Mt. 1:25 No Relations Until She Bore a Son?

Matthew 1:25 has me confused. I believe that there will be an explanation, but I need help finding it. :confused:

In comparing four different versions, they all indicate that Joseph had no relations with Mary until she bore a son. This implies to me that he did after. Below is the verse in the translations I used:

Douay-Rheims
And he knew her not till she brought forth her first born son: and he called his name Jesus.
New American Bible
He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.
Revised Standard Version
but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.
New International Version
But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Does anyone have a good explanation for this?

The verse only addresses what occured up until the time Jesus was born–it says nothing about what happened afterward. Some Protestants impose an implication on the verse that isn’t there. The Catholic Answers tract “Brethren of the Lord” points out:

In the Bible, it [until] means only that some action did not happen up to a certain point; it does not imply that the action did happen later, which is the modern sense of the term. In fact, if the modern sense is forced on the Bible, some ridiculous meanings result.

Consider this line: “Michal the daughter of Saul had no children till the day of her death” (2 Sam. 6:23). Are we to assume she had children after her death?

There is also the burial of Moses. The book of Deuteronomy says that no one knew the location of his grave “until this present day” (Deut. 34:6, Knox). But we know that no one has known since that day either.

The examples could be multiplied, but you get the idea—nothing can be proved from the use of the word “till” in Matthew 1:25. Recent translations give a better sense of the verse: “He had no relations with her at any time before she bore a son” (New American Bible); “He had not known her when she bore a son” (Knox).

:tiphat: Thank you! That cleared it right up for me!

I know this may be an old post, but I wanted to reply to it myself because I do not agree wit the reply.

per prior: Consider this line: “Michal the daughter of Saul had no children till the day of her death” (2 Sam. 6:23). Are we to assume she had children after her death?

Look at the word (till) in proper context means exactly what it states. It clearly states “Michal the daughter of Saul had no children (till) the day of her death” (2Sam 6:23). This does not assume in anyway shape or form that she would have had children after her death. It clearly states she had no children until she died.

It also seems the same with this scripture-- yeah, it is possible that the location at one point in time when the scripture was written there could have been a strong possible location, but was hidden from those who wanted to steal the body, in the verse below.

also: There is also the burial of Moses. The book of Deuteronomy says that no one knew the location of his grave “until this present day” (Deut. 34:6, Knox). But we know that no one has known since that day either.

When one is implying, like in Matthew 1:25, “But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

However, in the verse, what is the point in implying is “he had no union until she gave birth to a son” and not just state she bore a son. Well, because Joseph and Mary did have union.

I guess I’m coming in a bit late on this as well, but here’s my 2 cents worth -
2 Sam 6:23 uses the word Greek word heos (from the LXX). Matt 1:25 uses a Greek phrase, heos hu, which does indicate a change afterward. That Joseph and Mary DID have relations after the birth of Jesus is (I assert) obvious from Scripture. Let’s review - Mary was engaged to Joseph BEFORE she was told she would be the mother of Jesus. Joseph was told in a dream not to be afraid to take Mary as his WIFE (which he did)! There is nothing in Scripture (other than Matt 1:25 where we’re told Joseph didn’t know Mary UNTIL the birth of Jesus) telling us the marriage was NOT consumated (other than “oral tradition”, based (apparently) on human logic, but not backed up anywhere in scripture), so why should we think that Joseph and Mary DIDN’T have normal, marital relations? Furthermore, Matt 13:54-56 and Mark 6:1-3 clearly indicates (actually names) brothers (James, Joses, Simon & Judas) and sisters (plural, so at least 2). Notice, no other relatives were mentioned (other than Joseph and Mary), so the claim that these brothers and sisters are actually cousins (or some other relation) doesn’t jive with the context. We can also look to Matt 12:47-50 and Mark 3:31-35 where Mary is traveling with the brothers of Jesus.

In conclusion, I would say that Joseph and Mary definitely did NOT have marital relations before Jesus was born. I would also assert (based on scriptures) that Joseph and Mary DID have normal, marital relations AFTER Jesus was born. I would also point out that even if heos hu doesn’t mean there was a change, the bare word “until” doesn’t disprove the other evidence provided.

Well said Cachonga. If I didn’t imply in my previous post I wasn’t suggesting that Mary and Joseph had sexual intimacy before Jesus was born, but, yes I agree that Mary and Joseph did have sexual relations after Jesus was born, and not before.

