"Does the Bible tell us if reincarnation is real or not? Where do past life regressions come from if reincarnation is false?"
After studying this issue, I believe that the Bible teaches that reincarnation is not real. However, people who believe in reincarnation sometimes use various Scripture passages to support their view, so first we'll look at a number of passages that they use, and then we'll look at a number of passages which disprove reincarnation.
Was John the Baptist Really the Reincarnated Elijah?
Here's an Old Testament prophecy concerning Elijah:
Malachi 4:5: ""See,
I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes."
These are the very last words which are recorded in the Old Testament, and we can see that God was somehow promising to send the prophet Elijah to Israel before the "day of the Lord" comes. Since Elijah was dead when Malachi 4:5-6 (above) was written, there are three possible ways to interpret Malachi's prophecy:
Malachi 4:6: "He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.""
Notice that according to Jesus, John the Baptist was the fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy:
Elijah might be
in his original body.
Elijah's spirit might be
into a different body.
God might have been speaking in terms of "types" or "foreshadowings," meaning that a future person will have the same
of ministry that Elijah had.
Matthew 11:13: "For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until
In these passages, Jesus tells us that John the Baptist was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Malachi 4:5-6 (above). Reincarnationists say that this is proof of reincarnation, but remember that there are three possible interpretations of Malachi's prophecy. The above passages do not prove reincarnation unless we can eliminate the other two possible interpretations. As it turns out, we can eliminate the first possibility because John the Baptist was born from the womb with an infant's body (Luke 1:57-80), which rules out Elijah being resurrected in his original body. Therefore, either Elijah's spirit was reincarnated into John the Baptist, or else John the Baptist was another Elijah in terms of ministry and mission and lifestyle. Notice in Matthew 11:14 (above) that Jesus made this statement about John:
"if you are willing to accept it,
he is the Elijah who was to come." This tells us that Jesus was saying something concerning John the Baptist which was not what the Jews might have expected. As we'll see in a moment, the Jews believed that Elijah would physically return, based on Malachi's prophecy (above). However, Jesus was saying that the Jews' expectations about Elijah were inaccurate. Jesus told them that John the Baptist was "the Elijah who was to come" (not Elijah himself), if the Jews were willing to accept that fact. We might paraphrase Matthew 11:14 (above) by saying, "I know that you have been expecting that someday the prophet Elijah will physically return to Israel, but your expectations are wrong. If you are willing to accept this fact, John the Baptist is actually the 'Elijah' whom Malachi wrote about." Jesus' statement in Matthew 11:14 (above) is consistent with the view that John the Baptist was another Elijah in terms of ministry and mission and lifestyle.
Matthew 11:14: "And if you are willing to accept it,
he is the Elijah who was to come."
Matthew 17:10: "The disciples asked him, "Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come
Matthew 17:11: "Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things."
Matthew 17:12: "But I tell you,
Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him,
but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.""
"Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist."
Now let's take a look at what John the Baptist said about himself:
John 1:19: "Now
this was John's testimony
when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was."
The Jews were familiar with the prophecy in Malachi (above), so they asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah. But what was it about John which caused the priests to ask John this question? Did John
like Elijah? There were no cameras or videos in Elijah's time, so it is doubtful that anyone would have known whether or not John the Baptist looked like Elijah. The apparent reason why the priests asked John if he was Elijah or "the Prophet" is because of John's
Keep in mind that John the Baptist had a very special life, because an angel had told his father that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth, and that John would go on before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:13-17, which we'll look at in a moment). It would be unreasonable to claim that John was unaware of the prophecy which the angel had given to John's father, and as a devout Jew John would have been well aware of Malachi's prophecy about Elijah. So when the Jews thought that Elijah would physically return to Israel someday, and they asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah, John knew what they were talking about. John knew that the priests and Levites were asking if he was literally Elijah from long ago, and John answered very specifically that he was
John 1:20: "He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ.""
"They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No.""
John 1:22: "Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?""
John 1:23: "John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'""
Consider that if John was actually the resurrected Elijah then he would have had to admit this fact in order to be truthful. Similarly, if John was actually the reincarnated Elijah then the truthful answer would be that yes, he is Elijah, but in a different body. Perhaps John did not have any memory of being Elijah in a "past life" (as reincarnationists might say), but recall that an angel had specifically told John's father that John would go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah. So if reincarnation is a valid doctrine then John would have been justified in answering the Jews by saying that he might have been Elijah in a previous life. However, there is no place in the entire Bible where anyone talked about "past lives" (in other bodies) or even hinted at such a concept. Instead, the Jews understood about the concept of being physically resurrected in their own bodies, as we'll see in the last section of this article. When the Jews asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah, he specifically told them that he was
Recall that in Matthew 11:14 (above), Jesus told the Jews that John the Baptist was the fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy, "if you are willing to accept it." In other words, John was not the resurrected Elijah, as the Jews were expecting, but rather he was another "Elijah" in terms of ministry and mission and lifestyle. According to Jesus, this idea required a change in mindset from what the Jews were originally anticipating, which is why John truthfully answered that he was not the real Elijah.
