Does this say that Mary is ever virgin?

I’ve been trying to defend the belief that the mother of Jesus is an ever virgin. For some reason unknown to me, many people insist on believing that the Ark of the New and Everlasting Covenant, aka Jesus Christ, is a defiled and imperfect being. If the first Ark of the Covenant was so holy that if you touched it you died, why would the new ark be any different?
Luke 11:27 states that the womb that bore Jesus Christ IS blessed.
Blessed by definition means higly favored and fortunate as by divine grace. That being said, wouldn’t a blessed womb remained undefiled. Kind of like once saved always saved? Scripture does say is, not was.
However, I’d like to get the common anti-Mary stuff out there. I’m not sure what the original Greek or Hebrew says about that verse. I’m sure somebody will want to say that the original Hebrew actually says something about the word womb meaning something totally different or the word blessed isn’t in there at all. A very common misinterperetation of scripture. The words of the Gospel are spirit so the language shouldn’t mean anything at all. It is the feeling that is important and that scripture gives me the feeling that the Blessed Mother was truely and divinely graced. Something about emnity between the devil and the woman is somewhere in Genesis.
In verse 28 Jesus does reply to the statement mentioned in verse 28 with, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” Some people like to use that to discredit Mary but we must not forget that the spirit is more important than the body. A womb is still flesh, but a spirit that hears the word of God and keeps it is much more blessed than the most virgin of fleshy wombs.
What are some other opinions on the issue?

When you say Jesus is the Ark of the new Covenant, Catholics actually believe that in Rev 11:19 John is talking about the Blessed Virgin Mary. That John sees the Ark, and describes a woman, which is Mary. This makes Mary the new Ark of the Covenant.
Also, when people claim that Mary is prayed to by us etc. If they look back into their Jewish roots they will see that Jews talk about the Queen Mother, which means Intercessor and Advocator. The CC did not just make up the veneration of Mary. It is in our Jewish roots that she is to be our Intercessor and advocator.

I dont if this helped what you were asking, I just wanted to tell this to you :slight_smile:

Hmm. I’m a little confused by the variety of things in the o.p.

Mary is the Ark/Tabernacle that held the Manna that came down from heaven, the budding branch from the root of Jesse, the Word of the New Covenant. . . . and yes, the Ark in the Old Covenant was holy and so she, too was consecrated and made holy.

However, to try and use that point to “prove” her perpetual virginity requires you to assume that marital sexual union is defiling, and I don’t believe you can or should try to make that case.

Rather I think we can see that by her fiat she consecrated herself as the spouse of the Holy Spirit, so that her virginity within her human marriage followed naturally from that choice (cf. St. Paul’s comments to married couples who choose temporary celibacy for spiritual purpose).

You need not assume that marital sexual union is defiling, all that is necessary is to assume that it is an ordinary human activity. Mary’s reproductive system was consecrated, set apart for the Lord’s service, like the consecrated vessels used in ancient Israel’s tabernacle or Temple. Once consecrated to the Lord’s service the vessels were not to be used for ordinary purposes. (Leviticus 10:10; Ezekiel 22:26) To do so would have been a sacrilege. In the same way today, the chalice the priest uses at Mass to hold the Precious Blood of Christ is consecrated. If he later had the gang over to watch a Sunday night football game at the rectory and ran out of beer glasses, it would be a sacrilege for him to use his Mass chalice as an ordinary beer glass. Similarly, using Mary’s consecrated reproductive system for the ordinary activity of normal marital relations would have been a sacrilege.

To build further on your post, I would also say that people do not understand how different marriage was in second temple Judaism. Mary, we may easily suppose, was given in marriage, not that she sought it out. Therefore, Mary may have taken a vow of perpetual virginity before being betrothed, and simply trusted to God to work out the details. Even in Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel, she asks “how can this be, as I do not know man?” Again Mary is both testing the Spirit, as well as leaving herself open to God’s Providence in perfect Trust. This sounds foolish and ridiculous to Protestants, but it is not at all foolish. In her betrothal, God’s providence furnished St. Joseph, who also had taken a vow of perpetual virginity. Again this sounds foolish and absurd to some. But there is nothing foolish or absurd about the Incarnation, and the depths of that mystery.

I don’t have “proof” as many will instantly demand, but no proof is necessary, as this belief is not necessary to salvation, but rather a mystery of the Incarnation. Those that will only accept Scriptural proof need only accept Church doctrine. Anything beyond that is pious beliefs, and should not be too quickly condemned. :wink:

I was referring to Mary being the Ark but you bring up a good point. Jesus being the New Covenant, Mary would be the Ark. What I was saying was the original Ark was so clean that man could not touch it. The covenant being so perfect that the Ark, or the housing, had to be so clean that men would die if they touch it.
So I guess what you are saying is what I said made absolutely no sense because I apparantly didn’t explain it enough?

