the other Israelites, ‘They are far away from the Lord; this land was given to us as our possession.’ ‘Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone. Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again. They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:14-19)
“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:31)
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws… Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27; 31)
In the following Bible verse, Hosea‘s prophecy to redeem Israel from the grave is associated with childbirth implying reincarnation:
“You are destroyed, Israel, because you are against me, against your helper… The guilt of Ephraim is stored up, his sins are kept on record. Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him, but he is a child without wisdom; when the time arrives, he doesn’t have the sense to come out of the womb. I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” (Hosea 13:9-14)
The prophet Isaiah gave a similar prophecy associating childbirth with reincarnation:
“We were with child, we writhed in labor, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the Earth, and the people of the world have not come to life. But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise — let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy — your dew is like the dew of the morning; the Earth will give birth to her dead.” (Isaiah 26:18-19)
In the next Bible verse, Jeremiah‘s prophecy compared a potter, reshaping a pot from a marred lump of clay and then reforming it to another pot, to what God does to the people of Israel which has reincarnation implications:
“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?‘ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.‘” (Jeremiah 18:1-6)
In NDE and reincarnation studies, a person’s spirit is their immortal, eternal part of God, also known as the “higher self,” the “higher consciousness,” or “Holy Spirit” when enlightened. A person’s soul is mental body and memories of a person’s experience of a single lifetime on Earth which is a single “expression” of the spirit — much like the single facet of a diamond. The soul is also known as the “astral body,” the “collective unconscious,” the subconscious mind, and the psyche. After death, the soul body is absorbed into the spirit body. Before reincarnation, another three-dimensional person is created when another aspect of the spirit body becomes a person’s new soul for a new experience in a new conscious physical body.
The next chapter, Ezekiel 37, is the famous passage about the “Valley of the Dry Bones,” a metaphorical event which has been taken in its most literal sense by Christian theologians. The clue to the interpretation of this metaphor is in the description of the bones that “they were very dry” (verse 2) which is repeated to leave no doubt as to the meaning: from “the dust of the ground,” as understood in the Book of Genesis:
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7)
“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)
When Ezekiel followed God’s orders speaking to the dry bones, he is in fact telling them from dust they will sprout flesh again in order to be finally endowed with spirit. The ancient prophet ignored what we know now as the “chain of life,” a modern expression describing the cycle of recovery of the organic matter to give new material life where nothing is wasted. Everything finally returns to life — all matter to matter. And concerning the “great chain of being,” the spirit returns to God to eventually reincarnate in new bodies. The key verse in Ezekiel 37 is here:
“Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land.” (Ezekiel 37:13-14)
Because Israel did indeed return to their homeland after exile in Babylon, the only way the above verse could have occurred is through reincarnation. Notice also this negates a final end time corpse resurrection.
f. The Reincarnation of the Apostle John
The Bible describes the final missions of the apostles John and Peter. Jesus told Peter he was to follow him and be crucified:
“‘Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’ Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!'” (John 21:18-19)
Jesus told John he would be alive to see his return:
“When Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.’ Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?'” (John 21:21-23)
In one of his letters, Peter mentioned a mission he would perform after his death:
“I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.” (2 Peter 1:13-15)
Jesus’ prophecies of the final missions of the apostles John and Peter did indeed come true. According to Christian tradition, sometime between 64 and 68 AD, the apostle Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero (54-68 AD). The apostle John was banished to the island of Patmos (off the coast of Turkey) during the reign of the Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) for “the testimony of Jesus” where he received visions of Jesus’ Second Coming of which he wrote in the Book of Revelation. One event described in the Book of Revelation appears to be a fulfillment of Peter’s after-death mission described in 2 Peter 1:13-15. In the Book of Revelation, after the fall of “Babylon” and a three-fold Hallelujah by a great multitude in heaven, John encountered an “angel” whose testimony revealed the angel’s identity was very likely the apostle Peter in heaven:
“Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’ At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.'” (Revelation 19:9-10)
Immediately after this event, John describes Jesus appearing on a white horse and the Second Coming of Christ occurring. The evidence for the “angel’s” identity as Peter seems strong. Although John did not recognize the transfigured Peter in heaven, it is probably the same reason Mary Magdalene and others did not recognize the transfigured Jesus after his death (John 20:11-17).
Revelation 19 is also a fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy concerning the apostle John:
“I want him (John) to remain alive until I return.” (John 21:23)
But Jesus’ prophecy concerning John has a more deeper spiritual meaning — one involving reincarnation. In Revelation 10, an angel gave John a book and a heavenly voice uttered a mysterious message which John was initially forbidden to record. Later the message was revealed to John: he “must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.” In other words, he must reincarnate and prophecy until Jesus returns:
“Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven…. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.’ Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven… and said, ‘There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.’ Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: ‘Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.’ So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, ‘Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’ I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, ‘You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.'” (Revelation 10:1-11)
So now John 21:23 can be seen in a whole new light when Jesus told John: “I want him (John) to remain alive until I return.” So Revelation 10:1-11 can be summarized in this way:
A great angel announced that he was about to give John a little scroll containing “a mystery of God” to be accomplished. In response, the seven thunders uttered a message to the angel. John began to record this message; but, another voice, a voice from heaven, said to John, “Seal up the message and do not write it down.” “Why should there be any more delay?” replied the angel; so he interceded and by saying something like this: “It has been agreed that in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, the mystery of God should be accomplished!” According to Revelation 11:15-19, at the sound of the seventh angel, Jesus will reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15). Jesus will take his great power and rule the world (Revelation 11:17). He will reward the righteous, and judge the dead (Revelation 11:18). So, according to Revelation 10:7, this is the “mystery of God” to be accomplished at the sound of the seventh angel. The voice from heaven agreed with the angel and said to John, “All right, get the scroll from the angel and eat it. But it will be sweet in your mouth but bitter in your belly!” So, it was agreed upon: They would give the “mystery of God” straight to John. So John was given the message. He took the scroll and ate it. It was indeed sweet in his mouth and bitter in his belly. Why was it so sweet in his mouth and so bitter in his belly? The answer is found in verse 11: John was to “prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.” In other words, he was to reincarnate to prophesy before many peoples, nations, languages and kings. And as Jesus said in John 21:23, John would have to reincarnate (“remain alive”) until Jesus returns to Earth.
So the above analysis of Revelation 10:1-11 reveals John was to become what Buddhists call a “bodhisattva” — a person who has attained liberation from reincarnation, but has taken a vow to reincarnate to help everyone else attain liberation. And if reincarnating until Christ returns is a part of John’s mission, it should not be surprising that it should be a part of every Christian’s mission.
“I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died, and the very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.” (Romans 7:9-10)
Given the fact of Paul being born a Jew, an Israelite, born under the law of Moses, a descendant of Abraham from the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1); the question is this: at what time was Paul “alive without the law?” He could only have been referring to a past life when he was not a Jew subjected to the law of Moses. Paul said he was alive “when the commandment came” which is a reference to being alive during the time of Moses. He said, at that time, “sin revived” and he suffered spiritual death. This makes sense only in terms of reincarnation. The Christian Gnostics understood Paul’s statement as a reference to reincarnation. The “sin” is “revived” can be understood as a “revival” of old deeds in the form of karma in a new incarnation. Origen said the Christian Gnostics interpreted Romans 7:9 in this sense:
Paul affirmed the teaching of reincarnation to be one of the mysteries in Romans 11 when he described how all of Israel will be saved and how God shows mercy to everyone:
“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’ As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” (Romans 11:25-32)
In the above verse, Paul affirmed God’s covenant with Israel has not been abrogated; and all of Israel will be saved. This is a reference to the universal salvation of all the people of Israel as promised by God in the Hebrew Bible. This includes every unrighteous and evil Israelite who ever lived. And this can only occur if God has a plan of salvation for the unrighteous after death — such as reincarnation. Not only that, Paul declared how:
“God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” (Romans 11:32)
The above verse is a reference to the universal salvation of everyone and makes sense if reincarnation is a part of God’s plan of salvation.
In two of Paul’s epistles, he reveals a mystery that he (and the Christians to whom he wrote) would be alive when Christ returns and the beginning of the resurrection of the dead. But because Christ did not return when they were alive, we can assume they will be reincarnated and alive on Earth when Christ does return:
“Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Concerning the “dead in Christ”, as Jesus explained to the Sadducees, this is a reference to the resurrection of the dead to life — reincarnation:
“But about the resurrection of the dead — have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22:31-32)
The Bible refers to angels as humans, humans as angels, and spirits who “fell from heaven” long ago and are currently on a path back to God through reincarnation. The Bible mentions angels in “prisons” which is a Christian Gnostic metaphor meaning “flesh”. Souls must free themselves from the “prison” of flesh by following Christ in taking up their own cross. The Bible also uses “prison” as a metaphor for hell. Both angels and humans are described in the Bible as being rescued from hell. The Bible mentions the entire nation of Israel reincarnating. The Bible mentions the apostles John and Paul reincarnating. For all these reasons and more, reincarnation must now become an official doctrine of Christianity.
2. Dead Bodies Coming Out of Tombs Versus Live Babies Coming Out of Wombs
a. The Case Against Resting In Peace Until the Night of the Living Dead
As previously mentioned in this article, traditional Christian eschatology holds that the Resurrection of the Dead is a doctrine about the soul after death immediately facing a particular judgment resulting in the soul either resting in peace or in torments in Hades (Greek for the Hebrew concept of Sheol) as an intermediate state until the end time when all corpses are resurrected and reunited with the soul for the Last Judgment. Accordingly, the Last Judgment then determines the soul’s final destiny — either heaven (Paradise) or hell (Gehenna). However, there are serious problems with this doctrine. The doctrine was developed at a time when early influential Christians were looking for the return of Christ and an imminent end of the world. Many of them had little interest in an intermediate state between death and resurrection. But when it became apparent that Christ was not going to return anytime soon, the idea of “resting in peace”, or “soul sleep” (Christian mortalism) became less appealing. The Catholic Church finally declared “soul sleep” a heresy at the Fifth Council of the Lateran (1512–1517 AD). Seven months after the closing of the council, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses against the Catholic Church thereby starting the Protestant Reformation which reinstated soul sleep. So the idea of Christians going immediately to heaven after death is a relatively new doctrine; but is supported by scripture and NDE studies. The following Bible verses suggest the soul immediately goes to heaven after death:
“Then he (the thief on the cross) said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.'” (Luke 23:42-43)
“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” (Philippians 1:21-23)
The following verse is often used to refute reincarnation; but instead refutes the traditional concept of resurrection:
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28)
This verse has historically been interpreted as people dying only once, then immediately facing a particular judgment, and then either “resting in peace” or in torment in Hades until the body is resurrected at the end times. But this verse simply declares a “one life, one death, one judgment” principle which doesn’t refute reincarnation. According to reincarnation, a person’s body dies once, never to be inhabited again; and then the soul immediately faces judgment resulting in it inhabiting either a heavenly realm, a hellish realm, or a realm in between. Later, if the soul chooses to reincarnate, it inhabits a new body having a new life subjected to a new death and new judgment. Therefore, reincarnation upholds the principle of “one life, one death, one judgment.” But the above verse does not, in fact, support corpse resurrection. Corpse resurrection is the reanimation of a dead body, which happened to Lazarus and many other people in the Bible. All such people (with the exception of Christ) experienced death not once, but twice, violating the “one life, one death, one judgment” principle. Other people in the Bible, such as Enoch, Elijah and Melchizedek, supposedly did not die at all. And the Book of Revelation even mentions a second death (Revelation 2:11, Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14, Revelation 21:8).
A look at the original Greek translation of the word “judgment” in Strong’s Bible Concordance (2920) yields even more information. The word “judgment” comes from the Greek word “krisis” which is one of the most misunderstood words in the entire Bible. The King James version rendered the word as: “accusation, condemnation, damnation, and judgment.” But these words all have diverse meanings, and none of them are an exact translation. The modern English word “crisis”, which is derived from the Greek word “krisis”, is a more accurate rendering than the Bible translations. The actual Greek word “krisis” implies a decision that brings correction. If it is used in connection with the word “judgment” the idea of a corrective judgment is implied. The word “krisis” is used in another very interesting Bible verse:
“Marvel not at this: for 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)
First of all, notice how the above verse appears to support corpse resurrection from graves. Jesus mentioned that someday “all that are in the graves” will hear his voice and “come forth.” But as previously mentioned in Part 1 of this article, both Jews and Christians believed in an intermediate state called Sheol (Hebrew) which translated into Hades (Greek) where both the righteous and unrighteous go. So Jesus is referring to souls in Hades who will hear his voice and come forth to appear before God’s Judgment Seat, and not literally corpses “in their graves” resurrecting to Earth.
Secondly, notice how in the above verse in John 5:28-29, Jesus mentions two kinds of resurrections:
The Two Types of Resurrections
(1) The resurrection of life ————-> For those who have done good.