Now let's look at another passage which refers to Elijah:
Luke 1:13: "But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name
Here we see an angel giving a prophecy to the father of John the Baptist, and the angel used wording which is very similar to Malachi 4:5-6 (above). In this prophecy about John, the angel said that John will go on before the Lord, "in the spirit and power of Elijah." Notice that the angel did not say that John would
Elijah, but instead the angel said that John would
something "in the spirit and power" of Elijah (literally,
en pneumati kai dunamei Eleia,
"in spirit and power Elijah"). Notice that if we have the same "spirit" as someone else, this does not mean that we
that person through reincarnation. For example, take a look at what the apostle Paul said:
Luke 1:14: "He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,"
Luke 1:15: "for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth."
Luke 1:16: "Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God."
Luke 1:17: "And he will go on before the Lord,
in the spirit and power of Elijah,
to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.""
1 Corinthians 5:3: "Even though I am not physically present,
I am with you in spirit."
Here the apostle Paul said that he was present with the Corinthians "in spirit," and clearly he didn't mean that he was reincarnated into someone else's body. Doing something "in spirit" does not mean being reincarnated. The apostle Paul then repeated this point:
1 Corinthians 5:4: "When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and
I am with you in spirit,
and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,"
Once again the apostle Paul spoke of being present with the Corinthians "in spirit," and clearly he didn't mean that he was going to be reincarnated into someone else's body. Doing something "in spirit" does not mean being reincarnated. Paul said a similar thing to the Colossians:
Colossians 2:5: "For though I am absent from you in body,
I am present with you in spirit"
Again, doing something "in spirit" (literally, "in the spirit" in this verse) does not mean being reincarnated. In these examples, the apostle Paul said that he shared the same "spirit" as the Christians to whom he was writing, just as the angel had told John the Baptist's father that John would do something in the "spirit" of Elijah. Here are some things that Bible commentators have said about this:
"in the spirit and power of Elias:
or Elijah, the Syriac and Persic versions add, "the prophet"; John the Baptist, and Elijah, were men much of the same spirit and disposition, and of like power, life, and zeal in religion; and therefore the one goes by the name of the other: they both much conversed in the wilderness; agreed in the austerity of their lives; their habit and dress were much alike; they were both restorers of religion, when very low, and much decayed; were famous for their faithfulness in reproving the vices of kings, and for their warm zeal for true religion, and for the persecution they endured for the sake of it" (Gill's Exposition of the Bible, from
As these Bible scholars point out, there were a number of similarities between Elijah and John the Baptist. Reincarnationists sometimes use these similarities as "proof" of reincarnation, but this argument contradicts their own explanation of how reincarnation supposedly works. People do not usually remember their past lives, according to reincarnationists, and people do not usually dress and act like any of their previous lives. For example, if an ancient Greek philosopher such as Socrates has been reincarnated into a modern person in the United States, then there is no reason to think that he would be wearing a toga and speaking ancient Greek, according to those who believe in reincarnation. Therefore, the fact that Elijah and John the Baptist dressed similarly and acted similarly does not mean that one was reincarnated into the other, according to the reincarnationists' own view of reincarnation. Instead, the many similarities between Elijah and John the Baptist are fully consistent with the view that John the Baptist was another Elijah in terms of ministry and mission and lifestyle.
"in the spirit
--after the model.
and power of Elias
--not his miraculous power, for John did no miracle" (John 10:41), but his power "turning the heart," or with like success in his ministry. Both fell on degenerate times; both witnessed fearlessly for God; neither appeared much save in the direct exercise of their ministry; both were at the head of schools of disciples; the success of both was similar."
(Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary ,
"In the spirit and power of Elijah.
The likeness of John the Baptist to Elijah strikes us not only in his outward appearance, his clothing and way of living, but in his spirit and character as a preacher of repentance."
