What is reincarnation and transmigration?

What is reincarnation? The word reincarnation has Latin roots and means repeated incarnation. Reincarnation means, that our soul is, after death, incarnated back into a body, each time a different one, however the soul preserve its integrity. Reincarnation therefore teaches, that when a human dies, his soul escapes the body and continue its existence in some form of life – either again in a human form, or in a lower, or higher form, than a human one. Currently over half of our current population believes in reincarnation.

The basics say, that a life of a human, and theoretically their fate is given by karma. Karma is a belief, that there is no unearned good or bad. Every single human creates its fate from the “scratch”. Meaning that if somebody’s done good deeds, he, or she will be inevitably reincarnated into a “good” body, if bad, the reincarnation will result into becoming a “bad” body, eventually an animal, flower, or mineral (in Hinduism). The Christian version of reincarnation says, that if a human doesn’t accept, or deny the existence of Jesus Christ, he’s gotta reincarnate into a new human body, and that will be repeated until he, or she finally accepts Jesus Christ.

2. Why do people believe in Reincarnation? There’s a several reasons, why people find the reincarnation theory acceptable

 

 

a) Immortal Soul Platon said, that an immortal soul forms into a human body as a punishment for a sin, that they’ve made. The soul has to leave the ideal world, and go to the world of materialism. The soul existed before we were born, and it will exist after we die. The fact, that the soul is present on the world in several different bodies is a part of the path of being freed from the sin. Fun fact is, that many Christians, that started believing in the immortal soul, stopped believing in the theory of reincarnation itself.

b) Psychological testimony of past lives Some people consider certain psychological phenomenons as a proof of past lives. Huge popularity on this topic gained books of Dr. Raymond A. Moody – Life after life. Of course there are many doubts on how big of a proof is actually discussed.

c) Justice in the system of reincarnation The thought, that a human has got several lives available has got more than several followers, mainly because of the following reasons: 1) It’s fair. If you do good, you’ll be rewarded the same. However, it works the other way, too. If you do bad, no wonder there isn’t any good around. The punishment is about equal to what you’ve done (not as in Christianity, where you either gain everything by going to the heaven, or you get lost in hell. 2) Thanks to the teaching of karma, we’re able to explain the suffering in this life – the suffering is a cause of karma from previous lives. According to this statement, the suffering is no longer by any means caused by the God. 3) One of the most attractive aspects of reincarnation, that it completely denies an existence of the “judge”, or any form of conviction. The teaching about ever burning hell, or about total destruction of everything unholy, seems to many contradictory with the God itself. The God can punish every sin through the law of karma, demand belief in at least one life, and in the end, save everybody. If somebody denies Jesus Christ, he gets second, third chance, until he’s accepted. The soul can psychologically evolve, therefore they can then better understand the love of God. 4) The last reason for the attraction to the reincarnation model of life and death is, that the freedom of human beings in relationship to the God remains preserved. God doesn’t force anybody to believe, he simply provides enough of time for the use of free will.

WHY WE CAN’T ACCEPT THE BELIEF IN REINCARNATION

If we take into account the Christina model of reincarnation, we can’t deny, that they are trying to defend the love of God, mercy, and justice facing the problem of evil. The reality, that a free will, and dignity of the mankind remains preserved is positive, but the whole system has a several critical loopholes.

a) The theory of reincarnation doesn’t solve the problem of evil. Instead, they claim, that the suffering is fair, and therefore they defend it. Because the karma of previous lives is the reason for suffering, nobody is really innocent. The others, that believe in slightly different theories, are shaming the Christians, because everything they could really say to a mother, who’s innocent three years old daughter died is, that they both deserved it.

b) Karma isn’t a moral law. Somebody could relatively easily say, that the law of karma is something like the law in the Old law – exact universal moral codex. Karma however isn’t exactly it, it’s a system of punishment, that doesn’t really tells the punished what to do. Where are the rules, guided by karma, that we are all to abide, it actually seems that they don’t exist. And if they don’t, then all evil is relative. And if it is, why would be anybody punished.

c) Reincarnation is inhuman overall. Have you ever seen any pictures from the life in India? Thousands of starving crippled bodies laying on the street. If you help them, you’re to be, according to Hinduism, against the law of karma. If you help them, you’re lowering the suffering, which will find them in their next life. Humanitarian aid in a society that believe in reincarnation is almost impossible.

