Reincarnation and Mormonism, Part 6

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Reincarnation & Mormonism

 

Reincarnation and Conflicting Scriptures

There are some scriptural sources put forth by a number of LDS students who make arguments against reincarnation. I thought I would make some comments on them.

First, let me make this point that is overlooked by both sides of the argument. There are scriptures that are in contradiction with each other on this and numerous other subjects. True believers think the cause of this in the reader, not the writers of the scriptures. They seem them as infallible and any contradictions are because we do not understand them in the same light as themselves.

The truth is something else. The contractions are caused by three basic things:

(1) The limitation of communication through imperfect language. For example, the words of Jesus in the New Testament are as clear as any ever written, yet they are interpreted in hundreds of different ways, partially because of the imperfection of language itself.

(2) Human imperfection. All people including prophets are fallible and do not have a clear understanding of all the mysteries.

For instance Paul said this: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Cor 13:12

Paul here admits he knows “in part” which tells us that some of his writings will present an incomplete truth.

Nephi acknowledged his fallibility: “And now, if I do err, even did they err of old; not that I would excuse myself because of other men, but because of the weakness which is in me, according to the flesh, I would excuse myself.” I Nephi 19:6

Here Nephi admits not only that his writings may have error but “even did they err of old,” indicating that there was some error in the writings of past prophets.

Then, in Alma chapter 40, Alma tells us of a number of things that he doesn’t know or even that “no one knows.”

All this points us to the main truth that I have emphasized throughout my life, which is that the truth cannot be obtained by merely relying on the black and white precepts of men, even if they be prophets. The only way to stay on the straight and narrow path is through leaning on the Holy Spirit, not the arm of flesh, even if that arm speaks to you from the scriptures.

(3) The third reason for apparent contradictions is that prophets in the past often felt that the people were not ready for the whole truth. This even occurred in Joseph Smith’s day for he said:

“Would to God, brethren, I could tell you who I am! Would to God I could tell you what I know! But you would want to call it blasphemy and want to take my life.”

Life of Heber C. Kimball Page 333.

He thus had to hide or veil controversial mysteries when he taught, just as did numerous ancient prophets.

Alma also spoke on this principle:

“It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.” Alma 12:9

Concerning reincarnation I have found that many more scriptures support it than seem to refute it and have written a whole book to this effect called, “Eternal Lives.”

There are a few scriptures, however, that that seem to support the idea of one life only with no additional chances. Let us take a look at some of them and see where the truth lies.

“And this is the manner after which they (prophets) were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.” Alma 13:3

Here we are told that God chose certain individuals to be prophets because a foreknowledge. And why did he have foreknowledge? Because at some time in a past life they showed “exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling…”

Now orthodox Mormons would interpret this as applying to a nebulous pre-existence in spirit bodies sitting on the lap of a heavenly Father and Mother with billions of others. On the other hand, because they exercised “exceeding faith and good works” this seems to apply more to a physical and mortal situation than one in the spirit where you can see God right in front of your eyes (according to the belief).

As it turns out, this first scripture presents a pretty good argument for reincarnation, rather than against it.

Anti reincarnation arguments are taken from Alma 12, verses 8, 18, 20, 24 & 32 and Alma 11:41-45.

Let us start here:

“all shall rise from the dead, both the just and the unjust, and are brought to stand before God to be judged according to their works?

It is certainly true that all shall rise from the dead but how this happens differs from regular Christian doctrine. John clarifies what happens to the just and unjust:

“The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28-29

Here Jesus divides all resurrections into two categories. The first he calls the “resurrection of life” and the second “the resurrection of damnation”. “Damnation” is a mistranslation. The Greek KRISIS is more correctly rendered “correction” or “judgement that forces correction” and generally refers to a lesser resurrection.

The resurrection of life is one where the disciple will have a secure place in the kingdom of heaven “and he shall go no more out.” Rev 3:12. “Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death…” D&C 76:59

Such a one will have graduated from the mortal school and not have to go out unless her chooses it for some reason for he can always choose “life or death.”

The second part of the verse says:

“…both the just and the unjust, and are brought to stand before God to be judged according to their works?”

The typical believer thinks that he as an individual will stand before God sitting on his throne where this being will expose him to be good or evil and then make a judgment right then and there about his eternal future.

The scripture is true, but not in the literal way that is assumed by believers.

We as humans are in the image of God. Joseph Smith even said we are co-equal with God. After death we become much more sensitive to the spark of God, or the extension of God that is within us all. Thus, all we have to do to return to God is to return to an awareness of who we are.

After death we go before a council of advanced humans who have this God awareness for a life review. Though this is sometimes called a judgment, as if we were being judged from the outside, it is more of a judgment from our own inside with the help of a number of elder brothers guiding the person through the review for enlightenment.

Here a small handful realize they have learned what they need from earth life and “will go no more out.” The vast majority though understand that they have many lessons yet to master and make preparations to go out again and be reincarnated into mortal life. This preparation can last just a few years or several hundred.

“And Amulek hath spoken plainly concerning death, and being raised from this mortality to a state of immortality, and being brought before the bar of God, to be judged according to our works…. and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.” (verses 12 & 15)

“Then, I say unto you, they (the wicked) shall be as though there had been no redemption made; for they cannot be redeemed according to God’s justice; and they cannot die, seeing there is no more corruption.” (Verse 18)

These verses point to important points that will frighten the rank and file into being better people but the way it is worded does not present an accurate picture of the judgment.

Enos stressed the idea of wording his teachings slanted toward frightening the people toward repentance:

“And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things–stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction. And after this manner do I write concerning them.” Enos, Verse 23

This reasoning is pointed out in the revelation to Joseph Smith

“Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, THAT IT MIGHT WORK UPON THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN OF MEN, altogether for my name’s glory. … For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore– Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. Endless punishment is God’s punishment.” D&C 19:6-12

Here God clearly says that he allowed the prophets to depict punishment as being “eternal” and “everlasting” to appear as if it would be forever, “that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men.” In reality they are merely descriptions of God and do not mean that punishments shall not have an end.

Joseph Smith backed up this principle when he said, “I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man–the immortal part, because it had no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. AS THE LORD LIVETH, IF IT HAD A BEGINNING, IT WILL HAVE AN END. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say that the spirit of man had a beginning, prove that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house-tops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself.” DHC 6:311

Therefore, “as the Lord liveth” if a punishment has a beginning then it will have an end.

Alma was thus using the old fashion scary wording to frighten the people to repentance for if many prematurely know there will be an end to punishment some are likely put off their day of repentance.

So Alma presents the following idea to the people.

We must repent and be good people in the here and now else we will die in our sins. In this state we will be resurrected to eternal life, an incorruptible state and go before God where “they shall be as though there had been no redemption made; for they cannot be redeemed according to God’s justice; and they cannot die, seeing there is no more corruption.”

This is true but not in the light LDS readers take it, just like “everlasting punishment” is not true as standard Christians understand it.

Some time after death we are resurrected to our immortal incorruptible state that cannot die and are brought before a council of elders for a life review. The judge is God, but it is that spark of God that is within us concerning which we now have full awareness. With the help of elder brothers we judge ourselves. Joseph sp0oke of this self judgment:

“A man is his own tormentor and his own condemner. Hence the saying, They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone.” DHC 6:314

If one has not lived a life of service and learned to follow the Christ within him then he will be as if no redemption has been made. Since he cannot pay off his debts in the immortal state he will have to choose death (D&C 76:59), or mortality and be resurrected (reincarnated) again into corruption where he can make things right and learn his needed lessons.

Alma continues:

“And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state (the state where our God nature is realized) which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead (After death when raised up in a spiritual body).

“Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, (separation from God back to mortality) which was an everlasting death (everlasting being a name of God) as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God.

(The works justice demand that the person not remain in his God presence but return to mortality to learn further lessons and pay his debts)

Next Alma wanders off into teachings that are not literally correct as well as being in disagreement with other scriptures.

“Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.

“The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt.

“Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.

“Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, THAT THEY CAN DIE NO MORE; their spirits uniting with their bodies, NEVER TO BE DIVIDED; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.”

The basic idea here, and in most Mormon thinking, is that all will be resurrected in their physical bodies, but an immortal state, and in that body will stand before God and be judged. After this, only a few will pass on to the celestial kingdom where they will have fullness of joy. The rest will go to lower kingdoms and outer darkness where they do not have the fullness “the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness.” Alma 12:32

So, according to Alma, after the resurrection where all become immortal, the people will be divided into two camps: those who go to the Celestial kingdom and enter into the presence of God and obtain a fullness and those who suffer a second death and are denied the Presence, which would obviously be the terrestrial, telestial and outer darkness inhabitants.

The trouble is that Alma disagrees with other revelations such as this through Joseph Smith:

“For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive fullness of joy. And when separated, man cannot receive fullness of joy.” D&C 93:33-34

Here we are clearly told that when the spirit and body are “inseparably connected” that the person receives a fullness of joy. This directly disagrees with Alma who says that the wicked will have their spirit and bodies inseparably connected yet be in a state of death, separation and torment.

If a fullness of joy is produced by an inseparable connection of the body and spirit then any connection where there is not an eternal connection will not produce a fullness of joy. If a fullness of joy is not produced then the union of spirit and body is temporary.

Where is there not a fullness of joy?

Obviously there is not a fullness of joy in the lower worlds of the terrestrial and telestial.

So what does this tell us?

That the spirit and body can yet be separated and die in the lower worlds.

Those earmarked for the lower worlds are those who are subject to corruption to some degree. Where there is corruption there is always the disintegration of the form. The scriptures are clear “Whatsoever temple (body) is defiled, GOD SHALL DESTROY THAT TEMPLE.” D&C 93:35. All those in the lower kingdoms have sinned and defiled their temples so their bodies shall be destroyed. Furthermore I must point out that a Fullness of joy which produces immortality only comes in the presence of God: “In thy presence is fullness of joy.” Psalms 16:11 “They shall inherit the kingdom of God…and their joy shall be full forever.” II Nephi 9:18. Finally we see that fullness of joy comes from living a life like the Christ: “And for this cause ye shall have fullness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, EVEN AS THE FATHER HATH GIVEN ME FULLNESS OF JOY; AND YE SHALL BE EVEN AS I AM…” III Nephi 28:10.

That there is a resurrection of corruption is plainly set forth by Paul: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Often in a future life). For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh REAP CORRUPTION (Greek PHTHORA means decay); but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Gal 6:7-8.

If this is so then how could Alma had made such a mistake as thinking that there would be immortal resurrected being who are in torment, rather than experiencing a fullness?

Quite simple. He could have been shown a true vision of a soul after death arriving at the day of judgment who seemed to be perfect in his bodily form standing before several Elder Brothers. Even though this body was composed of spirit it would look physical and he probably incorrectly assumed that all who are judged are in resurrected physical bodies.

The truth is that they are in their spiritual bodies and it can take the form of the physical at any time period in your mortal life. In the spirit world the spirit body can feel physical to other spirit beings..

If then “spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive fullness of joy” is true does this mean that there can be no more reincarnation after such a union?

To understand this scripture one has to understand what happens when the ultimate union of spirit and matter happens.

First, one needs to understand that the substance behind all creation is pure spirit. The only difference between spirit and matter is that physical matter is spirit vibrating at a slow rate and pure spirit is vibrating at a much higher frequency.

Spirit and matter are inseparately connected when the vibration of matter is increased to harmonize with Spirit. Then, in this case, spirit and matter are the same. They cannot be separated because they are one and the same and in this state the life can have fullness of joy for the prodigal son has returned home, having an enhanced appreciation of that home.

The pilgrim is thus in the prophesied state

Where God says: “Him that over cometh I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out (Shall not have to be reborn) Rev 3:12.

Even though, in this celestial state, the person does not have to be born again into mortality he still has free will and can choose death and rebirth if he so desires for it is written of those who have overcome all things that “all things are theirs, whether life OR DEATH, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” D&C 76:59

These celestial beings who have overcome all things and have raised the physical to the frequency of spirit can still choose death, or mortality if they desire. Their spiritual essence is merely projectted into a new physical body born into the world where they will have to again attempt to raise the frequency of matter up to spirit and produce another inseparable connection.

Before she died on December 5, 1887, Eliza told her brother Lorenzo Snow, who became

fifth president of the Church, that she “was a firm believer in the principle of reincarnation … [having] received it from Joseph the Prophet.”

Joseph indeed believed in the principle and saw through the conflicting scriptures on the matter where in times past the prophets spoke to the people in language “that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.” D&C 19:7

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Reincarnation and Mormonism, Part 5

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Reincarnation & Mormonism

THE SECOND COMING

OF JOSEPH SMITH

When one considers the doctrine of reincarnation his mind would naturally wonder what the previous lifetimes were of some of the early brethren in the church.

It’s quite possible that their incarnations on the earth began even before the days of Adam for Hyrum Smith said: “There were prophets BEFORE Adam, and Joseph has the spirit and power of all the prophets.” Millenial Star Vol. 23:Pg 406.

Orson Hyde also said: “The world was peopled before the days of Adam as much as it was before the days of Noah.” J.D. 2:79

It is true that the ancient continents of Atlantis and Lemuria did exist and some of the more recent prophets also struggled as teachers of mankind back at that ancient time.

We see from the scriptures evidence of the past lives of some of the early brethren. For instance, there is a strong indication that Oliver Cowdrey was Aaron. Oliver was told: “You have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron; behold it hath told you many things; Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you. Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God, and you shall hold it in your hands.” D&C 8:6-8

This scripture is even more striking when one considers that a very important word here has been changed. The first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants read “rod of Aaron” instead of “gift of Aaron”. The word “gift” does not make sense because Oliver was told he would hold it in his hands. It is not a coincidence, then, that Oliver was given a Rod just as Aaron was, and his Rod generated power just as Aaron’s did.

