I have, in the past, discussed this passage with several of our Reformed brothers and sisters. And they are of the opinion that this verse does not describe the Blessed Virgin Mary. So, I’d like to visit some Scriptures of which they might not be aware, to perhaps get some understanding as to why the Blessed Virgin Mary is considered the Ark of the New Covenant. Why we consider her so important to our faith. And why we believe she is our mother, given to us by God the Father.
Revelation 11:1919And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
Revelation 12:11And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
Perhaps you will agree with me that the Jews considered the Ark, made of wood, a very important part of their faith. In that Ark of the Old Covenant, were contained the Word of God written by the finger of God on stone tablets, the Rod of Aaron, symbol of the Aaronic High Priesthood and the Manna from heaven (i.e. Bread of heaven).
Perhaps you will also agree that those three things are symbols of Our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, who was contained in the Ark which was not made by human hands, the womb of our Blessed Mother.
Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
King James Version (KJV)
30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
The Israelites had a great deal of reverence for this wooden box. They even bowed before it:
And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.
And they considered it the Glory of Israel:
1 Samuel 4:22
And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.
Of course, Catholics are frequently berated by Protestants for bowing before images of Our Blessed Mother:
Luke 1:48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Power flowed from this wooden box. So much so, that the Philistines, when they stole it, were forced to return it even though the Israelites did not intervene at all (see 1 Sam Chapter 5).
Reformers berate Catholics because we believe that power now flows through the Virgin Mother.
King James Version (KJV)
17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
There are so many parallels between Mary and the Ark of the Old Covenant, that it would take a small book to list them all. For the sake of time, I’d like to simply post a small snippet from a Catholic source:
Compare David and the ark to Luke’s account of the Visitation:
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1:39-45).Here are the parallels:
Mary arose and went to the hill country of Judea. Ein Kerem (where Elizabeth lived) and Abu Ghosh (where the ark resided) are only a short walk apart. Mary and the ark were both on a journey to the same hill country of Judea.
When David saw the ark he rejoiced and said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” Elizabeth uses almost the same words: “Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke is telling us something — drawing our minds back to the Old Testament, showing us a parallel.
When David approached the ark he shouted out and danced and leapt in front of the ark. He was wearing an ephod, the clothing of a priest. When Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, approached Elizabeth, John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb — and John was from the priestly line of Aaron. Both leapt and danced in the presence of the ark. The Ark of the Old Covenant remained in the house of Obed-edom for three months, and Mary remained in the house of Elizabeth for three months. The place that housed the ark for three months was blessed, and in the short paragraph in Luke, Elizabeth uses the word blessed three times. Her home was certainly blessed by the presence of the ark and the Lord within…
I’d like to ask this. Is Scripture telling us that St. Mary’s role in salvation history is much more important than Protestant theology teaches? And also, for those who do not believe that she is the ark of the New Covenant, are all these verses merely coincidence?