But this cannot be proved from the text in question. Nor can it be proved by any other text in Scripture (I’m surprised neither of you mentioned “firstborn son” which is almost always toted out in the same satchel as “until” - and is equally disproved by other uses within Scripture).

There are plenty of learned threads about the supposed siblings of Jesus, but since you two are arguing here on the basis of your own “common sense” and what is obvious to you - if those people referred to as Jesus “brothers and sisters” are children of Joseph and Mary, how is it that she managed to have all those babies (at least 6, as you point out) in rapid succession (do keep in mind that women typically did not conceive again until the nursing baby was weaned, so these babies would be about 2 years apart) and still

  1. make that trip to Jerusalem with just Joseph and Jesus and
  2. have no one to look after her when Jesus was killed?

Now, take a closer look at those names: James, Joses, Simon and Judas, and think about where else we see them in the Gospels. And then look at the Marys. And then consider the implications.

John’s Gospel tells us that Mary the wife of Clopas, sister of Mary the mother of Jesus, stood with her (and Mary Magdalen) at the cross. Mark’s Gospel refers to this woman as Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses (helpfully distinguishing her from his own mother, also named Mary), and also tells us that Salome was there at Calvary. Salome was the wife of Zebedee, the mother of James and John. There is also the possibility that there was yet another Mary, who was the wife of Alphaeus, and mother of sons named James and Jude, and possibly of Levi/Matthew, unless that was another Alphaeus, which seems likely since James and Matthew are never referred to as brothers. I am in the camp that believes that Cleophas/Clopas and Alphaeus the father of James are all the same man, so that’s just one Mary (for a total of 3 Marys at the foot of the Cross).

Any attempt to prove that James the Less and the other “brothers of the Lord” were children of Joseph and Mary the Mother of Jesus would necessitate there having been two or even three women, sisters or sisters-in-law, each of whom had four sons with at least three of them having the same names in the same order (James, Joseph/Joses, Jude/Thaddeus). It’s not impossible, certainly, but it does seem improbable.

And why is it inconceivable that Mary and Joseph would consider the sacrifice of their marital privileges reasonable given the awesome charge they had been given? Plenty of people choose to limit their families for lesser reasons.

[quote=NHInsider] But this cannot be proved from the text in question. Nor can it be proved by any other text in Scripture (I’m surprised neither of you mentioned “firstborn son” which is almost always toted out in the same satchel as “until” - and is equally disproved by other uses within Scripture).
[/quote]

Maybe we didn’t mention “firstborn” because we KNOW that is not a valid arguement? (Can’t speak for tnd, but I know better).

[quote=NHInsider] There are plenty of learned threads about the supposed siblings of Jesus, but since you two are arguing here on the basis of your own “common sense” and what is obvious to you - if those people referred to as Jesus “brothers and sisters” are children of Joseph and Mary, how is it that she managed to have all those babies (at least 6, as you point out) in rapid succession (do keep in mind that women typically did not conceive again until the nursing baby was weaned, so these babies would be about 2 years apart) and still

  1. make that trip to Jerusalem with just Joseph and Jesus and
  2. have no one to look after her when Jesus was killed?
    [/quote]

My mother was 1 of 15 children. My dad was 1 of 17 children. I am one of 11 children (and mom was only pregnant 9 times; chalk that up to German effeciency). While growing up, we made a trip every year from Texas to Indiana (and back) by car, and my parents managed to maintain their sanity (this was before the interstate system had been completed). Jesus was at least 30 years old when these brothers and sisters are mentioned, so I would say Mary had plenty of time to bear 7 (or more) kids.

Second point - none of His brothers were at the cross, but He did have a covenant relationship with John (you should study this type of relationship - it is still considered very strong in the Middle East today; check out David and Johnathan). Because of this, He was not in violation of ANY Jewish laws.

Trying to explain away the “brothers and sisters” doesn’t work. You cannot identify all 4 brothers and sisters (or even how many sisters there were). I would point out that Scripture makes relationships clear. For example, we know that Lot was Abraham’s nephew, even though they call each other brother (Scripture tells us that Lot was the son of Abraham’s brother).

