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Thread: Tim Staples: The Case for Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

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    Arrow Tim Staples: The Case for Mary’s Perpetual Virginity


    The Case for Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

    By Tim Staples
    Source: The Case for Mary's Perpetual Virginity

    (Quoted with permission)
    Those who deny Mary’s perpetual virginity most commonly refer to two texts:
    • Matthew 13:55-56: Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all of his sisters with us?
    • Matthew 1:24-25: And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife. And he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn (Gk. prototokon) son: and he called his name Jesus. (Douay-Rheims)
    A surface reading of these passages seems problematic. If Jesus had "brothers" and "sisters," would not Mary have had other children? If Jesus was Mary’s "firstborn," would there not be at least a second-born? And if "he knew her not till," did he not then "know her" at some point? We’ll begin with Matthew 13:55-56.

    Oh, Brother!

    First, we must understand that the term brother has a wide semantic range in Scripture. It can mean a uterine brother, an extended relative, or even a spiritual brother. In Genesis 13:8 and 14:12, we read of one example of brother being used to describe an extended relationship: Abraham and Lot. Though they were actually uncle and nephew, they called one another "brother." Moreover, in the New Testament, Jesus told us to call one another "brothers" in Matthew 23:8. The passage obviously does not mean to suggest that all Christians have the same physical mother.

    Second, if we examine more closely the example of James, one of these four "brothers of the Lord" mentioned in Matthew 13:55, we discover him to be a cousin or some other relative of Jesus rather than a uterine brother. For example, Galatians 1:18-19 informs us: "Then after three years I [Paul] went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother."

    Notice, the "James" of whom Paul was speaking was both a "brother of the Lord" and an "apostle." There are two apostles named James among the 12. The first James is revealed to be a "son of Zebedee." He most likely would not be the "James" referred to because according to Acts 12:1-2 he was martyred very early on. Even if it was him, his father was named Zebedee, not Joseph.

    Paul more likely is referring to the second James who was an apostle, according to Luke 6:15-16. This James is revealed to have a father named Alphaeus, not Joseph. Thus, James the apostle and Jesus were not uterine brothers. Easy enough. Some will argue, however, that this "James" was not an apostle or that he was not one of the original 12. Though this is a possibility—others in the New Testament, such as Barnabas in Acts 14, are referred to as "apostles" in a looser sense—the argument from Scripture is weak. When Paul wrote about going "up to Jerusalem" to see Peter, he was writing about an event that occurred many years earlier, shortly after he had converted. He was basically going up to the apostles to receive approval lest he "should be running or had run in vain." It would be more likely he would have here been speaking about "apostles" (proper), or "the twelve."

    But for those inclined to argue the point, the Catechism of the Catholic Church uses another line of reasoning:
    The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus," are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary." They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression. (CCC 500)
    The Catechism here refers to the fact that 14 chapters after we find the "brothers" of the Lord listed as "James, Joseph, Simon and Judas," we find "James and Joseph" mentioned again, but this time their mother is revealed as being named Mary, but not Mary, the Mother of Jesus. We can conclude that "James and Joseph" are "brothers" of Jesus, but they are not uterine brothers.

    But what about Matthew 1:24-25, and the claim Jesus was Mary’s "firstborn son" and that Joseph "knew her not until" Christ was born? Does Matthew here teach that Mary had other children?

    Exodus 13:1-2 reveals something very important about the firstborn in Israel: "The Lord said to Moses, ‘Consecrate to me all the firstborn; whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and beast, is mine.’"

    The "firstborn" were not given the title because there was a "second-born." They were called "firstborn" at birth. Jesus being "firstborn" does not require that more siblings be born after him.


    Until Then

    Scripture’s statement that Joseph "knew [Mary] not until she brought forth her firstborn" would not necessarily mean they did "know" each other after she brought forth Jesus. Until is often used in Scripture as part of an idiomatic expression similar to our own usage in English. I may say to you, "Until we meet again, God bless you." Does that necessarily mean after we meet again, God curse you? By no means. A phrase like this is used to emphasize what is being described before the until is fulfilled. It is not intended to say anything about the future beyond that point. Here are some biblical examples:

    • 2 Samuel 6:23: And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to (until) the day of her death. (Does this mean she had children after she died?)
    • 1 Timothy 4:13: Until I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. (Does this mean Timothy should stop teaching after Paul comes?)
    • 1 Corinthians 15:25: For he (Christ) must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (Does this mean Christ’s reign will end? By no means! Luke 1:33 says, "he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there shall be no end.")
    .
    In recent years, some have argued that because Matthew 1:25 uses the Greek words heos hou for "until" whereas the texts I mentioned above from the New Testament use heos alone, there is a difference in meaning. The argument goes that Heos hou indicates the action of the first clause does not continue. Thus, Mary and Joseph "not having come together" would have ended after Jesus was born.

