Tradition, TRADITION! Hmmmm, when speaking of reincarnation, what do the various religious traditions teach? We are all most likely familiar with the Eastern religions, Buddhism and Hinduism holding reincarnation as a basic tenet. But what do some religious traditions not generally associated with reincarnation teach? Could it be that even Jesus believed in and taught reincarnation?
Well, let’s examine a few basic principles, while perhaps your basic everyday “Joe Jew” probably doesn’t hold fast to the teachings on reincarnation, much of the esoteric work written in Aramaic and in some prominent works such as the “Zohar” from the 1st Century and Rabbi Chaim Vital’s 16th Century work “The Gates of Reincarnation” (Shaar HaGilgulim) certainly do speak to reincarnation. Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah, also holds that each Jewish soul is reincarnated enough times to fulfill each of the 613 Mitzvot.
So if early Jews – at least some – entertained the idea of reincarnation, is it possible the Jesus himself did? Yes, indeed I think he may have. Matthew 17:10-13 references John the Baptist as Elijah, what of Jesus himself appearing as a gardener after his resurrection, or his disciples not recognizing him until he started speaking? Mark 16:12 “Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.”
We also can look to the Church herself, I mentioned this briefly in an earlier post –
It was back in the time of Pope Vigilius and Emperor Justinian in the 6th Century. Origen, an early father of the Church (later condemned), wrote extensively on the “pre-existence of souls”. Emperor Justinian wanted his works condemned and destroyed. Pope Vigilius (yes , the POPE) refused and was jailed by Justinian for 4 years as a result! In 543 AD Emperor Justinian convened the 5th General Council of the Church at Constantinople and it was then Pope Vigilius and 3 Bishops refused to sign an edict (known as the Three Chapters) condemning reincarnation. The Three Chapters remain unsigned today.
So, could it indeed be possible that Jesus himself, taught reincarnation? I think strong evidence suggests perhaps