(2) The resurrection of “krisis” ——–> For those who have done evil.
So a resurrection of eternal “damnation” is an incorrect word for translators to use. The resurrection of “krisis” should more appropriately be called “the resurrection of correction” or “the resurrection which forces correct decisions.” Such a “resurrection” defines a “reincarnation” into a lifetime involving the person’s karma. For example, if the person “lived by the sword” in their previous lifetime and did not “die by the sword” nor repent, then they could reincarnate into a lifetime where they would “die by the sword” and be given the opportunity to pay their karmic debt, repent and be saved.
In another example, notice the cartoon above. Anti-reincarnationalists have trouble explaining the justification of the injustice of a particular situation where a mass murderer, such as Hitler, could repent and accept Jesus at the last moment of his life and be guaranteed a “ticket” to heaven. Left out of the equation is karma. While it is true that Christ paid the price for all sin for which God has forgiven all of humanity; and therefore nobody will perish or suffer for eternity in hell — and everyone will eventually be saved — this event occurred almost 2,000 years ago and all of humanity has stood redeemed ever since. So, all of humanity technically stands on good grace with God. But karma, on the other hand, is God’s divine law which governs the relationships of humans between humans. It is one thing for God to forgive a murderer for killing someone, it is another thing for the murderer’s victim to forgive the murderer. This is where karma comes in. Murdering someone is a sin against both God and the victim. The murderer must seek forgiveness from both God and the victim. Having God forgive a murderer of murdering someone does not free the murderer of the obligation of seeking forgiveness from the victim. Then there also is the issue of restitution to the victim. On top of that, there is karma for starting the whole cycle to begin with. So it is not enough to simply accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins. Jesus said, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38) And “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) Karma is reincarnation: “Live by the sword, die by the sword.” “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth” and “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed.” (Genesis 9:6) So karma allows a murderer to reincarnate, to be put in a position of possibly being murdered with the opportunity to instead be forgiven by his murderer and avoid being murdered himself. Jesus’ payment of Adam’s karmic debt allowed God to forgive all humanity (1 Corinthians 15:22;45). Karma permits humans to forgive each other. Jesus explained this principle perfectly in Matthew 5 where he taught how God’s perfect Law is not abrogated:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and Earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20)
Then, later in the same chapter, Jesus taught why we must overcome the consequences of God’s perfect Law:
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:21-26)
Notice Jesus doesn’t say “Truly I tell you, you will not get out at all, forever, eternal damnation.” He said “until you have paid the last penny” suggesting limited punishment. It also invalidates the popular Christian notion of eternal hell, fire and brimstone.
So, a “correcting judgment” implied with a “reincarnation of correction” doesn’t nullify salvation by grace as some anti-reincarnationalist assume. The idea that reincarnation is contrary to the concept of salvation through grace is based upon an inadequate understanding of the nature of reincarnation and its biblical application. Such misunderstanding completely misses the point of God’s judgment as a “correcting judgment” and Christ’s status as spiritual “counselor” and “advocate.” It also fails to understand that karma and reincarnation are the very instruments of implementing God’s grace. In fact, the opposite interpretation — a resurrection of “damnation” — limits God’s grace by requiring God to pronounce judgment of horrible eternal consequences because of a single earthly life lived under conditions of apparent unjust inequity among human beings. The damnation principle also creates spiritual laziness by lulling the Christian into believing one life is enough to attain spiritual perfection in Christ. The damnation principle also allows for immoral behavior by suggesting that people can avoid their transgressions against others by simply “accepting Christ” without realizing that no one who truly accepts Christ can escape seeking forgiveness and paying restitution to those they have wronged. And as previously mentioned in Part 4, the NDE “life review” is evidence of the corrective judgment mentioned in the Bible.
The following is another interesting Bible verse supporting reincarnation as “resurrection”:
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” (John 5:21)
In the above verse, Jesus plainly says how, in the same way that the Father “raises the dead to life,” so does Jesus “give life” to whomever he pleases. Notice Jesus used the present tense to say the equivalent of: “The Father is currently raising the dead, even as I am currently giving life to whomever I please.” If the Father is currently “raising the dead” before the end times, then this is a reference to reincarnation and not an end time corpse resurrection. And the “life” Jesus is giving to whomever he pleases must then refer to spiritual “resurrection” — regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
Another fact contradicting the Hebrews 9:27-28 misinterpretation of “people are destined to die only once” is the mentioning of the “second death” described in Revelation 20:14-15 when those who are judged to be “damned” must suffer a second and final death again. More will be said about “the damned” this later in this article.
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know — God knows. And I know that this man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows — was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)
Paul used the idiom “I know a man” out of modesty because he is referring to himself and his NDE. In Acts 14:19 Paul is described as being stoned and left for dead. This may be when Paul experienced his NDE. The fact that Paul went straight to heaven after death also contradicts the idea of the soul resting in Hades until an end time corpse resurrection. Perhaps this is why Paul could confidently say:
Evidence against soul sleep until the end times is supported by multitudes of people who have had an NDE where they describe traveling immediately into the afterlife after death with the possibility of returning to reincarnate later. In fact, NDE studies reveal how believing in soul sleep until a corpse resurrection can even be dangerous. The following is an excerpt from the NDE testimony of Dr. George Ritchie when he was given a guided tour of the afterlife by Jesus:
“One of the places we observed seemed to be a receiving station. Beings would arrive here oftentimes in a deep hypnotic sleep. I call it hypnotic because I realized they had put themselves in this state by their beliefs. Here were what I would call angels working with them trying to arouse them and help them realize God is truly a God of the living and that they did not have to lie around sleeping until Gabriel or someone came along blowing on a horn.” (Dr. George Ritchie, near-death experiencer)
The dangers of believing in “resting in peace” until a “corpse resurrection” is also affirmed by others NDE experiencers:
“Things change little in the hereafter. Suppose we have the fixed idea that we’ll sleep till the resurrection of the body. Then suppose there isn’t a resurrection of the body. We might sleep a very long time.” (Arthur Yensen, near-death experiencer)
“Those that died believing they would sleep until awakened by Gabriel, reported a black darkness, a feeling of being trapped and alone, stranded. What I’ve finally come to realize is we truly and most literally create our own realities. When we die, the reality we created is where we will live and what we will become.” (P.M.H. Atwater, near-death experiencer)
“If you don’t believe in God or an afterlife, you will probably be kept in a sleep state for the first two to three day period. You will wake up in a beautiful meadow or some other calm and peaceful place where you can reconcile the transition from the death state to the continuous life. You are given teachings in the hope that you do not refuse to believe that you are dead.” (Betty Bethards, near-death experiencer)
“He (the atheist) expects to find nothing when he passes through the door called “death”, and for a long time that is usually what he finds — nothing. He is in a state like unto death for a goodly while, until at last something arouses him.” (Ruth Montgomery, psychic medium)
Another Bible verse appears to suggest corpses are indeed resurrected at the end of time. The passage about the resurrection of Lazarus is one of them:
“Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?'” (John 11:23-26)
In the above verse, Jesus corrected Martha about how Lazarus would “rise” again — a word that also applied to reincarnating prophets and others in Biblical times
“Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11)
“I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people — without seeking a reward! I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!” (Isaiah 45:13)
“For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves.” (Zechariah 11:16)
“You may say, ‘The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon.'” (Jeremiah 29:15)
In reply to Jesus telling Martha that Lazarus would rise again, Martha expressed her confusion of believing Lazarus’ corpse would rise out of his grave on the “Last Day.” But by literally raising several people from the dead, and teaching the correct concept of both spiritual “resurrection” (regeneration by the Holy Spirit) and bodily “resurrection” (reincarnation), Jesus demonstrated that there is no final resurrection of corpses at the Last Day. Jesus corrected Martha by revealing to her the real meaning of “resurrection” — that it doesn’t involve the dead, but the living. By stating, “I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus informed Martha that he the living example of the “true resurrection” which is of the Holy Spirit and not the body. Jesus taught how people don’t have to wait until the “Last Day” to have this new, spiritually “resurrected” life. To emphasize his point, Jesus miraculously raised Lazarus from death — something that astonished even his religious enemies (John 12:9-11).
During reported NDEs involving Jesus, it is very common for Jesus to help near-death experiencers rise from their dead bodies to heaven during their NDEs. Some NDEs involve Jesus freeing people from hell, such as the NDE of Howard Storm, proving that the “Harrowing of Hell” by Jesus continues to occur. NDE testimonies alone are evidence against a final resurrection of corpses. NDEs also show that reincarnation is a part of God’s plan. And as previously mentioned in Part 4 of this article, according to NDE studies, God’s judgment on “Judgment Day” is actually a “life review” which occurs immediately after death which results in determining the next stage in the life of the soul in the next afterlife realm. Time in the afterlife is also different than we experience on Earth according to NDEs. And the idea of a literal 24-hour “Last Day” time period when corpses are reanimated for Jesus to judge can be refuted with the following Bible verse:
“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8).
After writing about Christ’s resurrection, Paul described the nature of the “resurrection body” starting from verse 1 Corinthians 15:35 by discarding in verse 37 the idea of the spirit incarnating into the reanimation of a corpse:
“But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?’ How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.” (1 Corinthians 15:35-38)
“Then John’s disciples came and asked him, ‘How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?‘ Jesus answered, ‘How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.'” (Matthew 9:14-17)
The central point of Jesus’ parable seems to be that one shouldn’t try to fit new concepts to old ways of thinking. As applied to fasting, Jesus didn’t want his “new wine” (disciples) to be exposed to “old wineskins” (the harsh, old tradition of fasting) while they were about to experience the grief of his death. It would have been too much suffering for them. As applied to corpse resurrection, one doesn’t put “new wine” (the spirit) into “old wineskins” (a corpse). In the same way that it is best to use new cloth to patch new clothing, store new wine into new wineskins, and have the disciples rejoice while they still have Jesus — so it is best that the spirit incarnate into a new body. Just as taking off your old clothes and putting on new clothes, when a person reincarnates, their spirit receives a new body. This is a more natural solution and the parable fits perfectly with the idea of reincarnation and the continuity of life.
Then in 1 Corinthians 15:39-41, Paul continued to clarify, contrary to what some eastern religions believe, the human spirit does not reincarnate into animals. He even gives the reasons for this:
(1) “Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.” (1 Corinthians 15:39-41)
(2) “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:44)
(3) “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 15:50)
So, according to Paul, the “resurrection of the dead” involves the raising of the spirit to heaven at the time of death because: “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies” (verse 36). And we know after his resurrection, Christ descended into the intermediate regions of the afterlife — into hell — to free the souls captive there; thereby disproving the notion of resting in peace until an end time corpse resurrection day.
c. An Immortal and Indestructible Soul Implies Reincarnation
Jesus taught, “The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21) which implies divinity within humanity. The Hebrew words used to describe the soul and spirit are “nephesh” (literally “living being”), “ruach” (literally “wind”), “neshama” (literally “breath”), “chaya” (literally “life”) and “yechidah” (literally “singularity”). In Judaism the soul is believed to be given by God to a person as mentioned in Genesis:
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7)
Judaism equates the quality of one’s soul to one’s performance of the commandments, mitzvah, and reaching higher levels of understanding, and thus closeness to God. A person with such closeness is called a “tzadik” — a righteous one. Therefore, Judaism embraces the commemoration of the day of one’s death — “Yahrtzeit” — and not the birthday as a festivity of remembrance, for only toward the end of life’s struggles, tests and challenges could human souls be judged and credited for righteousness and holiness. Judaism places great importance on the study of souls.
The Kabbalah and other religious traditions go into greater detail into the nature of the soul. The Kabbalah separates the soul into five elements, corresponding to the five worlds:
(1) “nephesh” which is related to natural instinct.
(2) “ruach” which is related to emotion and morality.
(3) “neshamah” which is related to intellect and the awareness of God.
(5) “yechidah” which is also termed the “pintele Yid” (the “essential [inner] Jew”). This aspect is essentially one with God. Kabbalah also proposed a concept of reincarnation, the gilgul. See also “nefesh habehamit” — the “animal soul”.
The Greek New Testament counterpart to the Hebrew Old Testament word for soul (nephesh) is “psyche“. The Greek New Testament counterpart to the Hebrew Old Testament word for spirit (ruach) is “pneuma“. In the New Testament the words for soul and spirit carry a similar “range of meanings” and both can designate the person or the person’s life as a whole. According to early Christian writers, towards the end of the 2nd century, psyche had begun to be understood in a more Greek than a Hebrew way, contrasted with the body. By the 3rd century, with the influence of Origen, the traditions of the inherent immortality of the soul and its divine nature were established. Inherent immortality of the soul was accepted among western and eastern theologians throughout the Middle Ages, and after the Reformation.
