a. The Bible Mentions Reincarnating Prophets
In both Old and New Testament times, it was common knowledge for God to occasionally reincarnate prophets to warn the people of Israel. Here are a few Bible verses showing this:
“‘I also raised up prophets from among your children and Nazirites from among your youths. Is this not true, people of Israel?’ declares the Lord.” (Amos 2:11)
“‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’ You may say, ‘The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon.'” (Jeremiah 29:14-15)
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets‘” (Matthew 16:13-14)
b. The Bible Mentions Other Reincarnating People
Jesus taught how his followers would reincarnate in the future with good karma. The following Bible verse is a promise Jesus made to those who have forsaken everything to follow him:
“So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
Without reincarnation and preexistence, this promise of Jesus is nonsensical and would be impossible to implement. For example, if people had only one life to live, these words of Jesus would mean those who leave their house and parents for Christ and the gospel’s sake would receive a hundredfold houses and parents in heaven. It is self-evident that this promise of Jesus is intended to be fulfilled in future lifetimes on Earth defining eternal life.
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on Earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)
Later in the same chapter it states:
“Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.” (Hebrews 11:35)
The above verse in Hebrews describes women receiving their dead — raised to life again. Unless some mediator performed a miracle — an none was mentioned — only through reincarnation can this happen. Otherwise it would take a miracle of bodily resurrection such as occurred at the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:38-44) by Jesus. But the above verse isn’t referring to bodily resurrection because the verse also mentions people refusing to die so they can live longer to do good works so they may obtain more favorable conditions in their next reincarnation — a “better resurrection.”
Concerning a different Lazarus in the Bible, in Jesus’ Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), there is another excellent reference to reincarnation. Jesus described the afterlife condition of a poor man named Lazarus and a rich man who are both dwelling in “Hades” (as previously mentioned, the Greek for the Hebrew “Sheol“) which was the intermediate state after death for both the righteous and the unrighteous. Lazarus was resting in “Abraham’s bosom,” the righteous part of Sheol; and the rich man was in torment in the unrighteous part of Sheol. Beginning in verse 27, the rich man finally pleads to Abraham:
Lazarus and the Rich Man
“I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.” “No, father Abraham,” he said, “but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:27-31)
Because this parable isn’t a “end time” reference to the “Resurrection of the Dead” on “Judgment Day“, the rich man is asking Abraham to do a remarkable thing: to “resurrect” Lazarus to warn his five brothers about the torment of Sheol. Now unless Jesus is applying his own miracle experience of raising another Lazarus from the dead in this parable, the rich man is asking Abraham to perform a miracle. And the only way for Lazarus to “resurrect” and warn the rich man’s brothers, short of a Jesus-type miracle, would be through reincarnation. If the rich man needed to warn his brothers immediately, Lazarus would have to do so through a “walk-in reincarnation” which was covered in Part 1 of this article. Notice that it has already been established that “rising from the dead” and “resurrection” in Jesus’ day were often references to reincarnation. Notice also that Abraham did not inform the rich man of the impossibility of the “resurrection” of Lazarus in the same way that Abraham informed the rich man of the impossibility of sending Lazarus “to dip the tip of his finger in water” to cool his tongue because of his agony in the fire (Luke 16:24-26).
Here is a Bible verse which describes God bringing up the dead from Sheol, and bringing those in heaven back down to Earth which is a perfect description of reincarnation:
“Though they dig into Sheol, from there shall my hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down.” (Amos 9:2)
The following is a list of more Bible verses referencing reincarnation:
“The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.” (1 Samuel 2:6-8)
“Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshiped. He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'” (Job 1:20-21)
“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the Earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes — I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)
“God indeed does all these things, twice, three times, with mortals, to bring back their souls from the Pit, so that they may see the light of life.” (Job 33:29-30)
“Before the mountains were brought forth or ever You had formed and given birth to the Earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God. You turn man back to dust and corruption, and say, Return, O sons of the Earthborn to the Earth! For a thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You carry away these disobedient people, doomed to die within forty years as with a flood; they are as a sleep vague and forgotten as soon as they are gone. In the morning they are like grass which grows up — In the morning it flourishes and springs up; in the evening it is mown down and withers.” (Psalm 90:2-6)
“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 116:7-9)
“You, Lord, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.” (Lamentations 5:19-22)
“So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the Lord. In the course of my life he broke my strength; he cut short my days. So I said: ‘Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations…They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end. The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you.’” (Psalm 102:21-28)
“And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.” (Isaiah 35:8-10)
The biblical writer of the Book of Isaiah clarifies how the return of the Jews to Zion, through “resurrection,” will be through childbirth and therefore reincarnation:
“‘They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations; so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.’ Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word: ‘Your own people who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame. Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the Lord repaying his enemies all they deserve. Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?’ says the Lord. ‘Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?’ says your God. ‘Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.’ For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.’ When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes.” (Isaiah 66:3-14)
Here is another verse in Isaiah where people “rising” from the dead is equated with childbirth which implies reincarnation:
“As a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, Lord. 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 26:17-19)
In the Book of Job, Job wonders if he will live again after death:
“If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come.” (Job 14:14)
Job answers his own question by saying he will live again when he is renewed. According to the Hebrew dictionary, the word translated “renewal” is “chaliyphah” (pronounced “khal-ee-faw”). In the 12 occurrences of this word in the Bible, 8 times it is used to mean a “change in garments.” In 2 occurrences, including Job 14:14, it is used in reference to death which are obvious references to a “change in bodies” or reincarnation.
