The 21st Century entertainment industry seems obsessed with movies and television programs about zombies, the so-called ‘walking dead.’ According to folklore, zombies are dead humans who are ‘reanimated’ by some form of magic and who roam the earth hungry for human flesh, and, according to some lore, human brains. They are without souls, they are without free will, and they behave like automatons. Their flesh is rotting, yet by some power they continue to live on earth, presumably forever. The only way to kill them is to destroy whatever brain remains in their skulls. Of course, zombies are fictional. They do not really exist. Yet there is an interesting correlation between the fictional zombies and the ‘walking dead’ spoken of by Jesus.
“Then another of the disciples said to him: ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him: ‘Keep following me, and let the dead bury their dead.’”
– Matthew 8:21-22
Of course, Jesus is not referring to literal dead people. The dead cannot bury anyone, or perform any actions. He is referring to those who are not enlightened, those who walk according to the flesh, who have no appreciation for spiritual things, and who do not choose the spiritual life eternal as offered by Jesus.
The apostle Paul also described the ‘walking dead’ as those who focus primarily on maintaining their physical lives, rather than their spiritual ones:
“Furthermore, God made you alive, though you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you at one time walked according to the system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Yes, among them we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, carrying out the will of the flesh and of our thoughts, and we were naturally children of wrath just as the rest.”
– Ephesians 2:1-3
Additionally, Paul identified the walking dead as those who held to the old Mosaic law in spite of the fact that Jesus brought an end to that old religious system:
“Furthermore, though you were dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcised state of your flesh, God made you alive together with him. He kindly forgave us all our trespasses and erased the handwritten document that consisted of decrees and was in opposition to us. He has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the torture stake.”
– Colossians 2:13-14
According to Watchtower teachings, the Jews looked forward to a resurrection – a re-animation of the physical body – to live forever on earth. Even after Jesus invited them to the heavens, they chose the reanimation over a resurrection in spiritual bodies in the heavens.
Most Jehovah’s Witnesses hold onto the old Jewish hope of reanimation to live forever on earth. Most reject the spirit of God that resides in them, the divine spark of life, that bears witness that they are sons of God who will inherit heaven. (Romans 8:16-17) Like automatons, they blindly follow the commands of men – the 7 members of their Governing Body. They have no freedom to make their own decisions about their personal lives, but must respond automatically and obediently to the directives of ‘the Slave,’ whether those directives appear sound from a human standpoint or not. And they spend their time roaming the earth looking for others to indoctrinate into their dead hope. A striking parallel!
This ‘zombie’ mindset was demonstrated in an exchange we had with a young Jehovah’s Witness Elder this past week where we occasionally mentioned the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of God or just used the word ‘spirit.’ His response was “Why do you keep talking about all that spirit hocus-pocus?” To this young man, the spirit is likened to demonism or spiritism. He demonstrated a lack of appreciation for, or comprehension of, the spirit or spiritual things even though he claims to worship a God who IS spirit!
But he is not unique in the Watchtower organization. We see this same lack of spiritual comprehension in so many bodies of Elders whose main concern is not whether one is in line with God, or Jesus or the Bible, but whether one is in line with ‘the Slave.’ We also see it from the very top beginning with the arrogance of the Governing Body who claim to be the channel God is using on earth today, despite Jesus’ clear statement that HE is in control of his congregation by means of the Spirit of Truth. (John 16:13-15) This same spiritual illiteracy is also evident in the publications of the Writing Department. A review of their writings over the years reveals a shocking lack of understanding of the spirit or the Spirit of Truth or any spirit influence, other than demonic influence. And their perpetual rulemaking to control every aspect of the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses reveals that the spirit is not with them because, as Paul wrote:
“Now Jehovah is the Spirit, and where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:17
Possibly the most egregious offense is their harassment of anyone who acknowledges the work of the spirit in bearing witness with them that they are brothers to Christ Jesus and sons of God.
“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
– Matthew 25:40,45
“But whoever stumbles one of these little ones who have faith in me, it would be better for him to have hung around his neck a millstone that is turned by a donkey and to be sunk in the open sea.”
– Matthew 18:6
But how can Jehovah’s Witnesses be saved from their ‘walking death?’ What can be done to help them awaken from their stupor? Only a renewing of the mind can make a difference – destroying the old mind and putting on the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) They must abandon their false hope to be reanimated in the flesh, and be baptized into Christ’s death so they can be resurrected to the real life in the heavens with Christ Jesus:
“What are we to say then? Should we continue in sin so that undeserved kindness may increase? Certainly not! Seeing that we died with reference to sin, how can we keep living any longer in it? Or do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? So we were buried with him through our baptism into his death, in order that just as Christ was raised up from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in a newness of life. If we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united with him in the likeness of his resurrection. For we know that our old personality was nailed to the stake along with him in order for our sinful body to be made powerless, so that we should no longer go on being slaves to sin. For the one who has died has been acquitted from his sin.”
– Romans 6:1-7
So while zombies are mere fiction, there are indeed those who are spiritually dead, yet walking among us. And their dead hope of living forever on earth is also a fiction. The human body was not meant to live forever because it can never gain perfection, and can never please God:
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, on the things of the spirit. For setting the mind on the flesh means death, but setting the mind on the spirit means life and peace; because setting the mind on the flesh means enmity with God, for it is not in subjection to the law of God, nor, in fact, can it be. So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God.”
– Romans 8:5-8
We pray that all the ‘walking dead’ among Jehovah’s Witnesses regain their senses, awaken from their death stroll, and abandon the corrupting influence of men who have no knowledge or appreciation for spiritual matters. Let the spiritually dead Governing Body bury their own spiritually dead children, but let those who follow Christ accept the leading of the Spirit of Truth and get on the path to ‘the real life.’ (1 Timothy 6:19)
For a further discussion see: The Cherished Earthly Hope, The Destiny of Man and The Promised Resurrection.