Images clipped from sites found via Google. If any of the images resembles the person, it is pure happenstance. If any does resemble resemble her, it is number 2 or 4 from lrft. Mary was a semite. No blue eyes. No blonde hair. No fine nose and blushed cheeks. These are all human fantasizing to make her like "us" im Estern culture.
If you begin this discourse under a pre conclusion you will deprive yourself of a serious look at what scripture reveals about Mary the Virgin mother of Jesus. Read with an open mind and heart. Do verify every word I write against canonical sources to satisfy yourself that it is true.
This investigation does not denigrate in any manner the maidservant of the Lord. It does explore how humans, well meaning or not, have used her for their own misguided ends.
Around the year 1 AD as we count time, there lived in the city of Nazareth a couple who were known as Joachim and Anne. (Scholars have determined a range of about four years potential error in citing the exact time of the Savior's birth).
Joachim and Anne had a virgin daughter named Miriam (Hebrew), Mariam (Aramaic), or as known to us in English, Mary. She was likely fourteen to sixteen years of age at the time of the events which follow. In her time this would have been the beginning of childbearing years for a young woman, as it is today, except that our culture prefers a woman wait until eighteen or older.
In Mary's time there was no future envisioned for a young woman of Jewish descent other than to become a wife and mother. For a woman to be "barren" was considered a terrible thing if not a curse from God.
Mary was betrothed to Yusef Barheli (Joseph son of Heli) [Luke 3:23} or Joseph son of Jacob [Matthew 1:16]. In either case, Joseph was a descendant of the House of David from Abraham. Joseph carried is his body the seed of David, and of course, Adam and Noah. Joseph was under the same curse as bestowed on Adam and all of us to this day. Mary was also in the line of David, bearing his seed in the form of ova.
In the Garden of Eden, after the sin, God cursed the serpent for deceiving the woman (Eve), and said to him among other things, "And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.
Note that God did not say enmity between her seed and "them". He did not tell the serpent "they" will bruise your head. God said "HE" will bruise your head. It strikes me God was even then referring to Messiah. (The entire curse is given in Genesis 3:13-15.)
God also laid somewhat of a curse on the woman respecting pain in childbirth and rulership by her husband. This was a light punishment compared to Adam's. The very land was cursed because of him. Pain, toil, and sin were introduced and the two were expelled from God's presence.
God announced to His people that a savior would be born of a virgin long before this time.
The daughter of Joachim nd Anne was betrothed to Joseph, meaning a marriage contract existed between them. It was arranged by Joachim and either Joseph or the father of Joseph. Non-canonical sources say Joseph was an older man, a widower, who had sons. They say this explains the bothers of Jesus: Judas, James, John and Simon, as well as unnamed sisters.
The Bible does not say this. Joseph disappears from the Biblical accounts sometime later, which will be addressed here later.
Mary, meanwhile, was visited in the sixth month of the Hebrew year by the angel Gabriel. Gabriel told her he was a messenger from God. He greeted her with,
When it became known that Mary was pregnant there must have been a family uproar. Joseph, upon discovering this, planned to quietly cancel the marriage contract so she could be sent away from Nazareth to spare her family the shame. But an angel appeared to Joseph and said:
Joseph accepted the message from God and proceeded to journey with Mary to Bethlehem for the census ordered by Caesar. There the child Jesus was born to a virgin mother as the prophet foretold.
Micah is not the only prophet to foretell the coming of Messiah but his statement is very much on point. He names the location. This is likely how the Maji, nomadic astrologer kings and philosophers, knew where to look for the newborn King of the Jews.
Micah reveals that the coming One has gone forth from eternity. Now He is to go forth in human form, conceived by the Spirit of God in the womb of a human virgin. And so it came to pass.
I will not cite here any of the many verses foretelling Messiah, or revealing Jesus is the Messiah, Son of God, and so on. Either you accept that He is and was or you do not. Here is the point; Jesus said "I and the Father are one." [John 10:30] and again, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." [John 14:9]
He left no doubt as to His identity and proved it by numerous miracles not the least of which was raising Himself from the dead. He is The Christ, Alpha and Omega, Messiah, etc. In that capacity, He is regarded as God, the second person in the Trinity.
Should MAry the mother of Jesus be honored as a saint ?
If the apostles who were with Jesus on earth are accorded such regard, no reason to exclude Mary. There is also no reason, other than men's misinterpretation of scripture, why we do not hear of St. Enoch, St. Noah, St. Abraham, St. Isaac, St. Jacob, St. Elijah, St. David, St. Isaiah, St. Jeremiah, St. Daniel, St. Joseph son of Jacob, and many others singled out in th Bible because they believed and trusted God.
The reason is that human literal understanding of the Bible takes this verse: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." [John 14:6]. The presumption is that because Messiah was not on earth during the Old Testament. The fact is, the prophets who spoke of it knew and believed in Messiah. Christ through the Holy Spirit was well able to bring them to the Father. When Jesus was transfigured before the disciples, [Matthew 17:1-3] He was accompanied by Moses and Elijah. Where do you suppose they were if not alive in the presence of God?
The Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary the mother of Jesus is variously referred to as The Blessed Virgin or Blessed Mother or Saint Mary or in short form sometimes as BVM, so familiar are the usages.
In the greeting of Mary's cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth cried out,
""Blessed are you among women," We were already told Mary was a virgin and that her name was Mary, hence the tile Blessed Virgin Mary is completely scriptural. She was all three.
Blessed Mother is a suitable title, derived from scripture which tells us she was both blessed and the mother of Jesus. The title fits.
Saint Mary is a title, along with all others declared to be saints, which does not stand up to close scrutiny of the Biblical text. The matter of sainthood is challenging. Paul wrote about the then current believers as saints. He believed that those who believed were saints in God's eyes. I hold this to be true even today. Believers, alive or dead, are saints,
I have found nothing in the gospels to indicate Mary believed Jesus was the Messiah. It is clear she accepted Gabriel's pronouncement about her son. She demonstrated belief in His powers at the wedding feast in Cana. I can see why she is regarded as a saint.
In recent times there have been appearances believed by many to be the ascended Mary. A couple which come to mind are Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and most recently Our Lady of Medjugorje. The appearances have spawned their own web sites, believers, followers, and pilgrims.
Begging the question of whether or not the appearances were real, they have nevertheless resulted in many people throughout the world succumbing to a Virgin cult.
There are web pages devoted entirely to the topic of Mary. One of these Titles of Mary, lists the following:
Holy Mother of God, Holy Virgin of virgins, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church, Mother of divine grace, Mother most pure, Mother most chaste, Mother inviolate, Mother undefiled, Mother most amiable, Mother most admirable, Mother of good counsel, Mother of our Creator, Mother of our Savior, Virgin most prudent, Virgin most venerable, Virgin most renowned, Virgin most powerful, Virgin most merciful, Virgin most faithful, Mirror of justice, Seat of wisdom, Cause of our joy, Spiritual vessel, Vessel of honor, Singular vessel of devotion, Mystical rose, Tower of David, Tower of ivory, House of gold, Ark of the covenant, Gate of heaven, Morning star, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, Help of Christians, Queen of angels, Queen of patriarchs, Queen of prophets, Queen of apostles, Queen of martyrs, Queen of confessors, Queen of virgins, Queen of all saints, Queen conceived without original sin, Queen assumed into heaven, Queen of the most holy Rosary, Queen of families Queen of peace.
NONE of these titles are scriptural. In their zeal to honor the mother of Jesus, men have attempted to deify her. I have highlighted the titles which are actually egregious distortions of truth. These stand out for analysis:
Holy Mother of God, Mother of Christ, and Mother of our Creator, are patently heretical. The very scriptures which announce the coming virgin birth say that everlasting God is the Father of the child she is to bear. God pre-existed Mary by eternal distance. God has no mother. If our God has a mother, then SHE is the real God, not Him. Mary was the mother of a human man who was The Christ by God's decision. The Christ is the Word (logos) which created all that exists. Mary had nothing to do with any of it and was herself a product of that same creation. God through Christ created her, not vice-versa.
Mother of the Church, is a title given her by the same denomination which insists that Jesus built His church on a man named Simon called Peter, rather the "rock" which refers to the direct revelation to Peter from God concerning the messiahship of Jesus. Mary was likely involved with the disciples who founded the church. I say this because when on the cross, Jesus appointed John to be her son and her to be John's mother. Tradition says she was with John until she died in or near Ephesus or Patmos where he was exiled.
Virgin most powerful, asserts she presently has power. Not scriptural.
Ark of the covenant, is possibly the most heretical appellation that can be bestowed The Ark was the Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of God among the Israelites. At the very least, it contained the stone tablets of the Law given to Moses.
Gate of heaven, stands in direct contradiction to what Jesus Himself proclaimed, that He is the way to heaven and belief in Him is the only way to get there. All judgment has been handed over to Him by the Father. He will judge the living and the dead. No such authority is vested in Mary or any other human or spirit being.
Queen of angels, Queen of prophets, Queen of apostles, and Queen of all saints, are simply devotees getting carried away with enthusiasm to heap glorification on a simple woman who believed and trusted God. The title 'Queen" is meant to signify the wife of a king or the ruler herself as the heir of the king. None of this applies to Mary.
Queen conceived without original sin, this false doctrine is celebrated in some quarters as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This is rank heresy. No person bearing the seed of Adam in their body has escaped being born of and with the Original Sin. The construct used to justify this heresy runs along lines of, "God would not let His Son be born of sin" therefore she was without sin. She conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus's flesh was made by miraculous means. Nothing suggests that she was conceived by the Holy Spirit other than the misplaced desires of men.
Queen assumed into heaven, is the final severe heresy from the above list. The Bible tells us there were three personages taken bodily to heaven. Jesus ascended bodily. Elijah was bodily taken up in a carriage. Enoch was taken by God though it does not specify that it was bodily, only that God took him. There is no way to reconcile a doctrine of bodily assumption into heaven for Jesus's mother.
