3.01: Judeo-Christian and Biblical Parallels
Asmodean: A demon described in the Old Testament book of Tobit, which is included only in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox canon of scriptures (you won't find it in Jewish or Protestant Bibles; it's considered apocrypha in those circles). In the book of Tobit, Sara had been married seven times, but Asmodeus had slain all of them before they could consummate their marriage (Tobit 3:7-8). Sara eventually married Tobias, the son of Tobit, who was able to banish Asmodeus by burning the heart and liver of a special fish given to him by the angel Raphael in their bedchamber (Tobit 6:16-17, 8:2-3). Asmodeus fled to Egypt, where Raphael caught up with him and bound him up. [Rafael Sevilla]
Ba'alzamon: Ba'al, Baelzebub, or Ba'al Shamin (literally, "the lord of the heavens," an appellation of Ba'al). Baelzebub, Lord of the Flies, was an ancient Canaanite fertility deity that competed with worship of Yahweh in Old Testament times. Later became a euphemism for the devil from the time of Christ on (see Matthew 10:24, 12:24-27, Mark 3:22, and Luke 11:15-18) from its similarity to the Aramaic word beeldebaba ("enemy"), and from the fact that many ancient pagan gods were demonized in Christian times anyway. [Rafael Sevilla]
Be'lal: Belial, literally means "worthless" in Hebrew; "sons of Belial" is used throughout the Bible to denote evil men. Eventually becomes the name of a demon in Medieval times. [Rafael Sevilla] Belial was often noted as commanding legions, and has been referred to as the general of Hell. Be'lal was one of the noted generals of the Shadow. [John Novak]
Christ Imagery: There are tons of Christ/Savior parallels in Rand's character (although this savior is going to do major damage before defeating the DO), but here are a few of the highlights:
- Rebirth/dying and rising again: "To live, you must die."
- The blood of the lamb versus Rand's blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul.
- Stigmata (see below).
- In [TSR: 19, The Wavedancer, 220-221] one of the Sea Folk mentions part of the Jendai Prophecy: "The White Tower shall be broken by his name, and Aes Sedai shall kneel to wash his feet and dry them with their hair." Mary Magdelene washed Jesus' feet and then dried them with her hair as a sign of respect and service. [Zareh Amirian]
- Jesus showed the same reluctance toward, then acceptance of his fate: "Lord, take this cup from my lips".
Ishamael: In Genesis, Abraham's eldest son (to an Egyptian serving girl Hagar) was called Ishmael. Apparently Abraham's wife took a disliking to young Ishmael and pressured Big Abe into exiling Ish and Hagar into the desert. The name literally means "God has Heard," because God is said to have heard of mother and son's plight at Sarah's hand. Jordan seems to have a taste for irony, methinks, as Ishamael is called the Betrayer of Hope! The whole quote about "every hand raised against him" is interesting, and in full:
"You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man, his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility towards all of his brothers." [Genesis 16:11-12]
As a side note, Ishmael is said to be the ancestor of the present-day Arabs and other peoples who now dwell in the lands around Israel.
Jehannah: Gehennah, a place of fire and torment. Literally "Place of Torment." A valley near Jerusalem where Solomon, king of Israel, built "a high place", or place of worship, for the gods Chemosh and Moloch. The valley came to be regarded as a place of abomination because some of the Israelites sacrificed their children to Moloch there. In a later period it was made a refuse dump and perpetual fires were maintained there to prevent pestilence. Thus, in the New Testament, Gehennah became synonymous with hell [Encyclopedia Mythica]. In the novels, Jehannah is a poorly run city, filled with mobs and low-class sorts.
Lews Therin/Lord of the Morning: Lucifer, "the morning star". The literal translation of Lucifer is "bringer of light" [Matthew Forrester].
Lothair Mantelar (Founder of The Children of the Light): Martin Luther?
Masema: Saul/Paul; goes from being anti-Rand to rabidly pro-Rand. Also, John the Baptist; the "voice crying out in the wilderness" proclaiming the coming of the savior and all that.
"I actually came across a reference to a demon named Mastema, which seems to have been an apocryphal name for Satan-- Satan in the sense of Chief Accuser, rather than corruptor" [John Novak]. Bill Kte'pi notes that Mastema appears in the Book of Jubilees as the head of the demons. Apparently he is involved with testing Abraham. Jubilees is part of the Pseudepigrapha [Gr.,"things falsely ascribed"], a collection of early Jewish and some Jewish-Christian writings composed between c.200 B.C. and c.A.D. 200, not found in the Bible or rabbinic writings.
M'Hael: Michael the Archangel who was Lucifer's chief opponent. The derivation of Michael is "Mikha'el" from the Hebrew meaning "who is like god". [Michael Schmidt] Michael was the great prince of all angels and leader of the celestial armies. [Encyclopedia Mythica] Amnon Wenger adds that the Hebrew word "m'nahael" means "principal" or "person in charge".
