My most popular post on this blog is A Biblical Zombie Apocalypse. In fact, the majority of searches that lead to my blog have people searching for things like “are there zombies in the Bible?” or “What Bible says about zombies.” (now, a post mentioning Chthulhu is giving my post on zombies a run for it’s money). A number of people insist that there’s going to be a zombie apocalypse or that there really could be something in the Bible abut it. Let me be clear: Zombies aren’t real (I mean, there are bugs that create zombie bugs, but that is so totally something different) and the Bible says nothing about there being zombies.
And then I begin looking at Ezekiel 37:1-14. Ah, crud. Zombies again? It’s the classic passage of the valley of dry bones. Ezekiel is a prophet preaching to the Israelites who had been taken into exile from their land and forced to live in Babylon. The people felt dead. The people felt alone. The people felt hopeless. And then God gives Ezekiel a vision of the valley of dry bones.
God tells Ezekiel to tell these dry, brittle, very much dead bones to come to life. And then we see what happens. It’s a reverse decomposition. The sinews, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and then flesh comes back onto the dead bones. A huge vast group of bodies standing up. Yet they aren’t alive.
Uhm….no. These aren’t the undead. They just aren’t alive. Oh, and this is also a vision, so it’s not actual reality. God promises to bring His people back from exile and give them new life. Okay, so that’s a physical reality. That’s good.
But God promises even more. He then sends His Spirit, His breath, upon these bodies, and they become truly alive. Again, not zombies. What was once dead is now alive–not undead actually alive.
There’s a greater promise going on here too. There is the promise of the resurrection. To resurrect is to bring back to live. But the resurrection is even more awesomer than that. It’s a new state of being. A new life. A new reality. A new existence. And off of this through Jesus.
In John 11, Jesus receives news that His friend Lazarus is dying. Jesus waits a bit and then goes to visit them. Lazarus is dead. Hes been dead for 4 days. Jesus didn’t make it in time. But something awesomer is going to happen.
As Jesus approaches the village, Martha, Lazarus’ sister, comes running out to meet Jesus. If only Jesus had been there earlier, her brother would be alive. But Jesus says he’ll live. Martha then says something interesting
“I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” John 11:24
She’s confessing that she knows that in the distant future, when God makes all things new again, Lazarus will be whole again and even better. He’ll be raised to life like those bones in the vision of the valley of the dry bones. Lazarus was in a hole carved into a hillside with a stone rolled in front of it. He was sealed in tight and dead for 4 days. He was totally completely dead but he’d be raised to life one day.
But Jesus says something to her that blows your mind
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives, by believing in me will never die.” John 11:25
The resurrection isn’t about some distant future. It’s about today. Right here. Right now. Today we experience the comfort of the resurrection. It isn’t about something in the distant future (nor something that the Left Behind books could even envision). It’s about today.
And he did. The dude who’d been dead for 4 days walked out of a tomb. Again though, not a zombie. But actually alive. And this is just a glimmer of what will happen when Jesus returns.
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed–in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
Again, not zombies. Not even close.
Zombies are rotting corpses with the intent of eating the brains and flesh of the living or turning people into other zombies. There is only one drive and that’s “Braaaaiiiinnnsss” And the only way to kill a zombie is to blow it’s something something head off.
That’s not the resurrection. The resurrection which Ezekiel sees in his vision of the valley of dry bones, the resurrection which Jesus says whom He is, the resurrection which Paul writes about, is a new life, a new reality, a new imperishable, immortal life a new forever living with God and our savior.
This is much more cooler than a zombie apocalypse with rotting flesh and brain eating in the Bible. This is new life living in paradise. I like that idea a lot better.