In light of Christmas approaching us, it is only right for all Christians, regardless of denomination, to reflect on this prayer and hymn that the Blessed Mother of our Lord, the Virgin Mary, gave when the news was announced by the angel Gabriel, that she would give birth to our Lord Jesus Christ, God in the flesh and the Saviour of mankind as well as the Messiah of Israel promised since the times of the Patriarchs and Prophets of Israel:
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. (Luke 1:46-55)
Apostolic Christians (both Catholic and Orthodox) commonly refer to this hymn as the Magnificat, based on the Latin words for the opening words of that hymn or prayer to God: “My soul doth magnify the Lord”-“Magnificat anima mea Dominum”. Regardless of the denomination, it is my sincere hope that all Christians will learn some deep Scriptural truths from this simple yet profound prayer or hymn that was given by the Virgin Mary to glorify God.
From the Magnificat of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we can learn the following truths:
- The Lord God is to be magnified
- God is the Saviour of both the Virgin and mankind
- God considers the Virgin: ‘Blessed’
- The mercy of God is shown to those that fear Him in every generation.
- God is both Mighty, does great things and is called “Holy”.
- The arm of God shows strength, with which He scatters the proud and humbles the proud, whilst exalting those who are humble to recognize lowliness.
- God fills the hungry with good things but sends the rich away empty.
- God helps Israel, and never forgot His mercy or covenant with Abraham and to Abraham’s seed forever.
Scripturally, each of these points can be supported with the testimony of the Scripture generally. However, of the many points that seemed to be either overlooked or ignored altogether is the last point. Why this needs to be brought up is because many people in the Christian Church (Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox) have swallowed a gross lie and heresy that is so subtle. This heresy is known as “Replacement Theology”. In it, all the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have been made null and void, and is spiritually fulfilled only by the Church, and thus there is no future for the redemption of the children of Israel. This is not only a gross misrepresentation of the Scriptures, but also has very sinister implications for the Church as well. If Israel can be totally replaced and negated based on her lack of faithfulness, so too can the Church be replaced and made null and void based on her lack of faithfulness too! However, the testimony of Scripture is clear that Israel shall be restored, not just as a nation but more importantly as a renewed people accepting the True Messiah, Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha Maschiach). In v54 and v55, the Blessed Virgin Mary clearly sees hope for the children of Israel, of which she is also a part of as well. She knows that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is faithful and reminds us that God has spoken to Abraham and his seed forever. In addition, she can see through the Spirit of God speaking through her, that her Son, Who she acknowledges as her God and Saviour in v47, will be the One to ultimately save Israel in the future and to fulfill to the letter all the promises made to the Righteous Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
We also see in the Blessed Virgin Mary, humility and servitude towards God and virtually most of her Magnificat glorifies the greatness of God, whilst acknowledging God’s mercies and kindness to those who humble themselves before God. This is consistent all throughout Scripture, in both Old and New Testaments. In fact, the Blessed Virgin as a devout Jewess, knew this Scripture and was even quoting it in v50: “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;” (Psalm 103:17). God gives his mercy indeed to those who fear Him and humble themselves before him. Such was indeed the case with not only many of the prophets such as Moses, who did not see anything in himself to the point of saying to God that he could not speak nor do anything (Exodus , and yet we find that God gives Moses such a compliment of his character to the point of using him mightily: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3) Elsewhere in Scripture, we are reminded of God exalting those who humble themselves before Him and scattering the proud. These few verses that shall be revealed were indeed referred to in v51-53, and were known by the Mother of our Lord.
“The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever” (Psalm 22:26)
“The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” (Psalm 25:9)
“When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.” (Psalm 76:9)
“The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.” (Psalm 147:6)
“The Lord hath cast down the thrones of proud princes, and set up the meek in their stead.” (Wisdom of Sirach 10:14)
Let us learn from this to not only glorify God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) but also to humble ourselves before God (I Peter 5:5, 6) and each other. Let us also pray and seek the restoration of Israel to the True Messiah and God, our Lord Jesus Christ. As long as Romans Chapters 9-11 is in the Scriptures, we cannot accept Replacement Theology and should pray as did the Blessed Virgin Mary, for Israel’s help and restoration in fullness, both nationally and spiritually.
The Blessed Father, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, a direct disciple of St. Polycarp, who was taught directly by the Blessed Apostle St. John, recognized the Blessed Virgin Mary’s humility in accepting the responsibility of bearing her own God and Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this, he acknowledged her as the ‘new Eve’ just as Christ is the ‘second Adam’ as stated in I Corinthians 15:45-47, due to her obedience and thus reversing the disobedience of Eve. Both the Blessed Virgin Mary, being a devout Jewess, and the Holy Father, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, bore in mind the prophecy of Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The Blessed Virgin Mary could see her part in this prophecy and also could see the fulfillment of it in her Blessed Son, the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha Maschiach). She could see her Son as the Seed that will bruise the head of Satan whilst having his heel bruised. In light of this, St. Irenaeus of Lyons as a direct disciple of the Blessed Apostle St. John, who was entrusted with caring for the Blessed Virgin Mary as his own mother (John 19:26, 27), could thus speak of her as ‘the new Eve’, based on her obedience to God, thus reversing Eve’s disobedience.
