On a more solemn note is the subject of reincarnation. I promised to return to this subject and share my current thoughts. I do not know the origin of the idea that we continue to born again and again in earthly bodies until perfected. The belief has caused great confusion, driven many insane, and caused others to postpone indefinitely a commitment to Jesus. Reincarnation and karma have similar patterns of thought. Those who believe in karma maintain that only the offender can make restitution for his bad behavior. It may take numerous lifetimes to balance the scales and achieve perfection. This philosophy was in existence for many centuries prior to the birth of Christ and has many followers today.
Satan has used reincarnation to torment countless souls. Those who embrace the concept as true can enter into fantasies that make themselves kings one moment and murderers the next; Mary one moment and Mary Magdalene the next. They may project these images onto others and thereby exalt or destroy them. They may embrace a life of chastity to compensate the imagined previous life of a harlot. Reincarnation opens the door to a world of delusion, possibly quite harmless at first, but potentially as risky as any drug. Reincarnation is as real a danger as marijuana, heroin, or LSD, and just as treacherous, for it takes us into a world of fantasy from which escape is difficult. I know one person who could not accept the death of his mother and has projected her identity into one of his children. I would ask those who have allowed their minds to dwell in this world of fantasy to look upon it as dangerous and discard it.
God can renew our minds and sanctify our imaginations only as we are willing to put aside unwholesome habits and ideas. Reincarnation and karma are a contradiction to the age of Grace proclaimed by Jesus Christ two thousand years ago. This Grace as I perceive it in my own heart is God’s unmerited favor toward me. He is quick to forgive if I am willing to admit my sins with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. This unconditional forgiveness started the age of Grace. It has separated me from a system of thought and the belief that I can be my own redeemer or anyone else’s redeemer. Since I have admitted my own inability to help myself, to remove my own grave clothes such sayings as, “I must redeem myself,” or “God helps those who help themselves,” have a very hollow ring. These sayings are half-truths. They offer no hope for those who have come to the end of their rope including the thief on the cross. I know that my God also helps those who cannot help themselves.
We can leave a lifetime of dead-end pursuits and the treadmill of endless lifetimes behind us the moment we say “Yes” to Jesus; for it is written:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Then the righteousness of Jesus becomes our cloak and our protection (Isaiah 61:10). Pride and the need to prove ourselves acceptable (Ephesians 2:8-9) is replaced by gratitude for the One who set us free (John 8:36).
I walked on the edge of disaster for many years because I believed in reincarnation and allowed some very sick fantasies to play with my mind. It is totally by the Grace of God that I looked at these fantasies only with my imagination and never acted them out. I have put aside my preoccupation with the occult, along with reincarnation, horoscopes and even such seemingly harmless toys as fortune cookies. I have received some very strong rebukes from the Lord concerning these topics. Preoccupation and a curiosity in these areas are no less than spiritual adultery.
Discarding these toys was not easy, for they had obtained a subtle hold on my life. Both my life and my home were full of trinkets I had to throw out. The Book of Deuteronomy has some clear instructions concerning these matters.
No Israeli may practice black magic, or call on the evil spirits for aid or be a fortune teller, be a serpent charmer, medium, or wizard or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone doing these things is an object of horror and disgust to the Lord, and it is because the nations do these things that the Lord your God will displace them. (Deuteronomy 18:11) TLB – The Living Bible
I emphasize the above points because I am vitally interested in a mind that is sound and a soul that is whole. The reasons for the sickness of our souls may range all the way from broken laws of nutrition to broken spiritual laws.
I have continued to ponder the vision I had just prior to being hospitalized in February of 1970. I have wrestled in particular with the thought that my brother, whom I dearly love, was shown to me as the reincarnation of Judas Iscariot. I no longer accept this as the correct interpretation of the vision. One day I will write a separate epistle about the vision and post it on our web site: www.stretcherbearers.com.
For now, let me remind you that reincarnation is no longer a part of my belief system. It is easy for me to identify with different historical figures of the past and I do; but I am definitely not one of them. I am certain, though, that Satan is a real spiritual entity and will continue to use reincarnation to deceive many. They are always trying to find some backdoor into heaven and into the presence of God. Without realizing what I was doing, I pleaded with God to make room for Judas Iscariot in heaven.
Over the past twelve years I have met a number of zealous, but misguided individuals who have been duped like I was. I am particularly reminded of a man who advocated that we should all pray for Judas Iscariot. For a while I listened attentively to this man’s doctrine until I was shown these words of Jesus:
While I was with them in the world I kept them in Thy name; those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture may be fulfilled. (John 17:12)
I’m sure that there are others who are still pleading the cause of the son of perdition. The novelist Nikos Kazantsakis has discredited the words of Jesus in several of his novels. Particularly nefarious is this paragraph from his book “Saint Francis,” in which he elevates Lucifer and ranks him above all other angels. In this novel, Brother Leo, the close and constant companion of St. Francis, describes his friend with these words:
“I know things about you, therefore, that no other person knows. You committed many more sins than people imagine; you performed many more miracles than people believe. In order to mount to heaven, you used the floor of the Inferno to give you your momentum. ‘The further down you gain your momentum,’ you often used to tell me, ‘the higher you shall be able to reach.’ The militant Christian’s greatest worth is not his virtue, but his struggle to transform into virtue the impudence, dishonor, unfaithfulness, and malice within him. One day Lucifer will be the most glorious archangel standing next to God; not Michael, Gabriel, or Raphael but Lucifer, after he has finally transubstantiated his terrible darkness into light!”