d) Reincarnation doesn’t guarantee any spiritual growth. Some use the theory of evolution to say, that everything is getting better, to greater living forms. The problem is, that there is no such proof, that’d confirm that this is true. Either on biological, or spiritual level. In the end, the teaching about reincarnation brings more problems than solutions. Logically, it’s not worth it. And what does the Bible say?

e) The teaching about reincarnation is against bible. Karma, is a bit of a way to salvation. The human sets its own path, its good deeds can make up for the bad ones. If somebody hasn’t been successful, he gets a new chance in its next life, and again, until every single problem is solve. Reincarnation leads in the end to some sort of universalism – belief, that in the end, everybody will be saved. Human doesn’t really need any help of god, any miracle from the Jesus. Not even the God.

Reincarnation and Christianity

Reincarnation is known to be accepted by today’s religious syncretism as one of the fundamental doctrines. There are proofs from bible texts that it was reincarnation was known and accepted by early church. Analysing the basic texts present in bible which are claimed to imply on reincarnation belief can give us a proof of the fact that Christianity and reincarnation has links from the past. Some of the most convincing bible text which seems to imply in reincarnation beliefs are:

  1. Matthew 11,14 and 17,12-13, concerning the identity of John the Baptist;

The first text concerns with the identity of john t Baptist, who is supposed to be the reincarnation of the almighty Prophet Elijah. In Mathew 11, 4 Jesus say “And if you are willing to accept it, he (John the Baptist) is the Elijah who was to come.” Also while answering the apostles about the arrival of Elijah, Jesus said But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.”  Hence, the existence of reincarnation can be drawn from the above two bible text.

 

  1. John 9,2, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”;

The very Next disputed bible text is the introduction of healing of a man who was born blind in john 9, 2. Considering the questioning of apostles “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”, The first option from the above text implies that Rabi can only be sinned in a previous life. Hence, he is reincarnated as a blind person because of his past sins.

 

  1. John 3,3, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again”;

In the gospel john Jesus told Nicodemus: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3, 3). We can infer from the above statement that reincarnation is the only possible way to admission into “Kingdom of God” and for attaining spiritual perfection.

 

 

 

  1. James 3,6, “the wheel of nature”;

One of the classic example suggesting samsara and karma in bible is often considered to be represented by the words of Apostle Paul in Galatians who says “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6, 7). We can infer from the above lines that “sowing and reaping” process can be considered as someone’s acts and the consequences as per his karma in future lives.

 

Reincarnation in the bible

The concept of reincarnation is older than bible and is a central tenant within Indian religions such as Jainism, Hinduism and Sikhism. Bible doesn’t believe in giving second life chance to people and it opposes reincarnation. Bible says that man is a special creation of god and each of us have both material body and immaterial soul. It teaches us that at death, while man’s body is material so it decays and returns to dust but the immaterial soul either goes to place of torments because of his sins or goes to heaven in god’s presence for his good deeds. Both of them are resurrected, one to eternal life with a glorified body and other to eternal judgement. The statement from bible is “it is appointed unto men once to die and after that judgement” (Heb. 9:27). The creation of mankind in god’s image is unique and even angels oppose the idea of reincarnation. Claiming to have known your past is just dude to demonic encounter which have been present throughout history.

Bible has six basic theories to explain what happens after death. The theories are enough to explain bible’s way of reincarnation with the help of six basic theories. Let’s discuss all of them one by one.

  • Materialism

Our body is a combination of various matters and thus it is called materialistic. Nothing survives in this world, everything thing has its end on one or other day. Materialism is one of the strong view in developed nations and is accompanied by most of the atheists.

 

  • Paganism

Paganism has a belief that a shadowy semi self, vague or ghost if survives goes to a place of the dark, the dark, gloomy underworld. We can find the traces of this belief in Old Testament Jewish notion of sheol. Ghost which survives is believed to be less substantial, less alive, and less real than flesh and blood organism living.

 

  • Reincarnation

Reincarnation believes that soul never dies and only materialistic body is lost. Soul reincarnated into a new body is known as reincarnation. This belief is strongly connected to the next belief pantheism, by the notion of karma.

 

  • Pantheism

Pantheism says there is no distinct anthropomorphic god and the universe is identical with divinity. Pantheism is polar opposite to atheism and is considered non-religious philosophical position by some group of peoples. They are the believers who believe that god and universe are the same and god is present in each and every elements of the universe.

