I wrote this about three years ago, but I have never posted it yet. Perhaps it would be helpful to post this, and a couple of the other passages that I’ve looked at that supposedly support the idea of reincarnation being present and consistent with the Scriptures:

In the book of Hebrews, Paul compares Jesus to Melchizedek. Of Melchizedek he says, “Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.” (Hebrews 7:3)

Some reincarnationists argue that this verse demonstrates that Melchizedek was a previous incarnation of Jesus. Since Jesus is declared to have assumed the priesthood of Melchizedek (vs. 21), and since he is declared to be a “priest forever”, Jesus must be a reincarnation of Melchizedek (Geisler, When Critics Ask).

But nowhere in this passage does Paul assert that Jesus is a reincarnation of Melchizedek – rather, Paul makes a comparison between the two. Paul does not say that Jesus is Melchizedek; he speaks of Jesus as a priest like Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:15, cf. vs. 3), never of Jesus actually being Melchizedek.

With reference to the verse in question, Paul is comparing Christ to Melchizedek by analogy; “Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.” (Hebrews 7:3) Nowhere in the Bible is Melchizedek’s genealogy recorded; neither his parents’ names, nor his age, nor his birth nor death is recorded. Likewise, No mention is made of when Melchizedek’s term of service as a priest began or ended. What is the significance of this? Calvin explains:

He then exempts Melchisedec from what is common to others, a descent by birth; by which he means that he is eternal, so that his beginning from men was not to be sought after. It is indeed certain that he descended from parents; but the Apostle does not speak of him here in his private capacity; on the contrary, he sets him forth as a type of Christ. He therefore allows himself to see nothing in him but what Scripture contains. For in treating of things respecting Christ, such reverence ought to be observed as not to know anything but what is written in the Word of the Lord. Now, as the Holy Spirit in mentioning this king, the most illustrious of his age, is wholly silent as to his birth, and makes afterwards no record of his death, is not this the same thing as though eternity was to be ascribed to him? And what was shadowed forth in Melchisedec is really exhibited in Christ.

(Calvin’s Commentaries on Hebrews 7:3)

Thus, by pointing out the absence of information on Melchizedek’s genealogical and priestly record, Paul shows how the unbounded account of Melchizedek foreshadows Christ – who truly is eternal.

Again, Paul does not state that Jesus is Melchizedek himself, rather, Jesus is “a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 7:17, cf. vs. 21, 5:6, Psalm 110:4) As Paul explains further, Melchizedek “did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises”, (Hebrews 7:6) and “when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.” (vs. 10) Melchizedek was not a member of the Levitical priesthood; he was not “one in the order of Aaron”, (vs. 11) the Levites had not yet been born. And it is clear that Christ Jesus, who fulfilled this prophecy, is of the order of Melchizedek:

He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.

Hebrews 7:13-16

So Jesus, being both like and in the order of Melchizedek, “has become the guarantee of a better covenant.” (vs. 22) “For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.” (vs. 28).

It should be clear here that Paul does not refer to Jesus as being Melchizedek; he only compares the two to show that Jesus has indeed fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 110 and to show the significance thereof by analogy and by the Lord’s oath (Hebrews 7:21). Nowhere does Paul give support to the claim that the two are the same, or that one is the reincarnation of the other.

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