By Walid Shoebat (Shoebat Sunday Special)
Many labored in finding the lost Ark when this whole time it was placed right in front of them in Bethlehem two millennia ago. One secret that is rarely understood to finding this Ark was hidden in Psalm 132 and in plain view. In what is probably the least read verses in Scripture we find it:
1 Lord Jehovah, remember David and all his affliction! 2 For he swore to Lord Jehovah and vowed to the God of Jacob: 3 “I shall not enter to the roof of my house; I shall not ascend to the mattress of my bed,” 4 “I shall not give sleep to my eyes, neither slumber to my eyebrows” 5 “Until I find a place for Lord Jehovah and a tent for the God of Jacob“. 6 Behold, we heard it in Ephrata and we found it in the fields.7 We shall enter his tabernacle and we shall worship at the stool of his feet. 8 Arise, Lord Jehovah, to your rest, you and the ark of your might! 9 Your priests will wear righteousness and your righteous ones -glory. 10 Because of David your Servant, do not turn away the face of your Anointed. 11 Lord Jehovah has sworn to David in truth and he will not turn from it: “One from the fruits of your loins I shall set upon your throne“. 12 “If your sons will keep my covenant -this testimony that I teach them, some also of their children will dwell to the eternity of eternities upon your throne” 13 “Because Lord Jehovah is pleased in Zion and he chose it a dwelling place.” 14 “This is my rest to an eternity of eternities; here I shall sit because I desired it.” 15 “And I shall bless her game and her poor ones I shall satisfy with bread“. 16 “I shall clothe her priests with salvation and her righteous ones in glory”. 17 “There I shall make the trumpet of David shine and I will shine a lamp for his Anointed.” 18 “And I shall clothe his enemies in shame, and upon him my holiness will flourish.” (Psalm 132, Aramaic Bible)
Wow! This packs some heavy clues. Today few pay attention to, especially when the text speaks of the Ark resting in Ephrata (Bethlehem).
Even the best of Protestant commentaries, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible is confused on how to interpret these verses since historically the Ark if the Covenant never rested in Bethlehem Ephratah:
Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah – Most probably this is the language of the contemporaries of David; or this is what they might be supposed to say; or this is what tradition reports that they did say. David’s purpose, as referred to in the previous verses, is not recorded in the history, and the memory of the whole transaction may have been handed down by tradition. Or, this may be merely poetic language, expressing the feelings of those who, when sent out by David, or accompanying him, found the ark. Much difficulty has been felt in regard to this verse. There is no mention in the history of the fact that the ark was “heard of” at Ephrata, or that it was ever there. The name Ephrata – אפרתה ‘ephrâthâh – is applied
He jotted several presumptions and concluded that the verse is difficult to interpret.
But the Bible is perfectly accurate. If the Ark rested in Bethlehem then it did.
You might quickly and prematurely say that the Ark here is Christ Who rested in Bethlehem. But this interpretation presents a major problem for Bible scholars. Take the same Albert Barnes (1798-1870) who wrote Barnes Notes, he knows that such an interpretation sets a major trap; how could this Ark in Psalm 132 be Christ when it accompanied Christ Himself in heaven?
Pay close attention: “Rise up, Lord [Christ], come to Your resting place, You and Your powerful ark”.
We do not have two Messiahs. There is only one.
And what is this ark all about? Here:
“Lord Jehovah, remember David and all his affliction! … I shall not enter to the roof of my house; I shall not ascend to the mattress of my bed. I shall not give sleep to my eyes, neither slumber to my eyebrows Until I find a place for Lord Jehovah and a tent for the God of Jacob.“
God remembers the suffering of David “Lord Jehovah, remember David and all his affliction”. He vows He will not ascend until He first descends and finds an earthly vessel, a tabernacle for a dwelling “for the God of Jacob” Who is Christ.
And this dwelling houses is for the God of Jacob (Christ) which is specifically announced to be in Bethlehem: “Behold, we heard it in Ephrata and we found it in the fields.” This is the Angelic Proclamation to the Shepherds where the shepherds heard of it (the Ark) in the Shepherd’s Fields in Bethlehem “Behold, we heard it in Ephrata and we found it in the fields.”
Therefore, this Ark pertains to the one Who housed Christ. This would be Mary when She arrived in Bethlehem Ephratah. God even had angels proclaim to shepherds to “go up to Bethlehem Ephratah” from the Shepherds Fields when she gave birth to the Messiah.
As the text so clearly reveals, there was only one “dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob” that is “the ark in Ephrathah [Bethlehem]” where God commanded “do not reject Your anointed one” Who can only be the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God housed in His Mother’s womb.
The rarely read Psalm 132 has a typological meaning that the “LORD” (Christ) who “arises” in the resurrection and ascends to the right hand of the Father will not rest until He dwells in the “ark” which is later taken up after He completes His mission fulfilling the suffering of David “Lord Jehovah, remember David and all his affliction.”