It is also ironic that Oliver was the first with Joseph to receive the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist and he was the first one in this dispensation to be ordained in an earthly ordinance to this priesthood by another mortal, namely Joseph Smith. Oliver was told that he was “called and ordained even as Aaron.” D&C 27:8

Edward Partrigde was told that “he is like unto Nathanael of old, in whom there is no guile.” D&C 41:11 Could this be the Lord’s way of hinting at his identity in a previous lifetime?

Many of the brethren were conspicuously called strange ancient names in various revelations. No logical explanation of this has ever been given by the church. Again, was the Lord hinting at past identities?

Hyrum was Hyrum, King of Tyre from the Old Testament. Brigham Young was King Solomon. Just as King Solomon built the temple without the sound of a hammer (I Kings 6:7) so did Brigham construct the tabernacle in Salt Lake without hammer or nails. Furthermore, Solomon has sculptured lions on both sides of his throne and ornamenting his house just as Brigham had two of them guarding the entrance to his home he named “The Lionhouse”. Brigham was often referred to as “the Lion of the Lord”. You will also notice that many of Brigham’s sermons sound amazingly like the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes written by Solomon.

The Lord identified Joseph Smith in a dual manner. He said: “Thou art Joseph, and wast chosen to do the work of the Lord.” D&C 3:9 Which Joseph was the Lord referring to? Was this his method of telling him that he was Joseph who was sold into Egypt? Was this why Joseph of old, when prophesying of the mission of Joseph Smith, wrote of him: “He shall be like unto me.” II Nephi 3:15 Was he really writing of his own future mission?

Why did the Lord say that Joseph was “called and chosen to WRITE the Book of Mormon”? D&C 24:1 We know that, as Joseph, he did not write the book, but translated it. If the word of God is literally true then Joseph had to have been Mormon, for Mormon wrote the abridged book. Was this why, when describing his unusual traits as a young boy, his mother said: “During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He could describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and animals upon which they rode; their cities; their buildings with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, AS IF HE HAD SPENT HIS WHOLE LIFE WITH THEM.” Lucy Smith Biographical Sketches; Pg 85.

It is interesting that Mother Smith was speaking of Joseph as a young boy before he had any revelations. It sounds as if he was merely recalling his past life experiences just as numerous young people do today in increasing degrees.

Of course, Joseph and the other brethren had many other lives that are too numerous to mention here, but more interesting than their past lives are their possible future ones.

Many of the brethren were quite surprised that Joseph and Hyrum were killed because of certain things the Prophet told them. For instance, he said: “I prophesy and bear record this morning that all the combined powers of earth and hell shall not and cannot overthrow or overcome this boy, FOR I HAVE A PROMISE FROM THE ETERNAL GOD.” DHC 5:554

Because God had promised Joseph he would overcome all of his enemies he was very confident in expressing it. A reference is found in the scriptures: “I feel like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, AND WILL DELIVER ME FROM HENCEFORTH; for behold, and lo, I SHALL TRIUMPH OVER ALL MY ENEMIES, FOR THE LORD GOD HATH SPOKEN IT.” D&C 127:2

Joseph indicated that this overcoming all of our enemies is essential to obtain salvation: “Salvation is nothing more or less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet IN THIS WORLD, and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, THEN we are saved.” DHC 5:387

According to this then, Joseph was not saved for he did not triumph over his enemies “in this world”, but they overcame him and took his life.

Brigham Young was one of those who expected greater things of Joseph: “Yet he (Joseph) will lay a plan to speculate as large as ancient Joseph did; he will have power to buy up all the rest of the world.” DHC 6:16

Also the Lord said: “But a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion.” D&C 122:4

Joseph Smith was also promised that he would redeem Zion. (See D&C 105:26-27,37) He said he would be a witness to the whole world and then the end would come. DHC 6:363

The Book of Mormon tells us that he is the one like Moses mentioned in D&C 103:15-16. (See II Nephi 3:6-17) He said his father in a blessing “anointed my head, and sealed upon me the blessings of Moses, to lead Israel in the latter days, even as Moses lead them in the days of old.” DHC 2:380

Joseph’s patriarchal blessing even makes this promise: “Thou shalt hold the keys of this ministry, even the presidency of this church both in time and eternity…Thou shalt stand on Mount Zion when the tribes of Jacob come shouting from the North, and with thy brethren, the Sons of Ephriam, crown them in the name of Jesus Christ.” OUR LINEAGE (Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1933)

We can clearly see then, without quoting further, why the brethren did not expect Joseph to be overcome and killed by his enemies. It was even the Lord’s intention that Joseph and Hyrum escape martrydom for he said: “I…will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through eternity…Behold, I have seen all your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you. Go, therefore, and I WILL MAKE A WAY FOR YOUR ESCAPE, as I accepted the offering of Abraham of his son Isaac.” D&C 132:49-50

Just as the Lord prepared the way for the saving of the physical life of Isaac so would the Lord have saved the life of Joseph, and, unknown to most, God fulfilled his part of this promise for the Lord did reveal to him a way to escape.

When all the forces of evil came crushing down on Joseph and Hyrum and it seemed as if there was no way to escape with their lives, the Lord did give Joseph a revelation and told him to cross the Missouri and go west. However, his friends called him a coward for doing so and upon hearing this from a letter sent by his wife he replied “If my life is worth nothing to my friends it is worth nothing to me.”

This decision was his alone for neither God nor the heavens were allowed to interfere. They could only look on realizing the unalterable fate of his perilous decision. Although either choice required great courage, his love for the saints compelled him to return to face martrydom. The setback of his premature death was anticipated, however, and all the promises concerning him will yet be fulfilled.

Joseph was once asking the Lord concerning the time of the second coming of Christ and received the answer: “Joseph, my son, IF THOU LIVEST UNTIL THOU ART EIGHTY-FIVE YEARS OLD, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore, let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter.” D&C 130:15

This revelation led Joseph to later say: “I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written, the Son of Man WILL NOT COME in the clouds of heaven TILL I AM EIGHTY-FIVE YEARS OLD.” DHC 5:336

If he would have lived to age eight-five as hoped he would have prepared the way so the Christ could have reappeared and the promise concerning the building of the temple in Jackson County in his generation (D&C 84:4) would have been fulfilled. As it is the promise has been delayed because the saints wanted their prophet to prove he was a hero more than they wanted the words of eternal life.

All the promises made to Joseph shall be fulfilled for he will overcome all his enemies and will yet live in the flesh to the age of eighty-five and see the face of the Son of Man. He will not do it in an immortal resurrected body, but as a mortal walking among us again. Eliza R. Snow, the true author of PRAISE TO THE MAN knew what she was writing when she said: “Millions shall know Brother Joseph again.”

Parley P. Pratt was out of state when he heard of the Prophet’s death. He couldn’t understand why his life was taken before the Lord’s promises concerning Joseph were fulfilled. Wondering how he was going to explain Joseph’s death to the people when he returned to Nauvoo, he prayed: “O Lord! In the name of Jesus Christ I pray thee, show me what these things mean, and what I shall say unto thy people? On a sudden the Spirit of God came upon me, and filled my heart with joy and gladness indescribable; and which the spirit of revelation glowed in my bosom with as visible a warmth and gladness as if it were a fire. The Spirit said unto me:   ‘Lift up your head and rejoice; for behold! It is well with my servants Joseph and Hyrum. My servant Joseph still holds the keys of my kingdom in this dispensation, AND HE SHALL STAND IN DUE TIME ON EARTH IN THE FLESH, AND FULFILL THAT TO WHICH HE IS APPOINTED.” Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt; Page 333.

In answer to this revelation given to Elder Pratt the average Latter-Day Saint, without thinking twice, would merely say it has reference to Joseph Smith coming again in an immortal resurrected body, but an important point he forgets is that an immortal person never does the work of a mortal. After all, why did not Moroni translate the plates? It would have been more convincing perhaps, but it is the decree of God that man must work out his own salvation and resurrected beings do not interfere with that.

The Lord promised Parley P. Pratt that Joseph would again would stand again on the earth and fulfill that to which he was appointed. What was he appointed to do that he did not accomplish? We shall name nine things and point out that they do not fit the works of a resurrected being.

FIRST:   He was to achieve salvation by overcoming all of his enemies ON THE EARTH. It would be an unfair advantage with no victory, and contrary to the laws of heaven, for a resurrected being of great power to fight against mere mortals. If he is to overcome his enemies he must return as a mortal and face them on even ground.

SECOND: The Lord indicated that Joseph would live until he was eighty-five old. This he could only do as a mortal.

THIRD:   Brigham Young said Joseph Smith would be able to buy up the world as ancient Joseph did. Can you imagine the Lord sending a resurrected being to do this?

FOURTH: Joseph was promised that he would lead his people as Moses. Moses was a mortal so Joseph could not be like Moses if he was an immortal – he would be like Jehovah who was guiding Moses.

FIFTH: Joseph was promised he would be the one to redeem Zion. (See D&C 105:26-27,37) The one who will do this is referred to as the “marred” servant. (See Isa 52:24 and III Nephi 20:44) Does it make sense that Joseph Smith would appear to lead the Saints to Zion in a resurrected immortal body that is also marred? The prophecy of the marred servant would have to concern a mortal man.

SIXTH: Joseph was also promised that he would restore all things. We know that all things have not yet been restored. An example is the golden plates which were sealed. The Lord told Joseph: “I am the Lord thy God, and gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and RESTORE ALL THINGS. Ask what ye will and it shall be given you according to my word…For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make KNOWN UNTO YOU ALL THINGS in due time.” D&C 132:40 & 45

SEVENTH: One of the things Joseph was to restore was the fulness of the record of John: “And John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory, and the fulness of John’s record is hereafter to be revealed…And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful YOU SHALL RECEIVE the fulness of the record of John.” D&C 93:6&18

Joseph Smith was faithful wasn’t he? Then where is the fulness of the record of John? Obviously this can only be fulfilled in a future life.

EIGHTH: Joseph is to reveal all mysteries “until”the Lord comes: “And I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which were from the foundation of the world, AND THE THINGS WHICH SHALL COME FROM THIS TIME UNTIL THE TIME OF MY COMING, if he abide in me.” D&C 35:18 Also see DHC 2:32

NINETH: Joseph Smith is to be the “One Mighty and Strong” and “Set in order the house of God”.

Let us expand this final point and quote the reference concerning this Coming One, for it is the most controversial writing in all the Standard Works, misunderstood by orthodox and fundamentalist Mormon alike.

“And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth to SET IN ORDER THE HOUSE OF GOD, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God; While that man who was called of God, and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by a vivid shaft of lightening…These things I say not of myself; THEREFORE, AS THE LORD SPEAKETH, HE WILL ALSO FULFILL.” D&C 85:7-8,10

And how does the church explain this powerful scripture? They say that Edward Partridge, the first bishop of the church, was bungling things up, and the Lord was thinking of sending One Mighty and Strong to straighten him out, but Partridge repented and thus the prophesied person did not need to come. Thus the authorities have tried to negate the word of God for this is one prophesy with a promise of fulfillment. It is written: “He (God) will also fulfill…” D&C 85:10

The present day authorities like to think that this scripture cannot pretain to them. They do not like the idea that the church may be out of order and will require a new Moses to be sent to straighten things out.

As upsetting as it may be to the present day heirarchy we have definite proof that this warning was not to Edward Partridge as is claimed. Oliver Cowdery stated: “Brother Joseph says that the item in his letter (section 85) that says that the man that is called etc. and puts forth his hand to steady the arc of God, DOES NOT MEAN THAT ANYONE HAD AT THE TIME, but was given for a caution to those in HIGH STANDING TO BE WARE, lest they should fall by the shaft of death.” THE REVELATIONS OF JOSEPH SMITH by Lyndon W. Cook; Page 179; Published By Deseret Book

Furthermore, the prophecy pertains to the redemption of Zion which has not yet occurred and could not have been fulfilled in Joseph’s day. In addition we have a second witness to the Coming One in Isaiah: “Behold, the Lord hath a MIGHTY AND STRONG ONE, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephriam, shall be trodden under foot…The priest and the PROPHET HAVE ERRED through strong drink (doctrine), they are swallowed up of wine, (knowledge); they are out of the way; they err in vision, they stumble in judgement.” Isa 28:2-3, 7

Thus the coming of the One Mighty and Strong is established by two scriptural witnesses, which is discreetfully swept under the rug by those who do not want to be set in order.

Since the One Mighty and Strong will set the house of God in order, then that must mean that it will be out of order. In fact the church was not in order even in the days of Joseph. The Prophet said he planned “to organize the Church in its PROPER ORDER as soon as the (Nauvoo) temple is completed.” DHC 4:604

Unfortunately, he was killed before the temple was completed so he never had a change to set the church in order as he had hoped, and no one since that time has claimed to have had any revelation concerning the setting in order.

Joseph explained that the setting in order would be after the similitude of the parable of the wheat and the tares and that “the corruptions of the church are represented by the tares, which are sown by the enemy.” He said that the tares will be removed when the wheat gets sufficiently strong.