 

  • Resurrection

After death, soul is separated from the body and is reunited to a new, resurrected, immortal body by divine miracle. This view is Christian view. This view, the supernatural resurrection of the body rather than the natural immortality of the soul alone, is the only version of life after death in Scripture.

REINCARNATION

What is reincarnation?

We know of five ways how to prove the existence of reincarnation to ourselves

Buddha taught reincarnation, rebirth, or, however, you’d like to call it based on his own experience. At least, he claims so. With the help and power of right meditation, many Buddhist Yogis, including Buddha itself have gained the ability to recall memories from their own and others’ past lives. Through a very specific training of the mind,we shall be able to train our mind to the phase, where we are able to recall memories from past life of ours, or of somebody else. We can eventually develop the same skill, that for example, among the many Buddha had.

The point is, in accordance with the law of karma, we shall be able to gradually increase our mental capacity to the level, where we are able to directly perceive not just our past, but even future life.

If we deny the existence of rebirth and reincarnation altogether, and we don’t put any effort into discovering whether it’s true or not, we will never achieve the same that has been already achieved many times.

Reincarnation stories

Murdered boy reincarnated

An anonymous contributor to the Epoch Times shared a story, in which a 3 years old boy said, he liked his “new daddy”. Confused mother asked why since he had only one biological father.  And so he replied “My old daddy was really mean. He stabbed me in the back and I died. But I really like my new daddy, he’d never do that to me”

Boy is his own grandpa

18 months old Gus Taylor’s grandfather, whose name was Augie, had died a year before Gus was born. When he was a year and half old, he claimed he was his own grandfather.

When he was four, he could identify him on every family picture shown to him, even though he’s never seen the man. And it gets weirder. Years before, Augie’s little sister was murdered and her body dumped in San Francisco Bay. Nobody in the family had ever spoken to Gus about the event, and so everybody was quite surprised, when he started talking about “his” dead sister.

Past life as a fighter pilot

8 years old James began talking about aviation at 2 years old. His parents knew nothing about the subject, so they were quite amazed when young James started dropping all the knowledge.

There are many stories and reports, feel free to search Google or this site to find more.

Reincarnation definition

Reincarnation definition, the belief that the soul, upon death of the body, comes back to earth in another body or form.

That is, at least according to dictionary.com the definition of reincarnation.

We think, that reincarnation or rebirth isn’t really a thing that you could define and in the end, it’s entirely up on you.

How can we understand Reincarnation?

Although we cannot see our past and future lives, we can nevertheless infer them through logical reasoning.

The Charavakas materialistic school claims, that if something exists it can be seen by the five senses, therefore they concluded reincarnation doesn’t exist.

Many people nowadays refuse to believe in anything that can not be seen, which is extremely superficial. The whole historical knowledge is rather based on experiments.

We can not directly see atoms, distant galaxies, or events in the past, however, we all do know that they exist.

We invite you to read further and discover the knowledge. We don’t necessarily claim that reincarnation does exist. We though strongly believe so, and the facts and events that made us believe can be found on this website.

Is reincarnation real? Is reincarnation true?

It is obvious to us that everything in nature moves in cycles. We have the cycle of the seasons complete with birth, growth, fruition and death – spring, summer, fall and winter. There is the daily cycle of day and night. The planets cycle about the sun and the sun revolves around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. We see cycles in the process of our own daily lives – what goes around comes around. The Vedas (Hindu scriptures) tell us that the universe is born from a violent explosion, expands and then contracts, all of this taking trillions of years and then the process is repeated ad infinitum. These cycles are referred to as God breathing – and, oh yes, there is the cycle of our own breathing and the beating of our heart. In a recent Discover magazine, such a cycling of the universe from Big Bang to death and then another Big Bang rebirth was proposed as the occurrence of one parallel universe bumping into another with the cycle continuing without end. We can see that reincarnation appeals to old fashioned common sense.

Reincarnation in the Bible

What does the Bible say about reincarnation

The concept of reincarnation is older than bible and is a central tenant within Indian religions such as Jainism, Hinduism and Sikhism. Bible doesn’t believe in giving second life chance to people and it opposes reincarnation. Bible says that man is a special creation of god and each of us have both material body and immaterial soul. It teaches us that at death, while man’s body is material so it decays and returns to dust but the immaterial soul either goes to place of torments because of his sins or goes to heaven in god’s presence for his good deeds. Both of them are resurrected, one to eternal life with a glorified body and other to eternal judgement. The statement from bible is “it is appointed unto men once to die and after that judgement” (Heb. 9:27). The creation of mankind in god’s image is unique and even angels oppose the idea of reincarnation. Claiming to have known your past is just dude to demonic encounter which have been present throughout history.

