Reincarnation — the rebirth of the soul in another body — has been the hope and fascination of countless men and women for thousands of years. Perhaps this is because it is akin to something that is deep in the heart of their Creator, in whose image they are made. He desires nothing greater than that the essence of who He is would be made visible and tangible in human form. He actually made Man (male and female1) with a human spirit that is compatible with His divine spirit, in the hope that they would be joined together — man linked to God, able to express His heart on the Earth. We call the first man Adam, which is simply Hebrew for man or mankind. He was created pure and clean, an empty vessel ready to be filled with all that was in his Creator’s heart.
But through an old and sad story that you can read about in the Bible,2 Adam lost his vital connection to his Creator, and his descendants have been groping for Him ever since, unable by their own strength or intellect to reconnect. They could not get past the barrier of selfishness in their own hearts. So, in order to open the way past that barrier, God took a pure human seed preserved from before Adam fell, and placed it in the womb of a Hebrew virgin named Miriam,3 and she conceived and gave birth to a son, whom she and her husband called Yahshua, which means “Yahweh’s Salvation.” In a very real way he was a second Adam4 in that he was born without the fallen nature that is common to all of Adam’s descendants. But unlike Adam, he chose to always keep his heart turned towards his Father,5 ready and willing to obey His every word. Into this pure and willing vessel, God was able to pour His very essence — His Word. As the apostle John described it: “And the Word [of God] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”6
This was the first incarnation — the embodiment of the very heart or essence of God in human flesh, Yahshua the Messiah.7 As a man he walked in unbroken communion with God, showing his followers how to love. People came to know, in a very real and practical way, what God was like. When you saw him, you saw the Father.8 That is what incarnation is for — to reveal the heart of the Father to mankind. The religious establishment of his day — the Jewish scribes and Pharisees — could not stand his invasion onto their turf. His purity, compassion, and spiritual authority were a threat to their stronghold on the people’s souls and pocketbooks. So they had him crucified. But they did not understand their own prophets. They did not understand that death could not hold him captive because there was no sin, no iniquity in him. Death is the outcome of sin, the place where we must face our guilt and receive the penalty for every word and deed that caused hurt.9 Having no sin of his own, he became a ransom for us, receiving the full wages of our sin. He endured the agonies of death10 on our behalf for three days and three nights. Then his spirit and soul returned to his body, infusing it with eternal life.
Once he had convinced his disciples that he was truly alive again, they were overjoyed and expected that he would immediately take the throne in Jerusalem and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.11 But that was not his intention. It was not enough that God had one man on the earth in whom He could dwell by His Spirit. He wanted a whole nation of men and women who would utterly abandon their own independent, selfish lives and give themselves unreservedly to him when they heard of his sacrifice for them. So he told his disciples that he was going to return to the Father. They were to wait in Jerusalem until the Spirit of God came to dwell in them, giving them the power to express God’s heart on the earth.
Then it happened: the Holy Spirit came upon them in great power and they spoke boldly to all the people who were gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost. They called them to repent for crucifying the Messiah who was sent to save them. As a result, 3000 people surrendered their lives that day and were filled with his Spirit. Together with the original disciples they formed a unified body (a community) that powerfully expressed the character of God by the way they loved one another:
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. (Acts 4:32-35)
This was the second incarnation — the embodiment of the very heart or essence of God in a people who were totally surrendered to Him.12 For several decades their radical life of love and unity turned the world (as they knew it) upside down.13 It was intended that together, as a body, they would be every bit as real and visible and tangible as Messiah himself had been when he walked the earth.14 But by the end of the first century there was very little vitality left in that “body” as the letters to the churches in the Book of Revelation show.15 These letters were an appeal to the churches to “wake up” lest their light be snuffed out. But did they wake up? In the centuries that followed, the warm, vibrant, and inviting life of those early communities mutated into a cold and rigid institution that coerced people to believe and slaughtered those who refused. If ever the life and passion of the first communities began to emerge, it was quickly snuffed out.
For almost 1900 years, history does not record another lasting occurrence of the very same communal life as those first believers. However, the prophet Isaiah said that one day there would be a people who would be called the “Repairers of the Breach”16 — a breach of time during which God had no body to dwellin on the earth. The apostle Paul also quoted Isaiah as predicting that, “Unless the Sovereign of Hosts had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah.”17 A spiritual seed was preserved in heaven until the time of the end, when just as Isaiah said, the whole world would become like Sodom and Gomorrah. We are now in those days.
The prophet Daniel predicted that, “In the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to another people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”18 It is clear from the context in the book of Daniel and the references to his prophecy in the book of Revelation19 that the ten “kings” of this prophecy form a world government that will emerge in the very last days of this present age. And it is during the days of those kings that God establishes a “kingdom” on the earth that will never be destroyed or left to another people. This “kingdom” is the third and last incarnation, and it is being formed on the earth right now, even as the forces of “globalization” are forming a world government.
Right now the Spirit of God is calling together a people who are being formed into the very Body of Messiah. They are responding to the same message that formed the second incarnation — the call to leave everything and follow Yahshua the Messiah, the call to love one another just as Messiah loved them, the call to lay down their lives for one another daily in a common life of love and unity. They are being formed into a holy nation, a royal priesthood20 who fully represent Messiah on the earth again — the Third Incarnation.