Next to Paul, the first Church Father Origen is one of the most influential figures in early Christianity because of his Greek scholarship, asceticism and his prolific writings in multiple branches of Christian theology, including textual criticism, biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, philosophical theology, preaching, and spirituality. Origen’s cosmology of humanity begins with the pre-existence of all spirits in heaven. Before the known world was created, God created all immortal spiritual intelligences — none have been created since then. At first devoted to the contemplation and love of their Creator, a large number of these intelligences eventually grew bored of contemplating God, their love for God grew cold, and they left their former habitations. This resulted in the creation of the physical universe. Those spirits whose love for God diminished the most became what is known as “demons.” Those spirits whose love diminished moderately became human souls and eventually began to incarnate in fleshly bodies. Those spirits whose love diminished the least remained as angels. One spirit, however, who remained perfectly devoted to God became, through love, one with the Word (Logos) of God. The Logos ultimately took on flesh and was born of Mary, becoming Jesus the Christ.
The diverse conditions in which human beings are born is dependent upon what their souls did in this pre-existent state and in previous lifetimes. For this reason what apparently seems unfair, that some souls are born into families with few resources while other souls are born into families with many resources; some souls are born into unhealthy lives while others are born healthy; and so forth, is as Origen insists, actually a by-product of the free will of souls. The return of the fallen condition of the cosmos to its original state through divine reason is the object of the entire cosmic process. Through reincarnation, all souls will eventually return to Paradise — the “apocatastasis“. God so ordered the universe, all individual acts work freely together toward one cosmic end which culminates in returning to God as co-creators. Humanity, conceived in the image of God with an eternal soul (spirit), and is able by imitating God in good works to become like Christ — the perfect image of God within a human being. The following Bible verses support this:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.'” (Genesis 1:26)
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.'” (Luke 17:20-21)
“‘I and the Father are one.’ Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any good work,’ they replied, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came — and Scripture cannot be set aside — what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son‘?” (John 10:30-36)
“I (God) said, ‘You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.'” (Psalm 82:6)
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
“And do not call anyone on Earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9)
d. Thy Kingdom Come Through Reincarnation
In the Book of Acts of the Apostles, as Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, the disciples learned how Jesus will return to Earth in his heavenly body to establish the Kingdom of Heaven:
“Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?‘ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.’ After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'” (Acts 1:6-11)
Notice how Jesus’ followers expected the Kingdom of Heaven to be established on Earth when Jesus was ascending to heaven. But Jesus told them they would first have to personally be witnesses “to the ends of the Earth.” The only logical way for them to do so is through reincarnation. Christ’s prophecy of his disciples being witnesses “to the ends of the Earth” has indeed been fulfilled. As of 2012, Christianity has the largest number of adherents in the world with 2.2 billion adherents or 31.5%, Islam with 1.6 billion adherents or 22.32%; non-religious or atheist with 1.1 billion adherents or 15.35%; and Hinduism with 1 billion adherents or 13.95%. The influence Christianity has had upon the world throughout history, both good and bad, certainly cannot be denied. So Jesus’ prophecy of the worldwide spread of his teachings has certainly come true. The idea of Christians reincarnating and spreading Christianity to the entire world until Christ returns is similar to the central point of Jesus’ Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13:
“Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” (Matthew 13:24-30)
Jesus’ notion of wheat and weeds growing in a field until the harvest is an ideal metaphor for Christians reincarnating until they have spread Christianity to the entire world. Like the good seed being planted, the good soul is born into the world. Likewise, the weed seed being planted, the bad soul is born into the world. Then the seeds “die” (i.e., germinate, see 1 Corinthians 15:35-37) and plants begin to sprout. Throughout a plant’s morphology, as the plant matures, it will bud many times. In the same way, as the same soul matures it will reincarnate many times. Finally, as with the soul, when the plant has reached full maturity it is ready for the harvest — the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
Paul described how our spiritual “resurrection” — regeneration by the Holy Spirit — allows God to show his grace in the “ages to come.” The assumption is God shows his grace in the “ages to come” until the arrival of the Kingdom on Earth through bodily “resurrection” (reincarnation):
“[God] raised us up with him (Christ) and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6-7)
e. The Book of Revelation and Reincarnation
The Book of Revelation occupies a central place in Christian eschatology. It’s the only apocalyptic document in the New Testament canon although there are short apocalyptic passages in various places in the Gospels and the Epistles. The author, assumed to be the apostle John, describes a series of prophetic visions, including figures such as the “Whore of Babylon” and “the Beast“, culminating in the Second Coming of Jesus and the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and eventual a new heaven and a new Earth. Wikipedia has an excellent chronological list of events in the Book of Revelation and an outline of the book. The obscure and extravagant imagery has led to a wide variety of Christian interpretations. Historicist interpretations view Revelation as a broad view of history. Preterist interpretations view Revelation as mostly referring to the events of the apostolic era (1st century), or, at the latest, the fall of the Roman Empire. Futurist interpretations view Revelation describing future events. Idealist or symbolic interpretations of Revelation refers to, not only actual people or events, but also as an allegory of the spiritual path and the ongoing struggle between good and evil both within individual human beings and within humanity in general. The famous Christian psychic and near-death experiencer, Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), gave an idealist, dream interpretation to the Book of Revelation by which he unlocked all of its metaphorical symbols. Some of these interpretations, both literal and symbolic, also involve reincarnation. A similar symbolic Christian Gnostic interpretation of the Book of Revelation was provided by James M. Pryse in his 1910, free, 244-page work, “The Apocalypse Unsealed.” (PDF)
Through his thousands of documented out-of-body journeys to heavenly realms, Edgar Cayce received information which described the Bible to be the symbolic account of the Fall of the human soul from its divine origins, as symbolically described in the Book of Genesis, culminating symbolically with the restoration of the human soul to heaven in the Book of Revelation. Cayce was an expert in dream interpretation and he believed the key to unlocking the mysteries of the Book of Revelation was through dream interpretation. The apostle John received his visions through deep meditation and prayer which is obvious because his visions contain a tremendous amount of dream symbolism — some of which can be found in the prophet Daniel‘s dreams and the prophet Ezekiel‘s spiritual visions. All Biblical dreams, such as those of Joseph, Gideon, Daniel, Paul, and Peter, are highly symbolic and have a deeper spiritual interpretation. Such symbolism, as in the Book of Revelation, must be viewed as dream symbols rather than literal symbols to be interpreted — although more than one interpretation (historic, preterist, futurist, or idealist) can exist.
f. The Dream Interpretation of the End Times in the Book of Revelation
The following are some of Edgar Cayce’s interpetation of the Book of Revelation concerning the Seven Seals representing the seven endocrine glands of the endocrine system and the seven chakras of the human body:
Literal Interpretation: In Chapters 15-18 of the Book of Revelation, the apostle John is shown seven angels each of whom holds a vial containing a plague which they pour upon the Earth one at a time. John then saw a prostitute sitting on a seven-headed beast with ten horns. She wore on her forehead the name “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.” John is told the seven heads symbolizes the seven mountains on which the woman sits and the ten horns symbolizes ten kings. These make war against the lamb and the lamb conquered.
Cayce interpretation: John saw within the “body of humanity” (the “Earth”) being purified and tested on seven spiritual centers of the human body (the “chakras“, endocrine glands) symbolized by the seven plagues (karmic tribulation of purification) being poured out by the seven angels (spiritual influences on the spiritual centers of the body). The “prostitute” riding “a beast” symbolizes humanity’s lust for riches and gratification of the flesh. The beast it rides on are the unevolved animalistic influence within human beings stemming from self-gratification. John is told these influences had taken control of the seven spiritual centers of the human body, thereby becoming possessed and ruled. However, because the highest forces of evolved humanity (the “lamb”, Christ Consciousness) overcame the forces of self, even the ten basic urges of the body symbolized by the ten horns, these same forces will in time fulfill the divine pattern (the “Logos“, the Word of God). As the divine nature in humanity become less realized, society is destroyed (Armageddon) by its own hand through self-gratification.
Literal Interpretation: In Chapter 19 of the Book of Revelation, John saw a great multitude of people in heaven praising God for the fall of Babylon. Then the “wedding supper of the Lamb” was announced. Christ returned to Earth with his “armies of heaven” and cast the “beast” and the “false prophet” into the Lake of Fire.
Cayce interpretation: John witnessed the final salvation of the bodily, mental, and spiritual forces taken place in himself and collective humanity. This is the “Wedding of the Lamb” — the union of the body and mind with the Christ Consciousness. When humanity recognizes the divinity within them as the controlling force in the world, and turns away from their own selfish pattern of living for self alone, the old pattern will disappear and the Christ pattern will emerge. The “Bride” is the body raised as a new being. The merging of the evolved self with the divine superconscious (Holy Spirit), which has taken place in John, must also take place in all humanity (verse 7). The “false prophet” symbolizes self-delusion. The “Lake of Fire” symbolizes self-judgment, self-condemnation, the repressed area of the subconscious mind.
Literal Interpretation: In Chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation, an angel seizes Satan and imprisons him into the Abyss for a thousand years. Then the first resurrection of God’s holy people occurs including those martyred because of the Word of God. They live and reign with Christ for a thousand years. Afterward, Satan is released from the Abyss and he then tries to deceive the nations. He gathers them for battle against the holy city. Satan makes war against God’s people, but is defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire. The Last Judgment of the dead occurs. Anyone not found in the book of life, along with death and Hades are cast into the Lake of Fire which is the second death.
Cayce interpretation: “Satan” symbolizes the “fallen” spiritual nature in humanity: the spirit of hate, contention, strife, faultfinding, lovers of self, lovers of praise, etc. The “thousand year reign of Christ” is the literal thousand year reign of Christ and Christ Consciousness on Earth — the coming golden age predicted in the Bible. The “first resurrection” is the reincarnation of only advanced souls to Earth during the thousand years. “Satan imprisoned into the Abyss” is the prevention of souls from the lower afterlife realms from reincarnating to Earth during those thousand years. “Satan released from the Abyss” symbolizes the permission of souls from the lower afterlife realms to reincarnate to the Earth once again after the thousand years is over. According to Cayce, during the thousand years of peace, the planet will be healed. Great spiritual schools will be developed. Great institutions and organizations will be established, all by spiritually enlightened human beings to help those unenlightened souls when they are once again allowed to reincarnate. When the remaining souls from the lower afterlife realms begin to reincarnate, bringing with them their unsatisfied ambitions and desires, this will attempt to bring about the former conditions of imbalance (wars, plagues, Armageddon). These conditions, all man-made, will then be themselves eliminated and all mental forms and patterns not formed by divine will are purged. The “dead in judgment” symbolizes reincarnating souls. The “Book of Life” is a person’s “akashic records” — all the memories and knowledge of the soul’s experience in time. “Hell” and “fire and brimstone” represents purification. The “second death” is the destruction of all man-made unevolved conditions of the soul.
Literal Interpretation: In Chapter 21 of the Book of Revelation, the “first heaven” and the “first Earth” is replaced with a new heaven and new Earth. Then God comes to dwell with humanity in the “New Jerusalem” where there is no more suffering or death.
Cayce interpretation: Along with a literal interpretation, Cayce interpreted the “new heaven and new Earth” that John saw as a metaphor of humanity’s perfected state of consciousness and regenerated body. Humanity at this point is now one with the divine in the perfection of control and is free from outside limitations. The human mind merges with the Spirit. The “New Jerusalem” is the spirit awakened in oneness with divinity. The “Temple of God” is the human being with the Christ consciousness. These verses also imply hell itself will be judged and cast into the “Lake of Fire” for purification (verses 6-8). They also indicate there is not just one heaven, for it states the “first heaven” would pass away and the “holy city” would come down out of heaven (presumably from another heaven). Note that the Bible mentions three heavens. In the New Testament Apocrypha (the Apocalypse of Paul), it not only mentions a total of ten heavens, it mentions a soul being punished by having to reincarnate to Earth.
God creating a new heaven and a new Earth is interesting because it exactly matches a reference to reincarnation presented earlier in this article, Ecclesiastes 1:1-11, which speaks of the cycles of nature and peoples not having memories of prior lifetimes (verse 11), and also specifically echoes Isaiah 65:17:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new Earth, for the first heaven and the first Earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” (Revelation 21:1)
“See, I will create new heavens and a new Earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)
“No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.” (Ecclesiastes 1:11)
Apparently, there is a good reason for God to create a new heaven and a new Earth. This will allow the people in the first heaven to transfer to the second heaven. God’s people on the old Earth can transfer to the new first heaven. This is the fulfillment of reincarnation allowing souls to work their way through the afterlife realms immediately after death to attain higher heavens. Those people who are purified in the lower “Lake of Fire” (or “Gehenna” as Jesus taught) can then eventually reincarnate to the new Earth where there will be “no remembrance of former things.”
