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Steve Van Nattan

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THE TRUTH ABOUT MARY
Myths are debunked

By Reese Currie- Compass Distributors

 

When a person opposes the Roman Catholic mythology about Mary, the mother of Jesus, other people may say that such a person is "anti-Mary." But I would think that the people who are really anti-Mary are those who distort the story of her life for their own evil purposes.

The truth is, Mary, the real Mary of Scripture, is certainly worthy of our admiration for her obedience to God. But at the same time, we must recognize that much of the Roman Catholic tradition surrounding her is actually counter to what we know from Scripture.

The Bible's main job is to point to Jesus Christ, which is why the information on people other than Jesus is somewhat scanty. Nevertheless the Bible paints an adequate history of Mary so that we may know the truth.

To begin with, we can know that Mary was a devout Jewish woman, and she was certainly a virgin when she conceived Jesus according to both the Old and New Testaments.

Isaiah 7:14 says, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

Jesus was never referred to as "Immanuel," which confuses some people, but you need to keep in mind what "Immanuel" means, "God is with us." The "name" in Hebrew thought could be understood to be synonymous with identity. Therefore, you must understand that absolutely everyone who really believes in Jesus recognizes that He is God, and that He was here on earth with us. So we call His identity, "Immanuel" -- God with us.

Some sects inside Protestantism have members that claim Mary was not a virgin when she had Jesus, but those people are just heretics. This disbelief is part of a larger heresy called "Socinianism" or today, "rationalism." The Bible explicitly affirms that Mary was a virgin at Matthew 1:23 and Luke 1:27.

Matthew 1:23 says, "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

Luke 1:27 says that the angel Gabriel was sent "To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary."

The virginity of Mary prior to the birth of Jesus is not debatable from Scripture. However, the Roman Catholic teaching that Mary remained a virgin the rest of her life is not defensible from Scripture.

Mary and Joseph had other children, which is something the Roman Catholic authorities do not accept. Matthew 12:46 reports, "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him." In fact, they had at least four other boys. Matthew 13:55 reports, "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?"

The Catholic authorities endeavor to explain this away by saying that these children were Joseph's by a prior marriage. This does not stand up to scrutiny.

First,
Jesus was over thirty at the time the incident in Matthew 12 took place. Why were men in their thirties and forties still travelling about with their mother?

Second,
when Joseph and Mary went to Egypt, they took their child -- singular, and was able to leave without arranging lodgings for any other children. Matthew 2:14 says, "When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:"

Third,
even when Jesus was 12, there was no mention of other children when His parents left the caravan and went back to look for Him in Luke 2:41-52.

These facts make the Catholic stance on Mary's supposed "perpetual" virginity illogical. The facts are that Joseph had no children before Jesus, but Jesus had four brothers by Matthew 12.

 

 

There is a twofold reason why the Catholics feel that Mary had to be a virgin all her life.

First, Catholicism equates celibacy with heightened holiness and cannot conceive that Mary would have wanted to have sex and children. We can know for a Biblical certainty that Mary did have sex with Joseph because the Bible explicitly states that Joseph did not have sex with Mary until after the birth of Jesus.

Matthew 1:24,25 says, "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."

If the Bible says Joseph did not have sex with Mary ("knew her not") until after the birth of Jesus, that means that sometime after the birth of Jesus, they must have had sex. The notion that sex even within marriage is evil is a carryover from the dualist philosophy that infected early Catholicism through such characters as Augustine.

Second, Catholic theologians are basically all celibate priests and did not pause to notice the complications of having other children that are missing from the gospel accounts of Jesus' early life on earth. Being single myself, I often fail to consider some of the limitations brought on by family, so I can understand how they missed it. Nevertheless it is inexcusable that these "early church fathers" made a whole religion revolve around their ignorance rather than the plain truth of the Bible.

After the birth of Jesus, it is interesting to note that all of God's further communications to His earthly parents were directed to His father, Joseph. For instance, Joseph was the one told to take Jesus to Egypt.

Matthew 2:13 reports, "And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him."

Joseph was also the one told to bring Him back to Israel.

Matthew 2:19,20 reports, "But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life."

Why didn't God go through the woman that Roman Catholics claim is the Queen of Heaven? Simply because God worked through the family unit He had set up with the man as the head. 1 Corinthians 11:3 says, "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." From the moment Joseph accepted his assignment to be Mary's husband and Jesus' earthy father, God worked through the family order He had established.

