A CORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF THE MOTHER OF GOD-WHAT EVERY JEW AND CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW

There is a very common misunderstanding that has taken place over the title of “Mother of God”. Protestants and Judaizers (not Jews but Gentiles who insist that the Church conform to Judaism in order to be right before God) have often accused Apostolic Christians (Orthodox, Coptic, Roman Catholic and others) of being idolaters and worshippers of the Blessed Virgin Mary for giving such a title to her. However, for our understanding, we need to have an examination of the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, in order to see what is the reason for such a title. May God open the eyes of the reader. For Jews (not Judaizers), I sincerely hope that you will take the time to open the Tenach (Old Testament in Hebrew) and see indeed what is there and you will find the key to not only understanding the nature of the Messiah but also of understanding your future too. For Christians, it is important to understand this correctly lest you fall into serious heresy and thus go the path of perdition.

Byzantine Icon-Mother of God

Byzantine Icon-Mother of God

“MOTHER OF GOD” AS FOUND IN THE OLD TESTAMENT (TENACH)

Before the Prophet Moses the Lawgiver came on the scene, we have our first parents, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In this scene, we not only discover the first sin of disobedience due to the tempting of the Serpent, who is none other than Satan the Advesary (for that is what “Satan- שָּׂטָן” means in the Hebrew, since he is the adversary of both God and man) but we also discover a significant prophecy. In Genesis 3:15, God gives this prophecy regarding the opposition to the Serpent and his seed as well as the Woman and her Seed: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” In the Hebrew Masoretic text, it is clear that both the Woman and the Seed of the Woman are part of this battle in defeating the Serpent and his seed. The Vulgate at this point due to ambiguity in the gender of the Seed in the Hebrew, translates the seed as “she”, thus denoting the possibility of the Virgin being the one to do the damage to the Serpent. The Septuagint whilst accepting the possibility of the Hebrew indicating a male seed, misses out on the point of the Seed of the Woman suffering a blow to the heel. Whatever the case, what we can gather from all 3 is that the Woman will be part of the campaign to defeat the Serpent due to the fact that her Seed is the One Who will in the process of suffering a wound to the heel, would wound the head of the Serpent, which is a greater blow. Hence, both the Woman and her Seed are part of the campaign against the Serpent, Satan.

Genesis 3:15 potrayed

Genesis 3:15 potrayed

Eve, in her sincere attempt to want to partake of this prophecy mistakenly states this statement about Cain her firstborn, which all English translations fail to grasp: “קָנִיתִי אִישׁ אֶת־יְהוָֽה-I have gotten a man, even Yahweh/Jehovah” (Genesis 4:1). Whilst she had the right idea, she sadly had the wrong identity. A certain rabbinical student who discovered this whilst he was going to Israel to make Aliyah, was extremely shocked by such a statement. This led to him along with many other discoveries to find out the correct identity of the Messiah and thus truly have a homecoming not only in Israel but in Heaven above where he is today. [Details of this can be found in a book called “Out of the Clouds” (1952) by Rabbi Zvi Ben Avraham aka Dr Lawrence Forbes (1899-1964)] Hence we can see that even in the Tenach, there is clearly a case of the possibility of having such a thing as “Mother of God”.

The Blessed Virgin Mary appearing to an unbelieving Jew

The Blessed Virgin Mary appearing to an unbelieving Jew

Many centuries later, the Prophet Isaiah in the 8th century B.C around the time of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Southern Kingdom of Judah, was given these prophecies by the God of Israel Himself:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

