Jeremiah 7:17-20 Reference to queen of heaven

I am currently in RCIA having formerly been a lifetime Evangelical. I was quoted this passage from Jeremiah by my parents as evidence that the Jews were condemned by God for offering cakes to the “queen of heaven”. What is the context of this passage and what is the refutation of such a use of these scriptures to condemn the Catholic use of “Queen of Heaven” for Mary? I have to admit, I am at a loss and everything rides on me making sense of these types of questions, for my own sake. :confused:

*Jer. 7:17-20

“Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
The children gather wood and the fathers kindle the fire and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out libations to other gods in order to spite Me.”
“Do the spite Me?” declared the Lord. "Is it not themselves they spite to their own shame?"
Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground and it will burn and not be quenched.”*

God Bless,
Jeanette L

That’s kind of a silly charge since there is no indication that the pagan’s “queen of heaven” refered to in Jeremiah is Mary – or vice versa.

From the Catholic Answers web page:

** Q: What is the answer to a friend who says we are worshiping the Babylonian goddess Ishtar when we honor Mary? He uses Jeremiah 44 as proof because we call Mary the Queen of heaven. **

A: The fact that a pagan deity was known as the queen of heaven doesn’t mean this term can’t rightfully be applied, in another sense altogether, to Mary. The pagan king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, is called the king of kings by Daniel (Daniel 2:37), yet this doesn’t preclude Jesus from being called by the same title (Rev. 17:14; 19:16).

Since the destiny of all Christians is to reign as kings and queens with Christ in heaven (Eph. 2:12; Rev. 1:6; 5:10), and since Mary is the preeminent Christian, there’s nothing wrong with giving her the title which Christ, the King of kings, bestowed upon her in making Mary his mother.
catholic.com/thisrock/1991/9108qq.asp

Essentially, what’s the logic behind your parents’ inferences? —

Is it that:

Because pagans used a term to glorify one of their gods, if we, as Christians use that same term *to mean something different * to honor a saint, we are inadvertently glorifying that saint as a god, just like those original pagans.

Well, if that’s true then:

We Christians worship the sun; because the pagans glorified their sun god by naming the first day of the week after this god. Sunday.

We glorify the moon on Moonday. We worship the Norse gods of Thor on Thursday or Wodan on Wednesday. We give honor and glorify astrology every time we say Saturday.

We worship Cesar Augustus by honoring him by still calling the 8th month August.

If your parents think that by using a word of Pagan origin we Christians can’t use it — then don’t have them call the Lord’s resurrection day as Easter.

Or using the same logic do your parents honor, worship, or glorify Christ in the Mass? Then don’t say you practice Christmas.

That logic of : by using a word you are giving credence to that word’s original meaning is false.

We Christians use Pagan feasts and have *changed their meaning * to honor the true God. That’s why we worship God on Sunday and not an astrological symbol.

[quote=Jeanette L]I am currently in RCIA having formerly been a lifetime Evangelical. I was quoted this passage from Jeremiah by my parents as evidence that the Jews were condemned by God for offering cakes to the “queen of heaven”. What is the context of this passage and what is the refutation of such a use of these scriptures to condemn the Catholic use of “Queen of Heaven” for Mary? I have to admit, I am at a loss and everything rides on me making sense of these types of questions, for my own sake. :confused:

Jer. 7:17-20

"Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
The children gather wood and the fathers kindle the fire and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out libations to other gods in order to spite Me."
“Do the spite Me?” declared the Lord. "Is it not themselves they spite to their own shame?"
Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground and it will burn and not be quenched.”

God Bless,
Jeanette L
[/quote]

Mary as Queen of heaven is based on the gebirah. In ancient Israel, when David and Solomon had multiple wives, the queen could not be chosen from among them. The queen was always the Queen Mother.

Hi Jeanette -

I also am in RCIA as was raised a Baptist growing up but was a Covenenter in my adult life. I, too, heard the Jeremiah verse as “proof” that Catholics “worshipped” some pagan goddess in their Mary “stuff.”

