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Proving the Assumption of Mary: Part Four, Mary is the New Ark

This is the final post of this series about all the assumptions of the Bible, and how they all, ultimately, point to Christ and the Blessed Mother. We've covered the assumptions of Enoch and Elijah, of Moses and the Ark of the Covenant, and now of the New Moses and the Ark of the New Covenant. 

Here's a summary of the previous three posts (parts one, two, and three):

(1) Elijah was assumed into Heaven on a "fiery chariot", as described in 2 Kings 2:11-12. Elijah's presence in Heaven is confirmed in the New Testament when Elijah stands next to Jesus at the Transfiguration, cf. Luke 9:28-36

(2) Enoch was assumed into Heaven, as described in Genesis 5: 21-24. Enoch's assumption into Heaven is then confirmed in the New Testament in Hebrews 11:5.

(3) Moses' death and burial are described at Deuteronomy 34:5-6. Yet, Moses' presence in Heaven is described in the New Testament when he and Elijah stand next to Jesus at the Transfiguration, cf. Luke 9:28-36. Moreover, Moses' assumption is later referred to at Jude 1:9, which itself cites the ancient apocryphal text, The Assumption of Moses, whose title speaks for itself.

4) The hiding of the Ark of the Covenant by the Prophet Jeremiah and its later disappearance is described at (2 Maccabees 2:4-8). Jeremiah also prophesies its return, which occurs at Revelation 11:15-19 ... But it's the next verse where things get really interesting, Revelation 12:1

Revelation: The Ark is a Woman

It's the triumphant moment of Revelation: the seventh trumpet blast. The long-awaited Ark is about to appear, and this is how it plays out, Revelation 11:19-12:1,

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, loud noises, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

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. 

“Our Lady of the Sign-Ark of Mercy” St. Stanislaus, Chicago: the largest monstrance for the Eucharist in the world

Who is this woman, who is also the Ark? What can we deduce about her just from these passages?

(A) She wears a crown of twelve stars, one each for each of the Twelve Tribes. She represents then the fulfillment of the ingathering of the twelve scattered tribes of Israel prophesied at Jeremiah 29:14 and also stated just a couple verses earlier at Revelation 11:15: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.” 

(B) She wears this crown in heaven, so she must be the Queen of Heaven. Since the twelve stars represent the tribes of Israel, she must be the Queen of the unified Kingdom of Israel, which was ruled by the Davidic King and a Queen-Mother. 

(C) Her child is the Messiah, because we are told a few verses later at Revelation 12:5 that "she 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." The "rod of iron" is a reference to the Messiah from Psalm 2:9.

(D) Lastly and most importantly, if the woman is the mother of Jesus, the Messiah and the New David, she must be the Virgin Mary, the Blessed Mother. 

Therefore, Mary is depicted in Heaven. Just like Elijah and Moses and Moses' Ark, Mary is described as being in Heaven in the New Testament. The Virgin Mary was assumed like the others. Just as Moses and Moses' Ark were both assumed into Heaven, so, too, Jesus and Jesus' Ark were both taken into Heaven. 

Jesus, of course, stands alone as the only one in the group who ascends, i.e. rises by his own power into Heaven, rather than is assumed there. Ultimately, it is by the grace mediated through Christ that all of these assumptees reach Heaven. 

The Covenants of the Old Covenant: Pairings

Now, take a look at the covenants of the Old Testament, each of which ultimately points towards Christ:

(1) The Covenant with Creation
(2) Adam
(3) Noah
(4) Abraham
(5) Moses 
(6) David
(7) The New Covenant with Christ

Something might look strange to you. All these covenants are listed according to their patriarchs, but each one of these should seem incomplete without their covenantal pairing: 

(1) Man & Creation
(2) Adam & Eve
(3) Noah & the Ark
(4) Abraham & Sarah
(5) Moses & the Ark of the Covenant
(6) King David & the Queen
(7) Christ & Mary

Is it any wonder then that Mary is called the New Eve, the mother of all Creation, the Queen of Heaven, and the Ark of the New Covenant (here and here, too)? 

Mary carries in her womb, Christ, through whom all things were created. Because of this, it can be said that Mary carries within her the New Creation. Just as Eve was, physically, the mother of all the living, Mary is the New Eve, the new spiritual mother of all those who live in Christ. She is also, in a very real way, the New Ark of Noah, which bears all life within it. There is so much more that could be said here. All of these covenants point ultimately to Christ, but to Christ through Mary

Other Proofs that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant

The following is not meant to be an exhaustive description of all the Scriptural proofs for Mary being the New Ark. There is simply too much, even beyond what I've already written, to go over. I'll just hit the high notes: 

(1) Compare the contents of the Ark of the Old Covenant to the contents of Mary's womb. The Ark of Moses contained three things: the tablets of the Ten Commandments, an ephor of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, the symbol of the high priesthood. Likewise, Mary's womb contains Christ, who is the New Law, the Bread from Heaven, and the New High Priest. 

(2) Luke draws several parallels between Mary visiting Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56) and the Ark coming to David (2 Samuel 6). For example, Mary and the Ark both come to the "hill country of Judah", the two locations are extremely close, and both stay for "three months." David says "How can the ark of the Lord come to me?" and Elizabeth says "And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Also, David dances naked before the Ark and the baby leaps in Elizabeth's womb before Mary. 
[Dr. Edward Sri in Dawn of the Messiah does a thorough job of describing these parallels.]

(3) The term "overshadow" is used by the Angel Gabriel at Luke 1:35 to describe how the Holy Spirit will come to Mary and conceive in her womb. This same term is used to describe the shekinah, the glory-cloud, that rests upon the Ark of the Covenant, cf. Exodus 40:34-35.

4) The construction of the Ark of the Covenant is described at Exodus 37. The second verse states that Bez'alel overlaid the Ark with "pure gold within and without." This points towards Mary's virginity as well as her Immaculate Conception. 

And this is just the beginning! We're really only just scratching the surface. These are very rich areas of Scripture to study. 

I hope you've enjoyed this series of blog posts! Please comment below with any questions you might have.

Virgin Mary, Blessed Mother, Queen of Heaven, and Ark of God, please pray for us!

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  1. King David and WHICH Queen...he had at least eight wives!

    1. And Solomon had over 1,000 wives! (1 Kings 11:3) That's why the Queen of Israel was always the king's mother - the Queen-Mother or Gebirah - from Solomon until the end, cf. Jeremiah 13:18. So if the Queen of Israel was the King's mother, who is the Queen of the New Israel?

  2. I love, love, love thus series about the Assumption of Mary. So evocative and so beautiful! But the question did occur to me, too, about "which queen?". Certainly not Michal, David's first wife, who was childless. The ancestress of Our Lord was Bathsheba!

    1. That's a great point! I hadn't thought about it like that: Bathsheba, too, was Jesus' mother! Great-great-great ... actually 25 "greats", if I counted correctly, but still, in a very real sense, Jesus' mother.

  3. Did the Blessed Virgin have birth pangs as Rev 12:2 says?

    1. Thanks for your question! Doctors of the Church disagree on this one. I would point out that the Fall resulted in, according to Genesis 3:16, a *multiplication* of the pains of childbirth. Pain in childbirth, therefore, existed before the Fall.

  4. There is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

    1. Who, then, is a mediator between the man Jesus and man? Read John 2 to find out.