DOCTRINE OF THE DEVIL?
The belief that reincarnation is the doctrine of the devil can be traced to a statement the Prophet Joseph recorded in church history. In November 1835 a man who went by the name of Joshua paid a visit to the Prophet. The man evidently had some truth for Joseph said he made some “excellent remarks”. However, he was suspicious of him and discovered that he was Robert Matthias of New York who had endured trials for “murder, manslaughter, contempt of court, whipping his daughter, etc” Despite this Joseph entertained him for a few days and finally asked him to enlighten him “on his views respecting the resurrection.”
Matthias made four statements: (1) He was a literal descendant of Matthias, the apostle of Jesus. (2) The spirit of Matthias was resurrected in him. (3) The scheme of eternal life was the transmigration of the spirit from father to son. (4) He was the Spirit of Truth itself and possessed the soul of Christ.
To this Joseph Smith said: “I told him that his doctrine was of the devil, that he was in reality in possession of a wicked and depraved spirit.” Joseph pressed him to leave and upon his departing he said: “And so I, for once, cast out the devil in bodily shape, and I believe a murderer.” DHC 2:304-307
Let’s examine the four statements of Matthias and see if Joseph Smith was correct about him. The first statement is the only one that may be true. It is remotely possible that he was a descendant of the apostle. Presumedly he merely assumed such because that was his last name.
On point two it’s very unlikely that he possessed the spirit of Matthias, or was Matthias reincarnated because the apostle Matthias was a just and holy man; whereas Robert Matthias was a suspected murderer and wife beater. People generally make progress from life to life, not go backward.
Number three is also false doctrine since the scheme of things is not to have one’s spirit passed down from father to son. One is often reincarnated in a body unrelated to a previous life. Eventually we will incarnate on other worlds.
Number four is also false; he certainly did not possess the soul of Christ.
Interestingly, we who believe the true doctrine of reincarnation can say along with the Prophet Joseph that the teaching of Robert Matthias is the doctrine of the devil, or from a deceptive source.
A second major objection to reincarnation comes from a misunderstanding of the doctrine. Many think that anyone who believes in the teaching fear they will come back as a cow, a dog, or even a rock. This is simply not so. We use a series of embodiments to gain the experience and knowledge necessary to take us from the man to the God kingdom. Thus we are in a constant state of eternal progression.
An exception would be a wicked person who refuses learn from his mistakes. Concerning this man Brigham Young said that “They will be THROWN BACK TO THEIR NATIVE ELEMENT from which they originated, TO BE WORKED OVER AGAIN.” Journal of Discourses 2:12
“When the elements in an organized form do not fill the end of their creation, THEY ARE THROWN BACK AGAIN, like brother Kimball’s old pottery ware, to be ground up, AND MADE OVER AGAIN.” Journal of Discourses Vol 1; Page 275.
The sons of perdition, according to Brigham Young, will have to begin their progression all over again and to get back to where we are now will take “Myriads of years.”
This conforms to the doctrine of reincarnation which is this: That we reincarnate again and again on the earth until we manifest God. On the other hand, those who are very selfish and evil cut themselves completely off from the Spirit of God and are broken down to their native element and eventually begin their progression over again on another physical world ages and ages hence.
The third major objection to multiple lives comes from the Bible. In Hebrews 9:27 we read: “And as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgement.”
The “once to die” sounds like an absolute statement not open to debate until we realize that it is boldly contradicted by the scriptures themselves: “Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to THE DEATHS…” D&C 132:25
“They (the dead) were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast (to suffer a second death) into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:12-15
Modern day revelation sheds further light on exactly what the second death is: “Wherefore, I the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the FIRST DEATH EVEN THE SAME DEATH WHICH IS THE LAST DEATH, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced on the wicked when I shall say: Depart ye cursed.” D&C 29:41
What was the first death??? It was being cut off from the presence of God and being placed in a state of probation in a MORTAL STATE subject to death and disease. We are told here with startling clarity that the last or second death is the same as the first. Therefore, those who suffer the second death will be (1) Cut off from the presence of God and (2) Suffer disease and PHYSICAL DEATH all over again. If that is not reincarnation we do not know what is.
After we are told that man only dies once the scripture says “BUT after this the judgement.” The word “but” comes from the Greek ALLA which literally means contrariwise. In other words, it indicates that the information that is forthcoming may contradict that which has just been said.
That would mean that “after this the judgement” may have an opposite meaning to “it is appointed unto men once to die”. It would indicate an exception as in the sentence: “I rise every morning at 8:00 A.M., except when the alarm does not go off.”