In regards to the first prophecy, Judaizers, unbelieving Jews and modernistic “Christians” have stated that the term in Hebrew: “הָעַלְמָה- ha’almah, does not mean “virgin” but instead means “young woman”. This flies in the face of the passage for obvious reasons. Wicked King Ahaz pretends to be pious and states that he will not ask for a sign from Yahweh/Jehovah but is given one anyway as a rebuke for unbelief. Clearly, if it is a sign, then something supernatural is involved. What would be supernatural about a “young woman” giving birth to a son? In light of this, having a virgin birth is necessitated here. But that is not all. The word “ha’almah”, is correctly translated as virgin since it is used again in reference to Isaac’s future wife Rebekah, as a virgin woman not yet married in Genesis 24:43 as well as being used in reference to those whom Solomon has taken unto himself for wives in Song of Solomon 1:3, 6:8. The King James Translators correctly recognized the virginity involved in those situations and thus translated them as “virgin/virgins”, which is totally in accordance with Hebrew understanding of virginity before marriage. Sadly and most blasphemously, the modern translators of the modern versions have deliberately clouded the meaning in an attempt to remove the Virgin Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and have put terms which do no justice whatsoever to the text. (Good examples are the Revised Standard Version, Good News Bible, New English Bible and other modernistic translations, which have removed the word “virgin” altogether and put terms to lessen the impact of the prophecy). However, that is not all. The name of this child is also significant. “Immanuel- עִמָּנוּ אֵֽל-God is with us”. St. Matthew, who is a Jew and who wrote his Gospel for Jewish Diaspora believers thus quotes this prophecy and even translates it: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23). That is another clear indication that this Virgin Woman is indeed the “Mother of God” since the One to be born into her will be called “Immanuel-God with us”.

Regarding the second prophecy of Isaiah, not only was Isaiah told that a Child shall be born but also we are told the titles and work of this Child: “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” And also: “and the government shall be upon his shoulder:” Not only are we told that this Child born of a Virgin Woman is Immanuel, but also that this Child is also to be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”. Are these not all titles that indeed belong to God? But that is not all. In the following verse of this passage we are told this: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” (Isaiah 9:7) Whilst critics may scoff and state that when Jesus of Nazareth came that no kingdom was established, they are not mindful that prophecy can happen at different phases of time. One half indeed has been fulfilled. The other half will indeed be fulfilled when He returns to destroy the Antichrist and False Prophet as well as sit on the throne of David forever (II Kings 2:45) and establish the True Millennium in Jerusalem to fulfil to the letter all promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in regards to their descendants and their land. Nevertheless, we have a clear case even here that if this Child is indeed God as clearly stated, then what can we honestly conclude but that the Mother is indeed: “Mother of God”? Sadly, the Septuagint fails to grasp the depth of this prophecy by failing to retain the titles of this Child. Even St. Ignatius of Antioch, one of the earliest Apostolic Fathers, attests to this reading in the Hebrew text! [1] However, it is clear that even from such statements, there clearly is a case not only for the identity of the Messiah being Deity, but also by extension, that the Mother must be the “Mother of God” due to such an inevitable conclusion.

East gate of Jerusalem blocked by Muslim graves in defiance of the Messiah of Israel.

East gate of Jerusalem blocked by Muslim graves in defiance of the Messiah of Israel.

Another prophetic hint is given in Ezekiel 44:1-3: “Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same.” We are told here not only of the gate in the east part of Jerusalem that is shut and will not be entered into except by Yahweh/Jehovah Himself and that the prince shall enter by it and eat bread before Yahweh because of this. It is interesting to note that many years after this prophecy was made, Yeshua/Jesus of Nazareth entered by this gate and was received in great acclaim as testified in the Gospels and after being rejected by His very Own, that gate was indeed shut up many centuries thereafter and was even desecrated by Muslims by placing Muslim gravestones in that area. Since this prophecy stated clearly that Yahweh/Jehovah has entered into that gate and it shall be shut after him, can we not help but conclude that the prince is none other than Yeshua/Jesus and that Jesus is none other than Yahweh/Jehovah that has entered that gate? Also, in typology, the gate has been referred to by a number of the Fathers in the Church as representative of the Blessed Virgin who has had Yahweh/Jehovah enter in her and become a Man for the salvation of mankind and that the gate is shut for her too, since this will not ever happen again in history. Either way, this Messianic prophecy cannot be ignored and gives 2 truths simultaneously: 1. The Messiah is God/Yahweh that has come and gone through the gate in the east of Jerusalem and will be returning again through there. 2. The Messiah is Virgin born and the east gate in Jerusalem was also a type of the Virgin Mary giving birth to God in the flesh. Ever thought that this could be a strong hint of the Mother of God?

