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Wednesday, April 10 2013
What Does The Bible Really Say About Mary?
The Hebrew name pronounced meer-yawm, rendered into English as "Miriam," has been known to the Israelite people from the most-ancient times. The sister of Moses and Aaron was named Miriam.
"26:59 And the name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt: and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister." (Numbers 26:59 KJV)
The so-called Old Testament was written in Hebrew, so Bible translators generally maintained the actual Hebrew names of people i.e. Miriam was rendered as "Miriam" (keeping in mind that English and Hebrew have very different alphabets). The New Testament however was written in Greek, in the time of the Roman "world," so Hebrew names were most-often rendered into their Greek or Roman forms by translators, even though the people themselves were known by their Hebrew names. Hence Miriam, the mother of the Messiah, was recorded by the Greek and Roman pronunciations of the name, Mariam, which was abbreviated as Maria, and then Mary. Miriam however was never known to herself, or her family, or her friends, by that name.
Notice the difference between the King James Version (and most other English-language translations) and, for example, the Complete Jewish Bible (by David H. Stern) which, although also translated into English, uses the Hebrew pronunciations of names as they actually were used by those people themselves.
"1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 1:18 KJV)
There is nothing in the Holy Bible that describes the appearance of Mary (as she will be referred to in this study). If the Messiah had a resemblance to His physical ancestry, as has always been normal between parents and children, it had to have been from Mary alone. While not much is written about the Messiah's appearance (other than He looked nothing at all like the typical "Jesus" pictures; see Satan's Masquerade), it is stated in the Scriptures that He was a normal-looking Jew of His time, just as His mother would have been.
"53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." (Isaiah 53:2 KJV)
"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son"
Mary was chosen by God to be the virgin by which the prophecy would be fulfilled. Note very carefully that Mary was an ordinary young woman, nothing special or different about her (no phony halo, no one worshipping her, no one making blasphemous plastic or plaster idols of her).
"1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 1:27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
The will of the LORD was then made known to Joseph, a righteous man who was chosen to be the husband of Mary - and the father of the children that she had after the virgin birth of her firstborn i.e. he "knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son" (below) and "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?" (Matthew 13:55-56 KJV).
"1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
"Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him"
The fulfillment of the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem came about as the result of a Roman census (see also Does Rome Have Christ's Birth Certificate?).
"2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus [see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars], that all the world should be taxed. 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
The first witnesses of the birth were local shepherds.
"2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them." (Luke 2:16-20 KJV)
As practicing Jews, the child was presented at the Temple in nearby Jerusalem where some recognized that the Messiah had been born, to which "Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him."
"2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 2:22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 2:23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 2:24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:21-24 KJV)
Months later (notice that the shepherds came to a stable, while the Magi came to a house), the Magi arrived after their long journey from the East (see Why Did The Magi Come?).
"2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." (Matthew 2:1-2 KJV)
Herod the Great (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Herod) then attempted to kill the Messiah, which caused the family to flee to Egypt, before returning to Nazareth.
"2:13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
Almost nothing is recorded about the entire family from the time of the birth of the Messiah until the beginning of His ministry, other than that "the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him."
"2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him." (Luke 2:39-40 KJV)
The famous incident when Jesus was age twelve happened when Joseph and Mary, along with their relatives (see The Kinsfolk Of Jesus Of Nazareth), journeyed from Nazareth to Jerusalem for Passover.
"2:41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 2:42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 2:43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 2:44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 2:45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 2:47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 2:48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus"
Mary was not an active participant in the Messiah's Ministry, although never far from Him. Notice, by that time, the family had grown with Mary's other children - four sons and at least two daughters ("his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters").
"12:46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. 12:47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
Mary stood steadfast at the Crucifixion. Unlike anyone else there that day, Mary became a witness of the birth and the death of the Messiah. As He was about to die, the Messiah commanded that Mary was to thereafter reside with the apostle John.
"19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 19:27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." (John 19:25-27 KJV)
Why was it appropriate for Mary to reside with John, as if they were mother ("Behold thy mother") and son ("Woman, behold thy son")?
Standing among the women near the cross with Jesus' mother Mary was Salome, who was Mary's sister, and therefore Jesus' aunt:
"19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25 KJV)
Note also that at least two of the women who came with Jesus from Galilee "and ministered unto him" were His mother Mary and His aunt Salome.
Who were Salome's children? The apostle James and John - who were therefore first cousins of Jesus. Among the people standing at the foot of the Cross that day were the Messiah's mother, an aunt and a cousin, the son of the aunt.
"4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them." (Matthew 4:21 KJV)
As he was about to die, Jesus commanded that His mother Mary (then obviously a widow, otherwise the command would not have been given) go to live with the apostle John. Mary then went to live with her nephew John, where her sister Salome was either already living (Christ's logic for the choice), or would be, according to the custom of kinsfolk taking care of their own.
"19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
The last Biblical mention of Mary was right after the Messiah's ascension when she remained with the apostles (i.e. with John): "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."
"1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Fact Finder: What does the Holy Bible tell us about Joseph?
This Day In History, April 10
879: Louis III became King of the Western Franks.
1512: James V of Scotland, who allied his country with France against the English, was born. He became king at the age of 17 months.
1606: The Charter of the Virginia Company of London was established by Royal Charter by James I of England (after whom the King James Version of the Bible is named) with the purpose of establishing English colonial towns and settlements in the wilderness of North America. The English investment and development continued for about 170 years until the rebellion of the colonies against those who established and built them.
1741: Frederick II of Prussia defeated Maria Theresa's forces at Mollwitz and conquered Silesia.
1809: Austria declared war on France.
1814: Napoleon was defeated by the British and Spanish at the Battle of Toulouse. It resulted in Napoleon's abdication and exile to Elba.
1858: The original "Big Ben" bell for the Palace of Westminster was cast.
1864: Archduke Maximilian of Austria took the throne of Mexico.
1875: The Northwest Mounted Police (which later was included in the formation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the "Mounties") received government authorization to build a post that would later become the city of Calgary.
1912: The Titanic set off on its first, and only, voyage.
1919: Revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata was ambushed and killed by government troops in Mexico.
1922: The Genoa Conference opened to discuss the reconstruction of Europe after the First World War.
1932: In Germany, Paul von Hindenburg received 19 million votes in the presidential elections, beating, for the time being, Adolf Hitler's 13 million votes (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1938: In a referendum, 99.75% of Austrians voted for a merger with Germany (Adolf Hitler was born in Austria).
1941: During the Second World War, U.S. troops occupied Greenland to block German military control of the north Atlantic island.
1944: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), a British mini-submarine entered Bergen harbor in Norway and sank the German ship Barenfels.
1945: The Allies liberated the Nazi concentration camp, Buchenwald. It is estimated that nearly 57,000 people (mostly Jews) were killed in its gas chambers during its 8 year existence.
1963: The U.S. atomic submarine Thresher was lost in the Atlantic off Cape Cod; the 129 crew were lost.
1972: More than 50 countries signed a treaty outlawing the stockpiling of biological weapons. As might be expected, the countries that already had the greatest stockpiles of such weapons refused to sign the treaty.
1974: Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir resigned over differences within her Labor Party. She was succeeded by Yitzhak Rabin.
1980: Britain and Spain agreed to reopen the border between Gibraltar and Spain, closed in 1969.
1989: Intel announced the release of the 80486 processor.
2010: A Polish Air Force Tu-154 crashed near Smolensk, Russia. Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other people aboard the aircraft were killed.