A Protestant Case for the Queenship of Mary

Fra Filippo Lippi, Coronation of the Virgin (detail) (1469)
Fra Filippo Lippi, Coronation of the Virgin (detail) (1469)

One of the biggest hurdles for many Protestants considering Catholicism is coming to terms with the Catholic Church’s views on the Virgin Mary. Even for the most fair-minded of inquirers, the Church’s claims about Mary sometimes seem to just go too far. Beyond these fair-minded inquirers are countless more Christians who dismiss Catholic beliefs on Mary out of hand as obviously unscriptural, obviously wrong, and (in some cases) obviously blasphemous.

Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in regards to the Queenship of Mary. Catholics believe that Mary is the Queen of Heaven and Earth. On the fringes of Protestantism, you’ll find people claiming that this is a pagan belief: after all, the “Queen of Heaven” is a pagan goddess mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah (Jer. 7:18; 44:17-19, 25). But even for Protestants that don’t go that far, believing Mary is our Heavenly Queen is asking a lot. How is it not worshipping Mary? How can we reconcile this claim with Jesus’ Sovereignty as “King of King and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16)?

Proving that Mary really is the Queen of Heaven is going to require something different for Protestants than for Catholics. I don’t imagine too many Protestants will be convinced by the fact that Pope Pius XII affirms Mary’s Queenship in Ad Caeli Reginam (that seems more likely to cool Protestants to Pius than warm them to the Regina Caeli). Fair enough. Instead, let me try to make something of a “Protestant case” for the Queenship of Mary, using only sources recognized as authoritative by both sides of the Catholic-Protestant question.

3 Biblical Arguments for Mary’s Queenship

First point: reigning with Christ is Biblical. Many Christians are surprised to learn that Scripture repeatedly speaks of the Saints in glory reigning with Christ. But the Bible teaches this, repeatedly. In Revelation 3, Jesus says to the Church of Philadelphia:

I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth. I am coming soon; hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

That’s Christ affirming that the faithful will be exalted, and crowned, and will have their persecutors kneel before their feet. As Saint Paul tells Timothy, “the saying is sure: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:11-12a). He doesn’t need to teach Timothy that the Saints will rule with Christ: it was already a belief of the Christian community at this point. Paul just affirms that this belief is true.

In reigning alongside of Christ, Scripture also points to ranks of glory. For example, Revelation 20:4-6 speaks of a special judicial role in Heaven for the Martyrs:

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years.

Jesus similarly speaks of exalted positions for the Twelve Apostles (Luke 22:28-30): “You are those who have continued with me in my trials; as my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. So the Biblical depiction of Heaven is one in which there’s a heavenly hierarchy of the Saints reigning alongside their Redeemer.

Second point: Honoring the Queen Mother as Queen is Biblical. Old Testament Judaism treated the mothers of the kings with great reverence. That’s unsurprising. After all, one of the Ten Commandments is to “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Exodus 20:12), and kings aren’t exempted from this Commandment.

A revealing illustration of the reverence paid to the Queen Mother is in 1 Kings 2:13-20, in which Adonijah (King Solomon’s half-brother) uses King Solomon’s mother Bathsheba to try to advance his political ambitions:

Then Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably.” Then he said, “I have something to say to you.” She said, “Say on.” He said, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel fully expected me to reign; however the kingdom has turned about and become my brother’s, for it was his from the Lord. And now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me.” She said to him, “Say on.” And he said, “Pray ask King Solomon—he will not refuse you—to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.” Bathsheba said, “Very well; I will speak for you to the king.”

So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right. Then she said, “I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.”

Ultimately, Solomon does refuse his mother: he realizes that Adonijah is using his mom to mount a coup, and he responds by having Adonijah killed (1 Kings 2:23-25). But the unpleasant outcome of this episode shouldn’t distract us from the incredible honor that Solomon, the sitting king, shows to his mother. This raises the obvious question (not yet answered): does Jesus show less respect to His Mother than Solomon showed to his?

Third Point: Mary as Queen of Heaven is Biblical. The answer to the question I posed a moment ago can be found in Revelation 12:1-6,

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

The Child, of course, is Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:5-6 makes this identification explicit). As for the Mother, the one seen enthroned in Heaven, there are two readings of this passage. One is that it refers to Mary, as it appears to; the other is that it’s a metaphor for the Church in Glory.

Frankly, there’s no reason that it can’t be both, given that we’re dealing with layers of mystical imagery. For example, although Christ is the One who rules with an iron rod (Rev. 19:5-6), that imagery can also be applied to the Saints who rule with Him (Rev. 2:26-28).

But let’s take the most extreme scenario, that Revelation 12 refers only to the Church reigning in heavenly glory. First of all, Mary is part of that Church: in a very real sense, she’s the first Christian. Second, it would mean that when God wanted to depict His Church in Glory, He did so by employing the image of the crowned Mother of Jesus reigning in Heavenly glory. Either way, it points to Mary’s Queenship. If Mary isn’t Queen, and if she shouldn’t be thought of in that way, why on earth would He have chosen that particular image to depict the glorified Church?

