Perhaps the attached will be of interest to your friend also.
================== QUOTED JUDGE ============
REINCARNATION IN JUDAISM AND THE BIBLE
The lost chord of Christianity is the doctrine of Reincarnation.
It was beyond doubt taught in the early days of the cult, for it
was well known to the Jews who produced the men who founded
Christianity. The greatest of all the Fathers of the Church -
Origen - no doubt believed in the doctrine. He taught
pre-existence and the wandering of the soul....But a series of
reincarnations will meet all the problems of life as well as the
necessities of the doctrines of exile, of wanderings for
purification, of being known to God and being judged by him
before birth, and of other dogmas given out among the Jews and of
course well known to Jesus and whoever of the seventy-odd
disciples were not in the deepest ignorance... as [to] the
wonderful works of the period [they] were sufficiently exciting
to come to the ears of even Herod.
Paul cannot be accused of ignorance, but was with Peter and James
one of several who not only knew the new ideas but were well
versed in the old ones. And those old ones are to be found in the
Old Testament and in the Commentaries, in the Zohar, the Talmud,
and the other works and sayings of the Jews, all of which built
up a body of dogmas accepted by the people and the Rabbis. Hence
sayings of Jesus, of Paul, and others have to be viewed with the
well-known and never-disputed doctrines of the day held down to
the present time, borne well in mind so as to make passages clear
and show what was tacitly accepted. Jesus himself said that he
intended to uphold and buttress the law, and that law was not
only the matter found in the book the Christian theologians saw
fit to accept, but also in the other authorities of which all
except the grossly unlearned were cognizant. So when we find
Herod listening to assertions that John or Jesus was this, that,
or the other prophet or great man of olden time, we know that he
was with the people speculating on the doctrine of reincarnation
or "coming back," and as to who a present famous person may have
been in a former life.... To an Eastern potentate such a warning
would be of moment, as he, unlike a Western man, would think that
a returning great personage would of necessity have not only
knowledge but also power, and that if the people had their minds
attracted to a new aspirant for the leadership they would be
inflamed beyond control with the idea that an old prophet or
former king had come back to dwell in another body with them.
The Christians have no right, then, to excise the doctrine of
reincarnation from their system if it was known to Jesus, if it
was brought to his attention and was not condemned at all but
tacitly accepted, and further, finally, if in any single case it
was declared by Jesus as true in respect to any person. And that
all this was the case can, I think, be clearly shown.
First for the Jews, from whom Jesus was born, and to whom he said
unequivocally he came as a missionary or reformer. The Zohar is a
work of great weight and authority among the Jews. In II, 199 b,
it says that "all souls are subject to revolutions." This is
metempsychosis or a'leen b'gilgoola; but it declares that "men do
not know the way they have been judged in all time." That is, in
their "revolutions" they lose a complete memory of the acts that
have led to judgment. This is precisely the Theosophical
doctrine. The Kether Malkuth says, "If she, the soul, be pure,
then she shall obtain favor . . .but if she hath been defiled,
then she shall wander for a time in pain and despair . . . until
the days of her purification." If the soul be pure and if she
comes at once from God at birth, how could she be defiled? And
where is she to wander if not on this or some other world until
the days of her purification? The Rabbis always explained it as
meaning she wandered down from Paradise through many revolutions
or births until purity was regained.
Under the name of "Din Gilgol Neshomes" the doctrine of
reincarnation is constantly spoken of in the Talmud. The term
means "the judgment of the revolutions of the souls." And Rabbi
Manassa, son of Israel, one of the most revered, says in his book
Nishmath Hayem: "The belief or the doctrine of the transmigration
of souls is a firm and infallible dogma accepted by the whole
assemblage of our church with one accord, so that there is none
to be found who would dare to deny it. . . . Indeed, there is a
great number of sages in Israel who hold firm to this doctrine so
that they made it a dogma, a fundamental point of our religion.
We are therefore in duty bound to obey and to accept this dogma
with acclamation. . . as the truth of it has been incontestably
demonstrated by the Zohar, and all books of the Kabalists."
These demonstrations hold, as do the traditions of the old Jews,
that the soul of Adam reincarnated in David, and that on account
of the sin of David against Uriah it will have to come again in
the expected Messiah. And out of the three letters ADM, being the
name of the first man, the Talmudists always made the names Adam,
David and Messiah. Hence this in the Old Testament: "And they
will serve Jhvh their God and David their king whom I shall
reawaken for them." That is, David reincarnates again for the
people. Taking the judgment of God on Adam "for dust thou art and
unto dust thou shalt return," the Hebrew interpreters said that
since Adam had sinned it was necessary for him to reincarnate on
earth in order to make good the evil committed in his first
existence; so he comes as David, and later is to come as Messiah.
