Volume 11, Issue 8 _____________________________________________________Bible Prophecy Ministry

Mary: Icon of Religious Unity and Peace

     The modern theological appeal of Mary is a growing phenomenon which needs to be addressed biblically. The Marian appeal has spread far beyond the traditional borders of the Roman Catholic Church. Mary has been exalted to a place of universal attraction with thousands of commemorative shrines dedicated to her around the whole world, even in regions unrelated to Catholicism. She is quickly becoming the revered Queen of ecumenism," someone through whom diverse religions can worship without offending respective theologies. She seems to be the one entity that can unite all of mankind under one religious umbrella. People from all Christian denominations are reaching out to the Virgin Mary as a comforting conduit of spirituality and a symbol of peace in troubled times. It's not just only Catholics who are venerate Mary and follow the admonitions of her many apparitions anymore.

    Surprisingly, apparitions of Mary even appear in Islamic countries, where multitudes of Muslims turn out to honor her. For example, in the late 1960s thousands witnessed "a lady composed of light" who was holding a baby as she seemed to be moving across the roof of a Coptic Orthodox church on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. Thousands of Muslims fell to their knees on prayer rugs and wept before the glorious form of Our Lady from Heaven. While such a reaction may seem puzzling to western Christians, there is a substantial religious basis for it Marian exaltation within the world's religions. An entire chapter (Maryam) in the Koran and numerous other verses as well as hundreds of hadiths, pay homage to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Islamic scholars attest that Mary is esteemed above even the most revered women of the Muslim faith, including Muhammad's two favorite wives Khadija and Aisha, and his daughter Fatima. One Muslim hadith quotes Muhammad as saying he would take Mary as one of his wives in heaven: "The Messenger of God said, “God married me in Paradise to Mary”,

    From the perspective of the classical Muslim scholars, Mary, in the Qur'an and Sunna, is a symbol that brings together all revelation. As a descendant of the great Israelite prophets, the bearer of the word, the mother of Jesus, and as traditional Sunni Islam's chosen woman of the worlds, Mary is symbolic of the Qur'anic message that revelation has not been confined to one particular people.

    In addition, the fact that an apparition claiming to be Mary appeared near a place named for Muhammad's favorite daughter has endeared millions of Muslims to "Our Lady of Fatima." The Fatima Crusader reported that more than half a million followers of Islam turned out to honor a statue of the Fatima Mary in Bombay, India. It would seem that at least some apparitions of Mary share the Muslim's respect for the Islamic faith. Our Lady of Medjugorje, communicated to admirers gathered at her shrine there, Muslims and Orthodox, and Catholics, are equal before my Son and I. You are all my children! Pope John Paul II fervently believes predicted that Mary not only save his life, but that she would be the key to reconciling the faiths of Rome and Mecca. Mary has played a key role in the interfaith dialogue that Pope John Paul has orchestrated and extended to all religions. Many interfaith attendees pray the rosary and come to the conclusion: I am a child of God. I don't just have God as my Father and Christ as my brother; I have His Mother for my own. More and more Protestants also are becoming attracted to Mary. Will Protestants and Catholics and Muslims someday be united through Mary?", but a more basic question must be asked: "Mary who?" The Mary of the Orthodox Church was sinless but not conceived immaculately. The Mary of Islam is confused with Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron, whose father was Amram. She is not the Mother either of God or of the Son of God ("Allah has no son," Surah IV:171). The Mary of Catholicism was immaculately conceived, the Mother of God, a perpetual virgin, Mediatrix between God and man, and the Queen of Heaven.

    She has been around before. Israel encountered her 2800 years ago.

But, Then there's the real Mary of the Bible

    For anyone who has an interest in learning the truth about Mary, the only trustworthy account is to be found in the Holy Scriptures, where the information presented is by those who actually knew her personally and, more importantly, whose writings were under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Fewer than 90 Bible verses address the life of Mary. In them we find a wonderfully humble servant of the Lord who rejoices in Him as her Savior (Luke 1:47). Obviously her heart was not "immaculate" nor was she conceived without sin because her Son, her Savior, came not for the sinless but "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). The Catholic Church seems to be confused over the issue of Mary's sin-lessness because it considers her to be the woman of literal woman of Revelation 12, "clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." (This error is consistent with Replacement Theology) This specific imagery is reflected on innumerable statues of Mary around the world. Yet the Bible says this woman gave birth in pain and travail (Revelation 12:2), and pain and labor are part of God's judgment on sinners (Genesis 3:15-16). So either the (recently beatified) "infallible" Pope Pius IX, who engineered her immaculate conception into Church dogma, was wrong about Mary's sinlessness, or the "infallible" Pope Pius XII and numerous other Catholic theologians were wrong about Mary being the "woman" of Revelation 12:1-2.