3 Biblical Answers to Standard Protestant Objections

First objection: Doesn’t it detract from Christ’s Sovereignty and Glory?  Nope. Christ calls us to be like Him. He’s not threatened by the fact that some succeed in doing so…. or more accurately, succeed in allowing themselves to be conformed by Him. I don’t know how to make this any clearer than Romans 8:15-17,

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

He’s only too happy to share His glory and His kingship.

Second objection: Isn’t “Queen of Heaven” a pagan title? Sure it is. But so is “God the Father.” That’s what the pagan god Jupiter‘s name literally means (Zeus, God, + Pater, Father). That’s the thing about language: the same words can be used to describe more than one person. When Christians pray to God the Father, they’re not praying to Jupiter, even though he was invoked under the same title. And the same is true when we’re talking about the Virgin Mary: she’s (obviously) not the pagan goddess of the Book of Jeremiah, given that Jesus isn’t the Son of a pagan goddess.

Third objection: Doesn’t this elevate Mary over Jesus? Sometimes, Protestants are hesitant about honoring Mary in this way as an understandable reaction against a certain kind of saccharine devotional language that makes it sound as if Mary “overrules” her divine Son, or if she outdoes Him in mercy. Sometimes, Catholics can speak as if the Justice of Jesus our Judge is juxtaposed with the Mercy of Mary our Mother. Obviously, there’s no truth to that: Jesus is Almighty God, and a perfectly, infinitely good God at that.

Of course, even that problematic devotional imagery captures something real of the dynamism of prayer, and it’s not terribly far off from the way that Scripture presents Abraham interceding for Sodom (Genesis 18), or Jacob wrestling with the angel (Gen. 32). In those (and countless other) cases, Scripture speaks as if created beings convince Almighty God to be merciful, even though we know that’s not literally true. When we might speak of “wrestling with God in prayer,” or appealing to God’s mercy, we don’t understand by this that we (or Mary or the Saints) need to somehow make God better or more merciful, or that we can subordinate His will to ours.

So we can and should affirm that Mary is the Queen of Heaven without belittling Christ’s Sovereignty, Goodness, or Mercy.

41 Comments

  1. This is the first time I have read someone using 1 Kings 2:13-20 to point out the relationship of the Queen-mother Bathsheba to King Solomon with him saying “I will not refuse your request” and then go on to point out the King Solomon did refuse her request! Thanks for that! (Although you state that that this unpleasant outcome shouldn’t distract us, it does somewhat for me).

    1. Brian,

      As I mentioned to Craig below, I don’t think Solomon and Bathsheba should be viewed as a type of Jesus and Mary (at least, I’m unconvinced). Instead, I think it’s just evidence of the way that Queen Mothers were treated in Jewish culture. I wouldn’t overargue it.

  2. Joe, I think the argumentation here is tenuous at best, especially the first two passages you cite as evidence. You write about Rev 3, “That’s Christ affirming that the faithful will be exalted, and crowned, and will have their persecutors kneel before their feet.” So, by that logic, all the saints are kings and queens of heaven, which is clearly not what you are arguing. So, let’s throw that out.

    Then we have the part with Bathseba and Solomon, which is imposing your presupposition to make the typology work. Queen Athaliah was also a queen mother to, but because she’s evil we wouldn’t use that type, right? We have other Queen Mothers too that ruled when several Judah’s kings were at too young an age. Josiah reigned at 7 years old, and his father died at a point in history where they did not share a long co-regency. His mother Jedidah likely ran the show until he came of age. So, this typology appears a little forced, and hardly self-explanatory (unlike other typology in the Scripture, such as Leviathan for Satan.)

    As for the third, it certainly does sound like Mary, though as we already discussed most of the early church did not take this view, though you managed to dig up one that did (supposing it is not a medieval forgery or interpolation, but I’ll give that to you patristics is not an exact science.) But again, it really would not give us the goods to crown Mary “Queen of the Universe and Heaven.”

    And, there is no shame in it. It is not a biblical doctrine, it’s a traditional one and a late tradition at that unlike other Marian dogmas, such as her being the theotokos or perpetually virginal.

    1. Craig,

      My first point is that all of the Saints in glory participate in some way in Christ’s Kingship, but not in equal proportions. Your response is that this would apply to all of the Saints, “so let’s throw that out.” That’s not an argument, and you’re not engaging with the Scriptural evidence: you’re literally just waving away the Biblical passages cited because it would lead to results with which you disagree.

