Reincarnation in the Bible 
Part 6
By Kevin Williams, B.Sc.
 
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 Table of Contents (Part 6)
 
11. More Reincarnating Biblical Personalities
 
a. Fallen Angels as Reincarnating Human Beings
b. Satan as a Reincarnating Human Being
c. Human Beings as Angels and Vice Versa
d. Angels and Humans Who Are Rescued From Hell
e. The Nation of Israel Reincarnated
f. The Reincarnation of the Apostle John
g. The Reincarnation of the Apostle Paul
h. Summary
12. 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
b. Paul and the Reincarnation of the Spirit
c. An Immortal and Indestructible Soul Implies Reincarnation
d. Thy Kingdom Come Through Reincarnation
e. The Book of Revelation and Reincarnation
f. The Dream Interpretation of the End Times in the Book of Revelation
g. The Lake of Fire as the Purification of Reincarnation
h. Gregory of Nyssa's Reasons Why the Church Rejected Reincarnation
i. Summary
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 11. More Reincarnating Biblical Personalities
 
 a. Fallen Angels as Reincarnating Human Beings
 
Jacob's Ladder

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 stairway resting 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. 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":

David Oakford"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").

(4)

The famous Christian psychic and near-death experiencer, Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), gave the correct interpretation of the Nephilim story to mean when souls fell from heaven and began possessing the bodies of homo erectus "ape-men" during the process of evolution thereby creating the human race.

(5)

Early Christian writers such as Justin Martyr, Eusebius, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Commodianus believed the "sons of God" in Genesis 6:1-4 were "fallen angels" -- fallen souls from heaven.

(6)

In the Book of Job, the "sons of God" are described existing in heaven before the Earth was created. The "morning stars" are another name for "sons of God" as in Jesus (Revelation 22:16), Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12), John the Baptist, Mary (mother of Jesus), and other human beings (2 Peter 1:19),

"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)

Jesus on the crossSo the evidence shows that all of humanity, as preexistent 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.

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 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:

Guardian Cherub"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):

Fall of Satan"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.

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 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 preexistent, 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)

EnochThe 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" (spiritual rebirth, spiritual regeneration) of the Holy Spirit of the living, and the bodily "resurrection" (physical rebirth, reincarnation) of the dead. In Luke 20:27-38, the Sadducees, who did not believe in either resurrection, 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:

Jesus in lotus position"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)

Jesus with childrenThe 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.

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 d. Angels and Humans Who Are Rescued From Hell
 

In the Second Epistle of Peter, the Apostle Peter referred to imprisoned spirits in hell held for judgment:

"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)

Jonah and the whale

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 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.

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 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:

Potter"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)

Woman as soulIn 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.

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 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)

PeterJesus' 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:

John

"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!"

 

NOTE: 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.

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 g. The Reincarnation of the Apostle Paul
 
Paul

The apostle Paul, a Pharisee, studied under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Gamaliel was the grandson of one of the most famous Jewish religious leaders and co-founders of rabbinic Judaism, Hillel the Elder (110 BC --10 AD), who taught reincarnation as understood in the Bible and and the traditions of Judaism including "Merkabah mystery teachings." Paul evidently knew and believed these teachings because of his Biblical references to out-of-body experiences (2 Corinthians 12:2-4), becoming "one" with Christ (Philippians 2:1) and affirming the teachings of reincarnation (Romans 11:25-32) as one of the hidden mysteries given as an oral tradition only to those Christian initiates worthy of them. In Romans 7, Paul mentioned a time when he was not under God's law:

"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:

"The Apostle said, 'I lived without a law once,' that is, before I came into this body, I lived in such a form of body as was not under a law, that of a beast namely, or a bird." (Hort, Fenton John Anthony (1911). "Basilides, Gnostic sect founder". In Wace, Henry; Piercy, William C. Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century (third ed.). London: John Murray.)

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)

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 h. Summary 
 

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". The soul must free itself 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.

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 12. 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 the doctrine of 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 times 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)

Corpse resurrecdtionThis 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:

"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:

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.

Cartoon salvationSo a resurrection of "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" would be 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 on the left. 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. While it is true that Christ paid the price for all sin for which God has forgiven all of humanity of sin; 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 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:

Jesus"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)

Jesus throwing a child into hellNotice 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 as in the graphic on the left.

 

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 and giving them life, 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.

Paul also contradicts the idea of "resting in peace" until a final corpse resurrection in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians:

"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. In Acts 14:19 Paul is described as being stoned and left for dead. This may be when Paul experienced his NDE. Nevertheless, the man who was "caught up to the third heaven" did so during an out-of-body experience and certainly an NDE. The fact that the man when 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:

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21)

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)

But 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)

Raising of LazarusIn 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).

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 b. Paul and the Reincarnation of the Spirit
 

Ken R. VincfentIn Chapter 15 of Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, he described the mystery of the renewal of man through the sacrifice of Christ and the resurrection. From 1 Corinthians 15:1-34, Paul discussed the resurrection of Christ which has historically been interpreted to mean a resurrection of Christ's corpse. However, the Christian Universalist scholar, Ken R. Vincent, Ph.D., submitted two scholarly peer-reviewed papers[1] [2] showing how the resurrection appearances of Christ could have been apparitional experiences of Christ as opposed to corpse resurrection appearances -- relegating what exactly happened to Christ's corpse to be a mystery. Modern parapsychological research is familiar with the phenomenon of "after-death communications" which includes full-body apparitions of the recently deceased appearing to grieving loved ones to comfort them. This website has several examples [4] [5] [6] [7] [8].

 

After speaking of Christ's resurrection, Paul began his description of 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)

Jesus also affirmed this "same old spirit, new body" concept in the Gospel of Matthew in his Parable of the New Wine into Old Wineskins:

"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. Like taking off your old clothes and putting on new clothes, when a person enters a new life on Earth the spirit receives a new body and gives up the old and useless one. It's a more natural solution and the parable fits perfectly with the idea of reincarnation and the continuity of life.

Then in 1 Corinthians 15:39-40, 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 Hades -- to free the souls captive there; thereby disproving the notion of resting in peace until an end time corpse resurrection day.

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 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, mitzvot, 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.

(4)

"chayah" which is considered a part 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.

 

OrigenNext 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 preexistence 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 preexistent 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)

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 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)

Resurrected ChristNotice how Jesus' followers expected the Kingdom of Heaven to be established on Earth when Jesus was about to ascend 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 (but especially good), certainly cannot be denied. So Jesus' prophecy of the worldwide spread of his teachings have 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:

field of wheat"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 God.

 

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)

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 e. The Book of Revelation and Reincarnation
 

Symbols of RevelationThe 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

 

Edgar CayceThrough his thousands of documented out-of-body journeys to heavenly realms, Cayce received information which discovered 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.

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 f. The Dream Interpretation of the End Times in the Book of Revelation
 

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.

spiritual centersCayce 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.

ArmageddonCayce interpretation:  "Satan" symbolizes the "fallen" spiritual nature in humanity (as opposed to the spirit of truth): 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. 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.

Temple in HeavenCayce 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)

New Heaven, New EarthApparently, 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)

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 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)

ZodiacThe 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 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).

BibleNotice 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 [1], [2], [3], [4].

 

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:

"Our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:29)

"Do not put out the Spirit's fire." (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

"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, 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 [1] [2] [3] [4].

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 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.

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 i. Summary 
 

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 once again. 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 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, preexistence, 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.

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"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." -- Jesus Christ, Secret Book of John 14:20

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