A PAPER ON THE REAL MARY
OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

By Thomas L. Faulkner

Editor:  Mr. Faulkner was good enough to send this paper along and allow us to introduce his work to our readers.  We thank him for this, and I am sure you will appreciate his work which is well done indeed.


Mary and her Parents

Early History about Mary and her parents

With so much reverence of Mary by the Roman Catholic Church, we need to examine the life of Mary and who her parents were. Deciding what is being presented is true and factual, or superstition based on tradition and fantasy. Looking at all possible sources that can be examine and comparing it to what the Bible says.

The source of who Mary's parents were, which is used by the Catholic Church, comes from an apocryphal gospel which is said to have been composed by James the less, who was the son of Alphaeus. A gospel which is not accepted by any church as being authoritative or canonical and is not listed with in any Bible. This gospel is dated from the mid 2nd century and is considered as being one of the oldest apocryphal books written. It is also known by its modern title of the Protoevangelium, also as the gospel of the Infancy. The content of this gospel tells us of Mary's parent, events during her early childhood, early devotion to her, and her betrothal to Joseph.

The gospel of James is most likely to be a Docetist origin, which was an early Christian heretical sect that believed that Jesus Christ only had a spiritual body and could not suffer physical pain. Having a belief that things appear to happen and not in reality, for Docetism comes from a Greek word "dokien" meaning to seem or appear.

James the less, an apostle of Jesus and son of Alphaeus ( Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15 ), had two brothers and a sister. His brothers were Lebbaeus whose surname was Thaddaeus ( Matthew 10:3 ), Joses ( Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40 ), and his sister was Salome ( Mark 15:40 ). His mothers name was Mary, and was at the crucifixion of Jesus ( Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40 ).

According to the Protoevangelium Anne was the daughter of Matthan the priest, who lived in Bethlehem. Her husband was a Galilean, named Joachim, and they lived in Nazareth. Anne and her husband Joachim, being childless in an advance age prayed for divine aid. In answer an angel appeared to Anne, saying, "The Lord has looked upon thy tears; thou shalt conceived and give birth, and the fruit of thy womb shall be blessed by all the world." Her conception was fulfilled, as with Abraham and Sarah, in which the Lord made it possible for them to have children by natural means.

Joachim was rejected from the Temple and he returned to his shepherds which during this time an angel appeared to Joachim. He came to Jerusalem and met Anne at the golden gate, in which sometime later Anne bore a daughter, whom she called Miriam ( Mary ). It is believed that she was born in Jerusalem. Mary was later presented at the Temple where she was educated in the law.

When Mary was six months old she was able to walk, but her first tottering footsteps were forbidden by Anna ( Anne ), her mother, who made a vow that the child should not again put her feet to the earth until she has been led into the Temple. When the first year of Mary's life was ended Joachim, her father, gave a grand banquet, to which he invited not only his friends but many distinguished priests and scribes also, who, after feasting, gave their blessings to the child and consecrated her for such holy purposes as would make her name famous for all time.

She was then consigned to a sanctuary where she remained until her forth year, when she was taken to the Temple and there placed with the virgins. Here her deportment and demeanor were angelic, devoting her hours to praying and spinning until her twelfth year, when her piety was so great that angels came each day to feed her, and to assist in her instructions, by which aid she became more learned in the law and the prophecies than any rabbi who ministered in the Temple. Not only did she thus show a marvelous accomplishment, but her beauty, graces and melodious voice were no less remarkable, so that birds came flocking about her, while beasts of every kind accepted her mistress ship and gamboled in an ecstasy of rejoicement at her presence.

When she was of age suitors came to the Temple to present their wands to the high priest, who also prayed before the alter on which the wands are deposited. Joseph being one of the suitors held the wand that flowered, giving a sign that he was to be the one who would be betrothed to Mary.

In the gospels of the Bible it speaks of Joseph being betrothed to Mary and tells us of the birth of

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Jesus. There are no feast days or holy days for Mary's father, but her mother has been recognized and holy days have been given in her name.

Anne became a saint in 1584 and the Fathers of the Church frequently extolled her virtues, sanctity and privileges. The feast of St. Anne was extended through out the whole church in 1584, by Pope Gregory XIII, and fixed for July 26 as a double. Leo XIII in 1879 raised it to the rank of double 2nd class. St. Anne is the Patroness of Christian mothers, and in Hebrew Anne is Hannah which means grace.

