Reincarnation and the Bible: A Forgotten Doctrine

by Joshua Tilghman on April 6, 2012

This week I would like to address the concept of reincarnation and its relevance to the Bible. Next we’ll look at scriptures that some use to support reincarnation, as well as scriptures that opponents use to refute it. Finally, I’ll explain what my personal beliefs are on this fascinating subject.

Growing up and attending traditional church services, I was never told about reincarnation; it certainly wasn’t up for discussion in Wednesday night Bible study. Of course, you can hardly blame religious leaders for leaving it out of their teachings when everything they have studied and read probably refuted the idea. But many people today—including some religious leaders—do not know that reincarnation was a common belief at the time of Christ. In fact, even the disciples of Jesus accepted it. John chapter nine makes this absolutely clear. In this incident, the disciples and Jesus pass a blind man on the side of the road. The disciples then asked Jesus if it was this man or his parents who sinned to make him be born blind. The question reveals what they believed, for how can a man come into this world blind because of sin if he had not lived a previous life to do the sinning?

For many years following Christ’s ministry, reincarnation was believed by many of the most influential Christians. Origen stated, “The soul has neither beginning nor end. [They] come into this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats for their previous lives.” Many centuries later, reincarnation was so widespread among Christians that the Roman emperor Justinian took action that led to its banishment in the mid sixth century AD. It is interesting that this was accomplished by a Roman emperor. At this time, the church was more of a state institution than an avenue of spirituality, and I imagine a belief in reincarnation probably wasn’t in the best interest of an emperor who demanded total obedience from his subjects; if the people were allowed to believe reincarnation was true, then eternal punishment really wouldn’t be the judgment for a soul who disregarded the divine orders of the Christian emperor.

Because of the efforts of Justinian and many others, it didn’t take long for this doctrine to be systematically removed from Christian theology. And as you probably already know, most Christians didn’t have access to the scriptures. In fact, at certain times in history, it wasn’t just reincarnation that was banned—READING THE BIBLE WAS TOO! So it REALLY shouldn’t surprise us that the idea of reincarnation didn’t survive the divine will of the emperor, and has only resurfaced in the last few centuries when more people are able to think critically about what the scriptures truly mean.

So where does the idea of reincarnation surface in the Bible? Actually, there are too many places for one blog post, so let’s go over the more popular ones used for reincarnation discussions.

One of the most well-known prophecies in the Old Testament is the return of Elijah. Prominent scriptures teach that Elijah must return to earth to prepare the way for the Lord. In fact, according to common Jewish belief, Elijah was to come and “restore all things” before any messiah could appear. So in order for Jesus to have been the messiah, this prophecy had to have come to fruition. And it seems that Jesus confirmed that it did.

In Matthew 11:14 Jesus tells the multitude of John the Baptist: “If you are willing to accept it, he [John] is Elijah who is to come.”  Jesus also states in the Gospel of Mark: “But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

The phrase “…as it was written of him…” which is speaking of Elijah, makes this whole point pretty clear: Jesus was trying to convey that John the Baptist was of the same spirit as that of Elijah.

I think these scriptures are pretty clear about who John was. Nevertheless, and to be fair to the opponents of the idea of reincarnation being supported in the Bible, there do seem to be scriptures that refute it, at least on the surface. But upon close inspection, I do not think they are very strong. For instance, many Westerners—often ones that have not studied what reincarnation truly is or means—will combat the reincarnation of Elijah as John with Luke 1:17, which states that John will go before the messiah “…in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah].” They conclude that “in the spirit and power of Elijah” means it wasn’t Elijah. This is probably one of the worst arguments an opponent could give. Why? Because returning to the earth in the “spirit and power” of someone who has already lived on the earth IS REINCARNATION! Actually, there isn’t really a much better definition for it. It would seem that the opponents of Biblical reincarnation haven’t thought this one through very well, and only someone who didn’t understand the concept of reincarnation would use this scripture as proof against it. The sad part is that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of websites that do in fact use this argument.

Opponents of Biblical reincarnation also use John 1:21-23 as ammunition. Here, the Levites ask John the Baptist point blank if he is Elijah that was to come. John responds by telling them no. So If John really was the reincarnated Elijah, why would he deny it?

We could also ask why John didn’t know Jesus was the true messiah while in jail before being beheaded. In the beginning of his ministry, the gospels make it clear that John understood exactly who Jesus was. But after being put in jail, he went through a period of doubt where he wasn’t sure if Jesus really was THE messiah or not, so he sent his disciples to personally ask him. It seems John lost faith when he failed to comprehend the full extent of Jesus’ ministry. Couldn’t John have also made the mistake of not realizing he was the reincarnation of the spirit to be in Elijah before?

When I began to understand more of what reincarnation was, I realized that just because John didn’t believe he was Elijah reincarnated doesn’t mean much. Each reincarnated life is a culmination of previous lives and conscious experiences before it. Reincarnation is not about the exact same person coming back to inhabit a different body. It’s about many life experiences that one soul goes through in order to grow and hopefully mature. Each incarnation of the soul can therefore still be understood to b a unique individual person. And when that soul dies, that same soul doesn’t come back. Why? Because what reincarnates is that same soul in addition to the culminate experiences that soul has had in perpetuity. Let’s say that I, Joshua Tilghman, was to reincarnate on the earth two hundred years from now. Is it Joshua Tilghman that is reincarnating? Not exactly. However, some of the same personality traits that made up Joshua Tilghman would reincarnate.