c. Some of Jesus’ Contemporaries Will Be Alive on Earth at His Second Coming
Jesus told the people responsible for his death that they will be alive on Earth and see him when he returns. This can only happen through reincarnation:
“The high priest said to him (Jesus), ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’ ‘You have said so,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'” (Matthew 26:63-64)
John the Revelator made the same claim which is beyond dispute:
“‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’ and ‘every eye will see him, even those who pierced him‘; and all peoples on Earth ‘will mourn because of him.’ So shall it be! Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)
The prophet Zechariah made the same claim which is also beyond dispute:
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zechariah 12:10)
Given the fact that the people who killed Jesus have been dead for thousands of years, the only possible way these prophecies to be fulfilled is for the killers to be reincarnated before Jesus returns.
In the Book of Acts, Peter confronted those who killed Jesus and told them to repent so that Jesus the Messiah can return and the Kingdom of Heaven be established on Earth. By confronting Jesus’ killers, Peter affirmed the truthfulness of the previous prophecies just mentioned:
“But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses… Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.” (Acts 3:14-15; 3:19-21)
There is a lot to be mentioned in the above verse. First of all, we know those who killed Jesus will be forgiven because Jesus requested they be forgiven while on the cross when he said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). But Peter told those who killed Jesus they must repent and he told them they would receive forgiveness at the “times of refreshing” and the “time of universal restoration” when Jesus returns. But why do they have to wait until then? Because no one can be forgiven until they first realize they are wrong and then repent. And as we have already mentioned, the Bible informs us that Jesus’ killers would not realize they were wrong until they see Jesus’ Second Coming (Revelation 1:7). Also, the reference to “universal restoration” — or “apokatastasis” in Greek — refers to the thousand year reign of Christ on Earth (Revelation 20:1-6) and the universal salvation of all souls resulting from it. This will be explained later in Part 6 of this article as it deals with the “first resurrection” and reincarnation.
Another verse supporting reincarnation is where Jesus described two different groups of people entering heaven at different times. This contradicts “corpse resurrection” on the “Last Day” which assumes everyone will be judged and enter heaven at the same time:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you (the Pharisees). For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.'” (Matthew 21:31-32)
The above statement by Jesus is a clear refutation of a final resurrection of corpses resting in peace in graves until “Judgment Day.” The so-called “Resurrection of the Dead” assumes everyone will be bodily resurrected and enter heaven on the same day at the same time. But reincarnation assumes a person’s judgment day occurs on the last day of their life when their soul leaves their body and enters the afterlife immediately after death. Reincarnation implies that those people who die, and are not yet ready for the Kingdom of God, will be reincarnated until they are ready. People who die, and are ready for the Kingdom, do not need to reincarnate unless they choose to do so. For example, some Christians choose to reincarnate to continue to be perfected and to work in “the Harvest” to advance the Kingdom of God on Earth. And by applying this correct interpretation of “resurrection” to Matthew 21:31-32 above, the only way the tax collectors and prostitutes could enter the Kingdom of God at a different time before the Pharisees, is if the tax collectors and prostitutes had overcome the cycle of reincarnation before the Pharisees. Otherwise, if a final resurrection of corpses on Judgment Day were true, those who would be entering heaven would do so at the same time. Entering heaven at different times would be impossible.
In another instance, John the Revelator described a future event when God’s judgment will be “poured out” as “blood to drink” upon the people who killed God’s holy people and the biblical prophets. This implies the killers of the biblical prophets will be alive on Earth when God’s judgment occurs. This can only occur through reincarnation:
“The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: ‘You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, you who are and who were; for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve” (Revelation 16:4-6)
Jesus gave another prophecy about his Second Coming which can be fulfilled only if reincarnation is a fact:
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the Earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven… Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Matthew 24:30-34)
Jesus told his followers they would be alive on Earth when the signs of the times have been fulfilled and he returns to Earth again. Without reincarnation this prophecy uttered by Jesus would be a false prophecy. In fact, this prophecy was partly responsible for many Christians in the first century to believe the Second Coming would occur in their lifetime. And the historical evidence shows how disappointing it was for the early Christians when they and the apostles were dying off and the hopes for an imminent return of Jesus were dashed.
