Zombies In The Bible
The Story Unfolds
"I will knock down the gates of the netherworld I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down, and will let the dead go up and eat the living!"
.....Epic of Gilgamesh: Tablet VI
History has been no stranger to the undead, in fact it reeks of zombie stories and tales. The above text clearly speaks of the dead coming to devour the flesh of the living. Many scholars feel the "" to be the oldest written story. It was originally documented on stone tablets and passed down throughout the ages. The fact that the concept of Epic of Gilgameshzombies existed in that story lead many to speculate just how much the zombie appears in historic documentation. That was a question that I felt needed to be addressed and carefully examined. While doing my research I came across the zombie in the most unlikely of books, The Bible.
Jesus with a zombie
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What Does The Bible Say?
While still not accepted as a true work of historical documentation the Bible does seem to be a reference point for many people. The Bible is as debated as the topic of zombies themselves, and in fact those debates become heated rather quickly. With that in mind I wanted to approach the Biblical texts with as much caution as possible. I first stumbled on zombies in the Bible while reading in Matthew. Matthew 27:51-53 reads as follows:
"And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."
Now one may assume this to be ghosts as opposed to the walking dead, but it did not say that their spirits went fourth but their actual bodies. These bodies arose from the graves that once held them and made their way into the city to be witnessed by many. While it is difficult to argue for or against anything found in the Bible, especially to those who fail to see it as a significant historical document, it is important to realize that whoever wrote the texts of the Bible included such descriptions. Even though this text is open to interpretation it is not hard to see how one could see the reference to zombies within it’s context. Looking even deeper into the Bible I discovered yet another text that could in fact be about our undead friends.
"Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouth. On that day a large-scale panic from the Lord will spread among them. One person will grab the hand of another, and one will attack the other"
Breaking down that particular passage might prove much more disturbing than one may think, or at the very least care to think. Flesh rotting while the person is walking is a definitive description of what we know today as a zombie. The phrase large-scale panic could in fact be a reference to the "zombie apocalypse", or a large scale outbreak such as the one envisioned in the TV series "The Walking Dead". "One person will grab the hand of another, and one will attack the other." That seems to be a very profound description of zombies attacking the living. While this passage seems to describe the zombie infestation the next one may be the one that really catches the attention of the masses.
"And they the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves... And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which seen them"
Some might assume this to be a glimpse into the future. Is the spirit of life being referred to really that from God or is it that the incubation period for the zombie virus is simply three and a half days? All who see these walking dead will suffer great fear. This is an echo of the text from Zechariah. It reflects the same apocalyptic points. If this was just the spirit appearing than people would act as such. We see a different reaction throughout the Bible when angels or spirits appear unto people. This appearance discussed in Revelation did not get a look of amazement but one of fear.
Does the Bible foretell a zombie outbreak?
What Does It Mean?
While I can’t say with unrelenting certainty that I feel the text of the Bible to pinpoint actual zombie occurrences and descriptions I can say it is both interesting and intriguing to think that is just might be giving us a fair warning that zombies can exist.
As I stated to many people the Bible is the definitive book of answers. In it’s ageless pages we have the key to eternal life and the knowledge of the supreme creator of the world but anytime a text arises that strikes a mysterious chord or a strange look we tend to shuffle it under the table and pretend it either means something else or it is simply misquoted. I am sure each person who reads the texts I have included will see them as something different. Maybe to some it is simplistic metaphoric text to warn against some act of sin. To others it could be a reference to ghost and the existence of the spirit world, while others may choose to believe that right there within the pages of the holy word we have discovered zombies.
If we have stumbled upon a zombie reference in the book deemed true by so many than are we to believe these things will happen. The tricky part is the first few texts are past events. We do not have to concern ourselves with those events in time. The reference in Revelation however is, if you believe the bible to be accurate a foretelling of events to come and therefore a warning that a zombie outbreak may indeed be a possibility to consider.
Should We Believe?
If the Bible is dedicated fact, than are we to believe that there will be zombies? This is a tough one because in reality the Bible in it's nature is very much open to interpretation. Some people view it as a metaphor that teaches life's lessons while others view it as a Divine rendition of the life of Jesus Christ.
As an avid fan of zombies and a christian I find it remarkable that I could find such text in the Bible. It is a touchy subject to mention anything in the Bible that does not flow with the norm so I hope that I have not offended anyone with my writing here. I simply sought to make you think a little. In today's world we can not afford to close our minds to possibilities that may exist. Remember one day the earth was flat, we were the center of the universe and a black man could never be president of the United States. Thankfully for us all of those things have now fallen away to truths.
To believe or not to believe is the question. I will leave you to find the answer.