Tonight, I heard a short conversation between two men on YouTube, talking about what role the Catholic Church has had in our Christian Churches of today who do NOT profess Catholicism.
Their conversation included a short discussion about whether Mary is in Heaven, whether she should at least be “venerated,” and whether or not God Himself loves her more strongly than He loves anyone else.
Here’s my take on the subject.
I know many Catholic and Mormon people of whom I am absolutely assured by Holy Spirit, that they will be in Heaven–because they have simply believed that Jesus is Lord, that He was sacrificed for our sins, and that His resurrection brought us new life–redeeming us FROM sin itself, back to LIFE. I also know people who have never ever set foot in a house of worship other than their own homes, and probably never will. Yet, they, too, will be (some are already) in Heaven–because they believe(d).
Of course, Mary is already in Heaven, as well. She, too, believed what God told her, and she acted on it, by allowing His will to be done in her. For her faith, she is to be respected–just as are ALL who believe that Jesus is Lord. God, by His Word. God, Himself, does not LOVE any one person any more than He does another person. He also expects us NOT to worship ANYONE BUT HIM, and that includes Mary.
Luke 1:28-42 (Amplified Bible)–FAVOR FROM GOD, TOWARD MARY…
“Coming to her, the angel said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” She was greatly perplexed at what he said, and kept carefully considering what kind of greeting this was. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have FOUND FAVOR WITH God. Listen carefully: you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and eminent, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin and have no intimacy with any man?’ Then the angel replied to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a cloud]. For that reason the holy (pure, sinless) Child shall be called the Son of God. Listen–even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age. She who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For with God nothing [is or ever] shall be impossible.’ Then Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’ Then the angel left her. Now at this time Mary arose and hurried to the hill country, to a city of Judah (Judea), and she entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him. She exclaimed loudly, ‘Blessed [worthy to be praised] are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!'”
Ephesians 3:16-19 (Amplified Bible)–FAVOR FROM GOD, TOWARD ALL BELIEVERS…
“May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. Also, may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love], and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself]”
James 2:1-4 (Amplified Bible)–GOD TELLS US NOT TO GLORIFY OTHER MEN…
“My fellow believers, do not practice your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of partiality [toward people—show no favoritism, no prejudice, no snobbery]. If a man comes into your meeting place wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in dirty clothes also comes in, and you pay special attention to the one who wears the fine clothes, and say to him, ‘You sit here in this good seat,’ and you tell the poor man, ‘You stand over there, or sit down [on the floor] by my footstool,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves, and become judges with wrong motives?”
Isaiah 44:6-8 (Amplified Bible)–GOD TELLS US THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD…
“For the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts says this, ‘I am the First and I am the Last, and there is no God besides Me. Who is like Me? Let him proclaim it and declare it. Yes, let him confront Me, since I established the people of antiquity. Let them [those supposed gods] tell those people [who foolishly follow them] the things to come and the events that are going to take place. Do not tremble nor be afraid [of the violent upheavals to come]. Have I not long ago proclaimed it to you and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? There is no other Rock. I know of none.'”
The Greek word “blessed,” (pronounced “blest” in today’s English, but “bless’-ed” in the King James English) is “eulogeo,” which means “praised, blessed, consecrated (set aside), spoken well of, or thanked.”
NOTE: It’s exactly the same word that is used in Mark 14:22, when we read that Jesus “blessed” the bread. It’s the word we use when we take communion. Do we worship the bread? No! Jesus was blessing the bread they were about to eat, the same way that their bread was always blessed–thanking God for it. Then He spoke about what it should represent to the disciples in the future. Every time they ate of the bread during a Passover meal, they were to remember what Jesus was about to do for them.
The Greek word “favored,” is “caritoo,” which means “graced,” or “endowed with grace,” or “full of grace.” The root word is “xarisma,” which is, of course, where get our English word “charisma.”
NOTE: It’s exactly the same word that is used in Ephesians 1:6 (NKJV)…
“…to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved…” Notice that it is GOD’s grace that is present here. God took HIS grace, and made us accepted back into His family.
Calling Mary “blessed,” is not meant to be calling her by a special name: “Blessed”. Mary was, indeed, blessed–to be chosen by the Lord as the mother for His Son, who was to be His ONLY begotten son–in that Jesus was born of a woman–the woman God chose because of her faith. God, indeed, blessed Mary with that responsibility, honoring her with HIS favor, because she had been faithful to live her life according to the Law, and had shown herself willing to believe in Him…the Father.
He had already seen that she lived her LIFE that way…AS a blessing. God had been looking for just the right woman to carry His Son, and He “favored” her, or “graced” her as the one. In other words, He gave her His vote, and the choice was made.
The Bible never says that Mary is to be worshiped. Quite the reverse. Mary was specifically and succinctly told (Luke 1:32-33) that HIS SON would be great, that He would be called the Son of the Highest, that the Lord God would give Him the throne of His father David, and that He would reign over the house of Jacob forever, and that His kingdom would never end.
When Elizabeth (who was also miraculously pregnant, in her old age) subsequently talked to Mary, Holy Spirit spoke through Elizabeth, who prophesied the same thing that the angel had told Mary, which confirmed to Mary that she had definitely seen and heard the angel of God correctly.
Mary subsequently began to confess the truth of it all–telling others that she had been blessed by the Father of All, to carry His Son into the Earth to be the Messiah. She wasn’t asking to be worshiped. She was simply telling the truth.
