The Queen of Heaven and Babylon - and Rome!
Mary is not 'mediatrix' between mankind and Christ!
But where did Rome glean her view of Mary and subsequently weave such a tangled web that she is deified with her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ? The Roman Catholic version of 'Mary' is really the Queen of Heaven from the Babylonian church of old that angered the Lord God in the book of Jeremiah. Examine the old paintings and statues of this demonic goddess - they are exact duplicates of statues and paintings you will find today in Roman Catholic churches depicting 'Mary' - even to the colours of her clothing! The Babylonian worship of the Queen of Heaven goes back to the days following the death of Nimrod when his wife, Semiramis, determined to retain her power and wealth as a leader of the people, came up with the idea that her husband's death was for the salvation of all mankind. Semiramis started a 'Virgin goddess' cult, but became pregnant. To prevent the people from killing her for proving she was 'human' by her obvious pregnancy, she lied and told them her husband Nimrod had ascended to the Sun and was now the god 'Baal' who had impregnated her, yet without touching her with the 'rays of his glory'.
The Babylonian people crowned Semiramis as 'queen of heaven' and she gave birth to a son named Tammuz. Semiramis was also called Ishtar, from which Rome derived her Easter (Eesh-tar) celebrations following the Spring Equinox of the moon goddess from which Semiramis claimed origins. Should we be surprised that the 'Mary' of Rome is the 'Mary' of Babylon?
Under Satan's influence other nations came up with their own occultic versions of the 'Mary' and 'Jesus' relationship in the serpents attempt to discredit God's Saviour. In the Greek myth of the birth of Apollo, when the child's mother, the goddess Leto, reached the time of her delivery, she was pursued by the dragon Python who sought to kill both her and her unborn child. Only the tiny island of Delos welcomed the mother, where she gave birth to the god Apollo. Four days after his birth, Apollo found Python at Parnassus and killed him in his Delphic cave. In Egypt it is Set the red dragon who pursues Isis, the pregnant mother of Horus. When the child is grown, he also kills the dragon.
How did Satan attempt to damage the relationship between the One True God - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? By attempting to corrupt the way in which mankind considers the relationship between the godhead and His servants and, in particular, between Mary and the Lord Jesus Christ. The pagan religions of the Romans and the Greeks had many gods and each god had a mother. According to their pagan beliefs the difficulty of obtaining a favour from a god could be solved by asking favours from their mothers. An excellent example was Zeus. It was said that nobody had greater power than Zeus, except in some cases, Rhea, his mother. The activities of the emperor Domitian around 83 A.D. represent the out-workings of such beliefs. After the death of his ten-year-old son, Domitian immediately proclaimed the boy a god and his mother, the mother of god. Coinage of this period shows the mother Domitia as the mother of the gods (Cerea, Demeter, Cybele) or enthroned on the divine throne or standing with the sceptre and diadem of the queen of heaven with the inscription 'Mother of the Divine Caesar.' Another coin shows the mother with the child before her. In his left hand is the sceptre of world dominions, and with his right hand he is blessing the world. Still another coin shows the dead child sitting on the globe of heaven, playing with seven stars, which represent the seven planets, symbolic of his heavenly dominion over the world. A recently discovered coin of the same period shows on the obverse, like the others, the head of Domitia; but instead of the child on the reverse, it has the moon and the other six planets, emblematic of the golden age and possibly representing the imperial Zeus child, who has been exalted to be lord of the stars. Thus the coinage of Domitian was designed to glorify the son of Domitia as the lord of heaven and saviour of the world, whereas Christians reading Revelation 12 will clearly recognize Jesus Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth, as He who will truly rule all nations with a rod of iron (v5). But who is the 'queen of heaven' of Revelation 12?
