What Is Reincarnation?

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What is the definition of reincarnation? Does the Bible support this belief?

A Non-Biblical Word

The word "reincarnation" is not in the KJV Bible. The term comes from the Latin and means "to enter the flesh again." Webster's Dictionary defines the word as "a rebirth of the soul in successive bodies." Another dictionary states it is the belief that, at death, a person's "soul" enters another body or form and becomes alive again. In short, it is the belief that a person's soul or spirit, after experiencing a physical death, enters into another life form.

Reincarnation is supported by various religions and other groups who teach Druidism, Theosophy, Eckankar, and New Age philosophies. Gnosticism, which was a set of heresies extant during the New Testament period, also supports this belief. The well-known Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates promoted this belief among those they taught.

Resting Before Resurrection

The teaching of reincarnation, which promotes the belief that a person is "born again" after death, is somewhat similar to the death and resurrection of a Christian. Scripture shows that after death a believer is "asleep" until the resurrection occurs at the return of Christ Jesus.

The Raising of Lazarus
The Raising of Lazarus
Nicolas Froment, 1461

Our friends, we want you to know the truth about those who have died . . . We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will take back with Jesus those who have died believing in him (1Thessalonians 4:13 - 14).

The book of Daniel also refers to death as a sleep from which the righteous shall arise into a new life (Daniel 12:2 - 3). Christians, upon their resurrection, will be instantly changed and given new spiritual bodies (1Corinthians 15:35 - 38, 40, 42 - 44).

The New Age teaching in reincarnation admittedly does have some things that parallel the teachings of God's word. For example, Scripture teaches that the physical bodies of the righteous will experience death but that, at the resurrection of the dead, their spirits will receive a new spiritual body from God.

A Momentous Change

One of the main differences between true Christianity and New Age is that while reincarnation teaches a person may die and assume a new form several times, God's word states only one momentous change occurs.

In God's plan, after a resurrected Christian has a spiritual body he or she enters into his family, the family of God, as his spiritual children. Just as Jesus Christ was raised from the dead as a kind of first fruits (1Corinthians 15:20), so will those who are truly converted and have his Holy Spirit.

Ultimately, the teachings of reincarnation come from pagan sources and not the Bible. Our Father's plan to bring Christians back to life and give them eternal spiritual bodies so that they can be with him and Jesus forever is a wonderful, glorious truth that is far above any man-made religion or set of beliefs!

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