One thing is to tell parables like Jesus did all through His ministry to prove a point or teach a lesson. Another thing is to blatantly make up things to keep a fable alive. The question today is what happened to Mary, the Mother of Jesus?
According to Tradition
When using the phrase “according to tradition”, one has to take it all with a huge grain of salt. We could spend years researching what is the truth when in reality, no one knows, but God.
One “tradition” has Mary dying a natural death — as most humans do — in Ephesus. Another has her dying in Jerusalem. There were churches built as monuments in each of these spots to commemorate her. That’s fine, but still you do not want to worship her — that is idolatry.
As the story goes, St. Thomas — yes, Doubting Thomas — wanted to make sure that it was Mary’s tomb and had it opened. Lo, and behold, the body was gone. Only her grave clothes were there! So, it was deduced that she was resurrected like Jesus. Which location? Ephesus or Jerusalem?
St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.Wikipedia
Her dying in the “presence of all the Apostles” is malarkey! The Apostles were dispersed all over Europe, the Middle East, India, Asia, North Africa.1 It’s not like they could have hopped a jet and flew to be by her bedside. If Mary was 14 when Jesus was born — that was the age when girls got engaged — then she was around 47 when He was crucified. How long did she live?
Isn’t it also creepy that some emperor wanted to “possess the body of the ‘Mother of God'”? Wow! Money can buy anything!
The truth is we don’t know. God only knows. Anything is speculation. There is no biblical or apocryphal writings with definitive proof of Mary’s death and burial.
Why couldn’t the church just leave it? But, no, their fanaticism with Mary — Mariology — is too deep. In 1950, Pope Pius XII invoked papal infallibility to fabricate the dogma “Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus“.
We proclaim and define it to be a dogma revealed by God that the immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever virgin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven.Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus
Dogma: “A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.”
Based on What?
Besides taking for granted that Mary’s body was miraculously taken up to heaven, or it could have been stolen by grave robbers, (Hey, we don’t know for sure!) there had to be some biblical, passages to base it on, right? Of course there is. 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 and Revelation 12. Let’s take one at a time.
Like I’ve said before, the Roman Catholic Church loves to take scripture out of context. Let’s take a look at what Paul writes just before verse 54…
45 The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. 46 What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. 47 Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. 48 Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. 49 Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.
50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.
51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:45-57 NLT
13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 NLT
When is Jesus Coming Back?
Of course, the believers in Paul’s day were hoping that Jesus would come back right then and there. I’m sure Paul was. Here we are 2000 years later, still waiting. But, I’ll get to that point in a bit. Jesus also spoke of this….
36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows…
40 “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.Matthew 24:36; 40-41 NLT
26 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.Mark 13:26-27 NLT
26 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 27 In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building— 29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day a person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return home. 32 Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! 33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. 34 That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.”
37 “Where will this happen, Lord?” the disciples asked.
Jesus replied, “Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.”Luke 17:26-37 NLT
The other scripture mentioned by Pope Pius XII is Revelation 12. First, the Book of Revelation is the future. It’s a warning to mankind to get right with God or suffer judgement and fiery lake of burning sulfur. Some say the woman depicted in John’s vision giving birth is Mary. Yet others say it represents Israel. Nevertheless, IT DOESN’T MATTER!
What Matters is Salvation Through Jesus Christ Alone!
I mentioned that we’ve been waiting for Jesus’ return and the Rapture since Paul’s day and that’s true. Peter’s 2nd letter explains that precisely….
This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. 2 I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.
3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. 6 Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. 7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.
8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.2 Peter 3:1-10 NLT
You Have a Choice!
You can continue to follow the false teachings and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church and gamble with your eternal life. Or you can take the sure road THROUGH JESUS — the one and only savior!
Don’t gamble with your eternal life! Invite Jesus into your heart right now! If you don’t know what to say….
Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and my life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I surrender my whole life to you and I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…
- Start reading the Bible daily. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great daily devotionals and Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!
Jesus Christ is coming back soon! Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!
- The Search for the Twelve Apostles, 1973, by William Stewart McBirnie, Ph.D