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Reincarnation: Is John and Elijah an Example?

Question by Suday (July 21, 2013)

We Christians do not believe in re-incarnation of a person as do Hindus or Buddhists. But is it a re-carnation of Elijah as John the Baptist as said by Jesus in Matt. 11:14 & 17:12?


 

Response

Suday


Reincarnation is the notion that routinely the same soul is reborn as another, and is not released to heaven (Nirvanah) until enough steps up the ladder of righteousness. 
 
But that is arguably different from John and Elijah. 
 
The transmigration of a soul / spirit is not the same as reincarnation. For example, Elijah could be in heaven, and John is a distinct person. Then the soul of Elijah -- a prophet - entered John the Baptist, rendering him not only John but simultaneously the voice of Elijah crying in the wilderness.
 
That said, the Bible does not say reincarnation is impossible. But it does seem the pattern is each man is warned to live this life righteously in obedience to God and His Son Jesus, or otherwise we will not receive eternal life. If reincarnation were true, God should disclose it as an alternative plan. His silence implies it is not true. 
 
Moreover, reincarnation is a little bit like purgatory ... it suggests you have a second chance. The risk if one believes in reincarnation is that you might not take as seriously the problem your sins cause in this life if you rely upon reincarnation. Thus, while I cannot cite a Bible verse saying reincarnation is false, I can say it certainly appears a dangerous view. Whoever believes it, if wrong, is eternally wrong, and finds out too late that there is no second chance. Thus, wisdom would suggest that it is too risky to believe in. It comforts relaxation from taking sin seriously, and that makes it as risky a belief as believing in purgatory. At what point would a believer in reincarnation ever believe it is necessary to place their trust in Jesus? Arguably never. Hence, reincarnation is likely a very spiritually dangerous doctrine.
 
Blessings,
Shalom
Doug