Who is this One Mighty and Strong? Some think it will be Joseph Smith because he said the revelation ‘often times…maketh my bones to quake…” D&C 85:6. But a more conclusive proof is found in another revelation which tells us he will spend numerous lifetimes setting the church and kingdom in order. “and this shall be your business and mission ALL YOUR LIVES, to preside in council, AND SET IN ORDER ALL THE AFFAIRS OF THIS CHURCH AND KINGDOM.” D&C 90:16

Some believe that Joseph will come as a resurrected and glorified personage because we are told the One Mighty and Strong will be “clothed with light for a covering”. D&C 85:7 But they do not understand that all men have some sort of light for a covering for we are all surrounded with a colorful aura which can be seen with sensitive eyes. Also, saints often noticed a light that surrounded Joseph when he was speaking by inspiration. There were those who said his face sometimes glowed as if there were a searchlight in his head. Thus Joseph could be a mortal with light for a covering and will also have the “scepter of power” which will be a rod like unto that of Moses.

Joseph Smith was aware that this was not his last life on the earth for in speaking to the Nauvoo Legion he said: “You have faithfully performed your duty, in preserving the lives of the people as well as mine. You shall be called the first Elders of this church….And your mission will be to the nations of the earth to preach the gospel, and you will gather many people to the fastness of the Rocky Mountains, and many of those who will come in under your ministery because of their learning will seek for position and they will gain eminence over you, and you will walk in low places unnoticed. Yet you will know all that transpires in your midst. Those who are your friends are my friends AND I PROMISE YOU WHEN I COME AGAIN I WILL LEAD YOU FORTH, so that where I am you shall be with me.” LIFE STORY OF WANDLES MACE, By Himself; Pages 131-132

Joseph will keep his promise and come again, for today there are many of the most enlightened saints who are walking “in low places unnoticed” who will be raised up to a point where they can be a light unto the world.

Also that “in life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!” D&C 135:3 It is most probable they will be the two witnesses as prophesied by John in chapter 11 of Revelations for Joseph said he would be a witness to the world and then the end would come. In addition they will be the One like Moses and the Spokesman as prophesied in II Nephi chapter three. Indeed, we have glorious events to look forward to in the near future!

There is not time in this short article for more elaboration. That will be given later. The most important thing is to consider the words we have written. Remember that the Lord answers no one who takes “no thought save it was to ask me.” D&C 9:7.   So study this out first. Search the scriptures and your heart and then ask God with a sincere heart about the truth of these things and the Spirit will tell you that the principle of reincarnation is a true, holy, and just principle.

We bear witness to the principle of rebirth. We have tested the Spirit and know it is true and we know that he will reveal this and other great mysteries to all true seekers of light.

Let us remember the words of Joseph: “We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons.” DHC 5:517

Reincarnation and the Bible, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Reincarnation & the Bible

ONE LIFE OR MANY?

During my childhood I did not go to any particular church and my parents did not try to influence me toward any particular religion or philosophy.  Therefore, as I look back I see that my earliest thoughts on life were those of a little child forming his most natural conclusions.

One of those natural ideas I formulated was that if God is indeed good  as everyone had said then he must give us all the chances we need to gain all the experience we want and to live full abundant lives.  I thought of how much I looked forward to growing up and making my mark on the world, then of how terrible it would be if some accident took my life.  I thought that surely God would provide some way for me to come back and have the opportunity to fulfill my hopes and dreams.

One day a visiting neighbor was telling my mother about a book she had read entitled:  The Search For Bridie Murphy and she explained the theory of how we are born again and again into this earth life.  I was immediately attracted to this idea for it blended in with my natural thoughts and I continued to believe it until I became active in a conservative church about the age of thirteen.

Around this period I mentioned my belief in reincarnation to one of the brethren.  He seemed shocked and said:  “You’ve got it all wrong.  Reincarnation is the doctrine of the devil. We only live one life, then we are resurrected  to die no more.”

I asked him if there was anything in the  scriptures about having only one life.

At that point he turned to Hebrews 9:27 and read:   “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

I then looked at the verse and read it several times.  Sure enough.  The Bible did seem to say that we live only once.  There fore, there could be no reincarnation.  I was  very disappointed. It seemed unfair that many people are cut off and unable to enjoy the full fruits of mortality.

On the other hand, I was told by the brethren that the next world was better than this one and it was really a blessing to die early to escape trials and tribulations.  This idea did not help, however, for I looked forward to whatever trials this life may have to offer and, furthermore, I noticed that my fellow church members did not look forward to ending their life either. None seemed anxious to enter that better “other world”;  instead, I heard comments such as:  “I hope Jesus doesn’t come till I am older and I get a chance to do a few things.”    Or:  “I hope I live until I can raise my family.”  Often they would express an interest in living until they are a certain ripe old age.

Nevertheless, I reluctantly accepted the idea of the one life “because the Bible said so” and held to it faithfully for about

fourteen years.    But during this period I did not feel satisfied with the answers I had to the questions of: Where did I come from? Why am I here?  and Where am I going?  The church had pat answers, but they left many unanswered questions they called mysteries that were not important to our salvation.

The unfairness of orthodox doctrine is what bothered me most. What about people who die with dreams unfulfilled?   What about babies that die with no chance of participating in mortality? What about those who are killed before accomplishing their heart’s desire?

The mindless answer that God would take care of things just left me vacant and helped to keep my mind open to greater light and truth.

It was my study of regression, however, that caused me to seriously consider reincarnation again.  It has long been known that a person can be guided back to any time in his past and relive it as if it were occurring all over again.  This can be done through hypnosis or by merely directing the mind to return.

I did many experiments with regression and watched with fascination as people returned to their early childhood, even the day they were born to recall events verified by older family members. I was often tempted to take individuals back beyond the date they were born, but for a long time I almost felt it was sacrilege,. I also found myself being somewhat fearful and apprehensive of what I may find.

Nevertheless, one can only suppress curiosity so long and eventually I did take someone back before birth.

The first person I regressed to a previous life was  a young lady. I was quite surprised at the ease and familiarity with which she went back.   She recalled a life over one hundred years ago in the North east of England and began speaking in an English accent recounting events from that life.   Anyone listening would have been amazed at the accent coming  from one who had never been to England in this life.  However, I was particularly startled because I had spent several years in Britain and most of it in the area she described.

Anyone who travels England becomes acutely aware that most of England does not speak the “Queen’s English”, but there are numerous dialects.  There can be a noticeable accent change in a distance of fifty miles.  However, there is a marked difference between the way the people in the North and South of England speak.  I believe it is a greater difference than the accent change between the North and South of the United States.

What amazed me is that this young lady said she had lived in the northeastern part  of England and her accent exactly duplicated the dialect in that area.  We must take into consideration that the Northeast British accent is much more difficult to imitate than the Queen’s English which is usually used by movie stars.

In America one rarely hears a North British accent over the media and I was 99% sure that the female involved had never even once heard a North Englander speak – at least in this life.

Another time I was attending a church party and decided to liven it up somewhat.  I told the group that I could take people back to any point in their lives, even the day of birth, and have them re call it.  People seemed interested in this and the first volunteer was a newly married lady whose husband was out shopping for some snacks for us.

I not only took her back to her youth, but before the entire non believing crowd I took her back into three past lives.  In two of them she knew her current husband.  One life was back in prehistoric times when they had no names and the other was in the days of the Roman Empire.  She said she was married to a Roman senator named Marcus Aurelius who was later killed in a battle.

The details she gave certainly awed everyone there, but the best was still to come.  When her husband came home everyone insisted that I take him back also.  He was a good subject and regressed to prehistoric times and described the same surroundings that his wife had. But then, amazingly, he went back to the days of the Roman Empire and said his name was Marcus Aurelius, a Roman senator who was killed in Battle.

Everyone was so stunned at this that they began to doubt their belief in the   church and I found myself being the one to reassure them that the church was correct and not to let this bother them for I still felt that there must be some logical explanation besides reincarnation.  Even this and other amazing regressions did not make me cast aside my church’s doctrine in the one mortal life.

I will not make the effort here to recall how, time after time, I was presented with evidence that there is more than one mortal life, but each time I refused to believe it until I was hit with an explosive piece of personal evidence  that had no other explanation than reincarnation.  I found myself face to face with reality. I had to either deny the logical process completely and doubt my own ability to come to a truthful conclusion, or open my mind and sincerely ask myself if I could have been wrong.

Then the thought occurred to me:  If reincarnation is a true doctrine I should be able to find evidence of it in the Bible.  I will “search the scriptures” with an open mind and see what is truly there.

As I started my search I realized that I knew of only one scripture that seemed to refute reincarnation and that was the one previously quoted from Hebrews 9:27:   “And as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment.”

The “once to die” sounds like an absolute statement not open to debate until we realize that it is boldly contradicted by the Bible itself:  “They (the dead) were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast (to suffer a second death) into the lake of fire.”  Rev 20:12-15

The book of Revelations has quotes from John, an angel, and Jesus Christ, all using the phrase “second death” so we know there has to be one.  Thus it is quite obvious that if Paul were writing the truth he did not literally mean “once to die” except perhaps once per lifetime, or that  there is one general mortality passed upon all mankind.

There are other scriptures that are quite deceiving if they are read with a black and white state of mind:  A pertinent one was made by Paul again.  He said:  “I die daily.”  I Cor 15:31 He also said:  “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience…It is a shame for women to speak in the church.”  I Cor 14:34-35  Paul also advised the saints to remain single as he was (I Cor 7:7) and if they were married to not have sex (I Cor 7:29).

Jesus told us to cut off our right hand if it offends us (Matt 5:30) and talked about making oneself a eunuch (literally a castrated person) for the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 19:12)

If we do not read difficult passages like these in their correct context and with some knowledge of the customs and beliefs of that ancient era we may reject the whole Bible as being the work of madmen.

Let us examine the verse that precedes the “once to die” scripture:  “But now once in the end of the world hath he (Christ) appeared to put away sin by sacrifice of himself.”  Heb 9:26

If we read this verse laterally we are led to believe that Jesus appeared only once at the end of the world to sacrifice him self.  Two thousand years has passed since then so those who thought Paul was talking about the real “end of the world” were wrong. Also, Jesus did not appear once  but appeared many times to many people.

To interpret this  scripture accurately one has to read it in its correct context as well as examine the Greek from which it was translated.

In examining the Greek we find that the word “world” is a mistranslation.  It comes from the word AION.  The modern English word “eon” is derived from this and it means “an age”.  Thus we see that Jesus came once at not the end of the world, but the end of the age. We realize that his “one” coming refers to his general life (with all his numerous appearances counted as one) at the end of one age and the beginning of a new one.

Here we see that Hebrews 9:26 cannot be interpreted in a black and white literal manner.  How about the next verse?  Does it mean what it seems to mean?  Are we really appointed only “once to die” or is there more meaning here below the surface?  Are there many deaths within the one death as there were many “comings” within the one general first coming of Christ?  Is it talking about physical death or spiritual death?  If it is talking about spiritual death, then that would leave open the possibility of more than one physical death.

In examining this scripture there are three words that are generally overlooked:  “men”, “but”, and “judgment”.  We’ll quote this scripture one more time emphasizing  these:   ‘And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  Men comes from the Greek ANTHROPOS which in this context indicates the human race as a whole.

The word “but” here is quite interesting.  It comes from the Greek ALLA  which literally means  contrariwise.   In other words, it indicates that the information that is forthcoming may contradict that which has just been said.

That would  mean   that “after this the judgment” may have an opposite meaning to “it is appointed unto men once to die”. It would indicate an exception as in the sentence:  “I rise every morning at 8:00 A.M., except when the alarm doesn’t go off.”

“After this the judgment” does not sound like it contradicts or has an opposite meaning to “once to die” so let us look closer to see  what the original language says.  Judgment comes from the Greek  word  KRISIS.  This is one of the most misunderstood words in the entire Bible.  Translators don’t quite seem to know how to handle it and seem to render it according to their bias rather than the actual meaning.  In the King James version they have rendered it:  accusation, condemnation, damnation, and judgment.  These words all have diverse meanings, but none of them are an exact translation.

The modern English word “crisis” (which is derived from the Greek KRISIS) is a more accurate rendering than the Bible translations. The actual Greek word implies a decision that brings correction. If it is used in connection with the word “judgment”  the idea of a corrective judgment should be implied.

Another mistranslation in this verse is the phrase “to die”. It is more correctly rendered “to be  dying”.  Let us now take into consideration these corrections and render the verse as close as possible to the Greek:   “And as it is reserved for mankind once tr. be dying, but on the other hand, after this [after the state of dying is over we have] the judgment [or KRISIS the decision to correct the state of death].

The verse could be describing either a spiritual death, physical death or both.

The word KRISIS is used in another very interesting scripture:

“The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (KRISIS).” John 5:28-29

Notice here that John tells us that there are two resurrections: (1) The resurrection of life, and (2) the resurrection of damnation or KRISIS.

“Damnation” is an incorrect word for translators to use.  The second resurrection should more appropriately be called “the resurrection of correction” or “the resurrection which forces correct decisions”.

The word “resurrection” comes from the Greek ANASTASIS which literally means “to stand up again” or “to come to life again”. The word does not imply that the new life will always be an immortal one as indicated by the following scripture:  “Women received their dead raised to life again (from the same Greek word ANASTASIS): and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.”  (ANASTASIS) Heb. 11:35.

The reference “women received their dead raised to life again” refers to miracles performed by Elijah and Elisha where the dead were revived to a mortal existence.  Here the word ANASTASIS refers to something other than an immortal life.

Here is another interesting scripture spoken by the Christ years before his resurrection:  “The Son can do nothing of him self, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise…For as the Father RAISETH UP THE DEAD,  and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.”  John 5:19h21

Here we are plainly told that the dead were raised to life again by the power of the Father BEFORE the resurrection of Jesus.

On the other hand Paul said that Jesus was “THE FIRST that should raise from the dead.”  Acts 26:23.