(People's New Testament ,
"He shall go before him -
Jesus Christ, in the spirit and power of Elijah; he shall resemble Elijah in his retired and austere manner of life, and in his zeal for the truth, reproving even princes for their crimes; compare 1Ki_21:17-24, with Mat_14:4. It was on these accounts that the Prophet Malachi, Mal_4:6, had likened John to this prophet. See also Isa_40:3; and Mal_4:5, Mal_4:6." (Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible, from
"is Elias, which was for to come;
who was appointed by God to come, and was prophesied of Mal_4:5 that he should come; and even according to the doctrine of the Scribes and Rabbins, he was expected to come before the Messiah; only they in general thought that Elijah the Tishbite, in person, was meant; though some, as before observed (e), were of opinion, that some great prophet equal to Elijah, and endued with the same spirit, is intended; and which is true of John the Baptist, who came "in the Spirit" and "power" of Elias, Luk_1:17. And, as it was usual with the Jews (f), to call Phinehas by the name of Elias, and Elias Phinehas, because of his zeal for the Lord of hosts; for the same reason may John be called by the same name, there being a great resemblance between Elias and him; in their temper and disposition; in their manner of clothing, and austere way of living; in their very great piety and holiness; in their courage and integrity, in reproving vice; and in their zeal and usefulness in the cause of God, and true religion: in respect to which, Christ must be here understood, when he affirms John to be Elias; not Elias in person, but he that was intended by Elias, that was said should come: hence here is no contradiction to the words of the Baptist, in Joh_1:21 when he says, that he was not Elias; for the Jews, who put the question to him, whether he was Elias, or not? meant whether he was Elias in person, Elias the Tishbite, or not; and so John understood them, and very honestly and sincerely replies, he was not: but he does not deny that he was intended by this Elias, that was prophesied should come; yea, he says such things as might induce them to believe he was that person; hence, Christ, and he, say nothing contrary to, and irreconcilable, as the Jew (g) suggests, with each other." (Gill's Exposition of the Bible, from
Now let's take a look at what happened at Jesus' Transfiguration:
Matthew 17:1: "After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves."
The disciples had known John the Baptist (see for example John 1:35-42) before John was killed by King Herod (in Matthew 14:8-11). Notice that the disciples knew who John the Baptist was, yet in the passage above they didn't confuse Elijah with John the Baptist.
Matthew 17:2: "There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light."
"Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah,
talking with Jesus."
"Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.""
If you recall, we saw that there are three possible interpretations of how John the Baptist could have done something in the "spirit" of Elijah. John might have been a resurrected Elijah, John might have been a reincarnated Elijah, or John might have had the same type of ministry and lifestyle as Elijah. We were able to eliminate the first possibility, and we saw that John certainly had a mission and a lifestyle which were very similar to Elijah's, but there just isn't any solid evidence to prove that John was a reincarnated Elijah. If reincarnation can be proven from the Bible then we'll have to look elsewhere, because the passages about John the Baptist do not justify a belief in reincarnation.
The Man Born Blind
Here is another passage in which some people believe that they have found reincarnation:
John 9:2: "His disciples asked him, "Rabbi,
who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?""
The argument here is that the disciples appear to have assumed that it is possible for a person to be born blind as a judgment for sins which he committed before he was born (i.e. in a previous life). According to this argument, this shows that the concepts of karma and reincarnation were well-known to the Jews, and Jesus did not try to convince them otherwise. The implication is that Jesus agreed with their assumption that the sins could have been committed in a previous life, and Jesus simply pointed out that in this particular case the blindness was not a direct result of sin.
John 9:3: ""Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."
But was reincarnation really the concept which the disciples had in mind when they asked that question? The first-century Jews were quite familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures (which are similar to our Old Testament), and notice some of the concepts which the Jews (including the disciples) would have been familiar with:
Job 15:34: "For the company of the godless will be barren, and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes."
The concept of being sinful
in the womb
(not in a past life) is found in the Old Testament, and this easily explains why the disciples asked if the blind man might have sinned before birth. There is nothing in the context of this passage which justifies a belief in reincarnation.
Job 15:35: "They conceive trouble and give birth to evil;
their womb fashions deceit.""
"Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me."
Psalms 58:3: "Even from birth the wicked go astray;
from the womb they are wayward and speak lies."
Being "Born Again"
A Pharisee named Nicodemus visited Jesus one night, and Jesus told him that no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is "born again":
John 3:1: "Now there was
a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council."
Those who believe in reincarnation sometimes say that Jesus was teaching about reincarnation here, meaning that we must be born again into new bodies. But if this is what the Hebrew Scriptures taught and what the Jews believed (according to reincarnationists), then it would be natural for Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council, to have interpreted Jesus' statement as being a reference to reincarnation. However, notice how Nicodemus responded:
John 3:2: "He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.""
John 3:3: "In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is
John 3:3: "In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is
Notice that the concept of reincarnation into another body is nowhere to be found in Nicodemus' reply. Instead, Nicodemus questioned how a person could go back into his own mother's womb a second time. In addition, Jesus did not explain the phrase, "born again," in terms of reincarnation, but rather He explained that our rebirth is a
""How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!""
John 3:4: ""How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked.
"Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!""
This spiritual rebirth is something that we are meant to experience in our own bodies in
lifetime (for example, see my article called
How to Be Certain That You Will Go to Heaven).
John 3:5: "Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is
born of water and the Spirit."
John 3:6: "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but
the Spirit gives birth to spirit."
Some people see reincarnation in Jacob's dream about a ladder (or a stairway):
Genesis 28:10: "Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran."
The reincarnationists' argument is that if this passage is talking about angels then it should say that they first
down to earth from heaven before they ascended back up to heaven. Since the "spirits" in Jacob's dream first ascended and then descended again, this implies death (ascending) and then reincarnation (descending again), according to reincarnationists.
Genesis 28:11: "When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep."
"He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it."