We shall see that when we examine the Greek word for “judgement” that the second half of the sentence does indeed contradict the first.
The word “judgement” here comes from the Greek word KRISIS. This is one of the most misunderstood words in the entire Bible. Translators don’t quite seem to know how to handle it and have rendered it according to their bias rather than the actual meaning. In the King James version it is translated as: accusation, condemnation, damnation, and judgement, but none of these portrays the word accurately.
The modern English word “crisis” (which is derived from the Greek word KRISIS) is a more accurate rendering than the Bible translations. The actual Greek word implies a decision that brings correction. It is hard to give the meaning of this word with one English word, but the word “correction” would probably be the closest.
The best scripture to help us understand the KRISIS is from John 5:28-29: “The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves 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 damnation (KRISIS).”
Here Jesus divides all resurrections into two categories. The first he calls the “resurrection of life” and the second “the resurrection of damnation”. “Damnation” is a mistranslation. The Greek KRISIS is more correctly rendered “correction” or “judgement that forces correction” and generally refers to the second resurrection.
Taking this into consideration let us retranslate Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed unto mankind once to be dying, but on the other hand, after this comes (the resurrection of) correction.”
Paul also said that God “will have ALL MEN to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” I Tim 2:4 Is God’s will not all powerful? Does he not have power to fulfill it? Therefore, will not all men eventually be saved and return to his presence? If not then God is powerless, which thing can never be.
The resurrection of life, or “endless lives” as Joseph called it, is not as easy to attain as people think. We are told that in the days of Paul “only” Jesus had attained immortality. (See I Tim 6:15-16) Paul also tells us that he had not attained it because he was not yet perfect: “If by any means I might ATTAIN unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already PERFECT: but I follow after.” Phil 3:11-128
The writings of Joseph Smith are in perfect harmony with Paul. In fact, he makes the resurrection of life sound even more difficult to attain. Most Latter-Day Saints assume that when they are exalted they will automatically receive the resurrection, but obviously they have not read the teachings of their founder: “You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, FROM EXALTATION TO EXALTATION, UNTIL YOU ATTAIN TO THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.” DHC 6:306
We not only have to be exalted once, but a number of times before we overcome death. After all Paul said: “The LAST enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” I Cor 15: Concerning those who receive an exaltation it is written “And they SHALL (not have) overcome all things.” D&C 76:60 Thus even after one receives an exaltation he has to overcome many things, and the LAST thing to overcome is death, and this only occurs after passing through numerous exaltations.
All those who have not passed through numerous exaltations will therefore attain another type of resurrection called the resurrection of KRISIS or correction. These are the inhabitants of the telestial, terrestial, and some of the celestial kingdom, but not the sons of perdition. These sons of perdition will attain no resurrection in this sphere of activity, but will be sent back to their native element to start all over again.
The scriptures tell us that the celestial inhabitants can choose whether or not to be subjected to death or endless life: :”Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether LIFE OR DEATH, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” D&C 76:59
This is a very subtle scripture but there is no escaping the fact that the choice of either “life or death” belongs to celestial inhabitants. After all, that is what it says in black and white.
If a celestial inhabitant can choose death again then obviously he would have to be reincarnated at some time or another.
Brigham Young clearly tells us that Adam was one of those members of the celestial kingdom who chose death instead of life: “When Father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a CELESTIAL BODY…He helped make and organize this world.” JD 1:50
He further quoted Adam as saying: “I once dwelt on an earth something like this IN A MORTAL STATE, I was faithful, I received my crown and exaltation. I have the privilege of extending my work, and to its increase there shall be no end.” Deseret News; June 18, 1873; Page 308.
We are clearly told that the celestial inhabitants have the are the only ones with any type of immortality: “For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element INSEPARABLY CONNECTED, receive a fulness of joy.” D&C 93:3
Who receives a fulness of joy? We know the son of perdition does not and of the telestial inhabitants it is written: “These are they who are thrust down to hell. These are they who receive NOT of his fulness…” D&C 76:84&86
The terrestial inhabitants also miss this fulness: “These (those in the terrestial world) are they who receive of his glory, BUT NOT OF HIS FULNESS.”
Immortality in either of these two lower worlds is impossible according to D&C 93:33 because they do not have fulness of joy; therefore, their spirits and bodies are NOT inseparably connected.