As a final point of discussion from the Tenach, we should make reference to a prophecy given to the prophet Micah, who was also around the same time period as Isaiah. He states this prophecy regarding the Messiah that is to be born in future: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)

Here we are not only told the birthplace of the Messiah, namely, Bethlehem Ephratah, but equally, we are told His identity: “ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting”. That is clearly an indication that this Child is no ordinary child but is actually Someone from eternity! Who else can be from eternity but Yahweh/Jehovah Himself? The Hebrew actually confirms the translation since it states: ““וּמֹוצָאֹתָיו מִקֶּדֶם מִימֵי עֹולָֽם׃” (mowtsa’ah meqedem moyowm owlam). The whole phrase in Hebrew indicates clearly that there has been a going forth since the days of everlasting or eternity. That being the case, is it not now an inevitable conclusion that if indeed the Messiah to be born is from eternity, thus indicating Deity, then what can we conclude about the mother of the Messiah, but to state that she is indeed the “Mother of God”?

Now I know a number of my Jewish friends and readers will now be shaking their heads and stating: “How can God be man? How can God have a mother?” My dear Jewish friends, this is now an inevitable conclusion from the Tenach that you hold to. You may not understand it, but does God have to fit into man’s puny sense of reason and understanding? If so, then He ceases to be God since God Himself stated: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8, 9) God is God and what He has revealed about Himself, let it be so! That is true Faith whether we like it or not. May God remove the veil from your eyes that you have every time you read the Torah/Tenach. [As a side note for my Jewish reader, when the word “Messiah” is mentioned for the first time in the whole of the Tenach, he is associated with death not for Himself. (Daniel 9:26). This is just one more piece of the puzzle for you but I leave that for now].

“MOTHER OF GOD” IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Now for all the Christian readers, whether you claim to be Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox, this section is specially for you. We briefly alluded to the fact that St. Matthew, in his Gospel of Matthew 1:23 confessed that the Messiah/Christ is indeed Immanuel, God with us. If you can accept that the Messiah/Christ is indeed Immanuel, God with us, then how can you not accept the obvious, namely that the Virgin Mary, is indeed the Mother of God? There is something more worth considering too. By the time we come to the Gospel of St. Luke, we are told that Elizabeth, who bore St. John the Baptist the Forerunner of Christ, who happens to be the cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has this statement to make: “And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:42-44)

Please notice 3 things:

  1. Elizabeth salutes Mary as “Blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb”(v42). She acknowledges the importance of both Mary and her Child in the Divine Plan.
  2. She acknowledges that this Child in the womb is none other than her Lord! (“mother of my Lord”-v43). If that is the case, the Child is Jehovah/Yahweh and therefore Mary is indeed the Mother of God! The Jehovah’s Witnesses and other heretics have a hard time accepting this one! I used it on them on a few occasions and they were always stumped on this one.
  3. The babe in the womb of Elizabeth (St. John the Baptist) rejoiced at the arrival of Jesus! (v44). Clearly, babies in the womb are living beings! Abortionists, choke on that one! Furthermore, St. John the Baptist clearly acknowledged Jesus Christ as being superior to himself, even from the womb. Even the heretical religion of Islam admits this via their Hadiths and commentators on the Qu’ran! “She [i.e. Mary] came to her sister who was then pregnant and to whom the birth of the Baptist had been announced. When the two met, the Baptist’s mother felt that her child was bowing within her in recognition of Jesus…” (History of Al-Tabari, Volume 1V [State University of New York Press, Albany 1987], p. 114 And also: “The sister visited Mary and said, ‘O Mary, do you perceive that I am with child?’ Mary answered, ‘Do you see that I am also with child?’ Her sister went on, ‘I feel the child in my womb bowing down to the child in your womb.’…”It is reported that she felt the fetus in her womb bow down with its head turned toward Mary’s womb.” (Ayoub, The Qur’an and Its Interpreters, The House of Imran [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1992], p108) Even Ibn Abbas admits: “Yehia [John the Baptist] bowing down in the womb of his mother, is his accepting that Jesus Son of Mary is the Word of God” (Ibn Kathir, commenting on Sura 3:39). So the Muslims can go and run around in circles all they want to try and make Muhammad superior to Christ, but the evidence is clearly against them from whichever angle they look at it! Why would St. John the Baptist bow to Christ in the womb unless Christ is clearly God in the flesh?! And for that matter, if such is the case, why do Protestants and Judaizers have a hard time accepting the obvious conclusion now that the Virgin Mary is indeed the “Mother of God”?
The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth.