This is an odd argument for reincarnationists to make, because if this argument is valid then the above passage
be referring to reincarnation! The argument that reincarnationists make is based on the
in Jacob's dream, meaning that "ascending" is listed first and "descending" is listed second. Reincarnationists say that angels cannot "ascend" from earth unless they have already "descended" from heaven, which means that if those were angels in Jacob's dream then the dream should show them "descending" first and "ascending" second.
But let's think about the concept of reincarnation for a moment. Using myself as an example, the idea of reincarnation (in the argument above) is that my spirit will go
to the spiritual realm after my body dies. Then, at some point my spirit will come
to earth in order to inhabit a new body. Notice that a person's spirit has to come "down" from the spiritual realm before it can inhabit a new body (according to the reincarnationists' argument above), which means that the person's spirit had to come "down" in order to inhabit his very first body (long ago). Therefore, there is no difference between angels and human spirits in the sense that they both have to "descend" to earth before they can "ascend" to heaven, according to the concept of reincarnation. The order is exactly the same for angels and for human spirits. So when reincarnationists argue that the "spirits" in Jacob's dream cannot be angels because Jacob's dream shows them "ascending" first, the reincarnationists have effectively argued that Jacob's dream cannot possibly be a description of reincarnation for the same reason!
Another problem with the reincarnationists' argument is that the Old Testament consistently tells us that the spirits of the dead went
to "Sheol" (the place of departed spirits), as in these examples:
"All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "in mourning will I go
to the grave
to my son." So his father wept for him." (Genesis 37:35)
These passages (and many others) demonstrate the fact that the Old Testament consistently tells us that the spirits of the dead went
to the realm of the departed, they did not go "up" to heaven as reincarnationists claim concerning Jacob's dream (above). In fact, notice that Job 7:9 (above), Isaiah 14:9-11 (above), and Ezekiel 32:21 (above) indicate that when people died and went down to Sheol, they
in Sheol. For more on the fact that the spirits of the dead are said to go "down" to Sheol or Hades, I invite you to see my article called
Did Jesus Go to Hell after He Died?.
The point is that in Jacob's time, when people died they all went
to Sheol, according to the Bible. They did not "ascend and descend" as reincarnationists claim.
"For a fire has been kindled by my wrath, one that burns to the realm of death
"As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so he who goes
to the grave
does not return."
"If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in
you are there." (Psalms 139:8)
"But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are
in the depths
of the grave
"The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going
to the grave
"Therefore the grave
enlarges its appetite and opens its mouth without limit; into it will
their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers." (Isaiah 5:14)
is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses
the spirits of the departed
to greet you--
all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones-- all those who were kings over the nations.
They will all respond, they will say to you, "You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us." All your pomp has been
brought down to the grave
along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you." (Isaiah 14:9-11)
"I made the nations tremble at the sound of its fall when I brought it
down to the grave
with those who go
to the pit." (Ezekiel 31:16)
"From within the grave
the mighty leaders
will say of Egypt and her allies, 'They have come
they lie with the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.'"
So far we have seen some reasons why Genesis 28:12 (above) has nothing to do with reincarnation, but there are even more reasons. For example, concerning the "angels" which were ascending and descending on the ladder (or staircase) in Jacob's dream, reincarnationists assume that those were human spirits. However, the Hebrew word which is used in that passage is not
(the Hebrew word for "soul," as in Adam's soul in Genesis 2:7), nor is it
(the Hebrew word for "spirit," as in the Spirit of God in Genesis 1:2, or the human spirit as in Malachi 2:15). Instead, the Hebrew word in that passage is
which means "ambassador, angel, king, messenger," according to Strong's Hebrew Dictionary. This is specifically the Hebrew word for angels ("messengers"), it is not the Hebrew word for the human spirit, nor is it the Hebrew word for the human soul. In fact, that passage specifically tells us that the angels on Jacob's Ladder were
angels of God.
They were not human spirits. In addition, notice that Jesus used the same imagery of angels of God ascending and descending:
John 1:51: "He [Jesus] then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and
the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.""
Here we see the same imagery which Jacob saw in his dream, and Jesus informs us that He is the "ladder" which bridges heaven and earth. In the Greek, the word for "angels" in John 1:51 (above) is
which means "angel, messenger," according to Strong's Greek Dictionary. So again, these are not human spirits but instead they are angels, and in fact we are once again specifically told that they are
angels of God.
So Jacob's dream has nothing to do with reincarnation.
A "New Spirit"
Several passages in the Bible say that God will put a "new spirit" into people, and reincarnationists sometimes use these passages as "proof" of reincarnation:
Ezekiel 11:17: ""Therefore say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.'"