The way I look at Jeremiah, they could not have been making cakes for Mary, Mother of Jesus, because Mary hadn’t been born yet. Since Mary is not diety, she had a beginning, which was quite some time AFTER Jeremiah was written. She was not the Jeremiah Queen of Heaven because she was not even IN heaven. She didn’t exist.

[quote=anawim]Mary as Queen of heaven is based on the gebirah. In ancient Israel, when David and Solomon had multiple wives, the queen could not be chosen from among them. The queen was always the Queen Mother.
[/quote]

Just to add on to this abit - we get our understanding of queenship from the European Renaissance - the queen was the king’s wife. Since the Kings of Israel had many wives, the queen was the King’s mother. An example of the scripturally is in I Kings 2:19: “When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought out for the king’s mother, and she sat down **at his right hand **(my emphasis).” In Israel, the queen was the king’s mother. See the amount of respect Solomon pays his mother, the queen, in this passage. Similarly, it makes sense that if all the Kings of Israel had their mothers at their right hand as queen, that Jesus as the true King of Israel would also have His mother at his right hand, as queen. We pay no more respect to Mary than Jesus does.

I’m a convert, too. God bless you in your journey. You also might want to read Hail, Holy Queen by Scott Hahn, another convert.

[quote=x4us]Just to add on to this abit - we get our understanding of queenship from the European Renaissance - the queen was the king’s wife. Since the Kings of Israel had many wives, the queen was the King’s mother. An example of the scripturally is in I Kings 2:19: “When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought out for the king’s mother, and she sat down **at his right hand **(my emphasis).” In Israel, the queen was the king’s mother. See the amount of respect Solomon pays his mother, the queen, in this passage. Similarly, it makes sense that if all the Kings of Israel had their mothers at their right hand as queen, that Jesus as the true King of Israel would also have His mother at his right hand, as queen. We pay no more respect to Mary than Jesus does.
.
[/quote]

wow! I find that totally fasconating! I did not know that! that’s so interesting. thanks for sharing. that excites me! just makes one more of those neet connections between anciant Isrial and our church. groovy!

Thanks everyone for your input. I do understand the Church’s teaching on Mary and I personally don’t have any problems intellectually with the doctrines. But coming from my background, it is still an uncomfortable topic, I think more culturally uncomfortable than anything. It is my weak spot and we all know that’s where the attacks always take place.

I have read Scott Hahn’s book and did find it helpful. I still get blindsided at times by the odd questions, and there seems to be no end to them. It seems it is more about laying traps than discussing points intelligently and critically. But that is the anti-catholic culture, I should know, that was a big part of my upbringing.

I do still have problems at times with what seems to be an imbalance with some catholics in the amount of devotion or attention paid to Mary, I try not to let it become a stumbling block for me, I don’t know how to resolve that. I also know some Evangelicals that become unbalanced with particular doctrines or practices, so I understand the human equation is always a factor.

But thanks for the input everyone! Knowing the name of the goddess, Ishtar, will help with my argument, so to speak. The more I bring to the table, the more confident I feel in the defense of the faith. This is baptism by fire! I guess I should just relax and say “Bring it on!” :thumbsup:

God Bless,
Jeanette L

Obviously Jeremias could not have been referring to Mary, because it was yet another 5 centuries until she was born.

[quote=tjmiller]Obviously Jeremias could not have been referring to Mary, because it was yet another 5 centuries until she was born.
[/quote]

Well, the inference was not that Jeremiah was referring to Mary, but that the devotion to Mary came from/or was transferred from the pagen religion/practices. In other words, it is a rehash of an old idolatry. Giving Mary the same title is what provokes that association. It is a modern day Protestant war cry, and it is hard to break through the mindset. I’m still struggling with it myself.

I have been reading Cardinal Newman’s Development of Christian Doctrine, which has helped me tremendously, but it has little effect on someone who presupposes the opposite, that doctrine is not developmental, but revealed once and for all.