There are two other verses in the Bible similar to Matthew 24:30-34:
Again, if reincarnation was not a reality, these words uttered by Jesus would be a false prophecy.
In another verse, Jesus told those around him that he would be with them in Spirit “to the very end of the age” while they make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 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 28:19-20)
The above statement by Jesus implies the people he was talking to would be alive on Earth until the end of the age, making disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them. This can happen only through reincarnation.
The final words of the Bible contains a warning which has implications of reincarnation:
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.” (Revelation 22:18)
This warning was written somewhere between 81-96 AD and is directed at anyone who reads the prophecy. And because this warning is over a thousand years old, violators of the warning would have to be reincarnated to experience “the plagues described in the scroll.”
d. The Greek Word “Palingenesía” in the Bible is Translated “Reincarnation”
“In the Pythagorean [a school of Greek philosophy] doctrine of the transmigration of souls [reincarnation], their reappearance in new bodies was called their palingenesia. The Stoics used this word to speak of the periodic renovation of the Earth in the springtime when it budded and blossomed again, awaking from its winter sleep, and in a sense, revived from its winter death. The word palingenesia is made up of the Greek words ‘palin’ and ‘genesis.’ Palin is a Greek word meaning ‘back again.’ Genesis is a noun used in the Bible, in the sense of ‘origin, race, birth.’ It is rendered ‘birth’ in Matthew 1:18: ‘This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about…'” The word palingenesia therefore means to be born again [reincarnated].
According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance 3824, the word palingenesia (a transliteration of “paliggenesia”) is found twice in the Bible, however it is mistranslated “regeneration” or “rebirth”. The following are the two verses with the word translated from “palingenesia” in bold font:
(1) Palingenesía Use #1: “Then Peter answered and said to Him, ‘See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.'” (Matthew 19:27-29)
The word mistranslated as “regeneration” is the Greek word “palingenesía” which refers to reincarnation. In the above verse, Peter asked Jesus what he and the other apostles would receive for following Jesus. Jesus answered Peter’s question by saying, in essence, “You won’t rule and reign with me in this incarnation; but in a future incarnation, you will. And you’ll not only be richly rewarded at that time for what you’ve had to forego and forsake at this time — but you will also judge the twelve tribes of Israel and inherit eternal life.” The idea of the twelve apostles judging the twelve tribes of Israel leads one to wonder if the twelve apostles were the reincarnation of the twelve sons of Jacob who fathered the twelve tribes of Israel.
So the event Jesus is referring to in the above verse is the biblical “first resurrection” — the first reincarnation of souls into the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth at the beginning of the thousand year reign of Christ as described in the Book of Revelation:
“I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life (on Earth)* and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4-6)
(2) Palingenesía Use #2: “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)
According to all reincanationalist religions, reincarnation is not a goal to be achieved. Reincarnation is something to be avoided. Reincarnation is something to be overcome through enlightenment and the performing good works and good karma. Overcoming bad karma and the cycle of death-and-rebirth means obtaining eternal life. This is the true meaning behind the Christian idea of receiving “eternal life.” For example, Jesus told the believers of the Church of Philadelphia that once they overcome the world, they will never again have to leave heaven:
“The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it.” (Revelation 3:12)
The above statement by Jesus is a clear reference affirming the preexistence of the soul and its partner concept of reincarnation. The verse also implies those people who do not overcome the world must leave the heavenly temple and return to Earth until they do overcome the world.
According to Strong’s Concordance, the following Greek words in the Bible refer to resurrection: anastasis (a rising again), anistémi (raise up), egeiró (to waken), egersis (a waking up), exanastasis (a rising again), exegeiró (to raise up), and sunegeiró (to raise together). However, many of these words in the Bible can also be references to reincarnation. Then there are Greek words in the Bible used as metaphors for reincarnation such as “changing garments” and “metamorphosis” such as the words: allassó (to change), metaschématizó (to change in fashion or appearance), metathesis (a change), and summorphos (to be conformed to).
e. The Bible Describes Life as a Cycle
The Jewish Kabbalists interpreted the following Bible verse to mean a generation dies and subsequently returns through reincarnation:
“A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the Earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hurries to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south, and goes around to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow. All things are wearisome; more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4-9)
In context of the other cycles mentioned: the sun, the wind, the streams, etc., the cycle of generations as the reincarnation of generations, is an obvious interpretation. In a normal cycle of reincarnating souls, the same generation of souls cannot reincarnate until the previous generation of the same souls have passed away. The key to this passage of scripture is verse 9 where it states: “What has been is what will be.” Due to the fact that verse 9 applies to the “generation” of people, this can only be a reference to reincarnation.
