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When Mary Gave Birth to Jesus Was She Truly a Virgin?
Luke 1:26-31 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Jesus’ Birth Foretold by Gabriel
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin[*] betrothed[**] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you.” 29 But she was greatly perplexed at the statement, and was pondering what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David; 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end.” 34 But Mary said to the angel, “How is this to be, since I know no man?”[I.e. I am not having sexual relations with a man]
[*] Virgin: (Gr. parthenos) In the Jewish culture “virgins” were young women (maidens), who were fourteen years of age or younger. The Greek can refer to a female virgin (Matt. 1:23; 25:1, 7, 11; Lu 1:27, 27; Ac 21:9; 1 Cor. 7:25, 28, 34, 36, 37, 38; 2 Cor. 11:2) or a male virgin (Rev. 14:4) However, it can also refer to an unmarried person who is not necessarily a virgin. (1 Cor. 7:25) Yet, the main use of this term in the NT is speaking of a young woman, who has reached puberty but is not married and has never had sexual intercourse, i.e., a virgin.
[**] Betrothed: (Gr. mnēsteuomai) This refers to a person who was promised in marriage. The Greek means ‘to be engaged, to be promised in marriage.’ According to ancient cultural customs of the Jewish people, “to be betrothed to a man,” namely, engaged, was to be legally bound to a future marriage. The engaged couple were already viewed as though they were already married, which means they could not just break off the engagement but rather would have to by law, seek a bill of divorce. (Matt. 1:19) It was so binding that the young woman could not marry another until she was freed by due process of law. Even though a young Jewish couple was viewed as already being married, they did not begin living together as husband and wife until after the wedding formalities.–Matt. 1:18; Lu 1:27; 2:5.
Matthew 1:22-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
22 Now all this has happened to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,” which being translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife, 25 and he was not knowing her until she gave birth to a son; and he called his name Jesus.
Is This Even Possible? It is impossible in the mind of the atheist because he rejects any idea of the miraculous. Just because miracles are not openly apparent today as they were in Bible times, this does not negate the miracles during the period of penning the Bible from 1500 B.C.E. to 100 C.E., some 1,600 years. This was not impossible for the same Creator, who created the billions of universes, who was the designer of the human reproductive organs, to miraculously in a supernatural way bring about the fertilization of an egg cell in the womb of Mary. The Scriptures reveal that the Holy Spirit caused the conception, namely, the fertilization of an egg cell by the transferal of the life of the Son from heaven to Mary’s womb. The Holy Spirit would have canceled out any imperfection in Mary’s ovum, producing a pattern of genes that was perfect from the conception. Matthew tells us that Mary “was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.” (1:18) Luke tells us that the angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason, the one who is born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (Lu 1:35) In other words, the Holy Spirit fertilized Mary’s egg by the life of the Son. At the same time, the Holy Spirit formed what we might call a defensive wall that protected the Son in Mary’s womb so that no imperfection could affect the developing embryo, from conception up unto the time of the birth. When Jesus was born, he was both fully divine and fully human, unified perfectly in one person. See NTTC MATTHEW 1:16: Defending Mary’s virginity
Was Mary Always a Virgin?
Matt. 13:53-56 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, He departed from there. 54 After coming to his hometown, he began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said: “Where did this man get this wisdom and these powerful works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers [Greek, adelphoi] James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And his sisters [Greek, adelphai], are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”
COMMENTARY: Clearly, based on this text, Jesus was not Mary’s only child, as she obviously had other sons and daughters.
The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967, Vol. IX, p. 337) makes the following remarks regarding the Greek words adelphoi and adelphai, used at Matthew 13:55-56, saying that these “have the meaning of full blood brother and sister in the Greek-speaking world of the Evangelist’s time and would naturally be taken by his Greek reader in this sense. Toward the end of the 4th century (c. 380) Helvidius in a work now lost pressed this fact in order to attribute to Mary other children besides Jesus so as to make her a model for mothers of larger families. St. Jerome, motivated by the Church’s traditional faith in Mary’s perpetual virginity, wrote a tract against Helvidius (A.D. 383) in which he developed an explanation . . . that is still in vogue among Catholic scholars.”