Reincarnation in the Bible – read more

You will read about topics like

Reincarnation is the belief that the soul is reborn repeatedly. When one body wears out, it is cast off like a garment and soon another one is put on. You will find a thorough discussion of reincarnation in the Bible, the Jewish Kabbalah and early Christianity in the book The Mystic Christ.

 

 

Reincarnation Statistics

Reincarnation is also referred to as the transmigration of the soul or rebirth. 20% of the world’s religious population are either Hindu or Buddhist with both religions believing in reincarnation. Further, according to a recent Fox News poll, 25% of Americans believe in reincarnation. When we look at findings that span European convictions from 1968 – 1990, we see a steady increase in the acceptance of reincarnation. In 1968 23% of people in France believed in reincarnation; in 1990 that figure had risen to 28%. In Britain it rose during the same period from 18% to 30%; in the Netherlands from 10% to 18%.

Reincarnation is Intuitive – Cyclic

It is obvious to us that everything in nature moves in cycles. We have the cycle of the seasons complete with birth, growth, fruition and death – spring, summer, fall and winter. There is the daily cycle of day and night. The planets cycle about the sun and the sun revolves around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. We see cycles in the process of our own daily lives – what goes around comes around. The Vedas (Hindu scriptures) tell us that the universe is born from a violent explosion, expands and then contracts, all of this taking trillions of years and then the process is repeated ad infinitum. These cycles are referred to as God breathing – and, oh yes, there is the cycle of our own breathing and the beating of our heart. In a recent Discover magazine, such a cycling of the universe from Big Bang to death and then another Big Bang rebirth was proposed as the occurrence of one parallel universe bumping into another with the cycle continuing without end. We can see that reincarnation appeals to old fashioned common sense.

We are Not the Body

Reincarnation is easier to grasp if we understand that we are not our bodies. However, the mind is in the habit of thinking the reverse. Thus it is difficult for us to imagine departing with one body and then assuming another because we blindly and habitually have come to identify ourselves with the body – this body – the one we see in the mirror everyday. It is correct to say, “My body.” This reveals that the body is distinct from the owner. In fact, our true nature is pure awareness. We cannot be the observer (awareness) of an object (the body) and also be that object. In the equation of our own personal existence, we are that which is aware. Our true nature is awareness itself. In the English language the closest term to describe this is I AM (Exodus 3:13-14). In Sanskrit it is Sat-Chit-Ananda or Being-Awareness-Bliss. Our soul is fashioned from I AM and not from our body. In Genesis 1:27 we are told that we are made in God’s image which is to say we are beings of spirit and not flesh (in John 4:24 we are told that God is a spirit).

We have discovered from Quantum Physics, that matter depends on an observer (awareness) for its existence and not visa versa. So awareness does not arise from the body or brain. Our bodies arise as manifestations in the field of our own primal awareness. The body and brain filter the experiences which appear on the movie screen of our pure awareness.

 

The School of Life

The soul is evolving. Each soul is most likely without beginning just as it has no end. Souls have evolved from beginningless time. Going back we see we have been animals, plants, one celled organisms and beyond. Most of us have been humans many times. We gain experience and grow as we traverse our incarnations. Each life is a day in God’s school room.

What are We Learning?

We are learning to be as God is. To be perfect even as God is perfect (Mat. 5:48). When one has become the perfection that God is, no further births and deaths are necessary. We graduate. The exception would be to continue to incarnate for the well being of those still studying in the schoolroom of earth. These souls are called Bodhisattvas in Sanskrit. Jesus, Buddha and Krishna were such souls. They were already perfect in God but came here out of compassion as teachers.

It is our desires that fuel our rounds of births and deaths. Our desires continue through death and demand another body to act as the instrument for the fulfillment of our desires. Thus spiritual wisdom is often referred to as the end of desires. Then we abide in God, in the peace that is beyond understanding. The Buddha’s Four-Fold Truths are:

1. Life in this world is suffering (mental and emotional suffering; separation and isolation; fear and anxiety)
2. Desire is the cause of suffering
3. Ending desires brings an end to suffering
4. The Eightfold Path brings and end to desires

 

 


REINCARNATION IN EARLY CHRISTIANITY


REINCARNATION IN EARLY CHRISTIANITY

 

In the first five hundred years of Christianity, reincarnation was most certainly on the main stage. It was a prominent and well-respected merchant in the bazaar of Christian theology.