Since these stories of pagan gods and goddesses were well known in the first century, how did Rome allow herself to get confused into finding parallels between these earlier myths, Revelation 12, and the relationship between Mary, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the church? Was political expediency (in accommodating a goddess in their godhead to appease the pagans coming into the church) more important than faithfulness to the Word of God? The answer is clear, for Catholics have been duped into praying to their 'Mary' as 'queen of heaven' through the Rosary, as some do on a daily basis, by reciting the prayer entitled, 'Hail, Holy Queen', and through many similar statements, e.g.:
From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother's solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen. (Ad Caeli Reginam of Pope Pius XII, Encyclical on Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, Promulgated October 11, 1954)
Many Popes have not only called their 'Mary' by her pagan title, but have also declared her Saviour of the World, and worthy of worship, e.g.:
Pius IX, Ubi Primum, 1849: 'For God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is his will, that we obtain everything through Mary.'
Paul VI, Christi Matri : 'The Church ... been accustomed to have recourse to that most ready intercessor, her Mother Mary ... For as St. Irenaeus says, she 'has become the cause of salvation for the whole human race.'
The Encyclopedia Britannica states that there was no emphasis of Mary whatsoever during the first centuries of the church (The Encydopedia Britannica, Vol. 15, p. 459) and The Catholic Encyclopedia concurs: '.... there is no ground for surprise if we do not meet with any clear traces of the cultus of the Blessed Virgin in the first Christian centuries' (Kathleen R. Hayes, 'All-Night Prayer Vigil Becomes Devotion to Lady of the New Advent, a Heavenly Goddess,' NRI Trumpet, October 1993, pp. 6-14).
The doctrines that have gradually elevated the 'Mary' of Rome to her present status in the papal system did not originate in the Bible, as Von Dollinger explained:
Neither the New Testament nor the Patristic writings tell us anything about the destiny of the Holy Virgin after the death of Christ. Two apocryphal works of the fourth or fifth century--one ascribed to St. John, the other to Melito, Bishop of Sardis--are the earliest... [suggestions] about her bodily assumption (J.H. Ignaz von Dollinger, The Pope and the Council, London, 1869, pp. 28-29).
As the popes slowly piled layer upon layer of inventions upon their doctrines of 'Mary' it became common to make further fanciful declarations, such as: 'Mary is the refuge of sinners… the Gate of Heaven… our way to enter into paradise.' (Catholic Twin Circle, August 26, 1990, p. 20).
Christ paid the debt for our sins and with His blood purchased our salvation, which is offered freely by God's grace to all who will receive it. There is absolutely no mention of Mary having any involvement at all in the gospel which Paul and the early church preached. To suggest that Mary must, or even can, in any way 'obtain for us the grace of eternal salvation' is a denial of the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice upon the cross for our sins and a rejection of the grace and love of God and Christ. Catholics try to explain it away, but the fact is that Catholicism's 'Mary' is exalted above Christ and God. A popular tract, 'The Rosary, Your Key to Heaven,' declares:
The Rosary is a means of salvation, because a true child of Mary is never lost and one who says the Rosary daily is truly Mary's child.... Mary is our all-powerful Advocate and she can obtain from the Heart of her Divine Son whatever is good for her children... No one is beyond redemption if he but turns to Mary Immaculate.
The Bible never even hints at the doctrines Rome has built through their Mariolatry and, though Paul and the other apostles never preached Mariology, 'Mary' has now become the essential conduit through which salvation and all grace flows for the Catholic. The position of Jesus, Son of God, and God the Father, has now been relegated to a back-seat as 'Mary' brings everything together and dispenses all God's gifts to those who, through devotion to her, become 'her children' - another blasphemous dogma taught without any biblical basis whatsoever. We do not become 'children of Mary' for we are 'the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus' (Galatians 3:26). Yet in Catholicism one becomes a 'child of Mary' with the promise that 'no true child of Mary will ever perish.' How can any Catholic honestly say that the 'Mary' of Catholicism has not usurped the place of Christ?
Mary's 'Immaculate Conception' - only officially declared by Rome in 1854!