Where does one receive a fulness of joy? “In thy presence is fulness of joy.” Psalms 16:11 “They shall inherit the kingdom of God…and their joy shall be full forever.” II Nephi 9:18
These scriptures indicate that a fulness of joy only takes place in the presence of God or the celestial kingdom. Therefore, the celestial is the only one of the three revealed kingdoms where the spirit and body is “inseparably connected”. Thus, of the three kingdoms, only the celestial has any degree of immortality and even there immortality is by choice. They can choose “life or death”. In other words, they can live in an immortal state until they feel they need some new challenge. Then they choose mortality or “death” as did Adam.
The church has taught from the beginning that the earth is a part of the telestial kingdom. During the temple ceremony in the telestial room the speaker reveals: “Brethren and sisters, this room represents the telestial kingdom, OR THE WORLD IN WHICH WE NOW LIVE.”
The description of the telestial world given in the Doctrine and Covenants correlates with the information given in the temple revealing that planet earth (and possibly other physical planets) is the real telestial kingdom.
The highest inhabitants of the telestial world “shall be servants of the Most High.” D&C 76:112 and the lowest “are they who suffer the wrath of God ON EARTH.” D&C 76:104
We are further told that the telestial inhabitants receives “the administering of angels (as did Joseph Smith) who are appointed to minister for them, or who are to be ministering spirits for them; for they (us here on the earth now, the telestial inhabitants) shall be heirs of salvation.” D&C 76:88
The original temples were built with three rooms representing the three kingdoms. The saints progressed from one room or kingdom to another thus demonstrating with profound clarity that we pass from one life to another until we leave the telestial and go to a higher world, the terrestial, and finally, the celestial.
But that is not all. The celestial is NOT the highest. The scriptures tell us there are realms higher than this: In the celestial kingdom “the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17 will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to A HIGHER ORDER OF KINGDOMS will be made known. D&C 130:10
Higher orders of kingdoms than the celestial??? That’s something we were not taught in Sunday School, but there it is in the scriptures. No revelation has elaborated on these higher kingdoms, and why should they? The telestial kingdom that we are presently in “surpasses all understanding”. A description of any kingdom above the celestial would have no meaning to us in our present state of consciousness.
Those who fall short of the highest resurrection (the resurrection of life) and yet do not become sons of perdition go to the resurrection of KRISIS or correction and generally come back in another life to this telestial world. When we fall short of the perfection of Christ the scriptures tell us that our defiled bodies will be destroyed and there will be a continuing separation of body and spirit until we overcome all things. The word of God decrees: “And when separated (spirit and body), man cannot receive a fulness of joy. The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; (referring to our bodies) and whatsoever temple (body) is defiled, GOD SHALL DESTROY THAT TEMPLE.” D&C 93:34-35
Now we understand why it is written that “the wages of sin is death.” Rom 6:23 When we sin and our bodies are defiled we are clearly told they will be destroyed. This is why we are told that “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” I Cor 15:26 We live life after life in the telestial kingdom each time sinning and falling short of the glory of God, leaving our bodies behind to be destroyed until we finally “come to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph 4:13) and manifest the glory of God through a life of sinlessness. At that time we “put on immortality” as did Jesus.
The Bible agrees with modern day revelation on this subject: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God (sin), HIM SHALL GOD DESTROY; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” I Cor 3:16-17
Paul talks about the two resurrections and informs us that one will bring “corruption” and the other “life everlasting”: “For every man shall bear his own burden…Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall OF THE FLESH REAP CORRUPTION; (the resurrection of KRISIS or rebirth in mortality) but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (or the resurrection of life).” Gal 6:5-8
The word “corruption” here comes from the Greek PHTHORA which is derived from PHTHEIRO the same word that is used when Paul said that God shall “destroy” the defiled temples. PHTHORA indicates a state of “decay”.
Thus Paul is simply telling us over and over that if our mind is centered on carnal things we will not put on immortality but reap corruption, decay, and eventually have our bodies destroyed. How else can this scripture be fulfilled unless we are born again and put on mortality instead of immortality? How can we “of the flesh reap corruption” in the telestial kingdom if the inhabitants are all immortal and there is no corruption or decay?
How do we escape the resurrection of KRISIS? “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life (the resurrection of life), AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION (“Condemnation” comes from KRISIS and means the resurrection of correction): but is passed from death to life.” John 5:24
CONCLUSION: The scriptures plainly tell us that there are two resurrections. In the resurrection of life we put on immortality, but still have the free will to choose death. In the resurrection of KRISIS we will continue to live in a mortal state where our bodies are subjected to decay and destruction.
Copyright by J J Dewey
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