Feast days are classified in a ranking order of importance which are listed in descending order, 1st double, 2nd double, major double, and double. The feast day of Anne would then be the second highest of all feast days. The Greek church commemorates St. Anna on September 4 as her festival, December 9 as the day of her conception, and July 25 as the day of her death. The Roman Catholic Church and Church of England only celebrate a feast day on July 26.

In sacred art St. Anna is usually represented as teaching the Virgin Mary to read the Old Testament scriptures.

The Douay Version of the Bible, which a Catholic version, does not include the gospel of James, and says that Heli is the father of Mary. Mary's genealogy is mentioned in Luke 3:23 - 38, but mentions Joseph as being the son of Heli. Which Joseph was in reality the son in law of Heli, and is being recognized as such in this passage. In the Douay Version it tries to show who Heli was and also tries to explain Joseph relation to Heli as follows.

St. Joseph, who by nature was the son of Jacob ( St. Matt. 1:16 ), in the account of the law, was son of Heli. For Heli and Jacob were brothers, by the same mother; and Heli, who was the elder, dying without issue, Jacob, as the law directed, married his widow; in consequence of such marriage, his son Joseph was reputed in the law the son of Heli.

Examining the genealogy of their statement this would make Joseph and Mary first cousins, and you would have to presume that Jacobs wife would have passed away as well for him to be able to marry his brothers wife. None of this, of course, is mentioned with in scripture at all and is sheer speculation. The source of information about Mary's parents from the gospel of James contradicts the gospel of Luke as far as who her parents were. The gospel of James is obviously unreliable and should not be accepted for the fact of it's false information and the fantasies that it contains.

This would mean that Joachim and Anne cannot be Mary's parents and that the Mary that the Catholic Church, and others who believe this, are believing and worshipping in is the wrong Mary and that Anne is a false saint.

The only information that we have on Mary comes from the Bible which is totally reliable. That the Bible tells us that Mary's father was Heli and not Joachim ( Luke 3:23 ), and makes no mention of who her mother was, and tells us that she had a sister. Her sister's name was Mary and was the wife of Cleophas ( John 19:25 ). We also know that when Mary was with child, that she went and visited her cousin Elisabeth ( Luke 1:36 ) who, as well, was with child at that time.

Immaculate Conception

The belief of Mary's Immaculate Conception became entirely explicit by St. Ephraem ( d ?373 ), and St. Ambrose in 377 described her as the model of all virtues. Also St. Augustine in 415 said that out of honor to Christ, he wished no question to be raised about Mary when treating of sin.

During the Council of Trent ( 1545 - 1563 ) it had defined Mary's complete freedom from personal sin.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception affirms that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved, in the instant of her conception, that she is free from all stain of original sin. That she was also perfectly sinless through out her life as well. This was proclaimed and to be believed in, by Pope Pious IX in 1854, as it is also stated in the Catechism in 411, 491, and 493. This belief is based on two verses

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from scripture as follows.

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." ( Genesis 3:15 )

"And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." ( Luke 1:28 )

In Genesis 3:15 the Roman Catholic Church interprets the verse as saying that the woman is Mary and the enmity is that she is preserved from sin as well as her seed, Jesus. In fact the Catholic belief in Mary's complete freedom from personal sin rests chiefly on Genesis 3:15.

Enmity in the Hebrew is eybah and it means hostility or hatred. Not a preservation of anyone from sin. Also that the woman spoken of here is Eve and not Mary. God said that He would put enmity ( hatred ) between thee, who is the serpent and the women, Eve, and between both of their seeds. Nothing here suggest that anyone is preserved to be sinless.

One should realize that Mary was conceived by natural mean and was capable of sinning, for this comes from the father side ( Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Corinthians 15:22 ). Jesus is the only one who was not conceived by natural means, but by the Holy Spirit ( Matthew 1:20, 21; Luke 1:35 ). He is the only one mentioned in the Bible as being sinless ( 2 Corinthians 5:21 ), because of His nature which comes from God.

The second verse, Luke 1:28, speaks of Mary as being highly favoured and blessed among woman. Which she should be, for she was chosen to be the vessel in which the Saviour shall come into the world. It does not state here, nor any where in the Bible, that she in any way was preserved from sin or was a sinless person through out her life.

"And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." ( Luke 1:46, 47 )

Mary, as a humble servant, magnifies the Lord and not herself, and recognizes that she is in need of a saviour, being a sinner. She does not in any way make herself co-equal with the Lord, and takes no mention as having to do with anyone's salvation.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." ( Romans 3:23 )

Here we are told that everyone who has lived has sinned. It does not exclude anyone by giving an exception. The Bible does however speaks of one who has no sin as follows.