      My second point wasn’t to argue typologically: it was to show that Judaism venerated mothers, and the Queen Mother was a venerated and honored position. I pointed to Solomon and Bathsheba simply as evidence of the religious-cultural norm, not to argue that the Virgin Mary is typologically prefigured by the adulteress Bathsheba. Having something of a Jewish framework for the New Testament is important. For example, when Christ uses marital imagery, it’s important to understand what that meant for first-century Jews. So, likewise, when they talk about the Mother of the King of Kings, what would that entail to a contemporary Jewish listener?

      As for the third, there’s no (non-circular) reason to believe that the Patristic evidence for Mary’s Assumption and Queenship is a forgery or interpolation. The particular evidence to which you allude is circumspect, and doesn’t remotely resemble a forgery. (What’s the point of forging a document to say, in effect, “I think that this is what Revelation 12 means, but I’m not sure?”) But my third point doesn’t turn on identifying the Mother of Jesus in Revelation 12 as Mary. It suffices to say that, even if it means the Church, the image of a glorified Church is that of Jesus’ Mom crowned in Heaven, and that this is inconsistent with a theology in which Mary isn’t crowned in Heaven.

      Your argument that it’s unbiblical is question-begging, and your argument that it is “a late tradition at that” doesn’t sit well with your admission of at least some Patristic evidence for it (although I’ll grant you that the Fathers were more focused on other Marian dimensions, like her perpetual Virginity and her being the Theotokos). For the purposes of this post, I’ve intentionally left the Patristic discussion to one side, simply to see what the Scriptures say.

      1. Thanks for the response Joe.

        “My first point is that all of the Saints in glory participate in some way in Christ’s Kingship, but not in equal proportions.”

        Okay, but then we’re all nobility of sorts. Kings, Queens, Princes, Princesses, Dukes, etcetera. Where in that necessitates Mary has the pre-eminent position among all of the saints? So, your point really doesn;t make a point, it just proves that all saints rule with Christ, which none would deny.

        “My second point wasn’t to argue typologically: it was to show that Judaism venerated mothers, and the Queen Mother was a venerated and honored position.”

        Okay, we agree, but that doesn’t necessitate Mary Queen of Heaven.

        “As for the third, there’s no (non-circular) reason to believe that the Patristic evidence for Mary’s Assumption and Queenship is a forgery or interpolation.”

        On the face of it, I totally agree. But honestly, when scholars accuse works of being forged and altered, it is usually not on manuscript-grounds. It’s on doctrine. So, if you have a doctrine that no one repeated for 1,200 years aside from one set of manuscripts, the oldest being from the 1200s (let’s say), you certainly cant rule out interpolation.

        But my third point doesn’t turn on identifying the Mother of Jesus in Revelation 12 as Mary. It suffices to say that, even if it means the Church, the image of a glorified Church is that of Jesus’ Mom crowned in Heaven, and that this is inconsistent with a theology in which Mary isn’t crowned in Heaven.

        I simply just do not see enough evidence in what you posted to be convincing other than to the already converted. Maybe Rev 12…Maybe.

        1. Rather than argue against Mary’s eminence, might one argue why not?

          Genesis gives us God saying the heel of “the woman” will strike the serpent’s head. Here God blesses with supreme understatement! Feminity was loved since everything God made was good. A KINGLY male Son would redeem the corrupt world while His HUMAN MOTHER would justly occupy HEAVEN’S THRONE reserved for the QUEEN MOTHER.

          Why not?

      2. Craig,

        It seems that we agree upon my first point. So in that case, the question of whether or not Mary is a Heavenly Queen in some sense is already answered: clearly, she is by dint of being a Saint. Scripture speaks of the Saints as being crowned, etc. But the other half to that first point is that not all of the Saints are equally glorified, and that some (e.g., martyrs, Apostles, etc.) are given uniquely regal positions. So then the question between us is solely: how glorified is Mary relative to the other Saints?

        And the answer to this strikes me as glaringly obvious: who would He honor above His Mother, and why? Not only is it proper for a Jewish man to honor his mother, and not only is it proper for a King to place his mother in a position of unique and particular honor, but Mary is also an exemplar of faith: she’s the one predestined from all eternity to be the Mother of God, and she’s the one that Scripture speaks of as “she who believed” (Luke 1:45). So the idea that she’s in for a relatively low level of heavenly glory is counter to all of the evidence.

        That then gets to Revelation 12. If Jesus doesn’t glorify His Mother as Queen in a unique manner, why does this passage exist? The imagery (whether it refers to Mary or the Church) is hard to account for if it’s not an accurate description of God’s protection and glorification of Christ’s Mother.

        I.X.

        Joe

        P.S. On my third point, I know of no credible scholars who argue that the Patristic text to which you’re referring is an interpolation. It was a little-noted remark in which a Father ventured a somewhat speculative interpretation of Revelation 12. You say, “if you have a doctrine that no one repeated for 1,200 years aside from one set of manuscripts, the oldest being from the 1200s (let’s say), you certainly cant rule out interpolation.” But of course that’s not the case here: there’s no question that we have texts supporting the Assumption and Queenship of Mary before 1200. The “interpolation” argument would be a stretch under ordinary conditions; all the more so here.

