The virginity of Mary is certainly taught in the Bible and is important. Why? Because the Bible gives us many ways whereby we can clearly identify the Messiah. One of these ways is called a "sign" and is specifically linked to his miraculous birth. In the Book of Isaiah we read:
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isa. 7:14, KJV).Along with many other Scriptures, that passage clearly points us to the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, who was born of a "virgin". But even among those who agree that Mary was a virgin, at that point in time, there arises a controversy, that being: Did the virginity of Mary last after Jesus was born? Let's go to the Scriptures to find the answer:
And Joseph, having risen from the sleep, did as the messenger of the Lord directed him, and received his wife, and did not KNOW her TILL she brought forth her son -- the first-born, and he called his name Jesus (Matt. 1:24,25, Young's Literal).The Greek word translated "know" in that verse is ginosko. It is also used at Lk. 1:34, where it carries the same meaning:
And Mary said unto the messenger, "How shall this be, seeing a husband I do not know?" (Young's Literal).Mary couldn't understand how she could possibly give birth without first coming to "know" her husband, that is, having sexual union. This is the meaning here and in Matt. 1:25 of ginosko. Such did not happen between Joseph and Mary "till" Jesus was born (Mt. 1:25).
Please note: Had the Holy Spirit wanted to convey the thought that the virginity of Mary was perpetual her whole life through, He could have stopped Matt. 1:25 before the words: "TILL she brought forth her son." Then the sentence would have taught Mary was a perpetual virgin by reading: "Joseph ... did not know her [ever]" or as the NIV would have read: "But he had no union with her [even afterwards Jesus' birth]." This, however, is NOT how the Biblical record reads! That verse states, by implication, that there was a point in time that Joseph and Mary had sexual union, that is, after Jesus was born. This is in perfect agreement with Isa. 7:14, and the other passages on this topic, yet to be cited.
Let's move on to a clear supportive text from Luke's Gospel:
"And she gave birth to her FIRSTBORN, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7, NIV).The word "firstborn" is used elsewhere for the oldest of the children. Many examples in Scripture could be cited to prove this. The following are but two:
Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, "It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household." The second son he named Ephraim and said, "It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering" (Gen. 41:51,52).The sons of Josiah: Johanan the firstborn, Jehoiakim the second son, Zedekiah the third, Shallum the fourth (1 Chron. 3:15).Jesus was not called Mary's "only-born" but instead Mary's "firstborn," thereby suggesting Mary had other children, which is indeed the case. Hence, the virginity of Mary is fact, but it didn't last throughout her life. A more clear indication of this occurred when Jesus, as a full grown man, came to his hometown (Nazareth) and began to teach. People from there, who apparently knew his family, stated the following in disbelief:
Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" They asked. "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" (Matt. 13:54-56).According to that text, Mary had at least four other sons, besides Jesus, and at least two daughters. Some argue that the word "brothers," found in this passage, merely means relatives such as cousins. If that is the true intended meaning, then one must wonder why the Greek word meaning "cousin" (anepsios) was not used there as it was in Col. 4:10:
My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.Again, in contrast to Col. 4:10, a different Greek word is used in Matt. 13:55 -- adelphos. This Greek word translated "brothers" comes from the word, delphus, which means womb.
Furthermore, we should also focus our attention in upon the word "sisters" in Matt. 13:56. The Greek word for "sisters" is adelphe. It is also found in the following:
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity (1 Tim 5:1,2).As in Matt. 13:56, the usage of adelphe in 1 Tim. 5:2 means natural sister born as to the same mother. The context from verse 1 shows the meaning to be the natural family. This is how the same Greek word must be understood in Matt. 13:56, since spiritual sister can't fit the context. The virginity of Mary was temporary.