It sure gets complicated when your trying to explain all this to your parents who haven’t a clue about what you are saying, all they see is “HERESY!” :rolleyes:

Jeanette

Much pagan mythology includes reference to a god who is slain but rises again.

We are not to conclude from this that belief in Christ’s Resurrection is simply a rehash of idolatry…

I converted to the Catholic Church (from protestant fundamentalism) precisely because of its recognition of the fact that Mary is the Queen of Heaven.

Jesus is King of Heaven and Earth. Mary is His Mother. Ipso Facto, she is Queen of Heaven and Earth. (Queen Mother) Those who deny the queenship of the queen, thereby deny the kingship of the king.

Those who pretend to honor the king while ignoring his queen mother, thereby insult the king.

Ancient pagan recognitions of a queen of heaven were simply foreshadowings of the true Queen of Heaven, just as the myths of a dying and rising god were dark suggestions of the Christ to come.

[quote=tjmiller]Much pagan mythology includes reference to a god who is slain but rises again.

We are not to conclude from this that belief in Christ’s Resurrection is simply a rehash of idolatry…

I converted to the Catholic Church (from protestant fundamentalism) precisely because of its recognition of the fact that Mary is the Queen of Heaven.

Jesus is King of Heaven and Earth. Mary is His Mother. Ipso Facto, she is Queen of Heaven and Earth. (Queen Mother) Those who deny the queenship of the queen, thereby deny the kingship of the king.

Those who pretend to honor the king while ignoring his queen mother, thereby insult the king.

Ancient pagan recognitions of a queen of heaven were simply foreshadowings of the true Queen of Heaven, just as the myths of a dying and rising god were dark suggestions of the Christ to come.
[/quote]

I agree. But having been there, your know it’s more a fear factor than anything. The old “you’re falling into a cult” mentality. It goes very deep and hard to get free from, let alone convince others!

Thanks for your input! :slight_smile:

BTW: the ancient Collyridian sect, which DID offer breadcakes as a sacrifice to Mary, were vehemently condemned by the Catholic Church…

[quote=Jeanette L]I do still have problems at times with what seems to be an imbalance with some catholics in the amount of devotion or attention paid to Mary
[/quote]

Again this is part of the Anti-Catholic post-reformation culture.

The amount of devotion paid to Mary seems to be for some way out of line due to the fruits of the Protestant Reformation.

The seeming imbalance is due to the elimination of all Marian devotion on the “reformed” side and all the Marian devotion that was originally in the Christian Church from the very beginning.

Ken

[quote=kleary]Again this is part of the Anti-Catholic post-reformation culture.

The amount of devotion paid to Mary seems to be for some way out of line due to the fruits of the Protestant Reformation.

The seeming imbalance is due to the elimination of all Marian devotion on the “reformed” side and all the Marian devotion that was originally in the Christian Church from the very beginning.

Ken
[/quote]

I’m trying very hard to be open to this new culture I find myself in, but the discomfort is still there. To me, as a Christian, I have never had a problem going to Christ. He has always been Savior, Redeemer, King. The notion that adding a layer, viz. going through Mary to get to Christ, just seems like a distraction to me. Maybe it’s because it’s not part of my mindset, I just don’t “get it” yet.

I don’t have a problem with asking Mary or the Saints to intercede in prayer. I don’t get it when I hear someone say that the way to Jesus is through Mary. I’ve just never had a problem going to Jesus before I became Catholic, without that extra layer. It doesn’t make sense to me, and I am trying to make sense of it. :confused:

Jeanette

Jeanette,

Marian devotion is not an easy thing to come to - it took me, a (poorly catechized) cradle Catholic, quite a while as an adult to feel comfortable with it. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come naturally; you’ve been away from this understanding for most of your life!

Try and think of it more in a family context. Would it be a distraction to go to your mom to help you talk to your brother or your father? Of course not! Often, if mom’s on your side the others will listen more attentively.

