Before I begin this topic, allow me to show you how most Protestant demonstrate the “unimportance” of Mary in their arguments which goes like this:
//MARY is NOT the center of Salvation! Only Jesus saves you! Read Acts 4:12
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
It is clear that only Jesus saves! Because no “other name” can give salvation! Jesus said He is the way, the Truth, and the Life. No one goes through heaven except through Him alone (John 14:6)
What do we need to do to be saved instead?
“…confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
So worship your Jesus alone. He is the Alpha and the Omega! HE alone is important in salvation and not Mary!
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)//
At first glance, the argument seems logical. Knowing that Jesus is indeed important (as the Only Savior we need or have), one Catholic may easily nod his head into this and say “amen”. However, the IMPORTANCE OF JESUS is not the point in question but the initial stand of the argument: the UNIMPORTANCE OF MARY. This faulty argument is called the “Red Herring”. Instead of providing evidence for the UNIMPORTANCE OF MARY, the objector provides a proof for a related topic, namely the IMPORTANCE OF CHRIST JESUS. In the light of a Protestant’s worldview, proving the importance of Jesus is tantamount to proving the unimportance of Mary—as if the two points are same context opposites like SIN and GRACE. MARY is NOT at the same level as CHRIST. Believing that the two are opposites is not only illogical but also unbiblical. One can profess the importance of Mary while keeping in heart the importance of Christ in Salvation. Only a Moron would think that the two points cannot co-exist in one’s faith. Never have I met a Protestant who can prove Mary’s unimportance in Christianity by proving that MARY IS INDEED UNIMPORTANT AS STATED BY THE SCRIPTURES. (More of this, soon)
This is a quote from DWE’s post:
“Jesus also had half-sisters, although they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:55-56). God blessed and graced Mary by giving her several children, in a culture with children as God’s blessing on a woman.” –DWE
THE JEWISH CULTURE
Whoever the Author of this post, thinks he knows so much about the Jewish culture and concluded that Mary, being “graced” was also blessed with many children because “it is culture”. However, the “culture” that he proudly proclaims as evidence against Mary, actually proves more of Mary’s vowed perpetual virginity.
First of all, Mary, at the beginning of her young age, was a devout Virgin at the temple. These are the same as the mentioned virgin workers of the Tabernacle that we can see in 1 Sam. 2:22 who the sons of Eli (not Soriano) slept with. Mary, vowed to service at the Temple, knew well enough that she cannot pursue an ordinary course of a woman’s life such as motherhood but rather vowed to a life of perpetual virginity in the service of the Lord. (Source: Protoevangelium/Infancy Gospel of James, 120AD—which failed canonization in the Bible due to issues such as inconsistency in construction and being “too late”.)
Vows of celibate life weren’t alien in Jewish culture—like Jesus Christ and St. Paul, who both practiced and taught celibacy “for the sake of the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:12).
If she’s vowed, how come she’s “engaged”?
Unlike the Western Culture of “engagement” today, in the ancient Jewish culture, there is NO such thing as engagement. A woman “betrothed” to a man (like Mary was betrothed to Joseph) is already considered married at the moment of their betrothal or engagement. This ratified marriage is then consummated only when the couple had been in the marriage bed (you know so well what that means). However, the betrothal of Mary to Joseph was a special case. It has either theological or historical reasons or both:
The Proto Evangelium of James stated that:
“…when she was twelve years old there was held a council of priests, saying, ‘Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, lest perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord?’ And they said to the high priest, ‘You stand by the altar of the Lord; go in and pray concerning her, and whatever the Lord shall manifest to you, that also will we do.’ . . . [A]nd he prayed concerning her, and behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him saying, ‘Zechariah! Zechariah! Go out and assemble the widowers of the people and let them bring each his rod, and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. . . . And Joseph [was chosen]. . . . And the priest said to Joseph, ‘You have been chosen by lot to take into your keeping the Virgin of the Lord.’ But Joseph refused, saying, ‘I have children, and I am an old man, and she is a young girl’” (ibid., 8–9).
The children of Joseph referred to in the gospel of James could be the “brethren of the Lord” mentioned in Matthew 13:55 or these are the children of the “other Mary”, a disciple of Christ, that St. Matthew and St. Mark specifically mentioned (Mt. 28:1, Mk. 15:40).
[But can the “Protoevangelium” be trusted? More than your opinion, YES.]
First reason can be seen in how St. Matthew carefully enumerated and emphasized the genealogy of King David to Joseph (Matt. 1:1-17). Jesus had to be in the royal bloodline to be called “Son of David” as fulfillment to the Prophecy; that is one reason why Joseph, in God’s plan, was married to Mary.
Second reason is that Jesus needed an earthly father. Remember, the Jewish culture has a custom of “street justice” where they initiate punishments (e.g., death by stoning) on their own. If someone is found guilty of violating the Law, the people themselves won’t hesitate to execute the punishment stated by the Law of Moses. This can be seen in many instances in the Bible like the adulteress saved by Jesus, and Jesus Himself when he declared He is the fulfillment of the Prophecy. Given this kind of culture where Mary lives in, if God did not give Mary a husband (protector) and Mary was found pregnant without a spouse, then that would’ve put both Mary and the SON in mortal danger.
“But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus.” The word ‘until’ clearly indicates that Joseph and Mary did have sexual union after Jesus was born.” – DWE
Being a Language Major myself, I am certain that the word “until” doesn’t just indicate that something has changed after the occurrence but can also signify for something recurring or even a permanent condition. For instance:
“and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even UNTIL the end of the world.”
Does this mean that Jesus won’t be with us anymore after the end of the world?
1 Timothy 4:13 (Good News Bible)
“Until I come, give your time and effort to the public reading of the Scriptures and to preaching and teaching.”
Does this mean that when Paul came, Timothy stopped giving time and effort to public reading?
2 Samuel 6:23
“Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child until the day of her death”
Did she give birth after her death? That would be silly eh?
So technically, the term “until” doesn’t “CLEARLY” say anything about Mary having sexual relations with Joseph after Jesus’ birth.
ANALYSIS TO PONDER ON
1.) Given the culture of the Jews regarding betrothal/marriage, why would Mary ask the Angel Gabriel, “How can this be? I know not man.” if she intends to pursue an ordinary married life with Joseph? Someone married wouldn’t be surprised if someone declared, “You will conceive a baby!” unless of course, she is consecrated with a Vow. Mary’s question is a response expected only from a celibate woman.
2.) If Mary indeed had a normal sexual relationship with Joseph, how come that Jesus had no mentioned siblings at the time He was 12 years old on their way to Jerusalem? Surely Mary would’ve been at least mentioned to be pregnant at that time because that’s already 12 years since the birth! But she wasn’t.
3.) Also, notice how the “brethren” of Jesus publicly expressed their disbelief to Him in John 7:5. Never in the culture of the Jews or in Israel that a younger sibling be publicly rebuking their older brother especially a “first-born”, we all know too well how “birthright” works in ancient Jews. Lest of course, you don’t read the Old Testament. This can only signify that the “brethren” mentioned are much older than Jesus at the time.
There is a lot more compelling evidence in the Bible and the Early Christian writings about the Virgin Mary that are so profound it’ll be impossible to fit in a single post. But since this is just meant to refute Deep Web Enigma’s post, I’ll just let it be this simple. For now.
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