We must also remember that the Old Testament states Elijah must come back to prepare the way of the messiah. So if you don’t believe Elijah returned in the spirit of John, how can you believe Jesus was the messiah?

Another scripture often used to refute reincarnation is Hebrews 9:27. It states “…it is appointed men once to die…”

But even this is within the confines of reincarnation. As we already discussed, after death it is not the exact same soul that returns. It is the culmination of all of that soul’s incarnations which results in a unique individual every incarnation cycle. So even in the doctrine of reincarnation, it is still appointed unto man once to die! As both nature and Jesus taught, through death always comes more physical life! The death of one tree or plant produces thousands of more lives. Reincarnation is really not much different.

So why does mainstream Christianity still vehemently deny reincarnation today? One of the most prominent reasons is because it contradicts the idea of a resurrection after death. However, this is where I believe the institutionalized church of antiquity also missed the point. The resurrection does not take place after death, as the literal interpretation supposes. The resurrection takes place while you LIVE, as a spiritual experience. As the Gospel of Philip, a Gnostic scripture, states:

“People who say they will first die and then arise are mistaken. If they do not first receive resurrection while they are alive, once they have died they will receive nothing.”

This scripture was written because the Gnostics of antiquity understood that the literalists did not fully comprehend the spiritual intent of the New Testament writings. Even Jesus told Nicodemus that you must be “born again”, which better translates as “born from above”. This being born from above is a spiritual birth that happens while one is yet alive in the physical. When you combine this with Jesus’ statement that the Kingdom of Heaven is within you, it all becomes very clear; becoming born from above IS a resurrection!

If we are honest with ourselves, even most children would find the idea of God putting back together a body after it has been decomposed by worms and bacteria a little far-fetched.

I would now like to share a little more about my personal beliefs on reincarnation. Consider the following scenario, as I have:

Imagine a baby dying and then appearing before God. Since we are judged by the deeds done on this earth, what crown would this baby be able to place at the feet of Jesus? In other words, what could the baby offer in return for reward? Not only would the baby be able to offer nothing, but what could the baby receive? Wouldn’t this be the ultimate example of something totally unjust and unfair? The baby would not have even had the chance of offering something to God.

Consider another scenario: how can a merciful God create a place of eternal punishment for a sinner, especially when that God KNEW before hand that the creation would end up there? If God really did this, is “merciful” the right word to describe Him?

After thinking for myself instead of believing what I have been told about the Bible, I can’t help but wonder how much institutionalized Christianity strayed from its spiritually humble beginnings. I am willing to bet a whole lot.

Finally, and as you probably already know, reincarnation works on the principle of karma. This is exactly the same thing as reaping what you sow! THAT is just. THAT is merciful. This is also truly in line with a loving Father who rains both on the just and unjust! So yes, I think the idea of reincarnation is a very logical belief, and personally, I am glad to see that Jesus supports it.

What do you think?


{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric April 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm

I like pizza too!


Joshua Tilghman April 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm

LOL! Eric, maybe you didn’t approve? I still enjoyed the comment.


Lynne Solon February 3, 2017 at 9:27 pm

I Was Mary Magdalene. Ask Pope Francis . He knows about me . The DaVinci code is true . This is not a joke. Look up my name, birth date etc. and I have AB negative blood. I even have 2 trees that look like the Da Vinci code V. And I use essential oils and do massage and reflexology and am in a 12 step program . My life is like a strange movie . Oh well . It is what it is .


Jennifer March 3, 2017 at 11:17 am

No offense, but I would NEVER ask that black pope anything.

And the whole idea of reincarnation is forgotten memories. Perhaps during meditation and dreams, we can tap into our past lives. But I doubt you would be able to pinpoint who you were because you give massages.


Rodney Gross June 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Yes reincarnation is real, and believe it or not I am John the Baptist reincarnated. I was however not Elijah reincarnated as John the Baptist. When the prophet Elisha Elijah’s apostle was alive, I was General Naaman of the Assyrian army. Elijah was taken to one of the planets of the angels by a spaceship. He hasn’t died yet.


Joshua Tilghman June 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm


Thanks for commenting.


Paulose August 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm

“Elijah was taken to one of the planets of the angels by a spaceship. He hasn’t died yet.”

Please visit for an explanation.

God bless you too!


Joshua Tilghman August 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Thanks for commenting on the blog! I will check on that link you sent.


Rodney Gross June 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Ecclesiastes chapter 1 verse 9 is 100 percent proof of reincarnation, and was written by the wisest man to ever live, king Solomon. I’ll also check for more proofs my friend.
As always…GOD BLESS!!


erthonee June 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Reincarnation for a few is possible but for every one. More so its is really being incarnated to another level or plane of existence rather then being born to this earth again, i do believe though that some have been reincarnated but not all have to go that route to learn from their experience


Joshua Tilghman June 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Thanks for your comment, erthonee. I do appreciate you reading. There are a lot of different beliefs even in the reincarnation camp, and although I am not sure exactly how reincarnation plays out for everyone, I do know it was taught by the earliest Christians.