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." ( 2 Corinthians 5:21 )

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." ( Hebrews 4:15 )

That person is Jesus Christ who was made perfect, so He could die for us on the cross. That by the shedding of His blood we are made clean from sin. No one else in the Bible is mentioned to have any power to remove our sin, or was made perfect on our behalf.

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Mary has no part in our salvation, nor was she without sin, for this would be against scripture. Such a belief is taking away that which Christ has done for us.

Exaltation

The Roman Catholic Church, and others, obviously exalts Mary to the utmost as much as God Himself. She is known as the Mother of God ( Theo - tokos ), Mother of the Church, Seat ( Throne ) of Wisdom, and Queen of Heaven. She has no less than seven holy days and feasts after her name. The title of Mother of God can only be traced back to the third century and was first sanctioned at the Council of Ephesus 431 AD.

In fact we find with in scripture no support of any exaltation of Mary, but just the opposite. Not that she was not honored but that there was no special treatment of her in scripture. She was indeed blessed, and should be recognized as someone special but not to the point that where one would bow to her, pray to her or pay special homage.

"And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it." ( John 2:1 - 5 )

We see in the this passage of scripture that Jesus treated Mary in no special way, but in a way that she was no one special by the words that He uses. He calls her "woman", like she was just another person there. He says the same to her when He was on the cross in John 19:26. Notice also that she says to the servants that they are to do what HE says and not what SHE says. In other words follow Him and do His will. She knew her place and what was proper in following His words.

"And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord." ( Luke 1:41 - 45 )

In these verses we see Elisabeth greeting Mary and recognizing that she is blessed for being the mother of the Lord. But she did not bow before her or give any other recognition of worship towards her. She only knew what was occurring and that it was the Lord who should be worshipped and no other.

"And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, ( the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty, )" ( Acts 1:13 - 15 )

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Mary is distinguished here from the other "women," but so as to exclude the idea of her having any pre-eminence over the disciples. We are also told in the passage following this in Acts 1:16 - 22, where Peter stood and spoke to those there made no special recognition to Mary, nor did he exalt her in any way. It is remarkable how, with prescient caution, she never is put forward during Christ's ministry, or after His departure. We find no where in scripture any exaltation of Mary, rather we find the opposite.

Perpetual Virgin

The Church has consistently taught of the perpetual virginity of Mary. That she was a virgin before, through and after the conception of Christ ( ante partum, on partu, et post partum, according to an ancient formula ).

Clement of Alexandria ( d ?220 ) defends the perpetual virginity, while admitting that some had denied it. The most notable denial was by Tertullian ( d ?230 ).

The word Aeiparthenos, meaning ever - virgin, was first used in a much disputed text of St. Peter of Alexandria ( d 311 ), and about 400 AD from the book Symbol of Epiphanius also used the word aeiparthenos. The term can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph 499.

The perpetual virginity was officially taught by the Lateran Synod ( 649 ) under St. Martin I and by the Council of Constantinople ( 681 ).

What does the Bible have to say about the idea of Mary always being a virgin, and did Jesus have any brothers and sisters, and do we know their names? First in Matthew 1:25 we read as follows.

"Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."

The word knew in passage is the Greek word "Ginosko" which means to have sexual relations. Erasing any belief or idea that Mary was a virgin all her life. Also the word firstborn in the Greek is "Prototokos", meaning firstborn before others and head of the family. Showing that Jesus was not the only child in their family. That He had brothers and sisters that were younger than Him, for He was the firstborn. There is no mention of Joseph being married before and having children. This is against what the Bible says about Jesus.

"Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?" ( Matthew 13:55, 56 )

"Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him." ( Mark 6:3 )

In these two passages we are told of the brother and sisters of Jesus, and His brothers are named here. Knowing that Jesus was Mary's firstborn, from the previous passage , it is quite obvious that His brothers and sisters were younger. We are told of His family had come to see Him in Luke 8:19 -21, and in Matthew 12:46 - 50.

Acts 1:14 tells us of His mother and brethren being in the upper room after Jesus went into heaven, and they were told by an angel to go into the world sharing the gospel. In this passage the Greek word for brethren is in reference Mary's children. Who were also specifically mentioned with the Apostle's and disciples totaling in a number of one hundred and twenty.

