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 literally 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 ages as the word is plural here. 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 DE  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 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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Eternal Lives, Chapter 5

This entry is part 5 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

One Death or Many?

Why do the present Mormon authorities teach that reincarnation is the doctrine of the Devil?

It all stems, as do many false doctrines, from an original misinterpretation, and each succeeding authority did not have a mind to contradict the preceding ones. It’s as Joseph Smith said in the King Follet discourse. If we start right we can go right all the time, but if we start amiss we will continue to error.

In November 1835 a man who went by the name of Joshua paid a visit to Joseph Smith. The man evidently had some truth for Joseph said he made some “excellent remarks”. However, Joseph Smith was suspicious of him and discovered that he was Robert Mathias of New York who had endured trials for “murder, man slaughter, 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. 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.” History of the Church Vol. 2; pages 304-307.

Let’s examine the four statements of Matthias and see if Joseph Smith was correct about him. The first statement is really the only one that may be true. It is possible (but very improbable) that he was a descendant of Matthias. Intellectually, we have no way of knowing the truth of this one.

It’s very unlikely that he possessed the spirit of Matthias, the Apostle, since he (Robert Matthias) himself was a murderer. Chances are very slim that one of the original twelve apostles would come back as a murderer and wife beater.

Number three is also false doctrine since the scheme of things is not to have one spirit passed down from father to son. One is often reincarnated in a body unrelated to a previous life.

Number four is also false doctrine as he certainly did not possess the soul of Christ neither was he the Spirit of Truth.

Interestingly we can believe in the true doctrine of reincarnation and yet say along with Joseph Smith that the man’s doctrine was of the adversary.

It is easy to misunderstand the statements of the prophets if we just have a portion of their thoughts. For instance Mormon called the baptism of infants “solemn mockery before God.”. If this was the only statement of the prophets we had concerning baptism then the natural man would automatically assume that all baptism is mockery and no one would be caught dead getting baptized. People take Joseph’s only statement dealing directly with reincarnation and apply it to the whole vast doctrine of eternal lives as the doctrine of the devil. We must remember that there is more to an elephant than a leg.

Just like many Christians misunderstand Mormonism many also misunderstand reincarnation. Some erroneously believe the doctrine teaches that one may be a rock or toad in the next life. This, of course, is not true and is completely out of harmony with any teaching on eternal progression. It is, however, a good tool to make a mockery out of a sacred belief: “Watch out! Don’t step on that ant. He may be your dead Uncle!!!” As a general rule a person enhances his form and becomes more like God in each incarnation, but if a person were to sin against the Holy Ghost he would suffer a terrible retrogression for a long period of time. As Brigham Young said he would go back to his native element and start his progression all over again. He said such a thing would take myriads of ages. See the Journal of discourses Vol. l; page l18, 213-214, 275; and Vol. 5; page 95. If one had to start his progression all over that would take at least one reincarnation right there.

With as many scriptures as there are to prove reincarnation both in the Bible and Latter-Day works, it’s amazing that many Christian religions don’t accept the doctrine. There are a few though, which on the surface, do seem to refute it. These few scriptures Christendom pounce on immediately, ignoring the rest. We shall pounce on them too and take away their punch.

The most common and powerful scripture against reincarnation is: “And as it is appointed unto men ONCE TO DIE, but after this the judgment.” Heb 9:27 The argument is, of course, that if man only dies once, then he could only be born once, thus there could be no reincarnation. You may think this scripture puts us in a corner, but it’s not nearly as bad of a fix as when a Jehovah’s Witness quotes to a Mormon missionary “God is a Spirit” John 4:24, or “no man hath seen God at any time.” John 1:18 About the only good explanation a Mormon can give is that they are mistranslations, but of course, to a Jehovah’s Witness – this is completely unacceptable.

Instead of just ignoring this scripture we shall examine it in the light of day. Just as many scriptures differ in meaning with the above quotes from John many seemingly contradict Hebrews. Paul said: “I die daily.” I Cor 15-31. Since we are told that men only die once we must ask ourselves what kind of death he is talking about in both scriptures? Also, we must take into consideration that the people he was writing to in Hebrews had little if any knowledge of Eternal Lives and they assumed that men lived and died only once. Thus the writer used this phrase to show to them the sacrifice of Christ in language they could understand. The scripture’s surface meaning meant just what it said, but it also had a second hidden meaning, as do most of the doctrinal scriptures as Jesus explained with his parables. (Matt 13:11

The key to the hidden meaning is the phrase: “But after this the judgment.” Also important is that death is appointed unto “men” (plural) or the human race as a whole.