Kenneth Redmon December 5, 2014 at 10:10 am

The Spirit reincarnates in to a Human body, the Soul is in the Blood and gos into the grave until resurrection. i have been told by he Spirit of Truth, which is Christ in you a Hope of Glory, the Mystery Hidden from the Ages. Christ was the ROOT of David (not just his Father Jesse) But ET-YADAM (Paleo Hebrew 1100 BC) the first Son of God put on this World Luke 3:38, and the Offspring as CHRIST THE ANIONTED YAHWASUA, Silly Little Christian Rabbits, Always learning, but never coming to the understanding of the Truth, Wake-Up Lost Sheep and come into the Glorious Light of the Father and Son and Their Spirit, which is Very Holy, but not a Devil Doctrine of the Trinity.


sam October 31, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Trinity. not in the bible


Allen June 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Here’s a statement from the Bible which presumes a belief in reincarnation:

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. (Job 1:21)

This can best be understood by;
how can a man return to his mother’s womb if not through rebirth into another mother’s body?


Joshua Tilghman June 23, 2012 at 10:08 pm


Great scripture! I find it hard to believe that anyone would try to argue this any other way; I have seen some try. Thanks for the comment.


Allen June 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Joshua – I’ve a question for U.
You stated the following in a June 16th post.

“There are a lot of different beliefs even in the reincarnation camp, and although I am not sure exactly how reincarnation plays out for everyone.”

What do you mean by “not sure how reincarnation plays out for everyone?”
Why wouldn’t it be the same for everyone?

It seems to me that as spirits…WE ALL… ‘trillions and trillions of us’ are just at different stages of growth, maturity and progression.
All spirits may not have been created at the same time.

Also, our earth is a very backward, dense and tough world compared to other worlds in the universe. Very young spirits may never be allow to come to our earth in its present state.

It seems that some spirits that are younger and more ignorant and may be more inclined to do wickedness…while others that are older and more mature (wise) may have had a opportunity to be further along.

Your thoughts, Allen
One more Q…
As I was getting ready to send this post to you I noticed something.

How did a post at my site get to the bottom of your page?
the post is titled:
“”Earth…at it’s creation…was resting station for wandering spirits”

I am glad to see it there…just surprised that’s all.


Joshua Tilghman June 25, 2012 at 9:10 am


Your post was added to the bottom of your comment because of a plugin called “Commentluv.” This is one of the few plugins I thought would be worth its weight in gold. It rewards comments from others with sites and blogs by allowing links back to your site. The plugin does this automatically and hopefully will help get your word out too since people can easily visit your site from mine now. The plugin also does the same for me. I am still learning how valuable this plugin is. I just purchased it.

About your question on reincarnation:

My word choice was poor. What I should have said is that I didn’t want to get into the semantics of how reincarnation plays out for everyone in the post. As you stated, everyone is different as regards to their maturity, so the next cycle is determined by the choices and experiences from the previous one. Thanks for getting clarification, and I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts with future posts on reincarnation. It’s an important topic!


sam October 31, 2015 at 5:43 pm

were have you seen any body walk on water ?


tChron September 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm

In “The Revelations Of An Elite Family Insider 2005” it is said that reincarnation is true. The person posting all the answers also says that Earth is a prison, “and even worse”, and from what I took from reading the document is that once we have proven ourselves to be worthy, we will eventually be released from this prison and return to the One. This document also says that the struggles in our lives is not with the outside world, but within ourselves. I find it a very interesting document, it opened up my eyes. Any chance it will be covered in an article on this site?


Joshua Tilghman September 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I can easily see why someone could say the earth is a prison. I could also see why someone could say this earth is a paradise. Why? Because as you stated, the struggle truly is “within” ourselves. This is why Jesus was crucified at Golgotha, the “place of the skull.” Esoterically this means that Jesus overcame his mind, his ego. The battle is between the ears. That’s why we aren’t to walk by sight.

I will take a look at the article you mentioned. I don’t think I have ever seen or heard of it before.


Kenneth Redmon December 5, 2014 at 10:33 am

We live in this Body of Death, in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, EARTH


Rogan September 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I have been troubled by this matter my entire life. If God is just how could he let souls burn for eternity? How does that work? Are there different hells? Coz i find all this hard to believe! How can the soul of a man who cheated on his wife and the soul of a nazi who burnt and killed thousand of people burn together as if they had comitted the same sins. And that makes me question free will. If God knows our destiny, if our stories are written befOre hand then how are we free? I liked what Imran Ivanov had to say on reincarnation it made some sense to me. Oh and i just read your bio Josh and i have to say u sound alot like me. Are u a water sign? I read alot on astrology matter of fact im interested in anything that has to do with mystic and spiritualism im very curious about the greater purpose and that kinda stuff.


Kenneth Redmon December 5, 2014 at 10:56 am

The Word of God is, Quick and Powerful, Sharper than a Two-Edged-Sword, Piercing even to the DIVIDING OF THE of Soul and Spirit, and of Joints and Marrow, and is a Discerner of the Thoughts and Intents of the Heart Hebrews 4:12. The Soul stays in the Grave until Resurrection, You Spirit goes back to God YAHWAH, who gave it, and is Reincarnated, your Spirit is and always has been Eternal.


Luigi February 28, 2017 at 7:56 pm

woow.. I have never read this before “The Soul stays in the Grave until Resurrection, You Spirit goes back to God YAHWAH….” where did you find this? please do tell me as I want to read more about this , you have given me hope


Jeronimus October 15, 2012 at 5:42 am

Hi Joshua. You’ve hit the nail right on the head when you say that the doctrine of reincarnation was not compatible with the notion of eternal damnation, used by temporal powers to control people.


Joshua Tilghman October 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm


If only more people studied history, right? Thanks for commenting.