Mary had 7 or more children: Jesus the firstborn (or oldest) and at least 6 others, with at least 2 or more being daughters. But there is even more truth on this subject found in the Old Testament book of Psalms, where it is stated in the first person singular, as being spoken of by Jesus:
"My Own Mother's Sons"I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother's sons; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me (Psa. 69:8,9).That is a Messianic Psalm, that is, it has application to Messiah Jesus. This is clear since this Psalm is quoted in the New Testament (Jn. 2:17) and shown there to apply to the Lord. The point is: Jesus became "an alien to MY OWN MOTHER'S SONS." This alienation is clearly evident at John 7:3-5. Before we look at that passage, please note that Scripture explicitly declares that Jesus' mother (Mary) had other "sons" (Psalm 69:8)! This verse alone is an irrefutable and devastating blow to the idea that the blessed Mary remained a virgin throughout her lifetime. Remember, Joseph had no sexual union with Mary "till" Jesus, Mary's "firstborn," came into this world.
In Jn. 7:3-5, we read:
Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." For even his own brothers did not believe in him.This passage clearly shows the context cannot allow for an interpretation of spiritual "brother," since the same "did not believe in him"! This disbelief in Jesus from his own "brothers," at that point in time, is shown elsewhere:
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for THEY SAID, "HE IS OUT OF HIS MIND." . . . Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you." "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother" (Mark 3:20,21,31-35).Yes, you read Scripture right. Even Mary, and her other sons, at one point during Jesus' ministry, thought Jesus was "out of his mind"! This, however, doesn't mean that they didn't afterwards come to believe on Jesus and get filled with the Holy Spirit, for they were in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost with the other 120:
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers (Acts 1:14).There is additional proof that Jesus' half-brothers came to faith in him. This is shown in 1 Cor. 9:5:
Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?There we learn that the Lord's half-brothers were married, as was Cephas (another name for Peter, Jn. 1:42). These husband-wife couples traveled together, as they served God.
Furthermore, regarding Jude and James, who were named in Matt. 13:55 as Jesus' "brothers," we read the following:
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ (Jude 1).Notice: The writer of the epistle of Jude was also "a brother (adelphos) to James," but most importantly he was a servant of Jesus Christ. So he clearly came to his spiritual senses.
Furthermore, James, the Lord's brother, is mentioned by Paul in Gal. 1:19:
I saw none of the other apostles -- only James, the Lord's brother (Gal. 1:19 NIV).This is an important verse for two reasons: (1) It shows that James not only came to faith in Jesus, but became an apostle. (2) Besides becoming an apostle, he was also "the Lord's brother." The phrase "the Lord's brother," used here, can't possibly be limited to mean his spiritual brother, since it is already understood that Jesus' apostles are members of his spiritual family. James was both an apostle and half-brother of Jesus.
So according to Scripture, Mary did not remain a virgin after she gave birth to Jesus. This basic Biblical truth is in direct conflict with what millions of people have been taught, but nonetheless, it is God's word on this subject not any man's. The following is but one errant statement about perpetual virginity of Mary from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"Mary ‘remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin" (p. 128, bold emphasis mine).Dear reader, that quote was from the Catholic theologian, Augustine (who also was the original source of modern-day Calvinism). The following is another important quote which shows how Roman Catholicism counters Matt. 13:55:
"Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. 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" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 126, bold emphasis mine).Friend, examine Matt. 13:54-56 for yourself, which shows the subjects as being from Jesus' hometown, thereby enabling them to identify His own mother Mary and His natural brothers and sisters. That passage is clear about this:
Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?"That passage can't possibly be referring to "the other Mary," as some want us to believe, but Jesus' own mother!
Moreover, trying to sweep all of the New Testament passages away by stating that the phrase "brothers of Jesus" is merely an "Old Testament expression" is to ignore all the other verses which show Joseph and Mary had sexual union, but not until, Jesus was born. Matt. 1:25 couldn't be more clear, especially when considered with Psa. 69:8, which explicitly shows Mary had other children.
Friend, what you will continue to believe about perpetual virginity of Mary is left entirely up to you. You have read what Scripture declares and what the present-day position from Roman Catholicism declares. But know this, you can't believe both declarations, since they are antithetical to each other. One must be in error.
The truth about the virginity of Mary is important to many several reasons:
Why Mention The Virginity Of Mary?
(1) According to Catholic tradition from Augustine of Hippo, "heretics" deny Mary's perpetual virginity. Consider what he wrote:
"Heretics called Antidicomarites are those who contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary and affirm that after Christ was born she was joined as one with her husband" (W. A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, p. 166).Should we conclude that a Christian, who goes by the Scriptural evidence as commanded by 2 Tim. 3:15-17, is a "heretic," because he rejects the perpetual virginity of Mary? God forbid!