This seems like a paradox.  On one hand we are told that there were resurrections before Jesus and that both the Father and the Son raised up any of the dead that they wished.  On the other hand it is written that Jesus was the first to raise from the dead.  How is this to be explained?

It is quite simple.  There are two resurrections.  Jesus was the first to attain to the resurrection of life.   But the second type of resurrection, the resurrection of KRISIS or correction has been occurring since the beginning.

The resurrection of KRISIS or correction can refer to one being revived to mortal life in the same body as Lazareth was, or it could refer to being “born again” in a new body with a new life experience giving us an opportunity to “correct” our imperfections.

Jesus was not the first to attain the resurrection of KRISIS, but he was the first to gain the resurrection of life.

It was the resurrection of life that Paul spoke of when he said that it was something he had to attain:  “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after.”  Phil 3:11-12.

Paul indicates that we must be “perfect” to “attain” this resurrection.  He can  only be referring to the resurrection of life for Jesus said that all the evil ones go to “the resurrection of correction”  while they who have done good attain the “better resurrection”.

This makes sense doesn’t it?  We are sent again and again to the resurrection of correction to live life after life on the earth and then when we have corrected our errors and become without sin as was Jesus we “attain” unto the resurrection of “life” and “this mortal must put on  immortality”. I Cor 15:53.

How do we avoid the resurrection of correction?  The Lord tells us:  “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (from KRISIS, the resurrection of correction): but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24

The scriptures plainly tell  us that by hearing, believing, and doing the words of God so that we are perfected leads to escaping the resurrection of Krisis and “attaining” the resurrection of life.

With this knowledge in mind we can place still another interpretation on Hebrews 9:27:  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die (in this present age), on the other hand after this comes the resurrection of correction” (where we will be born and die again in a future age.)

Copyright by J J Dewey

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Reincarnation and the Bible, Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Reincarnation & the Bible

WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH

Paul tells us plainly that all will not attain the resurrection of life. He said “the wages of sin is death”. When we sin we need correction so we are sent to the resurrection of KRISIS where we are again in mortal bodies subjected to death. Paul further said: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God (sin), him shall God DESTROY; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” I Cor 3:16-17.

Those who continue to sin and suffer the resurrection of KRISIS are reborn and live a mortal existence where their temple of God (their body) dies or is destroyed. Interestingly “destroy” comes from the Greek PHTHIO which means “to waste, spoil, or decay”. That certainly describes the mortality we experience in the resurrection of KRISIS.

It is only fitting that Paul said that “the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” I Cor 15:26. This is because we are born again and again into the resurrection of KRISIS until we have corrected all of our mistakes. The very last correction we make is when we overcome death and “put on immortality”.

Jesus admonished us to follow in his footsteps: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, EVEN AS I ALSO OVERCAME, and am sat down with the Father in his throne.” Rev. 3:21 If we are to overcome as did Jesus then we must obey the injunction: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matt 5:48 I do not know of even one person who has attained perfection and overcome all things as did Jesus. Consequently, the only way the scriptures can be fulfilled is for one to be physically born again until he can live a life without sin just as Jesus did. Those in the kingdom of man must literally be “born again” to enter the kingdom of God.

When that happens the promise will be fulfilled where Jesus said: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and HE SHALL GO NO MORE OUT.” Rev. 3:12 We will have to “go no more out” of one physical body into another- one when we have overcome all things.

Until that time Jesus tells us that “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, (of physical bodies), and find pasture.” John 10:9.

After we go in and out and find pasture the time will come when: “he that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I GIVE POWER OVER THE NATIONS: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: EVEN AS I RECEIVED OF MY FATHER.” Rev. 2:26-27

These scriptures we have quoted make it very clear that there are two resurrections. We enter the resurrection of KRISIS each time we fall short of the glory of Christ. When this happens God causes our bodies to be destroyed. He asks us to “overcome” “even as I overcame”. Obviously we cannot overcome AS he did unless we will eventually live a perfect life as he did on the Earth.

Jesus said that we will do “greater works” than he did. John 14:12. To this day I know of no one who has done greater works than Jesus, but when the time comes that some of us are living our last life to “attain” the resurrection of life, then will the world see these greater works. At that time we will come to the “knowledge of the Son of God, UNTO A PERFECT MAN, unto the-measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph 4:13. When one becomes “a perfect man” he then receives “power over the nations” as promised.

Reincarnation is merely the result of the law of cause and effect as pointed out by Paul: ‘if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that SHALL HE ALSO REAP. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh REAP CORRUPTION (the resurrection of KRISIS or rebirth in mortality); but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap LIFE EVERLASTING” (or the resurrection of life).. Gal 6:3-6.

Again we have here a vivid description of the two resurrections. The word “corruption” here comes from the Greek PHTHORA which is derived from PHTHEIRO the word that is used when Paul said that God shall “destroy” the defiled temples. PHTHORA indicates a state of “decay”. Thus Paul is simply telling us over and over again that if our mind is centered on carnal things we will return not to some state of immortality, but will “reap corruption” or decay.

Paul even goes so far as to warn us to not be deceived for God is not mocked on this matter. He further says that “flesh and blood CANNOT inherit the kingdom of God; neither doeth corruption (obviously referred to here as flesh and blood) inherit incorruption.” I Cor 15:50.

Here the “corruption” that we reap is, identified as “flesh and blood”. This is only logical since all flesh and blood is proceeding toward death and decay. After all Paul said that the corruption would be reaped “of the flesh”.

Since flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God that simply means that if we fall short of it we will be “born again” in this state of “corruption” or flesh and blood. Flesh and blood is the resurrection of KRISIS and we must come back again and a gain and inherit this corruption until we have “corrected” all of our mistakes and attain the resurrection of life or “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph 4:13

Jesus was subtly referring to the resurrection of KRISIS when he said: “Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” Matt 5:26

No orthodox Christian has ever answered this question: If we reap according to how we have sowed and if we “of the flesh reap corruption” and we die before we have reaped all that is due us, then how can we reap “of the flesh” with no flesh? How can we reap corruption if there is no corruption?

The only answer is reincarnation. We must return to mortality if we are to reap corruption in the flesh. Is there another way to fulfill the scripture without mocking God? Verily no.

The principle of reaping as we sow is repeated many times in the Bible. Jesus said: “ALL they that take the sword shall PERISH with the sword.” Matt 26:52. Now it is obvious that many people in history have slain with the sword, yet died a peaceful death. Why then did Jesus use the word “all”? Why did he say these words to Peter in an effort to get him to put away his sword and cease his attack on the angry mob? Obviously, if Peter went forth and killed with the sword then he would have to reap what he sowed and come back (even if it was a future life) and reap destruction by a sword or some similar destructive weapon.

This is confirmed in the thirteenth chapter of Revelations where we are told about the Anti-Christ who will slay all those who will not worship his image and will have power over the Saints. Here the saints are told why they must suffer: “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword MUST be killed with the sword. HERE IS THE PATIENCE AND THE FAITH OF THE SAINTS.” Rev 13:10

In other words, the reason the patience and the faith of the saints is tested so is because of mistakes they made in past lives. In previous lives they killed with the sword as Peter wanted to do. They also lead others into captivity even as did Paul before his conversion. Thus when the saints are persecuted they are often reaping what they have sowed in previous lives. This answers the eternal question as to why some of the best people must suffer so. They are paying off debts from a past era when they were not so good. When one becomes a disciple of Christ he must pay the “utter most farthing”, for Jesus said: “Everyone shall be salted with fire.” Mark 9:49

This principle was further emphasized by the Lord’s own mouth to Noah: “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, BY MAN SHALL HIS BLOOD BE SHED: for in the image of God made he man.” Gen 9:5-6

Of course, there have been many who have shed blood who have not reaped what they have sowed. But remember “God will not be mocked” and let the person escape the punishment he has decreed. He will be reborn and “of the flesh” reap his just reward with interest.

The principle of rebirth also helps us to understand the dialog that God had with Cain: [God said to Cain:] “A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth… [And Cain said:] I shall be a fugitive and vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that everyone that findeth me shall slay me.” Gen 4:12-14

Notice here that Cain expects to be slain more than once. Also study the Lord’s response: “And the Lord said unto him, therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him SEVENFOLD. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” Gen 4:15

There are several things that do not make sense here without re incarnation. First, Cain was told he would be a fugitive and vagabond in the earth, but instead the scripture tells us that he settled in the land of Nod and built a city named Enoch. (See Gen 4:16-17) It sounds as if Cain was fairly settled in that life. One would have to stretch the imagination to call him a fugitive and vagabond in the earth so how could the decree of God be fulfilled? Reincarnation is a possible answer. It’s quite probable that Cain has been reborn a number of times and has been a vagabond in the earth more than once.

Cain also made the interesting statement: “Everyone, that findeth me shall slay me.” indicating he expected to be slain more than once. But the scriptures give no indication that Cain died other than a natural death in that life.

Finally we are told that whoever kills Cain will have vengeance taken on him “sevenfold”. The question arises: How do you take seven fold vengeance on murder? If a killer is put to death then the vengeance is merely onefold; yet, short of torture, that is the worst punishment that can be inflicted. Taking this into consideration how else can the Lord take vengeance “sevenfold” on murder unless the man gives his life seven times?

In other words, if a man kills Cain, or possibly one of his descendants, thinking he deserves it then he would have to forfeit his life in seven different lifetimes to pay for the deed. That seems like a stiff punishment, but we probably do not know the whole story here.

We are told that a terrible reaping will be given out to those who change the revelations of God: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book (the book of Revelations), If any man shall add unto these things, God shall ADD unto him THE PLAGUES that are written in this book. Rev. 22:18

Now for an interesting question… Why did John warn those in the first century that if they added extra words to his book that they would suffer the plagues, which plagues would not come upon the earth for another two thousand years? How could a scribe living in the first century (who commits the sin of adding words to John’s book) suffer the plagues unless he were here reborn thousands of years later?

The plagues from the Book of Revelation include such things as men dying of waters that are polluted, men being killed by the symbolic beast, men being scorched by the heat of the sun. people receiving sores over their bodies and numerous others.

How could a person from the first century possibly receive these physical plagues unless he is here, born again in a physical body???

We also find that those who have shed the blood of saints and the prophets in past ages will come back and suffer the plagues: “And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and upon the fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. FOR THEY HAVE SHED THE BLOOD OF SAINTS AND PROPHETS, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” Rev. 16:4-6

It seems only fair that those who have shed the blood of the prophets through the ages will have to come back and reap the harvest of their deeds by drinking blood in a future lifetime.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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Reincarnation and the Bible, Part 3

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Reincarnation & the Bible

PROOF THAT MAN EXISTED BEFORE BIRTH

The orthodox Christian believes that man began at birth, but after that point in time he will live on endlessly never dying again. In other words, before birth for every person there is a total blank. He was nothing. He did not exist.

To begin with this is a mathematical impossibility. If a line has a beginning and no end then it extends in to infinity. Every mathematics class teaches that one half of infinity is still infinity. In other words, if a thing has no end mathematically it has to have no beginning. Nothing exists in nature which has no end unless it had no beginning. Anything in nature that has a beginning can be proven to have an end.

A ring provides a good example of this principle. It is circular and has no beginning and no ending point. On the other hand, if one puts a slit in it one will have both a beginning and an end. Nevertheless, it is impossible to cut or mold the ring in such a fashion as to produce an object with a beginning but no end. Such a form does not exist anywhere because one half of infinity is still infinity.

Those who believe in reincarnation recognize the fact that the body of form we live in has both a beginning and an end, but there is within us an intelligent part of God that is one with God and never had a beginning or end. Paul talks about this and calls it “eternal” which would mean without beginning or end: “The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (the physical body) were dissolved, we have a building of God, (our Spirits) an house not made with hands, ETERNAL in the heavens.” II Cor 4:18; 5:1.

Here we are clearly told that if the body were dissolved we will yet have an “eternal” house to live in, or that eternal part of ourselves we call the Spirit. If it is eternal as Paul says then it existed before birth for that which is everlasting has neither beginning or end.

Paul tells us that this eternal part of us is connected with the Heavens. No wonder Jesus told us that “The kingdom of God is within”.

Paul mentions again this spirit: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, “whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether OUT OF THE BODY, I cannot tell: God knoweth) such an one caught up to the third heaven.” II Cor 12:2.

Paul’s out of body experience is really not that unusual for now that mankind has ceased burning out-of-the-ordinary persons at the stake people are talking more-about their spiritual experiences. Many who have experienced the near death state have re ported actually leaving their bodies in the spirit and returning with an accurate memory of all the conversations of the doctors and nurses.

Some who have gone through this report that their spirit body is connected to their physical by a silver cord of great elasticity. Many believe that death occurs when this silver cord is severed. Interestingly, the Bible makes reference to this: “Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall RETURN unto God who gave it.” ECCL. 12:6-7

Evidently Solomon had knowledge of the silver cord which connects the spirit and body as well as the golden bowl which is a golden etheric life energy (invisible to the untrained eye) which ceases or is “broken” also at death. The broken pitcher and wheel describe a cessation of bodily functions.

Next we are told that at death the spirit “returns” to God. One may object here and say that if there is reincarnation then why doesn’t the spirit go to a new body. The objector forgets that there is always a resting space between lives and during this interim period the spirit returns to God.

The word “return” here is a powerful proof for a premortal existence. If all that which is us began at birth how can we return to God? If orthodox Christian thought is true all we could return to would be nothingness. We can only return to God if we came from God and we can only come from the presence of God if we had some form of existence with him before birth.