This ark was what held the Word of the New Covenant which is Christ Himself Whom was found for Him a tabernacle (Mary) and was heard of in Bethlehem’s Shepherd’s Fields.
So He ascends and this tabernacle, the tent that housed Him (Mary) will also be assumed to heaven which is His house: “I shall not enter to the roof [top] of my house; I shall not ascend to the mattress of my bed …”
And may I remind, throughout the Psalms, David’s contemplations are Christ’s.
From this there is no escape; this prophecy is as powerful as Micah 5. But it also speaks of Mother Mary. This is why many of the later scholars like Albert Barnes and other interpreters finagle the meaning claiming “Much difficulty has been felt in regard to this verse”; but all Bible scholars knew that the apostolic succession church believed the Ark was Mary and they did everything in their power to cover it up.
Unless we have the right piece of the puzzle we cannot interpret or even find the true Christ. To find Him, you must also find the Ark. Yet many interpret this Ark to be either a box or Jesus. But the box never rested in Bethlehem. Jesus is not the Ark as Psalm 132 clearly reveals for we would have two Messiahs.
However, Jesus did reside in Mary’s womb. Can any Christian deny that? But God forbid we examine this one because this became a major controversial topic only in the 19th century onwards and when many were deceived, they finagled the meaning and the Ark was strictly interpreted as Jesus.
But the Bible is a puzzle where any wrong piece will distort the entire image.
By missing this crucial piece no one can put the prophetic puzzle together.
So lets find other pieces many miss and get back to this hotly debated topic, keeping in mind that the first hotly debated topic ended up with only Noah winning while the earth with its entire population drowned to death (truth is not a majority vote).
ONLY THE TRUE CHURCH SUFFERS
“Remember David and all his affliction.” Psalm 132 speaks of David’s afflictions where the text swings from heaven towards earth and then earth towards heaven. This type of expression has a purpose. Christ asked Paul: “why do you persecute me?” Paul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” And Christ responded: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting”.
Paul was abusing Jesus yet he was not, directly that is, but here we have Jesus from Heaven itself is now on earth and is speaking to Paul, on earth, and is saying that He is being actively persecuted by Paul!
No one can fathom this unless the church on earth is linked to heaven and this access is the continuation of the Incarnation of Christ on Earth and is why scripture seems to jump between heaven and earth as we see in Psalm 132 as well as in Revelation 11-12.
This corporate unity between heaven and earth is well etched throughout scripture and involves much persecution:
“When the dragon [serpent] saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.” (Revelation 12:13)
So here we have a woman also being persecuted just as Jesus was persecuted. Is she in heaven or on earth? Scripture usually combines the earthy saints with the saints in heaven as one sphere.
Yet so crucial is this prophecy in Revelation 11-12. It is the fulfillment of the most ancient of prophecies in Genesis 3:15:
“I will put enmities between thee [Lucifer] and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”
Here, I will instantly get an objection; ‘stop teaching Mariology, this is a Catholic translation, all the other translations including the Hebrew says “His seed”‘.
True. But such a comment is repeated millions of times by people who lack wisdom. Does the translation by St. Jerome make any difference? In Revelation 12, the devil persecutes her seed:
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:14,17)
Here she is a single individual with multiple individuals (seed) being persecuted and in all translations it is ‘her seed’.
And so by persecuting her seed, she too is being persecuted just as described in Revelation 11-12. But it is also Christ Who is being persecuted just as He told Paul “why do you persecute Me“. Persecuting the saints or the Woman is just as persecuting Christ Himself as He so clearly described in Matthew 25.
This should establish the final peace treaty between Protestants and Catholics and so ‘blessed are the peace makers’; in this case this would be me. Success at last.
Therefore, Genesis 3:15 speaks of the “seed of the woman” as well as the seed of Christ. This would be Mary’s seed (plural seed) in a corporate way and is also Christ’s seed. Any doubts about this just read Isaiah 53:
“he [Messiah] will see his seed [offspring] and prolong his days” (Isaiah 53:10).
We also find Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 explained fully in Wisdom 2. He will see His seed and all this is in the context of a suffering servant who suffers, and by extension His seed also suffers; the Church that does not suffer is not the true Church.
Unless one understands that the church is corporate and it collaborates with the church in heaven above, while it suffers on earth below, they are not of Christ’s Church. Unless one accepts that Genesis 3:15 speaks of Isaiah 53 and of the Ark of Revelation 11-12, and of Psalm 132, it is impossible to join His Kingdom.
But where do we find that Ark in Revelation 11-12? It is in plain view for all who seek:
“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple.” (Revelation 11:19)
And to interpret the context regarding this Ark as if it is strictly the box, Christ or Israel presents the same dilemma as in Psalm 132.