In Chapter 22 of the Book of Revelation, John saw the Garden of Eden restored on Earth. He is shown the river of “Water of Life” and the “Tree of Life” which is for the healing of the nations and peoples. The curse of sin has ended. The Book of Revelation also reveals the Kingdom of Heaven is here and growing now — within us and around us — just as is the “resurrection” (reincarnation) has been constantly occurring here and now:
“For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
“This is what the Lord says: ‘In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances.” (Isaiah 49:8)
g. The Lake of Fire as the Purification of Reincarnation
So the “Lake of Fire” is not a resurrection of “eternal damnation,” rather it is the purification of reincarnation. Most translations of Revelation 20:10 render “forever and ever” (in Greek “aionas ton aionon“) to mean eternity, perpetuity or everlasting — such as the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation:
“And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (aionas ton aionon).” (Revelation 20:10, NRSV)
However, the correct translation of “aionas ton aionon” is “ages of the ages” as found in Young’s Literal Translation (YLT):
“And the Devil, who is leading them astray, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are the beast and the false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night — to the ages of the ages (aionas ton aionon).” (Revelation 20:10, YLT)
The Greek word “aeon” is English for “age.” In the context of Biblical Hebrew cosmology, “age” refers to an astrological age which is one of twelve astrological ages corresponding to the twelve zodiacal signs of the Zodiac (“Mazzaroth” in Hebrew). The length of one astrological age is approximately 2,160 years. As of 2017, humanity is transitioning from the Age of Pisces (the fish, the Church Age) to the Age of Aquarius (the water-bearer, the Christ Age). So in some Bible translations, they make a reference to the end of “the world” (instead of “age”) or about “eternal” (instead of “age-enduring”) punishment while in other translations the reference has a much different translation and meaning. Compare the following small selection of verses from Matthews gospel which speak of the “ages,” and see how much it changes the meaning. The first translation is the King James Version (KJV):
“And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come … And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?’ … And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal … Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 12:32; 24:3; 25:46; 28:20, KJV).
Now compare the above King James Bible verses with the same Bible verses in the New International Version of the Bible:
“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come … As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ … Then they will go away to eternal (age-enduring) punishment, but the righteous to eternal (age-enduring) life … and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 12:32; 24:3; 25:46; 28:20, NIV).
Notice how the correct interpretation shows the so-called “unforgivable sin” of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit proves to be forgivable after several lifetimes (the “age” to come) and proves that all sins have been forgiven by Christ at the cross as mentioned in other Bible verses (1 John 1:7, Colossians 2:13). Notice also how Christ’s return is not the “end of the world”, but the beginning of a new “age”. Notice also how those judged unrighteous do not go to “eternal” punishment, but a very long punishment (as one day in the afterlife can seem like an eternity).
Also, the Greek word “aion” is the root for the English word “eon” or “aeon” which means a very long — not eternal — finite amount of time. So the idiom “ages of the ages” (“aionas ton aionon”), mistranslated as “forever and ever,” should never be literally translated as an infinite amount of time. Here are a few articles explaining why all Biblical references for “eternity” and “forever” instead mean a finite amount of time , , , .
A common Christian belief is that people first undergo a preliminary judgment after death and then go immediately to heaven or to hell according to how the dead conducted their life. Those who hold this belief consider such a judgment a preliminary one because they also expect an end time worldwide resurrection of corpses and a “Last” or “Final Judgment” for everybody. In effect, the “Last Judgment” is only a confirmation of the preliminary judgment. However, this type of cosmology doesn’t make clear how Christians are supposed to understand notions of “heaven” or “hell” because these concepts are not specifically defined in the Bible as we know it. For example, there are a variety of Christian views on heaven, a variety of Christian views on hell, and a variety of Christian views on Hades. However, there were texts excluded from the final New Testament canon that did have detailed descriptions of heaven and hell. The Apocalypse of Peter is one of them and was mentioned in the Muratorian fragment — the oldest surviving list of New Testament books. Another book is the Apocalypse of Paul which was cited as scripture by early Christians and is now part of the New Testament Apocrypha.
The Book of Revelation describes the final judgment of death, hell, and the “wicked”:
“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:14-15)
First of all, this verse contradicts the dogma of eternal damnation in hell because hell itself is thrown into the “Lake of Fire” with implications for purification. Concerning the “second death,” death is never the end of life. The immortal soul cannot be destroyed. The spirit cannot be punished forever as an image of God. Eternal damnation contradicts everything presented in this article as biblically true. And ever since this verse in Revelation was first recorded, the souls of humanity have in the meantime had thousands of years time — and an unknown amount of time in the future — to reincarnate repeatedly. In verse 15 of Revelation 20, anyone not found in the Book of Life is cast into the “Lake of Fire.” But considering all the Bible verses dealing with universal salvation (Part 3 of this article), reincarnation, and the eternal divine nature of the human soul/spirit (Part 5), verse 15 can only be interpreted as a metaphor for judgment, purification, and reincarnation. And there is scriptural support for this. Fire is a metaphor used in the Bible to describe God and manifestations of God through the metaphor of purifying fire:
“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
“I (Jesus) have come to bring fire on the Earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49)
“He will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.” (Isaiah 4:4)
Fire is a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the purification of people on Earth such as the following verses:
“These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7)
“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.” (Revelation 3:18-19)
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
“But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.” (Malachi 3:2-3)
One can suppose hell to be any place of torment such as the tortured mind, a prison, skid row, a lonely palace, or a disembodied realm. So even here on Earth, there are conditions and situations which can only be described as “a living hell” and places of purification. All Bible verses referring to “purification” through trials and tribulations in this world supports this .
h. Gregory of Nyssa’s Reasons Why the Church Rejected Reincarnation
Gregory, the Bishop of Nyssa (335-395 AD), a believer in reincarnation and venerated as a saint, gave five reasons why the Christian Church regarded belief in reincarnation as heresy:
Why the Church Rejected Reincarnation
(1) Claim: Reincarnation seems to minimize Christian salvation.
Argument: Reincarnation does minimize salvation based solely upon by merely giving verbal and/or mental assent to the idea of “Jesus is Lord” or “Jesus is God” or “Jesus is Savior.” It also minimizes the idea of salvation based upon accepting the cross of Christ without taking up one’s own cross. Reincarnation minimizes the idea of God giving people only one lifetime (one opportunity) — and sometimes a short life — at salvation. Reincarnation minimizes the idea of sanctification being a process involving only one lifetime rather than many lifetimes. Reincarnation also minimizes the idea of salvation being exclusively the work of God.
(2) Claim: Reincarnation is in conflict with the resurrection of the body.
Argument: This is true. The idea of a worldwide reanimation of corpses coming out of their graves all at once is preposterous, repulsive, unnatural and contrary to all scientific knowledge. On the other hand, reincarnation does have a scientific basis in fact. I hope this article has also shown corpse resurrection to be unbiblical as well.
(3) Claim: Reincarnation creates an unnatural separation between body and soul.
Argument: This is also true. The early Church mistakenly believed the body and soul were “of one substance” because of their misunderstanding of the mystery of God in humanity — specifically — of God in Christ. See Part 5 of this article.
(4) Claim: Reincarnation is built on a much too speculative use of Christian scriptures.
Argument: You must be the judge whether or not this article is too speculative when it comes to supporting reincarnation or its alternative — the reanimation of corpses. I believe that on the basis of Jesus’ teaching of John the Baptist as the reincarnation of Elijah the Prophet alone is sufficient biblical proof of the reality of reincarnation. See Part 1 of this article.
(5) Claim: There is no recollection of previous lives.
Argument: Generally this is true. However, many people do have recollection of past lives — including Biblical personalities such as Jesus:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)
There is a good reason why God doesn’t allow the recollection of previous lives in general. Imagine having a past-life memory of being Adolf Hitler: assuming you reincarnated with Hitler’s spirit and had a normal functioning brain to remember anything because of his tremendous amount of bad karma. How would you be able to live with yourself or live a normal lifetime? Or imagine having a past-life memory of being a murderer. It’s the same thing only on a smaller scale. The purpose behind not recollecting past lives is out of God’s mercy. When it comes to memory of past lives, God gives people a “clean slate” to work with each lifetime. Otherwise, it would be like a teacher giving students the answers to a test they are about to take. And NDE and reincarnation studies do show that Earth is a school of “Hard Knocks,” life is indeed “a test” for which we learn and are “graded” after completing. With each test (lifetime) there is spiritual growth carried over from one lifetime to the next. Our higher consciousness (soul and spirit) remembers the lessons and we grow on a soul and spiritual level. But on a conscious level, we cannot remember our past lives.
Biblical evidence reveals “resurrection” means “live babies coming out of wombs” instead of “dead bodies coming out of tombs”. Although “sleep” is a common metaphor in the Bible for “death”, the idea of “soul sleep” and “corpse resurrection” did not originate with Judaism or Christianity, but with the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. The few instances recorded in the Bible where corpses were reanimated were miracles. Doctors today bring people back from the dead with modern technology as evidenced by NDEs. A preexistent, eternal, divine soul (or spirit) does not sleep after death nor can it be extinguished. Only by overcoming the flesh through spiritual regeneration and overcoming karma can the eternal soul no longer be subjected to the cycle of birth-death-rebirth and attain eternal life for the soul. The Book of Revelation is the story of humanity’s final conquering of reincarnation and the reestablishment of the Garden of Eden through the Second Coming of Christ. On a metaphorical level, the Book of Revelation is also the story of how a person can overcome reincarnation through the spiritual regeneration of the Spirit of Christ within. The Book of Revelation describes a new heaven and Earth being created; and hell and “the wicked” being thrown into the “Lake of Fire” as a place of purification, not punishment. After the thousand year reign of Christ on Earth, God’s people will dwell in the new “first heaven” created. Those souls purified in the Lake of Fire can then reincarnate to the new Earth for more perfecting. Biblical references to the “end of the world” and “eternal” punishment are mistranslations of Greek and misunderstandings of Hebrew cosmology. Reincarnation is supported by other Christian doctrines such as God’s law of divine justice, karma, universal salvation, Christian perfection, pre-existence, the indwelling immortal spirit, divinization, salvation and judgment according to works, all of which is mentioned many times throughout the Bible. All the evidence in this article, taken together as a whole, shows the “Kingdom of Heaven” is here and now — within you and among you. The “resurrection” is also happening here and now — within you and outside you. So now is the day of God’s salvation. We don’t have to wait until after death for it to happen. The concept of reincarnation is supported by many NDEs including those where Jesus appears. For these reasons and more. reincarnation is a doctrine which can be accepted by every follower of Christ and should be a part of orthodox Christian doctrine.
1. Pre-existence of the Soul and Election Implies Reincarnation
a. Pre-existence of the Soul In Biblical Times
As previously mentioned, pre-existence is the doctrine of the soul/spirit not being created at birth; but rather having existed before birth in heaven and/or in past lives on Earth. All Bible verses referring to reincarnation assumes the reality of the pre-existence of the soul. All Bible verses referring to pre-existence of the soul implies the reality of reincarnation. Both concepts of reincarnation and pre-existence are inseparable and both concepts were common knowledge in Jesus’ day. The pre-existence of the soul was an accepted teaching held by early Christians until it was officially condemned by the Church in 553 A.D. along with reincarnation and other teachings associated with the early Church Father Origen. But although the Church did its best to destroy all Christian writings and gospels mentioning pre-existence and reincarnation, the Church could not destroy the references already in the Bible.
Skeptics who assume pre-existence and reincarnation are false doctrines must explain why there is such an incredible amount of inequities and apparent injustices in life. All over the world we see how some people are born into families with many resources, with excellent health, provided the best education, live in large estates, and many other favorable conditions. While, on the other hand, an even larger percentage of people on Earth are born in extreme poverty, with severe handicaps, uneducated, destitute, or many other unfavorable conditions. Without pre-existence and reincarnation this inequity and apparent injustice between people might make a person conclude God to be extremely unjust. In fact, this is one of the main arguments skeptics use against the existence of God. So without pre-existence and reincarnation how are we to explain this? This very question was asked of Jesus by his disciples in the following Bible verse:
“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.'” (John 9:1-3)
The disciples asked Jesus if the man committed a sin causing him to be born blind. Given the fact the man was blind since birth, this is an unusual question to ask unless the disciples believed in pre-existence and reincarnation. How can a man sin before he is even born? An obvious answer to such a reincarnation question is he committed a sin in a past life causing his current blind condition. And although Jesus stated the reason the man was born blind was to manifest the works of God, and not because of sin, this does not mean everyone who is born in unfavorable circumstances are born this way to manifest the work of God. The fact that this blind man and his circumstances are described in the Bible may be exactly what Jesus was referring to concerning him manifesting the works of God. When the blind man was brought before the Pharisees, they rejected his testimony because they believed he sinned before he was even born:
“They answered and said to him, ‘You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?’ And they cast him out” (John 9:34)
Notice how Jesus did nothing to dispel or correct the idea of the disciples believing in the possibility of sinning before birth or believing in reincarnation. If reincarnation is a false doctrine, this would have been an excellent opportunity for Jesus to say so. But the fact is, nowhere in the Bible does Jesus teach against reincarnation. He does, in fact, teach reincarnation throughout the Bible. And because of this, we can assume Jesus believed pre-existence was certainly a possibility as well.