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Believing that Mary was a perpetual virgin is not in any way be supported by the Bible. This is a false belief and is solely an idea that was created to idolize Mary and try to bring worship upon her.

Assumption of Mary

The Assumption of Mary is the belief that she was taken up into heaven and did not have a physical death. That as she lied on her death bed Christ appeared and because of her virtue that He did not want to see her have a physical death and took her into His kingdom.

The tradition of her ascent was first recorded by St. Gregory of Tours ( 538 - 594 ).

The Assumption, is a festival observed on the 15th of August, both by the Roman and Greek churches, in honor of the miraculous ascent of the Virgin Mary into heaven. The date of the festival was fixed early in the eighth century.

Assumption of Mary became dogma on Nov. 1, 1950 by Pope Pius XII, who declares that "Mary, the immaculate perpetual Virgin Mother of God, after the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven." This was the only act the Pope made in ex cathedra after having consultation with all the bishops of the church.

The Second Vatican Council, Oct. 11, 1962 - 1965, confirmed this belief and also that she shares in the glory of her son's resurrection. According to paragraph 974 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The fable of the Assumption of the Virgin has no foundation in tradition, and there is No direct evidence of the assumption in the Bible.

Enoch and Elijah are the only one mentioned in the Bible as being taken into heaven and not having a physical death. Now if Mary was assumed into heaven like Enoch and Elijah, then there would be some mentioned of this with in scripture, and yet there is none.

We see that there is no mention of Joseph, Mary's husband, Mary Magdalene, or Joseph of Arimathaea dying in scripture. Are we just to suppose that they were taken into heaven with out a physical death, as some do about Mary?

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" ( Hebrews 9:27 )

The Bible tells us here that everyone will see a physical death and that no one shall escape it. Jesus who was born into this world saw death on the cross. The only two that the Bible tells us that have not died are Enoch and Elijah. But in Revelation 11:3 - 9 there will be two witness's for God who will appear and die, and their bodies will lie in the street for three days for all the world to see. It is obvious that the two witness's are Enoch and Elijah, who will see death at this time, proving scripture to be true.

Conclusion

After the birth of Jesus we read in the Bible only four times that Mary, His mother, is mentioned. At the marriage in Cana, in Capernaum, at the Crucifixion, and in the Upper room. No where do we see any thing remotely special in the mentioning of Mary. No exaltation, no assumption, no special birth of Mary, and no mention that she was a sinless person.

What we do see is a person who was normal and had faults and sin in her life as we have sin in our life. We see a person who was special in one way that she was chosen to be the instrument in the birth of our Lord, and is blessed because of this.

The Mary, and the parents of Mary, that the Catholic Church believes in is not the Mary of the Bible, nor her parents. It is a false Mary who is being idolize and worshipped. One who take away from Him who suffered for our sakes.

Everything that is shown here comes from two main sources, Catholic writings and the Bible.

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If we are to believe in the Bible and is our main source, and is infallible, then we are to follow God's Word and not what others would wish for us to believe in. Anything that is added to the Bible will always take away from God's Word and distort it.

We need to pray to God and with His guidance and His Word be not deceived by false teachings from other religions. We also need to pray for them that are trapped in such religions and for God to show them the truth of His Word and set them free from false doctrines. We need to show love towards those who are in false religions and with God's help open their eyes to the truth.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." ( John 8:32 )

Bibliography

A Concise Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Edited by Elias Benjamin Sanford, M.A., 1904
A Commentary Critical and Explanatory of the Old and New Testament, by Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown
Authorized King James Version of the Bible
Bible Cyclopedia, by A. R. Fausset, M.A., 1904
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994
Catholic Encyclopedia, 1991
Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1890
Encyclopedia Americana, Vol. 2, pg. 4, Vol. 18, pg. 109, 345
From God to Us - How we got our Bible, by Norman L. Geisler & William E. Nix, 1974
"From Manger to Throne", by Rev. T. DeWitt Talmage D.D. Pgs. 146, 147, 1893
Matthew Poole's Commentary
Pocket Catholic Dictionary, 1985
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D.
The Complete Word Study New Testament, King James Version, Compiled and edited by Spiros Zodhiates Th.D., 1991
The Holy Bible, Douay Version, Catholic, 1914
The New American Encyclopedia, One Volume, 1939
The New Grolier Webster International Dictionary of the English Language, 1975

by Thomas L. Faulkner ( 1998 )
If this article is copied, it may not be edited other than for spelling errors.

 

 

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