Anyone who is familiar with God’s Word will know that any petition on behalf of Satan contradicts the Scripture and is a waste of time and energy:
Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
When Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, Lucifer was defeated. Those who continue to pray for Lucifer are pleading a lost cause. May these words set many free to redirect their focus on Jesus Who saved us, rather than on Satan who betrayed us.
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short. Revelation 12:10-12 (NIV) See also Rev. 20:10
There are today many who believe themselves to be Jesus Christ. A psychiatrist put two patients, both of whom believed they were Jesus Christ, in the same room. He hoped this would bring them to their senses. It didn’t work. Each one thought the other one was an imposter. There are many who believe they know the identity of the anti-Christ. There are many who believe themselves to be one of the witnesses spoken of in the eleventh chapter of Revelation. These are unproductive fantasies that may lead to destructive and bizarre behavior. This type of fantasy has long been known by Israeli psychiatrists and has been given the name “The Jerusalem Syndrome.” Between 600 to 800 pilgrims each year require hospitalization. I am quoting from the book “The Children of God” by Raymond Robert Fisher, pages 209-211.
It is wise not to allow our imaginations to dwell in such unproductive regions. It is written: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:5)
Reincarnation may be another escape mechanism for the dualities in our personalities. What we are unable to face, we project into another life or person, similar to the way we see ourselves in various disguises in dreams. Everyone, more or less, has a dual nature. It is simply the contest between good and evil, between the conscious and the unresolved issues we have tried to bury in the subconscious. When we are pressed hard enough by the circumstances of this life, we are forced to come to grips with the hidden nature within us. Psychiatrists refer to the duality in our natures as “schizophrenia.” A more descriptive and realistic name for schizophrenia would be “the civil war of the soul.” Only Jesus can bring peace to this conflict and unify our splintered nature! The Apostle Paul refers to this war in a very descriptive way when he writes:
“For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”(Romans 7:19-20)
In many people this war is underground and is felt by others only as a menacing volcano threatening to erupt. In some it erupts with almost predictable regularity.
When the volcano erupts, it spews hot lava and rocks in all directions, destroying or scorching innocent and unsuspecting bystanders. This description fits those who have unsuccessfully tried to seal the mouth of the volcano through self-effort. As a young man of twenty, I came face to face for the first time with the duality of my personality and unsuccessfully tried to harness the violence within me. I did not know Jesus Christ at the time. I tried to do it myself! Those who would like to understand this inner conflict better are urged to read Dr. Paul Tournier‘s book The Healing of Persons.
I have wondered for many years why there is such a strong division among Christians concerning the person and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have written down my thoughts, tried to defend them, and crossed them out over and over again. When a subject is so controversial that it divides people and placing them in opposing camps, there must be a powerful underlying reason. I became hypersensitive in this area because of the attempt to institutionalize me for manifesting the gifts of the Holy Spirit. For a long time, I was unable to enter a church in which there was hostility towards those who had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Such unbelief creates great anguish within me and others, I am sure.
I have learned that many theological seminaries in their doctrinal statements deny the gift of speaking in tongues as a valid twentieth-century gift of God. Some are even so brazen as to prohibit it. They maintain that with the advent of the printed Word and our ability to translate it into all languages, the need for this supernatural gift has been made obsolete. Some groups are even more outspoken concerning the person and gifts of the Holy Spirit. They maintain that the gifts are a manifestation of the demonic realm.
What explanation can then be offered for this division and controversy in the Body of Christ? Here are some points to ponder. Jesus said, “Tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). This power is akin to a light bulb of great intensity and brightness. It shines in two directions, searching our own souls for hidden sin, but invariably also shining its light upon those around us. Darkness does not want to be exposed. The gift of the Holy Spirit allows us to discern and understand the hidden needs and motives both in ourselves and in others and gives us the power and authority over all manner of darkness. It, therefore, should not surprise us when some feel threatened in the presence of those who can discern their secret thoughts.
It has been my experience that those who have set aside their prejudices concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit and prayed, “Jesus, I desire to receive every good gift that you have for me,” have sooner or later received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, any form of prejudice makes us ineligible to receive this baptism, which endues us with power and authority from God. Those who will search the Scriptures without prejudice on this matter will be greatly blessed.
I have to conclude that the gift of speaking in tongues is not the only evidence that a Believer has been endowed with power and authority from God. This is my personal understanding of the Scripture. I hope this will liberate those who have earnestly desired this gift but whom God has chosen to give other gifts at this time.