The idea of a person sinning before birth can also be found in the Old Testament:
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)
Unless pre-existence and reincarnation are true, the above Bible verse is nonsense.
b. The Pre-existent Jesus
The Bible affirms the pre-existence of Jesus. Here are some examples:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1-2)
“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven — the Son of Man.” (John 3:13)
“‘Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.’ ‘You are not yet fifty years old,’ they said to him, ‘and you have seen Abraham!’ ‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!'” (John 8:56-58)
“I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” (John 16:28)
“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:5)
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 John 4:2-3)
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)
“He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:20)
c. The Pre-existent Human Being
Jesus referred to the people around him to be the same people who were alive in the days of Moses:
“So they asked him, ‘What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.'” (John 6:30-32)
Consider the following Bible verse which suggests human pre-existence:
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)
The above verse declares how God chose people before the world was created to be holy implying they existed before Creation. A skeptic may object to this interpretation by claiming the chosen people existed only as a thought in the Mind of God. But even if we assume this was true, it would not negate pre-existence. After all, there may be no difference between existing as a thought in the Mind of God and existing as a spirit. And because Jesus himself had a human nature and spirit, it is not a leap of faith to believe other human beings pre-existed as Jesus did. In fact, this is exactly what the Bible says:
“The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
“I (Jesus) have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” (John 17:14-16)
These words of Jesus are astonishing when you think of them. Jesus revealed that his disciples were “not of the world” any more than he was of the world. So if the disciples pre-existed, we can assume other people pre-existed as well. And pre-existence implies reincarnation. They go together.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7)
Although we must assume the creation account of Genesis to be a metaphor for evolution, it doesn’t say man “became a soul” — it says man “became a LIVING soul” resulting from God’s breath of life. This implies Adam pre-existed as a soul, without a body, before becoming a living human being. Verses in the Book of Ecclesiastes agree with Genesis in suggesting the soul is pre-existent:
“Whatever man is, he has been named that long ago, and it is known that it is Adam; nor can he contend with Him who is mightier than he whether God or death.” (Ecclesiastes 6:10)
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
As previously mentioned, we have the case of Jacob and Esau, who, before they were even born, God assigned them their karmic lots in life:
“Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad — in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls — she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'” (Romans 9:10-13)
Of course, as a Pharisee, Paul could have explained this apparent divine injustice according to bad karma from a previous lifetime. Instead, he leaves it at the feet of God:
“Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” (Romans 9:21)
But Paul also states in his Second Epistle to Timothy of people making themselves into vessels of honor prepared for good work:
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-21)
“Before I formed you (Jeremiah) in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
If God foreknew the prophet Jeremiah, it is no leap of faith to assume God foreknew everyone else. And foreknowledge by God has further implications including pre-existence and reincarnation. Also, in Part 1 of this article, Jesus taught his disciples that John the Baptist pre-existed as Elijah the Prophet. And because James (the brother of Jesus) declared Elijah to be “a human being, even as we are,” (James 5:17) we can safely conclude all human beings pre-existed as Elijah did.
d. Foreknowledge By God Implies Pre-existence of the Soul
As was the case with Jacob and Esau, the Bible states that people have been predestined, elected, foreknown, called, and chosen by God before the beginning of time. As applied to reincarnation and universal salvation, predestination means that God has ultimately chosen everyone for salvation according to His own timetable. In fact, Paul states in his Epistle to the Ephesians that everything — and by extension — everyone has been predestined by God:
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:11)
The following list of Bible verses are proof of the predestination and pre-existence of the soul implying the reality of reincarnation:
“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness — in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (Titus 1:1-2)
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)
“Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.” (Isaiah 49:1)
“But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles.” (Galatians 1:15-16)
“To God’s elect… who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” (1 Peter 1:1-2)
“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:10)
“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.” (2 Peter 1:10)
“Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:5)
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
“They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings — and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17:14)
“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.” (Romans 8:33)
The doctrine of universal salvation assumes God chose everyone to be the elect. The doctrine of reincarnation assumes it may take many lifetimes before a person accepts it and attains salvation..
e. The Church’s Condemnations of Pre-existence and Reincarnation
The history of the Church’s official stance on pre-existence and reincarnation is actually a very complex one. The Second Council of Constantinople (553 AD) was initiated and headed by Emperor Justinian (527–565 AD) at a time when the Emperor was engaged in a bitter conflict with Pope Vigilius (died 555 AD). Although the main objective was to reconcile differences between the churches of the East and West, the Council’s preparations heavily favored the East. For this reason, Justinian ordered the Council to consider the condemnation of the teachings of Origen (185-254 AD) which was not an item on the previously announced agenda. In the process, fifteen condemnations (anathemas) proposed by the Emperor against Origen were ratified.
The first of the “Anathemas Against Origen” states:
“If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema.” (Decree of the Fifth Ecumenical Council in A.D. 545, officially ratified in 553 AD at Second Council of Constantinople)
The heretical condemnations against Origen’s teachings were not the only unbiblical and unjust condemnations by the Church. Of note were also the unbiblical and unjust heretical condemnations against Arius (256-336 AD) and his teachings; and Nestorius (386-450 AD) and his teachings:
Arius was a priest in in Alexandria, Egypt, whose teachings about the nature of the Godhead in Christianity emphasized the Father’s divinity over the Son, and his opposition to what would become the dominant Christology: “Jesus as God in the flesh.” This made Arius’ teachings a heresy, the Arian Controversy, at the First Council of Nicaea convened by Emperor Constantine in 325 AD. The other notable “heretic” was Nestorius who was the Patriarch of Constantinople whose Christological teachings (Nestorianism) emphasized a distinction between the human and divine persons of Jesus. Nestorianism led to the Nestorian Schism when churches supporting Nestorius broke with the rest of the Christian Church from 431-544 AD.
The condemnation of Origen’s teachings in 553 AD led to the rejection of pre-existence and reincarnation by the entire Church. Of the 165 bishops who signed the condemnations against Origen, not more than six was from the West. Pope Vigilius’ appeal for equal representation of bishops from East and West were denied. In protest, the Pope boycotted the Council. So there are no records documenting Pope Vigilius approval of the condemnations issued by Eastern bishops. For this reason scholars today question the Council’s legitimacy and separate the Roman Church from the condemnations of the teachings of Origen. Therefore, they argue the Roman Catholic Church has never really declared the teaching of reincarnation to be heresy. Nevertheless, at Justinian’s instigation the Council’s condemnation of Origen’s teaching resulted in Origenist monks being expelled and much of Origen’s writings destroyed. The Council’s action was accepted in practice by the Church making reincarnation incompatible with Christianity and the Christian “heretics” who believed in reincarnation persecuted and killed. But today we have the freedom to reexamine Christian theology and discover how Origen’s teachings were more in synch with the teachings of Christ than the later teachings of the later orthodox Church Fathers.
Origen was acknowledged to be the most educated and most original thinker of the early Christian Fathers. In his book, entitled “On First Principles,” Origen explained how souls are assigned to their “place or region or condition” based upon their actions “before the present life.” God has:
“…arranged the universe on the principle of a most impartial retribution.” (Origen, On First Principles, trans. Butterworth,, pp. 136-137)
Origen wrote how God did not create on the basis of favoritism but gave souls bodies “according to the sin of each.” Origen asked:
“If souls did not pre-exist, why is it that we find some blind from birth, having done no sin, while others are born having nothing wrong with them?” (Origen, On First Principles, trans. Butterworth)
Answering his own question, Origen wrote:
“It is clear that certain sins existed (were committed) before the souls came into the bodies and as a result of these sins each soul receives recompense in proportion to its deserts.” (Origen, On First Principles, trans. Butterworth, p. 67)
In other words, people’s current conditions are based upon their past actions in past lives.
f. More on Origen’s Teaching of Pre-existence and Reincarnation
Reincarnation is closely linked with two of Origen’s favorite themes: God is just, and human beings have free will. God’s justice can be defended, Origen argued, only if each person:
“…contains within himself the reasons why he has been placed in this or in that rank of life.” (Origen, On First Principles, trans. Butterworth, p. 241)
Therefore, we can believe God is just only if we believe our actions in some previous existence are the cause of our present fate. If we are unfortunate, we can either blame God or see our misfortune as the result of our own past actions — and then do something to change it. The idea of people being responsible for their destiny leads directly to the other key concept in Origen’s thought — free will. It was for this idea, as much as any other, the reason his writings came under ﬁre by the Church. The concept of free will made the orthodox uncomfortable because it implied Christians could fall away. It also implied a prostitute could rise to the level of the angels without help from the Catholic priesthood.
Origen believed God created the world as a place for human beings to exercise free will. Along with reincarnation and God’s help, the soul is responsible for attaining salvation. God provides the repeated opportunity, lifetime after lifetime, for the soul to “work out” its own salvation (Philippians 2:12). Origen believed free will is implied throughout scripture and free will implies reincarnation. He saw every Bible verse afﬁrming moral responsibility and also afﬁrming free will. And because God has given us this freedom, we advance or decline our soul’s status based upon our own merits. And because this is true; and we are destined to return to God, then logically, God must give us more than one chance or lifetime to do it. For Origen, freedom equals opportunity. If there is only one opportunity and lifetime — and it is often cut short — then there is no freedom. And Origen believed freedom to be an important part of God’s plan. After all, Paul wrote:
Origen’s interpretation of the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden also implies both free will and reincarnation. He taught how the story of the Fall represents the experience of every soul. Each of us once existed in a primordial state of divine union as an angel in heaven. Then came the Fall of souls from heaven, after which our souls were imprisoned in matter, bound to return to Earth again and again, each time acting and experiencing the corresponding reaction. Therefore, the differences in our circumstances are not based upon God’s whim but upon our own actions. God’s creation was equal and just in the beginning. Interesting enough, this was the exact interpretation of human origins according to the 20th century near-death experiencer and Christian psychic Edgar Cayce. Origen wrote of God creating:
“…all those whom he did create equal and alike.” (Origen, On First Principles, trans. Butterworth)
In other words, God gave all of us the same opportunities and potential; but it is our own actions which causes our differences.
The Bible describes human beings pre-existing as souls before the world began and having previous lifetimes. The pre-existence of Jesus and human beings means souls are not created at the time of conception. The Bible also mentions pre-existing sin implying pre-existence, previous lifetimes, and reincarnation. God’s foreknowledge, election of all people before birth, and universal salvation also implies pre-existence and reincarnation. The Church’s 6th century condemnation of the 2nd century Church Father Origen’s teachings of pre-existence and reincarnation were not officially sanctioned by the Pope at the time which means the Church has not technically condemned reincarnation. For all these reasons and more, pre-existence and reincarnation should now become an official doctrine of Christianity.
2. The Mystery of God In Man Implies Reincarnation
a. Introduction to the Mystery of God in Man and Reincarnation
In this section, a biblical case will be made supporting the nature of the eternal, immortal, and indestructible human soul or spirit. Jesus taught “the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). You will see that because all humans partake in the divine spirit as Jesus did, the idea of reincarnation becomes a necessity. It is the spirit – the “spark” of the divine – within human beings that is reincarnated. Because the human spirit is a part of God, it cannot be destroyed nor can it suffer eternally in hell. It is the flesh which must be overcome, and through reincarnation this becomes possible. As co-heirs with Christ, humans can attain at-onement with God as Jesus did. It is self-evident that attaining perfection and at-onement with God requires more than one lifetime and this implies the necessity of reincarnation.
b. The Mystery of God in Jesus
Central to Christology in Christianity is the divine nature of Jesus Christ. As previously mentioned, beginning in the fourth century AD, the Arian Controversy occurred within the Church specifically over the nature of Christ and his relationship to God the Father. The following is a list of the various Christian groups based upon the different beliefs of Christology:
(2) The “Homoiousian” group believed the Son was of a “similar substance” to the Father but not the same as the Father. This position was held by the Semi-Arians in the 4th century.
(3) The “Homoian” group believed the Son was “similar” to the Father, either “in all things” or “according to the scriptures,” without speaking of substance. This position was held by the Acacians, a sect of the Arians, who separated themselves from the Niceans because they rejected the word “homoousios”; and from the Semi-Arians because of their surrender of the homoiousios; and from the Anomoeans by their insistence upon the term homoios.
(4) The “Heteroousian” group believed the Son was of a “different substance” from the Father (i.e., created) which was the position of Arianism.
(5) The Jews believed their Messiah was a coming human king — not “God” — which otherwise would be blasphemy to monotheistic Judaism. Then there were Jewish Christians who believed Jesus was their Messiah and prophet who was born with the fullness of the Holy Spirit (as was John the Baptist). This position was held by the early Jewish Christians in Jerusalem who were called Nazarenes and “Ebionites.”
