Mary in Luke 1 and Revelation, and as The Ark of the New Covenant.
- Mary Without Sin.
Luke 1:28 “28 He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour! The Lord is with you”.This is alternatively translated as “Hail, full of grace. The Lord is with you.”
The Greek word used here for grace is “Kecharitomene” using the perfect passive participle, denoting the continuance of a completed action, a completed action with a permanent result, i.e completely, perfectly, enduringly endowed with grace. That denotes freedom from sin.
To receive Jesus, who is God, in her womb, Mary must have been without sin. According to Revelation, nothing unclean may enter heaven: Rev 21:27 “27 Nothing unclean may come into it:”. Why? Because God is so holy that anyone who is sinful cannot be in his presence. And so it is with Mary.
This makes it clear to us also then that Mary must be ever virgin. Sexual relations, even between husband and wife, for all that they are good and designed by God, are still subject to concupiscence, the tendency to sin, because of our humanity. That is why God spared Mary by her perpetual virginity.
- Mary Ever Virgin.
In Ezekiel 44:1-4, we see a prophecy of Mary’s perpetual virginity.
Eze 44:1-4 “1 He brought me back to the outer east gate of the sanctuary. It was shut.
3 The prince himself, however, may sit there to take his meal in the presence of Yahweh. He must enter and leave through the porch of the gate.’
St. Augustine of Hippo writes. “It is written (Ezekiel 44:2): ‘This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened,
and no man shall pass through it. Because the Lord the God of Israel has
entered in by it.’ What does this closed gate in the house of the Lord mean,
except that Mary is to be ever inviolate? What does it mean that ‘no man
shall pass through it,’ but that Joseph shall not know her? And what is
this—‘The Lord alone enters in and goes out by it,’ except that the Holy
Spirit shall impregnate her, and that the Lord of Angels shall be born of
her? And what means this––‘It shall be shut for evermore,’ but that Mary is
a Virgin before His birth, a Virgin in His birth, and a Virgin after His birth.” The Annunciation of the Lord 3, Sermones Supp. 195 (ante 430 AD).
- Mary and the Ark of the Covenant are “overshadowed” by the Spirit of God.
When Luke says ‘the power of the most high will “overshadow” you’ he is using the same word used in the old testament for the glory of God “overshadowing” the tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant was.
When Moses had finished making the Ark and the tabernacle, the glory cloud of the Lord (the Shekinah Glory) covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
The verb “to cover” or “overshadow” and the “cloud” in the old testament represents the presence and glory of God. God’s presence “overshadowed” the Ark and the tabernacle.
The Greek word for “overshadow” (ἐπισκιάζω or episkiazein) in Exodus 40 is used of the presence of God overshadowing the Ark. The same Shekinah glory cloud also filled the Temple of Solomon (2 Chron 7:1-3).
The very same Greek word for “overshadow” is used by Gabriel when he tells Mary that the Holy Spirit will overshadow her.
- Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant – “Anaphoneo”.
Luke 1:41-42 “41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42* and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
exclaimed with a loud cry = “anaphoneo” “ἀναφωνέω ”
Elizabeth ‘cried out with a loud voice’. The Greek word used here is ‘Anaphoneo’. This is the only time this Greek word is used in the New Testament. This same Greek word appears five times in the Septuagint or LXX, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament where it describes Levitical priests praising God before the Ark of the Covenant.
1Chronicles 15:28 “And all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of a horn, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, playing loudly (anaphoneo) on lutes and harps.”
1Chronicles 16:4-5″And he appointed before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, Levites to minister and lift up the voice (anaphoneo), and to give thanks and praise the Lord God of Israel: (5) Asaph was the chief, and next to him Zacharias, Jeiel, Semiramoth, and Jeiel, Mattathias, Eliab, and Banaeas, and Abdedom: and Jeiel sounding (anaphoneo) with musical instruments, lutes and harps, and Asaph with cymbals: ”
1 Chronicles 16:37, 42 “37 There before the ark of the covenant of Yahweh David left Asaph and his kinsmen to maintain a permanent ministry before the ark as each day’s ritual required,
42 And with them there were trumpets and cymbals to sound aloud (anaphoneo), and musical instruments for the songs of God: and the sons of Idithun were at the gate.”
2 Chronicles 5:10, 13 “10 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets which Moses had placed in it at Horeb, when Yahweh made a covenant with the Israelites when they came out of Egypt.
13 And there was one voice in the trumpeting and in the psalm-singing, and in the loud utterance (anaphoneo) with one voice to give thanks and praise the Lord; and when they raised their voice together with trumpets and cymbals, and instruments of music, and said, Give thanks to the Lord, for it is good, for his mercy endures for ever: then the house was filled with the cloud of the glory of the Lord.”
Praise is given to God in front of the old wooden Ark of the Covenant by the Levite priests in the old testament, and the same praise is given to Jesus (God) -the fruit of Mary’s womb – by Elizabeth, a Levite, before the New Ark of the Covenant, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who holds Jesus, God himself, in her womb.
- Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant – 2 Samuel 6 and Luke 1 (Acknowledgements to Steve Ray.)
