Marian Theology and Veneration are Rooted in the First Temple Religion of Israel

Posted By on July 26, 2019

so what I wanted to touch on just briefly I don't want to exhaust the subject but I wanted to to deal with the Jewish roots of Mary and Marian devotion we often hear in apologetic circles whether Eastern Orthodox Roman Catholic Eastern Catholic we like to do a lot of typology with regard to the Blessed Mother and we like to stress her Jewishness and sort of the Israelite theology that informs her place in the in the kingdom of God and the the line of reasoning typically goes like this in the Old Testament in the King the southern kingdom of Judah you had the you had the King the Davidic King and he had a consort and a queen however unlike most places the Queen wasn't the King's wife it was his mother so with Solomon for example you had Bathsheba at his side and if the people of Israel had a need they could go before Bathsheba and implore her to intercede to Solomon on their behalf so we have sort of a outline or picture of the Virgin Mary's place as the fulfillment because in the New Testament you have the the Davidic King Jesus you have the Queen Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and she is the chief intercessor before the throne of Christ the King on behalf of the church the people of God and that's usually where the buck stops but there is a lot more that can be said about the Jewish roots of Mary and Mary and theology and devotion a good place or places to research this further would be dr. Rach Rachel Fulton Brown's book Mary in the art of prayer which was released I believe this past year and you also have the works of Margaret Barker she touches on this theme in several of her books but if you're looking for a specific one that's really zeroed in on this topic it would be the mother of the Lord volume 1 volume 2 is forthcoming Volume one deals with mainly the Old Testament and volume 2 will be Mary's place in the church as a fulfillment of the Old Testament so just a couple things to consider first of all when we say Christianity when I when I say Christianity I'm talking about apostolic Christianity that traces its roots to the very beginning apostolic times and sub apostolic times where you see a clear continuity between the Israeli temple worship and practice and that of the early Christians so you'll have things like the Eucharistic sacrifice you'll have you know and with that sort of the fulfillment of both of the manna in the desert but also the bread of the presence in the temple that could be consumed by the priests you have the menorah you have sacred vestments incense and all the rest so this doesn't really apply apply too much of the Protestant evangelical world so when I say Christianity this is mainly what I'm referring to so a place that you could start is putting on hold the idea that the kingdom of Judah had a queen mother figure it there's actually a theology behind this it's not just simply a matter of practicality or prudence that oh you know the king has too many wives or concubines therefore the mothers practically speaking the only one that could be the queen mother as he only has one mother or something to that effect it's actually theologically a lot more deeper than that so if you want to start start this way look at the Garden of Eden the Garden of Eden you had the Tree of Life and you have its fruits and if Adam and Eve would eat from the tree of life and avoided the tree of the knowledge of good and evil like they were supposed to they would have retained their position and also bear in mind that Adam was a priest he was a king and a priest not simply a gardener he was tasked with tilling and keeping the garden which is a priestly language used elsewhere to describe the duties of the Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament so you have this this this tree of life and if you want to focus on that for a moment if you look at the Tree of Life it is symbolic of wisdom and wisdom dispenses and wisdom is thought of in feminine terms dispenses her fruits and if you eat from the fruit of wisdom you will become wise you'll become one like one of the Holy Ones your eyes will be opened this is what the devil actually tempted Adam and Eve with but he did it in such a way where he proposed that Adam and Eve embark on this venture of becoming wise by partaking of the fruit on their own apart from God whereas and this is false deification right making one one's own God apart from Genesis or self-emptying and then being filled with the Spirit of God being led by God and being deified by him in obedience to him so this is what the devil's plan was but God was saying I can you already are my image and likeness and if you abide in me you will remain so and they they went down a parallel path but this image of the tree of life you you have the heavenly archetype and then you have its earthly fulfillment or its earthly symbol I should say as above so below and you'll see in the temple you had the menorah the the seven had seven candlesticks on it if you if you look at what it's actually supposed to represent why seven sticks well seven is the number of perfection but but also it's it's shaped in the shape of a tree and those those candlesticks are like branches from the tree so that symbol in the temple was actually thought to be symbolic of the lady the lady of the temple the great lady is another one of her titles and it was understood that in the Kingdom of Judah at a certain point when they when that King was when he when he underwent his coronation he was anointed so you when you think of this think of the Melchizedek Priesthood don't think of the Levitical because this no cuz that ik priest said is eternal in it both predates and supersedes the Levitical which was a temporary sensation for a specific purpose but when the when the Frese King was anointed he was anointed with oil from the tree of life in the Holy of Holies his eyes were thought to be opened this was his royal birth and the holy of holies he became what you might call resurrected and now he bore and symbolized the presence of God with the people of Israel so he was like the cult statue figure in the temple and he radiated and represented God's temple presence to his people and he was you know I think