(2) Another reason why it is important to know the truth about the virginity of Mary is because the Mary of Catholicism is not the Mary of the Bible. In other words, the image of Mary, the mother of Jesus, has been changed by Catholicism into something different than the real. She is presented by such as the sinless virgin, Mother of the Church, Mother of Mercies, Door of Paradise, Our Lady of Fatima, The Virgin of the Poor, Lady of the Roses, Co-redemptrix, Queen of Peace, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mediatrix of all Graces, Mother of God, Refuge of Sinners, Gate of Heaven, Queen of Heaven and more. Consider the following:
Two other common descriptions regarding her are: "Through Mary to Jesus" and Mary is "Our life, Sweetness and Hope." These pronouncements are more serious than Mary's perpetual virginity, for they are directly related to salvation and can, therefore, affect our eternal destiny.
"Through Mary to Jesus"
Let's consider the former, "Through Mary to Jesus." In other words, must we go through Mary to get to the Savior? To find out for sure what the truth is, we must search the Scriptures. If anyone would know, it certainly would be the Lord Jesus. The following is what the Lord Himself taught about us coming to Him:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).Yet you refuse to come to me to have life (John 5:40).Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35).On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink (John 7:37).NOTE: To refuse to "come" [go] to Jesus, as He Himself taught in these verses means we cannot have spiritual life! On the other hand, to go directly to Him is to find salvation for our souls. This vital truth is beautifully exemplified when the dying thief, being crucified next to Jesus, went DIRECTLY TO JESUS, WITHOUT FIRST GOING THROUGH MARY OR ANYONE ELSE, and he found forgiveness and salvation. The exact word for word exchange is as follows:
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."According to John's Gospel account, Mary was at the foot of the cross at this time, yet the thief didn't go first to her to get to Jesus; neither did Jesus make the repentant thief go through Mary to come to Him! Remember that basic truth about salvation. If we are going to get to Jesus to find salvation it will have to be as the dying thief did, that is, DIRECTLY without first going to anyone else! Also, remember that Jesus doesn't change (Heb. 13:8). So, if it worked for that dying thief, it will also work for us, which is also the exact way Jesus taught us to "come" to Him (Matt. 11:28-30; Jn. 5:40; 6:35; 7:37). Finally, remember it wasn't until after the repentant thief came directly to Jesus that the Lord promised him "paradise." Just knowing this vital truth, about getting to Jesus, won't do anyone any good unless they act upon it.
Another very common, but very grave misconception about salvation is that Mary is our "Life, Sweetness and Hope." This is a common phrase heard when the Rosary prayer (Hail Holy Queen) is recited. What is God's eternal truth on this subject? Let's go to the Bible for the answer. Remember, the Bible is FINAL AUTHORITY:
"Our Life, Sweetness and Hope"
And how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:15-17).The Bible contains all we need to know to make us "wise for salvation" through faith in Christ Jesus. Furthermore, it is FINAL AUTHORITY and it ALONE is needed to equip the man of God for every good work, as the aforementioned declares.
So, bearing all this in mind let's go to that same source, which is to be the basis for all Christian teaching and which can make us "wise for salvation" through our faith in Christ Jesus:
When Christ, who is YOUR LIFE, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Col. 3:4).Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus OUR HOPE (1 Tim. 1:1).According to Scripture, it is JESUS who is our "Life" and our "Hope." Furthermore, since "Sweetness" carries the meaning of "gentleness" as found in a thesaurus, then the same can be said about the Lord Jesus:
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am GENTLE and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt. 11:29).Dear friend, the Holy Bible declares Jesus, and HE ALONE, is our Life, Sweetness and Hope. Will you go directly to the Biblical Jesus, to find forgiveness of sins and salvation? How different this is from the picture painted in Catholicism! Consider also what has been written and endorsed about Mary:
"Death Through Eve, Life Through Mary"?"As St. Irenaeus says, ‘Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.' Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert ...: ‘The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.' Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary ‘Mother of the living' and frequently claim: ‘Death through Eve, life through Mary' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 125, bold emphasis mine).Once when Jesus was teaching, the following occurred:
Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother" (Matt. 12:47-50).Jesus declared to become part of His spiritual family we must do the will of the Father. This is further explained in a parallel passage:
He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice" (Luke 8:21).So to do "the will" of the Father is the same as putting God's word into "practice"!