At this point chapter 11 ends and chapter 12 begins. But the Bible was not written with chapter divisions—they were added in the 12th century. When John penned these words, there was no division between chapters 11 and 12; it was a continuing narrative. And what did John say immediately after seeing the Ark of the Covenant in heaven? Here it is:
“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” (Revelation 12:1-2).
This ‘Ark‘ that was seen in the heavenly Temple was a ‘woman’ who “brought forth a man child” (v.5); these are two separate individuals and she too is persecuted just as the man child is.
But this same Ark (the Woman) in Psalm 132 accompanies Christ Himself: “Arise, O Lord [God], and go to your resting place, you [Christ/God] and the ark of your might [that housed God on earth]… For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it [Zion] for his [God’s] dwelling place: This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.”
“Arise O Lord and go” Him and His ark. This Ark where God dwelt was assumed up in heaven and is resting with Messiah after His ressurection “go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might” in “Zion”.
Did God assume a box into heaven? And how is this “Zion” on earth, in Jerusalem, especially when it says that Christ ascended to Zion and that this Zion is His “resting place forever.” He has His ark with Him. This “Zion” is the very “Mount Zion” in Hebrews 12 where we approach “Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect [saints], and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant…”
One cannot be of the Kingdom and ignore the connect to the heavenly Mount Zion. It is impossible.
One can never interpret the New Testament or the Old Testament without having both testaments shed light on each other.
On the road to Emmaus even the two of the disciples were conversing when Jesus joined them He opened up the Scriptures (this would be the Old Testament) and interpreted all “the things concerning himself”. Christ, Himself, sets up the rules on how to do exegesis by looking back to the Old Testament to understand what is happening in the New. One can never isolate Psalm 132 regarding the Ark from the Ark of Revelation 11-12. It is impossible to ignore. St. Augustine said, “the New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New.” This is known as typology.
Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, even the Church from its inception laid the foundation by using typology in their biblical exegesis. This is what the first Christians did when searching for a defense against the Jews and heretics to show the truths about this woman, and thereby about Christ. Asking for direct quotes and direct references without typology is the way of the heretic who demands certain words be present to satisfy his scoffing.
So who is this woman? The catch 22 Jesus-style question is this; if this suffering woman being chased by Lucifer is “Israel” these must then contend with Isaiah 53 in which “the suffering servant” must also be “Israel“.
Answering this completely debunks any anti-Catholic argument since this is exactly what the Jews argue till this day for they too emphatically contend that Isaiah 53 is regarding Israel and not Jesus. This interpretation renders Jesus as Messiah to be obsolete.
To strictly apply the woman as “Israel” will also render Christ’s seed (His church) also obsolete. This will force all objectors to convert to Judaism. Even the Jews cannot easily interpret Psalm 132 unless they assume that a box was assumed to heaven.
One cannot have it both ways. And with such faulty interpretation one can easily twist the verses where we have no virgin birth arguing over the Almah versus Bethula which the Jews love to make such arguments.
Clicking to read modern Jewish arguments against Christianity are no different from clicking and reading modern Protestant arguments against Catholicism; both use the same methods. They both apply the same approach in order to avoid the obvious.
HOW TO GET IMMUNE FROM FAULTY INTERPRETATIONS
But why doesn’t God just make Himself plain!? Why would the Holy Spirit simply not instruct one of the biblical writers just jot: “the Ark is the Woman Mary, the Mother of Jesus”? After all this virgin birth is the salvation of the Jews and the gentiles!
This question in itself solves a mystery. Nowhere are any of these mysteries made clear in the Old Testament. But strangely, the Jews translated Alma (young maiden) to “Virgin” in the Greek Septuagint centuries before Christ. Why? It is because these translators had the Holy Spirit guiding them. They knew something we didn’t. Perhaps they knew that God will choose the unusual meaning over the usual expectations of man.
This is why I would rather trust the great men of God over any modern Bible translator. This is why I’d rather trust St. Jerome who translated the Bible from the Septuagint which has been the major source for Jesus and the Apostles.
If it was good for Jesus it should be good for us.
Jesus was aided by the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea just as St. Jerome was aided by a wealthy Roman aristocrat, Paula and he stayed in a monastery in Bethlehem and he completed his translation there. He used the Septuagint which the Jews translated in Alexandria, yet the mainstream Rabbinical Judaism rejected the Septuagint as invalid because of what were ascertained as mistranslations since it supported Christian theology. They insisted that Almah can never pertain to a virgin and they denounced the Septuagint even though they all used it before and during Christ. Today many evangelicals reject the Septuagint.
Even after the Jews had such division over Mary which came way later on when Protestant Christians in the nineteenth century became divided between two spheres arguing over the perpetual virginity of Mary. One side still argues that the perpetual virginity of Mary is an invention of human tradition while the ancient side argues that it is in the Bible. They began questioning; did Mary have relations with Joseph after the birth of Jesus? Is it usual that a husband and wife live together without sex?
