AP Lit&Comp: Biblical Allusions

  1. To what do the alpha and the omega refer?
    Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek aplhabet; used in conjunction, they represent God, who is the beginning and the end.
  2. To what do the loaves and fish refer?
    The loaves and fish refer to the miracle that Jesus performed when he fed the masses with only five loaves of bread and two fish. After thousands ate their fill, the remainder filled 12 baskets.
  3. To what does "Am I my brother's keeper?" refer?
    This is from the Bible story of Cain and Abel, Adm's and Eve's sons. Upon learning that God had accepted Abel's sacrifice and not his own, Cain killed Abel. When God asked Cain where his brother was, Cain replied, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
  4. To what does turn the other cheek refer?
    Jesus commanded his disciples to turn the other cheek rather than demand Old Testament justice, which called for an eye for an eye. This command came from the Sermon on the Mount.
  5. To what does an eye for an eye refer?
    An eye for an eye refers toan  Old Testament principle, where punishement was equal to the crime committed. The New Tetament teaches of Jesus countering this with, "Turn the other cheek."
  6. To what does Daniel in the Lion's den refer?
    The story of Daniel in the lion's den tells of the prophet Daniel, who was sent into a den of lions to be destroyed; but an angel of the lord protected him, and he was unhurt. Any character facing an immensely challenging situation is likened to Daniel in the lion's den.
  7. To what does Sodom and Gomorrah refer?
    Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities  that God destroyed because of the illicit sexual practices of the people, including sodomy and bestiality. The names are associated with perversity.
  8. To what does the eye of a needle refer?
    The eye of a needle refers to the difficulty the rich have for gaining access to  heaven. Speaking metaphorically, Jesus said that it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to attain the Kingdom of God.
  9. To what does the fatted calf refer?
    The fatted calf refers to the parable of the Prodigal Son. The fatted calf was sacrificed to celebrate the return of the wayward son.
  10. To what does the forbidden fruit refer?
    The firbidden fruit refers to the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which Adam and Eve were instructed not to eat. Traditionally, the forbidden fruit is an apple, though this has no Biblical origin. Contemorary forbidden fruits are things that are off-limits. Often, forbidden fruits are sexual in nature.
  11. To what does the Last Supper refer?
    The Last Supper refers to the final meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before being betrayed and sentences to death.
  12. To what does theparting of the Red Sea refer?
    The parting of the Red Sea refers to an event during exodus of God's chosen people, the Israelites, from Egypt. According to the Bible, while fleeing Egyptian forces, Moses and the Israelites came upon the Red Sea; God parted the waters to enable the Israelites to pass and then closed them up again and drowned the Egyptians.
  13. To what does the phrase wolf in sheep's clothing refer?
    The phrase wolf in sheep's clothing refers to false prophets. The book of Matthew says that these prphets will come in sheep's clothing, but inwardly be ravenous wolves.
  14. To what does the thief in the night refer?
    The thief in the night refers to the unexpected and quick arrival of someone. This is taken from 1st Thessalonians, which encourages Christians to be vigilant regarding the Second Coming.
  15. To what does thirty pieces of silver refer?
    Thirty pieces of silver refers to the price paid to Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus. This is known as blood money and currently refers to any treacherous act.
  16. To what does walking on water refer?
    Walking on water refers to one of the many miracles performed by Jesus. Those who walk on water today are said to have completed almost miraculous, god like acts.
  17. To what does Doubting Thomas refer?
    Doubting Thomas refers to the apostle Thomas, who was not present with the others when they saw the risen Jesus Christ. He demanded to see for himself and touch Jesus' wounds before he would believe that Christ had risen from the dead. Those with little faith are often referred to as doubting Thomases.
  18. To whom does Philistine refer?
    The term Philistine refers to a person who is uncultured. It comes from the Old Testamen enemies of the Israelites.
  19. To whom does the Messiah refer?
    The Messiah refers to the "anointed one," meaning one who is anointed with oil after reaching a high position among ancient Israelites--king, priest, or propht. For Christian, this was Jesus Christ. For Jews, the Messiah has not yet come to the world.
  20. What are angels?
    Angels are beings that live in both heaven and hell. Angels residing in hell rebelled against God and were subsequently banished. Sometimes angels are sent from God to deliver messages.
  21. What are cherubim?
    Cherubim are heavenly angels. A single agel is a cherub. The cherubim are second only to seraphim in the hierarchy of angels and are usually represented as rosy-cheeked children with wings.