The fact of God dwelling within Jesus cannot be denied because it is clearly stated in the Bible:
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.” (Colossians 1:19)
The Bible also gives Jesus the title of the “Logos” — the Christian Gnostic concept of the incarnation of God in word, revelation and redemption:
“In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1-3)
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
The Bible also gives Jesus the title of “Son of Man” — the anointed one and the firstborn of all creation:
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (Colossians 1:15)
“And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him’.” (Hebrews 1:6)
The Hebrew word most often translated “worship” is “shachah“, and it is usually rendered as “proskuneo” in the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament. The Greek word “proskuneo” is translated as “the act of bowing down in homage done before a superior in rank or a ruler. Thus David “bowed himself” (shachah) before Saul in 1 Samuel 24:8.
The following is another Bible verse referring to Jesus as the “firstborn”:
“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:22-23)
Then there is the mystery of Christ in humans:
“I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness — the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:25-27)
c. The Mystery of the Trinity
Whether or not a Christian believes in a “Trinity” (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), the Bible describes three parts of Christ (the Mind of Christ, the Body of Christ, and the Spirit of Christ), and three dimensions of God (light, life, and love) which the three-dimensional enlightened Christian shares (mind, body, and spirit):
The Mystery of the “Trinity” in Man (of Mind, Body, and Spirit)
(1) The Mind of Christ: “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Proof in Man: “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6).
Proof in Christ: “I (Jesus) and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Conclusion: The “Mind of Christ” is the Father (light) of whom our minds can be one with as well.
(2) The Body of Christ: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
Claim: The body in which Christ dwells has eternal life and is a part of Christ.
Proof in Man: “I (Paul) have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Proof in Christ: “I (Jesus) am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)
Conclusion: The “Body of Christ” is the Son (life) of whom our bodies are a part.
(3) The Spirit of Christ: “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).
Claim: The Spirit of God dwells in everyone who loves others.
Proof in Man: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16).
Proof in Man: “This is my command: Love each other” (John 15:17).
Proof in Man and Christ: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (John 15:10).
Conclusion: The “Spirit of Christ” is the Holy Spirit (love) who lives in Jesus and lives within people as well.
So now we understand the mystery of God within humanity, the so-called “Trinity,” to be the three-dimensional image of God (light, life, love) within the mind, body and spirit of a human being. The Christ spirit, the metaphysical divine “Logos” of God indwelling in flesh, is the perfected image of God in humanity and the fulfillment of God’s Word spoken in the Book of Genesis at creation.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.'” (Genesis 1:26)
The mystery of God in humanity defines all of humanity created with a spirit in the image and likeness of God’s Spirit. The human spirit is a “spark of the divine” and is immortal and indestructible. Because of the nature of the spirit, the human spirit is pre-existent before the creation of the world. Because of the nature of the Fall of spirits from heaven, the human spirit is “unawakened” (“spiritually dead” in biblical terms — see Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 1 Corinthians 2:14), “trapped in flesh” and therefore, subject to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth (John 3:3). This is why God sent Jesus (John 3:16). God’s plan is to rescue all souls through the ministry of Jesus by allowing them return to their original home in heaven through a new form of resurrection — spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-6)
d. God In Jesus Does Not Mean God Is Jesus
The Bible declares Jesus to be “one with God,” having God as his “Father”, being the “Logos” (the human creative power of God), being a literal “mouthpiece” of God (the Word), being the “Son” of God; having the “fullness” of God (Spirit) within him; and having the perfect human-divine unity. But it would be incorrect to say “Jesus is God.” We can only say “Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9). This is because there is only one God (the Father) and one Lord (Jesus) as perfectly explained in the Book of Ephesians:
“There is one body (Christ, the Church) and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
So there is one God, the Father, and one Lord, Christ the Son. In the Christian phrase “Jesus is Lord,” the general use of the term “lord” in antiquity was a courtesy title for social superiors, but its root meaning was “ruler”. Kings everywhere were titled “Lord” and often considered divine beings so the word acquired a religious significance. Here is another verse supporting Jesus being subject to God:
“For he (God) ‘has put everything under his (Christ’s) feet.’ Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:27-28)
The above verse says the Son “will be made subject” to God. Notice also the same sentence says Jesus will be subject to God so that “God may be all in all” — a reference to universal reconciliation and salvation as mentioned in Acts 3:19-21 and Part 3 of this article.
Here are a few Bible verses to support the idea that God is not Jesus:
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (Numbers 23:19)
“The Father is greater than I (Jesus).” (John 14:28)
“For us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.” (Revelation 3:14)
“No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” (John 1:18)
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.'” (Matthew 19:16-17)
As previously mentioned, universal salvation and the fact that God dwells within human beings through the Holy Spirit suggests it takes more than one lifetime for this to be realized in people.
Nontrinitarianism refers to belief systems within Christianity rejecting the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity — that Jesus is God. To be sure, Jesus was a man and within him dwelt the Holy Spirit — a condition all human beings can attain — and this implies reincarnation until a human being experiences spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
If you think of God as “light” (1 John 1:5), then you will find “God” is the Ultimate Reality in all the major religions: Buddhism (Clear Light, Luminous Mind, Buddhahood), Hinduism (Brahman), Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In NDE studies, God is viewed as “the Light” and the “life review” as a form of enlightenment.
Even atheists must admit that light (electromagnetic radiation) has many “god-like” properties to it according to quantum mechanics. Eminent physicist, David Bohm, viewed all matter as “condensed” or “frozen light.” Physicist Stephen Hawking once stated ,”When you break subatomic particles down to their most elemental level, you are left with nothing but pure light.” Science discovered light was pervasive at the beginning of the universe. Scientists recently discovered the so-called “God Particle” — the particle which bestows mass upon all other particles. This particle is very crucial to physics because it is a critical understanding of the structure of all matter. Albert Einstein’s great equation E=mc2 (where E is for energy, m for mass and c is the speed of light) describes the awesome power and energy holding all atoms together. Surprisingly, the Bible supports Einstein’s equation when it declares: God is the invisible power “holding all things together” (Colossians 1:17). If a person could travel at the speed of light, they would be able to live forever because time would cease to exist. The transcendent view of consciousness as “light” is the basis for major world religions. So it shouldn’t be surprising why the original top quantum physicists where influenced by religion. Erwin Schrodinger, for example, studied Hinduism; Werner Heisenberg looked into Plato’s theory of the ancient Greeks; Niels Bohr was drawn to Taoism; and Wolfgang Pauli to the Kabbalah — all of which hold to the doctrine of reincarnation.
e. The Mystery of God In Humans
Before his religious enemies, Jesus proclaimed his oneness (human-divine union) with God and they thought it was blasphemy. In Judaism, a father’s son was equal in status to his father. Therefore, when Jesus was claiming God was his father, he was also claiming equal status with God. Of course, Jesus was merely stating his human-divine unity due to unique relationship with God which his enemies didn’t understand. Jesus answered his religious enemies by quoting Psalm 82:6 where God refers to all “sons of God” as “gods” — an obvious reference to God’s Spirit in humanity:
“‘I and the Father are one.’ Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any good work,’ they replied, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods?’ If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came — and Scripture cannot be set aside — what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son?'” (John 10:30-36)
“I (God) said, ‘You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.'” (Psalm 82:6)
The mystery of God in Christ and humans is the revelation of God’s Holy Spirit residing within human beings. Of course, Jesus was born with the “fullness” of the Holy Spirit as the “Logos“. But all God’s “sons” or “children” can be said to have God’s Holy Spirit:
“We declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” (1 Corinthians 2:7)
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” (1 John 3:1)
And there are many Bible verses stating flat out of God residing within His “children”:
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:12-16)
“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:20)
“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.'” (John 14:23)
Just as Jesus proclaimed, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), Jesus proclaims God’s children are also “one” with the Father:
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11)
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:20-22)
f. The Mystery of Christ in Humans
As children of the Father, we share the same nature as Christ:
“I (Paul) have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.” (2 Corinthians 4:10-11)
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
The mystery of Christ in humans is like the mystery of God in humans — as God’s children, we are growing more and more into the image of His Son:
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
“And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.” (1 Corinthians 15:49)
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30) Also, see Genesis 1:26-27
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17)
“To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Revelation 3:21)
g. The Mystery of Humans Evolving Into the Image of Christ
In Christian theology, the Greek word “theosis” is translated divinization (deification, making divine) and is the perfecting effect of divine grace by the atonement of Christ and spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit. It literally means to become more divine, or to become God. In the Bible it is also referred to as “glorification” which is the process of sanctification or perfection of the Christian. It is self-evident that divinization is a very long and arduous process; and because it is the goal of every human being to attain divinization through good works, then reincarnation becomes a necessity. The teaching of deification or “theosis” in Eastern Orthodox Christianity refers to the attainment of the likeness of God, the Christian’s union with God or reconciliation with God.
There are several Bible verses stating how, through Christ, people realize their divine nature and become “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” and “inherit all things” just as Christ inherits all things:
“Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:4)
“So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:7)
“So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new Earth, for the first heaven and the first Earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband… ‘Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.'” (Revelation 21:1-7)
There were many references to divinization in the writings of the orthodox Catholic Church Fathers.
Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (130-202 AD) and one of the first great Christian theologians, wrote how:
“God became what we are in order to make us what he is himself.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5)
“If the Word became a man, It was so men may become gods.” He added: “Do we cast blame on him [God] because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men, and then later as gods? Although God has adopted this course out of his pure benevolence, that no one may charge him with discrimination or stinginess, he declares, ‘I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.’… For it was necessary at first that nature be exhibited, then after that what was mortal would be conquered and swallowed up in immortality.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4.38)
Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), regarded as the foremost interpreter of the theory of the Logos in the 2nd century, insisted how in the beginning:
“Men were made like God, free from suffering and death,” and how they are thus “deemed worthy of becoming gods and of having power to become sons of the highest.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 124)
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity, wrote:
“But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. ‘For he has given them power to become the sons of God’ [referring to John 1:12]. If then we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.”[On the Psalms, 50.2] “To make human beings gods,” Augustine said, “He was made man who was God” (sermon 192.1.1). Augustine goes on to write that “[they] are not born of His Substance, that they should be the same as He, but that by favor they should come to Him… (Ibid).” (Augustine, “Psalm 50”, Exposition on the Book of Psalms)
Theophilus of Antioch (120-190 AD), whose writings are most notable for being the earliest extant Christian work to use the word “Trinity” except as “God, his Word (Logos) and his Wisdom (Sophia), wrote:
“For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God. Again, if He had made him mortal, God would seem to be the cause of his death. Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God.” (Theophilus, “Book II, Chapter 27”, To Autolycus)
Hippolytus of Rome (170-235 AD), the most important 3rd-century theologian in the Church in Rome wrote:
“And you shall be a companion of the Deity, and a co-heir with Christ, no longer enslaved by lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease. For you have become God: for whatever sufferings you underwent while being a man, these He gave to you, because you were of mortal mold, but whatever it is consistent with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon you, because you have been deified, and begotten unto immortality.” (Hippolytus, “Book X, Chapter 30”, Refutation of all Heresies, and The Discourse on the Holy Theophany)
Gregory of Nyssa (335-395 AD), a Catholic saint and believer in reincarnation who was greatly influenced by Origen, wrote:
“For just as He in Himself assimilated His own human nature to the power of the Godhead, being a part of the common nature, but not being subject to the inclination to sin which is in that nature (for it says: ‘He did no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth’), so, also, will He lead each person to union with the Godhead if they do nothing unworthy of union with the Divine.” (Gregory of Nyssa, On Christian Perfection, p. 116)
Of course, there is only one God — the one Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:4-6). Divinization mean exactly what Jesus and the Bible says, humans can become “gods” or “godlings” — not “Gods” — but “sons” of God, “children” of God, an “image” of God, like “the Logos,” like Christ, a “part” of God, a “thought” within the Mind of God. A better definition of “gods” is a mathematical definition — “fractals” of God. A fractal is a part of the Whole (like a “chip” off the “old block”) which is identical in image to the Whole.
So because all human beings have a spirit which is a “fractal” of God, whether they are spiritually “awakened” to the fact or not — an eternal spirit which cannot be destroyed — the idea of reincarnation becomes a necessity. Because all humans are undergoing a process of perfection, then it is self-evident that this process takes a number of successive lifetimes to accomplish it. According to NDE studies, everyone is born into this world with a “mission” from God — lessons in life to learn toward spiritual growth and perfection. After people die, they have a “life review” during which their entire life is evaluated. The life review implies life is a “test” after which we are graded for educational purposes. The life review also reveals one lifetime is not enough to accomplish all a person must accomplish on Earth including the process of spiritual growth. During a life review, some people have been shown past lives. NDE studies also support and incorporate reincarnation studies.