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth.

I should also point out that when the Blessed Virgin gave the Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55, she not only rejoices in God her Saviour, a clear reference to our Lord, but also remembers that the Child in her womb is meant as a fulfilment to the house of Israel regarding the promises made to Abraham and the fathers of Israel. (Luke 1:54, 55). So she clearly accepts her role in the Messianic prophecy and also accepts that Israel is important due to the promises of her God to Abraham and the Patriarchs of Israel. And thus, by extension, she also accepts that indeed she is the bearer of both the Messiah of Israel and also God of her fathers too! Anti-Semites in the Church, please watch out now, you are offending 2 Israelites/Jews here!

St. Simeon-the God Receiver.

St. Simeon-the God Receiver.

By the time we come to St. Simeon, who is an ailing priest in the Temple in Jerusalem, we find that as he is performing the rites of consecration of the Child Jesus in the Temple, in accordance to the Law of Moses, he thus states this blessing regarding the Child Jesus: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32) St. Simeon thus acknowledges that the Messiah before his eyes is salvation for all the world, and a light to the Gentiles as well as the glory of “thy people, Israel”. He also gives this prophecy to the Virgin Mary as well: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 1:34, 35) Here we see that not only is our Lord meant to be for the rise and falling of many in Israel and will experience opposition, but that the suffering would be such that even the Blessed Virgin herself will feel a sword piercing her soul too as a result of such evil actions. We see this clearly at the Crucifixion of our Lord whereby this indeed occurred. Our Lord seeing this grief of His Mother, states this: “Woman, behold thy Son!” (John 19:26). In a state of compassion, our Lord states to St. John the Apostle who is present at the time: “’Behold thy mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” (John 19:27) Our Lord could indeed see the grief His Blessed Mother was enduring as part of this plan of defeating Satan, the Serpent and Adversary, and thus offers his disciple, the Apostle John, the place of being the son for His grieving Mother, to which the Apostle John rightly responded and accepted her in his own home as his own mother. IF ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CHURCH, COULD ACCEPT THE VIRGIN MARY AS HIS OWN MOTHER AS CHRIST COMMANDED, WHY ARE OTHERWISE WELL MEANING PROTESTANTS SO BLIND AS TO NOT ACCEPT THE VIRGIN MARY AS THEIR OWN MOTHER OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH?

Theotokos and St. John at the Crucifixion.

Theotokos and St. John at the Crucifixion.

If indeed, as proven above, that Christ is God/Yahweh/Jehovah, and that indeed, the Blessed Virgin Mary is indeed the Mother of God based on that fact, then how is it that a number of Christians have such difficulty accepting this and are so intent on accusing idolatry and paganism? Do you want to accuse the Apostles of this too?