As it seems, we should never discount the unusual choice. But instead of speaking plainly God tells us that:
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18).
The Greek word ‘sunerchomai’, translated as “came together” by the naked eye seems to refer to sexual relations until we find that ‘sunerchomai’ occurs 33 times in the New Testament, and only once (1 Cor. 7:5) is a sexual interpretation even possible. This becomes as unusual as the “alma” (maiden) and “bethulah” (virgin) controversy.
Today’s Evangelical would definitely go for ‘bethulah’ (maiden) to imply ‘virgin’ just as the Catholic would.
So why didn’t God plainly say whether Joseph “knew her” or “didn’t know her” and had His children live in relative peace and harmony? Why would God rather watch us from above split, squabble, bicker and even kill each other?
But this is how God divides sheep from goats, tares from wheat. Even if God gave all the answers, the tares will find a way to cause division no matter how plain the text is. The tares are known for their divisive approach to everything holy.
Even in Matthew 1:24-25, which says that Joseph “had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus,” the word “until” seems to indicate that after the birth of Jesus there were normal marital relations. However, the Greek word heos which is translated as until, does not imply that anything happened after Jesus‘ birth, nor does it exclude it. In Luke 1:80, in reference to John the Baptist it states: “The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.” Does this mean that once he appeared publicly he left the desert? No. The Baptist as we know from Scripture was a monastic who still lived in the desert after that. Therefore, Joseph, they say, had no relations with Mary even after she bore a Son. The Greek heôs, “until,” does not necessarily contrast “before” to “after.” It means that up to a certain moment, something happened or not, without considering what happened after that moment. For instance, the Greek text of the Septuagint says in 2 Samuel 6:23, that “Mikal, daughter of Saul, had no children until (heôs) the days of her death.” This obviously does not suggest that she had children after her death.
Matthew is interested in underlining that Jesus’ birth and conception were carried out without the intervention of any man. So says one side of the argument. The other side says that Mary had her “firstborn son” must imply that she had a “second” or even a “third” son. But the term prôtotokos, “firstborn,” as applied to males is recognized to have a unique legal meaning. In Exodus 13:2, the Lord says: “Consecrate to me all the firstborn; whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” Moses, in Exodus 13:12, adds: “You shall set apart to the Lord all that first opens the womb.” Firstborn does not necessitate there is, or there is not, a second born.
The lazy servant would read: “And She brought forth Her first-born Son” (Lk. 2:7) and conclude that she must have had others while the wise understands that the “firstborn” does not refer to Jesus’ birth order, the word ‘protokos‘ would be better translated as “firstborn of God” describing the supreme importance of his birth.
And scriptures validate this: “He is “the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature” (Col. 1:15) and “The faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead” (Apoc. 1:5) Who was the first to rise to immortal life “the first born into the world” (Heb 1:6); “the firstborn of the dead” (Col 1:18) … the one who has primacy over all.
Therefore, God’s church is a structure and Christ has primacy over all since He is the first born of all creation.
But the lazy servant would counter and say that God Himself said, “Israel is my son, my firstborn” (Ex 4:22) yet the wise replies that Jesus is the New Israel, while salvation came through the Chosen People Israel, now salvation comes through the newborn Jesus, the firstborn of Israel.
God just did not want to be plain in order to divide wise from lazy which is exactly what Christ proclaimed: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
If Joseph and Mary never had sexual relations, why didn’t Matthew simply write, “He knew her not until the day of his death”? This way everyone will turn Catholic. Or why didn’t He say “He knew her after she bore a son”? This way two billion Catholics will turn Evangelical.
So the text isn’t that cut and dry. On such issues He does not speak plainly and nor does He accept phone calls for an interview to ask Him. Instead, He has us debate these issues ad nauseam while He watches from above at the wrong foolish side that didn’t get it and the wise who did.
As it seems, in Gods ways, even amongst his institution, there is always two sides, one is right while the other is wrong, Cain got it wrong and Abel got it right.
But how does one know who got it right or who got it wrong?
The answer to this is simple; the one who got it right is always hated by the side that got it wrong. Finding the hatred is key. Finding out who attacks and who defends reveals tare from wheat.
Even Galatians 4:29 confirms: “the sons born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit”.
This in itself is prophetic for the whole of scripture is prophetic; the one that attacks is the tare and the one that is attacked is the wheat for the tares saps the wheat and wares it down
So which interpretation attacked the other? The Church from its inception believed in the apostolic tradition regarding Mary until the 19th century. Historically, who attacked who?
The wise sees clearly that the text is not so clear while the unwise demands clear text and he mocks and attacks the wise for failing to do so always asking ‘chapter and verse’.