The same doctrine was always applied by the Jews to Moses, Seth,
and Abel, the latter spelt Habel. Habel was killed by Cain, and
then to supply the loss the Lord gave Seth to Adam; he died, and
later on Moses is his reincarnation as the guide of the people,
and Seth was said by Adam to be the reincarnation of Habel. Cain
died and reincarnated as Yethrokorah, who died, the soul waiting
till the time when Habel came back as Moses and then incarnated
as the Egyptian who was killed by Moses; so in this case Habel
comes back as Moses, meets Cain in the person of the Egyptian,
and kills the latter. Similarly it was held that Bileam, Laban,
and Nabal were reincarnations of the one soul or individuality.
And of Job it was said that he was the same person once known as
Thara, the father of Abraham; by which they explained the verse
of Job (ix, 21), "Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my
own soul," to mean that he would not recognize himself as Thara.
All this is to be had in mind in reading Jeremiah, "Before I
formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest out
of the womb I sanctified thee"; or in Romans ix, v, 11, 13, after
telling that Jacob and Esau being not yet born, "Jacob have I
loved and Esau have I hated"; or the ideas of the people that
"Elias was yet to first come"; or that some of the prophets were
there in Jesus or John; or when Jesus asked the disciples "Whom
do men think that I am?" There cannot be the slightest doubt,
then, that among the Jews for ages and down to the time of Jesus
the ideas above outlined prevailed universally. Let us now come
to the New Testament.
St. Matthew relates in the eleventh chapter the talk of Jesus on
the subject of John, who is declared by him to be the greatest of
all, ending in the 14th verse, thus:
And if ye will receive it, this is Elias which was for to come.
Here he took the doctrine for granted, and the "if" referred not
to any possible doubts on that, but simply as to whether they
would accept his designation of John as Elias. In the 17th
chapter he once more takes up the subject thus:
10. And his disciples asked him saying, Why, then, say the
scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said
unto them; Elias truly shall first come and restore all things.
But I say unto you that Elias is come already, and they knew him
not but have done to him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall
also the Son of Man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood
that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
The statement is repeated in Mark, chapter ix, v. 13, omitting
the name of John. It is nowhere denied. It is not among any of
the cases in which the different Gospels contradict each other;
it is in no way doubtful. It is not only a reference to the
doctrine of reincarnation, but is also a clear enunciation of it.
It goes much further than the case of the man who was born blind,
when Jesus heard the doctrine referred to, but did not deny it
nor condemn it in any way, merely saying that the cause in that
case was not for sin formerly committed, but for some
extraordinary purpose, such as the case of the supposed dead man
when he said that the man was not dead but was to be used to show
his power over disease. In the latter one he perceived there was
one so far gone to death that no ordinary person could cure him,
and in the blind man's case the incident was like it. If he
thought the doctrine pernicious, as it must be if untrue, he
would have condemned it at the first coming up, but not only did
he fail to do so, he distinctly himself brought it up in the case
of John, and again when asking what were the popular notions as
to himself under the prevailing doctrines as above shown. Matthew
xvi, v. 13, will do as an example, as the different writers do
not disagree, thus:
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi he asked his
disciples, Whom do men say that I am? And they said, Some say
that thou art John the Baptist, some Elias, and others Jeremias
or one of the prophets.
This was a deliberate bringing-up of the old doctrine, to which
the disciples replied, as all Jews would, without any dispute of
the matter of reincarnation; and the reply of Jesus was not a
confutation of the notion, but a distinguishing of himself from
the common lot of sages and prophets by showing himself to be an
incarnation of God and not a reincarnation of any saint or sage.
He did not bring it up to dispute and condemn as he would and did
do in other matters; but to the very contrary he evidently
referred to it so as to use it for showing himself as an
incarnate God. And following his example the disciples never
disputed on that; they were all aware of it; St. Paul must have
held it when speaking of Esau and Jacob; St. John could have
meant nothing but that in Revelations, chap. iii, v. 12.
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God
and he shall go no more out.
Evidently he had gone out before or the words "no more" could
have no place or meaning. It was the old idea of the exile of the
soul and the need for it to be purified by long wandering before
it could be admitted as a "pillar in the temple of God." And
until the ignorant ambitious monks after the death of Origen had
gotten hold of Christianity, the doctrine must have ennobled the
new movement. Later the Council of Constantinople condemned all
such notions directly in the face of the very words of Jesus, so
that at last it ceased to vibrate as one of the chords, until
finally the prophecy of Jesus that he came to bring a sword and
division and not peace was fulfilled by the warring nations of
Christian lands who profess him in words but by their acts
constantly deny him whom they call "the meek and lowly."