        1. “who would He honor above His Mother, and why?”

          I suppose the ones who were honored more when they were all on Earth, all of the Jerusalem Church’s elders, the Apostles, etc. Perhaps John the Baptist, the greatest among men according to Christ. Queen mothers wielded political influence, but the politics of the time were highly flawed (by Samuel’s standards 1 Sam 8), so to say this sense of priority carried over to the Church when women were not permitted to exercise authority would appear to me to force an honest observer to say that quite a few apostles who were martyred would in fact have greater position and honor. Mary is “blessed…among women” (Luke 1:42), and even if we infer she is the most blessed by virtue of being Theotokos in her vocation as woman, if heaven is a reflection of the Church on Earth (as it is surely an extension), I would have a very hard time believing that Mary can supersede others in honor that were honored more on Earth by Apostolic command.

          God bless,
          Craig

          P.S. Again, I already conceded the patristic passage in question to you. I am merely saying that patristics are such an inexact science that we have to give the evidence of each their respective weight, and when it is an obscure Father without many surviving manuscripts attributed to him, it may not be much. We have entire books that are medieval forgeries. I am sure we also have entire books accused of being forgeries that aren’t. I would say we have enough evidence to say that the work in question is likely not, but it certainly is not impossible unless it has manuscripts in Latin, Armenian, Greek, and Arabic and they all contain the same passage. I am presuming, because I don’t know, there is just one manuscript tradition (Latin or Greek) as he’s not a popular father. This lends itself to less historical scrutiny, because there is less to look at and verify.

          1. I found the following on manuscripts. Apparently, they only exist in Syriac. Apparently the Greek and Latin manuscripts are considered falsely attributed, though I believe the passage we are speaking of is in Syriac and among the corpus of works translated into old Slavonic in the 10th century, indicating how wide spread it was up until that point of time.

            http://syri.ac/brock/ephrem

          2. Craig,

            That information is about St. Ephrem, whose ancient hymns were widespread in Syria but not in Europe. His third hymn on the Nativity is the one listed below (which presents Mary as the New Eve, the Ark, and the Woman pitted against the Serpent). But the passage you were alluding to earlier is a separate Patristic reference to Mary as the Woman of Revelation 12, from St. Epiphanius of Salamis (310-403).

          3. Perhaps John the Baptist was the greatest among men since he was the only (latest Old Testament) prophet to be blessed–in utero–by the presence of the Messiah. For John to be so blessed and made so great, Mary first had to say “yes” to God’s inviting will at the anunciation. God’s invitation to her preceded John’s being so blessed.

          4. I understand that the church on earth ought to model heaven rather than the obverse. Heaven ought not be an extension or reflection of earth. (There is so much that is rotten here….) God existed prior to us and our earth. Why deny Him primacy? Why would He ever want to emulate us?

        2. Craig,

          Two little points and a big one. One, the reference to John the Baptist being the greatest of men born of women is a Semitic exaggeration (which we know because Christ was born of woman, and is greater than John). Two, to argue that because women can’t be Apostles, they’re inferior in Heavenly glory, is dangerous and wrong. It conflates ecclesial authority and glory (the Apostles have both; the martyrs often had only the latter), and would confine women to second-class sanctity. It also is a mistake to assume that the honor of being an Apostle is superior to the honor of bearing Him and being the origin of His salvific Humanity.

          But the main point is this. You seem to concede that Mary shares in Christ’s Kingship, and can be described as a Queen in Heaven. The question is whether she can be described as the Queen of Heaven in a singular way. You’ve actually given perhaps the best single piece of evidence for this: she is “blessed… among women.” No woman compares to Mary in all of Sacred Scripture; no woman comes close. This, combined with the image of Revelation 12 (which is either of her, or based upon her) makes the case conclusively.

          I.X.,

          Joe

          1. …”to argue that because women can’t be Apostles, they’re inferior in Heavenly glory, is dangerous and wrong. It conflates ecclesial authority and glory (the Apostles have both; the martyrs often had only the latter), and would confine women to second-class sanctity.”

            Thank-you for pointing this out.

          2. Joe, you asked: ““who would He honor above His Mother, and why?””

            Nothing in your argument to be construed that Christ would confer more honor to His mother than to the Apostles. You asked me a question, and I gave a valid answer…those whom Christ has given greater authority, perhaps are given more honor.

            Then we have Christ’s comment that his mother, and brothers, and etc are His followers. When told “blessed is the womb that carried you,” He replies that those who follow Him are blessed.