In Matthew 13, Scripture said: “Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us”.
And from the plain English it seems that Mary did know Joseph. After all where did these “brothers” and “sisters” come from? So we think that finally God made Himself plain.
But He didn’t. He later on throws in a monkey wrench. The text was written in the socio-cultural milieu of the authors of the New Testament. In Judaism the use of the word “brother” (adelphos) could be referring to actual siblings or to non-siblings. And then we find in Mark 15:40, where they are said to be the sons of some Mary, one of the women watching the crucifixion who was never identified as the mother of Jesus.
Nowhere in the New Testament are these “brothers” of Jesus also identified as “sons of Mary”. James and Joses are two of the “brethren” of Jesus mentioned in Matthew 13:55, so this woman is clearly their mother, not the Mother of Jesus. This “other Mary” (Mt 28:1) is mentioned in John 19:25 as “Mary the wife of Cleophas”, the “sister” of Jesus’ mother Mary (“sister” here probably refers to a sister-in-law, since they are both called Mary).
Why couldn’t God make Himself plain and say “His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas, the sons of Mary mother of Jesus“?
In Mark 6:3, the people of Nazareth identified Jesus as “the son of Mary.” Some argue that this is not necessarily to allude to Jesus’ virginal conception, but to possibly deny Jesus since people in Nazareth suspected or knew that Jesus was not Joseph’s child alluding he was illegitimate. Christian history argues that “the Son of Mary” in Mark 6:3 is a phrase which in that culture denoted the only child of a widow. And Mary is always called simply “the mother of Jesus”, never “the mother of Jesus, James, Joses, Simon, Judas and their sisters”.
What we do know is that the vast majority of the Fathers of the Church believed that Mary’s virginity remained post partum and the few who denied the perpetual virginity was considered a heretic like Helvidian and Hegesippus and these became extinct. So if these two were the true Church, Jesus then failed to ‘build His church’ until the 19th century arrived. Yet the closer we get to the end, scripture states that the church will become more heretical. How is it then that the most heretical generation is now most holy accurate?
Christians did not find it an obstacle to consider Jesus’ adelphoi as his cousins, step-brothers or half-brothers. All churches adopted that point of view–be it the Catholic one, the Orthodox one, or even the Reformation one (with Luther and Calvin).
What would shock most is that it was only until the nineteenth century, when people thought that they were smarter and so biblical scholars began to question the consensus in the name of the historical-critical method of interpretation.
Sounds surprising? It isn’t. But this is the truth. And here we are told to believe that the Church has always got it wrong for 20 centuries.
But more important than all this diatribe. We are of the seed of Christ, but we are also of the seed of Mary for we call her “our Mother”.
The Bible itself seems to leave many issues open for speculation. But the question is why? Why didn’t God make it so plainly conclusive in the Bible?
The answer to this again is simple. Typology and allegory are at times the only weapon we have to thwart the heretic and is why Christ Himself alluded to this when He was asked: “Why do You speak to them in parables?” (Matthew 13:10) and Christ responded clearly:
“Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given . . . . And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive, for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them’ (Matthew 13:11,14,15).
This is how wheat and tares are divided.
In fact, scripture is clear that without a “mother” or an “altar of sacrifice” there is no church. John allegorically describes (as Ezekiel described) the measuring rod to measure the temple:
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein [around an altar]. But the court which is without the temple [without an altar of sacrifice] leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles [pagans]: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” (Revelation 11:1-2).
This “Altar” and “woman” in Revelation 11-12 is a major clue. If this “altar” was in a rebuilt Jewish temple, Hebrews 13:10 makes a compelling argument:
We [the true church] have an altar from which the [Jewish] priests in the [temple] Tabernacle have no right to eat.”
This is clearly no altar for the Jews who reject Christ and without a literal altar there is no church.
If such an altar was spiritual to signify Christ or the Cross, why would the Jews have no right to spiritually feed on Jesus or the old rugged cross? Therefore, you either have “an altar” and a “mother” or you don’t. And if you don’t; you are left out of the temple of God.
John is very clear on this and in fact he ties this whole story of Revelation 12 to the Ark of the Covenant in Revelation 11. If this “ark” is a literal ark to be placed in a Jewish temple, how could this verse fit:
“Return [repent], faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will not be angry forever … I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the Lord, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord.“
He brings them to the Mount Zion of God where Jerusalem is finally redeemed and there will be no talk of a literal Ark. Unless one has the correct piece of the puzzle, no matter what one does to gymnastically twist it, the puzzle will not fit and the whole structure would look awkward.
That piece is the corporate responsibility where heaven and earth cooperate and where the Church has an altar, a mother and a presence of Christ on earth to be with us in the Eucharist until the close of the age. After all “His name shall be called Emanuel” which is “God with us”. This presence is not just the first coming or some pie in the sky, but an actual presence. It is either God is always with us or He is not. He said: “I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world“. (Matthew 28:20) How is Christ with us until the end of the world? One cannot argue “the Holy Spirit”.