Path, February, 1894
W. Q. Judge
Let me read you a few verses from some of the ancient Scriptures
of the world, from the old Indian books held sacred by the
Brahmans of Hindustan. 1
What room for doubt and what room for sorrow is there in him who
knows that all spiritual beings are the same in kind and only
differ from each other in degree?
The sun does not shine there, nor the moon and the stars, nor
these lightnings and much less this fire. When He shines,
everything shines after Him; by His light all this is lighted.
Lead me from the unreal to the real!
Lead me from darkness to light!
Lead me from death to immortality!
Seeking for refuge, I go to that God who is the light of His own
thoughts; He who first creates Brahman and delivers the Vedas to
him; who is without parts, without actions, tranquil, without
fault, the highest bridge to immortality, like a fire that has
consumed its fuel. - Mundaka Upanishad.
Such are some of the verses, out of many thousands, which are
enshrined in the ancient Hindu Vedas beloved by those we have
called "heathen"; those are the sentiments of the people we have
called idolaters only.
As the representative of the Theosophical movement I am glad to
be here, and to be assigned to speak on what are the points of
agreement in all religions. I am glad because Theosophy is to be
found in all religions and all sciences. We, as members of the
Theosophical Society, endorse to the fullest extent those remarks
of your chairman in opening, when he said, in effect, that a
theology which stayed in one spot without advancing was not a
true theology, but that we had advanced to where theology should
include a study of man. Such a study must embrace his various
religions, both dead and living. And pushing that study into
those regions we must conclude that man is greatly his own
reveler, has revealed religion to himself, and therefore that all
religions must include and contain truth; that no one religion is
entitled to a patent or exclusive claim upon truth or revelation,
or is the only one that God has given to man, or the only road
along which man can walk to salvation.... This careful and
tolerant inquiry is what we are here for today; for that the
Theosophical Society stands and has stood: for toleration, for
unity, for the final and irrevocable death of all dogmatism.
But if you say that religion must have been revealed, then surely
God did not wait for several millions of years before giving it
to those poor beings called men. He did not, surely, wait until
He found one poor Semitic tribe to whom He might give it late in
the life of the race? Hence He must have given it in the very
beginning, and therefore all present religions must arise from
What are the great religions of the world and from whence have
they come? They are Christianity, Brahmanism, Buddhism,
Confucianism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Mohammedanism. The
first named is the youngest, with all its warring sects, with
Mormonism as an offshoot and with Roman Catholicism boldly
claiming sole precedence and truth.
Brahmanism is the old and hoary religion of India, a grown-up,
fully-developed system long before either Buddhism or
Christianity was born. It extends back to the night of time, and
throws the history of religion far, far beyond any place where
modern investigators were once willing to place even the
beginning of religious thought. Almost the ancient of ancients,
it stands in far-off India, holding its holy Vedas in its hands,
calmly waiting until the newer West shall find time out of the
pursuit of material wealth to examine the treasures it contains.
Buddhism, the religion of Ceylon, of parts of China, of Burmah
and Japan and Tibet, comes after its parent Brahmanism. It is
historically older than Christianity and contains the same ethics
as the latter, the same laws and the same examples, similar
saints and identical fables and tales relating to Lord Buddha,
the Saviour of Men. It embraces today, after some twenty-five
hundred years of life, more people than any other religion, for
two-thirds of the human family profess it.
Zoroastrianism also fades into the darkness of the past. It too
teaches ethics such as we know. Much of its ritual and philosophy
is not understood, but the law of brotherly love is not absent
from it; it teaches justice and truth, charity and faith in God,
together with immortality. In these it agrees with all, but it
differs from Christianity in not admitting a vicarious salvation,
which it says is not possible.
Christianity of today is modern Judaism, but the Christianity of
Jesus is something different. He taught forgiveness, Moses taught
retaliation, and that is the law today in Christian State and
Church. "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" is still the
recognized rule, but Jesus taught the opposite. He fully agreed
with Buddha, who, preaching 500 years before the birth of the
Jewish reformer, said we must love one another and forgive our
enemies. So modern Christianity is not the religion of Jesus, but
Buddhism and the religion of Jesus accord with one another in
calling for charity, complete tolerance, perfect non-resistance,
If we compare Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism together on
the points of ritual, dogmas, and doctrines, we find not only
agreement but a marvellous similarity as well, which looks like
an imitation on the part of the younger Christianity. Did the
more modern copy the ancient? It would seem probable. And some of
the early Christian Fathers were in the habit of saying, as we
find in their writings, that Christianity brought nothing new
into the world, that it existed from all time....