    The problems with this theory begin with the fact that no available scholarship concurs with it. In fact, the evidence proves the contrary. Heos hou and heos are used interchangeably and have the same meaning. Acts 25:21 should suffice to clear up the matter: "But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be held until (Gk. heos hou) I could send him to Caesar."

    Does this text mean that Paul would not be held in custody after he was "sent" to Caesar? Not according to the biblical record. He would be held in custody while in transit (see Acts 27:1) and after he arrived in Rome for a time (see Acts 29:16). The action of the main clause did not cease with heos hou.


    The Affirmative Argument

    Now let’s look at some reasons to believe in Mary’s perpetual virginity. Among the many we could examine, we will briefly consider three:

    1. In Luke 1:34, when Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she was chosen to be the Mother of the Messiah, she asked the question, literally translated from the Greek, "How shall this be since I know not man?" This question makes no sense unless Mary had a vow of virginity.
    When we consider that Mary and Joseph were already "espoused," according to verse 27 of this same chapter, we understand Mary and Joseph already have what would be akin to a ratified marriage in the New Covenant. They were married. That would mean Joseph would have had the right to the marriage bed. Normally, after the espousal the husband would go off and prepare a home for his new bride and then come and receive her into his home where the union would be consummated. This is precisely why Joseph intended to "divorce her quietly" (Mt 1:19) when he later discovered she was pregnant.

    This background is significant because a newly married woman would not ask the question "How shall this be?" She would know—unless, of course, that woman had taken a vow of virginity. Mary believed the message, but wanted to know how this was going to be accomplished. This indicates she was not planning on the normal course of events for her future with Joseph.

    2. In John 19:26, Jesus gave his Mother to the care of John even though by law the next eldest sibling would have the responsibility to care for her. It is unthinkable that Jesus would take his Mother away from his family in disobedience to the law.

    Some claim Jesus did this because his brothers and sisters were not there. They had left him. Thus, Jesus committed his Mother to John, who was faithful and present at the foot of the cross. This claim betrays a very low and unbiblical Christology. As John tells us, Jesus "knew all men" (cf. Jn 2:25). If James were his uterine brother, Jesus would have known he would be faithful along with his "brother" Jude. The fact is Jesus had no brothers and sisters, so he had the responsibility, on a human level, to take care of his Mother.

    3. Mary is depicted as the spouse of the Holy Spirit in Scripture. In Luke 1:34, when Mary asks the angel how she will conceive a child, the angel responds: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."

    This is nuptial language hearkening back to Ruth 3:8, where Ruth said to Boaz "spread your skirt over me" when she revealed to him his duty to marry her according to the law of Deuteronomy 25. When Mary became pregnant, Joseph would have been required to divorce her because she would then belong to another (see Dt 24:1-4; Jer 3:1). But when Joseph found out that "the other" was the Holy Spirit, the idea of his having conjugal relations with Mary was not a consideration.


    Mary’s Protector

    An obvious question remains: Why did St. Joseph then "take [Mary] his wife" according to Matthew 1:24 if she belonged to the Holy Spirit?

    The Holy Spirit is Mary’s spouse, but Joseph was her spouse and protector on this earth for at least two obvious reasons. First, as Matthew points out in his genealogy in chapter 1, Joseph was in line to be a successor of David as King of Israel. Thus, if Jesus was to be the true "son of David" and king of Israel (see 2 Sm 7:14, Heb 1:5, Rv 19:16, 22:16), he needed to be the son of Joseph. As the only son of Joseph, even though adopted, he would have been in line for the throne.

    Also, in a culture that did not take too kindly to espoused women getting pregnant by someone other than their spouse, Mary would have been in mortal danger. So Joseph became Mary’s earthly spouse and protector as well as the protector of the child Jesus.

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    1. In Luke 1:34, when Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she was chosen to be the Mother of the Messiah, she asked the question, literally translated from the Greek, "How shall this be since I know not man?" This question makes no sense unless Mary had a vow of virginity.

    A truly spectacular example of poor reasoning! A woman who is a virgin who is told that they are pregnant is going to be surprised whether they have take a vow or not. Pretty simple stuff.

    Fun fact regarding your signature: The largest increases in both taxes and government size happen under Republican control. Clarity - you need to get some.
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    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

    What are my fruits today?

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    "Moral standards" are a lot like lighthouses: they exist to help us stay on course as we sail through life. But we have to steer BY them, but not directly AT them. Lest we end up marooned on the shoals of perpetual self-righteousness.

