PAPER ON THE REAL MARY
OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
By Thomas L. Faulkner
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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 )
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.
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.
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 )
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.
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
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
"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.
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.
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.
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?
as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" ( Hebrews
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.
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.
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.
ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." ( John 8:32 )
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
King James Version of the Bible
Bible Cyclopedia, by A. R. Fausset, M.A.,
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
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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