Was Jesus a zombie? In this age of “anything goes” some young adults are considering the possibility. According to some, His resurrection and most powerful call to discipleship certainly align themselves with zombie characteristics.
Let me first say Zombie reanimation has nothing to compare itself to the Christian belief about Jesus’ resurrection! The Biblical resurrection presents not a reanimation but a true return to life!
But how do we answer questions from our teens or others who hold these superstitions?.
George Romero’s 1968 movie, “Night of the Living Dead”, popularized the idea of zombies. “The Dawn of the Dead,” and “The Walking Dead” are just a few of the movies and television shows which have infiltrated the American-cultural consciousness.
Zombism is really about a virus or disease that infiltrates someone’s body and kills him/her. The person is then reanimated as a zombie. Unpredictably, the only part of the now undead person is the medulla oblongata or brain stem which controls movement. Hence, the shuffling walk of the dead. Other humans are then infected by a bite or a virus which then turns that person into a zombie, thus perpetrating the cycle. According to “gotquestions.org”, a zombie is “a dead person’s body, reanimated but continuing the process of decay. A zombie is considered “undead” rather than fully alive.
Think of Frankenstein and Dracula. Zombies are portrayed as creatures who are out to eat human flesh. Some attribute to zombies the drinking of human blood. However, most of that particular tradition is rooted in the ancient past.
Zombie Walks with hundreds of teenager and young adult participants shuffle along in gore make up. These walks often have charitable dimensions, often raising money to combat brain disease.
Please don’t fall into the temptation of thinking that zombies are all bad and evil. Some certainly are, and are derived from voodoo practices and beliefs. But, in my opinion, the vast majority of zombie stories, paraphernalia and participations are harmless. My youngest daughter and her husband watch television zombie shows for fun. These bore me to tears. Of course, they have little use for my military movies which I suppose bore them to tears.
Zombie games top the list of available apps. Many video games into our homes. “Warm Bodies” are Zombie love stories.
Belief in Zombies is nothing new. The first recorded mention of flesh-eating dead is in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Witch doctors and voodoo practitioners in Haiti and throughout the Caribbean have utilized zombies in pagan worship for hundreds of years. Witch doctors are said to exercise complete control over these sad creatures no longer human.
Recently, I received the following terse suggestion from a person in India:
Check out some zombies verses in the Bible.
So, I did a little checking. More than a few Biblical passages seem to talk about Zombies. Let me share several examples:
“The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended” (Revelation 20:5)
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life” (Ezekiel 37:5).
“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Revelation 12:2).
“And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths” (Zechariah 14:12).
Jesus declared in John 6:53-57: “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
When zombie enthusiasts read these words from the lips of Jesus it’s no wonder that they wonder if Jesus was a zombie.
Jesus instituted the new covenant of love sealed in his flesh and blood: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19-20).
As Christians we must certainly affirm that Jesus drank the cup ate the flesh and was a dead corpse come back to life by a bodily resurrection. However, the difference between biblical truth and fanaticized zombies is the difference between reanimation and resurrection.
Zombies are reanimated and in the process of purification. Jesus was resurrected fully back to life with a fully functioning body. Those resurrected in the biblical record lived to complete their natural lives in the exact same body they lived with (1 Kings 17:12-2; Matthew 9:18-26; John 11:38-44; and Acts 20:9-12 just to share a few examples). They did not wander around attacking people wanting human blood and brain matter.
Jesus was crucified on a cross and confirmed dead by a soldier who pierced His side with a spear. Three days later, Jesus was resurrected by God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. (John chapters 20 and 21). The resurrection proved that Jesus’ work on the cross was accepted as perfect work. If Jesus’ work were not perfect, the Father and Spirit would have left Him in the tomb.
Jesus lives today in His resurrection body, which does not decay, has no appearance of death, and is forever immune from death, injury, and sickness. In no sense is Jesus still dead. Jesus declared, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever!” (Revelation 1:18).
Jesus’ resurrection body will be perfect for all eternity, and those who receive Jesus as their Savior will be granted perfect resurrection bodies, as well. “We shall be like him” (1 John 3:2).
So, no, Jesus is not a zombie. Jesus was resurrected, not just reanimated. After His resurrection, He conversed with His disciples, performed miracles, and proved Himself to be, in every way, fully alive.
Jesus did not return as a decomposing corpse; He was and is fully alive. This is not fiction. This is not Night of the Living Dead. This is truth from God’s Word.
As I researched about zombies I came across an article at “412teens.org” that put a perspective on zombies and morals that I had never considered. It is written, “tongue in cheek,” with insights worth considering:
Some people have the tragic notion that as soon as the first zombie takes the very first juicy bite out of someone’s leg, then all morals go out the window, and we no longer have to follow any of the laws of Christ. But we are assured that, in all time, no circumstance can ever erode the sacred commandments of God, and in every situation, even a zombie apocalypse, God’s Word still applies.
The belief to the contrary, that natural morals are not a fixed thing, which is called relativism, is a completely un-Christian belief. No matter how many zombies there are and how ready for dinner they are, we can never simply abandon our God given morals. Yes, kills streaks and headshots are important, but in defending our family and friends, we just can’t forget God’s love and mercy.
Finally, may I reiterate that Zombiesm is for most a literary genre focusing on fascinating, imaginative and scary stories. If we will take the time to look just under the surface we will see that most zombie stories are allegories regarding our present-day values, society, culture, and politics.
To you, India, I hope my answer is encouraging and helpful.
Sincerely, Ask Roger