All this can be confirmed in these statements:
“4. In accordance with this design, Mary the Virgin is found obedient, saying, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word. (Luke 1:38) But Eve was disobedient; for she did not obey when as yet she was a virgin. And even as she, having indeed a husband, Adam, but being nevertheless as yet a virgin (for in Paradise they were both naked, and were not ashamed, (Genesis 2:25) inasmuch as they, having been created a short time previously, had no understanding of the procreation of children: for it was necessary that they should first come to adult age, and then multiply from that time onward), having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed [to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience, become the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race. And on this account does the law term a woman betrothed to a man, the wife of him who had betrothed her, although she was as yet a virgin; thus indicating the back-reference from Mary to Eve, because what is joined together could not otherwise be put asunder than by inversion of the process by which these bonds of union had arisen; so that the former ties be cancelled by the latter, that the latter may set the former again at liberty. And it has, in fact, happened that the first compact looses from the second tie, but that the second tie takes the position of the first which has been cancelled. For this reason did the Lord declare that the first should in truth be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19:30, Matthew 20:16) And the prophet, too, indicates the same, saying, instead of fathers, children have been born unto you. For the Lord, having been born the First-begotten of the dead, (Revelation 1:5) and receiving into His bosom the ancient fathers, has regenerated them into the life of God, He having been made Himself the beginning of those that live, as Adam became the beginning of those who die. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22) Wherefore also Luke, commencing the genealogy with the Lord, carried it back to Adam, indicating that it was He who regenerated them into the Gospel of life, and not they Him. And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.” (Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 22, 4)
“As Eve was seduced by the word of an angel and so fled from God after disobeying his word, Mary in her turn was given the good news by the word of an angel, and bore God in obedience to his word. As Eve was seduced into disobedience to God, so Mary was persuaded into obedience to God; thus the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve. Christ gathered all things into one, by gathering them into himself. He declared war against our enemy, crushed him who at the beginning had taken us captive in Adam, and trampled on his head, in accordance with God’s words to the serpent in Genesis: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall lie in wait for your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.”
The one lying in wait for the serpent’s head is the one who was born in the likeness of Adam from the woman, the Virgin. This is the seed spoken of by Paul in the letter to the Galatians: The law of works was in force until the seed should come to whom the promise was made.
He shows this even more clearly in the same letter when he says: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman. The enemy would not have been defeated fairly if his vanquisher had not been born of a woman, because it was through a woman that he had gained mastery over man in the beginning, and set himself up as man’s adversary.
That is why the Lord proclaims himself the Son of Man, the one who renews in himself that first man from whom the race born of woman was formed; as by a man’s defeat our race fell into the bondage of death, so by a man’s victory we were to rise again to life.” (Against Heresies, Lib. 5, 19, 1; 20, 2; 21,1: SC 153, 248-250. 260-264)
He also bore in mind the Messianic prophecy in Genesis 3:15, and thus could see our Lord’s future in defeating the Antichrist and the False Prophet, as well as our Lord’s millennial reign in Jerusalem, fulfilling the promises to its fullest regarding the Patriarchs, as well as all the prophecies by the Prophets relating to Israel’s restoration to God, both nationally and spiritually. In fact, he even states clearly:
“But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared, that many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.(Matthew 8:11)”[Against Heresies, Book V, Chapter 30, Section 4. Emphasis mine] and reiterates that the reign of Christ in Jerusalem and all the Old Testament prophecies therein, are literal not figurative and thus states: ““ If, however, any shall endeavour to allegorize [prophecies] of this kind, they shall not be found consistent with themselves in all points, and shall be confuted by the teaching of the very expressions [in question]. For example: “When the cities” of the Gentiles “shall be desolate, so that they be not inhabited, and the houses so that there shall be no men in them and the land shall be left desolate.”(Isaiah 6:11) “For, behold,” says Isaiah, “the day of the Lord cometh past remedy, full of fury and wrath, to lay waste the city of the earth, and to root sinners out of it.”(Isaiah 13:9)
And again he says:
“Let him be taken away, that he behold not the glory of God.”(Isaiah 26:10)
And when these things are done, he says:
“God will remove men far away, and those that are left shall multiply in the earth.”(Isaiah 6:12) “And they shall build houses, and shall inhabit them themselves: and plant vineyards, and eat of them themselves.”(Isaiah 65:21)
For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist, and the destruction of all nations under his rule; in [the times of] which [resurrection] the righteous shall reign in the earth, waxing stronger by the sight of the Lord: and through Him they shall become accustomed to partake in the glory of God the Father, and shall enjoy in the kingdom intercourse and communion with the holy angels, and union with spiritual beings; and [with respect to] those whom the Lord shall find in the flesh, awaiting Him from heaven, and who have suffered tribulation, as well as escaped the hands of the Wicked one.
