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Notes on Revelation

Mary, Mary, quite contrary.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary.
21 Adar II, 5760
March 28, 2000

Is the Roman Catholic Mary the same Mary, mother of Jesus, in the Bible?

1. Roman Catholic Mary
She is supposedly sinless: "...she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, c. 1994, p. 104, sect. 411)

1. Mary of the Bible:
She found herself in the temple after giving birth:

Luke 2:22-24 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him [Jesus] to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 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.

She was there with a burnt and a sin offering as per the law:

Leviticus 12:2,4,6-8 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean...And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled...And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

The act of childbirth itself renders the woman impure for a stated number of days until reconciliation is afforded through the offerings. The Roman Catholic Mary could not have physically given birth to Jesus or she would've become unclean and would have been in need of atonement.

2. Roman Catholic Mary
She didn't physically give birth to Jesus (or she would've lost her "sinless" state).

2. Mary of the Bible
Through her the Word was made flesh. She was just like any other woman otherwise Jesus would've been born of two sinless "parents" and there's no way we can relate to that. One part of the male/female equation had to be just like us for Jesus to qualify as a substitute for the rest of us. If both Jesus' parents had been sinless, he could've only come to save the sinless (which doesn't seem to make sense does it?).

There even seems to be a dispute within the Roman Catholic Church regarding Mary's identity (unless they have 2 Marys). On one hand they have the sinless Mary and then they state that this same Mary is the woman in Revelation 12:

1,2 And 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: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

The woman in Revelation 12 is in pain so she can't be the original sinless Mary. The reason for pain during childbirth is because of Eve's eating from the forbidden tree:

Gen 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

I don't know how to reconcile the two; either there's pain because of sin or there isn't.


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