The last time Joseph is mentioned as a living person in the Bible is in Luke 2, finding Jesus in the Temple when he was 12. Sometime between Jesus' age of 12 and 30, it would seem that Jesus' adopted earthly father died and His mother was left a widow.

The Pharisees accused Jesus of being "born of fornication" in John 8:41. When Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Ye do the deeds of your father," they responded with what was apparently a shot at Jesus' parentage, "We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." Mary's becoming pregnant before marriage was great ammunition for the Pharisees against Jesus. She was labeled a fornicator.

However, people understood that Jesus was Joseph's son, as.....

Luke 4:22 testifies, "And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?"

Another thing we know about Mary was that she was never any part of Jesus' ministry. In the account in Matthew 12, we find Mary and Jesus' brothers are not a part of His ministry. Matthew 12:47-50 reads, "Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

This is not to say that his mother opposed His ministry, but neither she nor Jesus' brothers were any part of it. In fact, none of Jesus' brothers believed in Him before His resurrection.

John 7:5 reports, "For neither did his brethren believe in him."

Mary re-enters the picture at the sad sight of the crucifixion, and Jesus wanted His disciple John to adopt her as his own mother and take her into his house. Jesus commands this adoption to take place in.....

John 19:26-27, "When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."

This is actually another proof that Jesus' brothers were younger than He was, otherwise surely He would have simply let His brothers look after His mother. As well, in Jewish custom, He would not have had the right to make such a request unless He was the firstborn.

The choice of John as the adopter of Mary as mother is also very telling. John was known by Jesus from the beginning to be a man who would live to a very late age. Jesus predicted a long life for John in.....

John 21:22, "Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me."

Many disciples took this to mean that John would not die before Jesus' return. In verse 23, John follows up Jesus� statement,

"Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?"

In Acts, we note that, even though Mary was now John's adopted mother, and John was an apostle in the Jerusalem church, that she is absolutely never mentioned as having any involvement in the church.

John certainly outlived Mary. In 89 AD, the Roman emperor Domitian began a seven year persecution of Christians and began, for the first time, exiling Christians to the Isle of Patmos, a prison island. John confirms that this is where he wrote Revelation in.....

Revelation 1:9, "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."

The evidence supports that John was exiled to Patmos at a very advanced age and wrote the book of Revelation somewhere between 90-95AD.

Today, it is a known fact that Jesus was born in either 5BC or 6BC. Mary was a woman no younger than her teens. If she were still present on earth by the time of John's exile, she would have been at least 105 years old and possibly older. Yet, John writes absolutely nothing of an "assumption of Mary." The man who had adopted Mary as his own mother wrote not one word about her apart from the words in his gospel.

Paul writes not one word about Mary in all of his epistles. Neither does Peter, nor do James or Jude, who are both Mary's sons and Jesus' brothers. You would think a fantastic event like Mary's ascension into heaven would be reported in Scripture, but it was not. And you can see that the emphasis of the first church was certainly not on Mary from the Bible's record.

There can be no doubt that Mary was a good woman and obedient to God. In a sense, I believe, certain acts were purposefully omitted by Jesus and Mary for the sake of maintaining the purity of the gospel. For instance, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation. But Jesus, who saves all who are saved, made it a point to never baptize even one person in His whole life on earth.

John 4:2 tell us "(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)"

Jesus did not baptize so that people would not look to their baptisms for salvation but rather look unto Him for salvation. Similarly, Mary's lack of involvement in the church would seem to be a deliberate act so that the focus of the pure gospel would never be directed in any way toward Mary, but rather toward Christ.

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:14-15).

In the account of Moses in the wilderness being referred to here, we find that biting serpents had come to attack the people of Israel.

Numbers 21:8-9 says, "And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."

We have all been bitten by a serpent; the serpent that tempted Eve has bitten every man, woman and child who ever lived. And the whole message of Scripture is that we will die from that bite unless we turn from our sin, our religions, our ceremonies, and our own strength, and simply look unto Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone for our salvation.

Isaiah 45:22 says, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."

There is nothing and no one else that can save us, only Jesus Christ.

In closing, I don�t think God is offended when people tell the truth about Mary. But I do think He is terribly offended by those who through their traditions invalidate Scripture by lying about her. Jesus said it best at.....

Matthew 15:6b, "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition."

The Truth About Mary

Copyright © 2000 by Compass Distributors to preserve content
All Scripture taken from
The King James Version of the Holy Bible

 

Credit for the graphic to a site we must disclaim, but the graphic says plenty.

 

 

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