Well, it seems that this ghoulish sensation isn't such a new occurrence after all; and may not be as fictional as you think. As with every evil personification in history, you can find demonic involvement. You may be surprised to find out that your average zombie shares the same characteristics with the ancient worship of the God of wine, abandon, and revelry, known as Bacchus, or Dionysus, in the Greek. For the purpose of this discussion, we will use his Greek name.
So, by all mythological accounts, Dionysus just sounds like he was a party hound deluxe. But there's more to him than just being the champion of "a good time". According to Greek mythology, he is seen as "the protector of those who do not belong to conventional society and thus symbolizes everything which is chaotic, dangerous and unexpected, everything which escapes human reason and which can only be attributed to the unforeseeable action of the gods." (Wikipedia) But that's not all. Those who partake of his mysteries are possessed and empowered by the god himself. His cult is also a "cult of the souls"; his female followers feed the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant between the living and the dead. Starting to get a picture of who this "god" might be? Well, let me take you a little farther.
In 410 B.C., the Greek dramatist, Euripides, proclaimed the greatness of Dionysus in his play The Bacchantes (who were members of a religious cult that swept over Greece in the 600s BC, a period of social and political upheaval). Euripides portrayed Dionysus as having "put off the god and taken human shape". In the play, Dionysus boasts that he has fallen to earth, sent by "the one who will loose me" to do his evil work.
The play accurately depicted the real-life followers of Dionysus, who had no love for moral guidelines or laws of the conventional world. Dionysus had been sent to help them gain a spiritual state of ecstasy through their rituals. And just what were those acts of worship? On the conservative side, women migrated in frenzied hillside groups, dressed in fawn skins accompanied by screaming, music, dancing, and licentious behavior. But that didn't satisfy their lust for "anything goes". In fact, any creature that dared to resist or flee their perverse rituals was often subjected to sparagmos (tearing apart) and omophagia (consumed raw). This lifestyle was so rampant and so depraved, that it was eventually outlawed by the Greeks and Romans. Beginning to see a resemblance to Zombies, now?
While you may think this ancient cult wished to possess the soul of the one consumed, the goal was actually more demonic. They really sought to capture the essence of Dionysus and bring him through a portal of incarnated rage within humans. It is not surprising, that the Hebrews of that age believed demonic possession was actually a result of the rituals of these followers of Dionysus. And apparently something called a kestatot (magic band) was used to capture the souls of people by magic. Even the prophet Ezekiel warns against them: And say, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the women who sew pillows to all armholes and fasten magic, protective charms to all wrists, and deceptive veils upon the heads of those of every stature to hunt and capture human lives! Will you snare the lives of My people to keep your own selves alive? (Ezekiel 13:18; Amplified Bible).
|Statue of the "Rites of Dionysus"|
But there's more to understanding Dionysus and his significance in Greek mythology. According to Wikipedia, "the Dio-element has been associated since antiquity with Zeus" -- another name for our old friend Nimrod, a clear representative of Anti-Christ. Furthermore, he was the son of a mortal woman and Zeus, king of the gods. (You should recognize this as imitating the Bible's Genesis 6 account of fallen angels mating with human women). There are a couple of different versions of the birth and death of Dionysys. In one account, his mortal mother asks Zeus to reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his godhood. He came to her wreathed in bolts of lightning; mortals, however, could not look upon an undisguised god without dying, and she perished in the ensuing blaze. (Another attempt by Satan to counterfeit God's Shekinah Glory in ancient mythology). Zeus rescues the unborn Dionysus by sewing him into his thigh, and later releases the fully-grown baby from his thigh on Mount Pramnos in the Aegean Sea.
Another version has Dionysus as the son of Zeus and Persephone, the queen of the Underworld. Zeus's jealous wife, Hera, enlists the aid of the Greek gods, the Titans, to dismember Dionysus. Once again Zeus saves his son by retrieving the heart and sewing it into his thigh, from whence a reborn Dionysus emerges. Both stories present an enigmatic death and rebirth legend that came in handy to various pagan religions that reverenced the mysteries surrounding this "god". (It also didn't hurt Satan's cause of counterfeiting Christ's death and resurrection).
These "Dionysian Mysteries" were, in one sense, a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. There were elaborate (and debauched) rituals initiating people into this cult, which are too depraved to recount here. Suffice it to say, that a partial rendition of the Invocation of Dionysus gives you a clear picture of the nature of this religious veneration: "I call upon loud-roaring and revelling Dionysus, primeval, double-natured, thrice-born, Bacchic lord, wild, ineffable, secretive, two-horned and two-shaped. Ivy-covered, bull-faced, warlike, howling, pure, You take raw flesh, you have feasts, wrapt in foliage, decked with grape clusters...".
One of the oldest written stories on earth (between 2750 and 2500 BC), called The Epic of Gilgamesh, records the vow of the Goddess of the Underworld, Ishtar (also known as Nimrod's wife): I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld, I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down, and will let the dead go up to eat the living! And the dead will outnumber the living!
This could perfectly describe what we witness each week on the current TV blockbuster, The Walking Dead. It is no coincidence that we are seeing this recurring theme once again in human history. As I said earlier, George Romero's frightening 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead brought the concept of "the devouring undead" to our conscious minds. However, he didn't refer to them as "zombies" in this first movie, but rather "ghouls"; which is actually more appropriate because in Arabic folklore and myths, ghouls are demons. In the sequel to the movie, Dawn of the Dead, we first hear the term "zombie", which is thought to be a reflection of Voodoo resurrections of the dead in such demonically-influenced cultures as Haiti.
Fast forward to our modern fixation on the "Zombie Apocalypse"; a breakdown of society as a result of an initial zombie outbreak from a plague/virus, which spreads and threatens to consume all of mankind. By now, it should be clear that our addiction and preoccupation with Zombies has become, perhaps, just a subconscious realization that they represent the coming of the complete, and final, destruction of the world as presented in the Book of Revelation.
Throughout the ages, Satan has attempted to influence mankind to come over to the dark side. And he has been creative in his efforts, I will give him that. Whether he tells his story through the lure of uninhibited revelry, the legends of mighty gods, or the seduction of a frightening apocalypse, Death is his perpetual theme, and the process of decay is ongoing. We must not become distracted by Lucifer's intelligence and beauty. We must be mindful to guard ourselves against the mania that takes our eyes off our only Source of True Life.
If we belong to the Lord, we don't have to fear Satan's demonic influence in our culture. Zombies are just the latest manifestation out of his ancient playbook. The story never changes; he offers only death and decay -- and we know the ending!
Revelation 1:17-18 "... Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Ever-living One [I am living in the eternity of the eternities]. I died, but see, I am alive forevermore; and I possess the keys of death and Hades (the realm of the dead)."