            So, biblically, there is absolutely nothing that would put Mary above anyone else in honor, but there is an indication that the Apostles have pre-eminence. After all, the Apostles have 12 foundation stones in heaven representing their number and they judge the 12 tribes of Israel (Matt 19:28), which surely those tribes represent the CHurch. The naming of a 12th disciple, to replace Judas, was likely a big deal for this reason.

            So, I think the Bible clearly states the pre-eminence of the Apostles in heaven. The same is not true of Mary. So, your Protestant case here does not work.

          3. Craig, it’s just because you think bearing God’s Son into the world and being the Mother of God is second to being an Apostle. That doesn’t follow from “written sources” either. Do you really think Matt 19:28 is talking about 12 apostles judging 12 tribes that didn’t even exist at Jesus’ time, if they ever existed at all?
            Your reasoning, which cannot go past the Bible, cannot afford the simple thought:
            1) Jesus is King
            2) Mary is Jesus’ Mother
            3) It is fitting that she be a Queen (or whatever metaphorically you call that).

            To quote again, lest you forget: …”to argue that because women can’t be Apostles, they’re inferior in Heavenly glory, is dangerous and wrong. It conflates ecclesial authority and glory (the Apostles have both; the martyrs often had only the latter), and would confine women to second-class sanctity.”

    2. You said, “most of the early church did not take this view” and “” – That is false. Your mistake is in thinking that in order for a doctrine to have been believed, it must first have been written, which is erroneous. For example, the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity was not written (officially defined) until the 4th century, and yet Christians believed in the Holy Trinity long before the Council of Nicea.

      St. Irenaeus of Lyons, writing about A.D. 189: “the Word should become flesh, and the Son of God the Son of man [the pure One] [opening purely that [pure womb] [which regenerates men unto God], [and which He Himself made pure]; and having become this which we also are, He [nevertheless] is the Mighty God, and possesses a generation which cannot be declared.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 4, chap. 33, paragraph 11.) – If the Virgin Mary’s womb is ‘that pure womb which regenerates men unto God’, then that would seem to make her the mother of “those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus” (Rev 12:17) and thus the woman of Revelation 12.)

      “Hail, Mary!” (inscription at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth [A.D. 200]).

      The earliest known prayer to Our Lady was found on a fragment of papyrus dating back to approximately 250 AD. The term “Theotokos (The God Bearer) was not just a theological concept ‘invented’ at the Third Ecumenical Council in AD 431, but was already in popular use and well-known several centuries before. The prayer says:

      “Beneath thy compassion,
 We take refuge, O Mother of God:
 do not despise our petitions in time of trouble,
but rescue us from dangers,
 only pure one, only blessed one.”

      St. Proclus (died 446 or 447) “ Eve has been healed…and Mary is venerated (adored), because she has become mother and handmaid, cloud and chamber, and ark of the Lord….”

      Similarly, the earliest [written] record is by St. Ephrem the Syrian (Doctor) who said: “Majestic and Heavenly Maid, Lady, Queen, protect and keep me under your wing lest Satan the sower of destruction glory over me, lest my wicked foe be victorious against me.”

      In Revelation 11:19, just prior to [the woman wearing a crown] is seen in the next verse, the ark of the covenant is seen. Who did the early Church regard as the ark of the New Covenant?

      “With the rib that was drawn out of Adam, the wicked one drew out the heart of Adam. There arose from the rib [i.e., Mary], a hidden power which cut off Satan as Dragon. For in that ark [Mary again], a book was hidden that cried and proclaimed the Conqueror. There was then a mystery revealed, in that Dragon was brought low in his own place of refuge. The accomplishment came after the type, in that the wicked one was brought low wherein he trusted….Fulfilled was the mystery. Blessed is He who by the true Lamb redeemed us, and destroyed our destroyer as He did Dragon”

      St. Hippolytus ( a.d. 170–236): “At that time, the Savior coming from the Virgin, the Ark, brought forth His own body into the world from that Ark, which was gilded with pure gold within by the Word, and without by the Holy Ghost; so that the truth was shown forth, and the Ark was manifested….And the Savior came into the world bearing the incorruptible Ark, that is to say His own body” [Dan .vi].

      St. Gregory the Wonder Worker (c. a.d. 213– c. a.d. 270): “Let us chant the melody that has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, ‘Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy sanctuary.’ For the Holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary” (Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary).

      St. Dionysius (died 264)“As Christ our priest was not chosen by hand of man, so neither was His tabernacle framed by men, but was established by the Holy Ghost; and by the power of God is that tabernacle protected, to be had in everlasting remembrance, Mary, God’s Virgin Mother” (S. Dionysius of Alexandria, Respons. ad Quoest. v. Pauli Samos) (Blessed Virgin, p. 81)

      St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (c. 213-c. 270) The ark is verily the holy Virgin, gilded within and without, who received the treasure of universal sanctification. Arise, O Lord, from the Father’s bosom, to raise up again the ruined race of our first parent” (Orat. in Deip. Annunciat. Int. Opp. S. Greg. Thaumaturg) (Blessed Virgin, p. 89)

      St. Athanasius of Alexandria (c. a.d. 296– c. a.d. 373): “O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O [Ark of the] Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides” (Homily of the Papyrus of Turin).

