Saturday, April 9, 2011
Children of Mary or Brothers of Jesus
I was recently invited to help a friend of a friend answer an objection about Mary's perpetual virginity. This person presented two main objections. The Bible says that Jesus had brothers and that brothers in the Greek language means 'from the same mother.' The second argument that he presents is that the Bible says that Joseph did not 'know' Mary UNTIL she had Jesus. He points out that Joseph then DID KNOW Mary after she had Jesus, that is what the word 'until' implies. We begin in the middle of his argument from the Hebrew about the word brother. #1 I would say that [objector] is slightly off when he talks about the Hebrew and Greek words. He says that “Genesis was written in Hebrew, not Greek.” It is true that it was originally written in Hebrew, but the Jews 200 B.C. translated it from Hebrew into Greek. Here is a great example Genesis 14:14 “And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive…” Abram’s brother here is Lot who is Abram’s nephew. Like James says the Hebrew word here is “ach” which can mean brother and all these other things: ‘ach’Hebrew 1. full brother (same father & mother) Gn 4:8 2. half-brother (different mothers) Gn 37:4 3. blood relative Gn 9:25, = cousin (male) 29:15 4. (without blood relationship) fellow 2S 1:26 5. fellow tribesman Gn 31:32 6. fellow-countryman Ex 2:11 7. in general, of belonging Jb 3029; in reciprocal expr.: °îš l®°¹µîw each to the other Gn 26:31 & the like 8. term of politeness to stranger Gn 29:4 9. in public, official dealings 1K 9:13 10. in song of mourning, hôy °¹µî Je 22:18. When the Jews who knew Hebrew translated this into Greek they chose the word adelphos which is the regular Greek word for brother, but it also has a wide range of meaning: Adelphos - Greek brother: litural. J 1:41; figurative. Mk 3:35; Phil 1:14. Fellow countryman or national Ro 9:3; neighbor Mt 5:22ff. Pl. brothers and sisters Lk 21:16; Eph 6:23. The problem is that the Jews had no word in Hebrew for cousin or uncle. So when James says “The common translation for the Greek "adelphos" was a brother. As in a sibling by the same mother. It was very rarely used to mean anything else.” That is a bit mistaken as seen above. Yet Greek DOES have words for different relatives. The question is, why didn’t they use them in for example Genesis 14:14? It is because they are taking their Hebrew culture and slapping the Greek language on top of it to make it fit. So we see this sometimes used in the New Testament times as well (see above) Acts 1:15-16 “And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren…” So who were the 120 brethren here? He just means countrymen as stated above. Something else significant is that St. Luke and St. Paul both use specific Greek words to refer to other relatives. But something to keep in mind is that they were both Masters of the Greek language. Relatively speaking their vocabularies are huge compared to the rest of the New Testament writers. Probably because St. Luke was a gentile and St. Paul was born and raised in a Roman colony. #2 [Objector] says that Matthew 1:25 “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” Saying that Mary did not have sexual relations with Joseph until Jesus was born, but then after she did. Yet scripture uses the Greek word “until” to have another meaning. It can have the first meaning but it can also mean “up to that point”. 2 Samuel 6:23 “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto [GK until] the day of her death.” Does this mean that after her death she started having children? No 1 Timothy 4:13 “Till [until] I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” Does this mean that after St. Paul comes St. Timothy can then stop doing those things? No Both of these examples show that there can be a continuation of a matter previously stated. St. Matthew here is just stressing that St. Joseph didn’t have sex with Mary before Jesus was born. But it also is not implying that they did have sex after. #3 The main reason that we interpret those passages in Scripture that speak of Jesus’ brothers as cousins is because that is how the Church has always interpreted them. Yet Scripture has enough evidence to point us in the right direction. #4 If anything, these so-called brothers would have been half-brothers to Jesus because they did not have the same father. Jesus’ father was God The Father. #5 The Bible never calls the “brothers” of Jesus, the sons of Mary. #6 Jesus is always called ‘the’ son of Mary, never ‘a’ son of Mary. #7 When Jesus was left in the temple as a boy and Joseph and Mary go to find him, there is no record of brothers and sisters looking for him as well. #8 A devout Jew would have never left the care of his mother to anyone but his family, yet Jesus gives Mary to John (John 19:26, 27). #9 At the Annunciation while Mary is espoused to Joseph, the angel tells her that she is going to have a baby. Mary asks “how can this happen since I do not know man?” If Mary was about to get married wouldn’t it be common sense how she would have a baby? Unless of course, like tradition says that she had taken a vow of virginity. Then the question of breaking her vow would naturally be asked. Zechariah asked the same question and had his doubts because he and Elizabeth were old and he got punished. Mary is engaged to be married, asks a similar question yet doesn’t get punished. #10 A prophecy in Ezekiel 44:2 - And he said to me, “This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.” This is a prophecy about how God came to dwell with the people of Israel in the Old Testament beginning back in Ezekiel 43. Notice that when God came the first time to dwell there that the gate that he came through was shut, never to be opened again because God had passed through it. Well through what gate did God come through in the New Testament times to dwell with his people? Was it not through Mary? And because the Lord passed through her, who dare come after? #11 Finally, some of the ones that are called Jesus’ brothers are other places called the children of another Mary. John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.(Jesus’ mom Mary) (Mary, wife of Cleophas) (Mary Magdalene) Matthew 27:61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. (Mary, wife of Cleophas) (Mary Magdalene) Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. (Mary, wife of Cleophas) (Mary Magdalene) Matthew 27:56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children. (Mary Magdalene) (Mary, wife of Cleophas) (mother of Zebedee's children) -So Mary, wife of Cleophas, is also the mother of James and Joses. Mark 15:47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. - (Mary Magdalene) (Mary, wife of Cleophas) Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. -We just saw that Mary, wife of Cleophas is the mother of James and Joses. Therefore when it calls them here Jesuss brothers, it certainly does not mean blood brothers.