As promised in my previous post, this blog entry is dedicated to offer further Biblical evidence of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception.
Previously, it was made clear from the typology that exists between Eve and Mary that the latter was the Second Eve, whom God protected from the stain of Original Sin. Another typology in the Bible that cannot be ignored is the Ark of the Covenant foreshadowing the Blessed Virgin Mary. The chest-like object in the OT was made of incorruptible acacia wood that was covered with pure gold. The spiritual meaning of these two elements when the Ark is seen as a reference to Mary is that Mary is also incorruptible. She is empty of any sin that would render her corrupt. Now, let us look at the evidence from the Scriptures.
The Ark of the Old Covenant contained the two tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written (Exodus 25:16). The Ten Commandments are the word of God. Likewise, Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant contained the “Son of God,” the “Word made flesh” inside her womb (Luke 1:35, John 1:14). The Ark of the Old Covenant had the Rod of Aaron, which represents priesthood (Hebrews 9:4); Mary bore inside her womb “Jesus our great High Priest” (Hebrews 4:14). “Inside the Ark, was a golden jar containing manna,” which the Israelites in the OT “ate” and yet they “died” (Hebrews 9:4; John 6:58)). The Blessed Virgin carried inside her womb the “true bread from heaven” on which whoever feeds “will live forever” (John 6:32,58).
If all this is not enough for my reader to be convinced that God intended the Ark of Covenant to foreshadow the person of Mary, let us delve deeper into Scriptures and see what the word of God tells us. Using plain language commonly known to OT writers, Luke indicates the significance of the Ark in the OT by comparing it to Mary during the Annunciation and the Visitation.
In the OT, the Ark represented the physical presence of God among the Israelites. When it was brought into the “tabernacle,” it became “overshadowed” by the Spirit of the Lord and “the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:21, 34). The same word is used to describe the Spirit’s presence over Mary when Gabriel gave her the good news, “The power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). Immediately after the Annunciation, Mary takes a trip that is reminiscent of another trip taken by the Ark in the OT. King David wanted to transport the Ark to Jerusalem, a city in Judea. He brought “the Ark of God” to “the house of Obed-Edom, which was on the hill” country of Judea (2 Samuel 6:2,3). In like manner, Mary “arose and went into the hill country, to a city in Judah” (Luke 1:39). The house of Obed-Edom was “blessed” by the presence of the Ark (2 Samuel 6:11). The word “blessed” is used three times in reference to Mary being in Elizabeth’s house (Luke 1:39-45). David “danced with all his might” in front of the Ark while he “was wearing a linen ephod,” a priestly garment (2 Samuel 6:14). John the Baptist, a priest’s son, who himself was destined to be a priest, “leaped” with joy in Elizabeth’s “womb” at the presence of Mary (Luke 1:41). David and his company greeted the Ark with loud “shouts of joy” (2 Samuel 6:15). Elizabeth also “shouted with a loud voice and said to Mary, ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb’” (Luke 1:42). David said, “how is it the Ark of the Lord should come to me?” (2 Samuel 6:9). Elizabeth asks the same question about Mary, “How is it the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43). The Ark of the Lord “remained for three months in the house of Obed-Edom” (2 Samuel 6:11). Conversely, Mary “remained” in the house of Elizabeth “for three months” (Luke 1:56). After “three months,” the Ark was brought into Jerusalem to its resting place in the Temple where the “glory of God filled the house of the Lord” (2 Samuel 6:12, 1 Kings 8:9-11). Mary also went back to her house “after three months” and eventually “took Jesus” to the temple in Jerusalem (Luke 1:56, 2:22).
Finally, our last piece of evidence brings us back to John the Apostle, to whom Mary was entrusted as a “mother” by Our Lord Jesus (John 19:27). St. John writes in his Book of Revelation “the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple” (Revelation 11:19). This is the last verse in chapter 11. In the next verse, he writes “Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1). Keep in mind that the chapter divisions were only introduced during the medieval times. Prior to that, the chapters were one big chunk of text, unbroken and undivided, pronouncing more clearly the relation between the Ark and the woman. They are one. The “Ark” of the New Covenant is the “Woman” who appears in heaven. Later on in the chapter, this “woman” gives birth to a “son, a male child who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” (Revelation 12:5). Who would this child be other than the “seed” of the “woman,” which was destined to “crush” the “head” of the Serpent? (Genesis 3:15). If this child is none other than Jesus, then the “woman” is none other than “the mother of Jesus” Our Holy Mother Mary (John 2:3).
No serious reader of the Bible can deny these truths that are inspired by the Holy Spirit. No serious scholar of the Scriptures can deny the clear indications that demonstrate the undeniable similarities between the Ark of the Old Covenant and Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant. This brings us to a conclusion, which if denied, can be a great stumbling block in our path for salvation. The same reverence and veneration that were offered to the Ark of the Old Covenant must likewise be also given to the Ark of the New Covenant. In fact, when Uzza touched the Ark of the Old Covenant undeservingly, the Lord “struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God” (2 Samuel 6:7). What would happen if anyone disrespects our Holy Mother in any way? What would happen if anyone attributes any sinfulness to her? Those who do, stand on a very dangerous ground. Finally, if God wanted to create a woman and protect her from the stain of original sin, would it be possible for Him? Could He do it if He wanted to? The answer is of course He can. God can do anything He wants, including designing a woman from scratch who will bear His Son in her womb. Those who deny Mary’s Immaculate Conception are denying God’s power and majesty. May our Holy Mother shower us with her maternal love and bring us closer to her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.