The Matrix as Messiah Movie

The Matrix - A Cyberpunk Parable?


4. TRAPS: Contamination, Conspiracy, and Consequences

4c. Cypher

M = The Matrix Story
S = Spiritual Parallels


(Cypher represents the 'seed' that was lost to difficulties and trials; see part 4a. Cypher can represent a 'Judas' type, a betrayer, a false Christian, or a so-called 'carnal Christian' who enthrones his selfishness over the welfare of others.)

M. The betrayer character is named Cypher, a play on the word 'cipher'. In the dictionary, some interesting meanings of 'cipher' are 'zero' and 'one that is without value'.
S. Cypher demonstrates that he is indeed without value; he is a selfish murderer. Jesus said about Judas, "it would be better for him if he had never been born" (Mark 14:20) - in other words, better off a zero.
M. From the beginning, Cypher never believes! Even as the film begins, Cypher says, "We're going to kill him, do you understand that?" Cypher also expresses his cynical attitude when Neo is trying to jump from tower to tower in the training simulation. As Cypher talks to Neo alone at night, he says, "Actually, I've been thinking it [the blue pill option] ever since I got here [meaning that Cypher never did appreciate the red pill]." Even Cypher's last words are "No. I don't believe it."
S. A lack of faith is deadly; it is a guarantee of self-destruction. As another parallel, It is interesting that Judas Iscariot is never recorded as personally calling Jesus Christ by the title "Lord," indicating that Judas never believed.
M. When Neo walks up to him, Cypher is frightened. Cypher then turns off some of the monitors.
S. Fear is the opposite of faith. Cypher also shows deception by turning off the monitors, where righteousness has nothing to hide. Constant patterns of fear or secrecy indicate that someone is not walking in the truth, but in sin.
M. Neo asks Cypher, "Do you always look at [the Matrix] encoded?" Cypher answers, "Well, you have to."
S. Not true, Cypher. Neo sees the Matrix as it truly is at the end of the film in the hallway. He understands the code. Like Cypher, an unbeliever never gains spiritual eyes. "Unless a man be born again, he cannot see..." (John 3:3). The Spirit of God gives understanding to the believer, but things still remain a mystery to the unbeliever.
M. Cypher asks Neo if he wants a drink. We see Cypher has been drinking from a large jug.
S. A sinful person will often try to tempt a true Christian from his devotion. Cypher was not sipping from a cup, but guzzling from a large jug, indicating overt drunkenness and lack of self-control.
M. Cypher tries to destroy Neo's faith by saying, "You know, I know what you're thinking, because right now I'm thinking the same thing. Actually, I've been thinking it ever since I got here. Why, oh why didn't I take the blue pill?"
S. Cypher tries to make Neo think that they are of the same opinion. But was Neo regretting the red pill? No! Evil people lie to make the Christian doubt his or her dedication during the trials of truth.
M. Cypher discourages Neo, "What a mind job. So you're here to save the world. What do you say to something like that?"
S. The Christian's goal is that of Christ: to see the entire world saved. This is a difficult goal because of the hardness of so many hearts. Evil will always tempt a Christian to despair of the work of helping others to come to salvation in Christ. Famous author C.S. Lewis once proposed that if Satan were limited to one weapon, it would be discouragement.
M. Cypher gives Neo "a little piece of advice: You see an Agent, you do what we do. Run!"