“The wind blows to the south, and goes around to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.” (Ecclesiastes 1:6)
The verse following Ecclesiastes 1:4-9 yields yet another reference to reincarnation:
“Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new?’ It has already been, in the ages before us. The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them.” (Ecclesiastes 1:10-11)
In the above verse, the writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes makes an important reference to reincarnation when describing the “veil of memory” which causes people to not remember their previous lifetimes. This shows the entire verse in Ecclesiastes 1:4-11 is using the cycle of reincarnation as the most important cycle of life in God’s natural creation.
In yet another verse, the writer of Ecclesiastes again mentions God’s cycle of life:
“What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.” (Ecclesiastes 3:15)
In the New Testament, James refers to this cycle as the “wheel of birth” which is another clear reference to reincarnation:
“And the tongue is a fire. [The tongue is a] world of wickedness set among our members, contaminating and depraving the whole body and setting on fire the wheel of birth (the cycle of man’s nature), being itself ignited by hell (Gehenna).” (James 3:6)
This verse in James is one of the clearest references to reincarnation in the entire Bible. And because the author is James, the brother of Jesus, this makes it even more significant. James actually used the phrase translated in Greek “trochos tes geneseos” which had a special meaning in those days. It literally translates to “wheel of birth.” By using this phrase, James gave this statement a specific technical reference to reincarnation. The revolution of the wheel symbolizes the cycle of successive lives. The comparison of life to a wheel and the symbol of the wheel itself was, and is, a common symbol in many religions and civilizations referring to reincarnation. According to Flavius Josephus, the second Jewish temple at Jerusalem had the wheel of the Zodiac inlaid in its floor. The wheel of the zodiac is also mentioned in the Bible:
“Can you lead forth the signs of the zodiac in their season? Or can you guide the stars of the Bear with her young?” (Job 38:32)
The “wheel” is also related to the mythical wheel of fortune which is another reference to reincarnation. For thousands of years, orthodox Jews have been believers in reincarnation and their scriptures, the Zohar, is a book of great authority among them. It states the following:
“All souls come in reincarnation (literally “wheeling”) and humans don’t know the ways of the Lord and how the Scales stand and how people are judged every day and time. How the souls are judged before entering this world and how they are judged after leaving it.” (Zohar, Mishpatim 32)
So the above verse in James referring to the “wheel of birth” is declaring how harsh the consequences can be when words are used inappropriately. While on the cycle of birth and death, peoples’ own words can condemn them. It can set their whole life “on fire” causing them to cycle through the fire of hell and having consequences in their next cycle of life as well. Peoples’ own words can condemn them to the extent that they can cause people to continually cycle through unpleasant circumstances, not just in one life, but in successive lives. The Hebrew word for reincarnation is “gilgul,” a word which comes from a verb meaning “turning in a circle” or “turning a wheel.” Many of James’ followers would have known this, and therefore would have understood exactly what he was telling them in James 3:6. James warning about words mirrors the teachings of Jesus:
“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
f. The Apocrypha Mentions Reincarnating Humans
The books constituting the Bible mean different things to different Christians. The Protestant Bible has fewer books than the Catholic Bible. Therefore, the Jerusalem Bible has a part of the Old Testament which was not included in Protestant versions of the Bible. They are the Book of Tobit, Book of Judith, 1 Maccabees, the Book of Wisdom (also called the “Wisdom of Solomon”), Ecclesiasticus (also called the “Wisdom of Jesus”, the “Son of Sirach”, or just “Sirach”), and the Book of Baruch. These seven additions are also called Deuterocanonical Books. The Greek Orthodox Church’s Bible has, in addition to the Catholic Bible, the following books: 1 Esdras, Psalm 151 (the last Psalm in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Bibles is Psalm 150), the Prayer of Manasseh, and 3 Maccabees. Another book, 4 Maccabees, is added in the Appendix. Slavonic Bibles, approved by the Russian Orthodox Church, have in addition to the Catholic Bible: 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras, Psalm 151, and 3 Maccabees. Eleven other books, together with the Deuterocanonical Books, form the Apocrypha. The full Apocrypha is normally available as a separate publication from the Bible; but it is included in some interfaith versions of the Bible, such as the Expanded Edition of the Revised Standard Version published by Oxford University Press. So the books constituting the Protestant Bible are first and second different from those of the Catholic Church which are in turn different from those of the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches. Furthermore, for the same book, there may be differences in the text because of the different original sources (manuscripts) used for the translations from ancient into modern languages. With these clarifications in mind, let’s proceed to review the evidence of reincarnation from some of these Apocryphal books. Here is a list of them:
“Then Tobit said: ‘Blessed be God who lives forever, because his kingdom lasts throughout all ages. For he afflicts, and he shows mercy; he leads down to Hades in the lowest regions of the Earth, and he brings up from the great abyss, and there is nothing that can escape his hand.” (Tobit 13:1-2)
“Woe to you, the ungodly, who have forsaken the law of the Most High God! If you have children, calamity will be theirs; you will beget them only for groaning. When you stumble, there is lasting joy; and when you die, a curse is your lot. Whatever comes from Earth returns to Earth; so the ungodly go from curse to destruction.” (Sirach 41:8-10)
“I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of humankind and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws.” (2 Maccabees 7:22-23)
“I beg you, my child, to look at the heaven and the Earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. And in the same way the human race came into being. Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God’s mercy I may get you back again along with your brothers.” (2 Maccabees 7:28-29)
“On the next day, as had now become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kindred in the sepulchres of their ancestors. Then under the tunic of each one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was the reason these men had fallen. So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; and they turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin.” (2 Maccabees 12:39-45)
“As a child I was naturally gifted, and a good soul fell to my lot; or rather, being good, I entered an undefiled body.” (Wisdom 8:19-20)
The following verse in Wisdom describes life as the ungodly see it — who don’t believe in reincarnation:
“But the ungodly by their words and deeds summoned death… For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves, ‘Short and sorrowful is our life, and there is no remedy when a life comes to its end, and no one has been known to return from Hades. For we were born by mere chance, and hereafter we shall be as though we had never been, for the breath in our nostrils is smoke, and reason is a spark kindled by the beating of our hearts; when it is extinguished, the body will turn to ashes, and the spirit will dissolve like empty air. Our name will be forgotten in time, and no one will remember our works; our life will pass away like the traces of a cloud, and be scattered like mist that is chased by the rays of the sun and overcome by its heat. For our allotted time is the passing of a shadow, and there is no return from our death, because it is sealed up and no one turns back…’ Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hoped for the wages of holiness, nor discerned the prize for blameless souls.” (Wisdom 1:16–2:22)
g. The Parables of Jesus and Reincarnation
Jesus also gave several parables having a reincarnation interpretation. The first parable to consider is the so-called “Parable of the Weeds (Tares)“:
“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)
An eschatological interpretation of this parable is provided by Jesus in Matthew 13:36-43:
“Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13:36-43)
The literal interpretation of the parable given by Jesus describes how people of God’s Kingdom live alongside with other people until the time the Kingdom of Heaven arrives on Earth. This interpretation has a reincarnation reference because it shows the Kingdom of Heaven growing on Earth until the “harvest” occurs at the end times. It’s also possible this interpretation needs another interpretation because of the phrase Jesus used, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” following his interpretation of the parable. This phrase appears after other sayings by Jesus having a hidden meaning. See these search results. According to a metaphorical interpretation of Jesus’ parable, “the children of the evil one” and “the children of the kingdom” are something other than human beings. In other Bible verses, the “seed” always represents the application of the “Word of God” and not people (See Luke 8:11, Luke 17:6, Mark 4:30-32, 1 Corinthians 9:11, 1 Peter 1:23, 1 John 3:9). According to the first Church Father Origen (184-253 AD), an ardent defender of preexistence and reincarnation in early Christianity, there is a metaphorical interpretation of the Parable of the Weeds which is more suggestive of reincarnation:
“Good things in the human soul are the offspring of the kingdom of God and have been sown by God the Word so that wholesome words about anything are children of the kingdom. But while men are asleep who do not act according to the command of Jesus, ‘Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation,’ (Matthew 26:41) the devil sows tares — that is, evil opinions — over and among natural conceptions. And according to this the whole world might be called a field, for in the whole world the Son of man sowed the good seed, but the wicked one tares — that is, evil words. And at the end of things there will be a harvest, in order that the angels may gather up the bad opinions that have grown upon the soul, and may give them over to fire. Then those who become conscious that they have received the seeds of the evil one in themselves shall wail and be angry against themselves; for this is the gnashing of teeth. (Acts 7:54) Then above all shall the righteous shine, no longer differently as at the first, but all ‘as one sun in the kingdom of their Father.’ (Matthew 13:43) Daniel, knowing that the multitudes of the righteous differ in glory, have said this, ‘And the intelligent shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and from among the multitudes of the righteous as the stars for ever and ever.’ (Daniel 12:3) And in the passage, ‘There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory: so also is the resurrection of the dead,’ (1 Corinthians 15:41-42) the apostle says the same thing. I think, then, that at the beginning of the blessedness enjoyed by those who are being saved the difference connected with the light takes place. Perhaps the saying, ‘Let your light shine before men,’ (Matthew 5:16) can be written upon the table of the heart in a threefold way; so that even now the light of the disciples of Jesus shines before the rest of men, and after death before the resurrection, and after the resurrection until ‘all shall attain unto a full-grown man,’ (Ephesians 4:13) and all become one sun.” (Origen, Commentary on Matthew, Book X, Newadvent.org)
This interpretation by Origen becomes even more apparent when you consider a similar parable by Jesus — the “Parable of the Sower.” This parable is important because it appears in all three Synoptic Gospels in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15. The following is the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20:
“Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: ‘Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.'” (Mark 4:1-9)
Once again, Jesus gave an eschatological interpretation of the above parable in Mark 4:10-20:
“When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that: ‘They may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop — some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.‘” (Mark 4:10-20)
So in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, the soil represents a person’s “heart” in which the “seed” of the Word of God is planted. Jesus described how a person on the right path whose “heart” is not overcome by persecution, nor consumed with the worries of this life, when the Word of God is heard and heeded, can produce many “harvests” of good works for the Kingdom of Heaven. And because the “harvest” represents the end times, we can assume the person who has the Word of God planted in “good soil” will continue to produce good works no matter how many times they reincarnate (produce a crop) until the end time “harvest” when the Kingdom of Heaven appears on Earth.
The mystery of the “resurrection of the dead” was a secret teaching passed on as an oral tradition; but was misunderstood and suppressed by the Church. But based upon the Biblical evidence of John the Baptist as the reincarnation of Elijah alone, it is evident both the Bible and Jesus taught reincarnation. The Bible also mentions the reincarnation of other prophets and biblical personalities including the future reincarnation of Jesus’ followers and enemies at his Second Coming. The Bible uses the Greek word “palingenesía” which translated means reincarnation. The Bible describes life as a cycle and how God brings everything to life again. Some of the parables of Jesus make sense if reincarnation is true. Some books of the Jewish and Christian Apocrypha mention reincarnation. Therefore, reincarnation must now become a doctrine of Christianity as it was widely believed during the first 500 years of Christian history.
a. Why Humans Need To Be Spiritually Reborn
To understand the nature of bodily and spiritual rebirth, it is necessary to briefly mention how the fallen spiritual condition of humanity originated. A literal interpretation of the Bible, from the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation, tells a bizarre tale of how sin entered the world roughly 6,000 years ago when the world and humanity was created and how humans fell away from God. In summary:
Genesis describes how a talking snake tricked a woman, who was created from a man’s rib, into eating some mysterious fruit. This event unleashed the horrible satanic legions of apocalyptic abomination of desecration and damnation from the dark abyss and into the hearts of all humanity bringing unspeakable sin, evil, death, oblivion, holocaust, and Armageddon.
However, if we give this bizarre story a metaphorical interpretation, as one would do with a parable or dream interpretation, then we can view the Bible to be an archetypal account of humanity’s fall from the spiritual universe to its ultimate restoration. The “Garden of Eden” represents our heavenly origin. The “apple” represents our free will. Our “banishment from Eden” represents how souls left the divine origins of heaven to explore their free will and the physical cosmos. Not coincidentally, a large group of early Christian Gnostics believed this was the real story behind Genesis. Accordingly, the “fall of souls” from heaven to Earth, and their entrapment into flesh, resulted in humanity’s “spiritual death” as recorded in Genesis:
“He (Satan) said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?’ ‘The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'” (Genesis 3:1-5)
The metaphorical interpretation of the Fall describes how free will, which led to the fall of souls from heaven to Earth, resulted in humanity’s spiritual “death”. According to the doctrine of original sin, everyone is born spiritually dead with a sinful nature, being separated from God (Romans 5:12-21). For a person to be restored to heaven and attain eternal life, the condition of spiritual death must be reversed which requires the person’s spirit to be “made alive” or “reborn” by the Holy Spirit. According to reincarnation principles, a person is born with the karma of their previous lives still intact; but do not maintain a memory of them.