The Catholic (and Orthodox) understanding is more like that. Christ is our Brother, God our Father, and Mary is our mother (scriptural citations available, if required). Through baptism, we become adopted (though truly) children of God.

This is easiest to come to if you understand that Mary was the mother of Jesus, we are brothers of Jesus, and therefore Mary is our mother, too.

You can also come to this understanding as Mary as our mother by thinking of the indwelling Christ - if Christ truly lives within us, Mary will look upon us as she looks upon her Son. If we die to ourselves to allow Christ to live within us, how could she look on us and not see her Son? How could we look to her and not see our mother? The closer you grow to Christ, the more you’ll be able to look to Mary as your mother. Conversely, the more you’re able to look to Mary as your mother, the closer you’ll grow to Christ.

A third way to come to this understanding is a biblical exegesis of John 19:26-7 and Rev 12:17. Pay particular attention to the use of the plural in the Greek John 19:26-7, specifically (in Greek) “took her as their own”. In Rev 12, we are shown the woman (Mary/Israel/Church) who gives birth to the Man (Jesus) and the dragon/serpent (Satan), and St. Michael. Here (as in most of Revelations), the scripture is polyvalent in its symbolism - many symbols can stand for different things. The primary symbol of the woman, however, is Mary. This is demonstrable in seeing that every other character symbol is a person. To interpret the woman as anything other than a person is to be inconsistant with the text. I’ll stop here, or else I’ll type all day long. If you need further help with this, please let me know.

SO…do you have to go through Mary? Nope. Come boldly before the throne and praise Jesus with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Does it help to have mom on your side? Always. If you meditate on the life of Christ through Mary’s eyes, her soul will maginify the Lord for you (Luke 1:46). Also, remember that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much, and no stricly human person has ever been more righteous than Our Lady, full of grace (kecharitomene).

Once you feel at home with the family-context of the Church, I believe you’ll feel more at home with coming to Mary. She’s the best prayer partner a person can have! Don’t be afraid to look on her as your mother as you look on God as your Father - if she was good enough for Jesus, she’s good enough for us! After all, what does it mean to be a Christian?

God Bless,
RyanL

P.S.
For a “from the heart” approach to Mary by a Jewish-turned-Evangelical-turned-convert to Catholicism, I recommend this tape by a Catholic Answers apologist, Rosalind Moss. She’s excellent!

Thank you everyone for your helpful insights. I have a lot to shore me up, so to speak. I appreciate it!

God Bless,
Jeanette

[quote=anawim]Mary as Queen of heaven is based on the gebirah. In ancient Israel, when David and Solomon had multiple wives, the queen could not be chosen from among them. The queen was always the Queen Mother.
[/quote]

That is why in n1 and 2 Kings and in 1 and 2 Chronicles one seldom sees the name of he Kings consorts, but often the name of his mother because she reigned as queen during her son’s reign.

I am so happy to belong to a Kingdom which has a glorious Queen!!! Give me no other…

Thanks everyone once again, for your comments and encouragement. If you want to offer a prayer for me, I would greatly appreciate it, as the battle rages on.

Right now I am contending with the dregs of anti-catholicism, viz, Jack Chick, Boettner, all the expected “weapons” that these fear mongers use in twisting truth in order to confuse the issues. It’s become a “battle” of prayer, because the use of reason no longer exits. (I already have “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” by Kark Keating, so I am aware of the falacies, but like I said, it has gone way past reasoning at this point).

The irony is, my family is also fervently praying, but of course it is that I will be rescued from this cult of idolotry. At the same time my very few catholic friends in my RCIA class are praying that my family will ultimately be enlightened to the multitude of misrepresentations and down right lies that feed this anti-catholicism, or at the very least, reliquish the fear and hatred that these extremist views have cultivated in their minds. So fellow catholic prayer warriors are welcomed!

God Bless,
Jeanette

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