Kenneth Redmon December 5, 2014 at 11:45 am

There have been 7 Ages before 6000 year ago (Where the Word of God are Pure Words, As silver in a furnace of the earth, Purified 7 times Pslams 12:6), when the First Son of God was put on this World, in ET-ADAM, a White man (like a NAZARITE=WHITE AS SNOW AND MILK, LAMATATIONS 4:7). There were many Trees in the Garden, of People, Nations and Races) This is the completion Age. It was not only an Apple that Eve eat, Cain was of the Wicked one 1 John 3:12. Gen 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee (Serpent, Satan, Dragon and Devil) Seed and Her (EVE THE WOMEN) Seed; it (CHRIST) shall bruise thy Head, an thou (SERPENT) shall bruise His (CHRIST) heel. Of the many Genealogy’s in the Bible, Not one includes
Cain in the line of ADAM to CHRIST. The Flood happened around 4300 years ago, an Area that covered almost 2 Million Square Miles, Eygpt, India and China have histories that go back much longer. TRUTH HAS BEEN HIDDEN FROM US, BY THE GOD OF THIS WORLD.


Luigi February 28, 2017 at 7:59 pm

Kenneth!! Can you point me in the right direction where you got this information..this si fascinating !!!! Thanks

Love to read more on this


Nathan January 15, 2013 at 12:09 am

Hi all,

I’m rather late to this thread but the topic interests. As a Latter-day Saint Christian (mormon) I’ve heard a quote that I’ve never seen (meaning hearsay) of Joseph Smith saying “Reincarnation is not a true doctrine as the world teaches it.”

Of course that would open the possibility that there is a true doctrine of reincarnation.

I’ve sometimes speculated on what that doctrine could be. Yours is a thoughtful article.

Regardless, LDS do not see hell as something the typical person will be in forever. The New Testament book of Revelations has hell delivering up the dead, along with the sea, the grave, and death. We believe after hell comes a reward and a glory to match the best that God can justify giving – and not a bit more or less. And that such a reward and glory will vary from person to person.

We also believe children under the age of 8 and all – whether Christian, athiest, or anything else – who are “honorable” (by God’s standards) will at the very least not have to go to hell and at best be able to receive every blessing if they would have accepted the good news of Christ with all their hearts if they had received the opportunity. I’m thinking that most people – probably even most “Christians” – have not received the opportunity because the good news is not generally correctly stated or understood.

Ultimately, I suspect past reincarnation (prior to birth on this planet) is far more likely than future reincarnation.


Joshua Tilghman January 15, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Hi Nathan,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Every perspective adds the debate, and all should be considered. Blessings.


Moran Hatcher August 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Hi Joshua,

I enjoy a lot of the material you have put out! Its been refreshing to see someone else that believes the Word of God is all spiritual. Rom.(7:14), 1Cor.(10:3-4), Col.(1:9) Nevertheless I perceive faith turns up missing in a lot of what you have written! The information you put out about baptism was enlightening until you gave people exercises for meditation on the Word! Yes it’s true the kingdom of God is within you! Luke(17:21), Ecc.(3:11) No one can tap into the kingdom without an invitation! Concerning the Word I meditate also, but not by my will, power or strength. Only by the spirit guiding me into meditation, this is when I know its giving understanding of what I read! We have been taught we have free will! According to the Word that’s not true! Rom.(9:11-23), Phl.(2:13), Zec.(4:6) This spiritual journey is by faith and faith only! Knowledge isn’t enough! Matt.(18:20) Heb.(4:2) Faith which is Christ will bring us into the knowledge, otherwise we will become religious! I think we veer off because we make the scriptures about us, according to the Word it’s about Christ! Psa(40:7), Luke(24:44), John(5:39) I do love your zeal, compassion & love for the Word! Spirit & truth is the path! I look forward to breaking bread with you in the future! God Bless! A couple of scriptures that have helped guide me to understanding! Isa.(55:11) & John(3:27)


Joshua Tilghman August 13, 2013 at 11:22 am


In other articles I have written about faith and knowledge. Knowledge can never give you access to God. Gnosis, knowing, is about a direct experience and has more to do with faith than knowledge. Knowledge concerning the intellect is important because it can helps lead us to what God is NOT, but as you suggest it is only by faith and direct experience that we have access to what we label God. In other words, knowledge can bring you to the door of God, but knowledge can get you into that door. I hope this makes sense.



Arlene January 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Hi Morgan…..

My thoughts are parallel to yours. All of Scripture is about Jesus Christ and His plan for worldwide salvation. We can’t see all the verses as literal stories.

One thought I had when reading this comment is that when Jesus told us that the “kingdom of God is within you”, He was telling us that our journey does not concern anyone else except changes within ourselves. It is a spiritual journey for each of us. As we read the bible and meditate upon God’s words, we will be led by the spirit of God in our understanding. That’s what’s meant in I John 2:27.

Another thought I had about reincarnation is that it detracts from the work of Jesus Christ. I John 2:2 tells us the He, alone, is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and also for the sins of the world. If we have to work out our own sins in the cycle of reincarnation, then the sacrifice Jesus made would be moot.

I am one of the few “our there” who does not believe in eternal torment in hell for anyone. The definition of God in I John 4:8 is “Love”. And He told us to “love our enemies”, so would He do less than we would do? In Jeremiah 32:35 God calls burning people to Molech “an abomination” and that this kind of thing never came to His mind. So, because of who God is, I cannot believe that he could, or would, condemn anyone for eternity.