Would you then consider Mary as an adultress? If she consecrated herself as the spouse of the Holy Spirit then for her to consecrate another marriage with Joseph she would then be committing adultry? Paul says, “A man should never leave his wife or he causes her to commit adultry.” In May’s case it would be so… The Holy Spirit should never leave His bride or He causes her to commit adultry.

WOW! I really like that metaphor. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it. Reading it gave me chills. I used at one of the protestant bible studies I went to while they were bashing Mary and now they believe we worship cups as well as statues. I believe that is the darkness that is covering the entire earth. Seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear. It is a spiritual blindness and it pains me to see those people stumbling around in it.
However, it made total sense to me. One of the best explainations of perpetual virginity I’ve heard.

Which is why this would be an argument in favor of Mary’s perpetual virginity which would not suggest that marital intimacy is defiling.

When Ezekiel talks about the sealed gate of the Temple, where only the Lord comes in and goes out, that’s also talking about Mary’s perpetual virginity. Indeed, it’s difficult to think what else it could be talking about.

Remember also that the term in Hebrew we translate as “firstborn” literally means “opener of the womb”.

Ezekiel 44:1-2 – "Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut. The LORD said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it.”

This would also be consonant with Joseph being her husband for the purposes of protecting her and Jesus, but still not entering her gate, so to speak.

Ezekiel 44:3 – “The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway, to eat in the presence of the LORD. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way.”

I’m not sure this is a verse to dwell on, as it seems pretty close to invading the Holy Family’s privacy… but it’s pretty clear that Joseph was legally the prince of the House of David, and that he did have the privilege to live with Mary and to eat in the presence of the Lord. Pretty much everyone in Bethlehem, or in their extended clan in Nazareth, would also have been princes and princesses of the House of David, by Jewish law. Later on, it seems that the Apostles and disciples also were made something like princes, and also were given permission to eat with the Lord and live day to day with Mary around, albeit less closely.

This is pretty much what we’d expect. Jesus didn’t wander around Phoenicia toppling pagan idols and temples by His mere presence, nor did he routinely blast people with the amazing blaze of His transfigured self. Similarly, it seems to be true that just brushing against Mary didn’t result in being zotted, anymore than she routinely unleashed plagues of mice and toppling idols wherever she went.

But. Then again, God doesn’t seem to have allowed anyone to find out what would happen to you if you kidnapped Mary or tried to hurt her. I don’t remember any stories like that at all, even so far as stories go.

It also seems pretty clear that if only the prince of the House of David could go so far as to sit in the gateway of the Lord’s gate, and he couldn’t go there except by the outside porch, and if even he dared not stretch one little toe past the threshold of the gate – Joseph wasn’t going in and out of the gate of the Lord that was part of Mary. When the angel said it was okay for Mary to live in his house and he wouldn’t get zotted, the angel didn’t mean anything more than that.

Also, the fact that nobody may enter or go out through the gate except the Lord means that Mary couldn’t possibly have had any other children beside Jesus.

Our protestant brethern simply go by Scripture when brothers of Jesus is mentioned. For them that is proof that Mary was not a perpetual virgin. However, brotherhood can simply mean people of a similar belief. Members of fraternal organizations refer to each othe as brother, union members often refer to fellow members as brothers. I have Baptist friends who refer to their minister as brother.

The Bible tells us Jesus had siblings. However, nowhere does it mention that Joseph was married before and had children by his previous spouse. We cannot make an argument out of silence. Where the Scripture is silent, we too must be silent.

It COULD be talking about the Temple. :smiley:

I’m not disputing the perpetual virginity of Mary, which I accept without quibble. But I think we need to be really careful not to fall into two traps which are very prevalent amongst our non-Catholic brethren:

First is the effort to build an entire doctrine off a verse or two, based on an interpretation which is patently obvious - to the person postulating the doctrine. (I am not saying that this attempt is being made here - I understand that the verse is being cited as one of several Scriptural supports for the doctrine. But the single sentence I quoted above suggests that the perpetual virginity of Mary is indisputably required by this one verse. (There are plenty of people out there who believe that this prophecy means at the Second Coming the Lord will enter Jerusalem through the East Gate of the old wall, which was closed (bricked up) toward the end of the Crusades.)

Next is the tendency to believe that OT Scripture has only the meaning that we see looking back from the other side of the Resurrection. The inspired Word was given for all God’s people, for all time. Nothing was given that was meaningless to those who received it, and because the Word of God is “alive and active,” prophecy can and does have multiple layers of meaning.

