Below is a letter I received that I forwarded on to Elder Mattingly. It is in reference to Elder Mattingly's response to the book by Scott Hahn. Elder Mattingly's reply to this letter is below it.
What about the "Gebirah" in the Old Testament?
Secondly, what about the fact that 600 years later, Mary was so widely recognized as the Mother that she was written about more then any other woman and devoutly loved in another book-the Koran.
Thirdly, if Salome was James and John's mom which is a widely held protestant view then why did she stand at the foot of the cross when Mary was given to John? Afterall, she was the one that fought for her two sons to be seated at Jesus' right side.
Also, in regards to a mediator, yes there is only One, Jesus. Only ONE died for us only ONE is our SAVIOR and REDEEMER. BUT, no one ever said there was only one mediator that could pray for us. Just like the Gebirah in the Old testament bring others' petitions to the king. Paul says we should seek others to pray for us. You separate those on earth and those in Heaven. It seems like they should be praying for those on earth until HE decides to return. And it seems that they would be most powerful prayers considering they have clearly seen God and are in a complete state of grace now. Worshipping Him and praying for those on earth.
And lastly, and probably the most important thing is if Mary wouldn't have ever said "Let it be done to me according to Your will" None of this would have ever happened. That is the moment that Genesis 3:15 does fall into place.
I will reply to what you asked me, & what you commented upon as best I can.
You began with a question, "what about the 'Gebirah' in the Old Testament?" Well, you tell me. What do you think of the "Gebirah" in the Old Testament? You mentioned again "Gebirah" a 2nd time & it appears you are taking the same line Scott Hahn took. If that is the case you should very well know what I think. I articulated what I thought of it in the section: "John 19.26-27 & The New Eve: The Mother of the Church" of my reply to Walt. I am no more impressed when those among the people I identify with, the Old School/Primitive Baptists, use types that go no where as far as scripture is concerned as I am when Catholics use types to support Catholic dogma. Mr. Hahn rightly identified a type when he showed how Jesus illustrated his death, burial, & resurrection by speaking of Jonah's stay in the belly of the fish. This was a proper use of a type. Jonah's case answered to an established truth of the New Testament. Now, you give me the book, the chapter, & the verse or verses where Mary is ever clearly identified as the mother of the Church. What do the references in the Old Testament concerning the Queen Mother answer to in the New Testament teachings concerning Mary, the mother of Jesus? In Galatians 4.22-31 Paul gives an allegory. In verse 26 he wrote of "the mother of us all." Tell me, was this mother that he wrote about, Mary, the mother of Jesus? Who is our mother based upon this verse?
You wrote: "Secondly, what about the fact that 600 years later, Mary was so widely recognized as the Mother that she was written about more than any other woman and devoutly loved in another book-the Koran." Wow! That should settle the matter for all times, shouldn't it? After all, who needs apostolic times, & specifically the New Testament? We have the thinking of a lot of people in the 6th century topped off by, of all things, the teachings of Mohammed. A few years ago I did a little reading out of books considered sacred by those of the religion of Mohammed & I was surprised to find the adoration the writings had for Mary & how their own scriptures held to the virgin birth of Jesus. I suppose this is something in which we all three agree. I believe Jesus was born to the blessed virgin, Mary. You believe Jesus was born to the blessed virgin, Mary. And, lo, & behold, those who believe Mohammed was the last, great prophet, believe Jesus was born to the virgin, Mary. But do you want to know something? I don't care that they have the same belief as the Christian. If I ever get into an argument with someone who contends Jesus was not born of a virgin, I will never use as evidence to support my position the teachings of the Mohammedans. The New Testament, & specifically the 1st couple of chapters of both Matthew & Luke with the additional references out of the prophecies will suffice for me. By the same token, since I cannot find any plain teachings in the scriptures about Mary, the New Eve & Church's Mother; Mary as a sinless person who ascended into heaven without seeing death; Mary, as a perpetual virgin, or Mary in a role of mediator as articulated in the language of Catholic dogma, it doesn't matter at all to me what people thought about her in the 6th century.