We see that when this one death is over there is “the judgment.” But does the judgment come after the regular physical death? No ! The judgment comes at the “last Day” Then all men shall be judged of their works.”. II Nephi 9:44 The reason the last day is called such is because it is the last day of man’s spiritual death, and after this is the judgment.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and Hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they 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 into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:12-15.

Let us examine the meaning for further light: “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it.” What is the sea? The scripture explains: “The waters (the sea) which thou sawest where the whore sitteth are the peoples, and multitudes, and nations and tongues.” Rev 17:15. We are told that “Death (Physical death II Nephi 9:11) and Hell (the spiritually dead in hell. II Nephi 9:12) delivered up the dead which were in them.” Thus we see that on the last day ALL the spiritually dead including those still living on the earth (The sea) and all the Spirit world (Death and Hell) will be judged, and those who cannot abide the judgment must suffer a “second death” and be cast into the lake of fire (or another round of numerous lives of sorrow).

Exactly what is the second death? Mormons have a vague idea of the truth when they say it is being cut off from the presence of God a second time, but how does this happen? The scripture explains: “therefore, 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 and this is “that same death which is the last death” (second death). 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. There is no other way the second death could be the same as the first death as the scripture says..

Those who do not suffer the second death: “The same shall overcome and shall receive an inheritance UPON THE EARTH when the day of transfiguration shall come.” D&C 63:20 When the Earth is transfigured it will be quickened to abide the terrestrial glory and all the telestial stars and planets we see about us will disappear and there will be “a new heaven and a new earth”. Those spirits who cannot abide the transfiguration must go to another planet in the telestial kingdom or “must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.” D&C 88:24. These Sons of Perdition with no glory will be sent to a kingdom of darkness where they will return to their original intelligence to start their progression all over again.

Now we complete the hidden meaning of the scripture in debate if you can receive it: “And as it is appointed unto (the race of) men once (on this earth) to die (spiritual death), but after this the judgment (and transfiguration).

As we said, many scriptures have more than one interpretation. Now let us take a second view of Hebrews 9:27

Let’s refresh our memory and quote it one more time: “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

We have also talked about a “second death,” so obviously in the big picture the “once to die” statement is not literal.

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 a lesser 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.”

Another stumbling block to a Mormon accepting reincarnation is the doctrine of the resurrection. This, of course, is not peculiar to the Mormon faith as many Christians have various beliefs on the resurrection which does not coincide with reincarnation. We find, though, that when we examine the standard works, we, on the other hand, have difficulty in justifying the normal doctrine of resurrection with them.

The scripture creating the main problem states that after the resurrection “neither can they die any more.” Luke 20:36. In examining this scripture let us first state that we recognize that there are three degrees of glory after the resurrection; yet the scriptures point out there are two types of resurrections and one must recognize this to determine what the prophets were talking about. The official doctrine is that “in Christ shall ALL be made alive.” I Cor 15:22. This is interpreted to mean that all men will be resurrected. Two resurrections are pointed out by John: “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).

Let us examine first the resurrection of life. This is the resurrection Paul talked about when he said “this mortal must put on immortality”. I Cor. 15:53 This way we can eventually be like Him “Who only hath immortality” I Tim 6:16. Even though it is written that at the resurrection of Jesus “many of the bodies of the Saints which slept arose” Matt 27:52 only Jesus possessed immortality.

A point realized by few is that the immortal resurrection is not a free gift to all and must be obtained through great effort. Paul says that he was not advanced enough to yet obtain it: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might ATTAIN (Greek KATANTAO Means struggle to arrive at) unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but follow after.” Phil 3:10-12 If Paul was not yet perfected enough to receive an immortal resurrection like Jesus how can we expect it with one imperfect life?