Turning to doctrines, that of salvation by faith is well known in
Christianity. It was the cause of a stormy controversy in the
time of St. James. But very strangely, perhaps, for many
Christians, the doctrine is a very old Brahmanical one. They call
it "The Bridge Doctrine," as it is the great Bridge. But with
them it does not mean a faith in some particular emanation of
God, but God is its aim. God is the means and the way, and God
the end of the faith; by complete faith in God, without an
intermediary, God will save you. They also have a doctrine of
salvation by faith in those great sons of God, Krishna, Rama, and
others; complete faith in either of those is for them a way to
heaven, a bridge for the crossing over all sins. ... This help is
found in the power of the vow of Amita Buddha, who will help all
those who call on his name. The doctrine is a modified form of
vicarious atonement, but it does not exclude the salvation by
works which the Christian St. James gives out.
Heaven and Hell are also common to Christianity, Buddhism, and
Brahmanism. The Brahman calls it Swarga; the Buddhist, Devachan;
and we, Heaven. Its opposite is Naraka and Avitchi. But names
apart, the descriptions are the same. Indeed, the hells of the
Buddhists are very terrible, long in duration and awful in
effect. The difference is that the heaven and hell of the
Christian are eternal, while the others are not. The others come
to an end when the forces which cause them are exhausted. In
teaching of more than one heaven there is the same likeness, for
St. Paul spoke of more than a single heaven to one of which he
was rapt away, and the Buddhist tells of many, each being a grade
above or below some other. Brahman and Buddhist agree in saying
that when heaven or hell is ended for the soul, it descends again
to rebirth. And that was taught by the Jews. They held that the
soul was originally pure, but sinned and had to wander through
rebirth until purified and fit to return to its source.
In priesthood and priestcraft there is a perfect agreement among
all religions, save that the Brahman instead of being ordained a
priest is so by birth. Buddha's priesthood began with those who
were his friends and disciples. After his death they met in
council, and subsequently many councils were held, all being
attended by priests. Similar questions arose among them as with
the Christians, and identical splits occurred, so that now there
are Northern and southern Buddhism and the twelve sects of
Hence we are bound to conclude that dogmatically and
theologically these religions all agree. Christianity stands out,
however, as peculiarly intolerant - and in using the word
"intolerant" I but quote from some priestly utterances regarding
the World's Fair parliament - for it claims to be the only true
religion that God has seen fit to reveal to man.
The great doctrine of a Savior who is the son of God - God
himself - is not an original one with Christianity. It is the
same as the extremely ancient one of the Hindus called the
doctrine of the Avatar. An Avatar is one who comes down to earth
to save man. He is God incarnate. Such was Krishna, and such even
the Hindus admit was Buddha, for he is one of the great ten
Avatars. The similarity between Krishna or Cristna and Christ has
been very often remarked. He came 5,000 years ago to save and
benefit man, and his birth was in India, his teaching being
Brahmanical. He, like Jesus, was hated by the ruler, Kansa, who
desired to destroy him in advance, and who destroyed many sons of
families in order to accomplish his end, but failed. Krishna
warred with the powers of darkness in his battles with Ravana,
whom he finally killed. The belief about him was that he was the
incarnation of God. This is in accord with the ancient doctrine
that periodically the Great Being assumes the form of man for the
preservation of the just, the establishment of virtue and order,
and the punishment of the wicked. ...
Jesus taught a secret doctrine to his disciples. He said to them
that he taught the common people in stories of a simple sort, but
that the disciples could learn of the mysteries. And in the early
age of Christianity that secret teaching was known. In Buddhism
is the same thing, for Buddha began with one vehicle or doctrine,
proceeded after to two, and then to a third. He also taught a
secret doctrine that doubtless agreed with the Brahmans who had
taught him at his father's court. He gave up the world, and later
gave up eternal peace in Nirvana, so that he might save men. In
this the story agrees with that of Jesus. And Buddha also
resisted Mara, or the Devil, in the wilderness.
Jesus teaches that we must be as perfect as the Father, and that
the kingdom of heaven is within each. To be perfect as the Father
we must be equal with him, and hence here we have the ancient
doctrine taught of old by the Brahmins that each man is God and a
part of God. This supports the unity of humanity as a spiritual
whole, one of the greatest doctrines of the time prior to
Christianity, and now also believed in Brahmanism.