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    Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

    Genesis 4:17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

    Genesis 4:25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

    Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

    Luke 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

    Matthew 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

    Matthew 1:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

    2 Corinthians 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

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    God on perpetual virginity:

    Matthew 12

    46 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him.
    47 Then one said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You."
    48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?"
    49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers!

    Mark 3

    31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him.
    32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You."
    33 But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?"

    Matthew 13

    54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, "Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?
    55 Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?
    56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?"

    Mark 6

    3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" So they were offended at Him.
    4 But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house."

    Bonus, God on the assumption of Mary, purgatory, a preeminent Roman church, the office of Pope... it's too much, just et cetera:

    <insert black hole graphic here>

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    In any normal situation, when your Maker becomes flesh and is born of a woman, that woman is a very special lady, and the Church has always thought so.
    THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN. Matthew 28:6 (KJV) Mark 16:6 (KJV) Luke 24:6 (KJV)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nihilo View Post
    In any normal situation, when your Maker becomes flesh and is born of a woman, that woman is a very special lady, and the Church has always thought so.
    Nobody has ever said that she is not a very special lady. People take issue with all the worthless titles and traditions the RCC has endowed her with, titles and traditions that were never in scripture.
    Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)

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    "Moral standards" are a lot like lighthouses: they exist to help us stay on course as we sail through life. But we have to steer BY them, but not directly AT them. Lest we end up marooned on the shoals of perpetual self-righteousness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CabinetMaker View Post
    Nobody has ever said that she is not a very special lady.
    I have never heard anybody who is not Catholic (or Orthodox) say that she is a very special lady. Not once. She is not mentioned ever by Protestants as anybody of any importance.
    Quote Originally Posted by CabinetMaker View Post
    People take issue with all the worthless titles and traditions the RCC has endowed her with, titles and traditions that were never in scripture.
    People should just take issue with reality. The Lord Jesus Christ, our Maker become flesh, was born to the Virgin Mary. In and of itself, that means something, and the Holy See precisely teaches exactly what that means, so that we don't have to guess at it.
    THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN. Matthew 28:6 (KJV) Mark 16:6 (KJV) Luke 24:6 (KJV)

    Romans 10:9 (KJV) 1st Corinthians 15:14 (KJV)

    Trevor: "I know how to drive, man."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nihilo View Post
    I have never heard anybody who is not Catholic (or Orthodox) say that she is a very special lady. Not once. She is not mentioned ever by Protestants as anybody of any importance.
    This is categorically wrong. Protestants know Mary and respect her for being the mother of our Lord and Savior. What we do not do is elevate her to positions that rival Jesus and God. She was a woman chosen by God just as the Apostles were men chosen by Jesus. Always we mus remember the things that Jesus actually says. For instance:

    One time when Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd proclaimed, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed” (Luke 11:27). There was never a better opportunity for Jesus to declare that Mary was indeed worthy of praise and adoration. What was Jesus’ response? “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Luke 11:28). To Jesus, obedience to God’s Word was more important than being the woman who gave birth to the Savior. SOURCE


    People should just take issue with reality. The Lord Jesus Christ, our Maker become flesh, was born to the Virgin Mary. In and of itself, that means something, and the Holy See precisely teaches exactly what that means, so that we don't have to guess at it.
    That Mary was the Earthly mother of Jesus does not make her the Queen of Heaven. It does not make her coredemptrix. It does not make her somebody to pray to and does not give her the authority to answer prayer.
    Last edited by CabinetMaker; July 18th, 2016 at 01:41 PM.
    Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

    What are my fruits today?

    Cityboy With Horses A blog about what happens when you say, "I Promise"

    "Moral standards" are a lot like lighthouses: they exist to help us stay on course as we sail through life. But we have to steer BY them, but not directly AT them. Lest we end up marooned on the shoals of perpetual self-righteousness.

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    Catholics believe Mary never had sexual intercourse with her husband Joseph. However, Joseph and Mary promised each other to get married, and this planned marriage was before Mary and Joseph knew that Mary was carrying the Son of God. If Mary had plans to marry a man…surely she had in mind to have a marriage bed.

    Matthew 1:19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.


    Mary having, or not having, sexual relations with her husband, after the birth of Jesus; this has no effect on our salvation. However, what does hurt one’s salvation is making up, and, or believing in things that are not God’s Word.
    Oh how I love the Word of God!

    Do not just read the word do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nihilo View Post
    I have never heard anybody who is not Catholic (or Orthodox) say that she is a very special lady. Not once. She is not mentioned ever by Protestants as anybody of any importance.
    People should just take issue with reality. The Lord Jesus Christ, our Maker become flesh, was born to the Virgin Mary. In and of itself, that means something, and the Holy See precisely teaches exactly what that means, so that we don't have to guess at it.
    Mary was highly favored, but you want to exalt her to a place that she herself does not claim.