Also in Genesis, appears the first prophecy concerning the coming of a Savior Messiah. After humanity’s fall from Paradise, God judged Satan by declaring how a woman would give birth to a son who would “strike” Satan, although Satan will “strike” her son’s “heel”:
“And I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman, and between your offspring (Satan’s) and hers (the Messiah); he (the Messiah) will strike your (Satan’s) head, and you (Satan) will strike his (the Messiah’s) heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
The “offspring” of Satan are revealed in the Gospel of John as the ones who killed Jesus:
“You (those trying to kill Jesus) belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
b. The Man From Above Explains How To Be Born From Above
The Gospel of John describes a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a secret follower of Jesus, who had a revealing discussion with Jesus concerning the Kingdom of God and how to enter into it. Nicodemus began his discussion with Jesus by addressing the miracles Jesus performed and how these miracles demonstrated Jesus’ preexistence:
“Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.'” (John 3:1-2)
This first statement by Nicodemus is very important and often overlooked. Nicodemus affirmed Jesus must have “come from God” (preexisted before birth) because of the “signs” he displayed. Jesus’ response to Nicodemus is equally important and relevant:
“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'” (John 3:3)
The Greek word for “again” (anothen), as in “born again,” also means “from above,” as in “born from above” which is why so many other translations of the Bible say “born from above.” So Nicodemus acknowledged that Jesus had “come from above” (paraphrased) to which Jesus replied, “Unless you are born from above, you cannot see the kingdom of God.” This initial exchange between the two men is often overlooked; but is the key to understanding the rest of the discussion between them. By Jesus telling Nicodemus how no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are “born again” (from above) Jesus is referring to spiritual “rebirth” or regeneration by the Holy Spirit as a requirement to entering the Kingdom. As a Pharisee, Nicodemus was well aware of the meaning of physical “rebirth” — the rebirth of the spirit into a fetus — but Nicodemus obviously didn’t understand this new version of spiritual rebirth — the regeneration of the spirit in an adult through the Holy Spirit. This confusion becomes apparent with Nicodemus’ next statement:
“‘How can someone be born when they are old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!'” (John 3:4)
Jesus answered Nicodemus by explaining the difference between rebirth of the spirit into flesh (“born of water”, childbirth, reincarnation) and rebirth through the Holy Spirit (“born of the Spirit”, spiritual regeneration, spiritual “resurrection”):
“Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.'” (John 3:5-7)
Paul also mentioned these two types of rebirth — of the flesh and of the Spirit — when referring to Ishmael (Abraham’s first son, born of the flesh) and Isaac (Abraham’s second son, born by the Spirit):
“Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.” (Galatians 4:28-29)
So Jesus explained to Nicodemus that the way to enter the Kingdom of God; the way to overcome spiritual death, the way to attain eternal life, is through spiritual rebirth through the Holy Spirit. Unless a person is spiritually “reborn” by the Holy Spirit, they cannot attain eternal life and must be physically reborn (reincarnated).
In other instances in the gospels, Jesus taught this “bodily rebirth” until “spiritual rebirth” salvation principle:
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 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 18:1-5)
Jesus recognized children’s souls are preexistent and therefore closer to “the Source” than adults. And although conscious memories do not transfer from lifetime to lifetime, spiritual growth does. This explains Jesus’ implication of the innocence and wisdom of children. The following Bible passage is a reference by Jesus to “resurrection” as a process where the dead become “like the angels” — as immortal spirits — who become “children of the resurrection” or children of reincarnation:
“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 raise up offspring 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 the age to come 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 burning 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.’ Some of the teachers of the law responded, ‘Well said, teacher!’ And no one dared to ask him any more questions.” (Luke 20:27-40, Also Mark 12:18-27)
In the Mark 12:18-27 version of the above incident, the phrase “rise again” is used twice. According to Strong’s Concordance, the phrase “rise again” is translated “egeirontai” which means repeated embodiments which also negates a one-time resurrection. It’s also important to note that of all the verses in the New Testament containing the word “resurrection,” all but two of them contain the Greek word “egeiro” — “rising again” — (1) Matthew 27:53 referencing Jesus’ resurrection, and (2) Philippians 3:11 referencing a final “resurrection from the dead.” And this is why Jesus says God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Their souls were not “resting in peace” until “Judgment Day,” but they continued to live, continued to rise into new bodies. Moreover, in all the verses in the New Testament where the word “resurrection” is a translation of the Greek word “anastasis” — according to Strong’s Concordance — the word can mean either a one-time “resurrection” or repeated embodiments of “rising again.” And there are multiple Bible verses contradicting a superficial understanding of Hebrews 9:27 which teach the preexistence of souls from the dawn of creation; thereby making it clear that Jesus accepted and taught reincarnation. Also, in the above Bible passage, Jesus taught the Sadducees how “resurrection” involves living souls becoming “like angels” and then as children — the child of Abraham, the child of Isaac, the child of Jacob, etc. By replying in this manner, Jesus affirmed “bodily rebirth until spiritual rebirth salvation.”