Reincarnationists say that putting a "new spirit" into a person implies reincarnation. But does it? Using myself as an example, the idea of reincarnation is that my spirit will inhabit a different body after this body dies, just as my spirit has inhabited other bodies in the past. So according to the concept of reincarnation, if God is speaking to "me" then He is speaking to my spirit, not my body (because my body is just a shell in which I am living). Therefore, if God somehow puts a
spirit into my body, that new spirit won't be "me" because a different spirit would be a different person, according to reincarnationists. So when God said that He was going to put a
spirit into people (in the passages above), this actually
reincarnation! Instead, the above passages support the Christian view that our spirits are "regenerated" when we receive salvation, meaning that we are
(John 3:3) and we become a
(2 Corinthians 5:17).
Ezekiel 11:18: ""They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols."
Ezekiel 11:19: "I will give them an undivided heart and
put a new spirit in them;
I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh."
Ezekiel 18:30: ""Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall."
Ezekiel 18:31: "Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and
a new spirit.
Why will you die, O house of Israel?"
Ezekiel 37:1: "The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones."
Ezekiel 37:2: "He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry."
Ezekiel 37:3: "He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.""
Ezekiel 37:4: "Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!"
Ezekiel 37:5: "This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life."
Ezekiel 37:6: "I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'""
Ezekiel 37:7: "So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone."
Ezekiel 37:8: "I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them."
Ezekiel 37:9: "Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'""
Ezekiel 37:10: "So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet--a vast army."
Ezekiel 37:11: "Then he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.'"
Ezekiel 37:12: "Therefore prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel."
Ezekiel 37:13: "Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them."
"I will put my Spirit in you
and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'""
The "Wheel of Nature"
Here is James 3:6 in a number of different Bible translations:
James 3:6 (New International Version): "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets
the whole course of his life
on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."
James 3:16 in the ASV translation (above) makes a reference to "the wheel of nature," and some people argue that this implies reincarnation. However, this is another instance where people are reading something into the Bible which they want to believe is there (just like in the other reincarnation "proofs" which we have looked at above). I have checked this verse in a number of different Bible commentaries, Study Bibles, Greek dictionaries, etc., and not one of these Bible scholars even hints at reincarnation in any way as an explanation of "the wheel of nature." Here are some examples:
James 3:6 (World English Bible): "And the tongue is a fire. The world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire
the course of nature,
and is set on fire by Gehenna."
James 3:6 (Young's Literal Translation): "and the tongue is a fire, the world of the unrighteousness, so the tongue is set in our members, which is spotting our whole body, and is setting on fire
the course of nature,
and is set on fire by the gehenna."
James 3:6 (Contemporary English Version): "The tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that dirties the rest of the body and sets a person's
on fire with flames that come from hell itself."
James 3:6 (Darby): "and the tongue is fire, the world of unrighteousness; the tongue is set in our members, the defiler of the whole body, and which sets fire to
the course of nature,
and is set on fire of hell."
James 3:6 (King James Version): "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire
the course of nature;
and it is set on fire of hell."
James 3:6 (American Standard Version): "And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire
the wheel of nature,
and is set on fire by hell."
"And setteth on fire the course of nature -
The margin is "the wheel of nature." The Greek word also
means "a wheel," or any thing made for revolving and running. Then it means the course run by a wheel; a circular course or circuit. The word rendered "nature"
means "procreation, birth, nativity;" and therefore the phrase means, literally, the wheel of birth - that is, the wheel which is set in motion at birth, and which runs on through life. - Rob. Lex. sub voce
It may be a matter of doubt whether this refers to successive generations, or to the course of individual life. The more literal sense would be that which refers to an individual; but perhaps the apostle meant to speak in a popular sense, and thought of the affairs of the world as they roll on from age to age, as all enkindled by the tongue, keeping the world in a constant blaze of excitement. Whether applied to an individual life, or to the world at large, every one can see the justice of the comparison." (Barnes, from
James 3:6, emphasis added)
As these examples demonstrate, there are various reasonable interpretations which would all have to be eliminated in order to prove that reincarnation is the only meaning of "the wheel of nature."
"Setteth on fire the course of nature -
Φλογιζουσα τον τροχον της γενεσεως· And setteth on fire the wheel of life. I question much whether this verse be in general well understood. There are three different interpretations of it:
1. St. James does not intend to express the whole circle of human affairs, so much affected by the tongue of man; but rather the penal wheel of the Greeks, and not unknown to the Jews, on which they were accustomed to extend criminals, to induce them to confess, or to punish them for crimes; under which wheels, fire was often placed to add to their torments. In the book, De Maccabaeis, attributed to Josephus, and found in Haverkamp's edition, vol. ii., p. 497-520, where we have the account of the martyrdom of seven Hebrew brothers, in chap. ix, speaking of the death of the eldest, it is said: Ανεβαλον αυτον επι τον τροχοι - περι ὁν κατατεινομενος· "They cast him on the wheel, over which they extended him; πυρ ὑπεστρωσαν και διηρεθισαν τον τροχον προσεπικατατεινοντες· they put coals under it, and strongly agitated the wheel." And of the martyrdom of the sixth brother it is said, cap. 11: Παρηγον επι τον τροχον, εφ' οὑ κατατεινομενος εκμελως και εκσφονδυλιζομενος ὑπεκαιετο, και οβελισκους δε οξεις πυρωσαντες, τοις νοτοις προσεφερον, και τα πλευρα διαπειραντες αυτου, και τα σπλαγχνα διεκαιον· They brought him to the wheel, on which, having distended his limbs, and broken his joints, they scorched him with the fire placed underneath; and with sharp spits heated in the fire, they pierced his sides, and burned his bowels.