That the universe is spiritual in essence, that man is a spirit
and immortal, and that man may rise to perfection, are universal
doctrines. Even particular doctrines are common to all the
religions. Reincarnation is not alone in Hinduism or Buddhism. It
was believed by the Jews, and not only believed by Jesus but he
also taught it. For he said that John the Baptist was the
reincarnation of Elias "who was for to come." Being a Jew he must
have had the doctrines of the Jews, and this was one of them. And
in Revelations we find the writer says: "Him that overcometh I
will make a pillar in the house of my God, and he shall go out no
more." The words "no more" infer a prior time of going out.
The perfectibility of man destroys the doctrine of original sin,
and it was taught by Jesus, as I said. Reincarnation is a
necessity for the evolution of this perfection, and through it at
last are produced those Saviors of the race of whom Jesus was
one. He did not deny similar privileges to others, but said to
his disciples that they could do even greater works than he did.
So we find these great Sages and Saviors in all religions. There
are Moses and Abraham and Solomon, all Sages. And we are bound to
accept the Jewish idea that Moses and the rest were the
reincarnations of former persons. Moses was in their opinion Abel
the son of Adam; and their Messiah was to be a reincarnation of
Adam himself who had already come the second time in the person
of David. We take the Messiah and trace him up to David, but
refuse, improperly, to accept the remainder of their theory.
Descending to every-day-life doctrines, we find that of Karma, or
that we must account and receive for every act. This is the great
explainer of human life. It was taught by Jesus and Matthew and
St. Paul. The latter explicitly said: "Brethren, be not
deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that
also shall he reap."
This is Karma of the Brahman and Buddhist, which teaches that
each life is the outcome of a former life or lives, and that
every man in his rebirths will have to account for every thought
and receive measure for the measure given by him before.
In ethics all these religions are the same, and no new ethic is
given by any. Jesus was the same as his predecessor, Buddha, and
both taught the law of love and forgiveness. A consideration of
the religions of the past and today from a Theosophical
standpoint will support and confirm ethics. We therefore cannot
introduce a new code, but we strive by looking into all religions
to find a firm basis, not due to fear, favor, or injustice, for
the ethics common to all. This is what Theosophy is for and what
it will do. It is the reformer of religion, the unifier of
diverse systems, the restorer of justice to our theory of the
universe. It is our past, our present, and our future; it is our
life, our death, and our immortality.
From: Larry F Kolts [mailto:llkingston2@...
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2001 3:34 PM
Subject: [bn-study] New Directions II
I feel compeled to offer some reasoning as to why I feel so
about pursuing a study of the various world religions. When
attempted to begin a similar study some time ago, I remember some
which thought this was a waste of time. The basic argument
sort of study goes something like this:
"If theosophy contains the summation of all truth, than why
issue by delving into presentations that contain only half-truths
clouded over with layer upon layer of doctrinal mumbo-jumbo? Why
study the truth as leading theosophist have written it?"
If this were all we were doing I would agree. But it is not.
Let me share a story with you to illustrate the point I will
Some months ago, one of my old Mormon friends came over for
got into a discussion of reincarnation. Mormons believe in
life but not reincarnation. In fact one top Mormon leader listed
reincarnation as one of the "Seven Deadly Heresies."
Most good Mormons won't touch it. But I said my piece and let it
that, thinking nothing would come of it. Then a couple of weeks
friend called me wanting chapter and verse of the Bibical
had quoted him.The one he was really interested in was Matthew
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked
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
others , Jeremias, or one of the prophets."
In other words, the common people thought that Jesus was someone
be dead, in some cases long dead, which shows thay thought he was
reincarnated individual. I also pointed out that Jesus is not
have corrected that belief. which shows that the Gospel author
consider reincarnation that abnormal a topic of discussion.
My friend sent this information to an individual in Salt Lake
City who is
in charge of a major Mormon intellectual symposium which is held
annually. It turns out that one of this year's topics is
I was floored. When this individual was given the Matthew
responded, "Wow. I have never looked at that in that way." The
1) He will never again read that scripture without thinking
2) The several hundred who attend his round table discussion will
similarly affected as will the several thousand who read the
the discussion in that society's magazine. 3) Those intellectual
won't be able to keep their mouths shut and thus in a short time
tens of thousands will know the true message of that quote from
This story illustrates what I hope to accomplish, It is not for
Theosophists, who will benefit the most from this study but
who are as yet uninitiated in the truth. In other words this
will provide us talking points when we encounter friends and
to whom we strike up a conversation on Theosophy. Thus when a
would say to us about the seven fold classification something
"that's a crazy notion. I certainly have never heard anything
in my church" we will be able to respond with quotations from his
sources showing the truthfullness of our assertations.
This is my true goal, and why I want this information compiled in
fashion that we can readily use it in the future. More later.
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