But the puzzle was already put together a thousand times over from the first century onwards. The Church are the Christians who see the woman, Mary, as the crowned queen;
“Then a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars … the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent … And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:1, 14,17)
The dragon was wroth with the Queen woman (thats one part of this equation) and went to make war with the remnant of her seed (this is the other part of this equation) and these have “the testimony of Jesus Christ“.
This alone completely abolishes the argument that the woman is the earthly Israel but is Mary with her seed, the Israel of God.
As John clearly stated, “the court outside the temple” “outside the altar” who do not have an altar, are the Christians that were not tested (measured), but will be left out as lazy servants.
The Church Christ founded as soon as He departed is a structured, visible Church where deacons and priests were approved and blessed, where Mary was honored and where an Altar was clearly used from New Testament times until now. A Christian in the first century cannot choose to accept Christ but not join this visible Church at the time. This is impossible and no scholar has ever proven that churches were independent from one another; they all were part of a hierarchy.
To reject that church in the first century meant you rejected Christ Himself. It meant that you are left out. You cannot divide between the two. Had a self-appointed pastor started a denomination then, this would go against what Christ said “I will build my church” which is a single universal church that encompass the whole earth.
How it started was simple: “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach” (Mark 3:14).
Do you see this “He appointed”?
Was anyone in the entire Bible self-appointed? Never. You would never find such a thing in the entire scriptures.
One might argue that it was Christ Who appointed these and not some church hierarchy. Really?
From Christ “the first born” (He is the head) Jesus appointed others:
“So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:2-7)
So what if some follower of these men decided to start his own church purchasing some real estate downtown Jerusalem, would this suffice? Never. This renegade would be the church-rebellion. Every ordained minister had to be “presented” “to the apostles” for approval and the laying of hands to bless them. Without the hierarchical blessing they are out of the temple of God. Barnabas and Paul went to Derbe, a city in the Roman province of Galatia in Asia Minor where:
“They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.” (Acts 14:21-22)
Without hardship, they would not enter the Kingdom of God. Then “Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.” (Acts 14:23)
Do we find anywhere in scripture where the converts in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch on their own accord ‘appointed elders’ (priests)? They had to be “appointed” as scripture states.
To self-appoint oneself would have been unthinkable. Everyone who was appointed was appointed through a hierarchy where Christ is the head. Therefore, any renegade or self-appointed priest would not be part of the Church or the Kingdom of God.
The Church then, and just like it is in the apostolic-succession churches today did not practice liberal independent capitalism. They shared and were part of a communal structure just as we see today in the apostolic succession:
“There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.” (Acts 4:34)
And there are even many clues in scripture as to who the renegades (the tares) were and how they believed and thought. During the time of Jesus, the protesters of the day were the Sadducees who protested much. Their main difference was that they rejected the Oral Law (Holy Tradition) which was set throughout the ages and was passed down and taught by the Pharisees just as Paul taught “brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.” (2 These 2:15)
“Whether by word” was not a written scripture.
But besides oral tradition, even the Church, stemmed out of the Pharisees and not the Sadducees. Converts from the Sadducees are never found in scripture. From Genesis to Revelation, the whole story of God’s people is always a divide between Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, wheat and tares, sheep and goat, trustworthy servants who aided in Christ’s suffering and unworthy servants who said “Lord Lord” yet He rejected them …
Today’s self-appointed pastors are no different than the Sadducees.
But even the story of the Sadducees is in itself prophetic. Everything in Scripture is prophetic. These had lesser books than the Pharisees and were strict sola-scripturists and they saw the written Torah as the sole source of divine authority. In Acts 4 it was the “Sadducees [who] came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” (Acts 4:1-2) Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead.
And today self-proclaimed pastors are running roundabout with seven missing books claiming to fully accept the resurrection of the dead, yet these offer one caveat; when it comes to the saints in heaven, they deny they are living and claiming that these are “dead”. The saints become ‘dead’ when it comes to the intercession of the saints. So the saints are ‘dead’ when scripture itself proclaimed that they are truly ‘living’ “to be absent of the body is to be present with the Lord”.
This is a major contradiction which reveals that to miss one piece of the puzzle is a disaster.
They only speak of substance when it comes to the corps when Christians ask for the intercession of saints. Then they speak of the spirit yet they ignore the substance in the Eucharist.
But the testing is on its way. In fact, we have seen it already and recent history proves the apostolic succession’s interpretation. We see globally from Egypt to Poland, that it is the Apostolic Succession churches that are persecuted by the millions. What is the number of persecuted Protestants in the last century? Again, John describes this by taking a measuring rod to measure (test) the temple:
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure [test] the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple (the true church) leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” (Revelation 11:1-2).
