By: Admin Pastor Manny
Today, we are celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This is the day that celebrates the solemn belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the Immaculate Conception of Mary is the teaching that Mary was preserved immune from the stains of original sin from the first moment of her conception. However, Protestants who believe in the doctrine of original sin think that Jesus Christ was the only human being who never had original and actual sin. Can we prove using the Scriptures that what we, Catholics, believe is true?
Of course, we can show to non-Catholics and anti-Catholics that the concept of Immaculate Conception is implicitly stated in the Scriptures.
The 28th verse of the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke indicated that when the angel visited her, she already had grace. This is something that we share in common with the Protestants. What we should do then is we have to prove that she already had this grace not just at this moment, but from her conception. Although I believe that Mary being called as kecharitomene (full of grace) indicated this reality, it’s great to consider the first chapter of Luke because this chapter implied that she was created as a sinless human person. In the first chapter of Luke, we can actually apply the concept of Typology. Biblical typology is when a person or an event in the Old Testament foreshadows a person or an event in the New Testament. Let’s observe how typology works in Luke 1.
After Mary was greeted by the angel using the words “Chaire Kecharitomene” (Hail, full of grace) in verse 28, she had received the revelation from God which the angel gave to her. And then, 13 verses after, she went to the house of her cousin Elizabeth. This is what took place when she heard Mary’s voice.
41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
OK, you might wonder. So, how can we say that the action of the baby (John) leaping in Elizabeth’s womb is related to Mary’s Immaculate Conception? Well, it’s because someone from 2 Samuel chapter 6 danced and leaped before the Lord because of the ark of God.
2 Samuel 6:14
14 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
I really wish that none misses that statement “girded with a linen ephod” (which showed David as a priest) would indicate that there was a connection with John, who was leaping for joy, being a priest. And in verse 43, we see how Elizabeth responded to Mary, the Mother of God.
43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For a reader who might not consider the context of this text, this is nothing. Elizabeth simply recognized her as the mother of Jesus Christ. But, for the Jews (and Luke was a Jew), they would recognize that Luke was trying to make a parallelism with one of the texts in the Old Testament.
2 Samuel 6:9
9 And David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?”
Remember, Mary wasn’t holy simply because of herself. She was holy because of Jesus Christ who was inside her womb just like how the Ark of the Old Covenant was holy because of the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod, and Manna (three types for Jesus Christ) inside it. And then, after Mary proceeded with her Song of Praise, we can see another typology.
56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
Again, for some readers who do not consider the revelation of God in its proper context, there is nothing special with remaining in her home for three months. What’s up with three months? But, for the Jews, they would have understood that this was a reference to the ark of the Lord remaining in the house of O′bed-e′dom
2 Samuel 6:11
11 And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of O′bed-e′dom the Gittite three months; and the LORD blessed O′bed-e′dom and all his household.
So, as we see the parallelism made obvious by Luke, we can affirm what Mary was the Ark of the New Covenant which is something that even the Early Church Fathers affirmed knowing that they recognize context. So, the question is how can we then connect this to the dogma of Immaculate Conception?
I’ve mentioned earlier that the Ark of the Old Covenant was holy because of what’s inside it, and these include the types for Jesus Christ. If this is the case, we should take note how the Ark was made in light of the fact that they types for Jesus Christ would be placed inside it.
10 “They shall make an ark of acacia wood; two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 And you shall overlay it with pure gold, within and without shall you overlay it, and you shall make upon it a molding of gold round about.
Every Christian recognizes that the Ark of the Old Covenant was holy. And, from the passage that I cited above, the ark that was made of acacia wood was overlaid with pure gold. Isn’t it fitting that the ark that was holy was made of pure gold? And, isn’t it fitting that the ark was overlaid by pure gold from the moment of construction? If this is what the Ark of the Old Covenant is, then how much more would be the case for the Ark of the New Covenant? If the Ark of the Old Covenant was clothed with gold from the moment of its construction, I think that there is no reason for us not to think that the Ark of the New Covenant was clothed with purity from the moment of her conception as an anticipation for the Lord Jesus Christ.