Hebrews 9 and Mary the Ark of the Covenant


I interpret Hebrews 9 to mean that Christ entered into the New Holy of Holies–Mary, the Ark of the Covenant, “Heaven itself”–with his own blood, thus eternally redeeming us. This mystery of the “one sacrifice” would take place both in the Incarnation and at the Crucifixion, and forever.

Is that how you interpret it?

11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here,[a] he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining* eternal redemption.** 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God!
…19 When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”[e] 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.


“more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation.” I believe Mary is a part of this creation.


The tabernacle it is speaking of is the Tabernacle of Heaven itself. By his own blood equates that he did not need the blood of animals to sprinkle on the altar, but used the blood from his own veins.

Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.

This refers to Christ not going into the sanctuary of the Temple with it’s material construction but went into the true temple of God which is in Heaven. The perpetual sacrifice in God’s presence, an eternal high priest.

Mary is special, being the New Eve, the New Ark of the Covenant, but these verses aren’t speaking of her in that sense. The Holy of Holies and the Ark were not the same thing. The ark could come out of the Holy of Holies, and though God’s name rested on the ark… the Holy of Holies was a much more special place, a much more reserved place, the most holy of places. Mary went to that place when she went to be with God at her assumption. But the Holy of Holies is God’s presence, being with Him.


Could “not a part of this creation” express Mary’s exemption from all stain of Original Sin, and her inexpressible holiness as Mother of God, a holiness of the Immaculata which surpasses all the rest of the saints combined?


But if a tent where God chose to manifest himself was called “the Holy of Holies”, should we not also call the Mother of God, the Holy of Holies–is she not the Holy of Holies in some sense?–since she is the place, as St. Louis puts it, where Christ has placed his throne of supreme glory?

The Incarnation is the abridgement of all the mysteries of the faith. And in this mystery we see Christ–God–dwellling in the Most Holy Place of the Immaculata’s womb.

ALso, was the Holy of Holies still the Holy of Holies when the Ark of the Covenant was not in it?


The Holy of Holies was not about the material used in construction but about the actual presence of God. The Ark was overshadowed by God, but was not God… God resided in the Holy of Holies. We have to be careful with a line of thought that tries to make Mary both the Ark (which was overshadowed, just as she was overshadowed) and the Holy of Holies (the presence of God himself.)

When Jesus died he did not go back into the Ark, but into Heaven itself with his Father. (Heaven being the holy of holies.) The Ark then was brought into the Holy of Holies at the end of her life. Very important distinction there. If Mary is both the Ark and the Holy of Holies, then we verge on what the protestants often accuse us of.


I don’t think we want to be too rigid here. The fathers saw both Christ and Mary as the Ark of the Covenant. And that is not a contradiction, given the intimate connection between the Mother of God and her Divine Son. Since Christ is the Ark of the Covenant, Mary would be, in some sense, the Holy of Holies, since her womb is the place where Christ is. Calling Mary the Holy of Holies is not calling Mary God in the least. The Holy of Holies was not God, but was the place, as you say, where God resided. And Mary is certainly the place where God resides. She is the Dwelling of God among men, as the Catechism says. The Trinity dwells in her in a unique way.


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