The Matrix movie is abundant of symbolism and implications. Most of them can be easily recognized as falling within Christian tradition, including images, characters and references to the Holy Scripture as well. However, most of the symbols lie on the surface, some of them might still need deeper analysis and examination.
The main character of the film –Neo, who is the prototype of the Jesus Christ, and there are many evidences indicative of this fact. First of all, the name Neo, which means “new”, is the anagram of the word “One”, which also means “chosen”. He has been several times called “the One” in the movie, the one who has come to change and save the world. In the Scripture Jesus was called the One, chosen by God, who came to save our world. Neo’s another name is Thomas Anderson – Anderson is translated from Greek as “son of a man”, which tells about his human nature, as well as it is presented in Jesus – son of the God, but son of a man as well: “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed one?” Jesus responded “I am: and you shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”( Mark 14:61). Moreover, after being arrested, Neo had a conversation with Mr.Smith, who tells him that he has “two lives”, one as Neo and one as Mr. Anderson. This also suggests the idea of the double nature of God, and the fact that Jesus himself wasn’t aware of the fact him being a God, he lived as a son of a man, till He was baptized. After being baptized by John the Baptist Jesus started preaching –and this was the moment He fully accepted his divine nature and destination. The symbolic baptism of Neo – when he saved Morpheus, he finally recognized and believed in his destination of being the chosen one. During his fight with Smith in the subway, when agent called him Mr. Anderson, he responded: “My name is Neo”, which tells that he has completely accepted his nature and cut off his humanness, in order to come into the divine force and nature fully.
Therefore, another key figure in the movie is Morpheus, who stands for John the Baptist. According to the scripture, John was biblical prophet who foretold the coming of Messiah, the Savior: “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent for the king of heaven has come near”….Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” (Matthew 3:1-6). Moreover, John the Baptist was the first to baptize the people with the water: “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11). The same way in the movie Morpheus was prophesying the coming of the Chosen one, and practically he “baptized” people by wakening them and disconnecting from the matrix, which gave them the new birth. Another biblical reference to the events connected with John the Baptist was his imprisonment : “Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.” (Matthew 14:3-5) John has been arrested because he stood for the truth and God law. In the movie Morpheus was captured, but lately he was saved by Neo and Trinity.
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Trinity, in the movie it is a woman who fell in love with Neo; her declaration of love and kiss saved him. Her image stands for the Godhead, she incarnate one of the qualities of God – love: “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”(John 4:16-17). Moreover, the word “Trinity” represents one of the most important ideas of the Christianity – the Holy Trinity - The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost.
The rest of the crew can be considered as the rest of the disciples. Among them in the movie we can distinguish Judas, who is presented as Cypher. He had chosen to return to the matrix, to become reach and famous and to betray Neo and his friends. In the Scripture Judas betrayed Jesus for money - 30 pieces of silver: “then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”( Matthew26: 14-16). Two distinguishable persons from the crew were brothers Tank and Dozer, who represent biblical brothers – James and John, The Sons of Thunder : “These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder)” (Mark 16:17). They are two true “children of Zeon”, as they called themselves in the movie, as they were born free; and they proved their faithfulness to the good by killing the Cypher and saving Neo.
One more biblical character presented in the movie is a Pythian. She incarnates the Old Testament prophet, who foretold the coming of the Messiah and the further events connected with His life. In the movie Morpheus tells Neo: “... the Oracle prophesied his return and that his coming would hail the destruction of the Matrix and the war, and bring freedom to our people.”
The main enemies of the Neo and his crew were the agents - Sentient Programs, who incarnate the Demons. The agents can control the Matrix and they can move into the people, basically into any non-awakened person, and control their minds. The same way evil spirits and demons go into the human mind, which is willing to accept them. But the devil himself is incarnated in the machines that rose against their creators – humans and wanted to rule. In the biblical story Lucifer rose against God and declaimed His power.
All the people, living in the Matrix, non-awakened ones can be compared to these, who in the Bible were called – Gentiles: “Galilee of the Gentiles - the people living in darkness” (Matthew 4:16), while those, who know the truth – Judeans, people who had the Holy Scripture and could see matrix in code, the same way as only those who have come to God can distinguish life without Him from life with Him, reality from dream.
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In the movie, many references to the biblical events, connected with the life of Jesus Christ can be found. The first one, almost at the beginning is the episode of Jesus hanging out with the sinners – the scene of Neo being in the club. The first reference to the Bible is when his friend calls him “you are my personal Jesus Christ”. According to the Gospels, Jesus met the publicans and the sinners, to preach them: “And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples” (Mark 2:15-17).
Another one – when Neo was introduced to the crew, the scripture on the ship Nebuchadnezzar there was an inscription “Mark III No. 11”, a probable allusion to the Bible. Mark 3:11 reads, “Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, You are the Son of God!”
Two more biblical allusions: Temptation in the wilderness and discussion with a Pharisee. When Neo had conversation with Cypher, he tried to shake Neo’s convictions that he was the chosen one, and inspire him with doubts as to his choice when Neo took the red pill. Later, when Cypher betrayed the crew and was trying to kill Neo, he said, that if Neo was chosen he would not die. In the Gospel, when Satan tested Jesus, he told him: “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone”. Also in this episode Cypher had conversation with Trinity, who tried to persuade him, that his choice to return to matrix (which is an illusion) was wrong. Her words can be considered as an allusion to the conversation between Jesus and Pharisee, where He told them: “You will not enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering” (Luke11:52).
Three main biblical events in the movie are Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. Neo was killed by the agent, than the other agent tried his pulse to make sure he was dead – the same way as Roman guard pierced Jesus’ side, which only testified of the death of the body. Then in three days Jesus resurrected, Neo resurrected in 74 seconds (74 hours = 3 days).
After resurrection Jesus told his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18-20) The same way Neo has become more powerful after resurrection and was able to fight the agents (the evil). At the end of the movie after telephone conversation with artificial intelligence, where he says that nothing is going to be the same way now, Neo flies into the sky, which is the allusion to the Ascension of the Christ.