Because some people, and maybe most of them, will have their “part” in the lake of fire. And I believe this is God’s way of purification, as God is also defined as a “consuming fire” in Hebrews 12:29. Facing God will be purification of sins not paid by the sacrifice of Jesus.

I just had to tell you that it is wonderful to read the thoughts of someone else who thinks spiritually, as I do. And, like you, I love the zeal and bible knowledge at this website.

God bless all….



Moran January 31, 2014 at 5:50 am

Hi Arlene,
It’s reassuring to know that the Spirit of truth is moving in the vessels in which God has chosen to reveal His son! I don’t expect everyone to agree with the understanding God has given to me because we all are in different stages of spiritual growth! You may be able to receive truth that I can’t because your faith is more mature than mine! That’s why Christ would say to the disciples that they weren’t able to bear certain truths! We all have been indoctrinated into the teaching of the law of Moses! Many have been called and few have been chosen to be awakened out of the sleep of that teaching! Why? Because that teaching is mans wisdom! And we have been awakened because of the mercy and compassion of God not because of anything we have done! Sorry the Word never gives man credit for doing the will of God as it shouldn’t because we have done nothing but live in this world and die! God has done it all for us! Four things God has shown me that allowed me to see how powerless we are as far as the spirit kingdoms! We don’t know when we will be born or die! And we can’t take out a bad spirit and put a good spirit in ourselves or anyone for that matter and vice versa! And as soon as we embrace our weaknesses instead of cover them up, only then can we see the one and only true God Jesus Christ! Resist mans teaching of God! Instead seek after the spiritual teaching of God which comes from within! The law of Christ has fulfilled the law of Moses!


Kenneth Redmon November 30, 2016 at 12:05 pm

I have been Circumcised in the Heart WITHOUT HANDS Colossians 2:10,11 and Romans 2:29, what an Amazing Feeling it is, Christ cutting away the Body of Sins in the Flesh and God writting His Laws upon your Heart and you become COMPLETE IN CHRIST. The Spirit never Dies, but the Soul that Sinneth Does.


Alvin Davis January 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Good Article! 2 good books on this subject – Journey / Destiney of souls, by michael newton

Happy New Year


Stevie March 18, 2014 at 12:54 am

Yes a very interesting article. I have been firmly convicted in my belief in reincarnation. Without reincarnation karma does not make much sense as everybody knows people often get away with terrible things. It can only make sense if we are to undergo reincarnation and be born in possibly less favourable conditions perhaps even in a lower plane of existence. Another thought I have about this is that before we reincarnate we may have to experience our karma in an afterlife astral plane of existence. In this way some may even experience a temporary ‘hell’ in an astral plane. I find this thought a little bit frightening because who knows how long this hellish duration would be and how can we be sure if our positive karma outweighs our negative karma. I suffer from depression and often feel very unfulfilled in life. So I worry that if I was to go to the grave still feeling like this would I experience a hellish afterlife ? The question really is do you need to be happy to have a good afterlife experience immediately after this one? Also in regards to the spiritual resurrection how does one know if that has taken place in oneself or not ?


Joshua Tilghman March 22, 2014 at 11:45 pm


Some ancient esoteric schools taught that anyone who didn’t experience what was to come in the afterlife in this life would experience some sort of suffering. But this isn’t to scare us. Suffering is a part of the human condition. Waking up from the illusion and ending desire is the way to experience the resurrection, but for most of us, this isn’t something that happens in one lifetime. It takes many. I suggest practicing meditation…daily. This will help. Also read Eckart Tolle’s the Power of Now for great pointers that can help you refocus on being content now. Don’t fret about how to know when you’ve had a resurrection experience. This will only get you sidetracked.


Luigi February 28, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Joshua: have you read the work of Dr. Brian Weiss? Thoughts?


Joshua Tilghman March 1, 2017 at 9:09 pm


I have not read Dr. Brian Weiss’s direct works yet. But your question promoted me to do some research, and I looked into his experience with Oprah. As a psychotherapist, he seems to have some great ideas into past life trauma and how it has had an affect. I will look into him further.


Maryann July 6, 2014 at 12:07 am

Very interesting- thank you. You mention the Roman emperor Justinian as being the one who deleted all references to reincarnation in the Bible. But I’ve read it was the emperor Constantinople (who was the 1st Roman emperor to turn to Christianity in around 530 AD) that ordered all references out of the Bible and enforced all talk or mention of reincarnation. Is the Justinian and Constantinople eras linked?


Gary Shogren February 20, 2017 at 12:52 pm

The notion that prior to Justinian or Constantine there were any references (either positive or negative) to reincarnation in the Bible is pure myth. There now exist many manuscripts of both Old and New Testaments from before both emperors, and not one of them even mention the idea, nor are there any references to it that are “missing” from the later copies of the Bible. All the available hard evidence disproves this conspiracy theory.

To give a modern example, it would be like claiming that there were UFOs in the original of Hamlet, but “they” removed it in the 19th century. About the same dates, about the same sort of evidence.

It is an easy, but sloppy, expedient, to claim that if a thing is not in the Bible presently, it must have been removed by someone. This is Dan Brown’s mistake, who claimed that there was no reference to the deity of Christ in the church before Nicea; Brown is an exciting novelist, but a poor historian.