Furthermore, the true plan of salvation is concisely stated in the Bible as repentance towards God and faith in Christ Jesus (Acts 20:21). We are to produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt. 3:8) and prove our repentance by our deeds (Acts 26:20). To "repent" means to turn from your evil ways (Matt. 12:41 cf. Jonah 3:10). Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matt. 3:10; 7:19). The Lord Jesus also taught the road to life is "hard" and only a "few" will find it (Matt. 7:13,14, NKJV). The Lord declared there that there are ONLY 2 gates, 2 roads, 2 groups of people and 2 eternal destinies. So don't follow the crowd, since they are on their way to eternal fire, even though they might not know it.
The True Plan Of Salvation
Moreover, many get saved, but afterwards fall away (Lk. 8:13; Jn. 6:66; 1 Tim. 1:19; etc.). In other words, after initial salvation we must endure to the "end" to enter the kingdom of God and escape the lake of fire (Matt. 10:22; Heb. 3:14; Rev. 2:10,11). Eternal life comes to the repentant the moment such believe on Jesus for salvation (Jn. 3:16; 6:47; 1 Jn. 5:12,13), but there is another important aspect of eternal life that many are totally unaware of in our day because of a different false teaching which is commonly called "once saved, always saved." According to true, Biblical, grace teaching, eternal life is also a HOPE (Titus 3:7), yet to be REAPED (Gal. 6:8,9) in the AGE TO COME (Mk. 10:30) for only the ones who PERSIST IN DOING GOOD (Rom. 2:7) and DO NOT GROW WEARY AND GIVE UP (Gal. 6:9).
Also, remember this: If a saved person sows to please his sinful nature he'll die spiritually (Rom. 8:13; Gal. 6:8,9). The prodigal son is a clear example of this (Lk. 15:24,32). The end result of sin is spiritual death. DO NOT BE DECEIVED by the "once saved, always saved" teachers (James 1:14-16). We must continue to believe (TRUST) on Jesus for our soul's salvation to enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus described his "sheep" as his "followers" (John 10:27). James stated that faith without works is "dead" (James 2:17).
In conclusion, the Jesus of our present hour is not a baby that is laying in a manger or an infant that needs to be held in his mother's arms. He is an adult who successfully destroyed the devil's work (1 John 3:8). He is the resurrected "Lord of glory" (1 Cor. 2:8), before whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord (Phil. 2:9-11). Jesus has the ONLY name in which salvation is found (Acts 4:12), is the ONLY mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5) and is the judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 4:5). We are advised in Scripture to go directly to Him for forgiveness and to TRUST in Him alone for our soul's salvation.
Finally, as stated earlier in this article, Mary is certainly "blessed" because she gave birth to the Messiah (Lk. 1:42), but this should not be over-emphasized as a woman once wrongly tried to do in Jesus' presence:
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you." He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it" (Lk. 11:27,28).Those were not the words of some Protestant, but the Lord Jesus Himself! What a shock they are to multitudes, not because they are inconsistent with the rest of Scripture, but because of all the faulty teachings that center around a Mary not taught in the Bible. Remember, Jesus was the real Mary's "firstborn" who taught all to "come" directly to Himself for their soul's salvation. Never throughout the Gospels did Jesus ever make any sinner go through Mary to come to Him. Never! Furthermore, none of the Lord's Apostles, including Peter, ever taught: "Through Mary to Jesus." Why then should we believe it? Moreover, it is JESUS who is "Our Life, Sweetness and Hope." Dear reader, what you do with this information about Jesus will affect you throughout all of eternity! VERIFY ALL SCRIPTURAL QUOTATIONS FOR YOURSELF WITH YOUR OWN BIBLE. Remember these facts about the virginity of Mary and don't be deceived into trusting in her or praying to her. God bless you.
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