The scriptures reveal that the Lord knew numerous people before they were born. Concerning Jacob and Esau he said: “The Elder shall serve the younger.” Gen 25:23 Eve said of Cain: “I have gotten a man FROM the Lord.” Gen 4:1 Another good example comes from Jeremiah: “Then came the word of the Lord unto me saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Jer 1:4-5

Concerning himself Isaiah said: “The Lord called me from (can be translated ‘before’) the womb; and from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.” Isa 49:1

Of John the Baptist it is written: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” John 1:6

Evidently The Lord knew Paul before his birth for he said: “He (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” This was spoken before Paul began his work. Paul also wrote that God “set me apart from (or before) birth and called me through his grace.” Gal 1:15 New English. We are told that the saints are written in “the book of life from the foundation of the world.” Rev. 17:8

In addition we are supposed to be “In hope of eternal life which God who cannot lie promised BEFORE the world began.” Titus 1:2 How did God promise eternal life to us before the world began if we were not there? It would be silly for God to make promises to nothingness.

The scriptures seem to make it crystal clear that people existed, were called, ordained, and had promises made to them before they were born. It makes it amazing to see the objections that come forth. The objector says that Jeremiah and others were not in existence before they were born, but they were in God’s mind like an architect has a building in his mind. Therefore, they feel it was like God “sanctified”, “ordained”, “knew”, and “promised” to a blueprint. The argument sounds very weak to anyone who thinks about it. One doesn’t have to “Wrest” the scriptures when he merely accepts them the way they read.

The Bible gives us powerful evidence that Job was with God before he was born. In chapter 38 God is reprimanding Job for questioning his wisdom and sovereignty and reminds him of works and events which he is supposed to already be aware of. He tells Job that he will demand an answer of him evidently aware that Job should know the answer to the following: “Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding…When the morning stars sang together, and all the SONS OF GOD shouted for joy?” Job 38:4~6.

Who are the “sons of God”? The scriptures give a clear answer. John the beloved said: “WE are the sons of God…” I John 3:2

It is only fitting that we should be called the “sons of God” for he is called the Father of our spirits in Heb 12:9 Paul also said: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that WE are the children of God.” Rom. 8:16

Since Job was one of the sons of God and “ALL the sons of God shouted for joy” at the foundation of the earth then Job had to be there shouting for joy with them. Evidently, the sons of God (which included you and me) were rejoicing over the planet that was prepared for us to inhabit.

Who are the “morning stars (that) sang together”? They were the lightbringers and the prophets to the people of earth with the Christ being at the head. Jesus said: “I AM … the bright and morning star.” Rev 22:16 Others will be given the morning star and evidently become morning stars them selves in a future round. (See Rev. 2:28)

The writer of Proverbs gives us a definite confirmation that the sons of men were present at the foundation of the world. The voice speaking in the eighth chapter of Proverbs is identified as wisdom and understanding. In other words, the wisdom and understanding of God has always been in existence and Solomon writes of it as if it were an entity: “Doth not wisdom cry? and under standing put forth her voice?”

After explaining some of the attributes of wisdom the writer emphasizes how long wisdom has been around and how eternal she is: “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: When he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: When he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of HIS EARTH; and my delights were WITH THE SONS OF MEN. ” Prov 8:1,22-31.

This scripture makes it clear that when God promised us “eternal life…before the world began” (Titus 1.2) that he was not merely speaking to blueprints, but the “sons of men” were with him in “the habitable part of HIS EARTH.” Evidently, we dwelt on another earth in another time where the wisdom of God was manifested. Here the Bible clearly tells us that the sons of men are very ancient beings.

Orthodox people will not like the above interpretation, but they can produce no argument against it. It must be frustrating for them to even read it.

This Proverbs scripture, however, helps us understand numerous scriptures from the New Testament. For instance, Paul said: “For whom he did fore know he did predestinate.” Peter said that the Saints were “elect according to the foreknowledge of God.” Evidently God gained this “foreknowledge” of us “in the habitable part of his (God’s) earth”.

Another powerful witness that we have had a pre-mortal existence comes from the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. This is a famous chapter on the faith of the prophets (the Morning Stars) on the promises of God. One of the most interesting promises God has made concerns the heavenly city of the New Jerusalem. In describing this city John said he “saw the holy city of the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband ( Jesus Christ). And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the TABERNACLE OF GOD is with men, and he shall dwell with them…And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Rev. 21:2-3,14

It’s quite possible that the new Jerusalem is presently located “in the habitable part of his (God’s) earth.” The author of Hebrews tells the saints who presently dwell there’ “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.” Heb. 12:22-24

From these verses we have quoted we find that the inhabitants of the heavenly city Sion (Zion) or the new Jerusalem are: (1) God (2) The twelve apostles (3) Jesus (4) Angels (5) The general assembly (6) The church of the firstborn (7) The spirits of just men made perfect.

The question naturally arises as to how long the city of the New Jerusalem has been in existence and how long the various types of inhabitants have been there.

Since the New Jerusalem in heaven is the habitation of God one would assume it is very ancient. One thing we know for sure is that it is older than Abraham for the scripture says: “He (Abraham) looked for a city which hath foundations (the twelve apostles of the Lamb), whose builder and maker is God.” Heb. 11:10.

Since Abraham was aware of the foundations of the city and the foundations had in them the “names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” it is natural to assume that the twelve apostles lived in the city from the days of Abraham or earlier.

The writer of Hebrews tells us concretely that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sara, Noah, Enoch, and Able all lived in the Heavenly New Jerusalem before they were born: “These (those just named) all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS ON THE EARTH. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country (‘country’ is from the Greek PATRIS which literally means FATHERLAND and figuratively means: Heavenly Home) And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. (If they were looking for any country on the earth they would have had no trouble finding and returning to it). But now they desire a better country, THAT IS AN HEAVENLY: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them A CITY.” (The New Jerusalem) Heb. 11:13-16.

This interesting scripture deserves a closer examination. First, the prophets are called “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” This is significant because both words imply that they originated somewhere else besides the earth.

“Strangers” comes from the Greek XENOS and means “foreigner” or “alien”. “Pilgrim” comes from PAREPIDEMOS and literally means “resident foreigner”.

No matter which translation one uses a previous existence is indicated here. For instance if a man were a stranger in New York it means he had an existence and residence in another city before he arrived there.

The prophets are “strangers” on the earth; therefore, they lived somewhere else before they lived here.

If a man is a foreigner or an alien in the United States then he had to have a true citizenship in another country before he arrived here.

Therefore, if the prophets are foreigners or aliens on the earth, then their true citizenship belongs to another country that they originated from before they were born.

The pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth Rock did not originate in America but came from a distant land. They had a pre-America existence.

The prophets are called “Pilgrims on the earth” meaning that they had a “pre-mortal” existence. A pilgrim is a traveler who comes from somewhere else.

The next verse makes it crystal clear that the choice of these words was no accident. We’ll quote it using the more accurate translation of “fatherland” instead of “country”: “For they that say such things (that they are strangers and pilgrims) declare plainly that they SEEK A FATHERLAND.” Verse 14

It’s amazing that this scripture is not universally accepted as proving that the prophets lived before they were born for the writer says that it is “declare(d) plainly” that those who say they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth are seeking a Fatherland, or an origination point that they could have only lived in before they were born.

The next verse puts a seal on this point: “And truly, if they had been mindful of that country (fatherland) from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.” verse 15.

In other words, if their originating country was on the earth they could have returned to it while in the flesh. They were in an unfortunate position in that they were citizens of a Father land that was not on the earth, and that they could only return to after they died.

The next verse elaborates this: “But now they desire a better country, that is an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for he hath prepared for them a city.” (the New Jerusalem) Verse 16.

The prophets all sought the day when the heavens and the earth would come together and their Fatherland, the New Jerusalem, would descend on the earth so the tabernacle of God would be with men, and the prophets would no longer be strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

John talks of those whose names are “written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.” Rev 17:8 Most probably these would be those who lived in the heavenly New Jerusalem since that time. Those who are true citizens of the city would have their names recorded there. This record could very well be the book of life, since the inhabitants thereof are living life most abundantly.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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Reincarnation and the Bible, Part 4

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Reincarnation & the Bible

THE PROPHETS LIVED MORE THAN ONE LIFE

The Bible gives numerous indications that the holy men-of the scriptures have lived before. The Lord actually revealed to David two of his previous lives. He wrote: “This he ordained in JOSEPH for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I HEARD A LANGUAGE THAT I UNDERSTOOD NOT. I (the Lord) removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots. Thou callest in trouble, and I delivered thee; and answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I PROVED THEE AT THE WATERS OF MERIBAH.” Psalms 81:5-7

David here gives us the startling revelation that as Joseph in Egypt he heard a language he didn’t understand. Read the scripture carefully and see that when David said “I heard” he was referring the strange language that Joseph heard when he was taken captive in Egypt.

The Lord also told David that he was proved (or tested) at the “waters of Meribah”. This is a flashback to his life as Moses where he smote the rock at the place he named Meribah and brought forth water for Israel to drink, but at that time Moses failed the test and did not give glory to the Lord; thus he was not allowed to enter into the promised land. (See Exodus 17:5-7)

Seeing then that the Lord was aware of David’s valiant lives as Moses and Joseph he called David “a. man after his own heart” (I Sam 13:14) when he was but a lad. We can also see why “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him” (Ex 13:19) when he left Egypt, for Moses was once Joseph. In a strange way Moses was taking the bones of Joseph with him by merely taking himself out of Egypt. It was quite fitting for this entity to deliver Israel, for it was because of him that Israel moved into Egypt in the first place.

The prophet Daniel was promised a life at the end of the age: “And he said, Go thy way Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end…But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:9~13. The New English version gives a clearer rendering of that last verse: “But go your way to the end and rest, and you shall arise to your destiny at the end of the age.”

The scriptures also give a prophesy about the coming of Elijah the prophet to do a great work on the earth: “Behold, I will send you ELIJAH THE PROPHET before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6

Here we have a clear prophecy that Elijah the prophet will come back before the Lord comes. When the Bible speaks of the “fathers” it is usually referring to the prophets and patriarchs of Israel. Thus his work will be connected with turning the hearts of the children (humanity today) to the teaching of the fathers (the prophets). If the teachings of the prophets are not planted in the hearts of this generation then the earth will be smitten with a curse.

Now if Elijah is to make an appearance before “the great and dreadful day of the Lord”, commonly called the second coming, does it not make sense that he would also precede the first coming of Christ?

The disciples were curious about this possibility so they asked the Lord: “Why then do our teachers say that Elijah must come first? He replied, Yes Elijah WILL COME and set everything right. But I tell you that ELIJAH HAS ALREADY COME, and they failed to recognize him, and worked their will upon him; and in the same way the Son of Man is to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that HE MEANT JOHN THE BAPTIST.” Matt. 17:10-13 New English

Notice how definite the statement made by Jesus is here. Even so, orthodox interpreters refuse to accept it. They say that John was not Elijah reborn but was merely like Elijah. They quote Luke to support their case: “And he (John) shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just.” Luke 1:17 (Remember that Elias is Greek for Elijah)

This was spoken by the angel Gabriel to Zacharias, and objectors tell us that this proves that John was just similar to Elijah. On the other hand, if John was Elijah reborn it would certainly explain why he could go forth “in the spirit (with Elijah’s spirit) and power of Elias”. This scripture does not in any way void the words of Jesus.

Another objection is that both Elijah and Moses appeared to Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. If Elijah was later John why didn’t the apostles recognize him as such?

It’s quite possible they did recognize Elijah as John. There’s not enough information to tell for sure, but a few verses later as Jesus was talking about Elijah it is written: “Then the disciples understood that he spake to them of John the Baptist.” Matt. 17:13 (read all of verses 1-13)

This appearance was shortly after John was killed and we have no way of knowing whether he appeared in the form of Elijah or John, but it could have been either for an advanced entity can appear in any of his bodies. This was demonstrated by Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Mark says that “He appeared in another form unto two of them (disciples), as they walked and went into the country.” Mark 16:12 When Jesus was in this other form we are told they could not recognize him. See Luke 24:13-31

Those who do not think that John is Elijah quote one more scripture. The Jews sent priests and Levites to John to find who John was: “And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.” John 1:21

Here we have an interesting contradiction. Jesus said definitely that John the Baptist was Elijah and John says he is not. Jesus said that he was the prophet to fulfill the prophecy of Malachi (Matt. 11:9-10) and John said he was not. What is the explanation.?

First, we must realize that the words of Jesus are reliable above all other men so let us accept them as true. Why did John contradict them?

The answer is quite simple. As John the Baptist he had lost all memory of his life as Elijah. It is quite possible that he was not aware of who he was in the past. It is also possible that he did not know that he was the prophet that Malachi predicted. He was probably looking upon himself as merely a man who was seeking to teach the truth.

On the other hand, even if John suspected his true identity the priests and Levites would be the last ones he would want to tell who he was. The Jews kept pestering Jesus to identify him self as the Christ, and this he didn’t do until he was ready to die. John knew that if he identified himself as either Elijah or a great prophet then the Jews would try and put him to death for blasphemy. Even if John knew or suspected he was Elijah in a past life he was technically telling the truth because in that life his name was John, not Elijah.

Whatever the case John had to keep his identity from the Jews until his mission was finished.

We will close this train of thought with a second powerful statement from Jesus: “…Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John…A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written, Behold I send my messenger before my face, which shall prepare thy way before thee (This is a quote from Malachi near the prophesy of Elijah) Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven (Christ) is greater than he…For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, THIS IS ELIAS, which was for to come.” Matt. 11:7,9-11,13-14

This is really a poor translation evidently because of bias against reincarnation. The Concordant version says it most accurately: “And if you are willing to receive HIM, HE IS ELIJAH…”

Now we can see why Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest prophet. He was aware of his past lives. He was possibly other great prophets besides Elijah.