Paaren Disen: Paradise
Sammael: A member of Lucifer's host, often incorrectly identified as another name for Lucifer himself. Jeremy Yoskowitz tells us that "Samael" is an earlier name for Uriel, the angel of death from the Kabbalah. Some versions of the Lilith legend name Sammael as her husband (after Adam spurned her), and general of the army of demonspawn they birthed together. Their goal was to replace Eve's children with Lilith's.
Seven Seals: The Seven Seals of Revelations.
Shayol Ghul: Sheol: Hebrew for hell; Ghul: Gol or Gul, Arabic for Demon
Stigmata: There are five stigmatic signs recognized by the Catholic Church:
- The bleeding of the hands or wrists
- The wound in the side from sword or spear
- The welts from whipping
- The bleeding from the forehead (crown of thorns)
- The bleeding of the feet.
(Note on #1: There used to be much discussion among historical theologians as to whether the nails would have been driven through the hands or the wrists, since modern medicine tells us the structure of the hands isn't strong enough to keep a human body nailed to anything. Since the 1970s on, the generally accepted idea has been Jesus was nailed to the cross through the wrists, but the bleeding of the hands is still considered canon stigmata.)
Now compare to Rand:
- Both his hands and wrists have been marked (herons & dragons). The wounds from the marking have been healed (and are not bleeding continually as with classic Catholic stigmata), yet they remain visible at any time.
- Rand's unhealing wound in the side is a clear reference to the Fisher King. However, the Fisher King's wound is often identified with that which Jesus Christ received while he was being crucified (see Section 3.06), so Rand's wound can also be considered to fulfill the second stigmata.
- The regular beatings Rand received while a captive of the Tower AS in LOC probably qualify.
- Well, duh - the Crown of Swords.
- What about wounds in the feet? Luke Weigel suggests the following passage: "...hundreds of red filaments burned down through the ceiling... One stabbed through the heel of his boot, through his heel, and he heard himself cry out as he fell. Not his pain, in side or foot. Not his" [ACOS: 41, A Crown of Swords, 651].
Tarmon Gai'don: Armageddon
Twelve Tribes: Compare the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve clans of the Aiel. In fact, there is a thirteenth "clan," the Jenn. This "clan" is credited with building Rhuidean -- the holy place (temple if you will) of the Aiel. The Israelites also had a people charged with taking care of the Ark of the Covenant as well as the religious ceremonies within the temple (especially within the Holy of Holies) and those people were the Levites. A tribe not counted among the twelve, so in effect a thirteenth tribe also.
Craig Levin points out that the Levites are counted in the 12 Tribes. It's just that Joseph's descendants split into 2 tribes later on, and the Levites don't get land, it is their job (theoretically) to care for the Lord's Temple and other altars across Israel. Which is even better, since there was the Jenn/Aiel split, and the Jenn's job was to take care of Rhuidean/the temple.
Virgin Birth: In LOC, some of the rumors about Rand say that he was born of a woman touched by no man [LOC: 2, A New Arrival, 78].
Wormwood: When Padan Fain shows up to visit Pedron Niall in the prologue of TDR, he calls himself "Ordeith", which Niall notes is Old Tongue for "wormwood". Revelations tells us that come Armageddon, a great star would fall from heaven: "And the name of the star is called wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters because they were made bitter."(Revelations 8:11) [William Stewart] Wormwood is mentioned several times elsewhere in the Bible as well, always in the sense of making things bitter or poisonous. [Ben Goodman] This one's my favorite:
"Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth, Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name: That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress." (Amos 5:7-9)
Rituals and Phrases
- The Catholic prayer called the Glory Be goes: "Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen." The latter quotes are reminiscent of the closing of a Catholic Mass, where the priest pronounces "Peace be with you" and the people respond "And also with you." [J. Vessey] "Phoenix" adds that the phrase "Peace be on you" and the response "and on your spirit" is found in Eastern Orthodoxy (Orthodox Christianity) before the reading of the Gospel. (The Catholic version is "The Lord be with you".)
- At Easter mass this past spring, I saw an adult baptized for the first time in the Catholic faith. They get the person to kneel, pour water over their head, and say something like "Now you are sealed". I don't recall the exact words, but "sealed" was in it for sure and I recall thinking Jordan must be Catholic. Sounds a lot like becoming Accepted to me. [Judy G.]
"Peace be on you always," Elyas replied, "and on all the People." He hesitated, then added, "I will find the song, or another will find the song, but the song will be sung, this year or in a year to come. As it once was so shall it be again, world without end."..."Peace be on you," Elyas said. "And on you," Raen said sadly. [TEOTW: 27, Shelter from the Storm, 346]
More Biblical quotes
- In [TGH: 26, Discord, 326] we have the prophecy:
Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed. Once for mourning, once for birth.
This is very similar to the darkening of the sun when Christ is crucified:
And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. [Luke 23, verse 44-5]
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers.... a man's worst enemies will be the members of his own family. [Matthew 10:34-36]
cf: TFOH trailer prophecy:
And what was once did come again--in fire and in storm splitting all in twain. For his peace...was the peace...of the sword.