The fire and the wheel are mentioned by Achilles Tatius, lib. 7, p. 449. "Having stripped me of my garments, I was carried aloft, των μεν μαστιγας κομιζοντων, των δε πυρ και τροχον, some bringing scourges, others the fire and the wheel." Now as γενεσις often signifies life, then the wheel of life will signify the miseries and torments of life. To set on fire the wheel of life is to increase a man's torments; and to be set on fire from hell implies having these miseries rendered more active by diabolic agency; or, in other words, bad men, instigated by the devil, through their lies and calumnies, make life burdensome to the objects of their malicious tongues. The wheel and the fire, so pointedly mentioned by St. James, make it probable that this sort of punishment might have suggested the idea to him. See more in Kypke.
2. But is it not possible that by the wheel of life St. James may have the circulation of the blood in view? Angry or irritating language has an astonishing influence on the circulation of the blood: the heart beats high and frequent; the blood is hurried through the arteries to the veins, through the veins to the heart, and through the heart to the arteries again, and so on; an extraordinary degree of heat is at the same time engendered; the eyes become more prominent in their sockets; the capillary vessels suffused with blood; the face flushed; and, in short, the whole wheel of nature is set on fire of hell. No description can be more natural than this: but it may be objected that this intimates that the circulation of the blood was known to St. James. Now supposing it does, is the thing impossible? It is allowed by some of the most judicious medical writers, that Solomon refers to this in his celebrated portraiture of old age, particularly in Ecc_12:6 : "Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern." Here is the very wheel of life from which St. James might have borrowed the idea; and the different times evidently refer to the circulation of the blood, which might be as well known to St. James as the doctrine of the parallax of the sun. See on Jam_1:17 (note).
3. It is true, however, that the rabbins use the term גלגל תולדות gilgal toledoth, "the wheel of generations," to mark the successive generations of men: and it is possible that St. James might refer to this; as if he had said: "The tongue has been the instrument of confusion and misery through all the ages of the world." But the other interpretations are more likely." (Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible, from
The course of nature (τροχὸν τῆς γενέσεως)
A very obscure passage. Τροχός, (only here in New Testament), from τρέχω,
applies generally to anything round or circular which runs or rolls, as a wheel or sphere. Hence, often a
Used of the circuit of fortifications and of circles or zones of land or sea. From the radical sense,
comes the meaning
as the course of the sun; and from this a
for running, a
origin, beginning, birth, manner of birth,
production, and is used by Plato for the
or the sum of created things. It also means a
In the New Testament it occurs but twice outside of this epistle, viz., at Mat_1:1, "the book of the
of Jesus Christ," where the meaning is
of Jesus Christ. The other passage is Mat_1:18, according to the best texts, also meaning
In Jam_1:23, as we have seen, πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως, is the face of his birth. We may then safely translate τροχός by
is the meaning of γένεσις in every New-Testament passage where it occurs, we may give it the preference here and render
the wheel of birth
- i.e., the wheel which is set in motion at birth and runs on to the close of life. It is thus a figurative description of human life. So Anacreon:
"The chariot-wheel, like life, runs rolling round,"
Tertullian says: "The whole
revolving wheel of existence
bears witness to the resurrection of the dead." The Rev., which gives
in margin. This revolving wheel is kindled by the tongue, and rolls on in destructive blaze. The image is justified by the fact. The tongue works the chief mischief, kindles the most baleful fires in the course of life." (Vincent's Word Studies, from
James 3:6, emphasis added)
The Greek word
means "a wheel (as a runner), i.e. (fig.) a circuit of phys. effects:--course." (Strong's Greek Dictionary), and James 3:6 (above) is the
place where this Greek word is found in the entire New Testament. The Greek word
means "nativity; fig. nature:--generation, nature (-ral)." (Strong's Greek Dictionary), and Matthew 1:1 is the
place where this Greek word occurs in the New Testament other than in James 3:6 (above). Since we have little or no Scriptural support to guide our interpretation of these two Greek words, we can't be dogmatic that "the wheel of nature" or "the course of life" is a reference to reincarnation. If James had mentioned anything about reincarnation in the context of James 3:16 (above), then we might have reason to interpret "the wheel of nature" as being a reference to reincarnation. If the Bible clearly taught the concept of reincarnation anywhere in the Old Testament or the New Testament, then perhaps it would give us valid reason for interpreting "the wheel of nature" as meaning reincarnation. But as we will see in a moment, the Bible actually
the concept of reincarnation.
