Matrix - A Cyberpunk Parable?
B. THE PARABLE
TRAINING: Conscription, Concepts, and Conditioning
3d. Combat Training (fighting by
|M = The Matrix Story
|S = Spiritual Parallels
|M. Neo meets Tank, and learns that Tank was born in
Zion, not the Matrix world.
|S. Interesting perhaps Tank could represent an
angel? The duties of an angel include guarding and ministering to the saints, just as Tank
will oversee Matrix missions from the hovercraft control center and administer training to
|M. Tank describes Zion, the last city of mankind.
"If the war was over tomorrow, Zion is where the party would be."
|S. The old testament has well over 100 references to
Zion that have a broad and often prophetic range of meaning. In the film, 'Zion' may
collectively represent the new heaven, new earth, and new city of Jerusalem to be
inherited by the saints. And it will indeed be a beautiful setting, full of victorious
celebration see Revelation chapter 21 for details.
|M. Tank immediately gives Neo "combat
|S. A new Christian should immediately begin training
for his mission, including training for spiritual warfare (the 'armor of God' in Ephesians
6-20, the effects of prayer and fasting in Matthew 17:21, many more.)
|M. Tank cybertrains Neo with a series of martial arts
|S. Perhaps the disks can be analogous to the
scriptures, which are key to equipping the believer.
|M. Neo says, "I know Kung Fu."
Morpheus demands, "Show me!"
|S. Knowledge is meaningless unless it is applied to
daily life! It isn't enough to know you must show by what you do.
"Faith without works is dead." (James 2:26). Knowing how to do what is
good is not the same as actually doing it! "If any man is a hearer of the word
and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, and once he
gone away, he has forgotten what kind of person he was.
But a [man who is
not] a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer
shall be blessed in what he does."
|M. Morpheus spars with Neo in a simulated Matrix
environment so that he may teach Neo to operate by the truth instead of what he sees
according to the Matrix. Morpheus warns Neo, "Your weakness is not your
technique," and asks him, "Do you believe that my being stronger or faster has
anything to do with my muscles in this place?" The truth is that the Matrix is simply
a simulation. Neo's ability in that simulation is limited merely by his belief, not
by his simulated abilities.
|S. A Christian must learn to "walk by faith, not
by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7). Just as this is Neo's challenge throughout the film,
this is also a central scriptural theme for the life of a Christian. The physical senses
lie, giving false limits because physical senses cannot account for spiritual beings and
influences. A Christian's abundance or lack of natural abilities and assets - education,
wealth, intelligence, looks, strength, wit, charm, influence, etc.- do not limit him. God
can infinitely exceed these things, pouring His strength out where a Christian is weak (2
|When the Apostles Peter and John, the simple fishermen,
spoke boldly in public and showed great power, the people "marveled" because
they realized that these were "unschooled and ordinary men" who had simply been
with Jesus. (Acts 4:13). The Apostle Paul later said, "I can do all things through
Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13). God controls reality, therefore He
can empower Christians to overcome any situation. A Christian's competence and confidence
both come from God (2 Corinthians 3:4-5).
|The difficulty for the Christian is to learn to trust
in God, and not lean unto his own understanding. Interestingly, the natural abilities
where a Christian is strongest are his greatest difficulty, because he tends to rely on
them instead of God, and is therefore bounded by them until he walks by faith. After Tank
trained him, Neo was a master of all martial arts, yet he lost to Morpheus because he
trusted his perceived abilities according to the Matrix world. But when Neo walked by
faith in the truth, he could effortlessly defeat even an Agent with one hand behind
|M. Morpheus tells Neo, "You're faster than this.
Don't think you are; know you are! Stop trying to hit me and hit me!"
|S. The Christian must realize that God is not asking
him to pretend ('think') he is changed and empowered by God, but to know it,
and act accordingly. "Knowing that our old self was crucified with
account yourselves as dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ
" (Romans 6:6). To 'account' without 'knowing' is 'pretending'. The
Christian needs a deep revelation from God of the 'knowing', so that he may account it
fully and live naturally out of that 'knowing' rather than a teeth-gritted 'pretending'.
Salvation including in this sense the constantly maturing walk of the Christian to
be like his Master results from the work of the Spirit and constant faith in the
truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
|M. Morpheus tells Neo, "You have to let it all go
- fear, doubt, and disbelief." Morpheus wants to free Neo's mind from the rules of
the false Matrix that should not bind him.
|S. Fear, doubt, and disbelief are the chains that cause
a Christian to walk only by natural abilities, or give up altogether. A Christian must
break these chains by the power of constant faith in God to have freedom in God's
unlimited power over any obstacle.
|M. When Neo is about to jump from tower to tower,
Cypher scoffs, "Everybody falls the first time." Trinity says with whispered
encouragement, "Come on!" Neo falls, but continues his training with Morpheus,
going on to total victory at the end of the story. In contrast, Cypher will give up,
betray others, and be killed.
|S. A Christian will make mistakes as he matures. He
must learn to keep trying, because God's grace has covered his mistakes through Christ's
|Neo fell, but he got up and kept going. The difference
between a righteous man and a sinful man is not in that they fall down, but that only the
righteous man gets up. "For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again;
but the wicked stumble in time of calamity" (Proverbs 24:16). In a fascinating
example, the apostle Peter betrayed (denied) Jesus just before the crucifixion. Judas also
betrayed Jesus. Both men fell. The difference was that righteous Peter returned to Jesus
(see John 21). Judas, the wicked man, went and hanged himself, even falling down from that
rope and bursting in two (Acts 1:18). Both men 'fell down', but only Peter 'got up'. In The
Matrix, Neo keeps on training even after his failed jump. Wicked Cypher gives up,
betrays others, and is killed.
|The unrighteous person mocks, the righteous person
encourages. Note Cypher's cynical and faithless attitude. He does not even give Neo a
possibility to succeed on his first try, in contrast to Trinity quietly encouraging,
|Also note that Neo looks down before jumping, instead
of fixing on Morpheus and the truth. This is another illustration of Peter looking at the
stormy waves instead of walking on water by looking at Christ. Now compare this to the end
of the film, where Neo looks UP - and flies!
|M. When Neo exits the jump program, he touches inside
his lip and finds blood. Morpheus tells him that the mind makes it real.
|S. Satan's great weapon is the lie. If the Christian
believes lies and acts accordingly, he can be hurt.
|M. Morpheus tells Neo, "The body cannot live
without the mind."
|S. "Just as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead." (James 1:26). Both statements apply. The body/spirit
parallel is the truth about physical death. As to spiritual things, if faith does not act,
it is simply dead (false). Faith will automatically produce victorious works, even as fire
naturally produces heat. If faith dies away, the resulting works cease also. Without
faith, a person cannot experience true life.
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