    Mary's ministry was simply the birth and nurturing of the child Jesus. Once He reached adulthood, she played no influential part in His earthly service. It's at the wedding feast of Cana, which began the public ministry of Jesus, that her last words are recorded. Fittingly, she tells the servants, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it" (John 2:5). There is no doubt that she is exemplary among biblical saints as a model of obedience and submission to the will of God, especially in the appointment to which she was called. In keeping with the words of John the Baptist, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30), Mary faded into the background. Search the Scriptures as you will and you will find no leadership role for Mary among the Apostles. She taught no doctrine. We never hear of the Apostles seeking her out for counsel. Other than the gospels, Mary is mentioned only once in the New Testament, where the Book of Acts tells us of her simple participation in a prayer meeting along with her sons. The teaching that Mary was a perpetual virgin is also contradicted by many other verses (Matthew 12:46; Mark 6:3; John 7:3,5; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Galations 1:19; Psalms 69:8; etc.).

    When you compare what the apparitions around the world say and do in claiming to be Mary, you get find a different Mary, "one completely contrary" to the one presented in Holy Scripture. In subtle ways the apparitions partake and indulge themselves in self-aggrandizement and self-promotion, and always to the devaluation of Jesus, and their instructions are often un-Biblical and promote the very system of the anti-Christ. The "Mary" who spoke to Father Gobbi, the founder of the Marian Movement declared, "Each of My statues is a sign of a presence of Mine and reminds you of your heavenly Mother. Therefore my presnce must be honored and placed in places of greater veneration. The apparition invokes all admirers to consider Our Lady of Fatima: "Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world, Pray, and pray repeatedly and often the Rosary, and make sacrifices for sinners, because many souls go to hell because they have no one to make sacrifices for them. Mary conveys to her worshippers that God wishes to establish in the world a devotion to Mary's immaculate heart, teaching them that if people do what Mary says, then many souls will be saved and there will finally be world peace. The Pope has consecrated the entire peace of the world to Mary's Immaculate heart!

    This is not the humble and submissive Mary of the Bible. The rosary invokes prayers to Mary and rarely ever mentions praying to our high priest, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Prince of Peace; and only his once-for-all sacrifice saves souls from hell. Mary's heart is not immaculate, nor are we to be spiritually devoted to anyone other than our Lord and Savior. The Marian apparitions establish a status for Mary which is without support the Holy Bible. The Apostle Peter, a contemporary of Mary and regarded by Catholics as the first pope, wrote nothing about her. The Apostle Paul, through the Holy Spirit, gave more specific instruction in living the Christian life than any other writer in the Bible, yet he made absolutely no mention whatsoever of the alleged importance of devotions or reparations to Mary. In contrast to the apparitions appearing as Mary, they claim to have been "conceived without sin. The Bible portrays Paul as being "the chief of sinners," yet God made him the most productive figure of the New Testament after Christ, and not Mary. The Apostle John, who wrote the last book of the Bible and was given the care of Mary by Jesus himself, says nothing about venerating her. One would think that John would have produced volumes of work on Mary if she was the one Jesus pointed to for veneration.     The apparitions clearly are not the actual mother of Jesus, although they make every attempt to be perceived in that way. Millions of people around the world get real emotional about the prospect of seeing the Mother of God. It can be awfully difficult to defame an entity that appears to be Christ's Mother. And who wants to pick on Mom! Many of the apparitions appear as a young woman bearing an infant. The infant in her arms is tantalizingly portended to give th appearance as though Mary still oversees her son. Jesus was in His thirties when He returned triumphantly to the right hand of his Father. Obviously, the apparitions of Mary are intended to convey that Mary still has the superior position in their relationship! Moreover, rather than perpetuating Jesus as a helpless babe, the Bible conveys that Jesus as the King of kings, Lord of lords, Creator of the universe, the glorified Son of God, God manifested in human flesh, and born of a virgin who simply submitted herself to the will of God!

    As mankind is being drawn into every kind of spiritual deception in these last days before the return of Jesus, it is particularly blasphemous and sad that the earthly mother of Jesus, is so terribly misrepresented thereby drawing millions, not to but away from the Son of God. The Queen of Heaven is the handiwork of Satan.

Darrell G. Young

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