reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
Some interesting reading on the subject...
RESURRECTION AND REINCARNATION
4. Reincarnation was part of the Jewish dogmas, being taught under the name of
resurrection. Only the Sadducees, who believed that everything ended with death, did not accept
the idea of reincarnation. Jewish ideas on this point, as on many others, were not clearly defined
because they had only vague and incomplete notions with regard to the soul and its connection with
They believed that man could live again without knowing exactly the manner by which this could
happen. They used the name resurrection for what Spiritism more correctly calls reincarnation,
Resurrection presupposes a return to the same physical body, whereas science demonstrates that
this is materially impossible, especially when that same body has decomposed and long since been
dispersed and reabsorbed. Reincarnation is the return of a soul, or Spirit, to physical life in another
body which has been newly formed for it, and which has nothing to do with the previous one. The
word 'resurrection' can be applied to Lazarus but not to Elias, nor to the other prophets. If,
according to their belief, John the Baptist was Elias, then the body of John could not have been the
body of Elias because John was seen as a child and his parents were known. John then could be
Elias reincarnated but not resurrected.
5. There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same
came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come
from God.' for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus
answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he
cannot see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he
is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of
the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh;
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born
again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof but canst not tell
whence it cometh, and wither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the Spirit Nicodemus
answered and said unto Him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him,
Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto you, We
speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen.' and ye receive not our witness. If I
have to Id you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly
things? (John, 3:1-12).
6. The idea that John had been Elias and that the prophets could relive again on Earth is to
be found in many passages of the New Testament, but is most notedly quoted in the above extract.
(See verses 1, 2, & 3.) If this was an erroneous belief, Jesus would have combated it as He did
many others. But from this He gave it complete sanction and authority by making it a basic
principle and necessary condition by saying: 'No one may reach the Kingdom of God if he is not
born again,' and further insisted when He added: 'Do not be surprised when I say it is necessary to
be born again.'
7. The words: If man is not born again of water and of Spirit, have been interpreted in the
sense of regeneration by means of the water of Baptism. But in the original text it was said simply:
not born of water and of Spirit, whereas in some translations the words of spirit have been
substituted by Holy Spirit,47
EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN AGAIN
which does not correspond to the original meaning. This capital point stands out from the first
comments which the Gospels raised and will one day be confirmed beyond all possible doubt. (1)
8. To enable the real meaning of these words to be reached it is also necessary to pay
attention to the significance of the word water which is not used here in its usual sense.
The knowledge of physics was very imperfect in ancient times when it was believed that the
Earth had risen out of the water. Therefore water was considered to be the exclusive primitive
generating substance. This is why we read in the book of Genesis: '...the Spirit of God moved upon
the face of the waters; it floated above the waters; .. . Let there be firmament in the midst of the
waters; ... Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land
appear; ... Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that
may fly above the Earth in the open firmament of heaven.'
According then to this belief, water represented the nature of matter, just as the Spirit
represented the nature of intelligence. The words: 'If man is not reborn of the waters and of the
Spirit, or in water and in Spirit', thus signify -'if man is not born with his body and his soul'. This is
the manner in which these words were originally understood.