Although Catholicism acknowledges that Christ is the one Mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), it makes Mary the un-Biblical 'mediatrix' between mankind and Christ - 'the short road to Jesus.' Slowly the popes began to invent their doctrines of 'Mary' making: 'Jesus... the Reservoir of all graces, and Mary… the Conduit whereby they are brought to us… [Jesus] desires that His own Mother be our immediate Advocate… to Whom we entrust our wants, and She shall present them to Jesus....' (The Fatima Crusader, Winter 1992, p. 16). Thus prayers to God, though in Christ's name and through Him, require Mary's intervention. Indeed, 'all graces' supposedly come by means of Mary's 'powerful intercession':
O God of infinite goodness and mercy, fill our hearts with a great confidence in our Most Holy Mother, whom we invoke under the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and grant us by her most powerful intercession all the graces, spiritual and temporal, which we need. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Prayer on a card published by The International Fatima Rosary Crusade, RD 1, Box 258, Constable, NY, 12926 bearing the Imprimatur: February 21, 1961, Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York).
The Bible is absolutely clear that we come to the Father through Jesus Christ (John 15:16; 16:23) and there is not the slightest suggestion that we must come to Christ through Mary, much less that Mary herself is to be petitioned and answers prayer on her own initiative and in her own power.
Mary's 'bodily assumption to heaven' - only officially declared by Rome in 1950!
Regarding your material ('In regards to rev 12:2') and the statement:
'However, in fact, for a Protestant who is objectively looking at this passage, whether Mary is sinless is besides the point.... because he wouldn't consider it even essential that Mary would be sinless. Theoretically, thus, a Protestant should have no problem seeing Mary as the (or at least a primary) woman of Revelation, and still have labor pains.'
TCE: This is a ludicrous statement. No genuine 'Protestant', or orthodox evangelical Christian for that matter, would consider any theological point without bearing in mind all of the known facts concerning the doctrine under consideration. Scripture shows clearly through Mary's own confession that she needed a Saviour (Lk 1:47) and this is supported by Romans 3:23 (and 5:12): 'For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God....Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.' False doctrine always creates insurmountable problems for those who accept it and Mariolatry is no exception for it would appear that no Catholic has given time to think about the obvious problem: the doctrine contradicts the Bible and also impugns God's love, for surely the creation of Adam and Eve by God was at least as 'immaculate' as Mary's conception! If God could keep Mary from all sin during her life, then surely Adam and Eve and all of their descendants could have been kept from sin also?! There would have been no sickness, sorrow, death, no need for Christ to die, and the world would still be one vast Garden of Eden! Of course, the dogma of Mary's alleged 'Immaculate Conception' was only officially declared by Pope Pius IX in a Papal Bull (Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854) in which he claimed that:
'from the first moment of her conception [she] was...preserved immune from all stain of original sin...[this] is revealed by God and is therefore firmly and constantly to be believed by all the faithful.'
Thereafter, the 'Mary' of the apparitions (at Lourdes, etc.) also claimed an immaculate conception and sinless life.
Rome's invented doctrine that Mary was 'united' in the redeeming suffering of her Son!
Once the dogma had been declared by a pope, Catholic theologians had to try and support it. Thus they attempted to argue that Mary did not suffer from the consequences of sin such as disease or death, nor could she have suffered the pains of childbirth, which were also pronounced upon Eve because of sin. It was then only a matter of time before some pope would declare officially that Mary was taken bodily into heaven without death! Pope Pius XII eventually proclaimed the dogma of Mary's bodily assumption to heaven in his Papal Bull Munificentissimus Deus, November 2, 1950 - despite the absence of a single Scripture to support the doctrine! It is no mistake that the additional and contradictory doctrines of the Papal Roman Catholic Church are reminiscent of other cults, such as the Mormon doctrine of polygamy which was based on misinterpretation of Biblical evidence, designed for personal gain by a false prophet, and then trumpeted as an 'everlasting' covenant. Mariology grew in the same way and was born out of the need to appease pagans who had supposedly been converted from goddess worship and needed a replacement figure in Christianity to continue to adore; thus 'Mary' was invented to fill this gap, although the doctrines forced upon her later would have had to have existed from her birth, or before! That nothing exists in Scripture to support Rome's views about 'Mary' is sufficient for every Bible-believing Christian to reject Papal doctrines out-of-hand.