With regard to your 3rd point you will have to help me out for I don't know what your 3rd point is. You wrote: "Thirdly, if Salome was James and John's mom which is a widely held protestant view then why did she stand at the foot of the cross when Mary was given to John? After all, she was the one that fought for her two sons to be seated at Jesus' right side." Here are the questions I have. Is there something in what you wrote here that stands as a rebuttal to something you have noted I have written? If so, what is it? Is there something in what you wrote here that proves a point that you hold? If so, what is it? You said it was a widely held protestant view that Salome was the mother of James & John. I don't know how widely this view is held. I think it might be more accurate to say some believe this is the case, others don't, & some simply don't know. But here is my question. What do you believe? Do you agree with the so-called widely held protestant position or do you have a contrary view, & if this is important to the point you are making, how is it so? I will take leave of any discussion whether or not Salome was in fact at the cross. According to Mark 15.40 she is one of the women mentioned as being "afar off" but I grant so was Mary Magdalene, who, according to John 19.25-27 was near the Lord's cross at the time Jesus spoke to His mother & disciple. Since I am clueless as to your point I don't know the relevance of this to what you are saying. I'm sorry, I have so many questions here, but I really need to know what your point is before I can respond in agreement to it or in disagreement to it.
Now I will address the issue of Mary as the mediator. It does appear to me you are making reference to the things I wrote in the section about Mary as the Mediatrix. I will 1st respond in this way. My remarks were in direct response to what Scott Hahn had to say in his book. I took issue with how he dealt with I Timothy 2.5 by linking it to what is said in I Corinthians 3.9. I made three points. One, there is no reason to link these two texts because it is one thing to be a coworker with regard to the ministry of the word & another thing to be a mediator. Two, by linking the two verses he was actually damaging his own argument. He was arguing Mary was in a special place in her role as a mediator, but by what Paul was writing about, even if she should be included in the coworker status, she would have had to share that role with all of the others with whom Paul had reference. Three, it left unresolved the meaning of the text in I Timothy. If Christ is the one mediator, then how is Mary a mediator too? I believe these are legitimate points. Do you want to try your hand at telling me how a coworker & a mediator has enough in common meaning to make sense out of linking these two verses? Do you want to tell me how it strengthens the view of Mary's special status, not weakens it, by referring to I Corinthians 3.9? Do you want to tell me how we get another mediator out of I Timothy 2.5?
Now, I will turn my attention to what you said: "Also, in regards to a mediator, yes there is only One, Jesus. Only ONE died for us only ONE is our SAVIOR and REDEEMER. BUT, no one ever said there was only one mediator that could pray for us….Paul says we should seek others to pray for us." I apologize for separating your sentences. I will return to everything you said. However, I did this so I could establish an order to respond to this paragraph. To me, what you wrote weakens your argument about the special status of Mary, just like Scott Hahn did. If we have others praying for us as mediators, would this not put her in a class no different than the others that do pray for us?
I have no problem with how you link Christ as mediator to Him as the Savior/Redeemer who died for us, as I had no problem with Scott Hahn's remarks about Christ being the high priest. I also have no problem with associating intercession with being a mediator. There may be a difference in the terms but I admit there is a definite overlap in meaning. I don't know whether or not in your Catholic bibles you ever have the Hebrew words of the Old Testament translated "mediator," but in our English bibles the word does not appear in our Old Testament translations. It is only in the New Testament where the word "mediator" appears in our bibles. The Greek word is "mesites." Mediator is spoken of in Galatians 3.19-20 three times. It is used in I Timothy 2.5. It is used three times in Hebrews: 8.6, 9.15, & 12.24. In every case except the case in Galatians, chapter 3, the mediator is Jesus Christ. Reading from Galatians 3, one sees that the mediator there is Moses. Moses was the mediator between God & the Hebrew children concerning the hearing of the word of God. The reference in the Old Testament where he stood as a mediator is found in Deuteronomy 5.5, & 23-27. In all other cases, reference to a mediator concerns Jesus, being either the one who ransoms or the one who serves as the mediator of the New Testament.
Both you & Scott Hahn say well in acknowledging Jesus as the only mediator who forfeited His life, shed His blood, & redeemed poor sinners. You also speak well when you acknowledge Mary does not compare to Jesus in this regard. I believe too that the Bible teaches Him to be the only Savior of His covenant people. So, in the verses cited about Him as a mediator He gave Himself a ransom for them (I Timothy 2.5); He is a mediator of a better covenant with better promises than that which is found in the old covenant (Hebrews 8.6); His redemption by His death bridges those called under both the old & new covenants (Hebrews 9.15); and He, as mediator of this new covenant sprinkled blood that had more efficacy than Abel's (Hebrews 12.24).
