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The Reincarnation of Elijah

The Following is an excerpt from May a Christian Believe in Reincarnation? by Abbot George Burke.

I cannot resist giving one more Biblical instance–bridging both the Old and the New Testaments–of how the human drama can be played out over the “acts” of several births on the stage of this world.

(This example, by the way, was pointed out to me by Bess Hibarger, a Presbyterian Sunday School teacher of long standing and great popularity, who at least once a year devoted one Sunday to the subject of reincarnation.)

The sowing

Ahab, the king of Israel, married Jezebel, who was a Gentile and an idolater. For these reasons, Elijah the prophet came to Ahab and challenged him, demanding that he rid himself of Jezebel.

As could be expected, Jezebel decided that either Elijah or she had to go–and she preferred that it be Elijah. Though she had squadrons of soldiers searching for the prophet to kill him, he managed to elude them, and departed from this world still in hiding. Later, Jezebel died, but with the desire for the death of Elijah burning in her heart. Thus was the sowing; then came the reaping.

The reaping

As Jesus said, Elijah was born again as John the Baptist. Ahab was reborn as Herod, and Jezebel as Herodias, the wife of Herod’s brother. Herod broke the Law by marrying Herodias illegally, thus committing the double crime of adultery and incest.

Just as in the previous lifetime, John came to Herod and demanded that he get rid of Herodias. Herod had respect for John, and so tried to simply ignore him. Finally, at the insistence of Herodias he imprisoned John, and ultimately Herodias got John’s head on a platter, fulfilling her desire of centuries.

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