In the process of becoming acquainted with the supernatural dimension of the spirit realm, it is certainly possible that we may go astray or be led astray. The spirit realm is like a vast ocean or wilderness in which we must never let go of the hand of Jesus. Sometimes we are thrust into this wilderness by an unfortunate experience or a foolish experiment with drugs. We can completely lose our bearings and enter into a totally different reality. This can produce in us a twisted and warped sense of right and wrong. We can become incredibly clever in justifying that what we do is right, even beneficial. I remember someone remarking, “I can’t witness for Jesus until I have had a joint (marijuana).” Many are so compelled by their addictions, that they have forfeited any sense of right and wrong, moral and immoral, legal and illegal.
One close friend, a truly kind and compassionate man, justifies his use of marijuana on the basis that it is a herb which God has grown. He refers to the book of Genesis to explain his point of view:
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for meat.” Genesis 1:29
Strange as it may seem, this same friend explained to me that the use of marijuana had the general effect of undermining all restraints imposed by authority and helped a person to understand the mysteries of life. There appears to be a breakdown in the logical, structured thinking of the user. In the absence of authority, the dividing line between right and wrong can be arbitrarily shifted. We all struggle with authority. It appears that many addicts have a totally blurred conscience. As I continued to listen to my friend’s viewpoints on the subject of marijuana, these Scripture verses were brought to my mind:
And the Lord commanded the man saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
And then I continued to read the full account of what happened when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. (Genesis, chapter 3). I saw the subtle deception of Satan throughout the ages. Each age, each country and each culture has its own unique and mysterious marijuana plant as explained by N. Taylor’s book, Flight from Reality. We can even find references in our folklore and fairy tales. To me it would seem that any form of mind-expanding drug or herb whether synthetically compounded or naturally grown, is akin to eating of the forbidden fruit. It opens our mind to counterfeit and deceiving spirits, which restlessly roam this world, hoping to influence and control the unwary.
How can anyone possibly escape from a lifelong indoctrination of confusing statements, beliefs, and values? I remember my own struggles. Shortly after I was discharged from Edgemont Hospital, I was challenged within my soul to surrender everything that I had learned. There needed to be room for something different and new. This was one of the hardest decisions I was ever asked to make. I had been brainwashed all my growing-up years with these words: “Get a good education. No one will ever be able to take it away from you.” That’s a lie. When handed that hard-fought-for degree, it does not come with any guarantees. An education can easily become obsolete and often does. You can also lose your mind and everything you have learned will be worthless. Ask anyone five years out of college whether or not they would take the same classes if given a choice.
I must have struggled for a week or more. Finally I said, “Lord Jesus, I am willing to give up everything I worked so hard for, but especially my college degree. I am totally confused about what is worthwhile to keep and what is not.” From that moment on, I was teachable again. Whether young or old, we seem to have a problem with too much clutter in our lives, not only in our closets, but also in our minds.
One day a little boy came on his tricycle to watch me polish my car. I asked him, “Do you know Jesus?” When he said, “No,” I told him about Jesus and asked, “Would you like to have Jesus live in your heart?” He answered, “There is no room left in my heart. Santa Claus, Bugs Bunny, and all my toys live in my heart.” And off he went! About twenty minutes later, he returned. After watching me awhile he said, “I have moved my toys over, and now I have room for Jesus.” Many times since then I have thought, “and a little child shall lead them,” (Isaiah 11:6).
Dorothea Lynde Dix has been called the “Angel of the Madhouse.” She is quoted as “probably the most distinguished, and certainly the most forgotten woman America has produced in 300 years.” Her life is an example and inspiration for those who are concerned with the plight of those labeled as mentally ill. May many light their torch from her example. I have! No longer is my diagnosis a sentence, but a challenge to “set the captives free.” My pain has been translated into purpose.
May you have the same miracle from God. I love you, dear Phyllis, and I need your love. I pray for you, and I need your prayers. Please write to me. Let us band together and “be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.”
Many have already walked into hell for a heavenly cause. Some of these accounts have been printed, many have not. I do hope that in time more people will have the courage to share their experiences, and that we will be able to network with one another. This can effect a basic change in our attitudes and an understanding of those who are currently diagnosed and treated as mentally ill.
MENTAL PATIENTS GIVEN RIGHT TO REFUSE DRUGS
“Consent decree stems from 1978 suit against state hospitals, involves use of tranquilizers.”
If you would like to continue your reading in this area, I suggest the recently published book Torn for the Healing, by C. Brandon Rimmer (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Jeremy Books, 1981). It is the story of a pediatrician who had an unusual encounter with Jesus, and who was treated in an unusual and painful manner. The story will shock and challenge you. It will fill your eyes with tears. It will be an inspiration for those who need help and also want to help others. Never lose hope—God is still in control. The pain and rejection you have suffered will become your credentials to compassionately touch hurting souls.