The New Testament is far more explicit than the Old, even though
we find the teachings of reincarnation indicated in only a vague,
indirect fashion. All the same, it must not be forgotten that the
canonical Gospels have suffered numerous suppressions and
interpolations. On the other hand, there can be no doubt that the
early Fathers of the Church made use of gospels that are now either
lost or have become apocryphal.[1
7] It has been proved that neither
Jesus nor his disciples wrote a single word, and that no version of
the Gospels appeared earlier than the second century. It was at
that time that religious quarrels gave birth to hundreds of gospels,
the writers of which signed them with the name of an apostle or even
with that of Jesus, after forging them in more or less intelligent
Celsus, Jortin, Gibbons, and others have shown that Christianity is
directly descended from Paganism; it was by combining the doctrines of
Egypt, Persia, and Greece with the teachings of Jesus that the
Christian doctrine was built up. Celsus silenced all the Christian
doctors of his time by supplying evidence of this plagiarism; Origen,
the most learned doctor of the age, was his opponent, but he was no
more fortunate than the rest, and Celsus came off victorious.
Thereupon recourse was had to the methods usual in those days; his
books were burnt.
And yet it is evident that the author of the Revelation was a
Kabalist; and the writer of the Gospel of Saint John a Gnostic or a
Neoplatonist. The Gospel of Nicodemus is scarcely more than a copy
of the Descent of Hercules into the Infernal Regions; the Epistle
to the Corinthians is a distinct reminiscence of the initiatory
Mysteries of Eleusis; and the Roman Ritual, according to H. P.
Blavatsky, is the reproduction of the Kabalistic Ritual.
One gospel only was authentic, the secret or Hebrew Gospel of
Matthew, which was used by the Nazareans, and at a later date by
Saint Justin and the Ebionites. It contained the esoterism of the
One-Religion, and Saint Jerome, who found this gospel in the library
of Caesarea about the end of the fourth century, says that he "received
permission to translate it from the Nazareans of Beroea."
These considerations prove that interested and narrow-minded writers
selected from the mass of existing traditions whatever seemed to them
of a nature to support their spiritual views as well as their material
interests, and that they constructed therefrom not only what has come
down to us as the four canonical gospels, but also the whole edifice
of Christian dogma.
Consequently, we need not be surprised to find in the New Testament
only unimportant fragments dealing with reincarnation; but even these
are not to be despised, for they prove that the doctrine was, to a
certain extent at all events, known and accepted in Palestine.
Reincarnation in the Gospels.
Saint Mark, Chapter 6.
v. 14. And King Herod heard of him; and he said, That John the Baptist
was risen from the dead....
v. 15. Others said, That it is Elias; and others said, That it is a
prophet, or as one of the prophets.
v. 16. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John whom I
beheaded; he is risen from the dead.
Saint Matthew, Chapter 14.
v. 1. At that time, Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus.
v. 2. And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is
risen from the dead....
Saint Luke, Chapter 9.
v. 7. Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him; and he
was perplexed because it was said of some that John was risen from the
v. 8. And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of
the old prophets was risen again.
v. 9. But Herod said, John have I beheaded; but who is this of whom I
hear such things?
The account here given proves that the people as well as Herod
believed in reincarnation, and that it applied, at all events, "to the
prophets" and to those like them.
Saint Matthew, Chapter 16.
v. 13. 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?
v. 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some,
Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
The same account is given in Saint Luke, chapter 9, verses 18, 19.
Saint Matthew, Chapter 17.
v. 12. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew
him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall
also the Son of man suffer of them.
v. 13. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John
He continued in Saint Matthew, Chapter 11.
v. 7. Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What
went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
v. 8. But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment?
Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
v. 9. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you,
and more than a prophet.
v. 14. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias which was for to come.
Here we have a distinct declaration: Reincarnation is a fact; John is
the rebirth of Elias.
Judging from these texts, one might be tempted to think that
reincarnation was confined to the prophets or to people of importance,
but Saint John shows us that the Jews, though perhaps ignorant that it
was a law of universal application, recognised, at any rate, that it
might happen in the case of any man.
Saint John, Chapter 9.
v. 1. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his
v. 2. And his disciples asked him, saying: Master, who did sin, this
man or his parents, that he was born blind?
v. 3. Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents;
but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Here we are dealing with a man blind from birth, and the Jews ask
Jesus if he was blind because he sinned; this clearly indicates that
they were referring to sins committed in the course of a former
existence; the thought is, therefore, quite a natural,
straightforward one, referring to something well known to everyone and
needing no explanation.
As one well acquainted with this doctrine of Rebirth, without
combating it as an error or as something doubtful which his disciples
ought not to believe, Jesus simply replies:
"Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents; but that the works of
God should be made manifest in him."
And yet it appears as though this answer must have been distorted, as
so many others have been, otherwise it would mean that the only reason
for this man's blindness was the caprice of the Deity.
Reincarnation in the Apocalypse.
The Apocalypse, an esoteric book par excellence, confirms the
doctrine of Reincarnation, and throws considerable light on it:
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and
he shall go no more out...."
In another verse it is stated that to him who overcometh "I will give
the morning star." In the language of theosophy, this means: He
who has overcome the animal soul, shall, by mystic Communion, be
united to the divine soul, which, in the Apocalypse, is the symbol
of the Christ:
"I, Jesus, am the bright and morning star."
Another verse clearly characterises the nature and the cost of
"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and I
will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written,
which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."
The hidden manna is the ambrosia of the Greeks, the kyteon of the
mysteries of Eleusis, the soma of the Hindus, the eucharist of the
Christians, the sacred drink offered to the disciples at Initiation,
which had the Moon as its symbol, conferred the gift of divine
clairvoyance and separated the soul from the body.
The "white stone" is none other than the alba petra, the white
cornelian, the chalcedony, or stone of Initiation. It was given to the
candidate who had successfully passed through all the preliminary
tests. The "Word" written on the stone is the sacred Word, the
"lost Word" which Swedenborg said was to be sought for amongst the
hierophants of Tartary and Tibet, whom theosophists call the Masters.
"He who overcometh" is, therefore, the disciple ready for initiation;
it is of him that "a pillar in the temple of God" will be made. In
esoteric language, the column signifies Man redeemed, made divine and
free, who is no longer to revolve on the wheel of Rebirths, who "shall
no more go out," as the Apocalypse says, i.e., shall not again
If we examine the text of both Old and New Testament by the light
of esoteric teaching, the dead letter, often absurd and at tunes
repellent and immoral, would receive unexpected illumination, and
would fully justify the words of the great rabbi, Maimonides, quoted a
few pages back.
Origen, the most learned of the Fathers of the Church, adds in his
"If we had to limit ourselves to the letter, and understand after the
fashion of the Jews or the people, what is written in the Law, I
should be ashamed to proclaim aloud that it was God who gave us such
laws; I should find more dignity and reason in human laws, as, for
instance, in those of Athens, Rome, or Sparta...." (Homil 7. in
Saint Jerome, in his Epistle to Paulinus, continues in similar
"Listen, brother, learn the path you must follow in studying the Holy
Scriptures. Everything you read in the divine books is shining and
light-giving without, but far sweeter is the heart thereof. He who
would eat the nut must first break the shell."
It is because they have lost the Spirit of their Scriptures that the
Christians--ever since their separation from the Gnostics--have
offered the world nothing more than the outer shell of the World