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Consider This

A Scriptural Challenge to all Christians

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Reincarnation? What's that?

Many people see that word reincarnation and immediately think of people who believe that when their uncle died that he would come back to life on the earth as a cow (or some other animal). While there are religions that teach that, there are also some that teach that after death the disembodied spirit can pick and choose what kind of body they come back in, animal or mineral. Some of those teach that the disembodied spirit has no choice but is directed to some physical body based on deeds done in the last life, or "karma."

Most people have the idea that reincarnation is something mystical and of the new age genre, but in fact this concept has been around in many forms since the dawn of history. Looking in secular documents of myth and legend, you will find many stories of heroes, and sometimes ordinary people, being reincarnated after their physical deaths. How many of them are true? Well, that's up to you to read them and make your own decision.

Meanings of words
Everything we know, think we know, and believe is based on words and our understanding of their meanings. Without understanding the meanings of words we cannot communicate with each other or understand anything we read. Misunderstanding the meanings of words is the primary cause of ignorance and sometimes leads to even worse.

For instance, look at the perfectly acceptable and useful word "niggardly." That word means stingy, but some overly sensitive black people and politically correct freaks have erroneously associated it with the word "nigger" (which itself is derived from negro which means "black" in many languages) so that now it is looked at as a racial slur. So now the perfectly acceptable word niggardly is considered impolite and itself a racial slur. See what I mean? Not knowing the meaning of a word can lead to disastrous results.

With that in mind let us get a little technical about the meaning of words associated with the subject of this article for just a moment.

The base of the word reincarnate is "carnal," which literally means "of the physical body or flesh." The word "incarnate" means that a living physical body is inhabited by a spirit. "Reincarnate" is how that ex-disembodied spirit got into that living body, and "reincarnation" is the process.

So what should we believe about reincarnation?
Only what we can find, if anything, in scripture. That is the book that deals with matters spiritual and the only place any real spiritual answers can be found. Regression hypnosis for the purpose of determining "past lives" makes very interesting reading, but there is too much uncertainty about the human psyche and its ability to invent stories to satisfy the questions to really accept at this time. Maybe someday if the uncertainty factor is satisfactorily resolved then it would be acceptable as a proof.

Very young children who spontaneously express remembrance of past lives, and there are many, are strong evidence too. But again, there is no way to prove that reincarnation is actually the cause of their memories. Other factors could be at work in those instances.

Should we believe that people who die reincarnate as animals?

Not a chance! That's nowhere to be found in scripture.

How about rocks or stones?

Same answer.

So if there is evidence of reincarnation in scripture, let us go look and see if we can find it, but let us first make sure that we are not trying to find passages of scripture to defend or "prove" a predetermined doctrine. Let the scripture speak for itself.

Evidence of Reincarnation in the Scripture:
What we will be looking for here are passages of scripture, in context, that speak of any spirit entering any living body for any reason. Some of the passages may be prophecy about the return of an individual to this world sometime after his physical death, some may deal with past events, and others may deal with more immediate events.

Future Cases of Reincarnation:
Zerubbabel as someone unnamed who is to come in the last days

Zerubbabel is one of the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation chapter 11.

Yahuchanan (the apostle) as someone unnamed who is to come in the last days

Yahuchanan is the other witness spoken of in Revelation chapter 11.

The only way this can happen is if these two men are reincarnated, or return to earth in a physical body. What physical body they come back in is not of any importance. It may be the same one they had when they were on the earth before, or it may be a completely different one. They may be placed on the earth by Yahuwah as adults or they may be born of woman and grow up as a normal human does. The fact remains that the spirits of these two men will live in physical bodies AGAIN, and that is reincarnation.

Past cases
Yahuchanan (John) the Immerser (Baptist) as EliYahuw (Elijah - Elias)

The English word risen, above, is translated from the Greek word egeiro, which means to waken (trans. or intrans.), i.e. rouse (literally from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease, or from death. This is the same Greek word that is used to describe the rising of Yahushua. Yahushua also used another word to describe what He was going to do. That word is anistemi which means to stand up (lit. or fig., trans. or intrans.). When the word resurrection is used, it is rendered from the word anastasis which means a standing up again, i.e. (literally) a resurrection from death.

Something to think about here is if this concept was not a common belief at the time, why does the language have so many different words to describe the different aspects of it?

Pretty strong words about the return to a physical body of the spirit of EliYahuw. Note carefully that he was in a different body than the one he had been incarnate in before too. He was born of woman and grew up as all other humans do. This is a classic case of a disembodied spirit assuming a new physical body through the process of being physically born into it.

Since this man was BORN blind, when did he have opportunity to commit sin? Certainly not in the womb. If his condition had been caused by sin, he must have lived before in order to commit that sin. Notice that Yahushua treated this as a valid question and gave it a valid answer. He did not remonstrate with His disciples for asking a question dealing with reincarnation. (His parents could have been the cause, because of the second commandment.)

General statements and events indicating or confirming reincarnation
The following scriptural passages show that the idea of reincarnation was prevalent in Yisra'el well over 2000 thousand years ago. People talked about people coming back to this earth in another body as an everyday subject.

Note that Yahushua asked the question that sounds like He wanted to know who everybody thought He had been before this incarnation.

Yahuchanan was not EliYahuw. He was Yahuchanan. But the spirit inhabiting the body WAS the same one that had inhabited the body known as EliYahuw.

If people do not return to a physical body sometime after death, how then can the above passages be true? We know of many instances where bloody murderers have died in bed, peacefully, and surrounded by their loved ones.

The two primary religious sects of the Yahudiy that were around when Yahushua was walking the earth were the Parash (Pharisees) and the Tsadowq (Sadducees). The biggest difference in the two were that the Parash believed in resurrection (reincarnation) and the Tsadowq did not. The Tsadowq denied it, but the Parash not only believed it, but also taught it and lived their lives in the consideration of its truth.

Some positive indications of disincarnate spirits incarnating into an existing physical body are the stories of the dumb spirit (MattithYahuw 9:32-33), the spirit that left his "house" (MattithYahuw 12:43-45, Loukas 11:24-26), the boy with the evil spirit (Markos 9:17-22), the man in the tombs at Gadarenes (Markos 5 and Loukas 8), and the girl who was possessed with a spirit of divination (Acts 16:16-18). Some will say that these are clearly possessions by demons, and except for the girl, they would be right. Remember however that a "demon" is in fact an unclean or evil spirit and these stories do show that there is a mechanism in place for a spirit to leave and enter a physical body. What is the difference in possession by an evil (unclean) spirit and by a clean spirit anyway?

Immediate Considerations
And finally, the words of Yahushua in the book of the end times sums it all up.

C.F. Castleberry