The aim of life is to offer man a chance to gain salvation, to enter the path of Transfiguration. Since the fall of man The Lord of Wisdom has outlined an escape route, a path by which man may awaken the Yechidah and grasp the gift of immortality. And immortality is a gift, in all mythologies we find a quest for immortality, a trial that leads to a reward of life eternal. In the twelve labours of Hercules we have a series of initiations which lead to eternal life, while in the quest for the Golden Fleece (of immortality) we have Jason overcoming immense odds to grasp it. The Lord in his wisdom offers man many chances to gain immortality and these chances take place in many lives. Reincarnation within Gnostic thought is not the same as it is within eastern philosophy. Reincarnation occurs within a limited period and offers the opportunity for immortality, it is not an immortal soul gaining experience but a mortal "self" being offered opportunity on opportunity to enter the spiritual path. Reincarnation is also limited in time, while we do not know the number of lives or opportunities man is given, the Lifestreams have limited time allotments after which the cycle is completed and unredeemed lifesparks cease to individually exist, unless they have been re-awakened by Transfiguration.
Now you may react by arguing that there is no Biblical authority for reincarnation. However, I am afraid that you would be very, very wrong. In the early Christian Church there were many that taught reincarnation. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Jerome, Gregoras, Augustine and Irenaeus - to name but a few. It was only during the Council of Nicea in 325 AD that the concept of reincarnation became unpopular and this was coupled with the development of teachings regarding the Trinity, Eternal Hellfire, purgatory and other dogma's which were imported into the Church for political reasons by Emperor Constantine. It was only in AD 553 at the Second
Council of Constantinople that reincarnation was finally and formally condemned.
In regards to Scripture itself it is obvious that Church copyists have removed many of the classic reincarnation references, however, references still do occur if you look closely and carefully analyse what you read.
In the Book of Revelation we have an exciting description of what will occur at the end of the earth cycle when the "born again", the spiritually transformed enter the New Kingdom. As part of the description the following is outlined
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. Revelation 3:12
This verse clearly explains that those who have overcome (that is those who completed their spiritual development), will become a pillar in the temple of God and he shall go out no more, that is, he will reincarnate no longer. This is obviously the message intended in this verse.
Also when we examine the Gospels we find Jesus asking the disciples, who do they think I am ? You would think that when the disciples answer in terms of reincarnation that if this was incorrect Jesus would certainly correct them ! Surely he would not let them continue in their ignorance ! But no, Jesus accepts what they say but simply corrects them in regards to his own identity !
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:13
We can then continue and note that in Matthew 17:10-13 Jesus informs them that he could not be Elias as Elias has already returned as John the Baptist ! (But I say unto you that Elias is come already and they knew him not). This is very obviously a description of reincarnation. Another excellent example is the commentary on Luke 12:58-59 offered by Carpocrates, a Gnostic leader from the Third Century.
As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. Luke 12:58,9.
Carpocrates explains that the true meaning of this tale is that the opponent is the Demiurge, Lord of the Archons and that the jail is the body (the fallen material world) itself. No one can escape reincarnation until all earthly actions have been experienced.
Rather than continuing to analyse each verse one by one, let me just give you a couple by themselves to consider.
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: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Luke 20:35-37.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
I think from these references it becomes quite clear that reincarnation was taught by the early Gnostic Christian church and even though the Bible has gone through constant editing and rewriting reincarnation still survives into the modern translations.
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