This led to the other problem that Rome attempts to defend. The 'Mary' of the apparitions often appears wearing a crown of twelve stars like the 'woman clothed with the sun' in Revelation 12 and claims to be this woman. Thus Popes and Catholic theologians had to find support for this 'revelation' from an 'angel of light' (2 Cor 11:14). Pius XII referred to Mary in his Assumption Prayer as 'clothed with the sun and crowned with stars....' and Pope John Paul II has also has referred to Mary in this way. Yet the 'woman clothed with the sun' suffers the pain of childbirth as she brings 'forth a man child' (Rev 12:1-5). A sinless Mary would not have 'cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered' (Rev 12:2).
Your source rightly admits: Nonetheless, it is true that for a Catholic, we do have to deal with fact that there are indeed labor pains.
and makes this claim:
The Greek verb here translated 'in anguish' is never once used in the Septuagint, the New Testament, the apocrypha, the papyri or the Fathers to denote the pains of physical birth; and this is all the more remarkable when one remembers the scene of a painful birth is alluded to in these writings. The word can perhaps best be rendered as 'going through torment or torture' and it is therefore a very surprising verb to encounter when one recalls the radiant description of the woman in 12:1.
TCE: It is wishful thinking to try and insist that the phrase should be rendered: 'going through torment or torture'. The Greek verb ωδιvω (odino) translated 'travail in birth' (2 times) and 'travail' (1 time), actually occurs three times in the King James Authorised Version and it is accepted to mean 'to feel the pains of child birth, to travail' by Greek expert W.E. Vines who comments:
1. odino … is used negatively in Gal. 4:27, '(thou) that travailest (not),' quoted from Isa. 54:1; the apostle applies the circumstances of Sarah and Hagar (which doubtless Isaiah was recalling) to show that, whereas the promise by grace had temporarily been replaced by the works of the Law (see Gal. 3:17), this was now reversed, and, in the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, the number of those saved by the gospel would far exceed those who owned allegiance to the Law. Isa. 54 has primary reference to the future prosperity of Israel restored to God's favor, but frequently the principles underlying events recorded in the OT extend beyond their immediate application.
In 4:19 the apostle uses it metaphorically of a second travailing on his part regarding the churches of Galatia; his first was for their deliverance from idolatry (v. 8), now it was for their deliverance from bondage to Judaism. There is no suggestion here of a second regeneration necessitated by defection. There is a hint of reproach, as if he was enquiring whether they had ever heard of a mother experiencing second birth pangs for her children.
In Rev. 12:2 the woman is figurative of Israel; the circumstances of her birth pangs are mentioned in Isa. 66:7 (see also Micah 5:2, 3). Historically the natural order is reversed. The Manchild, Christ, was brought forth at His first advent; the travail is destined to take place in 'the time of Jacob's trouble,' the 'great tribulation,' Matt. 24:21; Rev. 7:14. The object in 12:2 in referring to the birth of Christ is to connect Him with His earthly people Israel in their future time of trouble, from which the godly remnant, the nucleus of the restored nation, is to be delivered (Jer. 30:7).
2. sunodino (4944), 'to be in travail together,' is used metaphorically in Rom. 8:22, of the whole creation.
3. tikto (5088), 'to beget,' is rendered 'travail' in John 16:21.
TCE: The attempts to stretch the meaning of the passage in Revelation 12:2 to accommodate Rome's view of Mary participating in the suffering of her Son (in John 19:26 etc.), in the way that Rome claims, is simply eisegesis (reading into the text what one wishes to prove!) as in the examples from your reference, e.g.:
'she went into untold to suffering while she watched Jesus get tortured, and hung on the cross. Remember, Jesus said 'Woman' to Mary, in Jn. 19:26. Mary is undergoing suffering at that point. Thus, there is a double birth pointed to in Revelation 12:2. The pain she is suffering here, is not indicating she was suffering pain in birth, but the suffering at seeing her son's pain and suffering on Calvary.
