11/9/2013 0 Comments
The Age of Death
By: Eric Boothe
I have found my mind this past week filled with odd thoughts of zombies. Perhaps the Halloween season and other circumstances surrounding the week had something to do with this, I don't really know. I am not much of a Halloween person. I never have been. I do not like scary things and I remember in my childhood being petrified when a man dressed in a scary mask showed up in the garage where dad and I were working. I found it hard to control my bladder muscles that night as a child. I have never found my mind considering such "bodies" and pondering them. I have found it strange but I also have to admit I have found the concept somewhat fascinating.
The thoughts began last week as I was preparing to do devotions. Devotions usually start at 10:00 and at 9:30 I sat down to read my bible for a little bit. Discontentment was in me with what I had previously prepared to share. I was there just to read not knowing what I was looking for. It occurred to me that our culture seems to be preoccupied with death. When we watch TV there are a variety of shows that revolve around death. Many video games desensitize us to the reality of death and other images we see on a regular basis keep our minds captivated and entertained by death. Zombies seem to be one of the biggest trends out there lately. It's not uncommon to hear the "what if" talk of a zombie apocalypse by those attending The Barn. I'm intrigued shows like "The Walking Dead" are such a big hit. What is it about such shows that draw our attention and a crowd?
Perhaps its because death isn't natural. What I mean is, even though it is something we all will experience someday there is nothing normal about it. It's the great unknown. Death is NOT the end that God created us to have. Therefore it is not natural and there is something within our souls resonating with the opposite, that is, life. Perhaps zombies are intriguing because they are beings we have created who actually raise from the dead. No matter how distorted, unrealistic and un-human they are, they have resurrected. They defeated death, the great unknown.
I have decided that a zombie apocalypse, at least on some level, is not outside the scope of scripture. Before you freak out, let me tell a story. God has qualities about him that he has made known to us. He has done this by speaking to people here on earth who recorded what they were told. These recordings have been guarded and kept and put together in the Bible. If we study God's words we find there are patterns in the ways he does things. This proves to us that God is consistent and unchangeable. He is a great and mighty God. If you read my previous post, we found due to the consequences of Adam we live in the age of death. Sin is in the world and the wage of sin is death. We all must face death because all have sinned. However, death is not the pattern of God, life is.
We see God establishing this pattern of who he is and how he works very early on in the Bible. However, the story I want to recount is found in one of the most thought provoking, gut wrenching, glorious, sad, R-rated, amazing, visual books of the Bible, Ezekiel. During the time of Ezekiel, Israel was a broken nation. They had been split, led from the land that God had promised them and held captive in a foreign land among people they did not know. Death had come to Israel as a nation. They had been exiled. God gave Ezekiel a vision which is one of the most well known passages of Scripture today, "The Valley of Dry Bones." In his vision Ezekiel was taken to a valley which was covered and full of dry bones. God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones and say, "Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord" (37:4-6 NIV). To Ezekiel's amazement, as he spoke the bones came together and raised to life.
God had not shown Ezekiel this vision just for the fun of it or because it was a cool experience. No, there was a point to it. The bones were a representation of the nation of Israel in their death. But God has a plan for them. God commanded Ezekiel to further speak and say, "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them" (37:12-13). There are two phrases repeated in both of these passages I quoted. First, "This is what the Sovereign Lord says," is one that is repeated throughout the book of Ezekiel. God is on a mission to let us know that what he says is what will happen. His words have power and the power is evidenced in life. God raised the bones to life. Who God is, is evidenced in his action. When you are raised from your graves, "then you will know that I am the Lord." The evidence of God's action is more than enough evidence and proof God exist, he is Lord,and he alone is worthy of our worship. When death is overcome and you are raised from your graves, "then you will know that I am the Lord." When God acts we can be convinced without doubt that he is Lord!
Well this was just a vision Ezekiel saw right? Has something like this actually happened since then? The answer is yes. Six hundred years later Jesus was dying on the cross. As he breathed his last breath something remarkable happens. "The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out or their tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people" (Matthew 27:51-53). This was a zombie apocalypse of sorts. However, these people who were raised to life were not out to hurt anyone. Nor were they un-human and made of rotting flesh. They were holy people raised to life. They were raised to prove a point. A great work had been done. God had spoken. God had taken action, there was and is to be a resurrection, and he alone is proven Lord. He is the one who has power over death and even though he died on a cross he was raised to life. The words God spoke through Ezekiel were proven true 600 years later by the raising of bodies from the grave and the proclamation of a roman soldier, "Surely he was the Son of God!" (27:54). The age of death had taken a serious blow!
The question I kept asking as I sat and thought about devotions was, "why is our culture so fascinated and focused on death?" It is true we are still experiencing death today. The Bible clearly gives us hope that death has been defeated and there is a day coming when we will be fully rid of death. If our expectation is one of life, why do we find ourselves fascinated by TV shows revolving around death, and zombies? The hope of a resurrection is very foundational to Christianity. The writer of 1 Corinthians tells us if Jesus has not been resurrected from the grave, "we are to be pitied more than all men" (15:19). But Jesus has indeed been raised. This is one way that Jesus' works are much more than those of Adam. "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive" (v. 22). I assure you Jesus is at work. He must reign until he has squashed all his enemies. The last of his enemies to be defeated will be death (vv. 22-26). The age of death is being defeated. We have hope in the age of life. God has given us all the evidence we need to be convinced this is true. Let's not act like the resurrection of Christ has not happened and live in pity. Let's focus on the age of life, it may just make our days brighter!
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There are many ways we can interpret things that our minds take in. The Bible is full of wisdom to lead us in interpreting and pondering the things of life. These writings are a result of my ponderings and can involve sports, books, movies, culture, music, Barn happenings, and other life events.
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