Notice the theme of Revelation 11-12, the seed of the woman is the one chased by Lucifer for persecution. The temple is being trodden for 42 months. Notice the “altar and them that worship therein” are the only ones ‘measured’ (tested by fire of persecution) while the tares who have no altar are left without.
But this is in itself prophetic; it is amazing to see that John through the Holy Spirit foreknew that such a divide will exist in the last days where a huge portion of what constitutes the church (temple) would have no altar of sacrifice and in fact such an altar is mocked daily by protesters calling it sun disk and accusing it to be pagan while they completely ignore that in Revelation 11-12 the true seed (the true church) are of the Queen Woman.
That should be astounding to any true seeker of Christ. No wonder why Christ demanded we search with all of our hearts, strength and mind.
And how could such mockery of Christ, His Altar, His Presence and His Mother be included in the Kingdom? John makes perfect sense. These are not brethren unless they repent. Yet Revelation 11-12 is clearly and primarily the Church (who see the woman, Mary, as the crowned queen) since “the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent … And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:14,17)
“The court outside the temple” are the Christians that were not protected and are taken away by the serpent and not destined for persecution and will be subject to Satan’s deception during that same time (Revelation 12:17).
One cannot put the pieces of the puzzle without understanding that the Ark is Mary, the Woman is Mary and the Altar is the Eucharistic sacrificial altar and that both Jesus and Mary have the Church as the seed of both Christ and Mary and that Antichrist comes to stop the “grain offering” and that the priests in Joel 2 weep since “The grain offering [Bread] and the drink offering [wine]. Have been cut off from the house of the Lord [the Temple]; The priests mourn, who minister to the Lord … Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand; It shall come as destruction from the Almighty” and in Daniel “he will stop the sacrifice and grain offering” involves the desecration or the prohibition of the Eucharist for if we knowingly consume what is desecrated or reject to consume the Body of Christ then we have desecrated the very Temple of God.
Today we see countless of renegades demean Christ’s mother, Altar, Incense and all. Cain mocks the pleasant smoke to God’s nostrils. So would the King Who was born in Bethlehem, and Who declared that the one without proper garments to enter hell, all of the sudden He allows someone to treat His mother as an incubator and give her a lesser status from a queen?
Impossible. One must put on their best attire in Christ’s wedding and have ample oil in their lamps. We are dealing here with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I weep writing these words and I tremble as I contemplate God’s mysteries and His awesome Wisdom. I witnessed His very footsteps and I denied Him more than thrice. Have mercy on my soul O Son of David a sinner.
St. Jerome who dwelt in Bethlehem learned Hebrew and defended the honor Queen and Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. In his The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary, Against Helvidius, St. Jerome replied to that Helvidius the heretic, who had denied the Perpetual Virginity:
“You have set on fire the temple of the Lord’s body; you have defiled the sanctuary of the Holy Ghost from which you are determined to make a team of four brethren and a heap of sisters come forth. In a word, joining in the chorus of the Jews, you say, ‘Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? The word would not be used if there were not a crowd of them.’ Pray tell me, who, before you appeared, was acquainted with this blasphemy? Who thought the theory worth two-pence? You have gained your desire, and are become notorious by crime.”
Even the existence and the ending of Helvidius is prophetic for in the end of days these will arise who completely lack knowledge and would hate knowledge claiming that ‘it is not about knowledge’ while God Himself said that “my people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
One cannot dare today tell any woman, unless they are a fanatic Muslim, that she is nothing more than a “functionary,” used by her husband to bear a son destined to die as a Muslim martyr. But the Divine Son of God? With Christ we have all the multitudes of heretics are daily daring to say this of only one woman; the marvelous Woman, the Immaculate Conception!
These would make a web of confusion which takes the wise ample work to reveal their deception.
Scripture is written in a way that the scoffer will choose the faulty comprehension. Scripture is no biography or a historic record but is a teaching. The lost would read Christ and His disciples picking a few kernels of wheat, the lost would see this and say ‘Jesus was hungry’ while the prudent and the wise would see a much grandeur event regarding the Bread of the Presence.
Christ revealed the big picture in that very event:
“Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” (Mark 2:25-26)
Notice that our Lord mentions here, this bread is not just any bread, but was “the bread of the Presence”.
The presence of what? The presence of God. God is with us. This bread was also in the Ark of the Covenant just as Christ was in the Ark of Mary, where God was present. The Disciples were picking grain, which would be the ingredient for the “grain offering,” the Sacrifice in the Last Supper. It is this same Sacrifice of which Christ said, “This is my body, which is given for you.” (Luke 22:19) Had this not been such a crucial event and had this been strictly as a memorial, why would God Himself shake the heavens and the earth when this sacrificial offering is hindered by Antichrist?
