Friday, August 15, 2014
Is Mary the New Ark of the Covenant?
On this, the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (or, the Solemnity of the Assumption as it’s known in the West), I thought it fitting to revisit this question.
Is the Blessed Virgin Mary the New Ark of the Covenant?
Both Mary and the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant held the Presence of God within
· OT Ark of the Covenant - constructed according to God's purpose
o Mary - κεχαριτομεμη - She who has been perfected by grace
Luke's Presentation of the Visitation has striking parallels to OT accounts of the Ark
· The glory of the Lord and the cloud cover the Tabernacle (containing the Ark) “overshadow” (episkiazen) them (Exod 40:34-35, cf. v. 3)
o The Holy Spirit comes upon Mary and and the power of the Most High “overshadows” (episkiasei) her (Luke 1:35)
· David “arose and went” to the hill country of Judah to bring up “the ark of God” (2 Samuel 6:2)
o Mary “arose and went” into the hill country of Judah to visit Elizabeth (Luke 1:39)
· David admits his unworthiness to receive the Ark by exclaiming: “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” (2 Samuel 6:9)
o Elizabeth admits her unworthiness to receive Mary by exclaiming: “And why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43)
· David “leaped” before the Ark as it was brought in “with shouting” (2 Samuel 6:15-16)
o John “leapt” in Elizabeth’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice and Elizabeth cried “with a loud shout”: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed in the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:41-42)
· The Ark remained in the hill country, in the house of Obed-Edom, for “three months” (2 Samuel 6:11)
o Mary remained in the hill country, in Elizabeth’s house, “three months” (Luke 1:56)
Revelation alludes to Mary being the Ark
"Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. A great sign appeared in the sky, 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 wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. 5 Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days." Rev 11:19-12:6
The last verse is an allusion to the Assumption, which is also spoken of in Psalm 132:8 - "Arise, LORD, come to your resting place, you and your majestic ark."
Some have asserted that the Body of Jesus is the Ark of the New Covenant.
Now, the original Ark of the Covenant was something that carried the presence of God for a time; it was the permanent abode of God. And it was distinct from Him.
However, when Jesus ascended to heaven, He ascended in bodily form. There can no longer be any separation of the Son of God and his body - otherwise, it was a disposable shell that was crucified - and a disposable shell doesn't die. It's vacated.
In short, the Body of Jesus cannot be the Ark of the New Covenant.