A significant number of early church pillars such as St. Augustine, Clement of Alexandria, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Justin Martyr, and St. Jerome believed in the doctrine of reincarnation. In his Confessions, St. Augustine ponders the common sense viability of reincarnation:

Did my infancy succeed another age of mine that dies before it? Was it that which I spent within my mother’s womb? . . . And what before that life again, O God of my joy, was I anywhere or in any body? Confessions of St. Augustine, Edward Pusey, translator, Book I.

There is one early church father who is the central figure in this complex story of intrigue and deception. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Origen (C.E. 185-254) was the most prominent, most distinguished and most influential of the early church fathers. We would do well to consider the enormity of this statement. The Encyclopedia Britannica also declares that he was the most prolific writer and theologian of early Christianity with works numbering around 6,000. St. Jerome asks, “Which of us can read all that he has written?” It is important to understand that Origen’s story, is not about the trials and tribulations of an obscure backwoods rogue theologian. How such an important and prominent luminary receded into the blackness of obscurity is a fascinating story and underscores the ego’s perennial effort to have its own way.

The Encyclopedia Britannica describes Origen as both a Neo-Platonist and a Gnostic. Socrates and Plato were arguably the most important bearers of the doctrine of reincarnation to the Western world. The first clear presentation of reincarnation by these two is in Plato’s Meno and later in the Phaedo where the concept is fully articulated. In the Phaedo, Socrates (under the pen of Plato) goes to great lengths to explain the philosophy proposing that the soul is immortal and does not cease to exist when the body expires. In Plato’s Republic, the character Er describes the after death journey of the soul in graphic detail before “coming back.” These ideas are expanded in the Timaeus and the Phaedrus in which Socrates presents reincarnation in the strongest terms.

Aristotle emphasized a more empirical materialism which focused on the here-and-now; the observable. It should be pointed out that through the centuries many philosophers have strongly disagreed with Aristotle’s “logic of categories” axiom which proposes a tidy compartmentalization of all aspects of existence both cosmic and human. This theory supposes no overlapping connection of the various categories of knowledge such as science, history and religion. Thomas Aquinas, who played a large role in shaping Christianity as we know it today, based his entire view of life on Aristotelian logic thus abandoning the mystical experiential traditions altogether. In this light we can understand more clearly the Encyclopedia Britannica’s categorization of Origen as a Neo-Platonist with a decidedly Gnostic flavor. The Gnostics, as described earlier, believed that truth could be gained only through “Gnosis” or direct experience of God. They emphasized ecstatic communion and the inward path toward God. About reincarnation, Origen has this to say:

If it can be shown that an incorporeal and reasonable being has life in itself independently of the body and that it is worse off in the body than out of it, then beyond a doubt bodies are only of secondary importance and arise from time to time to meet the varying conditions of reasonable creatures. Those who require bodies are clothed with them, and contrawise, when fallen souls have lifted themselves up to better things their bodies are once more annihilated. They are thus ever vanishing and ever reappearing. Origen, from A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, P. Schaff and H. Wace editors

By some inclination toward evil, certain spirit souls come into bodies, first of men; then, due to their association with the irrational passions after the allotted span of human life, they are changed into beasts, from which they sink to the level of plants. From this condition they rise again through the same stages and are restored to their heavenly place. Origen, On First Principles, B. W. Butterworth, translator.

As with many great saints of the past, there was nothing lukewarm about Origen. While his supporters were passionate in heralding his views, his detractors passionately pursued his destruction. Origen was banished forever from official church recognition at the Second Council of Constantinople (the Fifth Ecumenical Council) amidst a back drop of swirling political intrigue and dissension that was so severe it leaves many students of the event to question whether or not Christians are bound by the edicts and anathemas that were adopted there.