[quote=NHInsider] And why is it inconceivable that Mary and Joseph would consider the sacrifice of their marital privileges reasonable given the awesome charge they had been given? Plenty of people choose to limit their families for lesser reasons.
[/quote]

Why is it so hard to believe that they enjoyed a normal, marital relationship? There is no evidence from Scripture that they didn’t do this (and that is why I reject the dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity)!

John Pacheco and the guys over at Catholic Legate have pretty much crushed this “until” argument to a pulp, in a series of articles in response to Eric Svendsen:

catholic-legate.com/articles/heosindex.html

That page should have everything you need.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

[quote=phatcatholic] John Pacheco and the guys over at Catholic Legate have pretty much crushed this “until” argument to a pulp, in a series of articles in response to Eric Svendsen:
[/quote]

I will look into this, however (as I mentioned before), even if heos hou isn’t different from the simple heos, you still haven’t disproven the other points. Joseph and Mary DID have normal, marital relations!

Mary and Joseph and Jesus WALKED from Nazereth to Jerusalem.

Jesus was at least 30 years old when these brothers and sisters are mentioned, so I would say Mary had plenty of time to bear 7 (or more) kids.

How many years of fertility do you think women averaged in 1st century Palestine? And how many children would she have had to bear in order to have 7 or more live to adulthood ? (Scholars estimate 50% of children in the ancient world died short of puberty) And what were the odds that a woman would actually survive childbirth that many times?

Why is it so hard to believe that they enjoyed a normal, marital relationship? There is no evidence from Scripture that they didn’t do this (and that is why I reject the dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity)!

Okay - Why is it so important to you to believe that Mary had other children? What bearing does it have on your salvation, justification or sanctification?

I continually find it bemusing that this is issue so crucial to our separated brethren. Consider the ossuary hoax. (Not that you have brought that up, I’m bringing it in because it is another example of someone trying, in the face of centuries of belief to the contrary, to prove that Mary did not consecrate herself to the service of the Lord she bore.) Why go there??It is a conversation that has no import to Protestant Christology or soteriology. It is important only as a basis for rejecting the authority of the Church. And yet - on and on it goes.

I was not arguing the fact that Jesus had brothers or sisters, which I do believe He did; my argument was that Jesus’ mother was a virgin “until” Jesus was born. And regarding PhatCatholic’s reply- I am not necessarily concerned that a particular person beat a scripture(s) to a pulp with regard to the statement “until”. I am concerned about what scripture says, and then taking it into it’s correct context.

Since I have become a born again Christian, along with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I do not only go to a church that believes what I do, but even what I am being fed, I have to make sure it aligns with the Word of God, and only the Word of God. If you have input about why you don’t agree with a piece of scripture that we pointed out, why not pray about it, ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight to the issue, do research your own on the Bible and then reply back.

Just my two sense regarding the following reply from NHInsider: Okay - Why is it so important to you to believe that Mary had other children? What bearing does it have on your salvation, justification or sanctification?

Your right it is not as important as having salvation, justification or sanctification of one’s sins, however, what it does do is take the main focus off of Jesus, who was born from a virgin. Mary is like any other person on the face of the earth regarding sin and being imperfect. I do believe she was a very special instrument God used to prep the coming King on earth. But she sinned and He had to die for her sins too. God also is concerned about those who teach His word and taking out of context- Rev. 22 18I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Do I think He is only talking about the book of revelation, no, I believe His whole written word.
But as believers can we not have a civil discussion without it being heated, for 2 Tim. 3:All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

And yes brother, more important than all, is for one to know the living King and have a relationship with Him and to continue walking in His ways, not to make someone feel bad because they do not believe what I believe.

[quote=NHInsider] Mary and Joseph and Jesus WALKED from Nazereth to Jerusalem.
[/quote]

So their walk from Nazareth to Jerusalem took as long as our drive from Texas to Indiana (and I’ll bet Joseph and Mary didn’t have to listen to “Are we there yet?” the whole way).

[quote=NHInsider] How many years of fertility do you think women averaged in 1st century Palestine? And how many children would she have had to bear in order to have 7 or more live to adulthood ? (Scholars estimate 50% of children in the ancient world died short of puberty) And what were the odds that a woman would actually survive childbirth that many times?
[/quote]

I give up. What are the correct answers? And what is your source? I would point out that David was one of 8 sons of Jesse, and, since the Scriptures don’t say otherwise, it seems obvious that they all had the same mother. Also, since Mary was blessed above all women, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to believe that ALL of her children grew to adulthood (at least, not to me).