It seems at this point that one would have to go out on a limb to claim that John was not Elijah, but merely one like Elijah. For one thing his mission was quite different from the historical Elijah and most importantly Malachi says that Elijah, THE PROPHET (Malachi 4:5) shall return, not Elijah the personality.

Accordingly, we may look for the appearance of Elijah again in this age to prepare the way for the coming of Christ. Rest assured though that his name will not be Elijah in this life, but it will be the entity that was Elijah and John the Baptist nevertheless.

Paul tells us that he lived a past life where he was not under the law of Moses: “FOR I WAS ALIVE WITHOUT THE LAW ONCE: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” Rom 7:9

Here Paul could only be speaking of a previous life because in his life as Paul he was born under the law of Moses. So when was the time that he “was alive without the law”? He could have only been referring to previous lives when he was not subjected to the law of Moses. “When the commandment came” refers to the period of Moses. When he was born on earth after this period “sin revived” and he suffered spiritual death.

The scriptures make it clear that John the Revelator will have numerous incarnations. Peter, wondering about the future of this man said: “And what shall this man do? Jesus said unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said NOT unto him, he shall not die; but if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” John 21:21-23

It sounds as if disciples have been misinterpreting the words of Jesus from the beginning. Some believe that John was translated so he would not suffer death, but John’s own book declares that Jesus did not promise him that he would not die, but indicated that it was his will that John tarry till he come. If then John did not have the promise of deathlessness the only way he could tarry here on the earth until the Lord comes is by a series of lives.

Indeed he will have to be born again to fulfill the prophesy that is written of him: “And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, THOU MUST PROPHESY AGAIN BEFORE MANY PEOPLES, AND NATIONS, AND TONGUES, AND KINGS.” Rev. 10:10-11

Have we heard any announcement over the news lately that John the Revelator has prophesied to kings and is appearing in many different lands speaking in numerous languages??? No, we have not, nor will we for when he comes he will not be known as John the Revelator, but will be in a different body having a new name.

Jesus gave us an interesting indication as to what was in store for his disciples. He said: “There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, and sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but HE SHALL RECEIVE AN HUNDREDFOLD IN THIS TIME, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the WORLD TO COME eternal life. And many that are first shall be last and the last first.” Mark 10:29-31

Here Jesus talks about two time periods or ages. The first he calls “in this time” or the period of our mortal existence. The second he calls “the world to come”. In the world to come we receive “eternal life”, but in this age or period of normal earth life if we accept the gospel we will receive “an hundred fold” of houses, at least a hundred brothers, a hundred sisters, a hundred mothers, a hundred children, and a hundred different lands or places where we will live. This prophecy cannot be liter ally fulfilled without reincarnation. On the other hand, Jesus knew that “in this time” or period of human existence we go through more than a hundred lifetimes. Thus he realized his words would be accurate.

Up to the time that Paul wrote the letter to Timothy we see that Jesus Christ was the only man that possessed immortality, or deathlessness: “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he will shew, who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; WHO ONLY HATH IMMORTALITY, dwelling in a light which no man can approach unto.” I Tim 6:14-16.

Even though we have an indication that others came out of their graves at the resurrection of Jesus (Matt 27:52-53) we see that only Jesus had obtained the resurrection of-life or “put on immortality”. Before we can achieve the same immortality we have to overcome all things as Jesus did.

We are told that “the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” I Cor 3:13. Paul had the hope “that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Col 1:28. Paul spoke of God “WHO WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” I Tim 2:4

I believe that God has power to carry out his “will” and the scriptures say that he “WILL have all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. Every man will be tried in the fire, and Paul has the hope that “every man” will be perfect. These scriptures cannot be fulfilled if every person is merely given one shot at life, but if men are born over and over until they fulfill the commandment to “overcome” exactly as Jesus did (Rev 3:21) then these passages can be literally fulfilled.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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Reincarnation and the Bible, Part 5

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Reincarnation & the Bible

INTERESTING SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE

The great Solomon wrote:  “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing.”  Pro. 25:2  Imagine.  God actually conceals things from us so when his secrets are revealed it will add to his glory.  Jesus said:  “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.”  Luke 12:2  Isaiah prophesied:  “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”  Isaiah 11:9  Daniel said that at the time of the end “knowledge shall be increased.”  Dan. 12:4.

What are some of the things that God has concealed from us? What are the things “which have been kept secret from the foundations of the world”?  Matt 13:35

Obviously one of the doctrines kept secret is the law of re birth.   Many of the prophets did not openly teach it because they felt the people would misuse the knowledge.  Many people will not try hard in the present if they think they will get a second chance in the future.  The emotionally polarized person  will tend to feel that it is no big deal to waste a lifetime if he has another one coming down the road.  However, the mentally polarized person will use common sense and will not want to waste a month let alone a lifetime.  Thus the Spirit of God has waited until the race of man is more mental, as it is approaching now, before it caused the doctrine to permeate our consciousness.  Most of the prophets, initiates, and wise men of the past, however, have been aware of it, but have used constraint in speaking of it.

There were many things that even Jesus could not speak to his most trusted followers:  “I have many things to say unto you, but ye CANNOT bear them now.” John 16:12

In other words, Jesus knew many things that would be hard for them to accept.  If he would have told them some of the secrets he knew they probably would have thought their master was mad and turned against him.

As it was he revealed more than the Jews could accept and they fought against him.  Even so this treatise will be difficult for many people to accept and they will refuse to believe it even though the truth stares them in the face.  We must mentally force ourselves to remain open and “rejoiceth in the truth; Heareth all things, believeth ALL things, hopeth all things…” I Cor 13:6-7

If we become as a little child and are open to believing all things then we will avoid becoming modern day Pharisees and scribes who fight against truth.  Isaiah declared:  “Wo unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet. and sweet for bitter!” Isa 5:20  Many Christians have formed the non scriptural opinion that reincarnation is evil, but why is this when the doctrine is interspersed  throughout the Bible?  And why do they call it evil when it is such a good and holy doctrine?

Why do they call it “good” if their child fails the first grade and he gets a chance to repeat it so he can honorably go on to the second, yet call it “evil” to consider the thought that if someone fails in one of his lifetimes then God will give him a chance to correct his errors in the “resurrection of correction”? Let us be more consistent than the Jews in the days of Jesus.

Jesus certainly attracted a lot of attention when he began his work and many people were speculating as to who he was.  There were many who actually considered that he may have been one of the prophets born again.  Jesus asked his disciples: “Whom do men say that I the  Son of man am?  And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist:  some Elias, others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”  Matt 16:13-14

Notice here that Jesus did not refute this belief in rein carnation, but merely accepted Peter’s answer that he was the Christ.

The apostles evidently believed in reincarnation at the time that they were current disciples of Jesus:   “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.  And his disciples asked him, saying,  Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”  John 9:1-2

We see here that the disciples thought that the man who was born blind may have had to suffer so because of a previous sin.  In other words, they thought he may have committed sins in a previous lifetime that led to his present condition. Jesus pointed out that the man was a special case.  He was not born blind because of sin, but so that the works of God  should be manifest.  In other words, the man came with a mission to glorify the works of Christ by the great miracle to his eyes.  Jesus did not, however, say anything to indicate that the disciples belief in a sin before birth was not a possibility.

Many people attribute unusual questions such as these to the ignorance of the apostles.  They believed that Jesus just picked up a handful of uneducated  derelicts and his teachings were all the education they received.  This is not correct. John the Baptist was their first teacher and Jesus called John the greatest prophet in history, partly because he did such a good job in preparing and teaching the disciples.  If the disciples believed in reincarnation (which they undoubtedly did) then they had to first learn it from John.

In the Apocrypha we are warned that the way we live in one life can affect our bodies in a future life:  “Woe to you, ungodly men, who have forsaken the law of the Most High Lord. AND IF YOU BE BORN, (indicating born in a future life) you shall be born in malediction, and if ye die, in malediction shall be your portion.”   Ecclesiasticus 4:11-12  Another example: “And I was a witty child and had received a good soul, and where as  I was more good  (in a previous life), I came to a body undefiled.”  Wisdom 8:19-20

No wonder David wrote:  “Guilt was with me already when my mother conceived me.”  Psalms 51:7 Knox Version  In other words, we have original sin because of previous lives.  “All these things God may do to a man, again and yet again, bringing him BACK FROM THE PIT (death) to enjoy the full light of life.”  Job 33:29-30 New English

No wonder Jesus told a man who had been sick for thirty eight years to “sin no more lest a worse thing come upon thee.” (See John 5:1-9)  If it was any worse than suffering for thirty eight years he would have to pay the  debt in a future life. This also illustrates that sin can result in the punishment of a physical affliction as the apostles believed.

The doctrine of reincarnation teaches us that when we commit any act either good or evil then we must receive a payment for that deed either later in the present life or in a future one. This reward is called Karma.  If we are said to have “good karma” it is indicated that we have paid off most of our bad debts and can now collect on our good ones.  If we have “bad karma” then we have debts coming due that we have to pay for.  Jesus confirmed this doctrine when he said “he shall reward every man according to his works.”  Matt 16:27

John also wrote the words of an angel:  “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…their  works do FOLLOW them.”  Rev  14:13

Again he said:  “They  (the dead) were judged every man ac cording to their works.”  Rev 20:13

If the dead are judged according to their works and their works follow them then the doctrine of karma coincides perfectly with the Bible.  There are some works that could only follow us if there were future lives on the earth awaiting.  Either killing or saving physical lives would fit in this category.

One may naturally wonder about the fate of those who crucified our Lord.  What is their destiny?  How could they possibly pay for their sin?  What punishment could be fitting enough to recompense such an evil deed?

This is one of the most interesting thoughts of the entire range of the scriptures and amazingly the question is answered with startling  clarity.

First, we know they will be forgiven because Jesus requested it.  On the cross he said:  “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.”  Luke 23:34

Later Peter was preaching to these Jews and said:  “Ye denied the Holy One and the Just…and killed the Prince of life… Repent ye therefore, and be converted,  that your sins may be blotted out, WHEN THE TIMES OF REFRESHING SHALL COME FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD.   And he shall send Jesus Christ (speaking of the second coming), which before was preached unto you.  whom the heaven must receive (hold – Greek) until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”  Acts 3:14-15,19-21

We are told that the heavens must hold Jesus until all things are restored that was spoken of by the prophets.  Reincarnation is one of those things for many of the teachings about the doctrine of rebirth were taken out of the church in the days of Constantine.

Peter told those who crucified the Lord to repent but told them that they would not receive forgiveness in this life, but in the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord or at the time of the second coming.  Why do they have to wait  until then?  Because no one can repent unless they realize they are wrong and the Bible goes on to tell us that these murderers will not realize they are wrong until they see their Lord again.

They certainly did not believe the first time he told them who he was:  “And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.  Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said:  nevertheless, I say unto you, Hereafter SHALL YE SEE the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”  Matt 26:63-64

No wonder Peter promised forgiveness at the second coming because those who put him to death will see him coming in the clouds.

John the Revelator makes this point clear beyond dispute: “Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, AND THEY ALSO WHICH PIERCED HIM (The Jews in 34 AD):  and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.”  Rev 1:17

At the second coming they will finally be able to be for given because they will realize they made a great mistake: “They (The Jews of 34 AD who will be reborn for the second coming) shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born.”  Zech 12:10

There is perhaps no punishment greater than coming face to face with a great error and having to accept the truth whether you want to or not.  When Jesus comes again the ancient Jews reborn will definitely recognize him for who he is.  They will also see their blindness in their current lives, but it is also quite possible that their memory of their past lives in the days of Jesus will return to them so they can feel the enormity of their shame.  After two thousand years they will realize they killed their Savior.

Jesus spoke further of this:  “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.  But the Children of the kingdom (the Jews 34 AD) shall be cast out into outer darkness:  there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Matt 8: 11-12

When the reincarnated Jews (and they may not be Jews in this life) face their rude awakening they will weep and gnash their teeth in despair and disgust with themselves and may not feel worthy or ready for the teachings of Christ for sometime.  Forgiveness is promised them at the second coming, but apparently they have to go through some anguish (and who knows what  else) first.

Our prayer should be that we will not be caught in the same predicament as the ancient Jews where the blind were following the blind and refused to examine any doctrine that was not approved by authorities.  Let us be open as a little child and be pre pared to “believe ALL things” so when the Christ  does come again we will not be  caught without our wedding garment.

Jesus taught a very important principle:  “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.  For EVERY ONE that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, HOW MUCH MORE shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”  Matt 7:7-11

Indeed.  We know how to give good gifts to our children, and whenever they ask for any good thing no matter how bad they have previously been, we will go out of our way to give it to them. We would not consider saying to our children:  “I will forgive you for a certain time period, and then no more for all eternity.”

Hypocrites!  They think they are more righteous than God, that they will go to greater extremes to save their children than God will for us.  NO NO NO!!!  The opposite is true.  God knows how to give better gifts than we do and when we ask for a good thing he is committed to give it to us.  He has put no time limit on it.  He did not say ask only until you die but merely ASK. Period.  If we ask during this life, the space between lives, or in the next life, then he is our committed Father waiting with love to respond and has devised a plan where we can all receive a second chance because a father (that is a loving Father) will ALWAYS give his children a second chance, and a third, and a forth…etc.