    Catholic Popes teach Catholics to elevate Mary. There is no such command in the Bible, nor are there any examples of such an act in the Bible. Mary would not want to be exalted in such a way.

    In fact, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” Jesus replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” See Luke 11:27-28.

    Does that sound like Jesus wanted Mary exalted to the level that the Catholic Church has exalted her? No.

    Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” Jesus replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” See Luke 8:20-21.

    Does it sound like Jesus wants us to elevate and worship his mother? No!

    Jesus did not come to this world to be a husband, or a father, or a son to Mary. Jesus came to this world to save us. When Jesus was on the cross, Jesus called Mary “woman,” and gave her to one of his disciples.

    John 19:26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,”
    Oh how I love the Word of God!

    Do not just read the word do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CabinetMaker View Post
    This is categorically wrong. Protestants know Mary and venerate her for being the mother of our Lord and Savior. What we do not do is elevate her to positions that rival Jesus and God. She was a woman chosen by God just as the Apostles were men chosen by Jesus.
    Is that a typo? Did you say you venerate Mary?

    Veneration means to worship.

    The Catholics try to change the meaning of the word 'venerate'.
    Oh how I love the Word of God!

    Do not just read the word do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nihilo View Post
    I have never heard anybody who is not Catholic (or Orthodox) say that she is a very special lady. Not once. She is not mentioned ever by Protestants as anybody of any importance.
    People should just take issue with reality. The Lord Jesus Christ, our Maker become flesh, was born to the Virgin Mary. In and of itself, that means something, and the Holy See precisely teaches exactly what that means, so that we don't have to guess at it.
    She was the mother of his physical form to fulfill prophesy... nothing more and nothing less. She was concieved in sin just like all of us. She had children after Jesus because she was married and had to be a good Jew and bear children or fall into the sin of Onanism.

    She was particularly blessed by God for her assent and I am sure Jesus is happy she raised him (although from all accounts, other than food and clothing, not much parenting needed to be done.. because he was God).

    In the wedding depection, she even showed her haughtiness by tempting her son to turn water into wine and he scolded her, but obeyed her in order to fulfill the commandment and be sinless.

    She died just like everyone else and faced judgement... and God is not a respecter of persons.. she faced the same judgement that we all will.

    As far as the perpetual virginity, that is of pagan origin and fits nicely with the Roman pagan god of Diana (Artemis).. the parallels are striking. Diana had a child, then asked Zeus to restore her virginity and he made her a perpetual virgin. It's too similar to not have been borrowed and integrated into Romanism

    Anyhow, Mary is blessed.. and will always be remembered that way.

    Its also quiet obvious that Tim Staples is of diminished capacity because he cannot follow a logical line of reasoning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by God's Truth View Post
    Is that a typo? Did you say you venerate Mary?

    Veneration means to worship.

    The Catholics try to change the meaning of the word 'venerate'.
    That seems to be my Catechism classes weeping through. I am looking for the correct wording and I will change my post accordingly. Thanks!
    Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

    What are my fruits today?

    Cityboy With Horses A blog about what happens when you say, "I Promise"

    "Moral standards" are a lot like lighthouses: they exist to help us stay on course as we sail through life. But we have to steer BY them, but not directly AT them. Lest we end up marooned on the shoals of perpetual self-righteousness.

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    God's Truth (July 19th, 2016)

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    Quote Originally Posted by CabinetMaker View Post
    This is categorically wrong. Protestants know Mary and venerate her for being the mother of our Lord and Savior.
    I've never heard of that. Literally never. And I am very well read in Protestant theology.
    Quote Originally Posted by CabinetMaker View Post
    What we do not do is elevate her to positions that rival Jesus and God.
    No one does that.
    Quote Originally Posted by CabinetMaker View Post
    She was a woman chosen by God just as the Apostles were men chosen by Jesus.
    Given the Protestant disregard for the Apostles, it makes sense for Protestants to disregard also Mary.
    Quote Originally Posted by CabinetMaker View Post
    That Mary was the Earthly mother of Jesus does not make her the Queen of Heaven. It does not make her coredemptrix. It does not make her somebody to pray to and does not give her the authority to answer prayer.
    Shrug.
    THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN. Matthew 28:6 (KJV) Mark 16:6 (KJV) Luke 24:6 (KJV)

    Romans 10:9 (KJV) 1st Corinthians 15:14 (KJV)

    Trevor: "I know how to drive, man."
    Ricky: "You also know how to be stupid."

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