“Blessed Art Thou Among Women”

“The virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the LORD is with thee: Blessed art thou among women.” —Luke 1:27,28

THE NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE of August 25, 1997 contained an article entitled, “Hail Mary.” It tells of a growing movement in the Roman Catholic Church which asks the pope to proclaim a new controversial dogma: that Mary is a Co-redeemer. It also asks the questions, “Will he do it? maybe in time for the millennium? should he?” We read:

“This week a large box shipped from California and addressed to ‘His Holiness, John Paul II’, will arrive at the Vatican. The shipping label lists a dozen countries—from every continent but Antarctica—plus a number: 40,383, indicating the quantity of signatures inside. Each signature is attached to a petition asking the pope to exercise the power of papal infallibility to proclaim a new dogma of the Roman Catholic faith: that the Virgin Mary is ‘Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate for the People of God’.

“Such a move would elevate Mary’s status dramatically beyond what most Christians profess. But in the last four years, the pope has received 4,340,429 signatures from 157 countries—an average of 100,000 a month—supporting the proposed dogma. Among the notable supporters are Mother Teresa of Calcutta, nearly 500 bishops and 42 cardinals, including John O’Connor of New York, Joseph Glemp of Poland and half a dozen cardinals at the Vatican itself. Nothing like this organized petition drive ever has been seen in Rome. But then, it isn’t often that Catholics beg a pope to make an infallible pronouncement.

“If the drive succeeds, Catholics would be obliged as a matter of faith to accept three extraordinary doctrines: that Mary participates in the redemption achieved by her son, that all graces that flow from the suffering and death of Jesus Christ are granted only through Mary’s intercession with her son, and that all prayers and petitions from the faithful on earth must likewise flow through Mary, who then brings them to the attention of Jesus. This is what theologians call high Mariology, and it seems to contradict the basic New Testament belief that ‘there is one God and one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus’. (I Timothy 2:5) In place of the Holy Trinity it would appear, there would be a kind of Holy Quartet, with Mary playing the multiple roles of daughter of the Father, mother of the Son and spouse of the Holy Spirit.”

Catholics are split on this new concept. Some of their theologians are at the forefront of promoting its adoption. A large number, however, see many problems arising and are opposed. Not surprisingly the attention given by the media to this new dogma has launched blistering criticism from other Christian denominations. Since this dogma is likely to cause serious rupture among Catholic theologians as well, the Holy See at the Vatican, a year ago asked a commission of 23 Mariologists, specialists in the theology of Mary, to study the proposals. By a vote of 23 to 0 the commission advised against promulgating the new dogma, because it was contrary to the teaching of Vatican Council II. This council, in the 1960’s, had bishops fighting among themselves as to what to teach about the Virgin Mary.


The editors of Newsweek performed a laudable task in documenting Marian history, and scripture citations concerning Mary, proclamations of dogma started in AD 431 when the third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus made Mary’s title, ‘Mother of God’, official and was incorporated in prayers. In 1854 Pope Pius IX declared Mary preserved from original sin by virtue of a special grace of God, and in view of her being the mother of Christ. In 1950, the Assumption was declared. The issue of what happened to Mary at the end of her life was settled when Pope Pius XII declared Mary taken up, body and soul, to heaven. This was the last time to date that papal infallibility was invoked to define dogma. Also included in Newsweek’s documentation were eleven instances of appearances of Mary to individuals—some a number of times.

In Amsterdam, between 1945 and 1959, Mary appeared to an Ida Peerdeman, telling her to petition the pope for the ‘last dogma in Marian history,” including the titles Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. These petitions have exceeded four million over the last four years.


To the credit of the Newsweek editors, they call attention to the fact that very little is written about Mary in the Bible, and that much of what is now believed and taught about her came later. The Scriptural references to Mary were given as: Luke 1:26-38; 2:15-19; Matt. 12:46-50; John 2:1-7; 19:26,27. The list was incomplete. Added to it should be the following: Matt 1:18-25; 2:11-15; Mark 3:31-35; 6:3; Luke 2:4-7,21-52; 11:27,28; Acts 1:14.

Contrast these mentions of Mary in the Bible with the manifold scriptures mentioning Jesus, and we see an overwhelming bias toward her son, our Lord Jesus, as the important figure in the Bible. How then, did the concept arise as to Mary’s importance, and the need to worship her? The answer lies in an erroneous concept that preceded the veneration of Mary, namely, the doctrine of the Trinity. This teaching started after the Apostles died and new leaders took over in the church. It was amplified and established as a teaching by the First Ecumenical Council held in Nicea in AD 325, convened by Constantine. As a teaching, it says that God exists in three persons, all coequal, coeternal, and indivisible, of the same substance—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

As theologians accepted this teaching and meditated upon it, they started to realize that Mary had given birth to a Trinity of persons which included God the Father. This eventually—106 years later—at the Third Ecumenical Council, led to the dogma of Mary, the mother of God, and made her more important than God himself. Ever since that date, the veneration of Mary has not only been practiced, but has received much attention by many Christian believers. Certainly none of these teachings are supported by the Bible.