Jesus Existed Before Abraham
Notice that Jesus said that He was alive before Abraham was born:
John 8:58: ""I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!""
Some people want to argue that this is Biblical proof of reincarnation. However, this has nothing to do with reincarnation, this is Scriptural proof of Jesus' divinity. Jesus existed long before Abraham was born because Jesus is God:
"I [Jesus] and the Father
"I [Jesus] have given them the glory that you [the Father] gave me, that they may be one
as we are one"
"Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human
Christ, who is God over all,
forever praised! Amen." (Romans 9:5)
"But about the
[Jesus] he says, "Your throne,
will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom."" (Hebrews 1:8)
"Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of
our God and Savior Jesus Christ
have received a faith as precious as ours" (2 Peter 1:1)
Passages Which Deny Reincarnation
There are many passages of Scripture which deny reincarnation, such as this one:
2 Samuel 12:23: "But
now that he is dead,
why should I fast? Can I bring him back again?
I will go to him,
but he will not return to me.""
In this verse, King David said that he will someday go to be with his dead son. This does not describe reincarnation, but instead it describes David's son going to Sheol (the place of departed spirits), and David's expectation that he would die and go to Sheol one day and see his son again.
Here's another passage which says that no-one returns from the "grave" (Sheol):
Job 7:9: "As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so
he who goes down to the grave does not return."
Here is another verse which says that people remain dead until they are resurrected to eternal life or resurrected and cast into hell:
Daniel 12:2: "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt."
For more on Daniel 12:2 (above) and why it refers to the resurrection of the dead, see my article called
Beyond the Second Coming.
In the next verse, an angel told Daniel that he would be resurrected "at the end of the days":
Daniel 12:13: ""As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.""
This is not consistent with the concept of being reincarnated over and over, but instead it describes Daniel remaining dead until he is resurrected along with all of the other Old Testament saints (as I described in my article above).
Here is a passage in which Jesus describes some people who have died and gone to Hades (the realm of departed spirits):
Luke 16:22: ""The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried."
This passage describes one man who went to Hades (which is translated as "hell" in this passage), and another man who went to be with Abraham. Notice that Abraham had been in Hades since his death; he was never reincarnated as someone else. Hades is a "prison" for the unrighteous, from which there is no escape until Judgment Day, and in Old Testament times it was also a place where the righteous went after they died (see my article called
Did Jesus Go to Hell after He Died?).
So in Old Testament times, both the righteous and the unrighteous went to Hades, never to return to the earth until after the Second Coming (see my article called
Beyond the Second Coming).
Notice that Abraham said, "in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony." This indicates that the rich man and Lazarus both had
lifetime (not numerous reincarnations).
Luke 16:23: "In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side."
Luke 16:24: "So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'"
Luke 16:25: ""But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony."
Luke 16:26: "And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'"
The next passage is similar to Daniel 12:2 (above) because it says that people remain dead until the day when they are resurrected:
John 5:28: ""Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when
all who are in their graves will hear his voice"
Here is a passage which disproves the idea of "karma":
"and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned."
Acts 17:31: "For he has set a day
when he will judge the world
with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.""
The idea of "karma" is that people must be reincarnated into new bodies in order to atone for the bad things that they did in past lives (for example, see an article called
'Karma' and Its Consequence ).
But this is the opposite of what the Bible says. According to the Bible (such as the passage above), it is not a concept of "karma" which judges us, but rather it is
who is the Judge. Notice that if we could atone for our own sins through numerous reincarnations, then Jesus would not have had to die for our sins, and there would be no need for a Judgment Day when God will judge sinners and send them to eternal punishment. Therefore, the concept of reincarnation denies the reason for Jesus' atoning death on the cross!
The next passage plainly speaks of the resurrection of the dead:
1 Corinthians 15:20: "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."
The above passage says that just as Christ died
so all people die
It also says that all Christians will be resurrected from the dead when Jesus returns (we will not be reincarnated over and over).
1 Corinthians 15:21: "For since death came through a man,
the resurrection of the dead
comes also through a man."
1 Corinthians 15:22:
"For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."
1 Corinthians 15:23:
"But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him."
Here is another passage which says that we will die
and remain dead until we are resurrected when Jesus returns:
1 Corinthians 15:35: "But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?""
According to the above passage, we will be resurrected in our own physical bodies which will instantly be changed from being mortal to being immortal. This immortality of our original bodies is a complete denial of reincarnation.
1 Corinthians 15:36: "How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies."
1 Corinthians 15:37: "When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else."
1 Corinthians 15:38: "But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body."
1 Corinthians 15:39: "All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another."
1 Corinthians 15:40: "There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another."
1 Corinthians 15:41: "The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor."
1 Corinthians 15:42:
"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;"
1 Corinthians 15:43: "it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;"
1 Corinthians 15:44:
"it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body."
1 Corinthians 15:45: "So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being" ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit."