Besides the list at the web page cited above, many other appellations have been applied to Mary. The Prompt Succor title has to do with answered prayer. It is believed by some that praying to Mary will yield results. The premise is that she is the mother of the Risen Savior and therefore He will grant her requests.
Belief in praying to, or through, Mary, as in saying rosaries is in absolute contradiction of what Jesus said about prayer. I quote:
Since time immemorial mankind has sought to postulate female deities. I personally surmise this is a result of man's conception of reproduction as it occurs in nature. In the same way he assigned god status to the sun, moon, planets, and mythical creatures combining human and animal forms to explain away what he could not understand, he concluded it must be the same among the "gods". Many cultures and traditions have gods sexually reproducing other gods. Among the stories you find very human like activities such as sex, murder, rivalries and so forth, with the addition of superhuman powers.
Following is a sampling of an article on Female Deities at wikipedia.org. Many of the goddesses are considered "mothers" or "virgins".
Egyptian: Neith Tefnut, Nut, Nephthys, Isis, Naunet, Amaunet, Kauket, Hauhet, Satis and Anuket.
African: Mami Wata, Ala (mythology), Asase Ya, Oshun, Oya, and Yemaja.
Mesopotamia: Ishtar (Inanna), Ninhursag, Ninlil, Antu.
Canaan: Baalat, Ba`alat Gebal, Astarte, Anat.
Anatolia: Cybele Heba, Arinniti, Leto.
Pre-Islamic Arabia: Uzza, al-Manat and al-Lat
Graeco-Roman: Aphrodite, Urania, Venus and Caelestis.
Greco-Roman: Ceres, Persephone, Demeter, Baubo, Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, Eris, Hera, Hecate, Iris, Nike, Potnia, Theron, Selene.
Gallo-Roman: Epona, Dea Matrona
Insular (Welsh, Irish): Mórrígan-Nemain-Macha-Badb, Brigid, Ériu, Danu.
Chinese folk religion: Queen Mother of the West, Mazu, Weaver
Shintoism: Amaterasu Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto, Inari and Konohanasakuya-hime.
Hinduism: Durga, Devi and Shakti
The point is this: humans have a demonstrated propensity for coming up with a female deity who is wife, cohabitant, concubine, or mother of the ruling male deity. The Blessed Virgin Mary, a genuine virgin mother, is the latest victim of man's insatiable need to have a wife/mother goddess.
Nothing in scripture warrants regarding this humble maidservant of God as in any manner equal to God in any of His persons. She never was nor ever will be "Queen" of heaven. She is most certainly not the Mother of God, even by extension and torturous twisting of known facts revealed by God in scripture. Mary worshippers are in fact a cult within Christianity. She is most favored by those so indoctrinated with justification that no human is worthy of direct relationship with the Almighty Father.
Jesus disagrees with this theology. He invites anyone who will to come into a personal relationship with Him and through Him with the Father who made us. I don't know of a single religious structure that does not interpose some other deity or quasi-deity between the human being and his creator.
Who benefits from such beliefs? Not God. Certainly not you. You are being kept in the dark regarding God's willingness to have a relationship with you. I pose this question to you. What was Noah's "religion" that God so admired He chose him to continue human life on earth? What was Abraham's "religion"? He was surrounded on all sides by pagan belief systems, yet he was in a covenant with God.
The Blessed Virgin Mary should be honored for who she was and what she did. The same with all the named important Biblical personages who contributed their service to God in whatever way He called them. Honor Mary. Do not pray to Mary or anyone but God and do that in the name of Jesus, the name above all names, the name at which every knee shall bow.
The Virgin Birth
How did God do it? How did He impregnate a human virgin?
The metaphysical answer is very simple. The One who created and sustains all existence is capable of doing anything which pleases Him. He could have simply stated, as He did with Creation, a command that one of her ovum become fertile. Whatever God says IS. His pronouncements and miraculous doings simply occur beyond the real of known natural law.
He could have simply commanded a zygote to come into exitence with no human heredity whatever. But Jesus is reported to have been "conceived" so it seems to me, lacking any source of other information, that God intended Jesus, The Christ, to be both man and God. That is why Jesus Himself said He was Son of Man and Son of God.
The scietific approach is more fanciful. Our technology has not yet reached the point at which we can alter a zygote from outside the body via some means of radiation. We could possibly do it chemically, introducing some genetic factor, but that would not make the resulting child divine.
Only God is divine and only God can make something else divine. Emeeprors and Pharaohs claimed to be divine and their subjects believed them. They all died. Every last one of them. To be divine necessarily means being immortal. Nothing in our cosmos is immortal. Angels are presumed to be divine creatures, existing in the spirit realm, but whether or not they are immortal is not revealed to us (as far as I know).
You can invent for yourself any story you like about how God puled it off. it does not matter. He prophesided it then did it.
Teachings which deify Mary or anyone else are gross heresies; contradictory to the plain words of truth in the Bible. If you are caught in this snare, ask God to remove it from you.
Written by © Wayne Hepburn, January 2013