2 Questions regarding Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant

I’m engaging in a Marian debate with Protestants over whether or not Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, and I have questions I want to ask:

First, one objection that Protestants use is this:

“We are told that Mary is paralleled with David (both ‘arise’ and ‘set out’), while other times Mary is paralleled with the Ark. Moreover, the statement of David in 2 Sam 6:9, ‘How can the ark of the LORD come to me?,’ changes the parallelism from Mary/David to David/Elizabeth . . . The fluctuation of the parallelism from Mary/Ark to Mary/David to David/Elizabeth to Elizabeth/Obed-Edom seems too capricious to be valid, and is for that reason alone rightly rejected by most scholars” (Eric Svendsen, Who is my Mother? The Role of and Status of the Mother of Jesus in the New Testament and Roman Catholicism, [Calvary Press, 2001], p. 168).

Now I have already pointed that, in the Binding of Isaac that type of Christ in that story shifts from Isaac to the Ram caught in bramble thorns. And I’m also confident, I can make a case there being a specific pattern to shift in parallel and there being significant meaning in the Elizabeth being both David and Obed-Edom. But I’d like some help with this and also some additional arguments for refuting this objection.

Second I’d like some historical evidence for the early Church Fathers and early Christians calling Mark the Ark of the Covenant, I already found this:

“O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides.” Athanasius, Homily of the Papyrus of Turin, 71:216 (ante AD 373) .

Thanks

Glory to God
and
Hail Mary!

This link may be helpful. catholicfidelity.com/apologetics-topics/mary/church-fathers-on-mary-as-ark-of-the-new-covenant/

Also, the the issue of Revelations 11-12 has come it in this debate, I would to know:

  1. When did the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, first refer to the Woman as Our Lady? I know that the Early Church Fathers, described the Woman as symbolizing the Church, because it was obvious to them that the Woman was Mary and so didn’t feel the need to comment on them.

  2. The majority of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church say, that the Dragon’s tail dragging a third of the stars and flinging them to the Earth, is a prophesy of the Antichrist leading a third of the Catholic hierarchy into error, schism, heresy, and apostasy. Is it OK for me to mention this, because the crown of twelve stars was brought up, and this might be helpful in reinforcing the fact that the crown of twelve stars represent the the twelve stars. But I’m concerned it might be scandalous to bring it up because, of what’s happening in the Church now.

Don’t forget, the scriptures originally did NOT have chapter and verse numbers. That did not come into place until about the middle of the 1200’s as an aid to study and memorization. So, originally, Revelation 11:19 and 12:1 formed one continuous narrative. In this context the “ark of the covenant” and the “woman clothed with the sun” are one and the same.

Originally Posted by YehoiakhinEx232
1. When did the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, first refer to the Woman as Our Lady? I know that the Early Church Fathers, described the Woman as symbolizing the Church, because it was obvious to them that the Woman was Mary and so didn’t feel the need to comment on them.

. The first time that Mary is referred to as “Woman” is by Jesus himself on the cross (John 19:26). I am not aware of any Father or Doctor of the Church referring to “the Woman” in Revelations as “Our Lady”. Regardless of whether they did or did not, scripture can hold a variety of meanings and therefore should not be bound to only one meaning. While the woman could be understood to represent the Church, the Church did not bring forth the male child (Jesus); Jesus brought forth the Church. Others would say that since the male child and the dragon are real persons (Jesus and Satan), the woman must be a real person as well and the Virgin Mary is the only real person that it could possibly be. On the other hand, it also seems fitting that the woman does actually represent the Church according to Revelation 12:17 where the dragon makes war on the “rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus”. But again, if we are the brothers and sisters of Christ, than Mary is also our mother and we can be called “her offspring” as well. It is not an either/or choice to the exclusion of all other views.

Originally Posted by YehoiakhinEx232
2. The majority of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church say, that the Dragon’s tail dragging a third of the stars and flinging them to the Earth, is a prophesy of the Antichrist leading a third of the Catholic hierarchy into error, schism, heresy, and apostasy. Is it OK for me to mention this, because the crown of twelve stars was brought up, and this might be helpful in reinforcing the fact that the crown of twelve stars represent the twelve stars. But I’m concerned it might be scandalous to bring it up because, of what’s happening in the Church now.