Both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church declare that the Real “Presence” of the Christ-God is in the Eucharist, which is that grain sacrifice prophesied by the prophet Malachi; and this Real Presence, this is what Christ foretold when He referenced “the bread of the Presence” which David had eaten.
The lazy understands that the world was condemned by the participation of a man (Adam) a woman (Eve) and a tree (of the knowledge of good and evil) and a snake (Lucifer); but the wise will look further to see that it is also redeemed by the participation of a man (Christ the New Adam), a woman (Mary the New Eve), and a tree (the Cross) where the seed of the woman would finally crush the serpent’s head. This crushing is also in the very theme of Revelation 11, 12 and 13 which continue to tell the same story: “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast” (Revelation 13:3) and this theme is in Judges 8:21 where Gideon as a type of Christ crushes the “crescent ornaments” while the Woman crushes the moon under her feet which is the crushing of Satan’s kingdom which is indeed through Christ but also includes His body, the Church (Zechariah 14) “and all the saints [the church] with You”. “All the saints” must then also include St. Mary, a woman.
The lazy servant would read when Christ told His mother “Woman, behold your son” as if Jesus was simply minimizing His Mother as a last will and testament he passed her to John to simply care for her.
The wise looks at this and sees the “Spiritual” Motherhood proclaimed by Christ Himself from the Cross: “Behold thy Mother” (Jn. 19:27) as a momentous declaration which St. John recorded:
“Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus, therefore, saw His Mother, and the disciple standing, whom He loved, He saith to His Mother; Woman, Behold thy Son. After that, He saith to the disciple; Behold thy Mother. And that hour the disciple took Her to his own. Afterwards Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, said; I thirst” (Jn. 19:25-28).
“After that, He saith to the disciple; Behold thy Mother.” This ends all arguments.
Mary is now the mother of John. So important was this that in the midst of His Passion, Jesus gave Mary to the Church, represented by St. John. It was only then that all things were accomplished.
Mary consented not just to become the Mother of the Redeemer of mankind, but implicitly to become the Mother of the Redeemed and is why the church on earth are “the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:14,17)
Why “remnant”? Because her seed are mostly in heaven and are partially on earth from whatever remnant serving the last three and a half years. The devil persecutes her seed (the Ark’s seed) the seed promised in Genesis 3:15 “seed of the woman” and the “seed of Messiah” as declared in Isaiah 53: “he [Messiah] will see his seed [offspring] and prolong his days” (Isaiah 53:10) and even Abraham’s promise “I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17). The Jews isolate chapters to argue that the suffering g servant in Isaiah 53 is Israel yet the theme stems from Isaiah 49:
Listen, O coastlands, unto me [God]; and hearken, you people, from afar; The LORD has called me [The Son] from the womb; from the body of my mother [Mother of God] has he made mention of my name.” (Isaiah 49:1).
So far, we have kept it purely scriptural. This is so clear “the body of my mother [God’s mother]”. Even Luke mentions Elizabeth’s womb housing John:
“and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb” (Lk 1:15)”.
God, the Holy Spirit, was using Mary as His physical temple to carry Messiah symbolized in the Ark in Hebrews 9:4, as the “little urn,” which “held the manna” (bread of life/Christ).
Therefore, one cannot isolate saying that this is one thing while it is completely another somewhere else. Isaiah 49:1, Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, Wisdom 2, Zechariah 12, Revelation 11,12,13 all have the same theme that is: these verses are mainly regarding the Messiah and by extension His seed and Mary’s seed in a church that is orchestrated in heaven emulated on earth with hierarchy and order so that the two (church militant on earth and the church triumphant in heaven) are connected where we access heaven by approaching the men made perfect, the spirits of the first born, the angels and the head; Jesus Christ our mediator as clearly described in Hebrews 12.
Everything in scripture must tightly fit like a glove and without interpreting all the pieces through typology nothing will ever fit.
St. Ambrose (+397), Father and Doctor of the Church stated:
“But Mary did not fail, the mistress of virginity did not fail; nor was it possible that She who had borne God, should be regarded as bearing a man. And Joseph, the just man, assuredly did not so completely lose his mind as to seek carnal intercourse with the Mother of God.” (De Inst. Virg., VI, 44)
So the Church wasn’t like we see today as if some can decide to start their own churches, yet all these were considered throughout history as outside the Altar of God. The Ebionites in the second century, sort of like the Messianics of today adhered to the observance of the Jewish Law where as result some rejected, the virginal birth of Christ, though all rejected His pre-existence and Divinity and denied Mary’s Perpetual Virginity.
Eusebius (+ 341) wrote against them as well as St. Epiphanius (+403), Father of the Church (Adversus haereses):
“Was there ever anyone who dared pronounce the name of holy Mary without immediately adding the title Virgin?”
The church is a single church, a lighthouse that while it falls away, God always preserves a remnant:
“You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”