  22. What are disciples ?
    Disciples are followers. Originally, they were the followers of Jesus, but now the term is used to describe anyone who follows a leader.
  23. What are gold, frankincense, and myrrh ?
    Gold, frankincense, and myrrah are the gifts the three wise men gave to baby Jesus on the day of his birth.
  24. What are the beautitudes?
    The beautitudes are the words of Jesus, spoken during the Sermon on the Mount. Each beautitude begins with, "Blesses are the..."
  25. What are the Ten Commandments?
    The Ten Commandments are the rules God gave to Moses, written on stone tablets, for the Israelites to follow as they lived their lives.
  26. What is a covenant?
    A covenant isan agreement, or contract, between God and his people.
  27. What is Armageddon?
    Armageddon is the name given to the final battle between God and the devil at the end of the world, as described in the book of Revelation. Any major, climactic battle is sometimes considered Armageddon--the final battle between good and evil.
  28. What is Bethlehem?
    Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus; it's a village near Jerusalem.
  29. What is calvary ?
    Calvary is the site of Jesus' Crucifixion; it's a hill near Jerusalem.
  30. What is Damascus?
    Damascus was an ancient ciy in Syria. The road to Damascus was the site of Saul's conversion to Paul and is used now to describe any sudden turning point in an individual's life.
  31. What is Exodus?
    Exodus is the second book of the Bible. It recounts the journey of Moses and the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. The word exodus comes from the Greek, meaning departure.
  32. What is Genesis?
    Genesis is the first book of the Bible and now refers to any beginning.
  33. What is Golgotha?
    Golgotha, which means skull place, is another name for Calvary.
  34. What is hell?
    Hell is a plce of evil and darkness, the opposite of heaven, the realm of Satan. The wicked who do not atone for their sins spend eternity in hell.
  35. What is Judgment Day?
    Judgemnt Day occurs at the End of Time, during the Second Coming, when Jesus will judge the living and the dead.
  36. What is Nazareth?
    Nazareth is the hometown of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, thus the name "Jesus of Nazareth."
  37. What is Apocalypse?
    Apocalypse is another name for the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. An apocalypse refers to a final battle of catactrophe; the Apocalypse is the end of time.
  38. What is the Apocrypha?
    The Apocrypha refers to scriptural writings that are accepted and published by some Christian denominations but not others. For example, the Roman Catholic Bible includes Maccabees I and II and Sirach, whereas the King James Version does not.
  39. What is the burning bush?
    The burning bush is the method by which God revealed himself to Moses. Alhough the bush was on fire, it did not burn.
  40. What is the Garden of Eden?
    The Garden of Eden was the site of Adam's and Eve's perfect existence, until their trangression and subsequent banishment. Any place of complete peace and happiness can be considered a Garden of Eden.
  41. What is the Prodigal Son?
    The parable of the Prodigal Son tells of a son who squandered his inheritance but eventually realized his errors and returned home to beg his his father's foregiveness. His father welcomed his son back with open arms.
  42. What is the Promised Land ?
    The Promised Land is the land of milk and honey, known as Canaan (or Palestine) that God initally promised Abraham and his descendents. moses eventually led the Israelites to the Promisd Land, but he could not ener it. Any time something is earned or gained through patience and diligence, it is considered reaching the promised land.
  43. What is the Resurrection?
    The Resurrection refers to Jesus' rising from the dead. Belief in the Resurrection is essential to Christian doctrine.
  44. What is the Second Coming?
    The Second Coming refers to the time when Jesus is expected to return to the earth to judge the living and the dead.
  45. What is the serpent?
    The serpent is a symbol for the devil.
  46. What is the Song of Solomon?
    Song of Solomon, also known as Song of Songs, is a collecion of poems about God's love that is often considered an allegory for God's love for His children, as well as an allegory for Jesus' love for His people, the Church, and the love between a husband and wife. The poems alternate between a narrator and a lover.
  47. What is the story of Jonah and the whale?
    Jonah and the whale is the story of a prphet whi fled to sea rather than answer God's call to prphesy in the city of Ninevah. God created a storm, causing other sailors to throw Jonah overboard. Jonah, swallowed by a large fish, spends three days in the fish's belly, praying for forgiveness. The fish spits out Jonah. In gratitude Jonah prophesies to people in Ninevah.