Emperor Justinian wrote a letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople naming Origen as one of the pernicious heretics. To be a heretic is bad enough but pernicious means “1. insidious harm or ruin; 2. deadly or fatal.” In other words, there are no human beings worse than this. Justinian then convened a synod at Constantinople in 543 C.E. which issued an edict refuting Origen. Pope Vigilius opposed the edict and promptly suspended all communication with the Patriarch of Constantinople. When the Pope arrived in Constantinople he reversed himself issuing a document supporting the Justinian edict. Many speculate that this document was issued at the gunpoint of intense political pressure. These speculations are confirmed by the fact that Pope Vigilius withdrew the document seven years later in 550 C.E. After much rancorous discussion and many maneuvers, Justinian called for a meeting of the entire Church in 553 C.E. known as the Fifth Ecumenical Council or the Second Council of Constantinople. The Church was geographically divided into East and West with these lines of division also extending into religious and philosophical matters. In general, the West was supportive of Origen while the East was not. Justinian himself presided over the meeting because Pope Vigilius had boycotted the gathering as an act of protest over irregularities such as stacking the arrangements for attendance against the West. It was highly irregular for Justinian and not the Pope to preside over this conclave. Of the 165 bishops who signed the acts of the Council not more than six were from the West because they were not in attendance. Let us recap for emphasis. The Pope refused to attend, Justinian ran the meeting and half of the bishops, the ones most likely to support Origen, did not attend the Council meeting.

In the long run, Pope Vigilius accepted the Council but the West did not recognize the Council as legitimate for some time. Several Western dioceses even broke off communication with Rome. Milan was so righteously indignant over this blatant skewering of propriety that they did not rejoin Rome until the end of the sixth century. To add to the vagary of Origen’s demise, it should be noted that in the end of the Fifth Ecumenical Council’s fourteen anathemas, Origen’s name is mentioned in only one of them nestled in a list of heretics. There is some evidence that even this was an error. The tragedy is that Christians have been led to believe that the doctrine of reincarnation has never been part of Christian faith. Others have supposed that the question of reincarnation was forever closed at the Fifth Ecumenical Council.

To further clarify the picture of Origen’s crucifixion, it is important to understand his principle antagonist, emperor Justinian. The Encyclopedia Britannica has interesting things to say about him.

The truth seems to be that Justinian was not a great ruler in the higher sense of the word, that is to say, a man of large views, deep insight…

Justinian was quick rather than strong or profound; his policy does not strike one as the result of deliberate and well-considered views, but dictated by the hopes and fancies of the moment.

In contrast, no previous ruler had taken such an interest in church policy as did Justinian. In what way is a man who is a shallow-minded opportunist (to summarize the Encyclopedia Britannica’s characterization) interested in deeper spiritual matters? This question has left many to speculate that Justinian saw the Church as a means of control and exploitation with the whip being his “one life then heaven or hell” policy.

While Justinian is portrayed as soft and indecisive, his wife the empress Theodora, was an indomitable freight train of decisiveness and strength. It should be clearly understood that she was not merely his consort but was empress regnant which means she had the legal right to interfere and run the empire. Officials took an oath to her as well as to Justinian. In the great Nika insurrection of 532, her courage alone saved her husband from being overthrown.

According to Procopius the historian, Theodora was the daughter of a bear feeder of the amphitheater at Constantinople, and she began working as an actress (regarded as an extremely low vocation) while still a child. Later she became a well-known courtesan and eventually met Justinian in Constantinople. Justinian’s aunt, who was the empress at the time, forbade the marriage but upon her death Justinian repealed a law which prohibited senators from marrying women of the stage. In 527, at the death of Justinian’s uncle the emperor Justin, Justinian and Theodora became rulers of the Roman Empire. He was forty-four and she was twenty-four.

According to Procopius as written in the Encyclopedia Britannica, “She surrounded herself with ceremonious pomp, and required all who approached to abase themselves in a manner new even to that half-Oriental court. She constituted herself the protectress of faithless wives against outraged husbands, yet professed great zeal for the moral reformation of the city, enforcing severely the laws against vice, and confining five hundred courtesans, whom she had swept out of the streets of the capital, in a “house of repentance” on the Asiatic side of the Bosphous strait. Procopius portrays her as acting with the greatest cruelties. The Encyclopedia Britannica goes on to state that we are able to gather from other writers that Theodora was indeed extremely harsh and tyrannical.

The following is an excerpt from the Anecdota by Procopius describing Justinian.

I think this is as good a time as any to describe the personal appearance of the man. Now in physique he was neither tall nor short, but of average height; not thin, but moderately plump; his face was round, and not bad looking, for he had good color, even when he fasted for two days. To make a long description short, he much resembled Domitian, Vespasian’s son….

Now such was Justinian in appearance; but his character was something I could not fully describe. For he was at once villainous and amenable; as people say colloquially, a moron. He was never truthful with anyone, but always guileful in what he said and did, yet easily hoodwinked by any who wanted to deceive him. His nature was an unnatural mixture of folly and wickedness. What in olden times a peripatetic philosopher said was also true of him, that opposite qualities combine in a man as in the mixing of colors. I will try to portray him, however, insofar as I can fathom his complexity.