Are you certain that the majority of Fathers and Doctors say that the third of the stars represents Catholic hierarchy? It seems to me that the dominant view has always held that the third of the stars represented the fallen angels that followed Satan in his fall from grace. The twelve stars are generally understood to symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles, and once they are in heaven, they can’t be cast down from heaven. Be that as it may……

I don’t know any protestant who believes that The Antichrist is actually here on earth at this time or that he was here sometime in the past (the middle ages perhaps), but has already been cast down to hell. No, they believe he is yet to come. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church were writing when there was only One Christian Church, the Catholic Church. Even if this does refer to a third of the Catholic hierarchy apostatizing or believing heresy, It has not taken place yet because the Antichrist is yet to come. Therefore, the Catholic Church (and the hierarchy) have always and still do maintain and uphold the “faith which was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Even if a third will fall, that still leaves 2/3rds remaining faithful to lead the “church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth” (1 Tim 3:15). It could also refer to the Church throughout history losing a third to the antichrist throughout every generation and not necessarily all at one time.

It also could be understood as referring to Protestants or other Christian sects who broke away from the Church in schism, heresy, etc. When the antichrist comes, they may unknowingly willingly follow him having deserted what Christ established for their benefit. It could also refer to lay Catholics who reject ecclesial authority and forsake the sacraments. In my personal opinion, I think it refers to all of the above (fallen angels, Catholics both laity and clerical, protestants both laity and clerical, and even non believers) throughout time, or at any given time including the time of the Antichrist. Sticking like glue to the Catholic Church is the only sure way to avoid being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph 4:14).

Keeping that in mind, whether you choose to bring it up in your discussion is up to your prudential judgment. However, know that the Church has no official stance on this and so it will most likely just be opinion vs. opinion and may frustrate you and not be profitable to them. Stick to what has been defined by the Church through the years with Councils, Fathers, and Doctors as the witness that “this is the Apostolic Faith”, and not just another opinion among many.

And that is just my opinion.

Originally Posted by YehoiakhinEx232
”We are told that Mary is paralleled with David (both ‘arise’ and ‘set out’), while other times Mary is paralleled with the Ark. Moreover, the statement of David in 2 Sam 6:9, ‘How can the ark of the LORD come to me?’, changes the parallelism from Mary/David to David/Elizabeth… The fluctuation of the parallelism from Mary/Ark to Mary/David to David/Elizabeth to Elizabeth/Obed-Edom seems too capricious to be valid, and is for that reason alone rightly rejected by most scholars”

I would just suggest that we can’t expect it to be a “perfect” parallel considering that Mary is a living person that can speak and do things that the Ark as an object cannot do. Therefore, it is not surprising that the parallel shifts somewhat considering that the Ark could not “arise” and “set out” under its own power but Mary could. The Ark also could not speak as Mary could. Therefore, it is not surprising that David “fills in” for what the Ark could not do under its own power but Mary could. So whether it is Mary/David, Mary/Ark, David/Elizabeth, etc., the imagery conveyed still fits as a parallel extremely well.

Because of the nature of the Ark (as an object) and the nature of Mary (as a living person), the parallel cannot be expected to be a 1 to 1 literal parallel. If that were the case, Mary would never speak, and someone would have carried her around everywhere. However it can be understood as a figurative parallel as Jesus is depicted many times. The most basic example of this is the parallel of Jesus and the contents of the Ark of the Covenant (manna, Aaron’s budded rod, and tablets of the covenant (Heb 9:4). The objects contained within the Ark were a representation of the living fulfillment in the person of Jesus. The object of the Ark itself was also a representation of the living fulfillment in the person of Mary. If one accepts this parallel of Jesus, there is no logical reason to reject the same parallel of Mary which is of the same type.

Yes, thanks, I also realized that, the reason for Mary, paralleling David at the beginning and end of the Visitation, was because it was David, who moving the Ark, and now it’s the is a living person, who can move on her own. I’ve been meditating on this for awhile, and am going to start answering this objection today. Please pray for me.

Glory to God
and
Hail Mary!

I didn’t see where this link was given. I think this answers your questions

catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/mary-the-ark-of-the-new-covenant

Hi, Yehoiakhin!!

No argument here!

I would totally agree with you that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. The Angel Gabriel called her “Full of Grace”, meaning she is without the stain of original sin. She could not be sinful because she was to carry the living word in her womb. Our Lady Mary, is definitely the new Ark! The parallel from David and Elizabeth is very striking, both having said “How can this Ark come to me?” The original Ark of the Covenant was layered with pure gold inside and out, symbolizing purity and containing God’s word.

The Ark of Mary contains a better word with better promises!!

This might surprise you, but this is coming from a Lutheran Protestant!!

Blessings, my brother!! :slight_smile:

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