The pains of childbirth of the 'woman' seem to constitute a particular problem, if they are referred to the virginal childbirth of Mary at Bethlehem. If instead, they are referred to the childbirth of Mary on Calvary, where she is constituted 'truly the mother of the members of Christ' as St. Augustine affirms ... our Lady 'is to be ascribed a double childbirth: one natural and virginal, by which without pain or injury of any kind, she begot the Son of God the physical Christ: the other spiritual, by means of which on Calvary, uniting her sufferings to those of the Redeemer, she begot the Mystical Body of Christ.
The sufferings of the woman who also appears in heaven in Apoc 12:2, stands in relation to the immolation of the celestial Lamb.
It is a question of the spiritual motherhood of Mary and of the compassion with which the Mother of Jesus shares in the sufferings of the immolated Lamb. Jn 12:9 and Apoc 12 are therefore, in strict relation to one another. In each passage Mary's motherhood in relation to the disciples entails a context of suffering (Jn. 19:25; Apoc 12:2).'
TCE: nowhere in Scripture are Mary's 'sufferings' spoken of as being 'united ... to those of the Redeemer…referred to the childbirth of Mary on Calvary, where she is constituted 'truly the mother of the members of Christ' as St. Augustine affirms ... or 'Mary's motherhood in relation to the disciples.' This is pure fabrication and Galatians 4:19 reads:
19 'My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!'
As Vine's declares, this reference 'to be in travail together,' is used metaphorically in Rom. 8:22, of the whole creation'. Again, no connection with Mary or with 'a birth'! In Revelation 12 there are three main figures: the woman, the child, and the dragon. There are also three scenes: the birth of the child (vv. 1-6), the expulsion of the dragon (vv. 7-12), and the dragon's attack on the woman and her children (vv. 13-17). John sees a dazzling sight: a pregnant woman, 'clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet,' and wearing a victor's crown (stephanos, cf. 2:10; 3:11; 4:4-10; 6:2; 9:7; 14:14) of twelve stars. The sight is called a 'great sign' (mega semeion) making this 'woman' more than a mere woman. What does she signify? The writings of John generally use semeion ('sign') to refer to a miraculous sign that points to some deeper spiritual significance in connection with the event or object (John 2:11, 18, et al.; Rev 12:1, 3; 13:13-14; 15:1; 16:14; 19:20) and, in classical Greek, the word referred especially to the constellations as signs or omens. Another approach to the source problem in this chapter is to compare the chapter with a passage in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The 'Hymn scroll' contains this disputed passage:
She who is big with the Man of distress is in her pains. For she shall give birth to a man-child in the billows of Death, and in the bonds of Sheol there shall spring from the crucible of the pregnant one a Marvellous Counsellor with his might; and he shall deliver every man from the billows because of Her who is big with him (1QH E.3:9-10).
Commentators assume this passage indicates that the 'man-child' (also called Marvelous Counselor and firstborn) is a reference to Messiah based on Isaiah 9:5-6, and the 'crucible' refers to the suffering of the Messiah. The woman symbolizes the 'congregation of the just, the Church of the Saints, victim of the persecution of the wicked,' and is also associated with the redeeming work of the Messiah. It has also been postulated that the verses of the hymn that immediately follow refers to another pregnant woman who represents the community of the wicked and she gives birth to the 'Asp' or serpent (from Genesis 3), Satan (The Essene Writings from Qumran, tr. G. Vermes [Cleveland: World, 1962], p. 208, nn. 1-5).
