What does the Bible say about reincarnation?
The concept of reincarnation is without foundation in the Bible, which teaches that man dies once and then faces judgment “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Hebrews 9:27. The Bible never mentions people having a second chance at life or coming back as different people or animals.
This is not to be confused with what Christians refer to as the Rapture, which is the rejoining of the flesh with the Spirit AFTER physical death (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, 1 Thessalonians 4:13–17) nor with the thousand year reign on earth AFTER Armageddon (Revelation 19) or the eternal state of man with God on the New Earth. (Revelation 21:1–3)
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”Matthew 25:46 Here, believers go on to eternal life while unbelievers go onto eternal punishment. Reincarnation has been a popular belief for thousands of years, but it has never been accepted by Christians or followers of Judaism because it is contradictory to Scripture.
There is one passage that some point to as evidence for reincarnation, Matthew 17:10-12which links John the Baptist with Elijah. However, the passage does not say that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated but that he would have fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah's coming if the people had believed his words and thereby believed in Jesus as the Messiah (Matthew 17:12). The people specifically asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah. “And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.” John 1:21
Belief in reincarnation is an ancient phenomenon and is a central tenet within the majority of Indian religious traditions, such as Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. Many modern pagans also believe in reincarnation as do some New Age movements, along with followers of spiritism. For the Christian, however, there can be no doubt: reincarnation is unbiblical.