Jeronimus July 16, 2014 at 10:57 pm

I was surprised to discover not long ago that reincarnation has always been a part of Jewish tradition, though not all Jews accept it.
There were even rabbis who specialised in identifying a person’s past lives, presumably to help them understand the present life better. Not sure if this practice continues today.
Personally I feel its best to concentrate on the present life, but I can see that sometimes knowledge of past existences could be therapeutic.


Zoey September 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm

This is personal, but I don’t believe in reincarnation. Sure, it’s persuading and cool and all, but what about normal people? You don’t hear them being reborn, do you? I’m a Southern Baptist, and for me it’s hard to believe that people know they’ve been “reincarnated”. Even if we were, how would we know? Yes, I’m aware some of you guys believe it or part of it (no offense in any way), but I mean, seriously. We all are “born again” (John 3:3-8) in Christ, but not in another body (again, my opinion.).
I’m just saying that if Nicodemus (you know who he is, asked Jesus a few questions in John 3) said we can’t be reborn into new flesh, and JESUS SAID IT TOO, why would it make sense?



Linda Loman September 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm

The word “reincarnation” is a stumbling block, even though the principal is of a high intellect. It’s that worldly concept of having lived again, maybe even as a rat. And because of that sort of abuse in understanding, this is a concept that most Christians will resist. It is an esoteric concept. The truth involved simply cannot be heard, for the construct of religion is flowing on a totally different channel. But I do understand your desire and right to state your heart on your blog. That is your forum.
I, also, embrace the concept that we have been here before, especially because it doesn’t seem logical or practical that God would accomplish something in a space of a body and not continue it on in His own mechanism. After all, there is only 1 Spirit–God’s, and it is He who has the soul (the 1 corporate soul), and we provide the bodies. Therefore, God is recomposing or recycling an essence of his own soul and life that will serve a continued purpose in the new version of today, the eternal NOW. Future, past & present are all contained there. I do not believe this diminishes our own persona that he is building up. But that small bump, hill, or mountain that He is working on to press us into the Kingdom (pressure, tribulation) is indeed Him with my name on it, for the purpose I fill today.
Blessings to you!


Betty Alark October 23, 2014 at 6:48 am

For me reincarnation if I believed in reincarnation would be just that a belief – since unless one experiences or remembers being reincarnated one can only assume they have been reincarnated based on the beliefs of reincarnation. I have no memory of being reincarnated. The evidence that you pose makes sense and is believable based on the evidence however for me evidence would be me experiencing It.


Ken Redmon December 9, 2014 at 10:16 pm

God can Raise any part of His Creation, at any time He so desires.


Joshua Tilghman December 15, 2014 at 5:26 pm


We must take it upon ourselves to be raised. All of our choices affect the spirit, soul, and body.


Ken Redmon November 30, 2016 at 12:35 pm

Joshua God YAHWAH does it all, He does the Drawing, Calling, Choosing, Electing, Predestinating, Justifying, Sanctifying, Glorifying and Conforming us to the Image of the Son, He did this before the foundations of the World (when He Foreknew us and wrote Our names in the Book of Life) when the LAMB WAS SLAIN. We have no choice in any of this.


BlessedT September 4, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Hi Josh,

I have recently become interested in the tradition of reincarnation in the Christian tradition.

I keep hearing about many early Christians believing it, Justinian squashing it and many verses being taken out that reference it.

However, I really only find people saying these things and not citing historical references. There seems to be one guy that wrote a book in the 1900’s that a lot of people quote, but as far as I can tell, he has not real sources either. Also Origen, but he is also quoted as denying it.

I’m certainly not looking to challenge you or the idea reincarnation, because it certainly would answer a lot of questions. I have just yet to come across much reliable evidence that it ever had a place in Christianity (historically speaking). Is there a book/reference you recommend that speaks to the belief of this within the church?


Joshua Tilghman December 25, 2015 at 3:17 pm


It is true, its hard to find any direct quotes that proves without a doubt he believed in reincarnation. But I believe its there, you just have to read quite a bit of his writing to understand. Origen studied Christian and Platonic thought, and often combined the two teachings. He firmly believed that all would be returned back to God at the end, and reincarnation plays a part in this belief system.


Xavier September 28, 2015 at 7:34 am

I understand reincarnation in a spiritual level too.
Each moment a new mind or state of mind arise is a reincarnation and it depends in your past actions or karma.
When you access the Kingdom of God within you (enlightenment) this cycle is over, you don’t depends any more on past actions, and your mind is full of light


Scott October 18, 2015 at 9:14 am

Thanks for the article. This thinking is closely aligned with reincarnation as written in A Course in Miracles which I have studied for while now. Your writings reinforce all writings in ACIM.

Time and, therefore, space are illusory -not any different from a dream. God doesn’t have any influence on what happens in this world except through the holy spirit if we choose to listen. We are all having an impossible dream that we are separate from Him, it is an impossible dream because it is untrue. God wouldn’t create a world that His son would suffer, get sick and die in. How could a perfect entity create such a hot mess?
Nevertheless, He patiently awaits our return to Him which is an inevitabity. The time it takes us to return to unity with our Father is up to us by learning spiritual ‘lessons’ in each lifetime that are based on total forgiveness of our illusions. Time (our illusion) is only useful in facilitating learning. Time will stop (the end of our reincarnation cycle) when it is no longer useful in facilitating learing.

