REINCARNATION VS RESURRECTION
Each one of us is born into this world with his or her unique set of circumstances. Our parents have different I.Q. levels. They each have their own set of problems as well as personal belief systems. I’ve always wondered if a child abandoned in the wilderness would grow up with a capacity to love or do we need to have love shown to us before we can love others? Is it like riding a bike? Or is that the reason most parents have an inherent love for their offspring? Even mothers of cubs can demonstrate their love in the form of protection if you get to close to her children.
Are the circumstances for a white child born in south Chicago the same as a black child born in Mobile Alabama? Why are some humans attracted to the same sex in spite of being born with sexual organs designed for procreation which requires the opposite sex? Why did Jesus say to the thief of the cross behind him that he would be in “Paradise” today with Him”? In short, we are all different in one way or another.
WHAT IS RESSURECTION?
I have studied the Christian Bible for 50 years.
I am far from being a Bible Scholar. Then again, the saying: “Those who can do and those who can’t teach” comes to mind. But my focus today is directed towards my fellow Christians. For the majority of those choosing Christianity as their direction for an “After life”, it boils down to this. When you die, you go to one of two places, heaven or hell. The gate to Hell is wide and you will supposedly have lots of company. The gate to heaven is narrow and “only a few” will find it. (Matt 7:13-14). When asked if there are any 2nd chances, you will encounter an emphatic NO and will be directed to Luke (16:19-31). This is the story of Lazarus and the Rich man. In short, The Rich man is Mr. Burns from the Simpsons and Lazarus is a street person who begs for Pizza crust at the gate of the Rich Man’s mansion. (OK, I’m paraphrasing) but this is a good analogy of the parable.
Jesus is telling the story of the two earthlings. Of course, after both of their deaths the rich man ends up in the lake of fire (Hell) and he sees Lazarus getting a back rub in better place. Jesus tells us that the rich man pleads for a second chance, not for himself but for his brothers to convince them that Hell exists and to listen to the disciples and learn the way to salvation or the narrow gate. (We won’t argue about how Lazarus learned to enter the narrow gate). The point being, Christian teachers teach that there are no second chances.
When Ace Andres dies, I will be judged to see if my name is on the manifest. And I understand this. But I also understand that the Ace Andres with beautiful long Raven hair, fast guitar hands and a bad neck is not the spiritual essence of what makes Ace Andres. I have done what the New Testament says needs to be done to be saved. I was baptized,(full submersion in water) confessed my sins, asked for forgiveness of my past sins and future sins, repented (which is an ongoing thing) and have championed Jesus as the only way to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Now let me define salvation. It means you’ve been “salvaged” from going to the scrap heap. You were made worthy of a complete restoration. How do we get this “restoration”? Does God wave his hand and you are perfect? I think not. God casted out a very beautiful Angel and 1/3rd of the Angels in Heaven to Earth for rebelling against God. So I believe it is safe to say that Heaven is not a lawless place or dimension.
There are only two humans who have been resurrected. Jesus the Christ and while performing his miracles on this planet, ironically, Jesus resurrected a human named Lazarus. Lazarus, a friend of Jesus was dead for 4 days. He was “Graveyard Dead”. Jesus knew of the sickness of his friend and took his time getting to him. (Talk about allowing bad things to happen to make a point) Jesus got there and was scorned for taking his time. The point was, Jesus took his time so he could work His miracle and raised Lazarus, (who had been dead for 4 days) from the dead. (John 11: 1-45)
That’s resurrection. This is what Abraham was telling the rich man was not possible.
WHAT IS REINCARNATION?
This is not only directed towards my Christian readers, but it’s also important for my agnostic and new age readers and friends. Keep in mind, when Jesus raised Lazarus after 4 days of death, he resurrected the human known as Lazarus, the friend of Jesus the Christ.
Here’s the short version.
- You die and your body turns to dust. (Cryogenics notwithstanding)
- Your spirit/soul is judged.
- If you are saved, you go someplace good, if not “Cya, wouldn’t wanna Bya”.
- *Speculation- For some anomalous reason God sends your SOUL/SPIRIT back to Earth or Alpha Centauri or someplace for more work or learning.
- Your spirit “Possesses” an infant human body that is void of a soul/spirit.
- I think some babies are born with virgin infant souls and others are born as meat jackets awaiting the reincarnation of a previous SPIRIT.
- Bottom line is it’s your SPIRIT being sent back again NOT the same YOU. You may have memories of a past life and you may actually have habits and mannerisms of a past life, but now you’re someone else. So NO you are not resurrected like Jesus and Lazarus but your spirit is allowed to possess another human body for whatever reason. Personally, I think God can see the good in a soul that we often cannot see in ourselves so we’re sent back to get it right.
“Back in the Day” (sorry) but 2014 years ago, the concept or belief in reincarnation was a common belief. How can I say this? In the gospel of Mark chapter 8 verse 27, Jesus asks his disciples: “Who do the people say I am”? Why does Christ ask his followers this odd question? He didn’t say: “What do the people say I am” rather “Who”. Everyone knew He was Jesus. They knew who he was. He was more popular than the Beatles and the people only had one name to memorize. (Not four)
Now listen to what his disciples told him: “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” Why would His disciples say that the people thought he was someone who had previously died in the Old Testament?
In the Old Testament, God tells Malachi that Elijah the Prophet will return before the coming of the Christ the Savior. This was a concern to Christ’s disciples:
“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the LORD you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 3:1)
“See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.” (Malachi 4:5)
When the disciples of Jesus heard and believed that Jesus was the Christ, they asked about Malachi’s prophecy about sending Elijah back.
In (Mark 9:13) Jesus explains:
“But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.”
Again in (Matt 11:13-14) Jesus says:
“For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.”
Finally Jesus spells it out in (Matt 17:12-13)
“But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him…” Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
So God didn’t literally send Elijah back (Body and Soul) but sent Elijah back reincarnated as John the Baptist. Just as the journalist James Foley, John the Baptist was beheaded as well. Call it perhaps the price of doing the will of God. I call it obedience.
In Matthew 5:48 Jesus says: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is”. If we haven’t worked out our anger issues, if we still have desires of the flesh, if we stumble with the truth, maybe the only way we can get it right is by being thrown back into the population for another learning experience.