1 Corinthians 15:46: "The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual."
1 Corinthians 15:47: "The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven."
1 Corinthians 15:48: "As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven."
1 Corinthians 15:49: "And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven."
1 Corinthians 15:50: "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable."
1 Corinthians 15:51: "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but
we will all be changed--"
1 Corinthians 15:52:
"in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:53:
"For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality."
In the next passage, the apostle Paul said that when our bodies die (when our "earthly tents" are destroyed), then we can look forward to receiving our eternal house in heaven:
2 Corinthians 5:1: "Now we know that
if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven,
not built by human hands."
Notice that Paul said, "so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." A human body is mortal, and in the context Paul was referring to a mortal body becoming immortal (as we saw in 1 Corinthians 15:35-53, above). This is completely different than reincarnation, because reincarnation does not involve mortal bodies becoming immortal.
2 Corinthians 5:2: "Meanwhile we groan,
longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,"
2 Corinthians 5:3: "because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked."
2 Corinthians 5:4: "For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,
so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."
2 Corinthians 5:5: "Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."
2 Corinthians 5:6: "Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord."
2 Corinthians 5:7: "We live by faith, not by sight."
2 Corinthians 5:8: "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be
away from the body and at home with the Lord."
Here is another passage which tells us that after we die then we await the final judgment:
"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,"
Notice that humans die
time, just as Christ was sacrificed
"so Christ was sacrificed once
to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."
The next passage describes the dead being judged:
Revelation 20:11: "Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them."
As the above passage describes, when people die they
dead (they do not reincarnate over and over). And once again we can see that sinners will be judged by God for their sins, they will not atone for their own sins by being reincarnated over and over. It is
who is the Judge, not "karma."
Revelation 20:12: "And I saw
great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life.
The dead were judged
according to what they had done as recorded in the books."
"The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them,
and each person was
according to what he had done."
If reincarnation is a false teaching, then why does it appear that some people can remember things from "past lives"? Why does it seem that some people are able to accurately describe places and events from other countries and other time periods which they could not possibly know about?
There is a very simple, Scriptural answer. Notice the evil spirits which are described in the following passages:
Mark 1:23: "Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by
an evil spirit
Consider that the archangel Michael (Jude 1:9) was around millennia ago, and he is still around somewhere today. The angel Gabriel (Daniel 8:16, 9:21, Luke 1:19, 26) was around millennia ago, and he is still around somewhere today. Spirits, whether good or evil, do not die. For example, we see the devil in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-14), we see Michael arguing with the devil over Moses' body (Jude 1:9), we see the devil afflicting Job (Job 1:6-12), we see Michael in Daniel's time (Daniel 10:13), we see Michael and the devil in the book of Revelation (Revelation 12:7), we see the devil and his demons being cast into the lake of fire for all eternity sometime in the future (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:10), and so on. Since spirits don't die, then what happened to the evil spirits in the passages above? They (and countless others) were around millennia ago, and they are still around somewhere today. They are very familiar with various past events throughout the ages because they were there, and when we open ourselves up to being influenced by demons (unknowingly or knowingly, such as through hypnosis) then it is very easy for them to provide accurate details which appear to be "past lives." In several of the passages above we can see that demons can speak through the mouths of humans, and notice that Acts 16:16-18 (above) shows an example of a demon who provided knowledge to a girl concerning things which she could not possibly have known about through natural means. In that example it was knowledge of future events, but it can just as easily be knowledge of past events which the demon knows from having been there.
Mark 1:24: ""What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!""
"The evil spirit
shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek."
Mark 1:27: "The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching--and with authority! He even gives orders to
and they obey him.""
Mark 3:11: "Whenever
the evil spirits
saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God.""
Mark 5:2: "When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with
an evil spirit
came from the tombs to meet him."
Mark 5:3: "This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain."
Mark 5:4: "For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him."
Mark 5:5: "Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones."
Mark 5:6: "When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him."
Mark 5:7: "He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!""
Mark 5:8: "For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man,
you evil spirit!""
Mark 5:9: "Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many.""
Mark 5:10: "And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area."
Mark 5:11: "A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside."
begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.""
Mark 5:13: "He gave them permission, and
the evil spirits
came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned."
Mark 9:25: "When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked
the evil spirit.
"You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.""
shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead.""
Mark 9:27: "But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up."
Acts 16:16: "Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had
a spirit by which she predicted the future.
She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling."
Acts 16:17: "This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.""
Acts 16:18: "She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment
The concepts of karma and reincarnation are not Scriptural. According to those concepts, people pay for the sins of their past lives by coming back in a new body, over and over, for as long as it takes to atone for their past sins. But the Bible is very clear that
not karma, is the Judge, and the Bible is very clear that Jesus died on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Therefore, the concepts of karma and reincarnation nullify the very reason for Jesus to come in the flesh and die on the cross. The concept of reincarnation is
Christianity, and it is not supported in the Bible.
I hope this has been helpful, and may the Lord abundantly bless you as you study His Word!