This Emperor, then, was deceitful, devious, false, hypocritical, two-faced, cruel, skilled in dissembling his thought, never moved to tears by either joy or pain, though he could summon them artfully at will when the occasion demanded, a liar always, not only offhand, but in writing, and when he swore sacred oaths to his subjects in their very hearing. Then he would immediately break his agreements and pledges, like the vilest of slaves, whom indeed only the fear of torture drives to confess their perjury. A faithless friend, he was a treacherous enemy, insane for murder and plunder, quarrelsome and revolutionary, easily led to anything, but never willing to listen to good counsel, quick to plan mischief and carry it out, but finding even the hearing of anything good distasteful to his ears.

How could anyone put Justinian’s ways into words? These and many even worse vices were disclosed in him as in no other mortal: nature seemed to have taken the wickedness of all other men combined and planted it in this man’s soul. And besides this, he was too prone to listen to accusations; and too quick to punish. For he decided such cases without full examination, naming the punishment when he had heard only the accuser’s side of the matter. Without hesitation he wrote decrees for the plundering of countries, sacking of cities, and slavery of whole nations, for no cause whatever. So that if one wished to take all the calamities which had befallen the Romans before this time and weigh them against his crimes, I think it would be found that more men had been murdered by this single man than in all previous history.

He had no scruples about appropriating other people’s property, and did not even think any excuse necessary, legal or illegal, for confiscating what did not belong to him. And when it was his, he was more than ready to squander it in insane display, or give it as an unnecessary bribe to the barbarians. In short, he neither held on to any money himself nor let anyone else keep any: as if his reason were not avarice, but jealousy of those who had riches. Driving all wealth from the country of the Romans in this manner, he became the cause of universal poverty.

Now this was the character of Justinian, so far as I can portray it.

Translated by Richard Atwater, in Procopius, Secret History, (Chicago: P. Covicii; New York: Covicii Friedal, 1927), reprinted by University of Michigan Press, 1961

The historian Procopius, who wrote the above narrative, was appointed secretary to General Belisarius in 527 C.E. The General was Justinian’s right-hand man and personal confidant. Procopius also wrote the well known Histories in eight books, the Buildings of Justinian in six books and the Anecdota. For obvious reasons, the Anecdota was not published until after the death of Procopius. As a historian and chronicler of Justinian and his court, he was constrained to write only positive accounts while everyone concerned was still alive. Secretly he wrote the Anecdota to expose the utter immorality and disregard for decency expressed in the lives of Justinian and Theodora. The Encyclopedia Britannica says:

Owing to the ferocity and brutality of the attacks upon Justinian, the authenticity of the Anecdota has been called in question, but the claims of Procopius to the authorship are now generally recognized.

In other words, the Anecdota reflected so badly on Justinian and Theodora that it was difficult to believe it could be true. It is not the intent of this book to serve as an indictment of these two souls – may they find peace and love wherever they are. The information about Justinian and Theodora and the demise of Origen is printed here as an aid to understanding that the fortunes of the Holy Scriptures and Christian doctrine in general have not always been in the hands of God’s servants. The removal of the doctrine of reincarnation may not have been God’s doing. God may have originated or inspired the scriptures that we have now accepted to be Christian but since then, they have, on occasion, been placed in the hands of those with little understanding. Because of this, we should abandon the expectation that these scriptures would arrive in the twenty-first century unscathed.

The doctrine of reincarnation was banished because it gives power and authority to the people. Reincarnation contradicted the aspirations of a few bishops and deacons who felt they alone should dispense the truth to the multitudes. This authoritarian strangle-hold is strengthened by the doctrine of “one chance-one life” because a person who wrongly chose to think for themselves, dismissing the authority of the hierarchy, would not get another chance to put things aright if they guessed wrongly. The position of the hierarchy is that eternal damnation without parole would be the irrevocable fate of those who dared to question the hierarchy’s authority.

REINCARNATION IN THE JEWISH KABBALAH

THE KABBALAH

The Holy Kabbalah is the “hidden” or “secret” teaching of Judaism. It is the mystic path appearing in Judaism just as the Sufis are to Islam and the Gnostics are to Christianity. In the same tradition, Jesus did not reveal all of his teachings in his public sermons. There was a hidden or direct teaching that was revealed privately and there was a teaching for the multitudes who would not be capable of understanding deeper truths.