      St. Methodius “Hail to you for ever, Virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto thee do I again return. Thou are the beginning of our feast; you are its middle and end; the pearl of great price that belongs unto the kingdom; the fat of every victim, the living altar of the Bread of Life [Jesus]. Hail, you treasure of the love of God. Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man. . . . You gleamed, sweet gift-bestowing mother, of the light of the sun; you gleamed with the insupportable fires of a most fervent charity, bringing forth in the end that which was conceived of thee . . . making manifest the mystery hidden and unspeakable, the invisible Son of the Father–the Prince of Peace, who in a marvelous manner showed himself as less than all littleness” (Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305]).

      1. Anthony,

        The one quotation you don’t have sourced is St. Ephraim’s fourth-century Hymn III on the Nativity. If I may quote a little more of it, the context makes it clear that the key to understanding Genesis 3 and Revelation 12 is Jesus and Mary:

        “With the weapon of the deceiver the First-born clad Himself, that with the weapon that killed, He might restore to life again! With the tree wherewith he slew us, He delivered us. With the wine which maddened us, with it we were made chaste! With the rib that was drawn out of Adam, the wicked one drew out the heart of Adam. There rose from the Rib a hidden power, which cut off Satan as Dagon: for in that Ark a book was hidden that cried and proclaimed concerning the Conqueror! There was then a mystery revealed, in that Dagon was brought low in his own place of refuge! The accomplishment came after the type, in that the wicked one was brought low in the place in which he trusted! Blessed be He Who came and in Him were accomplished the mysteries of the left hand, and the right hand. Fulfilled was the mystery that was in the Lamb, and fulfilled was the type that was in Dagon.”

      2. Anthony,

        “Your mistake is in thinking that in order for a doctrine to have been believed, it must first have been written…”

        Not exactly. In order for someone to prove it was believed, it needs to be written. What is not written cannot be either confirmed or denied.

        As for your quotes, they do not address Rev 12, which was what my comment referred to.

        1. “Not exactly. In order for someone to prove it was believed, it needs to be written. What is not written cannot be either confirmed or denied.”

          So you cannot deny anything. Honor to Mary has always existed.

          1. I didn’t say that you said she was dishonored. I’m not responding to that.
            I just said that you cannot deny (or confirm) anything that wasn’t written, according to your view. And if it’s written after some artificial date you establish, it’s not to be trusted.
            And yes, come on, you’re not here proving what was believed (which you cannot prove nor disprove), you’re here convincing people about what they should believe based on arbitrary signposts for Baptist theology.

        2. Craig, you quoted ““don’t go beyond what is written” (1 cor 4:6).

          If you read the preceding verses 4-5, the passages makes it clear that it’s referring to the Book of Life mentioned in Revelation 20:12 & 20:!5 Revelation 13:8, Psalm 69:28, Revelation 22:19, etc.

          1 Cor 4:4-5 mentions judgement at the appointed time, when the Lord comes. And it says “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”

          This is what happens in Revelation 20:12,

          “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”

          That is what St. Paul means when he says, “do not go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6).

          “if anyone was found whose name was not written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” – “Revelation 20:15

        3. Actually the quotes I provided are indeed relevant to Revelation 12. You forget, or perhaps are unaware, that Scripture wasn’t divided into Chapters until the Middle Ages. There were no chapter divisions prior to this. And what do we see in heaven just prior to the mentioning of the woman in Revelation 12:1? The preceding verse mentions the ark of the covenant (which the Early Church Fathers identify as Our Lady). Then Rev 12:1 mentions a [SIGN], a woman, who gives birth to the male child Revelation 12:5.

          Who is the male child? How did He address His mother? (John 2:4 & John 19:26). What does St. Paul refer to her as? (Galatians 4:4)

          (Isaiah 7:14) also mentions “Therefore the Lord himself will give you [A SIGN]: [THE VIRGIN] will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” – and what does Revelation 12:1 & verse 5 say?

          Then Revelation 12:17 mentions the rest of her offspring, “those who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. ”

          St. Irenaeus “The Word will become flesh, and the Son of God the son of man—the Pure One opening purely [that pure womb], [which generates men unto God]. (Against Heresies, 4, 33, 12 [A.D.180-190]).

  3. Did Solomon’s Mother Bathsheba Demonstrate Mary is NOT a Good Intercessor?
    by STEVE RAY-

    Solomon is a type of Christ yet Solomon was a sinner. Solomon’s sin does not detract from Jesus’ perfection as the quintessential king of Israel and the Universe.

