Biblical Citations and Allusions in The X-Files

(listed by episode; for a list by biblical book, see the Scripture Index in We Want to Believe)

“Fallen Angel” (1x09): Lucifer (the devil) is known as a fallen angel or fallen star (cf. Isa. 14:12; Rev. 8:10-9:2).

“Eve” (1x10): The “Adams” and the “Eves” are an allusion to Adam and Eve, the original humans in Genesis.

“Lazarus” (1x14): The title refers to the Lazarus who was resurrected by Jesus in John 11.

“Miracle Man” (1x17): Many events in Samuel’s life, death, and resurrection are modeled on the ministry of Jesus. The text Mulder quotes in the hotel room is Exodus 10:13-15. (See Episode Reviews page.)

“Born Again” (1x21): The phrase “born again” comes from the story of Nicodemus in John 3.

“Sleepless” (2x04): Cole (a.k.a. Preacher) quotes from Micah 7:18-19 to Henry Willig. To Dr. Gerardi, Preacher quotes from Proverbs 6:16-17; Psalm 58:10; Exodus 21:22b-24; Leviticus 24:20b, 21b.

“Ascension” (2x06): The title may be an allusion to the ascension of Jesus, after his resurrection.

“3” (2x07): (See Erroneous Biblical Citations page.)

“One Breath” (2x08): (See Erroneous Biblical Citations page.)

“Excelsis Dei” (2x11): The title is Latin, likely meant to refer to the phrase “Gloria in excelsis deo” (“glory to God in the highest,” sung by the angels to the shepherds at the birth of Jesus [Luke 2:14a]). Literally, the phrase “excelsis dei” would mean something like “[in/by] the loftiness of God.” [“Excelsius dei” could mean “more excellently than God.”]

“Die Hand Die Verletzt” (2x14): Mulder refers to communion, and Ausbury cites Psalm 94:1. (See Episode Reviews page.)

“The Calusari” (2x21): (See Erroneous Biblical Citations page.)

“Our Town” (2x24): Mulder includes communion, or Eucharist, in his list of examples of how eating flesh leads to longevity or eternal life.

“Revelations” (3x11): (See Erroneous Biblical Citations page and Episode Reviews page.)

“Talitha Cumi” (3x24): The title comes from Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, which borrows the phrase from Mark 5:41. Jesus speaks these Aramaic words, meaning “Little girl, arise,” to a young girl as he raises her from her sickbed (where she is presumed dead). (See extended discussion in We Want to Believe, chapter 1)

“The Field Where I Died” (4x05): The Temple of the Seven Stars uses a number of biblical passages, especially from Revelation and 1 John. Vernon Ephesian took his last name from the church of Ephesus (the Ephesians) in Revelation 2:1-7; the letter to Ephesus begins, “These are the words of him who holds the seven stars . . . (Rev. 2:1b, NIV). He apparently understands his “temple” as representing all seven churches to whom letters were written in Revelation, and himself as the reincarnation of someone who was present when the Apostle John Mark first received and communicated his revelation. Painted on a door at the complex is part of Revelation 1:18: “Behold, I am alive forevermore”; Ephesian also quotes this verse at the end of the episode. When he is interviewed by Mulder, Ephesian quotes from Revelation 2:10 and Psalm 121:7-8. During her interview, Melissa Riedal quotes from Isaiah 4:1. Mulder refers to Ephesian’s concept of the devil’s army as coming from Revelation 12:17. When the mighty men call the members to worship, they quote Psalm 121:7. In the final gathering of the temple, Ephesian quotes from a mixture of 1 John 3:16-19 and Revelation 22:14-15. (See also Erroneous Biblical Citations page.)

“Kaddish” (4x12): Ariel recites in Hebrew from the Song of Solomon (part of the Jewish wedding ceremony).

“Gethsemane” (4x24): The title refers to the garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed the night before he was tried and crucified. He was in Gethsemane when Judas arrived to betray him and he was arrested (e.g., Matt. 26:36-46). (See Episode Reviews page.)