Thanks Joshua! Keeping writing, my brother…


Lee February 8, 2016 at 10:52 pm

I will first state that I believe in reincarnation, but my basis is not written and translated and re-written words from over 2000 years ago. My basis is my current work in the 21st century where I condition people to be able to channel spirits today. These spirits provide extremely constant and consistent information about how the universe works and a great deal of it is NOT what is recorded in the bible. I suppose so many people use the bible because it’s all they have. People say the bible is true and it is the word of God because that’s what the bible says. They use the bible as the basis to prove the bible. Well, isn’t that cute.
So many people are, in fact, just like sheep. They do not want to think for themselves. They just want someone else to tell them what to do and to think and to believe. And if that is their free will, then I suppose they get just what they are looking for. But I will conclude with this. There is a way to tap into actual spirit and get the actual truth about how all this works. But you will not find it watching football on the couch.


Joshua Tilghman February 21, 2016 at 10:26 am

Lee. the Bible is not meant to be interpreted literally. It is my belief that it is an accurate representation of reality, both physical and spiritual, but it takes a little bit to study to learn how to interpret it.


Barbara March 8, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Thank you for writing this article. I haven’t read through all of the comments but being a Christian who was fascinated by reincarnation as a teenager, I read many years ago that, yes, Emperor Justinian removed parts of the Bible.

I still regard reincarnation to be the most believable answer to what happens to the soul when one dies. However, has anyone ever been able to locate the text that was removed from the Bible?



Joshua Tilghman March 8, 2016 at 3:31 pm


It is the most believable, isn’t it? It took me until my early thirties to admit this.

It was more of the idea that was removed from Orthodox Christianity. By Justinian’s time, the epistles and books considered inspired were already locked in.

In Biblical times, the transmigration of the soul was such an accepted belief about life that they didn’t even address it very much, but there still are very clear references.


CJ March 13, 2016 at 11:28 pm

You are being deceived, man. This is a whole lot of nonsense and not biblical. Reincarnation is a heresy, and a false teaching. The Bible is clear in what it says. You are born, you are given a choice to accept Christ and follow him or deny and rebel, and then you die to stand before God. From there you will either enter eternal life or hell. There is no special “enlightenment” or wisdom that you acquire from being Mike Jones in one life on earth and John Smith in another life on earth that makes you “worthy” of entering Heaven. Don’t you know the Bible says that NO ONE actually deserves eternal life? You can’t earn it through works, only through faith, and you only get one chance. The Bible isn’t sending some encrypted message when it says “it is appointed unto men to die once”. It literally means we die once. What a bunch of foolishness. I’m sorry you are being led astray like this, I cannot only pray that you will return to the Bible for your wisdom and not your own understanding.


Joshua Tilghman March 14, 2016 at 9:06 pm

CJ., I implore you to dig deeper. The traditional interpretation of a literal heaven and hell for eternity is absurd. It violates so many basic psychological understandings about the ego, mind, and emotions. I’ve been where you have been as far as beliefs go. I believe there will be experiences in your life, whether now or much later, which will deeply challenge your beliefs. Instead of doubling down in dogma and doctrine, let you natural-born intuition and inclinations allow you to question and explore further. There is not judgment here. Blessings.


Christina April 6, 2016 at 11:53 pm

I’m so pleased to see this thread still active. I’ve come across it exactly 4 years to the day that you published it, 464.

I’d like to share my personal experience of receiving salvation, which is something I do not do often because it conflicts with established religious ideas in the Christian world.

I grew up believing in reincarnation. As far as I was concerned it was simply fact. I was troubled though by the closed loop of karmic action… in my child’s mind I thought, “you hit me, I feel hurt, you deserve to be hit back, I hit you back, then I deserve to be hit again.” What could possibly be the thing that breaks this cycle and gives liberation from karmic DEPT?

I also came to understand that reincarnation functions as the accumulation of karmic dept, that as a matter of law (almost Neutonian) has to be fulfilled and keeps the spirit captive to its closed loop. We are literally bound to return to try again to pay this never paid in full dept.

In my teen years I came to the understanding that one way out of that loop is to only Respond and not React, thereby liberating oneself from any particular karmic loop. This served me well for many years until real adult tribulations came into play and emotional selfishness reigned me in.

This is the impossibility of ultimately freeing oneself; the flowers of past karmic seeds are always blooming fresh, seeds we had no way of knowing were there and they can be very poisonous.

Finally, I was at a terrible terrible low point in my early 30s. I was listening to a Christian sermon on the radio. The pastor said something that made me stop short and was a revelation to me in what Christ was offering. In an instant I could see that Christ’s atoning death was a karmic dept paid in full on my behalf, and anyone who could humble themselves to accept it.

I was quite shocked and moved by the magnitude of a totally spotless and innocent incarnation of God taking full responsibility for MY transgressions. He has given us an out to reincarnation and the back and forth between pain, pleasure, suffering and death. He has provided a fail safe for our return to grace. It is an act of a love that is divine in its selflessness.

Soon thereafter I came to understand the nature of original sin and it’s relationship to karmic dept and therefore I was able to ask for my karmic dept/sins/actions to be forgiven. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it was immediately given and I felt life restored to me. I think this is how I was resurrected in Christ’s Love.

Nothing has looked or felt the same since. This was being born into life with Him. I’m far from perfect… nobody is perfect except Him and that is exactly the point. We are flawed, hopelessly bound to sin/dept, but He provides the way out, the salvation from that death masquerading as life. It is forgiveness, if only we can accept it.