Strong support for the Virgin Mary as the Ark of the
New Covenant is evident by comparing 2 Samuel 6 with St. Luke 1:
“In St. Luke’s account of the Visitation (Lk. 1:39-56), it is clear that
Mary is the new ark of the covenant. Mary, like David, heads to the
hill country of Judah. As Mary, bearing Christ in her womb,
approaches the home of Elizabeth, St. John ‘leaps’ in Elizabeth’s
womb as she exclaims with a ‘loud cry,’ reminding us of David’s
leaping before the ark of the covenant and the shouts of the people of
Israel. Elizabeth greets Mary with words similar to those of David,
‘[W]hy is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord [who is the
new ark of the covenant] should come to me? (v. 43).”
The following is an outline of 2 Samuel 6 and Luke 1, matching the
2 Samuel 6 Luke 1
“David rose and returned to “Mary rose and journeyed
Judah” (v. 2). to the hill country of Judah”
How can the ark of the Lord “And why is this granted me,
come to me?” (v. 9). that the Mother of my Lord
should come to me?” (v.43)
The house of Obededom the House of Zechariah (v. 40).
Gittite (v. 10).
“The ark of the Lord remained “And Mary remained with
in the house of Obededom the her about three months”
Gittite three months” (v. 12). (v. 56).
“David went and brought up “Mary said, ‘My soul
the ark of God from the house magnifies the Lord, and
of Obededom to the City of David my spirit rejoices in God
with rejoicing” (v. 12). my Savior’” (vv. 46-47).
“So David and all the house of “Elizabeth was filled with
Israel brought up the ark of the the Holy Spirit and she
Lord with shouting, and with exclaimed with a loud cry,
the sound of the horn” (v. 15). ‘Blessed are you among
women, and Blessed is the
fruit of your womb!’”
King David leaping and dancing “And when Elizabeth heard
before the Lord (v. 16). the greeting of Mary, the
child leapt in her womb;
and Elizabeth was filled
with the Holy Spirit”
The original Ark of the Covenant was covered completely in gold and
contained within itself a pot of manna, the priestly rod of Aaron, and the
tables of the Ten Commandments (Heb. 9:4). It was overshadowed by a
propitiatory––or mercy seat––upon which God Himself dwelt (the
Shekinah Kabod) between two statues of Cherubim (Exod. 25).
So the Ark in the old testament contained three symbols of Jesus: Manna, the bread from heaven, Jesus, the bread of life, the priestly rod of Aaron, prefiguring Jesus our high priest, and the ten commandments, the Word of God, Jesus himself.
Mary, in her womb, holds Jesus, the fulfilment of those three symbols: Jesus, the Bread of Life, Jesus, the High Priest in the line of Melchizedek, and Jesus, the Word of God himself.
That is why we refer to Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant.
- Mary’s Canticle of Praise.
48 because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name,”
We call Mary “blessed” and venerate her because God has done great things for her, not because she has done great things for God.
Isa.61:10 “10 I exult for joy in Yahweh, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in garments of salvation, he has wrapped me in a cloak of saving justice, like a bridegroom wearing his garland, like a bride adorned in her jewels.”
Zech.9:9 “9 Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout for joy, daughter of Jerusalem! Look, your king is approaching, he is vindicated and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Zeph.3:14-15, 20 “14 Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem!
15 Yahweh has repealed your sentence; he has turned your enemy away. Yahweh is king among you, Israel, you have nothing more to fear.
….. 20 At that time I shall be your guide, at the time when I gather you in, I shall give you praise and renown among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes under your own eyes, declares Yahweh.”
- Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant – Revelation
Immediately following this verse we read of the “woman, robed with the sun, standing on the moon, and on her head a crown of twelve stars”. The Ark of the Covenant as we have seen above, is none other than Mary, Jesus’ mother, so Mary is the woman spoken of here. (Remember that chapter numbers were only added to the bible in the twelth century, and verse numbers in the sixteenth century.)
Rev: 12:1 “1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, robed with the sun, standing on the moon, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
|Rev 12: 4-5 “4 Its tail swept a third of the stars from the sky and hurled them to the ground, and the dragon stopped in front of the woman as she was at the point of giving birth, so that it could eat the child as soon as it was born.|
|5 The woman was delivered of a boy, the son who was to rule all the nations with an iron sceptre, and the child was taken straight up to God and to his throne,”
The boy is Jesus, who is “to rule all the nations with an iron sceptre” according to the prophecy of Psalm 2 .
|Psalm 2: 8-9 “8 Ask of me, and I shall give you the nations as your birthright, the whole wide world as your possession.|
|9 With an iron sceptre you will break them, shatter them like so many pots.’ )|
|The boy’s mother is Mary.|
|Rev: 12:17 “17 Then the dragon was enraged with the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, who obey God’s commandments and have in themselves the witness of Jesus.”
And in verse 17 Mary’s children are those “who obey God’s commandments and have in themselves the witness of Jesus”, that is all of us Christians.
Ps 132:8 “Go up, Yahweh, to your resting-place, you and the ark of your strength.”