Category Archives: Ark of the Covenant

Searching for the Lost Ark

The Early Church apparently lost track of "the Ark," but found it again—at the end of the fourth century.
The Early Church apparently lost track of “the Ark,” but found it again at the end of the 4th century.

Protestants who interact with Roman Catholics in any capacity are often surprised to find that they believe Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. As Pope Pius XII explained in Munificentissiumus Deus in 1950—his “infallible” proclamation that Mary was assumed bodily into heaven—many Church Fathers have understood the Ark of the Covenant “as a type of the most pure body of the Virgin Mary” (Munificentissiumus Deus, 26). Thus, David’s exclamation, “Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength” (Psalm 132:8), is taken to prefigure Mary’s bodily assumption into Heaven (Munificentissiumus Deus, 29). Catholic Answers explains in an article by Steve Ray that the Woman of Revelation 12:1 is Mary, and because John saw the ark of the testimony in the heavenly temple in the preceding verse (Revelation 11:19), it must mean that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant (Catholic Answers, Mary, Ark of the New Covenant). Steve Ray, former Protestant and now Roman Catholic apologist, tells us not to worry about the novelty of this Roman Catholic teaching on Mary. After all, he says, it is an apostolic teaching from the earliest days of Christianity:

“The understanding of Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant is nothing new. It was taught and celebrated early in Christian history.” (Steve Ray, Ark of the New Covenant -Quotes from the Fathers).

The problem with Steve Ray’s claim is a familiar one: the teaching and celebration of Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant originated in the latter part of the 4th century, and there is no evidence that it was proposed, believed or celebrated any earlier than that. “Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant” is something new indeed. Continue reading Searching for the Lost Ark

One Kingdom Too Late

Revelation 13
Roman Catholicism was 300 years too late to be “the stone that … became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35).

[This is the third installment of a three part series.]

When former Protestant, Taylor Marshall, wrote Eternal City, he sought to explain why Christianity is necessarily Roman. “The Church,” he wrote, “receives the Roman empire” from its previous custodians. But in concluding this, Marshall has mistakenly transposed two kingdoms—both of which Daniel addressed, and both of which Daniel set against the background of the rise and fall of four world empires. One kingdom is of earth and the other of heaven, and Marshall has unfortunately confused the two. Continue reading One Kingdom Too Late

Was Mary the Mother of John the Baptist, too?

Aaron's Rod Blossoming
There is a reason the Scriptures never refer to Aaron’s Rod Blossoming as a figure for Jesus.

In Rome’s unwavering efforts to honor Mary with the accolades of immaculacy, the mantle of inviolable purity, the admiration of angels and the veneration of men, there is an unfortunate tendency to see Mary in every reference in the Bible. It would seem that there is not a verse in the Old Testament that does not prefigure her: she is the “land of Havilah” in Genesis 2:11. She is, at once, Noah’s Ark, the dove he released, and the olive branch it returned. She is Aaron’s Rod Blossoming, from which the Almonds of Jesus grew. She is Jesse’s Rod from which the branch of Jesus sprung (for “rod” in Latin is “virga,” which must refer to the Virgin), and she was present when the Spirit blew upon the seas at creation (for the Latin word for “seas” is “maria,” which must refer to Mary). She is the virgin soil from which Adam was made, and she is the cloud that led the Hebrews out of Egypt. She is Gideon’s fleece, the temple, the tabernacle, the ark, as well as the golden urn containing the manna within it. When David danced, he danced for her, and what Moses saw in the burning bush prefigured her—she was at the same time the flame and the unconsumed wood of the bush. She is even prefigured in the rotting manna, and Jesus is prefigured by the worms that fed on it.

There are, of course, dangers in finding Mary in everything, Continue reading Was Mary the Mother of John the Baptist, too?