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. Mark 4:10-11, NIV

In another instance Judas (not Judas Iscariot) asks Jesus why he intends to show himself to them but not to others implying a hidden revelation.

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” John 14:22, NIV

Jesus follows with a long commentary and tells Judas that even though he (Jesus) is giving Judas (and others) special insight there are yet even more things which Jesus will not reveal to them because they are not ready for them. That would make two layers of insight beyond the multitudes.

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. John 16:12, KJV

There are hidden teachings which Jesus discussed openly with the disciples but not with the masses simply because the masses were not spiritually prepared. To do so would have been to cast pearls before swine. How could a barnyard animal appreciate the value of a pearl? Paul indicates that he too adjusts the directness of his teachings according to the understanding of the audience. Paul clearly states that there are teachings which he holds back because the listeners lack the spiritual depth to comprehend it.

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, NIV

Today what remains of Paul’s teachings, which are his public letters, are milk for spiritual infants. The “meat” was not recorded as open letters to churches but were taught by Paul directly to those whom he considered qualified. His revelation of Melchizedek is another indication of this.

The Holy Kabbalah is the hidden or secret tradition of Judaism not because it was forbidden but because it requires a high degree of spiritual maturity and insight to grasp. The Kabbalah is solid spiritual food that cannot be given to milk-drinking babes. Also, early Kabbalists did not want the teachings corrupted and perverted by well meaning but immature souls. In centuries past, one had to prove worthiness to be taught the Kabbalah. The divine teaching and the spiritual practices such as ecstatic communion with God and meditation were transmitted orally under the careful and watchful guidance of an accomplished master much like the guru/disciple relationship that exists between Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic Sufi masters and their disciples. For the most part, the Kabbalah was first committed to print and published in the Middle Ages releasing it for the first time into the grasp of the secular body of mankind. Today the Kabbalah is studied and practiced by many Jews and it holds the doctrinal center stage for Hasidic Jews.

Hebrew theology was divided into three aspects which are the law, the soul of the law and the soul of the soul of the law. The law was taught to every Jew; the soul of the law, or Mishna, was revealed to Rabbis; while the soul of the soul of the law, the Kabbalah, was revealed only to the highest initiates. We have just read that Jesus and Paul both referred to knowledge that is given to the many as distinct from knowledge that is given to the few.

According to Kabbalistic history, the teachings of the Kabbalah were given to a school of angels prior to the fall of man. The angels later revealed these teachings to Adam so that the fallen state of mankind might be redeemed. Specifically, the angel Raziel was sent from heaven by God to tutor Adam in the divine principles of the Kabbalah. Various angels were then sent to the Jewish patriarchs to clarify and intensify the understanding of this profound divine science. Shem was taught by the angel Tophiel, Raphael taught Isaac, Metatron taught Moses, and Michael taught David. Solomon was also a very high initiate in Kabbalistic wisdom.

The Kabbalistic torch was passed from Adam to Noah and then to Abraham who immigrated to Egypt where he allowed a portion of the divine doctrine to be revealed to the Egyptians. Moses, who was adept in all the wisdom of Egypt, first learned the Kabbalah there but became most proficient in it while wandering for forty years in the wilderness. Moses also initiated the Seventy Elders into the way of the Kabbalah which they, in turn, transmitted orally to their students.

In centuries past the teachings of the Kabbalah were closely guarded but the sacred texts also predicted a time when the teachings could be accessed by anyone. Today the Kabbalah is experiencing a tremendous resurgence of popularity and is being taught by Rabbis in living room study groups or classes offered through local synagogues. Non-Jews are also flocking to Kabbalah classes being held in local libraries and adult education programs. While most mainstream Jews in our modern world do not court reincarnation, Kabbalists are unshakably wedded to it. The three greatest books of Kabbalism are the Sepher Yetzirah, The Book of Formation; the Sepher ha Zohar, The Book of Splendor; and the Apocalypse, The Book of Revelation. The following is a quote from the Sephar ha Zohar.

The souls must re-enter the Absolute, from whence they have emerged. But to accomplish this end they must develop the perfections; the germ of which is planted in them. And if they have not developed these traits in this one life, then they must commence another, a third, and so forth. They must go on like this until they acquire the condition that allows them to associate again with God. The Zohar

The “germ” that is planted in them which leads to the “perfections” is the I AM; it is our oneness in Christ.