God’s law of divine justice, karma, universal salvation, Christian perfection, pre-existence, indwelling Spirit, divinization, and reincarnation are mentioned many times throughout the Bible. The process of perfection obviously takes more than one lifetime because the goal for everyone is to become like Christ — the image of God within humanity. Only reincarnation offers continued personal identity and further spiritual growth after death. The mystery of God within human beings means everyone can partake in the divine nature through the spirit within flesh. The human spirit must first be “awakened” (regenerated) from a state of “spiritual death” to a new life through the Holy Spirit. Sanctification means the flesh must then be completely overcome through reincarnation. The mystery of the “Trinity” is God within humanity: the “Mind of Christ” (the Father, God is light, 1 John 1:5), the “Body of Christ” (the Son, God is life, 1 John 5:20), and the “Spirit of Christ” (the Holy Spirit, God is love, 1 John 4:8). As co-heirs with Christ, humans can also attain at-onement with God through the mind, body, and spirit of Christ (the light, life, and love of God) — the “Logos”, the human “image” of God in three-dimensions. Attaining perfection and at-onement with God obviously requires more than one lifetime. Evidence in the Bible and NDE studies have shown humans living many lifetimes on the path toward at-onement with God. For all these reasons and more, reincarnation must now become an official doctrine of Christianity.
1. God’s Demand For Human Perfection Implies Reincarnation
a. The Perfection Process of Sanctification Defined
Sanctification is the perfecting process by the Holy Spirit working together with the soul of the person toward becoming transformed into Christ’s image. Paul mentioned sanctification:
“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
Jesus called upon people to be perfect:
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
It should be self-evident that this perfection process takes much longer than one lifetime to accomplish. All human beings need perfecting; and even Jesus, as a human being, needed perfecting:
“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” (Hebrews 2:10)
“Once made perfect, he (Jesus) became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:9)
Just how perfect are people supposed to become to attain eternal life? Well, perfect is perfect:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” (1 John 3:9)
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
Notice in the above verse, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write about the sanctification process occurring until the Second Coming of Christ which implies reincarnation. The following are more verses about the perfecting sanctification process:
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2)
“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:25)
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.” (Hebrews 6:1)
Jesus expected people to do even greater works than he performed:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
Becoming perfected is defined in the Bible as becoming like Christ — to be made into his image — in other words, to become without sin; to become one with the Father. By extension, I would include having psychic abilities; being able to perform miracles such as walk on water and raise the dead. I submit to you that for humans to become like Christ is the equivalent to humanity attaining to the next stage of human evolution of which Jesus was the first. Perhaps the Kingdom of Heaven and the Second Coming of Christ will appear on Earth when the world is filled with Christs, Moseses, and Buddhas. Who can say this is not possible? With God all things are possible. Humanity has come a long way since the first century. Christianity has been preached throughout the entire world as Jesus foretold. A tremendous amount of scientific knowledge has been learned. Millions of people have come back from the dead through NDEs to tell us what life after death is like. Psychic phenomena has become common knowledge. Reincarnation studies have provided an abundant amount of evidence. In the 20th century alone, rapid technological change has taken place and it looks like the 21st century will be no different.
b. God Requires People To Become Perfect and Holy
In many instances in the Bible, we are told we must be perfect, holy and sanctified. This is a very high standard and implies a multiple-lifetime process. The following is a list of Bible verses which deal with Christian perfection:
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
“Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)
“My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” (Galatians 4:19)
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts.” (Hebrews 8:10-13, Also: Jeremiah 31:33)
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
c. The Requirement For Perfection Implies Reincarnation
God’s requirement for people to become perfect and holy implies the perfecting process takes more than one lifetime. Even Paul admitted he was not yet perfected in his Epistle to the Philippians:
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Philippians 3:10-12)
Concerning the great personalities of the Old Testament, such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Bible gives the reason why they did not remain in heaven (the promise). It was so they could be reincarnated along with everyone else to attain spiritual perfection:
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)
Concerning those end times, an angel told the prophet Daniel in a vision in the Book of Daniel:
“Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” (Daniel 11:35)
“I asked, ‘My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?’ He replied, ‘Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked.'” (Daniel 12:8-10)
So what happens when people overcome their bad karma and reincarnation, and become perfected? In the Book of Revelation, Jesus himself said they will never have to leave heaven again implying reincarnation:
“The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it.” (Revelation 3:12)
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
Notice the above verse is another instance where the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write about the sanctification process occurring until the Second Coming of Christ which implies reincarnation. Here are more Bible verses teaching Christian perfection and sanctification:
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
“I (Jesus) have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15)
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)
d. Reincarnation Nullifies the Need for an End Time Corpse Resurrection
A unique point about Jesus’ resurrection was it took place very soon after his death without waiting until the end times. And according to Paul, the “resurrection” happens immediately after physical death:
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-4)
“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)
So it’s reasonable to assume the “Resurrection of the Dead” takes place immediately after a person’s physical death. As Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:35-54, the resurrection body is a spirit body — not of flesh — because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God in heaven. And if a worldwide reanimation of corpses at the end times were true, there would be a long period of time of “resting in peace” from the moment of death until Christ’s Second Coming. Such a situation would make any personal identity of the soul impossible which makes quite a strong case against a worldwide corpse resurrection at the end times. And this is an important point which the traditional interpretations of the Abrahamic religions seem to have a considerable difficulty in addressing — salvation and personal spiritual growth after death. But the Bible does mention Jesus descending to Hades to preach to the “imprisoned spirits” for their possible salvation after his death, an event previously mentioned as the “Harrowing of Hell“:
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits — to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built..” (1 Peter 3:18-20)
But most Christian denominations believe death means the end of spiritual growth and the end of possible salvation for the unsaved. They believe a particular judgment occurs immediately after death and an intermediate state exists as a disembodied foretaste of the final state before the final resurrection. Therefore, according to these traditions, those who die in Christ rest in peace in the “bosom of Abraham” in Hades while they await the final resurrection. Those who die unrepentant will experience torment in Hades while they await the resurrection and final condemnation on Judgment Day. So for thousands of years, Christians have believed that when a person dies their soul rests in peace until the final resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment. The only exceptions are Purgatory as understood by the Catholic Church and reincarnation as understood by the Christian Gnostics. Only reincarnation offers continued personal identity and further spiritual growth after death. And only reincarnation offers the unsaved more opportunities toward spiritual growth and possible salvation which is consistent with a God of infinite love and mercy. In an effort to justify the love of God, many modern Christian thinkers have adopted reincarnation to their theology such as the Unitarian Universalists.
Universal salvation, Christian perfection and reincarnation are mentioned many times throughout the Bible. The Bible is filled with teachings compelling people to be perfect and become sanctified through the Holy Spirit. Those people who are not perfected must be reincarnated until they are perfected. The Bible mentions Jesus needed to be perfected by suffering on the cross implying he had a human nature subjected to reincarnation. Life is short; and for many people, very short. It is self-evident that the process of sanctification takes more than one lifetime. The goal for every human is to become like Christ — to be transformed into his image. Only reincarnation offers continued personal identity, further spiritual growth, and the opportunity for the unsaved to receive many opportunities for salvation after death. For all these reasons and more, reincarnation must now become a doctrine of Christianity as it was widely believed during the first 500 hundred years of Christian history.
2. God’s Judgment According To Works Implies Reincarnation
a. God’s Law Has Not Been Nullified and Still Remains in Effect
All the Bible verses about people being judged and “saved according to their works”  proves God’s law (the Ten Commandments) remains in effect and has not been abrogated. Such verses also support the existence of a perfecting sanctification process involved in God’s plan of salvation which implies reincarnation. Such verses assume one lifetime is not enough time for a person to become Christ-like and implies many lifetimes are required to accomplish this. The following Bible verses prove God’s law has not been nullified:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and Earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18)
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'” (Matthew 22:36-40)
b. Everyone Is Judged According To God’s Law
The following list of Bible verses prove everyone will be judged according to God’s law and that salvation is based upon performing good works of faith which implies a perfecting process exists based upon reincarnation:
“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:12-13)
“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:13)
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.'” (Luke 10:25-28)
One of the problems concerning the apparent debate about whether or not Christians must by live by “good works of faith” according “to the law,” or by “faith alone” without “works of the law” is distinguishing which “law” is being referenced. Biblical law in Judaism and Christianity is divided between the following laws (in this order):
(2) The Ten Commandments given to Moses which applies to both Jews and Gentiles.
(3) The hundreds of commandments in the Torah (mitzvah) given to Moses such as the commandment of circumcision which applies only to Jews.
In the 1st century, Jews believed every Jew must follow the Torah’s hundreds of Mosaic laws of mitzvah of which circumcision was of the most important. Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were Jews whose only difference between other Jews was that they believed Jesus was their Messiah. So in Acts 15:1-29, when Paul met with the Jerusalem apostles, there was a conflict concerning whether new Gentile converts should follow all the Torah’s Mosaic laws of mitzvah and be circumcised. It was ultimately decided that Paul and the Gentile Christians did not need to follow all the Torah’s Mosaic Laws which in Judaism would be heretical. This Jerusalem Council resulted in the “Apostolic Decree” which stated that Gentiles did not need to be circumcised. But it was also agreed that Gentiles should:
(a) Abstain from things offered to idols.
(b) Abstain from eating food with blood in it.
(c) Abstain from eating animals not properly killed.
(d) Abstain from sexual immorality.
Nevertheless, following the Ten Commandments and the Noahide laws remained in effect because there was no debate concerning them. The obligation of both Jews and Gentiles to follow these laws were beyond dispute. In other words, Paul’s dispute with the Jews between “following the law” and “faith in Christ” salvation had to do with whether Christians needed to follow the hundreds of Jewish Mosaic laws of mitzvah — not the Ten Commandments. So the apparent historic debate between salvation based upon “good works of faith” by the Ten Commandments, and not salvation based upon “faith alone,” can be seen in James position:
“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24)
And salvation based upon “faith alone” without the “works of the law” — the hundreds of Jewish Mosaic laws of mitzvah — was Paul’s position:
“For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law.” (Romans 3:28)
So Paul was not referring to “the law” as the Ten Commandments as many Christians historically have thought. Paul is referring to the Mosaic law of mitzvah which has been abrogated by Christ for Christians. This is why some scholars, according to the “new perspectives on Paul,” believe this historic Christian debate between “good works” and “faith alone” salvation may be more of a misunderstanding in interpretation between Paul’s actual position. For example, Paul does not claim “the law” — the Ten Commandments — have been abrogated as some Christians have historically claimed. Paul only claimed “the law” — the Mosaic law of mitzvah of the Jews — had been abrogated. And Paul does give some indication that faith in Jesus alone is not enough for salvation:
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6).
So the Christian can rightly claim that neither “good works” alone, nor “faith alone,” can save anyone. Rather it is through performing “good works of faith” through Christ and the joint work with the perfection process of sanctification through the Holy Spirit that we are saved. And as Jesus taught in the Bible verses previously mentioned, the Ten Commandments remain in effect and must be followed of which love for God and neighbor are the greatest laws (Matthew 22:36-40).
c. Everyone Is Judged According To Their Works Both Good and Bad
So the Ten Commandments have always remained in effect, demanding bad karma among people be paid, and people be judged according to their works both good and bad. And a perfecting process exists where people are saved by good works of faith whereby people spiritually evolve into Christ’s image through the Holy Spirit in a multiple-lifetime reality of reincarnation. The following is a list of Bible verses from Paul describing how people are judged according to their works both good and bad:
“God will repay each person according to what they have done.” (Romans 2:6)
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)
“The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.” (1 Corinthians 3:8)
“If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved — even though only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)
Several Church Fathers regarded the above verse in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 as evidence for the existence of an intermediate state called “Purgatory” where the dross of lighter transgressions will be burnt away, and the soul thus purified will be saved. This, of course, suggests a path of salvation after death. In Judaism, “Gehenna” is a place of purification where, according to Rabbinic Judaism, the maximum amount of time spent there is a year before release.