Finally, we have a picture in Revelation 12:1-17 of the woman whom Satan hates. Throughout history and even to present day, let us ask one simple question: Which of the following receives the most negative and mocking portrayals by godless leftists, atheists, and all manner of evil men: the Virgin Mary, the Church of Christ in the world, Israel/the Jewish people as a nation? The correct answer is that all 3 are subject to such evil attacks by Satan and godless sons of Belial. Whilst some may single out the description of the woman as: “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Apocalypse/Revelation 12:1) as being a clear reference to Israel based on Genesis 37:9, which is indeed correct, yet one truth does not dismiss another truth. The woman can also be the Blessed Virgin on account of her giving birth to Christ and suffering such opposition on earth even now by Satan and his forces. And by extension, the Church is a partaker of the Woman since the Church is part of the Commonwealth of Israel in Ephesians 2:12 and has by the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother as discussed above, and is equally attacked by Satan and his mob on earth too. Nevertheless, God is merciful and the attacks of Satan against Israel, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Church are doomed to failure as the passage indicates clearly. So clearly based on the above, Christ is out to defend all 3, and therefore, how is it that Protestants and Judaizers are so intent on attacking the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is also a slap in the face of Christ our God as much as attacking the Church and Israel is a slap in His face too.

The Woman of Apocalypse/Revelation Chapter 12 and the Dragon illustrated

The Woman of Apocalypse/Revelation Chapter 12 and the Dragon illustrated

CONCLUSION

Based on the above, St. Irenaeus of Lyons had this to state regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary in relation to her role as being part of the plan of salvation of mankind and to defeat Satan via the Seed of her womb, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God and Very God of Very God:

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Early Apostolic Father and disciple of St. Polycarp, the disciple of the Apostle, St. John

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Early Apostolic Father and disciple of St. Polycarp, the disciple of the Apostle, St. John

As Eve was seduced by the word of an angel and so fled from God after disobeying his word, Mary in her turn was given the good news by the word of an angel, and bore God in obedience to his word. As Eve was seduced into disobedience to God, so Mary was persuaded into obedience to God; thus the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve.

Christ gathered all things into one, by gathering them into himself. He declared war against our enemy, crushed him who at the beginning had taken us captive in Adam, and trampled on his head, in accordance with God’s words to the serpent in Genesis: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall lie in wait for your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.” (Against Heresies, Lib. 5, 19, 1; 20, 2; 21,1: SC 153, 248-250. 260-264)

Therefore, we can clearly conclude that understanding this concept correctly is to bring glory to Christ, since He is the Seed of the Woman that defeats Satan and the Blessed Virgin Mary is indeed part of this campaign to defeat Satan since she submits to God and resists Satan (James 4:7). For Jews, understanding this will not only help bring great understanding of who the Messiah is, but also more importantly, will help understand that the Messiah is the One Whom they have spurned but nevertheless promises to redeem them towards the end of time, when He returns to defeat the Antichrist that has deceived them and sought their destruction. A correct understanding of the Mother of God will indeed be helpful for this purpose since she still wishes for the Jewish nation to repent and believe on her Son, their only hope and salvation, both in eternity and in the future kingdom to come. For Christians, a correct understanding of this concept will indeed help bring proper perspective of prophecy too as well as appreciate the value of accepting the reality of Christ being Very God of Very God. It is also the means to refute serious heresies that deny the Deity of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and the means to motivate us for holiness in our battle against evil.

Christ is born-Glorify Him. (Orthodox Christmas Greeting)

God Bless. Glory be to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Both now and forever and unto the ages upon ages. Amen.

[1] “The prophets also, when they speak as in the person of God, [saying,] I am God, the first [of beings], and I am also the last, and besides Me there is no God, (Isaiah 44:6) concerning the Father of the universe, do also speak of our Lord Jesus Christ. A Son, they say, has been given to us, on whose shoulder the government is from above; and His name is called the Angel of great counsel, Wonderful, Counsellor, the strong and mighty God. (Isaiah 9:6) And concerning His incarnation, Behold, a virgin shall be with Child, and shall bring forth a Son; and they shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23) And concerning the passion, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before her shearers is dumb, I also was an innocent lamb led to be sacrificed. (Isaiah 53:7; Jeremiah 11:19)” –Ignatius, Letter to the Antiochenes (Chapter 3)

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