Jesus also pointed out that there was a resurrection given to not just anyone: “But they which shall be ACCOUNTED WORTHY to obtain that world, AND THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, neither marry nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more…” Luke 20:35-36 Clearly one must be accounted worthy to obtain this resurrection of life. One must be an even better man than Paul. Finally, Joseph Smith offers a statement that is impossible to misunderstand: “You have to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and 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 THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.” History of the Church; Vol. 6 Pg. 306

Where is there room for error??? Prophets both ancient and modern tell us that the immortal resurrection must be ATTAINED. We must be exalted and then exalted again before we can attain it. What! Says one. How can one be exalted without an immortal resurrection In the same sermon Joseph Smith said that “Those who have died in the faith are NOW in the Celestial Kingdom of God.” History of the Church Vol. 6, Pg. 315. Here he was referring to the recently dead who had not obtained any physical resurrection. This certainly is a different idea than that of going to the spirit world to wait a resurrection to the celestial kingdom as taught in the missionary discussions. The scriptures teach the same doctrine: “There are two kinds of beings in heaven (the celestial glory), namely: angels who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.” D&C 129:1&3

So far we have come to some interesting conclusions: (1) There is both a mortal and immortal resurrection. (2) One may be exalted in the celestial kingdom BEFORE reaching the immortal resurrection.

Now we proceed to unfold a mystery dreamed of by few. The word of the Lord is “That same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there” (in the celestial kingdom). D&C 130:2 On the other hand, we are told that both spirits and resurrected personages dwell there. This fact causes one to question as to how this same sociality which exists here can exist there between a spirit and a personage of flesh and bones? How would they even shake hands? It would seem like it would be an extremely inconvenient way to live, but to understand the reality of eternal lives, one must understand how this same sociality does exist.

The prophet said: “There is no such thing as immaterial matter. ALL SPIRIT IS MATTER, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes: We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.” D&C 131:7-8 We see here that spirits were made of matter and bodies are also made of matter. What is the difference between the two? Basically very little for the Lord said that “man is Spirit” D&C 93:33. Paul said that the physical body is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” I Cor 15-44 “The last Adam (Christ) was made a quickening spirit.” Verse 45 Modern revelation agrees with this: “For notwithstanding they die, they also shall rise again, A SPIRITUAL BODY.” D&C 88:27. Most do not think of a resurrected body of flesh and bones as a spiritual body, but it is obvious that a resurrected personage can change the state of the matter of his body from spirit to physical and reverse at will, When Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection he passed his body through the wall and after let the apostles touch him. Luke 24:36-42. Just as man through his knowledge can make water into ice and ice, water Jesus made his body vibrate to a higher vibration and it became spirit while he was going through the wall. Afterwards he lowered the vibration and it became solid so the disciples could touch him and he could eat flesh with them. Thus in the celestial kingdom the spirits of the just men made perfect and the resurrected personages vibrate on the same wave causing them both to have spiritual bodies and having sociality between one another.

One thing few people stop and ask themselves is: What is the real purpose of a body? The answer we receive is, of course, to become like God, but that is no answer, for we are still left wondering why God needs a body. The answer is quite simple. Our bodies, both spiritual and physical are merely vehicles of conscious thought. On the earth when one wants to go under the sea he uses a submarine to extend his consciousness in that area and that is the only way he can do it. If one wants to travel sixty miles an hour on the land he must use a car. If he wants to go in the air he will use an airplane. The same is true of a celestial being. If he wants to descend into physical matter he must create for himself a physical body by lowering the rate of his vibrations. If he wants to go to the celestial kingdom his body must be “quickened” or increased in vibrational rate so he can have a suitable vehicle to ascend. One does not use a submarine while flying and one does not use a physical body in the celestial kingdom; instead the scriptures plainly tell us we use a “spiritual body.” Keeping in mind that bodies are vehicles of consciousness, bodies are useful only to the extent that they can carry and expand our intelligence to the infinite kingdoms of God.

It is true that after a celestial resurrection a person cannot die anymore as the scriptures say, but this must be clarified, for in describing the leg of an elephant it is difficult to give the correct impression of the entire body. It is true that a celestial body cannot die a physical death since it is spiritual and “it dieth no more”; nevertheless “with God ALL things are possible” Matt 10:27. A celestial being by using his free will can again become physical and subject to death again. Brigham Young taught this doctrine quite clearly; even though the church through lack of understanding is somewhat embarrassed to admit it. He stated that: “When Father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a CELESTIAL BODY.” Journal of Discourses Vol. 1; Pg. 50. Brigham quoted Adam as saying: “I once dwelt UPON 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.” (From an address given June 8, 1873 in the tabernacle. Reported in the DESERET NEWS June 18, 1873; pg. 308; Column 5.)

Concerning those who go to the celestial kingdom it is written:

“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

“And they shall overcome all things.” D&C 76:60

These celestial beings we are told can choose “life or death” and they “shall” overcome all things indicating that a choice of death may be a necessary part of their eternal progression.
Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey