SPOILER WARNINGS FOR BLEACH: THE THOUSAND YEAR BLOOD WAR!
Ywach is the final villain of the Shonen anime series Bleach. Bleach is a series about a 15-year-old boy who has had the ability to see spirits ever since he was little. One day, his home is attacked by a hollow, an evil spirit that devours souls. When a soul reaper named Rukia Kuchiki is badly injured in the fight, she passes on her powers to Ichigo who proceeds to the defeat the hollow with his Zanpakuto (the sword that soul reapers wield). Ichigo proceeds in the following episodes to carry out the duties of a soul reaper; (1) killing hollows who would devour the souls of both living and dead humans and (2) using the hilt of his zanpakuto to send wandering disembodied souls to the afterlife. Eventually, we learn that Ichigo has soul reaper powers of his own after having his borrowed powers taken away in a fight against Rukia’s older brother who badly injured Ichigo and took Rukia back to the Soul Society to answer for her crime of giving her powers to a human. Bleach ran in a “monster of the week” formula until about episode 17 which is when this fight against Byakuya and Rukia’s arrest occurred. Bleach then shifted into more overarching story arcs. Fast forward a few hundred episodes after the defeat of the first main antagonist, and we are introduced to the true “big bad” of the series Ywach.
Ywach And Jesus’ Similar Characteristics
Ywach is a character who many in the Bleach fandom have compared to Jesus Christ. And honestly, I can’t help but see the similarities myself. They have similar appearances; a dark brown beard and long dark brown hair, their followers carry crosses, Ywach is the son of “The Soul King” who is basically the God of the Bleach universe The Soul King created The World Of The Living, The Soul Society, and Hueco Mundo. Interestingly, The Soul King is not said to have created Hell. One wonders why the different worlds of Bleach are … Continue reading, Ywach’s plan is to rid the world of the very concept of death, and if all of this weren’t enough, his (very overpowered) ability is called “The Almighty” and his name, Ywach, is clearly a play on the Tetragrammaton (YHWH). And like the Tetragrammaton, there were many debates over even how to pronounce his name. Before The Thousand Year Blood War Arc got adapted into anime, fans would pronounce his name as “Juha … Continue reading
Jesus is often depicted as having brown hair and a beard. Based on the fact that Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jewish man, I think this idea is most likely accurate. Jewish men were forbidden from trimming the edges of their beard according to Leviticus 19:27, and Jesus obeyed the law perfectly (see Matthew 5:17-18, Philippians 2:8, Hebrews 4:15), and as for the long hair part, this is at least possible. Jesus’ followers also often carry crosses because Jesus was crucified on a cross to atone for our sins (Mark 15:21-37, Matthew 27:32-44, John 19, 1 Corinthians 15:3, 1 John 2:2, Josephus – Antiquities 18.3.3, Tacitus – Annals 15). Jesus is The Son Of God (e.g John 20:36), and God is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1, Nehemiah 9:6, Revelation 4:11). And the name of God in The Old Testament is YHWH.
The Defeat Of Death – A Bad Thing In A World Of Sin
Ywach’s villainous scheme is to do away with death. Sound familiar? It should. Because Jesus’ goal is likewise to do away with death. Isaiah 25:8 says “He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken.” (NKJV) Revelation 20:14 says “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (NKJV) The apostle Paul talks about Jesus Christ’s defeat of death at length in 1 Corinthians 15. When Jesus eventually does so, we get a beautiful utopian vision described in Revelation 21-22.
Since Ywach’s goal is the same as Jesus’, can a Christian really disagree with Ywach? I’ve been sitting on this for a while now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that; yes you can. Because despite the similarities, Ywach is not “the Jesus of the Bleach world”. And there’s something Jesus will do prior to doing away with death that doesn’t even seem to be on Ywach’s radar; doing away with sin! I will argue that death is a restraining force on evil, and unless evil is done away with, death should continue to exist. I will go into some thought experiments that will show the absolute Hell of a world we’d live in if everyone was invincible and immortal.
Ywach’s goal is to kill his father, The Soul King, because when he does so, the world will collapse and revert back to their prior state. Death will be no more and neither will the fear of death. There will just be one world, no more dying, becoming a disembodied soul, dying in Soul Society, being reincarnated in The World Of The Living, lather, rinse repeat. No more being devoured by hollows (which results in complete annihilation of the person). No more life-death cycles. The problem is that Ywach never once mentions the problem of sin and doesn’t seem to have any goal to rid the world of that. If I were to agree with Ywach’s goal, doing away with the problem of sin would have to not only be on his radar, but it would have to be chronologically first in the scheme of things.
God introduced death into the world for a reason. We talk about Adam introducing death into the world (see Genesis 3 and Romans 5) and this isn’t wrong. Because of Adam’s disobedience, he and his wife were removed from the garden of Eden and we no longer have access to The Tree of Life. But technically speaking, it was God who brought death into the world. God did this in response to Adam and Eve’s disobedience. This is stated in Genesis 3:22 “And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’ So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.” (NIV)
Well, why would living forever be a bad thing? Because ever since that time, mankind has been inherently sinful. Psalm 58:3 says “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.” (ESV) Galatians 5:19-23 says “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (ESV) In Romans 5, Paul talks about how we inherit a sinful nature from Adam, and because Adam sinned, we have a sin nature, because we have a sin nature, we sin, and because we sin, we die, and in Romans 7, Paul talks about how he struggles to resist his sinful nature and do the right thing rather than the wrong thing. We are sinners by nature. We are so sinful that if God were to leave us to our own devices, we would want nothing to do with him. When a person comes to Christ, it’s because The Holy Spirit draws him (John 6:44).
History has played out how horrible humanity is. Indeed, whether you’re reading a history book or watching the national news, it is evident that human beings are horrible, wretched creatures. What would happen if everyone who is inclined to do evil were immortal? Well, imagine Adolf Hitler and his hatred of the Jews because he saw them as inferior creatures. Hitler killed around 6 million Jews. If the Jews were invincible and immortal, he and the Nazis might have imprisoned them and tortured them rather than killing them. They might have tortured the poor Jewish people for eons, with the Jews never being able to see the light of day, but only having immense pain and suffering visited on them in their underground cells day after day after day. And they wouldn’t even be able to find solace in the sweet release of death. Indeed, because death would not exist, the Nazis could horribly dismember the Jews all they want without having to worry about accidentally killing them. They could lop off their heads and their victims would still be alive. Now, the world, who hated Hitler’s crimes against humanity, would obviously step in and stop that from happening eventually, just as they actually did. Well, yes, but what would we do with Hitler? We wouldn’t be able to kill him because, like everyone else, he’d be invincible and immortal. Perhaps we could imprison Hitler and the Nazis at best, and so bring an end to his reign of terror. But that wouldn’t last. Given a non-zero probability and an infinite amount of time, Hitler and the Nazis would eventually find a way to break out. And given a non-zero probability and an infinite amount of time, they’d eventually find a way to conquer the world, imprisoning all who disagreed with their goal and brainwashing the rest. Thus, eventually, even if it took some time, Hitler would be a global dictator and the Jews would have no future to look forward to but one of imprisonment and eternal conscious torment at the hands of the Nazis.
What about terrorists? Because they would be incapable of dying, I can imagine them being even more bold in their attacks. The Kamikaze pilots could crash their planes into Pearl Harbor and not worry about dying. Not that those at Pearl Harbor would have to worry about dying either, but they would suffer. In fact, entire armies could wage war against each other without having to worry about losing a single man. Warriors would just hack, stab, and slice each other without anyone dying. All they’d be doing is inflicting suffering on one another. Now, you might wonder why anyone would even wage war in a world where no one can die. You might object that such a horrific scenario would never occur because no one would see the point in attacking if the enemy could not be killed. I think one reason why war might still be waged in this hypothetical world is that the goal wouldn’t be to kill the enemy, but just to incapacitate their fighting ability enough.
On a non-national scales, can you imagine a bank robber who has nothing to fear? He doesn’t need to worry about getting shot by a police man. He could charge straight at them at attack them while the bullets bounce off of him like he’s Superman, not unlike how some under the influence of PCP have done.
I just want you to imagine the chaos of every single event tyrant from history, every serial killer, every rapist, every thief, every kidnapping pedophile, every terrorist who has ever lived never being able to die. I want you to imagine a world where death is not a threat. If it’s not a threat, it can’t be a deterrent. And believe me, it is a deterrent.
Death is a restraining force on evil. When you have death to fear, that will go into your calculations on whether you ought to or ought not to do something. You don’t poke a bear because it could maul you to death. You don’t charge at armed cops because they could shoot you dead. You don’t wage war unless you know you have enough fighting men who can defeat the enemy. And if you’re imprisoned in a basement by some sicko, death can even be a release. Death is a penalty for heinous crimes (Genesis 9:6) so that can serve as a deterrent for committing capital offenses. But if there were no death, where would these deterrents be?
It would be like in a video game. I remember playing Grand Theft Auto once when I was about 12 years old. I didn’t play it seriously, I was just messing around. In the game, my character kept hijacking cars and running over people as I aimlessly raced about the city. There were no consequences. If my character got shot, my character would be the one to die, not me. If he wrecked, I would not be harmed. Who cares? I even remember having my character just run up and punch random people. It’s just a video game. There are no serious consequences.
Now, what about the world of Bleach? In the world of Bleach, people would still have to live in fear of hollows. According to the Bleach lore, hollows somehow existed in the primordial world before Reio, The Soul King, split the worlds. Moreover, mad scientists like Mayuri Kurotsuchi and Szayelaporro Granz would be able to carry out cruel and twisted science experiments on their subjects without their subjects even being able to escape their suffering through death!
The Defeat Of Death – A Good Thing If Sin Is Done Away With First
God’s original intention was for humans to live for all eternity. That is why the Tree Of Life even existed in the garden to begin with. It’s why Jesus’ mission is to undo death in the end. But first, sin must be done away with. Jesus died on the cross to remove the penalty of death from all of us (Isaiah 53:5, John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, 1 Peter 3:18). Because of our moral crimes, we not only deserve physical death, but total annihilation. Jesus suffered and died in our place to placate the wrath of God. All we have to do is place our faith in Jesus in order for Him to be registered as our substitute. Moreover, after placing our faith in Christ, we are not only justified by His blood, but we are sanctified by His Holy Spirit.
God will do away with sin in one of two ways; he will justify, sanctify, and glorify some and he will completely destroy everyone else. For those who place their faith in Christ, we will have Christ’s blood wash away our sins, His Holy Spirit will transform our character day by day until we reach a state of sinlessness in glorification. For those who refuse to accept Jesus as their Savior, the wrath of God will remain on them (John 3:36) and they will experience death not only of their bodies but of their souls also (see Matthew 10:28).
Only when sin is completely done away with will God do away with death. 1 Corinthians 15:20-26 says “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
Notice that Paul says “the LAST enemy to be destroyed is death”. Jesus will not do away with death prior to sin being done away with. Even in Revelation, we see that death is thrown into the lake of fire only AFTER those whose names weren’t found in the book of life were thrown in. Death and Hades are thrown into the lake of fire in Revelation 20:14, while unredeemed sinners are thrown into the lake of fire in Revelation 20:12, two whole verses prior.
As Christians, I think we can absolutely see Ywach as a villain who needs to be stopped. If Ywach got his way, the worlds would become the kind of dystopian society described above. The reason we can praise Jesus for doing away with death is because unlike Ywach, Jesus doesn’t put the cart before the horse. Jesus will do away with the sinful nature in His followers, and do away with unrepentant sinners in Hell. Those who follow Jesus will have the penalty for their sins removed, and the power of their sinful nature purged. Those who insist on continuing in sin and rebellion will face judgment. In the end, there will be no more sin. Humanity will fall into two groups; Repented redeemed saints and rebels fit for the slaughter. Because of this, the world without death that Yahweh is working to achieve will be a utopia rather than a dystopia.
|↑1||The Soul King created The World Of The Living, The Soul Society, and Hueco Mundo. Interestingly, The Soul King is not said to have created Hell. One wonders why the different worlds of Bleach are most frequently grouped as the 3; The World Of The Living, Soul Society, and Hueco Mundo. Perhaps we’ll get answers in the continuation that Tite Kubo seems to plan on doing, which started with a “one shot” called “Bleach: No Breathes From Hell”. Some fans have speculated that Hell is the leftovers of the former primordial world before The Soul King decided to split the world into three.|
|↑2||And like the Tetragrammaton, there were many debates over even how to pronounce his name. Before The Thousand Year Blood War Arc got adapted into anime, fans would pronounce his name as “Juha Bach”, “Yoo-hah”, “Yoo-ha-ba-ha”, “Ya-watch”, “Joo-ha”, and “Joo-ha-ba-ha”. Not unlike the debate over whether YHWH should be pronounced “Yahweh” or “Jehovah”.|