Jesus mentioned several times of judgment according to works. Here is a list of them:
“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” (Matthew 16:27)
“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.” (Revelation 20:12-13)
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” (Revelation 22:12)
It is self-evident that if everyone, without exception, is judged according to their works, and a perfecting process in salvation exists, then this is a very high standard for attaining eternal life into God’s Kingdom in heaven and this implies the reality of reincarnation. Reincarnation allows everyone, through good works, to “work their way up” through the afterlife realms immediately after death toward attaining eternal life in the highest heaven. The idea that God gives a person only one chance at salvation in one very short life has to be abandoned at this point. Otherwise, if God gives people only one chance to “believe in Christ or be damned for eternity” then this presents many problems. What happens to babies and children too young to understand the gospel? What happens to those who have never been given the chance to hear about Jesus? Are they eternally damned? So, at this point, it is time to abandon the “one chance only” salvation theory to the kindergarten box and learn from the mystery teachings of Jesus as adult Christians.
d. Working For Salvation Where the First are Last and the Last are First
Now let’s consider a series of related parables by Jesus concerning working for entry into the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth supporting judgment according to works and reincarnation. The first is the incident with Jesus and the rich young man:
“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.’ ‘Which ones?’ he inquired. Jesus replied, ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’ Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.'” (Matthew 19:16-30)
As previously mentioned in Part 1, the “renewal of all things” in verse 28 of the above verse in Matthew 19:16-30 is a Greek word “palingenesía” which is sometimes translated “regeneration” but is a word the Greeks used when referring to reincarnation. The above passage is also a reference to the “first resurrection” (reincarnation) at the beginning of the thousand year reign of Christ on Earth as described in Revelation 20:4-6. The “first resurrection” is the beginning of the souls of God’s people in heaven reincarnating into the established Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. More about this will be described later in Part 6 this article. Jesus mentioned how the “first will be last” and the “last will be first” which is a reference to how the rich people of the world (“the first”) will be considered “the last” in God’s Kingdom on Earth. The followers of Jesus (“the last” of the world) — those Christians who left everything to follow Jesus — will be considered “the first” in God’s Kingdom on Earth. Notice also how the followers of Jesus (“the first”) will receive “a hundred times as much” in family during the thousand year Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. This implies karma and reincarnation. People receiving “a hundred times as much” of houses and family on Earth can only happen through reincarnation. Notice also both “the first” and “the last” receive the same reward — entrance into the God’s Kingdom on Earth. But the rich man will only be allowed entrance into the Kingdom and not receive the reward of receiving “a hundred times as much” in houses and family because he only kept the Ten Commandments but refused to be perfect by selling his riches and giving it to the poor.
The next reference to “the last will be first” is Jesus’ Parable of the Narrow Door where he warned people living in his day how they (“the first” given the opportunity for salvation) would become “the last” and be denied entry into the Kingdom of God on Earth if they practice evil. And “the last” people given the opportunity for salvation (the ancient people of the Hebrew Bible dwelling in Sheol) will be “the first” to enter the Kingdom of God on Earth:
“Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, ‘Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?’ He said to them, ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.'” (Luke 13:22-30)
The next reference to “last will be first” is Jesus’ Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard where Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth to a landowner who hired workers to work in his vineyard at various times of the day. At the end of the day, the landowner paid all the workers the same day’s wage for which the workers who were hired first (“the first”) complained because they believed they should have been paid more than the workers hired later in the day (“the “last”).
“‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:1-16)
In the above parable, Jesus teaches it’s not important how long a person has been working for the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth regarding the wage for working for it. The wage is the same for all workers which is membership into the Kingdom. As long as the invitation to work is accepted before the time the Kingdom of Heaven arrives, and the work is completed, everyone is paid the same wage. What is important is that people work meritoriously for their wage until the Kingdom does arrive. And we must be constantly at work and be ready because no one knows when their “day of reckoning” will come or when the Kingdom does arrive. When a person’s “last day” on Earth occurs, they die and “resurrect” into the afterlife, and it’s “judgment day.” What is important is their level of spiritual growth when it is time for the Kingdom to arrive on Earth and whether or not the person has attained the spiritual maturity and purity to receive more rewards for their work.
The following verse in the Book of Revelation describes the time immediately before the Second Coming of Christ and the establishment of the thousand year Kingdom of Heaven on Earth:
“Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes — who are they, and where did they come from?’ I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'” (Revelations 7:13-14)
Notice how the above verse clearly states the people of the Kingdom had washed their own robes and made them white. They themselves did the washing; the Lamb did not, although they certainly had his help. This verse supports the idea of working out our own salvation, taking up our own cross and following Jesus for our salvation and this implies reincarnation. We cannot sit back, rely only upon the cross of Christ, and assume he will do all the work for us. The Creator has placed in creation the mechanism for salvation and provided us the knowledge of how we may work toward our own salvation and given requisite strength to those who are willing to work for it. This knowledge of salvation (or “gnosis“) came to the world at very great cost including the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus.
e. The Near-Death “Life Review” as Judgment Day
The “life review” undergone by those who have had a near-death experience (NDE) strongly resembles God’s judgment “according to works” as mentioned in the Bible. The NDE life review and the biblical judgment “according to works” supports the idea that life is a “test” for which we are “graded” immediately after death for the purpose of determining our level of soul growth and the corresponding afterlife level or realm earned. As previously mentioned, people are reincarnated into an Earth life according to God’s plan for souls, through good works, to “work their way up” through the afterlife realms immediately after death with the goal of attaining eternal life in God’s Kingdom in the highest heaven.
“During a predominantly pleasurable NDE, usually while in the light, the NDEr may experience a life review. In this review, the NDEr typically re-views (sees again) and re-experiences every moment of his/her life. At the same time, the NDEr fully experiences being every other person with whom the NDEr interacted. The NDEr knows what it was to be on the receiving end of his/her own actions including those causing other people harm. At this time, the NDEr usually reports feeling profound remorse, along with extreme regret of harm not being able to be undone. At the same time, the NDEr typically reports feelings consistent with unconditional love from the light, which communicates forgiveness because the NDEr was still learning how to become a more loving person. NDErs tend to say ‘learning how to love’ is the purpose of life.” (Bruce Horacek, Ph.D.)
The revealing of a person’s every moment of their life during their life review is supported by Jesus’ words in the Bible:
“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” (Luke 12:2-3)
The following are a few NDE examples of the “judgment” aspect of the life review:
“You literally re-live it. Next you watch your life from a second person’s point of view. In this life we’re taught to be sympathetic toward others. But from the second person’s point of view, you’ll feel empathy, not sympathy. After that, you literally will become every person that you’ve ever encountered. You will feel what it feels like to be that person and you will feel the direct results of your interaction between you and that person. You know the story of the Book of Judgment? Guess what? When you have your panoramic life review, you are the judger … You do the judging. If you doubt me, believe this: you are the toughest judge you will ever have.” (Dannion Brinkley)
P.M.H. Atwater wrote: “And into this great peace that I had become there came the life of Phyllis parading past my view. Not as in a movie theater, but rather as a reliving. Had it been a reliving of just deeds done, it would have been as expected because I had heard of that before. But for me it was far more involved. The reliving included not only the deeds committed by Phyllis since her birth in 1937 in Twin Falls, Idaho, but also a reliving of every thought ever thought and every word ever spoken PLUS the effect of every thought, word and deed upon everyone and anyone who had ever come within her sphere of influence whether she actually knew them or not PLUS the effect of her every thought, word and deed upon the weather, the air, the soil, plants and animals, the waters, everything else within the creation we call Earth and the space Phyllis once occupied. It was a gestalt experience, meaning complete and whole on all levels, a total viewing and reliving of the totality of one woman’s life complete with all the ripples and consequences of her ever having lived. I had no idea a past-life review could be like this. I never before realized that we were responsible and accountable for EVERY SINGLE THING WE DID. That was overwhelming. It was me judging me, not some heavenly St. Peter. And my judgment was critical and stern. I was not satisfied with many, many things Phyllis had done, said or thought. There was a feeling of sadness and failure, yet a growing feeling of joy when the realization came that Phyllis had always done SOMETHING. She did many things unworthy and negative, but she did something. She tried. Much of what she did was constructive and positive. She learned and grew in her learning. This was satisfying. Phyllis was okay.” (P.M.H. Atwater)
During her life review, Laurelynn Martin relived an event when she was five years old and teased another girl to the point of tears. Laurelynn then felt exactly what the other girl was feeling. Laurelynn realized how the girl needed love, nurturing and forgiveness. Laurelynn then felt a love for this child that was so deep and tender, it was like the love between a mother and child. She realized that by hurting another person, she was only hurting herself. It was an experience oneness with everyone. (Laurelynn Martin)
Some NDErs are shown — not only a review of their life just lived — but a review of many of their past lives as well:
“I saw four translucent screens appear (and form a kind of gigantic box around me). It was through this method that I was shown my life review. (Or rather I should say my LIVES IN REVIEW!) Without ever having to turn my head, I saw my past, my present, my future and there was even a screen that displayed a tremendous amount of scientific data, numbers and universal codes. I saw the beginning of my known existence as a Soul and saw that I had existed Spiritually long before this incarnation — where I am now a male human known as Christian Andreason! In Heaven, I undeniably saw that I had lived an innumerable amount of lives. Yet, what I saw went way beyond our comprehension of what we think reincarnation is. So, I am not exactly speaking of being born again and again on this planet alone. I saw that it is a big Universe out there and God has it all organized perfectly. Each of us is sent where we can obtain the best growth according to our Divine purpose.” (Christian Andreason)
Two of Dr. Kenneth Ring‘s NDE study subjects mentioned learning of his past lives, one of them during his life review:
“My whole life went before me of things I have done and haven’t done, but not just of this one lifetime, but of all the lifetimes. I know for a fact there is reincarnation. This is an absolute. I was shown all those lives and how I had overcome some of the things I had done in other lives. There was still some things to be corrected.” (Kenneth Ring’s research)
Another NDEr whose testimony is included in Ring’s audiotape archives gave this account:
“I had a lot of questions, and I wanted to know what they [the light beings she encountered in her NDE] were doing — why are you just kind of milling around here? And someone stepped forward … it wasn’t just one … I got information from a number of them … that they were all waiting for reincarnation.” (Amber Wells, Reincarnation Belief Among Near-Death Experiencers, JNDS Vol. 12, No. 1, Fall 1993 PDF)
According to NDE testimonies from the life review, “God’s judgment” after death is really self-judgment at which time we enter the light of God where all is made known. Having your true inner self revealed in the light can be “hell” for those who have been motivated mostly by negative forces and bad karma in life. Having your true inner self revealed can be “heaven” for those who have been motivated mostly by positive forces and good karma in life. Everyone’s true inner nature, their spirit, is a part of God — a “spark of the divine.” Everyone who enters the afterlife after death begins to realize their true inner nature. Those who lived a life against their inner self will find difficulties when entering into the light. This is the self-realization and self-judgment as revealed by Jesus:
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21)
f. Salvation Is Not By Faith Alone
Contrary to what many Christians believe today, people do not attain eternal life by merely giving verbal and/or mental assent to the idea of “Jesus is Lord” or “Jesus is God” or “Jesus is Savior.” And because salvation is through “good works of faith” toward perfection and sanctification into Christ’s image, this implies the salvation process takes more than a single lifetime and implies reincarnation. The following Bible verses support this:
“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matthew 7:21-23)
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:14-26)
There are many other Bible verses proving salvation is by performing good works of faith and not by faith alone. Salvation by performing good works implies a perfecting process involving reincarnation. Here are some Bible verses supporting this:
“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3)
“Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.” (1 Corinthians 7:19)
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2-3)
“Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13)
“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:3-6)
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” (Titus 2:11-12)
g. Salvation Begins By Working To No Longer Practice Sin
To be acceptable to God, one must be more righteous than the Pharisees, fear God, do what is right, stop practicing sin, and forgive others. To attain such a life — a life of sinlessness — is obviously not an easy achievement. Considering how too often life is so short for many people, it is also obvious how such an achievement is much more than a single lifetime process:
“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:26-31)
“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” (Acts 10:34-35)
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
God’s law of divine justice, karma, universal salvation, pre-existence, Christian perfection, a “correcting judgment” process and reincarnation are mentioned many times throughout the Bible. People who are not perfected must be reincarnated until they become perfected. The Bible mentions that Jesus needed to be perfected by suffering on the cross implying he had a human nature subjected to reincarnation. The process of sanctification obviously takes more than one lifetime because the goal for everyone is to become like Christ — the perfect image of God within man. Only reincarnation offers continued personal identity and further spiritual growth after death. People are judged according to God’s law based upon their good and bad works. People who have not overcome their bad works must reincarnate until they do. The Bible repeatedly states that God’s law (the Ten Commandments) has never been abrogated and Jesus affirmed this fact. Paul apparently dismissed “the law”; but careful scholarship shows Paul rejecting the Jewish Mosaic law of mitzvah, which Jesus himself did, and not the Ten Commandments. There are abundant Bible verses teaching salvation by soul growth through performing “good works of faith” according to God’s law — especially in the teachings of Jesus — and perfecting through the Holy Spirit. Salvation begins with repentance and the continual non-practice of sin. Those sinners who refuse to do so will not attain eternal life and will instead continue the cycle of reincarnation until they do. Everyone is working toward the goal of permanent citizenship in God’s highest heaven — eternal life — whether they are aware of it or not; and the method is through reincarnation. Jesus has shown us the way — the pattern to follow. Jesus is the way-shower. We must take up our own crosses and follow his example if we want to attain the highest heaven. The NDE life review experienced by millions of people prove how people are judged by their deeds after death and that past lives are also reviewed after death. For all these reasons and more, reincarnation must now become a doctrine of Christianity as it was widely believed during the first hundred years of Christian history.