Other Old Testament references to the birth of the Messiah through the messianic community (Isa 9:6-7; Mic 5:2) and to the travailing messianic community (Isa 26:17; 66:7) should also be noted. In the Old Testament, the image of a woman is frequently associated with Israel, Zion, or Jerusalem (Isa 54:1-6; Jer 3:20; Ezek 16:8-14; Hos 2:19-20). Despite the protests of Rome, John presents a distinctively Judeao-Christian view of history in the imagery of the woman and her children and the evidence clearly shows that she, like the woman in chapter 17, has symbolic significance. At the centre of chapter 12 is the persecution of the woman by the dragon, who is definitely identified as Satan (v. 9). This central theme, as well as the reference to the persecution of the 'rest of her offspring' (v. 17), renders it virtually certain that the woman could not refer to a single individual. Thus, even some recent Roman Catholic interpreters have departed from the view that 'Mary' is represented in Revelation 12, although a case for Mary as the woman is still made by writers such as Bernard LeFrois, Woman Clothed With the Sun, pp. 211-35).
It is noticeable that Catholic writers are often willing to accept a biblical view of the woman in Revelation 12, even though they still insist that the verses make reference to 'Mary' too, e.g.:
"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. . . . [S]he 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. . . . Then the dragon was angry with the Woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus" (Rev. 12:1-2, 5, 17). There is a lot of debate about what the symbol of this Woman represents. Different aspects of the symbol point to different possible meanings for it.
Unfortunately, most of the debate over what the Woman represents is misdirected because it does not take into account the way that Revelation uses symbolism.
The vision contains "fusion imagery," in which one symbol is composed of elements from several different things. For example, the four living creatures John sees around God's throne (4:6-8) are a fusion of elements from the cherubim seen in Ezekiel (Ezek. 10:1-14) and the seraphim seen in Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-5).
Similarly, the priest-elders John sees around the throne (4:4) are numbered twenty-four because they are a fusion of the twelve patriarchs of Israel and the twelve apostles of Jesus, a symbolism which occurs at the end of the book (21:12-14), where New Jerusalem is seen to have twelve foundations with the names of the twelve apostles and twelve gates with the names of the twelve patriarchs.
The beast from the sea in chapter 13 is a fusion of elements from all four of the beasts the prophet Daniel saw emerge from the sea in chapter 7 of his book.
Polyvalent symbolism, in which symbols have more than one meaning, also is part of Revelation's imagery. For example, the seven heads of the beast are said to be both seven mountains (Rev. 17:9) and seven kings (17:10).
The Woman in Revelation 12 is part of the fusion imagery/polyvalent symbolism that is found in the book. She has four referents: Israel, the Church, Eve, and Mary.
She is Israel because she is associated with the sun, the moon, and twelve stars. These symbols are drawn from Genesis 37:9-11, in which the patriarch Joseph has a dream of the sun and moon (symbolizing his father and mother) and stars (representing his brothers), which bow down to him. Taken together, the sun, moon, and twelve stars symbolize the people of Israel.
The Woman is the Church because, as 12:17 tells us, "the rest of her offspring" are those who bear witness to Jesus, making them Christians.
The Woman is Eve because she is part of the three-way conflict also involving her Seed and the Dragon, who is identified with the ancient serpent (the one from Eden) in 20:2. This mirrors the conflict in Genesis 3:15 between Eve, the serpent, and her unborn seed - which in turn is a symbol of the conflict between Mary, Satan, and Jesus.
Finally, the Woman is Mary because she is the mother of Jesus, the child who will rule the nations with a rod of iron (19:11-16).
Because the Woman is a four-way symbol, different aspects of the narrative apply to different referents. Like Mary, she is pictured as being in heaven and she flies (mirroring Mary's Assumption). Like the Church, she is persecuted by the Devil after the Ascension of Christ. Like Israel, she experiences great trauma as the Messiah is brought forth (figuratively) from the nation. And like Eve, it is her (distant) seed with which the serpent has his primary conflict.
Conversely, portions of the narrative do not apply to each referent. Mary did not experience literal pain when bringing forth the Messiah, but she suffered figuratively (the prophecy that a sword would pierce her heart at the Crucifixion). Eve did not ascend to heaven. And the Church did not bring forth the Messiah (rather, the Messiah brought forth his Church). (The Woman of Revelation 12 by James Akin).
(Continued on page 295)