She wasn’t telling people that God had told THEM to call her “Blessed,” or that they should, in any way, worship her. She simply wanted, and NEEDED to let the people know what had happened, so that they could rejoice with her, about the coming KING! She had received the same type of blessing that God has ALWAYS bestowed on His people, and always WILL, when they BELIEVE AND FOLLOW HIM. He looked on her heart, and knew and understood that when she was told of His plans, she would believe the WORD that came to her, and she would, indeed, say, “Yes, Father. I will do your will.”
As for “venerating” Mary (as the Mother of Jesus), there are only two choices for the word (Merriam-Webster Dictionary):
1 : to regard with reverential respect or with admiring deference
It’s OK to venerate (regard with respect or with admiration) Mary because of her faith and obedience to Father God. We should, indeed, be thankful that she had that faith, and that she did accept His choice. Hallelujah!
2 : to honor (an icon, a relic, etc.) with a ritual act of devotion
It’s NOT OK to venerate Mary as a symbol of holiness, bowing down and worshiping her as a god, herself. Exodus 20:3 very clearly tells us, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Period.
It’s true that Jesus became AS us, through His earthly birth…He took on flesh, the same way that all the rest of us do. However, HE IS THE ONE TO BE WORSHIPED. HE IS THE ONE WHO HAS DEFEATED THE DEVIL AND OBTAINED THE KEYS OF DEATH AND HELL.
Mary did not do that. She couldn’t. Mary was fully human. HER body was not changed. Jesus’ body was.
She never was the cure. She was the medicine bottle, so to speak, that carried the cure. We, also, as believers, carry that same cure. WE ARE NOT WORSHIPED. Neither should she be. We are NOT to be worshiped, but we DO have God’s blessing–as does Mary.
ALL glory is ALWAYS to go strictly to God–the Father, God–the Son, and God–the Spirit: Elohim; the One True God; the Triune God. Period.
Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)…
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)…
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”
The following link will take you to a very simple, yet very profound message about this very subject:
08/18/2021–ADDITION TO ALL OF THE ABOVE
I had never thought of it before, but there is an Old Testament tale that follows very closely, the same principles that I related with the scriptures above.
In Daniel 3, we’re told that Nebuchadnezzar made a golden idol then declared that everyone in the land should bow down to it. So everyone did…except for the three who didn’t!
Verses 8-12 (NKJV) tell us:
Therefore at that time, certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. They spoke, and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You, O King, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image, and that whoever does not fall down and worship, shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are [however] certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. These men, O King, have not paid due regard to you! They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up!
Verses 13-15 relate that Nebuchadnezzar called for the three, and told them what he had just heard, and that he would have to, indeed, throw them into the fiery furnace.
Verses 16-25 tell us what happened next:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O King. If not, though, let it be known to you, O King, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.
Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed, toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke, and commanded that the furnace be heated seven times more than it was usually heated. Then he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army, to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. They were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, even as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
[Watching all of this happen] King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished. He rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast THREE men, BOUND, into the midst of the fire?”
They answered and said to the king, “True, O King.”
“Look!” he answered, “I see FOUR men, LOOSE, walking in the midst of the fire. The three are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God!”
Verses 26-30 relate “the rest of the story,” which is very telling (pun intended)…
Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego–servants of the Most High God–come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. The satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors, gathered together, and they saw [carefully checked out] the three men on whose bodies the fire had no power, [finding that] the hair of their heads was not singed nor were their garments affected, plus even the smell of fire was not on them!
Nebuchadnezzar then spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, WHO SENT HIS ANGEL and delivered His servants who trusted in Him…who have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore, I make a decree that ANY people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss–against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego–shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made into ash heaps, BECAUSE THERE IS NO OTHER GOD WHO CAN DELIVER LIKE THIS!”
Then King Nebuchadnezzar promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.
Note that “the fourth man” who showed up in the furnace (who also did not burn), was counted by the king as an angel sent by the God of the three faithful men.
Also, in Verse 28, Nebuchadnezzar BLESSED their God. That word (transliterated) is BARAK, which is the same word used throughout Genesis, when everything was made, that He made–including Adam and Eve. He blessed everything, said it was good, then gave instructions as necessary.
When the king, then, blessed the God of the three young men who had not burned in his fiery furnace, he was acknowledging that this was a good thing, and then he began to issue his instructions for the three of them, from that point forward.
Note that Nebuchadnezzar did not WORSHIP the men whom God saved, and it doesn’t even say that he actually worshiped GOD. He did, however, take note and make it known, that he had gotten the message, and he GAVE GOD THE GLORY…not the men who were obviously FAVORED by God, and saved from the fire (though he definitely HONORED them from that point forward).
Going back to the story about Mary, perhaps it was the SAME ANGEL who appeared to Mary, who rescued the three men. I don’t suppose we’ll know about that, until we can ask God once we are in Heaven.
What’s important, though, that I suddenly saw, while reading all of the above scriptures, is that the whole situation reminded me of the one in which Mary found herself being both favored and blessed, and then told that the baby within her would be the Father’s only begotten Son!
In regard to the same things (Mary’s favor with the Lord and the favor that was also granted to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego) that happened in these two stories, BOTH incidents also relate to US, when we are BORN AGAIN, and SAVED FROM THE FIERY PITS OF HELL.
Psalm 34 triumphantly and joyfully tells us…
I will bless the Lord at all times.
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord.
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The ANGEL OF THE LORD encamps all around those
who fear Him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger,
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
Come, you children, listen to me.
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.
Once again, I maintain that God does NOT love any of His created children (of which Mary was/is one), any more than any of the others.
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (2 Corinthians 1:20–NKJV)