Okay, getting off soapbox now . . . .

We can find in the bible this… Lets start in Genesis 4:1

And Adam KNEW Eve his wife, and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.

Now check Genesis 4:17

And Cain KNEW his wife; and she conceived and bare Enoch…

Now check Genesis 4:25

And Adam KNEW his wife AGAIN, and she bare a son, and called his name Seth…

So… what the word KNEW is talking about? It is for sure sexual relationships

Now please check Matthew 1: 18-25 (just so you can see the context, but main one would be 25)

And KNEW her not TILL she had brought forth her firstborn son and he called his name Jesus.

Can you see it?

No one is questioning the use of “knew” in what used to be called “the Biblical sense.” The issue (if there is one) is whether the Greek “eos” implies that “after she gave birth, they had sex.” In fact, there are numerous examples of “eos” in the New Testament where it is clear that the condition did NOT change “after” the “boundary marker.” This is a case of much later re-interpretation being imposed upon the text to force it to say something it does not say.

The simple fact is that the verse in question is not answering the question we are asking of it. Matthew wants us to be certain that Mary remained a virgin and so there can be no question about Jesus’ divine parentage. He isn’t addessing the question of perpetual virginity one way or the other.

Ah? :confused: Ok thanks

How do you respond then to Mark 3:31-35:

His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him. A multitude was sitting around him, and they told him, “Behold, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside looking for you.”
He answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” Looking around at those who sat around him, he said, “Behold, my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.”

Just got into this the other day with my protestant officemate and wasnt sure where to take this one.


It’s pretty well established* that the word used here for “brethren” does not mean exclusively “the children of my mother and/or my father” but is a broader term which included near kinsmen.

There are other Biblical uses of the term when we know for certain that the referenced people have different parents.

Quite a bit of “circumstantial evidence” supports the broader translation:

Would Mary and Joseph have undertaken the journey to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 with 6-9 younger siblings in tow? (Since the “sisters” aren’t named we don’t know how many total children Mary is supposed to have had, but if we presume that “brothers and sisters” means “immediate family” every time it appears, we have to at least account for all the named males and at least 2 females, right?)

If Jesus had four younger brothers, every one of whom would have been legally obligated to take care of their widowed mother, and probably a couple of brothers-in-law as well, why did He entrust her to His best friend when He was dying?

Why are there no mention in the extra-biblical writings of the day to siblings of the Lord? No historical or traditional references to them having lived or died in any particular location? No claims, legendary or otherwise, to artifacts or events involving someone who was a blood relative of Jesus? There is the Proto-evangelium of James, which claims to be by an child of Joseph’s by a previous wife, although the fact that it was deemed non-canonical very early casts doubt upon its authenticity. But that’s as close as you’ll get to a contemporaneous reference. Compare that with the number of stories surrounding the later lives of the Apostles . . .

Finally, it is possible to identify a number of other women as mothers of followers of Jesus with the same names as those identified as “brothers of the Lord.” It is not impossible, but stretches credulity to suggest that all these women named Miriam/Mary had all these sons with the same names:

James and John, sons of Zebedee and (Mary) Salome
James, Joses, Jude/Thaddeus, Simon and Levi/Matthew, sons of Alphaeus and Mary “wife of Clopas” (unless Cleophas is not another name for Alphaeus but another father of yet another James, this is a subject of debate among scholars)

and don’t forget John Mark the assistant of Barnabas and later Peter, whose mother’s name was also Mary (Acts 12:12)

Frankly, I don’t think we can prove Mary’s perpetual virginity from Scripture alone. I think we have to take it on faith in the authority of the Church (or not). And it is therefore not surprising that there is a huge effort on the part of people who reject that authority to “disprove” a doctrine which is, in absolute honesty, not essential to our salvation (as distinct from the Virgin Birth, which is).

(*I don’t read Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek, so am relying on the expertise of others, but it is my understanding that ancient Greek did have a different term which meant exclusively “the children of my parents.” )

[quote=NHInsider]Frankly, I don’t think we can prove Mary’s perpetual virginity from Scripture alone. I think we have to take it on faith in the authority of the Church (or not). And it is therefore not surprising that there is a huge effort on the part of people who reject that authority to “disprove” a doctrine which is, in absolute honesty, not essential to our salvation (as distinct from the Virgin Birth, which is).

Exactly. It is because of this very difficulty, that the early Church Fathers were so insistent on the perpetual virginity of our Blessed Mother. This is also the reason St. Joseph was usually portrayed as an aged widower, again, to strengthen the argument for the perpetual virginity of Mary. Even in the early church (as today) there was no difficulty finding folks that questioned anything and everything that wasn’t explicitly mentioned in Scripture.

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