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The word “reincarnation” means “the belief that the soul, upon the death of the body, comes back to earth in another body or form.” I might add that some people who believe in reincarnation believe this may occur multiple times; that is, that you may die over and over again, and in each case return to earth in another body or form.  I met a lady one day who wanted to tell me about all of her “past lives,” but I felt led to show her Hebrews 9:27 which says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” She was surprised to learn that a person only dies ONCE!

The Bible’s teaching on what occurs at the time of death is in opposition to the view that the soul returns to earth immediately in another body or form. The word “death” means “separation.”  James 2:26 reads, “the body without the spirit is dead.” At the time of death, one’s spirit departs from the body.  Where does it go? If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior the answer is found in 2 Corinthians 5:8 which says, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” The apostle Paul taught the same truth in Philippians 1:21-23, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (NKJV). If one has not accepted Christ as their Savior their spirit and soul depart to a place of torment. Luke 16:22-23 gives us an example of this, for it reads, “The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment” (NASB). His body was buried in a grave, but his departed spirit was in Hades in conscious torment.

Again, those who believe in reincarnation believe they come back to earth “in another body or form,” but the Bible teaches that the same body that dies and is buried will someday be raised from the dead. Jesus taught the truth of resurrection in John 5:28-29, “Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.” Some have taught that this is a general resurrection at the end of time, but Scripture teaches elsewhere that there are two resurrections separated by 1,000 years. In Revelation 20:4 we learn that believers in Christ will be raised and will reign with Christ for a thousand. Verses 5-6 go on to say, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” The “rest of the dead” are all those who refused to accept God’s gracious offer of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Revelation 20:11-15 teach us that the grave and Hades will yield up their bodies and spirits in order for them to be judged and cast into the lake of fire.

We have seen that the “same body” that is buried is raised, but in the case of believers the body will be dramatically changed. Listen to these glorious words from 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory; It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” Praise God for this blessed truth! The Lord Jesus will complete His work of redeeming us by giving us bodies just like His! Philippines 3:20-21 teaches us “…we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body” (NKJV).  It will never grow old; it will always look good; it will have unbelievable power; and it will be fit for celestial glory! In contrast the bodies of the unsaved will be made to exist throughout eternity in the lake of fire, but there will be no beauty, power or glory in them. 

I would plead with any who have not yet received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior to heed the gospel call as seen in Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” If you do, you’ll be able to claim the blessed promises outlined earlier for the believer in Christ and you’ll escape the doom and gloom of those who reject Christ.  (145.2) (DO)