[quote=NHInsider] Okay - Why is it so important to you to believe that Mary had other children? What bearing does it have on your salvation, justification or sanctification?
[/quote]

I will say that it doesn’t matter if you believe Mary had other children or not. I do not believe in her perpetual virginity. The reason this is important is because the Church has made it a dogma, and has pronounced an anathema on anyone who denies it. I assert there is no biblical basis for this dogma (though there are biblical reasons to doubt it), that it is a tradition of men, and is not binding on the conscience of men. If you can give valid, biblical reasons to believe in her perpetual virginity, I’d like to see it. However, if you believe in it because the Church says so, then I suggest you have placed the Church above the Scriptures.

And this, of course, is the real crux of the matter. Protestants believe that the only infallible interpretation of Scripture is their own personal interpretation, despite the blatantly obvious evidence that, if this is true, the Holy Spirit must be lying to someone. (And the awkward reality that this would mean it was impossible to be an illiterate Christian.) And they believe that Scripture someone has authority distinct from and superior to the authority of the Church, despite the historical reality that, absent an authoritative Church, there is no Scripture.

So, in fact, this is not a discussion about Mary at all - it’s an argument about authority.

If you believe that Jesus gave authority to His apostles and promised to keep them from error, then the fact that this has been the position of the Church from the earliest centuries to today is important. If you do not believe that, then your own interpretation of the current translation of the Bible is all you have to go on.

So - what’s your infallible interpretation of Matthew 28:19-20, Luke 14:6, Matthew 16:18, 1 John 4:6? (And yes, that should probably be another thread - I’ll start it.)

Don’t get it confused my friend. Unfortunately, what you believe or have been taught may or not be true. And I imagine you are think the same of “Protestants” and honestly, regardless of the church I attend, which is just a building where believers are, the true church are the people, the body, I am first and foremost a “Christian” a follower of Christ. Now that that is out of the way, the Holy Spirit is not lying to anyone, however, scripture even says, and let me just finish 2Tim 1-4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Also, in 1 Corinth 1:19-21, For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
Again, if I am taking anything out of context or what you or others don’t believe is true or correct, show me scripture. Am I a theologian, a pastor, or highly known educated man, no. But I believe that the Bible is God’s word and that it absolutely does not contradict it self. When I talk about the Word being infallible, I mean there are no contradictions. Throughout the entire conversation about this topic, where are your scriptures to prove that I or Chaconga are wrong???

And when you talk about authority, yes, maybe, it depends on who you or anyone else puts above Jesus. But yes, that very well could be a whole different discussion.

Oh and by the way, regarding your following question: So - what’s your infallible interpretation of Matthew 28:19-20, Luke 14:6, Matthew 16:18, 1 John 4:6? (And yes, that should probably be another thread - I’ll start it.)

If it pertains to the topic, I will post on this forum, otherwise, I will send you a message, I have to go to a church building soon and worship the Lord with other like minded believers and those who to whom the Lord is drawing near to, outside His body: )

[quote=NHInsider] And this, of course, is the real crux of the matter. Protestants believe that the only infallible interpretation of Scripture is their own personal interpretation, despite the blatantly obvious evidence that, if this is true, the Holy Spirit must be lying to someone. (And the awkward reality that this would mean it was impossible to be an illiterate Christian.) And they believe that Scripture someone has authority distinct from and superior to the authority of the Church, despite the historical reality that, absent an authoritative Church, there is no Scripture.
[/quote]

Sorry if I gave the impression that my interpretation is infallible. My interpretation is no more infallible than your interpretation of your Church’s teachings (unless you believe that you have infallible knowledge of what your Church teaches). However, I have made my points from Scripture. I have done exactly what Jesus did with the Corban rule (see Mark 7:5-13). Notice, Jesus used Scripture to point out how the Corban rule was a tradition of men. I have also used Scripture to show that the tradition of Mary’s perpetual virginity is nothing more than a tradition of men.

[quote=NHInsider] So, in fact, this is not a discussion about Mary at all - it’s an argument about authority.
[/quote]

I would suggest that any church which teaches mans traditions in place of God’s Word has abandoned any God-given authority to teach. Look at the warnings to the 7 Churches in Revelations for an example.