One should feel good about contemplating the doctrine of reincarnation, especially when thinking of all those who died in ignorance of the gospel, many who may be good friends, loved ones, or family.  It is scriptural to believe the following: If we wish our loved ones could achieve salvation, then God wishes something better and has complete power to carry out his will. “God having provided something better for us, that they (the dead) WITHOUT US should not be made perfect.”  Heb 11:40

The dead and the living have a karma that is intertwined and we must both work together in the flesh again to correct all of our problems and the problems of the planet.  We shall all rise again and work together and be perfected until the “last enemy” of death is destroyed and we achieve immortality or the resurrection of eternal life.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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Reincarnation and Mormonism, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Reincarnation & Mormonism

ONE LIFE OR MANY?

“Great God!   Where is common sense and reason?  Is there none on the earth?” exclaimed a somewhat frustrated Joseph Smith as he was trying to drill the simplest logic into the minds of the saints.  (See Documentary History of the Church Vol 5:297)

He also said: “There has been great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation.  It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle.  Even the saints are slow to understand.  I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, WILL  FLY TO PIECES LIKE GLASS as soon as anything comes that is CONTRARY TO THEIR TRADITIONS:  they cannot stand the  fire at all.  How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen.”  DHC 6:183-185

Here we see Joseph’s feelings after trying to teach the simplest truths.  Imagine the difficulty he would have had if he had taught about reincarnation.   We will show that he believed in the doctrine, but wisely kept it to himself for this was one of the hidden mysteries that he dared not reveal.

The teaching of reincarnation as presented here is truly a two edged sword.  Members of the Mormon Church cannot be luke warm to this revealed concept.  They will either delight in the truth of this glorious revelation, or fight with all their strength to denounce it as a doctrine of the devil.

This article will prove beyond refutation that the latter simply cannot be done!  All truth is logical and we will show without doubt from the scriptures and the words of the prophets that the holy doctrine of reincarnation provides the only possible solution to the dilemma regarding the injustices among men and the salvation of  his eternal soul.

Will good LDS members fly apart like glass as the true doctrine of eternal lives is now clearly presented, or will they open their hearts and minds and let the Holy Spirit of God verify these things to them as it has to us?

We’ll begin with two well known statements made by Joseph Smith that strongly indicate that he knew of the doctrine of multiple lives, but felt it would be disaster to express it publicly.  To the Twelve he said:  “Would to God, brethren, I could tell you WHO I AM!  Would to God I could tell you what I know!  But you would call it blasphemy and want to take my life.” (Life of Heber C. Kimball; Page 333)

On Sunday, April 7, 1844, just two  months before  his martyrdom he gave one of his strongest public hints to the fact that he had previous lives he could not reveal.  This was his finest hour as he addressed twenty thousand Saints on the character of God at the funeral of King Follett.  At the end of this, one of his last sermons on the earth, he said:  “NO MAN KNOWS MY HISTORY.  I CANNOT TELL IT.  I shall never undertake it.  I don’t blame anyone for not believing my history.  If I  had not experienced what I have, I would have not believed it myself…When I am called by the trump of the  archangel and weighed in the balance, YOU WILL ALL KNOW ME THEN.   I add no more.  God bless you all.  Amen”  [Documentary History of the Church; Vol 6:  Page 317]

What was there in his history that “no man” knew and that he could not tell?  Why would those closest to him want to take his life if he revealed himself?   These were indeed strange statements from the Prophet for many were quite familiar with his history as Joseph Smith.  In fact,  he insisted on having a scribe  by his side at all times for the purpose of keeping an exact historical  record.  Whatever it was in his history that he was holding back was never clearly revealed to the church in his age or in the present age.  One thing we do know for sure, however, is that it would have been startling.

What would the saints  have done if he had said something like this? “Brethren, I wish to reveal myself unto you.  Keeping this within myself has been a heavy burden and I wish to unload it.  Let me read you a verse from Daniel, chapter twelve, verses ten and thirteen concerning a promise to this man:  ‘Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly:  and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand… But go thy way until the end be:  for thou shalt rest, AND STAND IN THY LOT AT THE END OF DAYS.’

“Here we are told, brethren, that there are many things to transpire in the latter days that only the wise will understand, so use wisdom,  and know that the prophecy made to Daniel is now fulfilled and will yet be fulfilled in a greater measure for Daniel is here standing before you, only he is now known as Brother Joseph.  Before my life as Daniel, I reigned as King David, and before that I was Joseph who was sold into Egypt.  In more recent history I was Mormon, so you see that when Moroni appeared to me he was not working with any stranger.

“This is not all.  I am a stranger and pilgrim to this planet and have lived in other star systems in ages past where I learned the lessons necessary to fulfill my mission on the earth which encompasses not only past lives,  and the present, but future lives as well…

We ask you.  Would a revelation such as that have evoked a response or not?   The reaction would have been violent.  The brethren would have been so shocked and angry that they would have decided that Joseph would have to be silenced to save the honor of the church, and they would have killed him in the name of the Kingdom of God

Unfortunately, the time was not ripe to reveal the doctrine of reincarnation, or “eternal lives”  as Joseph called it, for the people would have hardened their hearts to that truth and it would have hindered the church of God.  The Prophet realized this when he stated:  “It is not always wise to relate all truth.”  DHC 6:608.

He also said: “The design of the great God in sending us into this world, and organizing us to prepare us for the eternal worlds, I SHALL KEEP IN MY OWN BOSOM at present.”   DHC 5:403

In addition he said:  “I have NEVER had the opportunity to give them (the saints) the plan that God has revealed to me.”  DHC 3:286

Now the average Mormon believes he has a pretty good grasp of the plan of salvation and the reason for his mortal existence, but the founder, Joseph Smith, said he was not even able to reveal it.  Therefore, none of the members of the church today are even aware of “the design of the great God in sending us into this world” for that design includes a series of rebirths until each of us eventually attains perfection..

Joseph also refused to elaborate on the conversation of Jesus and Nicodemus when he was asked the meaning of  “Except a man be born of water  and the spirit?” (See DHC 5:325)

Are not we all aware that this merely refers to baptism and the receiving of the Holy Ghost? Members in Joseph’s time were also aware of this.  Therefore, what interpretation of this scripture was Joseph keeping from us?

Let us review it and see: Jesus was talking with Nicodemus and said: “Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee.  Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of flesh  is flesh; and that which is born of Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth:  so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.

“Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master in Israel, and knowest not these things?” John 3:3-10

Jesus began the conversation  by making the point blank statement that a man must be  born again to see the kingdom and Nicodemus immediately  assumed he was referring to some kind of physical rebirth.  Jesus did not deny this, but began to elaborate and tell Nicodemus that a person must go through two rebirths to see the kingdom of God.

The first rebirth is of the flesh.  A person born in the flesh is “born of water”,  for before birth a baby is completely submerged in water in the mother’s womb.  Baptism is given as a symbol of rebirth,  or reincarnation, but the real meaning here that Joseph was hesitant to reveal is that the physical kingdom  of God was not to manifest in the days of Jesus and one must be born again in the flesh (reincarnated in a future age) to see it.

Jesus also said that the kingdom of God is within us.  This is the Spiritual kingdom, and to see this one must be born again of the Spirit and receive the Holy Ghost.  Those who are born of the Spirit are like the wind, said Jesus.  You can’t tell where they come from or where they go.

What did he mean by this?  It is quite simple.  Those who are born of the Spirit as was Jesus and the prophets show up among mankind unexpectedly and the people they confront are confounded.  They wonder who they are, where they came from, and where they got their  great knowledge.  To ordinary people these avatars are like the wind.   They hear them and marvel, but don’t know where they came from or where they are going.  People are not aware when they are confronted by an advanced being that is born of the Spirit because their identities are hid as they are born again in new bodies from life to life.

Those who are born again are free to come and go on the earth as they choose as Jesus hinted at: “I am the door:  by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, AND SHALL GO IN AND OUT (of physical bodies like the wind) and find pasture.”  John 10:9

Those who are not born again are dragged in and out of mortality with little choice as to where and when they will be born.  A true disciple of Jesus has a great advantage in being able to plan his life and mission on the earth.

Nicodemus was astounded by this doctrine of Jesus.  He knew he was talking about something deeper than ordinances and exclaimed:  “How can these things be?  Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”

If Jesus appeared to the modern day authorities in the Mormon Church and taught reincarnation would not they exclaim as Nicodemus:  “How can these things be?”

His ancient answer would still be appropriate:  “Art thou masters in Israel, and knowest not these things?”

Fortunately we are approaching: “A time to come in the which NOTHING shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many Gods, they shall be manifest.  All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”  D&C  121:28-29   “…All shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.”  D&C 84:98  “And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven.”  D&C 76:9  “For precept MUST be upon precept.”  Isa 28:10

Copyright by J J Dewey

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Reincarnation and Mormonism, Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Reincarnation & Mormonism

DOCTRINE OF THE DEVIL?

The belief that reincarnation is the doctrine of the devil can be traced to a statement the Prophet Joseph recorded in church history.   In November 1835 a man who went by the name of Joshua paid a visit to the Prophet.  The man evidently had some truth for Joseph said he made some “excellent remarks”.   However, he was suspicious of him and discovered that he was Robert Matthias of New York who had endured trials for “murder, manslaughter, contempt of court, whipping his daughter, etc”  Despite this Joseph entertained him for a few days and finally asked him to enlighten him “on his views respecting the resurrection.”

Matthias made four statements:   (1)  He was a literal descendant of Matthias, the apostle of Jesus.  (2)  The spirit of Matthias was resurrected in him.  (3)  The scheme of eternal life was the transmigration of the spirit from father to son.  (4)  He was the Spirit of Truth itself and possessed the soul of Christ.

To this Joseph Smith said: “I told him that his doctrine was of the devil, that he was in reality in possession of a wicked and depraved spirit.”   Joseph pressed him to leave and upon his departing he said:  “And so I, for once, cast out the devil in bodily shape, and I believe a murderer.”  DHC 2:304-307

Let’s examine the four statements of Matthias and see if Joseph Smith was correct about him.  The first statement is the only one that may be true.  It is remotely possible that he was a descendant of the apostle.  Presumedly he merely assumed such because that was his last name.

On point two it’s very unlikely that he possessed the spirit of Matthias, or was Matthias reincarnated because the apostle Matthias was a just and holy man; whereas Robert Matthias was a suspected murderer and wife beater.  People generally make progress from life to life, not go backward.

Number three is also false doctrine since the scheme of things is not to have one’s spirit passed down from father to son.  One is often reincarnated in a body unrelated to a previous life.  Eventually we will incarnate on other worlds.

Number four is also false; he certainly did not possess the soul of Christ.

Interestingly, we who believe the true doctrine of reincarnation can say along with the Prophet Joseph that the teaching of Robert Matthias is the doctrine of the devil, or from a deceptive source.

A second major objection to reincarnation comes from a misunderstanding of the doctrine.  Many think that anyone who believes in the teaching fear they will come back as a cow, a dog, or even a rock.  This is simply not so.  We use a series of embodiments to gain the experience and knowledge necessary to take us from the man to the God kingdom.  Thus we are in a constant state of eternal progression.

An exception would be a wicked person who  refuses learn from his mistakes.  Concerning this man  Brigham Young said that  “They will be THROWN BACK TO THEIR NATIVE ELEMENT from which they originated, TO BE WORKED OVER AGAIN.”  Journal of Discourses 2:12

“When the elements in an organized form do not fill the end of their creation, THEY ARE THROWN BACK AGAIN, like brother Kimball’s old pottery ware, to be ground up, AND MADE OVER AGAIN.”  Journal of Discourses Vol 1; Page 275.

The sons of perdition, according to Brigham Young, will have to begin their progression all over again and to get back to where we are now will take  “Myriads of years.”

This conforms to the  doctrine of reincarnation which is this:  That we reincarnate again and again on the earth until we manifest God.  On the other hand, those who are very selfish and evil cut themselves completely off from the Spirit of God and are broken down to their native element and eventually begin their progression over again on another physical world ages and ages hence.

The third major objection to multiple lives comes from the Bible.  In Hebrews 9:27 we read: “And as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgement.”

The “once to die” sounds like an absolute statement not open to debate until we realize that it is boldly contradicted by the scriptures themselves: “Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to THE DEATHS…”  D&C 132:25

“They (the dead) were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH.   And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast (to suffer a second death) into the lake of fire.”  Rev 20:12-15

Modern day revelation sheds further light on exactly what the second death is: “Wherefore, I the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the FIRST DEATH EVEN THE SAME DEATH WHICH IS THE LAST DEATH, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced on the wicked when I  shall say:  Depart ye cursed.”  D&C 29:41

What was the first death???  It was being cut off from the presence of God and being placed in a state of probation in a MORTAL STATE subject to death and disease.  We are told here with startling clarity that the last or second death is the same as the first.  Therefore, those who suffer the second death will be (1)  Cut off from the presence of God and (2) Suffer disease and PHYSICAL DEATH all over again. If that is not reincarnation we do not know what is.

After we are told that man only dies once the scripture says “BUT after this the judgement.”  The word “but” comes from the Greek ALLA which literally means contrariwise. In other words, it indicates that the information that is forthcoming may contradict that which has just been said.

That would  mean that “after this the judgement” may have an opposite meaning to “it is appointed unto men once to die”.  It would indicate an exception as in the sentence:  “I rise every morning at 8:00 A.M., except when the alarm does not go off.”

We shall see that when we examine the Greek word for “judgement” that the second half of the sentence does indeed contradict the first.

The word  “judgement”  here comes from the Greek word KRISIS. This is one of the most misunderstood words in the entire Bible.  Translators don’t quite seem to know how to handle it and have rendered it according to their bias rather than the actual meaning.  In the King James version it is translated as: accusation, condemnation, damnation, and judgement, but none of these portrays the word accurately.

The modern English word “crisis” (which is derived from the Greek word KRISIS) is a more accurate rendering than the Bible translations.  The actual Greek word implies a decision that brings correction. It is hard to give the meaning of this word with one English word, but the word “correction”  would probably be the closest.