As the veneration of Mary continued for many centuries, there also came a realization that the Bible clearly defined Jesus as being “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26) If Mary was the mother of God she had to be free from Adamic contamination. This led to a declaration by Pope Pius IX in 1854 that Mary was preserved from original sin by a special grace of God. Finally, in 1950, Pope Pius XII declared that she had an assumption into heaven of body and soul. Little wonder that a review of Mary’s position in heaven has led to the current petitioning that she be made a Co-redeemer, Advocate, and Co-mediatrix with Jesus. The first two of these titles belong to Jesus only. He shares only the role of mediator with his church in the millennial kingdom.


What is the true Biblical view of Mary’s role in the plan of redemption, and what is her position in God’s plan? First, it is necessary to look at the doctrine of the Trinity. The editors of Newsweek are to be commended in mentioning I Timothy 2:5 as being in conflict with ‘high Mariology’, even though they misquoted the text. It says: “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” That text contradicts the Trinity. If God and Jesus are the same person, how can Jesus be a mediator between God and men as the Son of God? Misquoting this text, the editors omitted “the man” as defining Christ Jesus. This is important and should not be omitted, for the following verse of this quotation says: “The man Christ Jesus; … gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (I Tim. 2:6) It is important to know that ‘ransom’ means ‘corresponding price’ and that the only way a ‘corresponding price’ could be provided was to have a perfect man—Christ Jesus—be a ‘corresponding price’ for the perfect man—Adam—who had forfeited his life and the lives of all his posterity, of whom Mary was one.

Not only is one God emphasized by the Apostle Paul in I Timothy 2:5, but he also explains, “To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (I Cor. 8:6) The thought is repeated in the book of Ephesians where Paul again says: To us there is but “one God and Father of all, who is above all.” (Eph. 4:6) The Nicean Council defined the Trinity, saying that all three (God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost) are coequal, coeternal, indivisible and of one substance. Jesus contradicted such a definition when he said, “My Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28) And, when called “Good Master” by the rich young ruler, Jesus asked, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.”—Matt. 19:17

In writing about God the Apostle Paul tells how Jesus will introduce the world to his Father, and says of God: “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see.” (I Tim 6:16) This corroborates what God told Moses: “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.”—Exod. 33:20


It is noteworthy that God is described as the only one originally possessing immortality. For centuries some have taught that man has an immortal soul, which is not true. Also it is said, no man has ever seen God. We are reminded of the conversation of Jesus with his disciples when Philip requested, “Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us,” to which Jesus replied, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:8,9) Jesus was “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), both as the Logos in his prehuman existence, and in his life upon earth as a man.

This is also corroborated in Paul’s letter to the Colossians when he wrote: “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” (Col. 1:12-15) Since Jesus was the image, or likeness, of the invisible God, it was possible for Philip to see what the Father would be like, because, as Paul so plainly says, God himself is invisible.

The definitions of the words ‘father’ and ‘son’, also shed light on the relationship between God, the Father—the great supreme Creator of the universe—and his first direct Creation, the Logos or Jesus, the son. ‘Father’ means one who gives life; and ‘son’ means one who receives life. Originally, God was alone. His first direct creation was Jesus in his prehuman existence, or the ‘firstborn of every creature’. Jesus uses the same expression when he says of himself: “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.”—Rev. 3:14


To speak of Jesus as being the first direct creation of God appears demeaning to many who believe in the Trinity. This is far from being so. Jesus in his prehuman existence was at God’s right hand in his great creative works. As the Apostle Paul writes of him, “By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him; And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”—Col. 1:16-19

The Apostle John was given insight concerning this ‘beginning’. He shares it with us when he writes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) The Vatican Manuscript, No. 1209—one of the earliest manuscripts known—in the Greek interlinear says: “In a beginning was the Logos [Word] and the Logos [Word] was with the Theos [God] and a theos [god] was the Logos [Word].” (John 1:1, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott) This mighty one, a god, was the Logos, and was distinguished in this citation from the God, the Heavenly Father. “This was in a beginning with the Theos [God].” (John 1:2, WED Interlinear) John then confirms what the Apostle Paul told the Colossians, that “all things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”—John 1:3

It is important to note the careful wording of John’s writing because he later says that “the Word [Logos] was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) It was not ‘the Theos [God]’ who was made flesh. On the contrary, the Logos is described in this same verse as “the only begotten of the Father.” How was this accomplished? This is where the virgin, Mary, entered upon the scene. The prophecies given to Israel spoke of a Messiah, an anointed one, to come who would be a mighty king for Israel.


