The Great Cover Up [of reincarnation] - Emperor Justinian understood its inherent political danger"There was a logical reason why the Emperor was opposed to the concept that all of mankind originally came from God and was returing to God via the cycle of birth and death. Justinian had been convinced by high ranking cardinals that it was not in the interest of the empire to allow Origen's writings to continue to be copied and distributed. A powerful group of Cardinal's and Bishop's explained that if every soul had once pre-existed with God, then Christ wasn't anything special to have come from God. These Cardinals convinced the Emperor that if people realized they were the children of God they might begin to believe they no longer needed an Emperor, or to pay taxes, or to obey the Holy Church."
"Many scholars recognize that the New Testament we have today is a copy of a copy of a copy and that no reliable manuscript is dated before the third century. The doctrine of reincarnation echoes throughout the teachings of Christ, but the purity of Christ's teachings, about the soul being part of God, has been diluted by the copiers and the translators.
History records that the early Christine church believed in Reincarnation and of the souls journey back to oneness with God.
Pope Vigilius was a vicar during the reign of Emperor Justinian in the sixth century AD. Justinian and Vigilius disagreed on whether or not the doctrine of reincarnation should be condemned as heresy or allowed to be taught in the church.
Origin's writings were considered heresy by important cardinals in the sixth century. Origen's teachings had been considered as profound spiritual wisdom for three centuries. Origen lived around 250 AD and wrote about the pre-existence of the soul and in reincarnation. He taught that the soul's very source was God and that the soul's was traveling back to oneness with God via Reincarnation.
Emperor Justinian wanted Origen's writings and teachings to be condemned and destroyed but Pope Vigilius refused to sign a papal decree condemning Origen's teachings on reincarnation. As a result of his disobedience, the Emperor had the Pope arrested and put into jail. In 543, Justinian convoked the Fifth General Council of the Church and told the Pope he would sign into doctrine whatever the council decided. On the way there, under guard, the Pope escaped to avoid being forced to condemn Origen's writings. The Emperor commanded the council to continue despite the Pope's refusal to attend.
There was a logical reason why the Emperor was opposed to the concept that all of mankind originally came from God and was returing to God via the cycle of birth and death. Justinian had been convinced by high ranking cardinals that it was not in the interest of the empire to allow Origen's writings to continue to be copied and distributed. A powerful group of Cardinal's and Bishop's explained that if every soul had once pre-existed with God, then Christ wasn't anything special to have come from God. These Cardinals convinced the Emperor that if people realized they were the children of God they might begin to believe they no longer needed an Emperor, or to pay taxes, or to obey the Holy Church. But since they reasoned that only Christ had come from God but God made brand new souls at the time of conception and only the Holy Church could bring these souls to God. Without the protection of the Empire or the guidance of the church, all people would be doomed to be forever cut off from God in Hell. This doctrine was very acceptabloe to the Emperor. Once Justinian understood the political danger inherent in Origen's teachings, the rest was simply an Emperor doing what was in his best interest.
The council, as instructed by the Emperor, produced fourteen new anathemas and the very first one condemned reincarnation and the concept that souls pre-existed with God.
If anyone asserts the fabulous preexistence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema.
The Pope never signed the order, so technically it was never legal, but the Pope's signature was not needed."
(Excerpt Chapter 4, 'The Gnostics')
"In the Pagan Mysteries it was believed that a soul progresses towards the realization of the Gnosis over many lifetimes.  The Pagan initiate Plutarch explains that the unenlightened soul is attracted back into physical incarnation over and over again by force of habit:
'We know that the soul is indestructible and should think of its experience as like that of a bird in a cage. If it has been kept in the body for a long time and become tamed to this life as a result of all sorts of involvements and long habituation, it will alight again back to a body again birth after birth and will never stop or give up becoming entangled in the passions and chances of this world.' 
Although it was eventually exorcised from mainstream Christianity, this Pagan idea was embraced by the early Gnostic Christians. The Gnostic sage Basilides taught that Gnosis was the consummation of many lives of effort. 'The Secret Book of John' teaches that a soul will continue to reincarnate until it is eventually 'saved from its lack of perception, attains Gnosis, and so is perfected', after which 'it no longer goes into another flesh'. The 'Pistis Sophia' teaches that a soul cannot be brought into the Light until, through many lifetimes of experience, it has understood all of the Mysteries. Having progressed on the spiritual journey during this life, however, its next incarnation will be into a 'righteous body which shall find the God of Truth and the Higher Mysteries'.
Plato tells us that the dead have the choice of drinking from the 'Spring of Memory' and walking the right-hand path towards heaven or drinking from the 'Cup of Forgetting' and walking the left-hand path towards reincarnation. The Gnostic 'Book of the Saviour' teaches the same doctrine, explaining that a righteous man will be born into his next life without forgetting the wisdom he has learned in this life because he will not be given the 'Draught of Oblivion' before his next birth. Rather he will receive ' cup full of intuition and wisdom' which will cause the soul not to fall asleep and forget, but to 'seek after the Mysteries of Light, until it hath found them'.
