Isaiah 26:19

God of the Undead

Thy dead men shall live, their dead bodies shall arise. Those who dwell in the dust shall awake and sing, for thy dew is a dew of light, and the land of the giants thou shalt overthrow.

Isaiah 26:19

Isaiah 26 is emblematic of Old Testament prophetic literature that points to the Day of the Lord, a day of “perfect peace” (v. 3).  Within the chapter there is also an implication of one of the God of Israel’s defining features:

O LORD our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us; but thy name alone will we mention; For they do not raise the dead, they do not raise the mighty men; therefore thou hast visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.

Isaiah 26:13-14 (emphasis added)

After setting up the qualifier that “they do not raise the dead,” we are ready for the key verse of this section in which God is described as the one who raises the dead.  That being said, there is some trouble for the zombie enthusiast here, as these living dead will sing and this goes against all our preconceived notions of zombies.  We all think that zombies are terrible, evil, and unnatural.  Isaiah tells us that it is God who causes the dead to rise out their graves (cf. Matt 27:52).  Furthermore, these zombies are singing and part of an optimistic vision of the future.  The Zombie Bible Commentary offers this solution: that zombies are to be understood in a similar way as are spirits in the Bible.  Some spirits in the Bible are good such as Michael and Gabriel (and Raphael and Uriel in the Apocrypha) and others are evil/unclean such as Ha-Satan/Satan and Belial (and Asmodeus in the Apocrypha).  Though good and evil as it pertains to their activity with humans, all are from the Lord (cf. I Sam 16:14-15).  This is  a necessary ingredient in the Biblical claim that the Lord is the source of all things including both peace and calamity (cf. Isaiah 45:6-7).  Getting back to the undead, some are part of a glimpse of a holy future as in this case and in Matthew while others are part of periods of unspeakable evil as in the case of Noah or the plague in Zechariah.  In all cases though, God is God of the undead.

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