  48. What is the Twenty-third Psalm?
    The Twenty-third Psalm is he famous psalm; it begins with "ThE Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." The psalm draws its imagery from Exodus and is popular with both Jews and Christians. It is often quoted at funerals because it is reasurring and comforting, stressing God's love and care for His people.
  49. What is the valley of the shadow of death?
    The valley of the shadow of death is an image taken from the twenty-third Psalm. Figuratively, it now represents the perils in this life that God protects people from.
  50. What was Jacob's Ladder?
    • Jacob's Ladder was the ladder Jacob saw in a dream. The ladder reached from the earth up to heaven and symbolized God's promise to bless Jacob and his descendants.
  51. What was the annunciation?
    The Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and told her that she was going to bear a son. The visit and the pronouncement are together considered to be the annunciation.
  52. What was the Biblical significance of an olive branch?
    After 40 days of rain, Noah sent a dove from the ark to search for dry land, and it came back with an olive branch in its beak. Both the dove and the olive branch are considered signs of peace.
  53. What was the coat of many colors?
    The coat of many colors was the coat Jacob gave hsi son, Joseph. His brothers became jealous, coveting Joseph's gift, and sold Joseph into slavery.
  54. What was the crown of thorns?
    The crown of thorns was a mock crown, woven out of thorny branches, that Jesus was forced to wear by Roman soldiers. Anything that causes immense pain and suffering can be called a crown of thorns.
  55. What was the Crucufixion?
    The Crucifixion refers to the death of Jesus by hanging on a cross, bound by ropes or nailed through the hands and feet.
  56. What was the golden calf?
    The golden calf was an idol created for the Israelites during the time they roamed the desert in search of the Promised Land. Fearing Moses would not return from Mt. Sinai and needing a god to lead them, they had Aaron create the golden calf out of melted jewelry. When Moses returned with the Ten Commandments, he found the people worshipping this false god.
  57. What was the sermon on the Mount?
    The Sermon on the Mount was the first sermon of Jesus. Among the many teachings of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount contains the Beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer, and the Golden Rule.
  58. What was the Tower of Babel?
    The Tower of Babel, originally intended to reach into heaven, was built by the descendants of Noah, who were unified in speech in the city of Babel. Because of their arrogance, God confused their speech, making people unable to u derstand one another, thus creating the different languages of Earth.
  59. What was the tree of knowledge of good and evil?
    The tree of knowledge of good and evil contained the forbidden fruit, of which Adam and Eve were commanded by God not tom eat. Adam's and Eve's disobedience led to the Fall of Man and was famously chronicled in Milton's Paradise Lost.
  60. What are the plagues of Egypt?
    The plagues of Egypt were 10 disasters that God sent to Egypt in order to convince the pharaoh to "let [His} people go." The plagues included such things as locusts, frogs, boils, and even death.
  61. Who are Jacob and Esau?
    Jacob and Esau were Isaac's sons. Esau traded his inheritance to Jacob for food, and then Jacob stole their father's deathbed blessing--usually reserved for the first-born son--by diguising himself as his brother.
  62. Who is Beelzebub?
    Beelzebub is another name for the devil. In Milton's Paradise Lost, Beelzebub is second in command to Lucifer.
  63. Who is Peter?
    Peter, originally called Simon, was one of the Twelve Apostles. He was the one who denied Jesus three times and upon whom Jesus built his church; that is, Peter became the leader of Christ's new church. It was said that Peter was entrusted with the keys to heaven.
  64. Who is Satan?
    Satan is another namefor the devil. The devil is considered to be the fallen angel Lucifer.
  65. Who is the Antichrist?
    The Antichrist is the enemy of Jesus, who will appear on earth before the Second Coming of Christ. Often compared to a beast, many evil men--such as Nero, Stalin, Hilter, and Hussein--have been called the Antichrist.
  66. Who was Christ?
    Christ was another title for Jesus, meaning the "Chosen One." In literature, characters who sacrifice themselves for others are often called Christ figures.
  67. Who was David?
    David was great King of the Israelites. As a boy, he fought against and defeated the giant Goliath. David is the father of Solomon and is an ancestor of Jesus.
  68. Who was Gabriel?
    Gabriel was God's Messenger Angel. Christians cite Gabriel as the Annunciation Angel, and Muslims believe Gabriel appeared to Muhammad to reveal the sacred laws of the Koran.
  69. Who was Isaiah?
    Isaiah was an old Testament prophet who foretold the coming of the Messiah, or Savior.