of Emmanuel God with us yes this was specifically fulfilled and exemplified in Christ Jesus but before that in types of types of shadows you had that in a priest king like think of David for example who was a milk hesitant priests and also a king he was said that the priest King was said to be anointed in the Holy of Holies by his mother and it was said that she in a sense gave birth to him and anointed him and her fragrance her perfume was like the oil from the Tree of Life so oil from the menorah and you see how in the golden lampstand as the menorah was lit they used holy oil to keep the flame burning so it was understood that the great lady was the one who anointed her son ie the priest king as Immanuel God with us or God with the people she bore him gave birth to him and he became a son of God a resurrected one one of the Holy Ones so this is the just a snapshot and there's a lot more that can be said so there's some some Old Testament things that we can look at and then sort of reflect on well how does this relate to the Blessed Virgin Mary well think about it right she is understood in her person to be the Holy of Holies just like in the Old Covenant you had the mother the great lady giving birth birth to the priest King the presence of God with the people so – you have in the Incarnation Mary cooperating being used by the Holy Spirit to give birth to the priest King the firstborn son of God in her womb the true Holy of Holies anointing him wrapping him and then the scripture says wrapping him in swaddling clothes that's an interesting it has a double meaning there yes swaddling clothes physically on the mundane level the the actual clothes that she rocked in it but also she also in her womb with the Holy Spirit gave him his human nature wrapped him in swaddling clothes wrapped the logos the divine nature in swaddling clothes so that the divine nature could now enter through the through the east gate of the temple and be seen felt touched and heard and experienced in reality on earth God came to us God came to us in person through his temple he was born in the humanist human nature the divine nature became United with the human nature in the priest King's birthplace the Holy of Holies he was anointed by the great lady the Queen Mother his mother and she bore him gave birth to him so that he could be our Immanuel God with us and bear his presence to the world and so we see that another another image is God's throne in the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant and on the Ark of the Covenant you had the mercy seat and Mary in person if you if you for example look at the eastern Catholic Eastern Orthodox akathist him you'll see her described by such titles as the throne the throne of God right so her being the Ark of the Covenant because she contains the true manna Jesus Christ himself Aaron's rod the symbol of priesthood Christ our high priest and the law the Word made flesh in her womb as the tabernacle she is also the mercy-seat because if you look at iconography and statuary you have what is called the seed of wisdom right where where Christ is seated on her lap so right there you could see he is actually seated in a mystical way on his throne his mother's lap so the throne is the mother so that's another thing to reflect on very powerful image and yeah just I plan to discuss these things more in their implications with dr. Rachel Fulton Browne hopefully sometime this summer so I mean sadly summer will be over soon but um that's something that I've we've been planning on doing so yeah just wanted to share a little bit of informal thoughts and generate discussion so when somebody says hey the Catholic Orthodox that view and veneration of Mary has pagan ie non-israelite non-christian origins from greco-roman paganism or what-have-you you can tell them that no it's not a foreign import to an otherwise purely what we would consider today in common parlance of monotheistic Israelite faith rather these factors and these realities these symbols this theology was part and parcel the lifeblood of First Temple Israelite religion so an in effect Catholic Christianity has rather than separated from its Jewish roots as some love to claim has is in essence more Jewish by not only maintaining but fulfilling and bringing to full flowering the theology of the tribe of Judah and the first temple in Jerusalem whereas other expressions of Judaism like rabbinic Judaism for example which is often conflated with biblical Judaism as such are very close to it it can't even hold a candle to Catholic Christianity in this respect because rabbinic Judaism came after the time of Christ as a response to Christian claims and having no standing temple last thing I'll say is another interesting thing much like the Christian West had the Protestant Reformation where Martin Luther and others tried to do away with you know older Catholic beliefs and practices you know you had like iconoclasm the priesthood of all believers you know just just various things you don't really need to go into specifics but there's actually an interesting analogue in the Old Testament with King Josiah he tried through reforms to purge the temple of the great lady and her symbols and her cult and this was the Second Temple period and this is why many groups saw the Second Temple and its priesthood as an apostate institution like the Qumran community for example but also the early Christians Jesus and his followers saw the Second Temple as corrupt so Jesus his followers and those that succeeded them actually saw themselves as being the fulfillment of and restoring what was lost in the first Temple period namely the great lady and her giving birth to the Son of God making him present and bearing him to the world and if you look at the theology the Marian theology and its implications you could see how that that definitely fits the view of the first Christians and even Jesus himself of course and his apostles so I'll leave you guys with that stay blessed God love you and Most Blessed Virgin Mary Mediatrix of all graces Queen Mother of the Davidic King Jesus Christ pray for us and save us through Jesus Christ our Lord amen the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit amen

Posted by Lewis Heart

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