Thank you for hearing my testimony, it has helped me to share it.

In Love,


Joshua Tilghman April 17, 2016 at 11:10 am


Thanks for sharing your personal story. I have come to a slightly different conclusion about salvation, but I believe their is some truth in the traditional Christian belief in forgiveness of sins. Thanks again for commenting, Christina!


Witness Di February 12, 2017 at 1:40 pm

What a beautiful testimony, Christina. Thank you for sharing. Glory to the name of the Lord!


Rick Flores May 3, 2016 at 1:22 am

Dear Joshua:

I had never seen this website and I came across it for the first time doing some research about reincarnation; your writings seem very sincere and I appreciate the way you exchange information with the people who read your article on the subject. I have other matters that I need to engage in so at the moment I do not have time to look through your entire website; so I just want to ask something for now: Are you a Christian of some sort or are you a “spiritual” person in the modern sense? The reason I ask is because I do have some things to share regarding other seemingly misguiding “teachings” of the Bible, but I do not want to offend anybody; it seems to me that you do look deeper than the average person, so I thought perhaps you would be interested in exploring other aspects of the Bible that are EXTREMELY contradictory to commonly accepted interpretations. If this type of discussion would be better held privately just respond to my personal e-mail. Thanks and blessings to you!



Joshua Tilghman July 2, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Rick, no offense ever taken. This website is intended for open discussion, no matter what your views. I certainly do not believe I understand the Bible completely. My interpretations are from the experiences I have had.

I am not a traditional Christian. I believe the Bible is an allegory meant to teach us about the nature of man. I would align myself more as a gnostic Christian, but even then there are many different beliefs about the Gnostics because there were many different sects. I do not align myself with any of them although I have come to appreciate the Valentian view quite a bit.


Oene July 30, 2016 at 12:59 am

Hello Joshua,

I’ve read your article with great interest and not only conviced, but truly know reincarnation is one of life’s principals Jesus taught to all people.

The Bible is still a wonderful book with many guidelines and teachings and can be a great help in our achievements to have a pure Soul.
Therefore one of the most merciful comments written in the Bible is the fact that even we make mistakes over and over, we have a second, a third, even seven times seventy times a change given to choose something else. In fact it’s about never ending foregiveness and isn’t that the most merciful Gift 🙂
Forgiving is a way of let go ; truly leave behind and look at another way to situations and make a new choice.
In that perspective having a new change over and over, implies we have the Time and may use as many lives as we need to grow.

The Bible however has been translated over and over and even has been forbidden to be read in the first centuries after Jesus has lived.
In that perspective it is very likely words have been interpreted wrongly by the translators and even have been altered.
Reincarnation even was a threat for the rulers of the Church as everyone was given a second change because of reincarnation.
Therefore the community was told we only live once and one should obey the rules , otherwise it’s a one way ticket to hell. Rich people could buy a ticket for Heaven while others lived in fear of their judgement day after their death.

But Jesus has learned us we could see the real truth; as he has said: Those who have Eyes, they See and those who have Ears, they Hear.
Here he gave us a powerful help in looking at things in another way. See the real truth in what we see and hear what is really being said and written.

One should also keep in mind that in our present life, a result of many reincarnations, we all are a gathering of many lives, in each of those we had our believes and were convinced that was taught, was right.
Therefore in our present reincarnation we may have dogma left over which is inhereted from our past lives and influence our objective vision today.

But another great gift were the words Jesus spoke in mentioning that we all are Sons and Daughters of God and that the things He did, we all will do and even more !
This means that each and everyone of us will sooner or later reach the Loving level that Jesus has reached, but we will even ‘grow’ further and beyond that of Jesus himself.

One of the very old and painful dogmatic remains of past incarnations is the belief that Jesus had the exclusive right to be the Son of God, although he learned us something else that no one has an exclusive Right and we are all unique and a gift of God and each of Us is beloved in the same manner.
Isn’t that a wonderfull gift ! 🙂

Remember your beloved each second of the day and your Soul is pure since the Beginning of time!

Good Luck to All



Jennifer March 3, 2017 at 11:23 am

You said: They conclude that “in the spirit and power of Elijah” means it wasn’t Elijah. This is probably one of the worst arguments an opponent could give. Why? Because returning to the earth in the “spirit and power” of someone who has already lived on the earth IS REINCARNATION!

I couldn’t help but actually, literally laugh out loud when I read this. I’m the type of grand kid to ask my pastoral grandpa about reincarnation. Just to tick him off. Because, let’s face it. He is leading people astray on milk only.

But that’s just it. Those that know the truth (the spiritual “meat”) have to almost hide our beliefs for fear of those on milk, taking our confidence away from us. It’s almost like we KNOW how they are going to react to such an idea, so we aren’t able to save them from themselves.

But, I digress.

I find this topic so liberating and fun to study. Maybe because it’s so controversial and new? Or perhaps because secretly I’m hoping I do get another do over if I didn’t play this hand right.

I have been lifted out of my body by a white light during meditation before. I’ve danced in circles and spoken telepathically with this angel of beautiful love. I firmly believe I have been resurrected. I believe I have been born again. A lot of Christians could tell you they are too, and who knows, maybe they are. But I can tell you that I’ve experienced the love of God. something not a lot of people experience on this plane. I’m so thankful.

God bless!


Gabor April 16, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Reincarnation , yes .
Check out how many times , and where is mentioned the word paradise …


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