The best scripture to help us understand the KRISIS is from John  5:28-29:   “The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (KRISIS).”

Here Jesus divides all resurrections into two categories.  The first he calls the “resurrection of life” and the second “the resurrection of  damnation”.  “Damnation” is a mistranslation.  The Greek KRISIS is more correctly rendered “correction” or “judgement that forces  correction” and generally refers to the second resurrection.

Taking this into consideration let us retranslate Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed  unto mankind  once to be dying, but on the other hand, after this comes (the resurrection of) correction.”

Paul also said that God “will have ALL MEN to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  I Tim 2:4  Is God’s will not all powerful?  Does he not have power to fulfill it?  Therefore, will not all men eventually  be saved and return to his presence?  If not then God is powerless, which thing can never be.

The resurrection of  life, or “endless lives” as Joseph called it,  is not as easy to attain as people think.  We are told that in  the days of Paul “only” Jesus had attained immortality. (See I Tim 6:15-16) Paul also tells us that he had not attained it because he was not yet perfect: “If by any means I might ATTAIN unto the resurrection of the dead.  Not as though I had already attained, either were already PERFECT:  but I follow after.”  Phil 3:11-128

The writings of Joseph Smith are in perfect harmony with Paul.  In fact, he makes the resurrection of life sound even more difficult to attain.  Most Latter-Day Saints assume that when they are exalted they will automatically receive the resurrection, but obviously they have not read the teachings of their founder:  “You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small  capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, FROM EXALTATION TO EXALTATION, UNTIL YOU ATTAIN TO THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.”  DHC 6:306

We  not only have to be exalted once, but a number of times before we overcome death.  After all Paul said: “The LAST enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”  I Cor 15: Concerning those  who receive an exaltation it is written  “And they SHALL (not have) overcome all things.” D&C 76:60 Thus even after one receives an exaltation he has to overcome many things, and the LAST thing to overcome is death,  and this only occurs after passing through numerous exaltations.

All those who have not passed through numerous exaltations will therefore attain another type of resurrection called the resurrection of KRISIS or correction.  These are the inhabitants of the telestial, terrestial, and some of the celestial kingdom, but    not the sons of perdition.  These sons of perdition will attain no resurrection in this sphere of activity, but will be sent back to  their native element to start all over again.

The scriptures tell us that the celestial inhabitants can choose whether or not to be subjected to death or endless life:  :”Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether LIFE OR DEATH, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”  D&C 76:59

This is a very subtle scripture but there is no escaping the fact that the choice of either “life or death” belongs to celestial inhabitants.  After all, that is what it says in black and white.

If a celestial inhabitant can choose death again then obviously he would have to be reincarnated at some time or another.

Brigham Young clearly tells us that Adam was one of those members of the celestial kingdom who chose death instead of life:  “When Father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a CELESTIAL BODY…He helped make and organize this world.”  JD 1:50

He further quoted Adam as saying: “I once dwelt on an earth something like this IN A MORTAL STATE, I was faithful, I received my crown and exaltation.  I have the privilege of extending my work, and to its increase there shall be no end.”  Deseret News; June 18, 1873; Page 308.

We are clearly told that the celestial inhabitants have the are the only ones with any type of immortality: “For man is spirit.  The elements are eternal, and spirit and element INSEPARABLY CONNECTED, receive a fulness of joy.”  D&C 93:3

Who receives a fulness of joy?  We know the son of perdition does not and of the telestial inhabitants it is written: “These are they who are thrust down to hell.  These are they who receive NOT of his fulness…”  D&C 76:84&86

The terrestial inhabitants also miss this fulness: “These (those in the terrestial world) are they who receive of his glory, BUT NOT OF HIS FULNESS.”

Immortality in either of these two lower worlds is impossible according to D&C 93:33 because they do not have fulness of joy; therefore, their spirits and bodies are NOT inseparably connected.

Where does one receive a fulness of joy? “In thy presence is fulness of joy.”  Psalms 16:11  “They shall inherit the kingdom of God…and their joy shall be full forever.”  II Nephi 9:18

These scriptures indicate that a fulness of joy only takes place in the presence of God or the celestial kingdom.  Therefore, the celestial  is the only one of the three revealed  kingdoms where the spirit and body is “inseparably connected”.  Thus, of the three kingdoms, only the celestial has any degree of immortality and even there immortality is by choice.  They can choose “life or death”.  In other words, they can live in an immortal state until they feel they need some new challenge.  Then they choose mortality or “death” as did Adam.

The church has taught from the beginning that the earth is a part of the telestial kingdom.  During the temple ceremony in the telestial room the speaker reveals: “Brethren and sisters, this room represents the telestial kingdom, OR THE WORLD IN WHICH WE NOW LIVE.”

The description of the telestial world given in the Doctrine and Covenants  correlates with the information given in the temple  revealing that  planet earth (and possibly other physical planets) is the real telestial kingdom.

The highest inhabitants of the telestial world “shall be servants of the Most High.”  D&C 76:112 and the lowest “are they who suffer the wrath of God ON EARTH.”  D&C 76:104

We are further told that the telestial inhabitants receives “the administering of angels (as did Joseph Smith) who are appointed to minister for them, or who are to be ministering spirits for them; for they (us here on the earth now, the telestial inhabitants) shall be heirs of salvation.”  D&C 76:88

The original temples were built with three rooms representing the three kingdoms.  The saints progressed from one room or kingdom to another thus demonstrating with profound clarity that we pass from one life to another until we leave the telestial and go to a higher world, the terrestial, and finally, the celestial.

But that is not all.  The celestial is NOT the highest.  The scriptures tell us there are realms higher than this:   In the celestial kingdom “the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17 will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to A HIGHER ORDER OF KINGDOMS will be made known.  D&C 130:10

Higher orders of kingdoms than the celestial???  That’s something we were not taught in Sunday School, but there it is in the scriptures.  No revelation has elaborated on these higher kingdoms, and why should they?  The telestial kingdom that we are presently in  “surpasses all understanding”.  A description of any kingdom above the celestial would have no meaning to us in our present state of consciousness.

Those who fall short of the highest resurrection (the resurrection of life) and yet do not become sons of perdition go to the resurrection of KRISIS or correction and generally come back in another life to this telestial world.  When we fall short of the perfection of Christ the scriptures tell us that our defiled bodies will be destroyed and there will be a continuing separation of body and spirit until we overcome all things.   The word of God decrees:  “And when separated (spirit and body), man cannot receive a fulness of joy.  The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; (referring to our bodies)  and whatsoever temple (body) is defiled, GOD SHALL DESTROY THAT TEMPLE.”  D&C 93:34-35

Now we understand why it is written that “the wages of sin is death.”  Rom 6:23 When we sin and our bodies are defiled we are clearly told they will be destroyed.  This is why we are told that “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” I Cor 15:26  We live life after life in the telestial kingdom each time sinning and falling short of the glory of God, leaving our bodies behind to be destroyed until we finally “come to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph 4:13) and manifest the glory of God through a life of sinlessness.  At that time we “put on immortality” as did Jesus.

The Bible agrees with modern day revelation on this subject:  “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God (sin), HIM SHALL GOD DESTROY; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”  I Cor 3:16-17

Paul talks about the two resurrections and informs us that one will bring “corruption” and the other “life everlasting”: “For every man shall bear his own burden…Be not deceived; God is not mocked:  for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall OF THE FLESH REAP CORRUPTION; (the resurrection of KRISIS or rebirth in mortality) but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (or the resurrection of life).” Gal 6:5-8

The word “corruption” here comes from the Greek PHTHORA which is derived from PHTHEIRO the same word that is used when Paul said that God shall “destroy” the defiled temples.  PHTHORA indicates a state of “decay”.

Thus Paul is simply telling us over and over that if our mind is centered on carnal things we will not put on immortality but reap corruption, decay, and eventually have our bodies destroyed.  How else can this scripture be fulfilled unless we are born again and put  on mortality instead of immortality?  How can we “of the flesh  reap corruption” in the telestial kingdom if the inhabitants are all immortal and there is no corruption or decay?

How do we escape the resurrection of KRISIS? “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life (the resurrection of life), AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION (“Condemnation” comes from KRISIS and means the resurrection of correction):  but is passed from death to life.” John 5:24

CONCLUSION:  The scriptures plainly tell us that there are two resurrections.  In the resurrection of life we put on immortality, but still have the free will to choose death.  In the resurrection of KRISIS we  will continue to live in a mortal state where our bodies are subjected to decay and destruction.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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Reincarnation and Mormonism, Part 3

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Reincarnation & Mormonism

ELIJAH AND JOHN

Many people are very confused about who Elias and Elijah are after reading Joseph’s discourse on the subject. We need to clarify this before proceeding. He talks about three offices: that of Elias, the forerunner, Elijah the builder, and Messiah the teacher He compares the office of Elias to that of Aaron, Elijah to the Melchizedek, and speaks of Messiah as even higher. Joseph also writes of being visited by separate personages named Elias and Elijah.

These statements have received much ridicule from the Anti-Mormons because the name “Elias” is taken from the New Testament and is merely Greek for Elijah. In other words, as the New Testament calls Isaiah “Isaias” and Messiah “Christ” so does it call Elijah “Elias” because it was translated from the Greek and not the Hebrew as was the Old Testament.

Elias and Elijah refer to the same person in the Bible. For instance Luke 4:25, James 5:17, and Romans 11:2 definitely refer to the Old Testament Elijah but call him Elias.

I do not believe that Joseph was ignorant of this, but that he was describing three principles and merely chose the names Elias, Elijah, and Messiah to describe them. He could have called them A, B, and C. An angel that appeared to Joseph was also named Elias, but this was undoubtedly merely the name that Joseph decided to apply to it.

We needed to clarify this to delve into one of the most powerful scriptural witnesses for reincarnation which concern Elijah. Most LDS are familiar with the great prophecy of Elijah: “Behold, I will send you ELIJAH THE PROPHET before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6

Church authorities agree with us that this refers to Elijah’s appearance to Joseph Smith, but what few understand is that the scripture had a dual fulfillment. Elijah was also expected before the first coming of the Lord, and did appear in the guise of John the Baptist.

Luke tells us that John fulfilled the prophecy of the first coming of Elijah: “And he (John) shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN.” Luke 1:17

Concerning John Jesus said: “For this is he of whom it is written, Behold, I will send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffered violence, and the violent taketh it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, THIS IS ELIAS, which was to come.” Matt 11:10-14

This last line is a poor translation which is corrected in most modern editions such as the Concordant: “And if you are willing to receive HIM, HE IS ELIJAH…”

These scriptures plainly tell us that John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy of the coming of Elijah the Prophet before the first coming of the Lord. Jesus even identified him as Elijah.

No wonder John was able to go forward in the spirit and power of Elijah. He was Elijah.

Those who do not believe that John was Elijah will quote the scripture where the priests and Levites were sent to John: “And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered. No.” John 1:21

Here it sounds like John denied being Elijah. You couldn’t blame him if he did because such an admission may have caused an early death sentence. On the other hand, Joseph’s inspired version tells a different story:

And this is the record of John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed and DENIED NOT THAT HE WAS ELIAS, but confessed, saying, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, saying, HOW THEN ART THOU ELIAS? and he said, I am not that Elias who was to restore all things. And they asked him, saying, Art thou that prophet? and he answered, No.  Inspired Version, John 1:20-22

Here it makes it clear that John knew he was Elijah come again. His answer was clear enough that the priests replied:

“How then art thou Elias?”

During the transfiguration we are told that both Moses and Elias (Elijah) appeared to Jesus, but the Inspired Version adds something rather startling for Mormon eyes. It says:

And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses, OR IN OTHER WORDS, JOHN THE BAPTIST AND MOSES; and they were talking with Jesus.       Mark 9:3

You can’t get amore positive I.D. than that. “in other words” Elijah and John the baptist were one and the same.

After Peter, James, and John witnessed this event they became quite curious about Elijah because the scribes had told them that Elijah had to appear on the earth before the Messiah. The only thing they had seen of Elijah was the vision they had beheld with their Lord so they asked: “Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come (referring to the future), and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias IS COME ALREADY, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. THEN THE DISCIPLES UNDERSTOOD THAT HE SPAKE UNTO THEM OF JOHN THE BAPTIST.” Matt 17:1-13

It’s amazing that everyone doesn’t believe in reincarnation after reading this scripture. Jesus reveals as clear as the spoken or written word can be that John the Baptist was Elijah.

Those who argue that John was merely like Elijah in his mission have no case. For one thing, John’s mission was “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17), completely different from anything Elijah did. Secondly, the prophecies tell us that “Elijah THE PROPHET” would come, not Elijah the symbol.

Modern day revelation puts a seal on the doctrine that John the Baptist was Elijah the Prophet, not Elijah in spirit only. In 1823 Moroni said: “Behold , I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, BY THE HAND OF ELIJAH THE PROPHET, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. D&C 2:1

And who revealed the priesthood to Joseph? All church members commemorate that great date when the priesthood was revealed: On May 15, 1829, as recorded in section thirteen, John the Baptist stood before Joseph and Oliver and revealed the Priesthood. Then he ordained them under his own hands.

Even though John only ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic priesthood he was the one that revealed both. At the time of his visitation he explained the function of not only the Aaronic but the Melchizedek Priesthood (DHC 1:39); thus both priesthoods were revealed by John.

After the Priesthood was revealed by John it could not be revealed by anyone else because it was already revealed.

Therefore, the only way the priesthood could have been revealed by “Elijah the prophet” was if John the Baptist and Elijah were the same person.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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