The following is a list of more instances of Jesus teaching about children of reincarnation:
“Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” (Luke 9:48, Also Mark 9:37)
“Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” (John 12:36)
“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and Earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.'” (Luke 10:21)
c. Reincarnation as a Metaphor For Spiritual Rebirth by the Holy Spirit
Other biblical writers used physical rebirth (reincarnation) as a metaphor for the transformation from spiritual death to spiritual rebirth by the Holy Spirit:
“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.” (James 1:18)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead …” (1 Peter 1:3)
“If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.” (1 John 2:29)
“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” (1 John 3:9-10)
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:11-13)
“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.” (1 John 5:3-4)
“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” (1 John 5:18)
d. Christ’s Resurrection as a Metaphor For Spiritual Rebirth by the Holy Spirit
The Bible contains many references to Christ’s resurrection as a metaphor for the transformation from spiritual death to spiritual rebirth by the Holy Spirit. However, these references are literally more of a “walk-in incarnation” of the risen Christ into the “spiritually dead” body of the Christian — a form of reincarnation. Here are some of these references:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11)
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.” (Colossians 2:13)
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1)
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-6)
e. Baptism as a Metaphor For Spiritual Rebirth by the Holy Spirit
The Bible contains several references to baptism as a metaphor for childbirth (and by extension, physical rebirth, reincarnation) and spiritual rebirth. Baptism is a ritual symbolizing a person’s transformation from spiritual death to spiritual rebirth and regeneration by the Holy Spirit. The Christian ritual of water baptism is performed as a symbol for birth by: (1) the flesh, and (2) the Spirit (John 3:5). The nakedness of water baptism (the second birth), for which baptism was originally performed without clothes, paralleled the condition of one’s original birth. The removal of clothing also represented the image of “putting off the old man with his deeds” as mentioned by Paul. Here are a few verses:
“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” (Colossians 3:9-10)
“If indeed you have heard him and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:21-24)
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” (Romans 6:3-6)
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27)
f. Jesus and Nicodemus on Earthly and Heavenly Things
Another point to make is the phrase “born again” which literally means “reincarnation”. There is nothing in the Bible to warrant putting only a metaphorical interpretation on the phrase “you must be born again” although we know Jesus meant it to be understood both metaphorically (born again by the Holy Spirit) and literally (born again into flesh). So traditional Christianity’s exclusive metaphorical interpretation of “born again by the Holy Spirit” is unsupportable.
In the next verse in the Gospel of John, Jesus tells Nicodemus he shouldn’t be surprised at his words:
“You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.'” (John 3:7)
In the discussion between Jesus and Nicodemus about the Kingdom of God, and how to enter into it, Jesus described what it’s like to be metaphorically “born again” by the Holy Spirit:
“‘The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’ ‘How can this be?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘You are Israel’s teacher,’ said Jesus, ‘and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?” (John 3:7-12)
The amazing part of the above statement by Jesus is the revelation that he was speaking of earthly things all along and not of heavenly things. He was speaking of the Kingdom of God on Earth, the rebirth of the flesh, and the rebirth of the spirit. He was speaking of how to attain eternal life, how to end the cycle of death and physical rebirth, and how to enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God in the following verse:
“Now when he (Jesus) 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)
So Jesus has been talking to Nicodemus about earthly things all along. Finally, at the end of his discussion with Nicodemus, Jesus shared the gospel with him and how Nicodemus can overcome death and enter into the Kingdom of God within:
“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven — the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:13-21)
NDE testimonies confirm the fact that some souls are not willing to enter into the light immediately after death. Such souls are allowed to remain in darkness until they are ready and willing to see the light — something which all souls will eventually do according to NDE studies and Christian Universalism as revealed in the Bible. Also notice in the above Bible verse, Jesus mentioned his mission was to “save the world” implying universal salvation and, by implication, reincarnation.
Jesus taught Nicodemus of two rebirths: one of the flesh, and the other of the spirit. To be “born of the flesh” means to be born of water, childbirth, and reincarnation. To be “born of the spirit” means spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught how people must become spiritually reborn by the Holy Spirit or else they cannot attain eternal life — permanent citizenship in God’s heaven. Those who are not spiritually reborn and do not attain eternal life must be physically “reborn of the flesh” and continue the cycle of death and rebirth until they are spiritually reborn by the Holy Spirit. There are many biblical references using metaphors describing the transformation from spiritual death to spiritual rebirth by the Holy Spirit including water baptism, reincarnation, and Christ’s resurrection. For all these reasons and more, reincarnation must now become a doctrine of Christianity as it was widely believed during the first 500 years of Christian history.