Plato saw being incarnated in a human body as comparable to being incarcerated in a sort of prison. The Gnostic 'Secret Book of John' likewise describes incarnation as being 'cast into fetters'. Plato explains, 'The soul is suffering the punishment of sin until the penalty is paid.' Origin similarly teaches that incarnation is a sort of punishment for having sinned and that in proportion to the sin, souls are put into particular types of bodies. He tells us that souls are 'enveloped in different bodies for punishment' many times over, until they are purified, when they will 'rise again to the state in which they formerly were, completely putting away their evil and their bodies'. (P.129) Like the Pagan sages, Origen could not believe that a just and compassionate God would condemn any soul to eternity in hell, but thought that all souls would be saved through experiencing repeated human incarnations. He writes:
'Every soul has existed from the beginning; it has therefore passed through some worlds already, and will pass through others before it reaches the final consummation. It comes into this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of its previous life.'
Despite his great prestige amongst early Christians, this brilliant Christian philosopher was posthumously condemned by the Catholic Church as a heretic for teaching this ancient doctrine. Yet the teachings of reincarnation are alluded to in the New Testament. In the Gospel of John the high priests of Jerusalem ask John the Baptist if he is a reincarnation of Elijah, while in the Gospel of Mark the disciples discuss the possibility of Jesus being the reincarnation of John the Baptist, the prophet Elijah or one of the other prophets!"
The Jesus Mysteries: Was the Original Jesus A Pagan God?
Chapter 5 - 127-129
Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy
Element (imprint of HarperCollins 'Publishers')
77-85 Fulham Palace Road
Hammersmith, London W6 8JB
Notes (Chapter 5: The Gnostics)
 Herodotus, in 'The Histories', Book 2, 122, tells us that the doctrine of reincarnation originated with the Egyptians but had been 'dopted by certain Greek writers'. Although he 'refrains from mentioning them', there is no doubt that he is referring to the Orphics and Pythagoreans. Kingsley, P. (1995), 368, states that this was well known even in Classical times: 'The Pythagoreans maintained a secrecy which was quite exceptional, but that the teachings of theirs which were"best known by everybody"Were the immortality of the soul and reincarnation.' According to Diogenes Laertius, Pythagoras taught that: 'The soul, revolving around the circle of necessity, is transformed and confined at different times in different bodies,' quoted in Guthrie, K.S. (1987), 145. In 'The Laws', 870e, Plato attributes this doctrine to the priests of the Mysteries, by whom it was taught with the associated doctrine of 'karma': 'They will also state a truth firmly believed by many who have learned it from the lips of those who occupy themselves with these matters at the Mysteries, that vengeance is taken on such crimes beyond the grave, and when the sinner has returned to our own world once more, he must infallibly pay nature's penalty - must be done by as he did.' In 'Meno', 81b-c, Socrates tells us: 'The soul, having been born again many times, and having seen all things that exist, has knowledge of them all.'
 Plutarch, 'The Moral Essays', 184, ' Letter of Consolation', 10
 Mead, G.R.S. (1906), 282
 Quoted in Barnstone, W. (1984), 60
 Quoted in Mead, op.cit., 485
 Plato, 'The Republic', Book 10, 614ff
 Quoted in Mead, op.cit., 516
 Plato, 'Cratylus', 400c: 'The body is an enclosure or prison in which the soul is incarcerated.' The Gnostic Carpocrates taught the same doctrine and also called the body a prison. He claimed that souls are reincarnated until they have completed all sins and that this was the true meaning behind Jesus' teaching in Luke 12:58: 'You will not be let out till you have paid the last penny.' See Barnstone, W. (1984), 649
 Quoted in Barnstone, op.cit., 61
 Plato, 'Cratylus', 400c: 'For some say that the body is the grave of the soul which may be thought to be buried in our present life. The Orphic poets ... were under the impression that the soul is suffering the punishment of sin until the penalty is paid.'
 Origin, 'De Pricipiis', 2.8.3, quoted in Stevenson, J. (1957), 203
 Bernstein, A.E. (1993), 307. Origin's view was that of the Pagans - all would eventually be restored to God in a total 'pokatastasis' or restoration. He used the axiom of Neoplatonic philosophy that the end must be as the beginning. All who are punished will be cured and on this basis he denied eternal punishment.
 Origin, 'De Pricipiis', 3.1.20-1. See also Kingsland, W. (1937), 138. Origen asks how could someone be born blind unless they are being punished for a previous sin. Reincarnation he says, allows souls sufficient time to purge their sins and complete their cycle of lives, see Bernstein, op.cit., 311.
 Bernstein, op.cit., 307. Jerome, at the end of the fourth century, was the first to condemn Origen. (Jerome denied the pre-existence of souls but taught that God was 'daily creating new ones'. This doctrine of 'creationism' is still accepted today, see Brandon, S.G.F. (1969), 84. That a good God could continue to daily make millions of souls, many of whom he knows will ultimately be condemned to eternal torture, is just one of the many cruelties and absurdities of this theology.) Under Justinian in 543 CE the Greek text of Origin was burnt as heretical. As Stevenson, J. (1957), 203, notes, no other opinion of Origen's was more vehemently opposed than his doctrine of 'Ultimate salvation for all'.
 See Josephus, 'The Jewish War', 2.14.165. In Josephus' opinion the Pharisees gained the support of the majority of the people because they taught that the soul survives death and receives either the reward of a new life in another body or eternal punishment in the Underworld. The Pharisees, of whom Paul was one, were modernizers and Hellenizers who were violently opposed by the traditionalist Sadducees. Mark 12:18 states that: 'The Sadducees teach that there is no resurrection,' but unlike Josephus, who was writing at the same time, it does not go on to state that the Pharisees were teaching the Orphic doctrine of reincarnation.
 John 1:19
 Mark 8:27. How Jesus could be a reincarnation of his contemporary John the Baptist is not explained.
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