    Every king had a queen but it was never his wife; it was his mother. She was called giborah, great lady and Queen Mother.Being a sinner and flawed did not detract from the fact that Solomon was a type of Christ. Neither does Bathsheba’s sin and flaws detract from her being a prefigurement of Mary.

    Solomon and his mother were sinners; Jesus and his mother were not. What Solomon and his mother failed to do; Jesus and his mother do perfectly.

    If you use Bathsheba’s sin to diminish Mary, then you must be consistent and use Solomon’s sin to diminish Jesus. Queen mothers were flawed intercessors; the Mother of God is an intercessor without flaw.

    – See more at: http://www.catholicconvert.com/blog/2014/11/09/did-solomons-mother-demonstrate-mary-is-not-a-good-intercessor/#sthash.Q97jmrmf.dpuf

  4. I see no reason why Revelation 12:1-6 could refer to the Church. After all, it wasn’t the Church that gave birth to Jesus… Read the passage replacing “woman” with “Church” and it will make no sense. It violates very basic rules of logic. Case closed.

    1. Tons of ECFs would disagree with you. Personally, I do agree on a personal level, it makes Rev 12 more confusing. However, being that Jesus is a Jew from Israel, Israel is merely the OT Church. So, technically, it does work.

  5. Hey Joe,

    Nice work! Great post. (and perhaps even better replies to the objections, if I may call them that.)

    ~Matt

    1. Stanley,

      What in the world are you talking about? Where has anyone (on either side of this question) lied?

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. That website is, to put it mildly, unreliable. It’s a random guy who likes conspiracy theories and bad theology.

  6. So I’m just a little surprised no one responded to Craigs comment

    “Then we have Christ’s comment that his mother, and brothers, and etc are His followers. When told “blessed is the womb that carried you,” He replies that those who follow Him are blessed.”

    Let me just state verse 50: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

    Craig was using this passage to show that Jesus gave more honor to His apostles/disciples than to Mary since on the face of it, it looks as though he’s downplaying His mother or the fact that Mary carried Him in her womb.

    This however is not at all what this passage is saying. Jesus was pointing out the importance of spiritual kinship. His spiritual brothers, sisters etc. are the adopted children of God. They are empowered to obey the Father as he did. Far from undermining the role of Mary, Jesus reveals the true greatness divine maternity. After all she wasn’t merely his natural mother through generation, but she became the Mother of God precisely by embracing the Father’s will. What disciple of Jesus did the will of the Father more perfectly than Mary?

    Craig goes on to say : “So, biblically, there is absolutely nothing that would put Mary above anyone else in honor”

    I’m sorry, what?? “let it be done to me according to thy word”. We all know that as Christians we are called to bring Christ to the world, but tell me, which apostle brought the [whole] Christ to the [whole] world? There’s only one person who has that honor and it’s Mary. I’m sorry but its just the plainest thing to see who would have more glory in heaven between Mary and anyone else.

  7. Hi Joe,

    First, I appreciate the attempt to make a “Protestant case” for the doctrine of Mary’s queenship. But I agree with Craig that the argumentation is “tenuous at best.” I’d call it a circumstantial case, as there is no direct, didactic teaching on the issue in scripture. Your first argument (A) removes the obstacle to understanding the believer as royalty. If we reign with Christ, are heirs with Christ etc, then certainly there is a sense in which we are, if you will, kings and queens, etc. Your second argument (B) gives us a biblical precedent for both honoring and seeking the intercession of the queen mother. If Jesus is the consummate fulfillment of the Davidic king, then it would seem Mary would be the queen mother, and therefore enjoy all the rights and privileges of this position. Finally (C), you appeal to Revelation 12 to argue that we are being given an image of the woman who has been crowned queen of heaven. Clearly she is in heaven. Clearly she is wearing a crown. And clearly she is the mother of Jesus. The image may refer to more than Mary. But it cannot refer to less than her. Putting it all together, A + B + C ought to satisfy any Protestant that Mary is indeed rightly called “Queen of Heaven.”

    You also deal with some common objections. For example, the title “Queen of Heaven” may be pagan in origin, but that is no objection because so is “God the Father” etc. Indeed, we could strengthen your reply by noting that the original “King of kings and Lord of Lords” was a Babylonian king. But this title is freely applied to Jesus. Likewise, “Jesus is Lord,” is clearly a Christian coopting of, and challenge to, “Caesar is Lord.”

    To all of this my reply may sound bit “fruity.”

    First, I think we may have a case of apples and oranges. When you pile up everything Rome has to say on Mary, it’s not simply that Mary is “Queen of Heaven” in the sense that she participates in Jesus’ kingship (as do all believers); rather she is actually more like the “Queen of Heaven” of paganism with all her rights and privileges. So it is not the mere title that is problematic, but rather what the title entails. If it were only a matter of the title itself, you’d be right. We Protestants should have no objection to the title just because pagans use it. But if the title also endows Mary with many of the same attributes and functions of Astarte, or Isis or Hera or any other pagan Queen of Heaven, then we have a potential problem.