For it is in reference to them that the prophet says:
“And those that are left shall multiply upon the earth,” And Jeremiah the prophet has pointed out, that as many believers as God has prepared for this purpose, to multiply those left upon earth, should both be under the rule of the saints to minister to this Jerusalem, and that [His] kingdom shall be in it, saying: “Look around Jerusalem towards the east, and behold the joy which comes to thee from God Himself. Behold, thy sons shall come whom thou hast sent forth: they shall come in a band from the east even unto the west, by the word of that Holy One, rejoicing in that splendour which is from thy God. O Jerusalem, put off thy robe of mourning and of affliction, and put on that beauty of eternal splendour from thy God. Gird thyself with the double garment of that righteousness proceeding from thy God; place the mitre of eternal glory upon thine head. For God will show thy glory to the whole earth under heaven. For thy name shall for ever be called by God Himself, the peace of righteousness and glory to him that worships God. Arise, Jerusalem, stand on high, and look towards the east, and behold thy sons from the rising of the sun, even to the west, by the Word of that Holy One, rejoicing in the very remembrance of God. For the footmen have gone forth from thee, while they were drawn away by the enemy. God shall bring them in to thee, being borne with glory as the throne of a kingdom. For God has decreed that every high mountain shall be brought low, and the eternal hills, and that the valleys be filled, so that the surface of the earth be rendered smooth, that Israel, the glory of God, may walk in safety. The woods, too, shall make shady places, and every sweet-smelling tree shall be for Israel itself by the command of God. For God shall go before with joy in the light of His splendour, with the pity and righteousness which proceeds from Him.” (Baruch 4:36, Chap. 5)[Against Heresies, Book V, Chapter 35, Section 1. Emphasis mine]
Clearly he believed in Israel’s national and spiritual restoration to our Lord Jesus Christ. How much more should we, the Church who accepts Apostolic Teaching!
Let us learn to submit to God and to give the clear worship that is due to our Lord Jesus Christ. The Blessed Virgin Mary clearly acknowledged the Name of God as ‘Holy’ (Psalm 111:9) as well as “Mighty” (Deuteronomy 10:17; Job 36:5; Psalm 50:1; Isaiah 1:24; Jeremiah 32:18) and accepted God as Saviour.
The Lord Jesus Christ is clearly called ‘Holy’ and ‘Saviour’ as well as “Mighty” (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:11; 24:19; Acts 2:27; 3:14). In addition, our Lord Jesus Christ was foretold by the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the Ruler of Israel forever in these words:
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father, David. And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:32, 33).
Clearly, the Lord Jesus Christ is Holy, Saviour and Ruler of Israel. Elizabeth, the cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary worshipped our Lord Jesus Christ as God, even in the womb when she stated: “And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:44)
For my Protestant brethren who struggle with this statement, clearly Elizabeth saw our Lord in the womb as her “Lord”, and since she has no other “Lord” save Yahweh/Jehovah, what can we honestly conclude but that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God? I remember sharing this some time ago with a heretical Jehovah’s Witness who obviously denied the Deity of our Lord and struggled even more with the Apostolic Church teaching of the Virgin Mary being the Mother of God. I thus asked the same question to him and added: “As a devout Jewess, Elizabeth would be aware of the Scripture: “I, even I, am the LORD (Jehovah/Yahweh); and beside me there is no saviour.” (Isaiah 43:10), and for her and the Virgin Mary to address the child in the womb as both “Lord” and “Saviour”, what can we honestly conclude about the Lord Jesus Christ, and for that matter, who the Virgin Mary is to be called the Mother of Who based on this?”
Needless to say, the Watchtower member was stumped and did not know what to say for himself. In all cases, all glory is given to our Lord Jesus Christ as God in the flesh, the Second Person of the Trinity. (I Timothy 3:16).
The Magnificat clearly teaches us in summary to glorify God; worship our Lord Jesus Christ as God, humble ourselves before God and to pray for and seek Israel’s spiritual and national restoration. Let us attend and worship our God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Finally, it also teaches us to learn from the example of the Mother of our Lord, the Virgin Mary, as the Mother of God, to be humble and not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to and learn the simple truth: “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6; I Peter 5:5).
Christ is born. Let us glorify Him! (Χριστός γεννιέται! Δοξάσει!)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Both now and always, and unto the ages upon ages. Amen.
Δόξα Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ καὶ Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι,
καὶ νῦν καὶ ἀεὶ καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν (Greek)
תהילה אל האב, ועל הבן של רוח הקודש, גם עכשיו ותמיד, ואל הגילאים הגילאים. אמן
ال مجد ل لآب والاب ن ال روح ال قدس و،
داهري ن.والآن وإل ى الأب د وإن ا دهر ال . آم ين (Arabic)
아버지와 아들과 성령에 영광을,
연령의 그리고 영원 토록하고 귀속될 연령대. 아멘 (Korean)
Слава Отцѹ и Сынѹ и Свѧтомѹ Дѹхѹ,
И нынѣ и приснω и во вѣки вѣкωмъ. Аминь. (Slavonic)
Gloire au Père, et au Fils et au Saint-Esprit. et maintenant et toujours, et dans les siècles des siècles. Ainsi soit-il. (French)
पिता और ित्रु और िपित्र आत्मा की जय, और उम्र के अब और हमेशा के लिए और उम्र के इधार. आमीन. (Hindi)