I have never understood why some Protestants get so worked up over the Perpetual Virginity of Mary – a doctrine held by the vast majority of Christians since the 2nd century, if not earlier.

From an historical perspective, this was never originally a Protestant vs. Catholic issue.

For my Protestant friends out there . . .

Have you never read Luther on Mary? He accepted – without question – and quite vehemently defended – the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. (AND her Immaculate Conception, for that matter!)

Have you never read Calvin on Mary? He too, accepted – and defended with vehemence – the Perpetual Virginity.

Have you never read (ugh!) Zwingli on Mary? Even he defended her Perpetual Virginity.

Why take up a battle which even the Reformers found unnecessary (and even inappropriate!)?

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As I already explained, my concern is that the Catholic Church has made Mary’s perpetual virginity a dogma, pronouncing an anathema on anyone who denies it. I see more things in Scrpture against this idea than anyone has been able to present to support it (likewise for her immaculate conception and bodily assumption; I object to the “mother of God” as a title for Mary, since this was not the original intent of the council).

In regard to what Luther, Calvin or Zwingli believed, are you saying they were infallible? I don’t believe they were. If you can show me where they proved her perpetual virginity from Scripture, I’ll look at. Otherwise, I would suggest that, since they did not leave the Church due to problems with Mary, they did not fully study the issues, therefore they continued to believe what they had been taught from their youth.

In regard to this belief going back to the 2nd century, I would remind you that Paul, Peter and John (and even the entire Church) had to deal with heresies and false teachings while they were still alive and active. Why is it hard to believe that heresy crept in after they were gone (something that Paul prophesied in Acts 20:29)? Show me in Scripture or do not demand me to accept it!

Actually, the only two technically dogmatic declarations on Mary were by Blessed Pius IX (Immaculate Conception) and Pius XII (Assumption).

Are you speaking of Definitions of Faith from the Ecumenical Councils?

How do you know what the original intent of “the council” was. I am assuming that you are referring to Ephesus and Chalcedon?

You do make quite the assumptions! And I think that you know that I don’t consider the Reformers infallible! But here are a few citations . . . . with editorial information if you want to look up their validity.

  • Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that. *

{Luther’s Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) & Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955, v.22:23 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }

  • Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that ‘brothers’ really mean ‘cousins’ here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers. *

{Pelikan, ibid., v.22:214-15 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }

  •  A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ . . . *
    

{Pelikan, ibid.,v.45:199 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523) }

  *Scripture does not say or indicate that she later lost her virginity . . .

  When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idio*m.

{Pelikan, ibid.,v.45:206,212-3 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523) }

Editor Jaroslav Pelikan (Lutheran - and later, Orthodox) adds:

  •  Luther . . . does not even consider the possibility that Mary might have had other children than Jesus. This is consistent with his lifelong acceptance of the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary. *
    

{Pelikan, ibid.,v.22:214-5}

". . . she is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin. . . . God's grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. . . . God is with her, meaning that all she did or left undone is divine and the action of God in her. Moreover, God guarded and protected her from all that might be hurtful to her."
Ref: Luther's Works, American edition, vol. 43, p. 40, ed. H. Lehmann, Fortress, 1968

". . . she is rightly called not only the mother of the man, but also the Mother of God. . . . it is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God."
Ref: Sermon on John 14. 16: Luther's Works (St. Louis, ed. Jaroslav, Pelican, Concordia. vol. 24. p. 107)

"Christ our Savior was the real and natural fruit of Mary's virginal womb. . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that."
(REf: On the Gospel of St. John: Luther's Works, vol. 22. p. 23, ed. Jaroslav Pelican, Concordia, 1957)

"Men have crowded all her glory into a single phrase: The Mother of God. No one can say anything greater of her, though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on the trees." (From the Commentary on the Magnificat.)

I am well aware of the heresies encountered in the Early Church. That’s a straw-man argument. This is not a position adhered to by the various heretical sects, but rather by the Fathers of the Church . As far as your “Show me in Scripture” hermeneutic, I reject it utterly. The Scriptures proceed from the Church – not the other way around.

**YOU **tell **ME ** why I should discount what East believes, what West believes, what the Reformers believed, etc. on account of your personal interpretation?

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