    Second, if a tree is known by its fruits, then all those “saccharine” prayers and hymns to the Queen of Heaven, should reveal what is at the core of tootsie pop. In this case we may very well have the wrong object of our devotion. I realize that it is now acceptable to modern Catholic apologists to admit that the packaging has sometimes been too saccharine in the past. They throw us that little bone. But they nevertheless insist that the substance of the doctrine has always been the same, always been pure. The problem is that this reverses the process Jesus gave us for discerning truth from error. It starts with the assumption of purity and then tells us the outward expression of the doctrine is justified because the inner core is true.

    A Protestant, however, needs more than a bone that says, “Sure, there have been excesses.” We need full scale retractions and repudiations. We need something along the lines of an Alphonsus Liguori being stripped of his title, “doctor of the universal church” and “the Glories of Mary” put on the index of things one ought not read precisely because **nothing** is more saccharine than that particular genre of Marian devotion. I know I sound like sour grapes, But, wow, there’s some stuff from that genre that really does make it sounds like y’all worship Mary, that she’s our savior and that we ought to be seeking refuge in her rather than Christ. It’s a bit much.

    Finally, there is such a thing as over-interpreting a text. This is the over processed fruit we turn into jam. The Protestant thinks the Catholic is jamming too much of later Marian development back into the OT and so we find the Queen Mother parallelism to be a bit contrived. Sure, the Davidic Monarchy is fulfilled in the Son of David. But that’s as far as the fulfillment of that institution goes, at least as far as the NT authors were concerned. David’s dynasty had many offices and protocols in addition to giving honor to the queen mother. David had a general, 30 mighty men, advisors, a cup bearer etc. But we don’t typically look for NT fulfillments of these roles simply because they were part of the Davidic monarchy. So while there me be a precedent for honoring the queen mother, there is no NT reason to suppose that anyone ever thought of Mary as the queen mother.

    The Catholic version of the “Protestant case” for the Queenship of Mary is still too Catholic for my liking. It depends on images, the force of *possible* (but not certain) parallels to OT antecedents, and the larger appeal to general principles (such as reigning with Jesus) rather than any specific application of those principles to the idea that Mary was the queen mother and now is queen of heaven. In short, the case falls short of “proof.”

    Ultimately it comes down to whether or not you believe tradition is revelatory, whether or not you trust what later church fathers and doctors of the church came to believe about Mary, and whether or not you believe their collective reading of scripture was a fair one. A Protestant says tradition can error and that we must read it in light of scripture and not the other way around. Given your hermeneutic wherein scripture and tradition are equally the word of God, I can completely see how the queenship of Mary would be inevitable.. It is a logical development once you have all kinds of other beliefs about Mary in place (sinlessness, perpetual virginity, divine maternity, mediatrix of all grace, bodily assumption, etc.).

    I don’t believe that an exegetical approach that limits itself to the Bible can ever muster enough evidence to require belief in any of Rome’s distinctive Marian doctrines. At best such an approach would only ever be able to show how such beliefs might be exegetically permissible. (My apologies for all the bad fruit puns).

    1. I believe the evidence for belief in Catholic Marian doctrines is permissible and reasonable. Logically satisfying. Poetic. Lyrical. Spiritual. Lovely and loving and a great great gift from God our Heavenly Father and Creator. Choose it if you will. Argue against it if you must. For me, it is all so very God-like and yet so very down-to-earth. So much so that even a woman like me can understand and be blessed by my kind who said yes to conception by God. She carried Her growing God inside herself herself. She shared her life-blood with Him. She give Him birth. She did not always understand His conception or His desire to do His Father’s business at the age of 12. She stood by His cross as He allowed His body to be shredded by unworthy human-men. I certainly honor her as an ideal of femininity and of mother hood. Honor her and ask her to talk to her son on my behalf? Always and ever. She is my Queen-Mother.

      Yet some say He gave no authority to His mother? I find that more than mildly illogical, disconcerting, and unbelievable.

      1. An afterthought: Coincident with Reformation was the growing ease of society in accepting divorce and denying the Catholic pre-eminent unity of the marital bond. (The rationale seemed something akin to “If the king wants it, so ought I.”) The promulgation of contraception in the l960s and l970s, the movement to legal abortion, etc., likewise denigrated the ‘authority’ of the Christian woman’s ideal feminine-fecundity, woman- and mother-hood. What followed was a growing movement and practice of homosexuality.

        The idea of Jesus granting to his apostles (all male) greater authority than God does to the Mother of God strikes me as AKIN to stripping honor from women. I see no problem with an all-male ministry. I do see a problem with one granting higher honor to male apostles who “FOLLOWED” (CAME AFTER) Jesus than to that accorded to the emulated eminent Mary who preceded and who granted the desire of God for His Incarnation.

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