Every maiden of Israel hoped that she might give birth to the prophesied deliverer. Mary, descended from the house of David, was the one chosen by God for this task. She was engaged to be married to Joseph, who also was a descendant of David. Her lineage was through Nathan, King David’s son, and back to father Adam. Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli, Mary’s father. Joseph’s lineage is given in Matthew 1:1-16 and it came through David’s son, Solomon In that genealogy it tells which father begat which son. Joseph’s father was Jacob, not Heli.

God’s selection of Mary is spoken of in Luke 1:26-38. The angel Gabriel had, six months earlier, appeared to Zacharias to announce that a son—John the Baptist—was to be born to Zacharias and his wife, an aged couple, and was to be the forerunner of Messiah. Now he went to Mary, saluting her in the words of our theme text, “Hail thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.”—Luke 1:27,28

Gabriel then proceeded to tell an astonished and troubled Mary that she was to miraculously conceive and give birth to a son whose name would be Jesus. The throne of his forefather, King David, would be given to him, he would reign over Israel, and of his kingdom there would be no end. (Luke 1:29-33) When Mary asked Gabriel how this would be possible since she had not known a man, it was explained to her that this child would be begotten by God’s Holy Spirit, and that he would be God’s Son, since God would be his Father.—vss. 34,35

To satisfy justice, a perfect man was required to offset the perfect life forfeited by Adam. God, the Father, would supply this perfect life—of the Logos—and Mary was chosen to provide the organism, a human body. Thus it was that the ‘Word [Logos] was made flesh’ (John 1:14) and that “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman” (Gal. 4:4), who was also the seed of Abraham and the ancestor of King David, since Mary was descended from both.

When this conception took place, Joseph, who was espoused to Mary, was surprised, and being a just man wanted to put her away privately. (Matt. 1:19) An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and explained that Mary was involved in the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14: “Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” He was told not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, and that this son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, would be named Jesus and he would save his people from their sins. Joseph did as he was bidden by the angel, Gabriel.

Galatians plainly states: “God sent forth his Son.” (Gal. 4:4) If God—the great supreme Creator of the universe—had transferred himself into Mary’s womb, who would be running the universe while he was in this embryo condition? This is one of the questions which indicates why the Trinity is an erroneous concept. During the time of the nine months Jesus was in Mary’s womb, as well as the years of his infancy and childhood, he was not in a position to make decisions concerning the universe.

For that matter, this was not a task given to the man, Christ Jesus. It was not necessary that he be able to do so during this period of his life, because it was not God the Father, who was in the embryonic and infantile state, or in manhood as the man, Christ Jesus. It was the Logos, “who, though being in God’s [a mighty one’s] form, yet did not meditate a usurpation to be like God, but divested himself, taking a bondman’s form, having been made in the likeness of men.”—Phil. 2:6,7, WED

The birth of Jesus was without fanfare and of very humble circumstances. Jesus would have been born in Nazareth if it had not been that a taxation law was decreed by Augustus Caesar forcing all Israelites to travel to their home territories. It was a difficult time for Mary to travel, but they had to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem. There is no record that Mary or Joseph were aware that the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem, the City of David, as prophesied in Micah 5:2. But, who was directing the matter? It was God, the Heavenly Father. He certainly was not in Mary’s womb.


Jesus was born in Bethlehem under very humble circumstances—there was no room for them in the inn—and no one was made aware of the event except a few shepherds watching their flocks at night on the hills of Judea. God sent his angels to announce the birth of Jesus and they promptly went to Bethlehem. Finding Mary and Joseph, they made known their visit by the angels and of their finding the infant, Jesus. The Scriptures say: “Mary kept all these things [words], and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) It was confirmed to her that this child was to be Israel’s Savior as told her by Gabriel. The events were no doubt as amazing to her as they were to any of the children of Israel.

According to the Law, when Jesus was eight days old he was to be circumcised. The Law required that Mary continue thirty-three days more of purification. (Lev. 12:2-4) When this time was completed, she and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. There they met Simeon and Anna, who were guided by God’s Holy Spirit to prophesy concerning Jesus. This could only be done by God, the Father, directing the matter. Simeon cited a prophecy from Isaiah 9:2. He also told Mary that this child, Jesus, “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 thine own soul, also.)”—Luke 2:34,35

There is no record of Mary’s reaction to Simeon’s words. We are prone to think that she pondered these, too, in her heart. If Mary were truly the ‘mother of God’, she would be teaching Simeon, instead of vice versa.

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