Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Zombies in the Gospel of Matthew?

Early in the life of this blog I posted on the mysterious verses in Matthew 27:51-53. In that passage we read that during the 48 hours between Jesus' death and resurrection that a number of saints were raised from the dead and then appeared to people in Jerusalem. I suggested that scene was probably not historical, but a theological construction meant to signify Jesus' death as the trigger to a general resurrection.

Well someone must be reading this blog since there is now a webcomic called ZombieJesus. Here is what one article has to say about the comic.

The comic will tell the story of the 48 hours following the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, in which a horde of zombies attack Jerusalem in search of the messiah's body.

"Zombie Jesus involves all the key players that moved behind the scenes following the crucifixion," said Liefeld. "The Disciples, Pontius Pilate, Judas Iscariot, Joseph of Arimathea all play key roles as the Undead attack. Most importantly, Lazarus, the man Christ returned from the Dead, arrives to fulfil his destiny.

"Lazarus was delivered from death for a purpose and Zombie Jesus connects all the mystery surrounding the days following the death of Christ. It's 300 meets Dawn of the Dead with a ticking clock reminiscent of 24."

I am not sure what to make of this. Apparently it is not a joke, even though it seems like one. I suppose we should be happy that someone is taking the Bible seriously. But I am not sure this what the author of Matthew had in mind.

Here is a link to some color graphics. Thanks to Terence Mournet for finding these for me.


  1. Or, check this out from the same artist - who is apparently well known graphic artist who used to work at Marvel comics...


  2. What I'd like to know is how you got a picture of me first thing in the morning....

  3. "But I am not sure this what the author of Matthew had in mind."

    Still, I'm not sure it's a bad thing if it prompts a few people to actually notice one of the most widely-ignored passages in the Gospels. When I was a kid, I used to ask people about that bit, and no one seemed to want to talk about it.

  4. Paul, I agree. See what I had to say about it and let me know what you think.

    Mike, what do you mean first thing in the morning? LOL

  5. If this was intended as a theological construction, then would it fit as being apocalyptic language proper? This would seem to fit with Matthew's audience being largely Christians of Jewish ancestry and lore, as the OT or Hebrew Bible has many instances of this sort of tropic language.

    The makers of this comic ought to integrate the Joel's brooding depiction of the sun blinking out and the moon turning to blood in Joel 2:31 -- def. zombie material ;)

  6. Rob Liefeld is doing this? Not a fan; his writing was never my favorite and his artwork was out of proportion (to put it mildly). All of his characters had enormous tops (men and especially women) but not much holding them up, in fact I always figured that he couldn't draw feet, hence why most of the comics I remember they never would show the feet or they were blurred out blobs. The concept sounds really fun so I wish him the best... and who knows, maybe over this many years he's improved all the areas that I was critical of and he'll develop a fun story with good artwork.

  7. ahhh! bobblehead zombies!! lol

  8. Dr. Byron, thanks for your honesty in dealing with this passage as a potential theological construction. In my experience, passages like this are often lightning rods for people who want to dismiss the Bible as primitive propaganda. All the while, you're right that many Christians don't even know it's there.

  9. "Paul, I agree. See what I had to say about it and let me know what you think."

    John, I've read your explanation before, and it's certainly the best approach I've seen so far.

    Perhaps it's so strange to modern Christians because so many of us have replaced the Resurrection with a disembodied afterlife in our eschatological thinking.

  10. Jesus is not a zombie because He is alive. Those people who came out of their graves after the crucifixion were zombies--the walking dead. That was a sign to unbelievers. They were not resurrected, just walking around for a while. Lazarus was not a zombie, he was raised FROM death.

    Ezekiel saw an army of zombies (skeletons, really) marching.

  11. "I suggested that scene was probably not historical, but a theological construction"

    To put it more directly: Matthew made it all up. Along with a bunch of other stuff that isn't included in the other gospels.

    But don't worry now, the *message* of the Bible is what's important, and that's still totally real, even if the text of it is just make-believe and tall tales.

  12. This mystifies me. How can you actually drive a car, use money, feed your cat, go to work, watch television, put a band-aid on a wound and live in this common and physical world but then believe (from a single blurb in the bible) that corpses actually climbed out of their graves and began walking around the city of Jerusalem. And that's all it says! Did they conduct conversations? Were they decomposing? Did they talk? Did they eventually go back into their graves a few hours or days later? Were people scared? No where else does such an outlandish and ridiculous, historical account of something so silly occur and yet.....it's in the bible, so it's true. People, I care about you. If you want to merely swallow some of the silliest notions you have ever heard (and truly believe it to be true), you're the people who buy bridges from other people.

  13. Based on experiences with a number of atheists, I've come to the conclusion that atheism isn't about beliefs or their absence. It seems more to be a convenient vehicle for people who want to make obnoxious comments about others. If there were no Christians, they would be searching for some other targets to bash.

    1. I should have qualified this, to avoid the problem of over-generalization. It applies to some atheists. Not all of the ones I've met have been jerks, although a number have been very much so.