Mark 3:31-35 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
31 And his mother and his brothers [Greek, adelphoi; natural brothers] arrived, and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “look, your mother and your brothers [Greek, adelphoi; natural brothers] are outside looking for you.” 33 And he answered them and said, “Who are my mother or my brothers [Greek, adelphoi; spiritual brothers]?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers [Greek, adelphoi; spiritual brothers]! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother [Greek, adelphos; spiritual brother] and sister [Greek, adelphē; spiritual sister] and mother.”
COMMENTARY: There can be no excuse that Matthew 13:53-56 is referring to Jesus’ spiritual brothers and sisters. Because here, a clear distinction is being drawn between Jesus’ natural brothers and his spiritual brothers. When the Scriptures speak of Mary as Jesus’ mother, no one tries to say anything different than what it naturally means. Thus, if we are going to be consistent, them, we cannot try and argue that Jesus brothers were his cousins, when they were, in fact, his natural brothers. Actually, when some relative other than brothers is meant, a different Greek word is used [syggenon], as is the case at Luke 21:16.
Luke 21:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 But you will be handed over even by parents and brothers and relatives [συγγενής suggenēs] and friends, and they will put to death some of you.
COMMENTARY: The Greek word [syggenon] means a person related by blood or marriage. “1. LN 10.6 relative, including the extended family (Mk 6:4; Lk 1:58; 2:44; 14:12; 21:16; Jn 18:26; Ac 10:24; Ro 16:7, 11, 21+).” – James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997). “sungenis (συγγενής, 4773v), in Luke 1:36 (so in the most authentic mss.) and sungenes in v. 58 (plural), KJV, “cousin” and “cousins,” respectively signify “kinswoman” and “kinsfolk,” (RV); so the RV and KJV in 2:44 and 21:16.” – W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 135.
Is Mary, the mother of God, Theotokos Biblical?
The focus of the angelic messenger who informed Mary of her coming miraculous birth was not on her being the so-called “The Mother of God” but rather her being the Mother of the Son. The angel said: “You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. . . . The child will be holy and will be called Son of God.”—Luke 1:31-35, JB; italics added.
The Roman Catholic Church most often refers to Mary as “The Mother of God.” The phrase is connected to the Greek theotokos, which means God-bearer. The term is used by the Catholic Church to exalt Mary above God, reverence and worship being give to her because she gave birth to the Son of God; thus says the Catholic theologians.
The New Catholic Encyclopedia says: “Mary is truly the mother of God if two conditions are fulfilled: that she is really the mother of Jesus and that Jesus is really God.” (1967, Vol. X, p. 21) The Bible says that Mary was the mother of Jesus, but was Jesus God? In the fourth century, long after the writing of the Bible was completed, the Church formulated its statement of the Trinity. (New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, Vol. XIV, p. 295; see page 405, under the heading “Trinity.”) At that time in the Nicene Creed the Church spoke of Jesus Christ as “very God.” After that, at the Council of Ephesus in 431 C.E., Mary was proclaimed by the Church to be Theotokos, meaning “God-bearer” or “Mother of God.”
However, the problem that the Catholic church faces is that the Greek word theotokos is not found anywhere in Scripture, nor is the doctrinal view. Yes, it is true that the phrase “mother of my Lord” is found in the Scriptures. “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43) However, this does not warrant the title “Mother of God”
Exalting Mary in this way is actually contrary to Scripture. How does Scripture convey the perception of Mary? She was willing to listen to what God said. (Luke 1:26-3) Mary acted in harmony with God’s will, trusting fully in him. (Luke 1:38) God used a person who had a very low station in life. (Compare Luke 2:22-24 with Leviticus 12:1-8) Mary was interested in her and her families spiritual welfare. (Luke 2:41; Acts 1:14) Wives were not obligated to travel to Jerusalem each Passover with their husbands. Mary taught the Word of God to her children. (Luke 2:42, 46-49.)
This exalted title for Mary, reverence, prayer, and a worshipful spirit toward her is an invention of the Roman Catholic Church, not scripturally based. Yes, Mary gave birth to the Son of God, thus implying that she is before him and above him as to authority and power is not even close to what the Scriptures say. Consider the wedding at Cana, “On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? (John 2:1-4) God is the Almighty Creator, and the idea of being the “mother of” him in such a worshipful way carries with it the idea that she has authority over, that she is more mature, possesses more knowledge, insight, and wisdom, and that she is superior.
The Catholics have put their reverence, worship (prayer is part of our worship), and prayers to Mary instead of God Himself. This is apostasy (standing off from biblical truths). It is idolatry. How? They are worshipping the creature (Mary), not the Creator. God is the Almighty Creator of all things, so all praise, worship, and prayers go to him. Even Jesus prayed to the Father and said that all prayers were to be directed to the Father but in Jesus’ name. (Matthew 4:10; 6:9; John 14:6; 1 John 2:1, 2) God has no “mother.” Not even the most powerful angel, the archangel, Michael, is even remotely close to God in power and authority. It isn’t even comparable. There is nothing that can equal God, let alone be superior to Him. While the Catholic church does not teach that Mary is divine, its members have that sense with all of this elevation of Mary from her low station in life. The Roman Catholic Church has gone far beyond what is written in Scripture (1 Corinthians 4:6), setting aside the Word of God, adding to the Word of God, placing the pope on the same level as Scripture.
Is Immaculate Conception that Mary Was Conceived Without Sin Biblically True?
The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967, Vol. VII, pp. 378-381) acknowledges regarding the origin of the belief: “ . . . the Immaculate Conception is not taught explicitly in Scripture . . . The earliest Church Fathers regarded Mary as holy but not as absolutely sinless. . . . It is impossible to give a precise date when the belief was held as a matter of faith, but by the 8th or 9th century it seems to have been generally admitted. . . . [In 1854 Pope Pius IX defined the dogma] ‘which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin in the first instant of her Conception.’” This belief was confirmed by Vatican II (1962-1965).—The Documents of Vatican II (New York, 1966), edited by W. M. Abbott, S.J., p. 88.
Romans 5:12 Updated American Standard Version (USV)
12 Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned,
Leviticus 12 English Standard Version (ESV)
Purification After Childbirth
12 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,2 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. As at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean.3 And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying. She shall not touch anything holy, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. 5 But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation. And she shall continue in the blood of her purifying for sixty-six days.
6 “And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, 7 and he shall offer it before the Lord and make atonement for her. Then she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, either male or female.8 And if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.”
Luke 2:22-24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Jesus Presented at the Temple
22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
COMMENTARY: The Scriptures clearly show that according to the Mosaic Law, after the 40th day of Jesus’ birth, Mary offered a sin offering at the temple in Jerusalem for purification from uncleanness. Just as is true of all imperfect humans, Mary inherited sin and imperfection from Adam.
Catholicism Claims that Mary Ascend to Heaven with Her Body of Flesh, Is This True?
Assumption. In Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic theology, the notion or (in Roman Catholicism) the doctrine that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken (assumed) into heaven, body, and soul, following the end of her life on Earth. – Britanica Encyclopedia
Pope Pius XII in 1950 proclaimed that this dogma is an official article of the Catholic faith. The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967, Vol. I, p. 972) states: “There is no explicit reference to the Assumption in the Bible, yet the Pope insists in the decree of promulgation that the Scriptures are the ultimate foundation of this truth.”