S. This is another lying attack on the faith of the Christian, telling him that Satan is stronger than his position in God.
M. We see Cypher meeting with Agent Smith, setting up terms of betrayal over wine and a rare steak.
S. Steak strongly metaphors the flesh, the carnal nature of man. A Proverb says, "When you sit down to dine with a ruler, carefully consider what is before you; and put a knife to your throat if you are a man of great appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for it is deceptive food." (Proverbs 23:1). In other words, a king (like Satan as prince of the world or Agent Smith as 'prince' of the Matrix) will often use delicacies to sway a good man toward evil. Cypher ignores such warnings and gorges himself with the Agent's steak and wine. The steak is also a bloody rare - a foreshadowing of the blood that will be spilled by Cypher's betrayals. The surreal restaurant harp is suggestive of enchantment, the deception of the enemy to lull the Christian into complacency.
M. Cypher says, "Ignorance is bliss." Even though he knows the "steak doesn't exist," he still prefers the falseness of the Matrix to the truth of the real world.
S. See the comment above about 'deceptive food' ['steak doesn't exist'] and how it can destroy you. Voluntary ignorance is not bliss; it is enslavement that ends in destruction.
M. Cypher wants to be rich in the Matrix.
S. Cypher chooses the temporary riches of the fallen world, a pitfall for humanity. God said to a shortsighted rich man, "You fool! This very night, your life is required of you, and now who will own what you have prepared for yourself?" (Luke 12:20). Cypher also values money more than the lives of people. He is the epitome of selfishness.
M. Cypher desires the pride of life, wanting to be "someone an actor."
S. Scripture speaks of the "boastful pride of life" as a sin in I John 2:16. Cypher's ideal of 'an actor' as an important person is tragically comical. Not that actors do not add value to society (or even become American presidents - grin), but in the strictest sense, an 'actor' is someone who merely imitates others. An 'actor' has no self-substance; he is a simulacrum. 'Actor' can be a synonym for 'hypocrite', meaning someone who pretends to be what he is not. Cypher is indeed a hypocrite who 'acts' like a willing part of the Nebuchadnezzar crew - when he is not betraying their very lives.
M. Agent Smith grins and says, "Whatever you want, Mr. Reagan [Cypher's Matrix name]."
S. Satan will make any deal as long as it diverts someone from truth. Did Agent Smith love Cypher and want him to enjoy steak? No. Smith hated Cypher as much as any other human; he was just doing whatever was necessary to achieve his goal. "Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14) who hates the very souls he uses and entices. Also note that Cypher does not object to being called "Mr. Reagan," which is his false persona in the Matrix illusion, indicating the hypocrite's acceptance of lies. (And was this a possible political statement?)
M. Cypher admits that he does not know the codes to Zion's mainframe.
S. A lost person claiming to be a Christian does not really understand salvation - the 'way to heaven / Zion', etc.
M. Cypher will kill and harm many people to satisfy his own selfishness. Not counting many of the people in the Matrix (policemen, people at the market, etc.) who are harmed in the conflicts resulting from Cypher's betrayal, at least 4 people are injured and 5 people are killed, and the Nebuchadnezzar is damaged! To summarize:

1) At the beginning of the film, Cypher holds on the line to give away Trinity's position ("the informant is real"). Trinity is bloodied in the chase and almost killed.

2) Because Cypher gave him away ("we have the name of their next contact") Neo is tracked and tortured by the Agents at his Metacortex office.

3) Mouse dies in the hotel building because Cypher left a cell phone giving away the hotel location.

4) Morpheus will be captured and tortured at the hotel betrayal.

5) The Agents arrange a car accident - including an ambulance - to cover Cypher's escape. Many innocents were probably killed or injured.

6) Cypher burns Tank and kills Dozer.

7) Cypher kills Apoc and Switch.

8) Because of Cypher giving away the group's location, the Agents are able to capture Morpheus, trace his physical location and deploy sentinels ('squiddies') that do great damage to the Nebuchadnezzar.

9) Cypher himself is killed as a result of his choices.

Finally, think of all the people that Apoc, Switch, and others might have saved if they had lived! Cypher arguably did more damage through betrayal than the Agents could have done without him!
S. It is a sad but true fact that most of the damage done to Christianity comes not from the obvious enemy lines, but from the inside - through hypocrites, carnal Christians, deceivers, fakes, infiltrators, etc. After all, it was Judas - a longtime traveling companion of Jesus - who betrayed Christ into the hands of His killers.
M. The Matrix setting for Cypher's betrayal is a metaphor of death. The televisions in the repair shop are "dead"; they have "no vision", they are dead, broken, in need of repair. Neo even says that the phone "went dead".
S. "Where there is no vision, the people perish." (Proverbs 29:18a). Cypher's lack of vision causes him to kill Dozer, Switch and Apoc - and then ultimately 'perish' himself. A lack of spiritual vision is always deadly.
M. As Cypher makes his betrayal speech and kills Switch and Apoc, we notice that Cypher's red jersey has a big hole in it - over his heart!
S. Judas was 'heartless'. Someone who is selfish has no love, no heart for God or others.
M. Cypher tells Trinity that for a long time, he "thought [he] was in love with [her]." Notice that this is a past tense statement, indicating that he no longer loves her.
S. Jesus warned that the "love of many will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12). Cypher is now a "lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God" (2 Timothy 3:4).
M. Cypher says he is "tired of this war."
S. Cypher is like the seed that cannot weather trouble or persecution (Matthew 13:21). "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary." (Galatians 6:9)
M. Cypher says that Morpheus lied and "tricked" them all, otherwise they would have never taken the red pill.
S. Cypher again falsely speaks for the group, all of which appreciated taking the red pill and finding truth. And Morpheus "tricked" no one. Even as Neo was choosing the pill, Morpheus warns him, "All I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more." Truth is often hard to accept. But it will always be the best route to take. The Christian life is full of difficulties; Jesus promised that. But the end result of that hard path is eternal glory.
M. Cypher challenges his freedom. "Free? You call this free? All I do is what he tells me to do."
S. We are either slaves of sin, a fallen world, and Satan, or we are slaves of God (Romans 6). The choice of enslavement to God is enslavement to freedom, for God is infinite; He is a God of liberty. The path of following only what God wisely tells us to do may seem hard at times, but "the present suffering is not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18).
M. Cypher says, "If I had to choose between that [truth] and the [illusionary] Matrix - I choose the Matrix."
S. "And this is the judgment - light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness instead of light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19). That Light is Jesus (see John 9:5) who claims to be the Truth (John 14:6). Men "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18). "Professing to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22).
M. Cypher says, "I think the [illusionary] Matrix can be more 'real' than this [real] world."
S. One of the greatest deceptions of all is to prefer lies over truth. Like the Agents who created the lie of the Matrix world, Satan is the 'father of lies' (John 8:44). Thus, to embrace lies is to embrace the father of them. To choose truth is to align with the living Truth (John 14:6). To choose temporary things instead of permanent things is foolish. "For Demas has deserted me, having loved this present world..." (2 Timothy 4:10).
M. Cypher says that he will "go back to sleep".
S. 'Sleep' is a term the Bible uses to describe both the unsaved person and a sinful, disobedient 'Christian'.
M. Switch looks up, knowing she is about to die. "Not like this," she says in quiet horror. "Not like this," and she dies.
S. One of the most devastating trials a Christian can face is betrayal from one thought to be a friend. If the greatest act of love is to lay a life down for a friend (John 15:12), then what is it to betray a friend?
M. Cypher does not believe in miracles. He says that "there would have to be some kind of a miracle" to stop him from pulling out Neo's cyberjack and killing him.
S. Cypher is openly challenging the truth here. An unbeliever rejects the notion of a God that can effortlessly do miracles and control any event. Rebelliously challenging God's ways is always a wicked choice, just as Cypher's challenge involved the murder of Neo.
M. Cypher's last words are, "I don't believe it." Then Tank kills him, as far as we can discern.
S. Cypher cements his role as unbeliever. And unbelief leads to death.
M. Tank tells Cypher that regardless of what his beliefs are at this point, he is "still gonna burn."
S. Just because a person does not believe in God, Satan, heaven, and hell, does not mean that these things do not exist. If you jump off a building, close your eyes, and believe the ground does not exist, you will be shortly corrected in your error. Truth IS, whether we believe it or not. Both the believer and the unbeliever will come face to face with God one day, because God IS. The believer will receive eternal life, and the unbeliever will receive eternity in hell ('gonna burn') as a just penalty for sin and rejection of God's sacrifice of His Son to make an available payment for that sin

Back to Contents     Next Document