Zombies is a term that most students of the Bible dismiss as the work of fiction. Movies, books, and tv shows refer to these creatures as the walking dead. Is there anywhere in the Bible that even refers to what we know of today as zombies? Not directly. However, in a sense, the world is full of these creatures but the world, for the most part, does not view them as the living dead.
Before we get into the story of how the world is full of the living dead at this very moment, let's look at a couple of Bilical references that could be misinterpreted to be talking about zombies starting with Matthew 27:52-53 "And the graves were opened; and many bodies 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."
I have seen a few zombie movies using a premise that took text out of context to explain why there were even zombies in the first place, "And the graves were opened." This passage, when read in its entirety, clearly shows it is the saints of God who come out of the graves. They are coming out because Jesus was bringing them out. These were not monsters or ghosts but people who had died and were rotting in a grave but now, I believe, are being resurrected into new glorified bodies. It clearly states that the graves were opened after the resurrection of Jesus and you have to read the entire chapter to understand this most remarkable event was centered around the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
These souls who were had been dead but now alive were appearing to many in Jerusalem in order to validate that Jesus was who said He was, the Son of God. Jesus was showing the world that only He had the keys to death and hell. These now undead people were certainly not half rotting bodies roaming the streets of Jerusalem seeking to eat the brains of the inhabitants. That kind of stuff belongs in the fictional world of horror books and movies.
What is astounding about this passage is the fact that it is the only mention in the entirety of scripture about others coming out of the grave after the resurrection of Jesus before and until the return of Christ. You would think there would be more records of this event as it has to be the most astounding event in history apart from the resurrection of Christ Himself. Theologians debate on what actually took place here. Was it the Old Testament saints that were resurrected? Did the ones that came out of their graves really receive their new glorified bodies? Did Jesus take them to Heaven with Him? The Bible does give us some hints such as "Jesus leading captivity captive" referred to in Ephesians 4:8 but the Scriptures really do not give us many details about what actually transpired here. One thing is for certain: the people that came out of these graves were not zombies.
This is not the only time people will come out of their graves. History has a habit of repeating itself. "15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."1 Thess. Chapter 4. One of the most amazing events that has ever happened will repeat itself except this time it will be on a much larger scale.
The other possible reference to zombie-like creatures can be found in the book of Zechariah 14:12-13 "And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. It shall come to pass in that day That a great panic from the Lord will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, And raise his hand against his neighbor’s hand;"
On the surface this could be interpreted as mutated human beings attacking each other but this is not what is going on here. This prophecy is actually a two part prophecy. The first part is the destruction of the armies who have fought against Jerusalem by the flesh melting off the skin and the other is the enemies of Israel fighting among themselves. A study of the book of Revelation shows that Satan gathers the armies of the world together in the valley of Megiddo to go against Jerusalem but what is really happening is that Satan is gathering the armies to oppose Christ when Christ returns to Earth. Jerusalem is the just the excuse to get the armies of the world to that location.
The skin melting on the flesh of these armies is probably caused by Christ Himself when He returns but we cannot totally rule out that Israel has retaliated with nuclear weaponry.
There are several instances in the Old Testament that God caused the enemies of Israel to become confused and attack and kill each other. A good example is from the story of Gideon. God had chosen Gideon to lead Israel against their oppressors, the Midanites. God had chosen 300 men to accompany Gideon into battle against thousands of Midianites. Impossible odds, right? Not if God is backing you up. Here is what happened "22 When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp;" Instead of attacking Gideon's men, the Midianites attacked and killed each other in their confusion. It was an easy victory for Israel.
However, the Bible does tell us that the world is full of zombies. In order to explain this some groundwork has to be laid. What is the definition of a zombie? According to Dictionary Reference dot com a zombie is "a.the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose."
In the book of Matthew, Jesus talks about the living as being dead: "21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Chapter 8 How can the dead bury the dead? Jesus was referring to the fact that people are spiritually dead. What Jesus was saying here was "let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead but follow me and I will give you life."
In the first part of the definition of a zombie it states, "the body of a dead person given the semblance of life." According to the Bible, all of mankind is born with a sin nature. This sin nature makes a person blind to the spiritual things of God. Man is spiritually dead. In fact, this sin nature controls everything a person does making that person "mute and will-less". The "by a supernatural force" is Satan who led man into sin in the first place and "usually for some evil purpose" is the selfishness of man doing what he wants to do instead of what God wants him to do.
The majority of mankind, if you compare the definition of a zombie with what the scriptures teach about the nature of man, are the livng dead. Their physical bodies move about but their spiritual being is completely dormant. In the movies, zombies are destroyed by a blow to the head. In a sense, the living dead of this world are also destroyed by a blow to the head but in a slightly different fashion. Paul taught this in Romans Chapter 12 verse 2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
You cease being a zombie when you are transformed by the renewing of your mind through reading and studying the Bible. You are born into this world with a physical body but your spiritual body does not yet live until you are "born again." Peter stated, "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God." Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be "born again" if he wanted to see the kingdom of God.
How does one go about leaving the world of the living dead into the world of the spiritually alive? Jesus was talking of Himself when He spoke these words as recorded in scripture "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Again Jesus is talking about those who refuse to believe in Him and trust in Him as "being dead." In John Chapter 11 Jesus again states,"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"
Those who trust in what Christ did on the cross to take away our sins, pass from death unto life. In a sense, we are zombies in reverse. We are born as the walking dead but then we are resurrected into the world of the truly living. Jesus said of Himself "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
Are there zombies mentioned in the Bible? Yes but they are not defined as such. Are there zombies in our world? Yes but they are not called that. Are you a zombie? Not if you are born again but if you aren't then God sees you as one of the living dead.
Copyright 2013 by Gary Goodworth
Audio Adrenaline did a song referring to Christians as Some Kind of Zombie. Click on the link to watch it.
Some Kind of Zombie