1 Corinthians 15:50 English Standard Version (ESV)
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
John 4:24 English Standard Version (ESV)
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
1 Corinthians 15:45 English Standard Version (ESV)
45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
Hebrews 1:13-14 English Standard Version (ESV)
13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
COMMENTARY: Above, scripture is clear “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” Jesus said that “God is spirit.” The angels are spirits.
Is It Scriptural to Pray to Mary?
Matthew 6:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
9 Pray in this way: “Our Father who is in the heavens, hallowed be your name.
John 14:6, 14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
COMMENTARY: We should pray only to God. Jesus always prayed to his Father when he was on earth. (Matthew 4:10; 6:9) However, our prayers should be said in the name of Jesus. (John 14:6; 1 John 2:1-2)
Is Venerating Mary’s Image Biblical?
Vatican II (1962-1965). “This most holy Synod . . . admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered. It charges that practices and exercises of devotion toward her be treasured as recommended by the teaching authority of the Church in the course of centuries, and that those decrees issued in earlier times regarding the veneration of images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and the saints, be religiously observed.”—The Documents of Vatican II, pp. 94, 95.
Exodus 20:4-5 English Standard Version (ESV)
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Commentary: The prohibition is against making and bowing down to carved images.
Leviticus 26:1 English Standard Version (ESV)
26 “You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.
Commentary: We are to make ni image in which people might bow down in worship or even with a worshipful spirit
2 Corinthians 6:16 English Standard Version (ESV)
16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
1 John 5:21English Standard Version (ESV)
21Little children, keep yourselves from idols
John 4:23-24English Standard Version (ESV)
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Commentary: The Catholics who rely on images that aid them in their devotion are not worshiping God “in spirit” but they are depending on their eyes and what they can see.
2 Corinthians 5:7 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Isaiah 40:18 English Standard Version (ESV)
18 To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
Acts 17:29 English Standard Version (ESV)
29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.
Isaiah 42:8 English Standard Version (ESV)
8 I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
Acts 10:25-26English Standard Version (ESV)
25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.”
Commentary: Clearly, unlike the pope, cardinals, and bishops today, Peter did not approve of such adoration. Do we believe that Peeter would now want us kneeling before an image of him?
1 Timothy 2:5English Standard Version (ESV)
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the manChrist Jesus,
Commentary: The pope, the cardinals, the bishops, the priests are not to serve in the role of mediator for the members of Christ’s church.
When Alive On Earth, Mary Was She Honored and Did She Seek Honor?
The apostle Peter never mentions Mary in any of his letters. The apostle Paul in 14 NT books that he authored never used her name, but rather spoke of her only as “a woman.”—Gal. 4:4.
John 2:3-4 English Standard Version (ESV)
3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
Commentary: Yes, as a child human, Jesus was in subjection to his mother and his adoptive father. However, once he became an adult he no longer accepted Mary’s direction or correction.
Luke 11:27-28English Standard Version (ESV)
27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Commentary: This would have been the perfect opportunity for Jesus to praise his mother and give her some kind of special honor if that was what he wanted us to do. He dis not do that.
History of Mary Adoration
Catholic priest Andrew Greeley says: “Mary is one of the most powerful religious symbols in the history of the Western world . . . The Mary symbol links Christianity directly to the ancient religions of mother goddesses.”—The Making of the Popes 1978 (U.S.A., 1979), p. 227.
Not the location where the doctrine that Mary is the Mother of God became confirmed. “The Council of Ephesus assembled in the basilica of the Theotokos in 431. There, if anywhere, in the city so notorious for its devotion to Artemis, or Diana as the Romans called her, where her image was said to have fallen from heaven, under the shadow of the great temple dedicated to the Magna Mater since 330 B.C. and containing, according to tradition, a temporary residence of Mary, the title ‘God-bearer’ hardly could fail to be upheld.”—The Cult of the Mother-Goddess (New York, 1959), E. O. James, p. 207.
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