  70. Who was Israel?
    Israel was the new name given to Jacob after he wrestled with god; the name means "one who has been strong against God."
  71. Who was Jesus?
    Jesus, to Christians, was the son of God, a person who was both God and man. He died to atone for mankind's sins and rose from the dead.
  72. Who was Jezebel?
    Jezebel was an immoral queen of Israel whi tried to kill the prophet Elijah.
  73. Who was Job?
    Job was an Old Testament man whose faith was severely tested by Satan (with God's approval). Job endured so much that people who endure long suffering are said to have the patience of Job.
  74. Wh was John the Baptist?
    John the Baptist was acousin to Jesus ans was the "voice in the wilderness" that cried out to prepare people for the way of the lord.
  75. Who was Judas Iscariot?
    Judas Iscariot was one of the original twelve Apostles. he was the one who betrayed Jesus. Judas, like Beneduct Arnold, is a name used for one who betrays another.
  76. Who was Lazarus?
    Lazarus was a man who Jesus raised from the dead.
  77. Who was Lot's wife?
    Lot's wife was a disobedient woman who was punished by God. When she turned back to look at the city that was to be destroyed--in direct violation of God's command--she was turned into a pillar of salt.
  78. Who was Lucifer?
    Lucifer was the Angel of Light, who led the rebellion against God and was tossed out of heaven, becoming the devil.
  79. Who was Mary Magdalene?
    Mary Magdalene was the repentant prostitute who anointed the feet of Jesus. She was one of the women who remained with Jesus, during and after his crucifixion, and discovered the empty tomb,  which indicated Jesus' resurrection.
  80. Who was Methuselah?
    Methuselah was the oldest person mentioned in the Bible. He was the grandfather of Noah; he lived for 969 years.
  81. Who was Michael?
    Michael was the archangel, or angel of highest rank, and is often considered to be the angel who will led the army of angels on Judgment Day.
  82. Who was Moses?
    Moses was the Old Testament prophet who led the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses received the Ten Commandmens from God and led God's chosen people the the Promised Land.
  83. Who was Noah?
    Noah was a man in the Old Testament who obeyed God's comman to build an ark; he loaded two of each kind of animal on the ark to save them from the flood that God sent to destroy the world.
  84. Who was Paul?
    Paul, formerly Saul, was one of the primary leaders of the early Christian church. The New Testament is filled with his letters, or epistles, to many different Christian communities.
  85. Who was Salome?
    Salome was the step-daughter of Herod, who demanded the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
  86. Who was Samson?
    Samson was a man of the Old Testament  who had incredible strength. Samson was betrayed by his lover, Delilah, who found out his hair was the source of his strength and cut it.
  87. Who was Solomon?
    Solomon, the son of David, was the wisest of all Old Testament Israelite kings. Solomon also built the Temple of Jerusalem.
  88. Who was the Good Samaritan?
    The parable of the Good Samaritan tells about an enemy, a Samaritan, taking care of a Jewish man who was beaten and robbed. People who perform random acts of kindness are often called good Samaritans.
  89. Who was the Good Shepherd?
    Good Shepherd was another name for Jesus Christ: He took care of his chosen people as a shepherd tending his flock.
  90. Who was the Queen of Sheba?
    The Queen of Sheba was the ruler of the kingdom of Sheba, who was famous for her beauty and riches.
  91. Who were Abraham and Isaac?
    Abraham and Isaac were father and son. God tested Abraham's faith by asking him to kill his son Isaac, which Abraham was willing to do. Both Jews and Arabs trace their lineage to "Father Abraham": Jews descend from Isaac, Arabs from Abraham's other son, Ishmael.
  92. Who were Adam and Eve?
    Adam and Eve  were the first man and woman. God drove them from the Garden of Eden after they tasted the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve are the parents of mankind.
  93. Who were Cain and Abel?
    Cain and Abel were Adam's and Eve's first sons. Cain murdered his brother, and as a result, was exiled by God. God marked Cain to protect him during his wanderings; this mark of Cain is still considered a sign of mankind's sinful nature.
  94. Who were the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are signs from the Book of Revelation. Each rider represents a different form of evil: war, famine, pestilence, and deah.
  95. Who were the Twelve Apostles?
    The Twelve Apostles were the original disciples, or followers, of Jesus.
Card Set
AP Lit&Comp: Biblical Allusions
Biblical allusions frequently used in literature. Taken from CliffsNotes Cards prepared by R.P. Wasowski.