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Manuel wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Are their any references to the Virgin Mary being born sinless in the Old Testament?

If so, please tell me where they are.



  { Are their any Scriptural references to the Virgin Mary being born sinless in the Old Testament? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Manuel —

In a way. The early Fathers considered Mary to be the Ark of the New Covenant. Why?

Well, in Revelation 11:19, it says that the Ark was seen in the temple of God. Then it describes a woman clothed with the sun with a crown of stars and the moon under her feet, who gives birth to the Messiah. (Note that the arbitrary chapter and verse divisions between Chapter 11 and 12 were added in the Middle Ages and are not part of the inspired text.) This woman can be described in three ways: Israel, the Church, and Mary. Israel and the Church are effectively one (Galatians 6:16, Romans 11:24). Mary is an image, a prototype, of the Church. The Church is without stain, wrinkle, or any other blemish (Ephesians 5:27), so, likewise, is her prototype, Mary.

Nevertheless, you asked about the Old Testament.

Like the Ark of the Old Covenant, Mary contained the Word of God (the Decalogue in the Old Testament) and the manna (Bethlehem means "house of bread", and Jesus is the Bread of Life, the new manna, John 6:30-33). Even the way people behaved around her was similar to the Ark (compare Luke 1:39-43,56 with 2 Samuel 6:2-16)

  • the "how is it that the [ark|mother] of my Lord should come to me",
  • the leaping/dancing, the three months in the house, the Judean hill country.
  • Like the Ark of the Old Covenant, she was made totally pure (Exodus 25:11,17).

So both Arks were made pure specifically for the dwelling of the Lord our God and so it is fitting, that the vessel that contains the Lord would be made perfect.


John replied:

Hi, Manuel —

Thanks for your question.

We have answered similar questions about the Immaculate Conception extensively. I suggest you search our data base for more details.

There are no direct references in the Old Testament, however, there is a prophetic reference in Genesis 3:15. There would come a woman who would be at enmity with the serpent and her seed would crush the serpent's head.

To be at enmity with Satan means to be at total war with him; sharing nothing in common.
The only thing man shares with Satan is sin, but this woman would not share this common ground, she would be at enmity with him.

In the New Testament, the Angel Gabriel greats Mary, by calling her "Full of Grace". In the original Greek, (which Luke's Gospel was written in) Gabriel literally says "Hail one who is perfected and being perfected by Grace".

Again, we've covered this text in Luke extensively in our data base, along with many other references which connect Mary to the woman spoken of in Genesis 3:15. You'll find a more complete exegesis there, you just have to use the correct search words to bring up the appropriate postings.

Richard, one of our colleagues also recommended this web page that explains the Immaculate Conception to in a way for Evangelical understand. It's by a Catholic convert.


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