“All Souls” (5x17): (See Episode Reviews page.)

“Milagro” (6x18): In the church, Scully views the painting of St. Margaret Mary (a French nun from the 17th cent.) while Padgett retells the story of St. Margaret Mary’s vision of Jesus and the Sacred Heart. (St. Margaret Mary and The X-Files)

“Biogenesis” (6x22): The text on the two fragments of the ship that meld together in Dr. Merkmallen’s office (and fly across the room to slice into the Bible) is Genesis 1:28. Numerous other texts from the Bible, Koran, science, and so forth are found on the surface of the ship.

“The Sixth Extinction: Amor Fati” (7x04): (See Episode Reviews page.)

“Millennium” (7x05): The necromancer’s favorite verse, “I am the resurrection and the life,” is from John 11:25-26 (the story in which Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead). He also leaves a quote from Revelation 1:18, the verse that Frank Black cryptically hints to Mulder. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear in Revelation 6:1-8.

“Orison” (7x07): While the Reverend Orison’s methods are, literally, unorthodox, his teachings are much more orthodox than many of the biblical teachings by fanatical preachers encountered on the show: “God’s love is not just some slogan. It’s a promise straight to you from the Lord Almighty himself . . . paid for with the blood of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. All you have to do is believe.” Scully’s clock reads “6:66” when Orison escapes, which is a reference to the mark of the beast in Revelation 13:18. In the prison chapel, the saying “sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell” comes from the story in Matthew 25:31-46. Mulder’s comment that the Bible allows for vengeance recalls texts such as “an eye for an eye” (Exod. 21:24-25; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21), but the Bible also says that vengeance belongs to God (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30).

“Signs & Wonders” (7x09): The practice of snake-handling comes primarily from Mark 16:18, in a text that does not appear in the earliest manuscripts of Mark and is arguably a later summary of Jesus’s resurrection appearances that was added to make the ending of Mark less abrupt. The text from Revelation that both pastors read is from the letter to the church at Laodicea (Rev. 3:15-16). (See Episode Reviews page.)

“Hollywood A.D.” (7x18): “Like Saul to Paul on the road to Damascus” refers to the conversion of Saul, later to be known as the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-19). The story of Lazarus’s resurrection is in John 11 -- and it does not mention a bowl inscribed with the words of Jesus.

“This Is Not Happening”/“DeadAlive” (8x14-15): Absalom is a biblical name, referring to a son of King David who tried to usurp his father’s throne and died an untimely death (2 Sam. 13-18). At Mulder’s funeral, the minister quotes John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life . . . ”; Absalom later quotes the same text. Mulder is dead and buried for 3 months, likely an intentional allusion to Jesus being in the grave until the 3rd day.

“Three Words” (8x18): Absalom refers to Doggett as “doubting Thomas,” alluding to the disciple who refused to believe that Jesus was resurrected unless he could personally see and touch him (John 20:24-29). In his conversation with Doggett, Absalom also quotes from Deuteronomy 13:13 and Psalm 78:2 (quoted also in Matt. 13:35).

“Existence” (8x21): Several elements of the events surrounding William’s birth allude to the nativity of Jesus: the rustic birthplace, the light in the sky, the three visitors bearing gifts. (See Erroneous Biblical Citations page and the discussion of nativity imagery in We Want to Believe, chapter 6.)

“Underneath” (9x09): Reyes refers to transubstantiation, the belief that in the Eucharist the bread and wine actually transform into the body and blood of Christ.

“Provenance” / “Providence” (9x10-11): (See Erroneous Biblical Citations page.)

“Improbable” (9x14): (See Episode Reviews page.)

“The Truth” (9x20): The last scene appears to depict the three virtues from 1 Corinthians 13:13: faith, hope, and love.

I Want to Believe (2nd movie): Father Joe quotes to Scully Proverbs 25:2, which later becomes a clue that helps her find and rescue Mulder. (See Episode Reviews page.)