Did you know that Mary is prefigured in some very surprising parts of the Old Testament? Well, actually, everything is prefigured in the Old Testament and is fulfilled in the New Testament. The Church teaches that Mary is the New Eve and even the early Christian women look’s at her as their role model of faith.
Hi, I’m Bheng Gracia and you are watching Questions that Matter. Where we try to answer basic questions about the faith, that has been answered more than 2000 years ago by the Lord, by the Apostles themselves, their successors, by the Church through the Magisterium and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And today we’ll answer the question, “Where Is Mary in the Old Testament?”
The Ark of Noah – Sure the Ark is made of wood, and while we think of the Ark as a type of cross (A “type” is commonly defined as a person, place, event, or thing in the Old Testament that prefigures something in the New), Mary has been seen as the Ark that saved humanity from the deluge by giving her “Yes” to God’s plan of salvation. While humanity is being destroyed due to sin, the Ark was spared from destruction, much like Mary, who was preserved from original sin. Aside from that, if the ark was Noah’s shelter, for us, it is Mary who became our recourse for aid, love, and protection.
Mary, associated with Jacob’s ladder – it might be hard to imagine or even to associate Mary with the text in Genesis 28:12. But did you know that there is a firmly established belief associating Mary to Jacob’s ladder in both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions? It might not be an obvious one, but the icon presented here shows four scenes from the Old Testament somehow foreshadowing the Incarnation in a very subtle way. Jacob’s ladder is in the lower right of the icon, and on the right side of the icon explains that “Mary is the ladder by which we ascend to God. And, she is also the ladder “through whom the glory of God descended from Heaven to earth and was incarnate as Jesus Christ.” While Mary is the Medium, Christ is the Mediator through which such mediation occurs. Mary is the “sacred space” where God and man meet and intermingle. he is the sacred space within which God and man intermingle. Also, in his encyclical Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX mentions Jacob’s ladder (see, Interpreters of the Sacred Scripture portion), among many other biblical types, including the “burning bush”.
Mary as the “burning bush” – This is primarily due to Mary’s holy virginity and the manner in which she gave birth and how she carried and nurtured the divine in her womb while remaining human, as mentioned by St. Gregory of Nyssa.
As the Akathist Hymn of the Eastern Orthodox Church proclaims,
“The great mystery of your childbirth did Moses perceive within the burning bush. The youth vividly prefigured this, standing in the midst of fire and remaining unconsumed, O undefiled and holy Virgin. We praise you therefore in hymns to the ages.”
Mary, a type of the new Ark of the Covenant – You might think I’m talking rubbish here, but believe it or not, this has strong biblical support.
The Ark of the Covenant housed the manna in a golden pot, the staff of Aron and the 10 Commandments, which is the word of God. Now, God was very specific about every exact detail of the ark (Ex. 25:30), as it was a place where God Himself would dwell (Ex 25:8). If God wanted his words (10 Commandments) to be housed in a perfect container covered with pure gold inside and out, how much more would He want His word –Jesus – to have a perfect dwelling place! And if God’s only begotten Son were to take on human form in the womb of a human girl, would He not make her flawless? In the Ark of the Covenant, God came to His people with a spiritual presence, but in Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, God comes to dwell with His people not only spiritually but physically, in the womb of a specially prepared Jewish girl named Mary.
Lastly, let’s be reminded that the Bible began with a real man (Adam), and a real woman (Eve), and a real serpent (the devil) and it also ends with a real man (Jesus, the new and the last Adam [1 Cor. 15:45]), and a real woman (Mary, the new Eve [Rev. 11:19-12:2), and a real serpent (the devil of old). And all of this was foretold in Genesis 3:15 and as Eve cooperated with Adam, the covenant head of humanity, so Mary cooperated with Jesus, the covenant head of the new humanity.
In the words of Irenaeus, Eve “by disobeying became the cause of death for herself and the whole human race, so also Mary . . . was obedient and became the cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race” (Against Heresies 3.22.4). Later he says of these two virgins, “Just as the human race was subject to death by a virgin, it was freed by a virgin, with the virginal disobedience balanced by virginal obedience.”
And if Eve was the “Mother of All the Living, Mary, the New Eve Becomes the “Mother of All Who Lives in Christ”.
Thank you so much for your visit! If you have any questions, you may write them in the comments section and I’d be more than happy to reply. Also, if you have any particular topic in mind, please let me know and I’ll do my best to explain it to you.
I do hope to see you again next time, God bless everyone and Catholics, be proud & be the light of the world!