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Mary the mother of Jesus
By Richard Gunther
approaching this subject I would like to make it clear that I am not in the
slightest bit interested in criticising
any individual Roman Catholics. My only aim is to compare what many Catholics
have told me, in regard to their beliefs about Mary the mother of Jesus, with
what the Bible actually says about her. If the Bible is correct, then the matter
is not between the Catholic view and myself, but between the Catholic view and
I have heard, and read, from various Roman Catholic sources that the
general view on Mary is:
was a virgin all her life,
was sinless all her life,
did not die as most people do, but was taken into heaven,
remains in heaven, interceding on our behalf when we pray to her,
shares the Throne of God with her Son Jesus,
is to be venerated, even worshipped, above all other women.
Bible teaching on these headings is as follows:
she was a virgin all her life?
was not a virgin, because the
Bible tells us that she had many children.
not his (Jesus’) mother called Mary, and his (Jesus’) brothers James, Joses,
Simon and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?” Mat.13:55,56
she sinless all her life?
knew she was a sinner. She said “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my
spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour” Luke 1:47. Mary needed a Saviour,
therefore she must have been a sinner who needed to be saved.
Lev. 12:2-8 teaches that if a woman conceives and bears a male child, she
is to remain ceremonially unclean for forty days, at the end of which time she
is to bring an offering to the Temple. Mary obeyed this law. “So when they had
performed all things according to the law of the Lord . . .” Luke 2:39. (7 day
+ 33 days. The “eighth day is the first of the 33). So Mary showed that she in
need of purification.
As Jesus himself said “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and
that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” John 3:6.
and “Flesh and blood
cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” 1Cor. 15:50, and, “The soul that sins, it
shall die” Ez. 18:4 and, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us” 1John 1:8.
she not die as other people do?
is no mention anywhere in the Bible of Mary ascending to heaven. Rather, she
disappears from the story in the book of Acts, without any special comment. If
she did go to heaven she would have had to go before her proper time, because
Jesus says was the “firstfruits” of the dead. “But now is Christ risen
from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”
1Cor.15:20. In other words, Jesus is the only one who has risen from the dead,
and all the rest must wait for his return before they follow him.
In 1Thess. 4:16 we are told that when Jesus returns to take the reins of
government over the planet . . .”The dead in Christ shall rise first” So
Mary must still be dead, in her “sleep”, waiting, along with every other
saint, for the day when she and they will rise together.
she intercede on our behalf?
Mary does not intercede on anyone’s behalf. “For there is one God,
and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” 1Tim.2:5. “And
as it is appointed for man (all people) to die once, but after that the
judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” Heb.9”27.
Mary, like everyone else, died (once) and awaits the day of judgment, as
all people who die do.
Jesus gave his life for all sinners, and finished the work of salvation
and redemption by himself. “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith
(without Mary’s help), who, for the joy that was set before him endured the
cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of
God” Heb. 12:2. Note: there is no mention of Mary sitting with or beside him.
Also, it was the work of the Saviour to die and return to the Throne,
while Mary neither died to save anyone, or had any right to return to the
Creator’s Throne since she was merely a creature.
she to be venerated, even worshipped, above all other women?
Mary is not to be venerated or worshipped above any other person, either
male or female. Mary herself knew this was so, since she called God her Saviour
When the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary (Luke 1:28) he said “Blessed are
you among women”. Among not above. The exact same thing was said about Jael,
who killed Sisera: “Most blessed among women is Jael . . . blessed is she
among women in tents.” Jud.5:24. God therefore does not elevate Mary above any
other women, therefore we ought not to either.
There are still some misunderstandings about Mary to be cleared up,
because there are some references which have been interpreted to mean that she
was unique in some way. Apart from the fact that she was chosen by God to bear
the Son of God, and therefore had the privilege of being a mother to the Son of
God, she could not have been the Mother of God, since that would place her in
the Godhead. Jesus gave us the name of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
therefore there is no place for a woman as well.
John 2, at the wedding in Cana, Jesus spoke respectfully to his mother:
“Woman, what does your concern have to do with me?” By speaking this way
Jesus showed that Mary was not to have any authority or power to interfere with
her son’s work.
Mat.12:47, when Jesus’ mother and brethren were trying to get in to see him
through a densely-packed crowd, Jesus said “Whoever does the will of my Father
is my brother and sister and mother”. By saying this Jesus brought the
importance of being an obedient follower of God up to a level of equality, and
reduced the family relationship down to zero.
John 19:25-27 when Jesus was on the cross, he said to his mother: “Woman
behold your son!” and then to John he said “Behold your mother!”
The gospel, written by John, then says “And from that hour that
disciple took her to his own home”. Jesus
made no special comment about Mary, but simply passed her on to John, for him to
care for, and for her to have a home. Nothing else is said.
Acts 1:14, after Jesus had gone up into heaven by himself: “These all
continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary
the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” So Mary is just one of the
believers, praying along with everyone else, and that is the last mention of her
in the Bible.
Tradition and Roman Catholic speculation have viewed Mary as being guarded from actual sin by divine grace. This notion, which prevailed from the 12th century, was developed into a Papal decree on Dec. 8th, 1854. On Nov. 1st 1950 the Bull, called Munnificentissimus Deus declared the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. This dogma asserts “that the Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God, when the course of her life was finished, was taken up, body and soul, into the glory of heaven.” (Acts Apostolicae Sedis XXXII 1950, page 753 – 773)
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