I have no problem with intercession being understood as either a part of the work of the mediator or as being a work that can mean the same thing as "mediator" providing it does not get uplifted beyond the realm of usage in the Bible. Yes, we do make intercession on behalf of others, & to that degree, Mary may have fit that billing. In Romans 8.26-27, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for His people. In Romans 8.34, Christ, at God's right hand, makes intercession for His people & ditto Hebrews 7.25 so it is plain intercession is a part of Christ's work as a mediator; & yes, men are both commanded & in fact fill the role as intercessors too, as in Romans 11.2 & I Timothy 2.1. To the degree men make intercession for others, to that same degree men are mediators in a much more limited sense of the word. However, having said this, this puts Mary in no different class than any other persons. Although you did not mention it, I will add it also puts your canonized saints in no different class.
Where I have the problem is in reconciling what you say about the claim Gebirah typifies Mary with what the Bible actually says (or better said, does not say) about Mary. I will now return to the paragraph you wrote: "Just like the Gebirah in the Old Testament brings others' petitions to the king." That there was a queen mother in the Davidic kingdom, I do not deny. But I fail to see how anything said about Mary in the New Testament answers this alleged type. The couple that forwarded to me your e-mail sent me a copy of what they picked up about Gebirah on, I suppose, a Catholic website. The heading was: "Old Testament Queenship-Mary Prefigured." The page said: "Mary's role is prefigured in that of the Gebirah. It spoke of the 2nd throne that was established back under David & Solomon that was for the queen mother. Her throne was at the king's right hand for her sit. It said she was in "a position of authority and honour. Her roles were advisor to the king, and advocate of the people; anyone who had a petition or sought an audience with the King did so through her." Further, I found this statement: "The Gebirah was a trusted advisor to the King." Now, all of these remarks about Gebirah were made to show how the queen mother typifies the role of Mary. Well, I guess now there is an answer to one of the questions Paul quoted from the Old Testament. That question from Romans 11.34 was: "who hath been his counselor?" The answer from the website appears to be saying Mary, the trusted advisor, is His counselor. And when the Gebirah is spoken of as the one, who, "if anyone who had a petition or sought an audience with the King did so through her," I have to raise the question, if this prefigures the high role Mary plays, how is this consistent with Christ as the one mediator between God & man? Why do you suppose we pray in Jesus' name? Christ told His disciples: "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" (John 14.13-14). That is the essence of one of the roles of a mediator in New Testament usage of the term. Even when we make prayers of intercession on behalf of others we are approaching our Father in the name of the one mediator, Jesus Christ. I hope I am not being unfair & going overboard here, but honestly, any non-Catholic who reads from this website is going to see what is said of this queen mother prefiguring Mary & draw the same conclusions that I did. Therefore, let me ask you this. Do you believe the Gebirah prefigures Mary in every aspect that was pointed out in this website? If not, in what part(s) did not the queen mother answer to Mary? Further, in the area(s) that the Gebirah does answer to Mary, what specific scriptures do you cite from the New Testament that plainly teach this prefiguring linkage? My guess is you have no clear scriptures; either only spiritualized verse interpretations or else dogma apart from scripture.
Before ending comments concerning the Gebirah I would like to note that the website quoted from I Kings 2.17-21 to point out the high honor belonging to the queen mother. I won't give the quote here. You probably already know it anyway, but it refers to the time Bathsheba, the queen mother, went before Solomon on behalf of Adonijah to ask that Abishag be given to him for a wife. What I find most interesting is what is said in the next verses: 22-25. If you read there you will see that not only did the King deny the petition made by Bathsheba but also afterward he had Adonijah put to death. Wow! This sure proves the high place she had in the kingdom, doesn't it? And boy, what strength was demonstrated here in her petition & advocacy. Not only did Solomon not grant the request but also the man on whose behalf she petitioned ended up by order of the king getting killed. You all do what you wish but, for my part, I sure would not want this to serve as a type to anyone that I hold with such regard as you do for Mary.
The final part of this paragraph states: "You separate those on earth and those in Heaven. It seems like they should be praying for those on earth until HE decides to return. And it seems that they would be most powerful prayers considering they have clearly seen God and are in a complete state of grace now. Worshipping Him and praying for those on earth." Well, you are right; I do separate those on earth & those in heaven. I most certainly do believe the saints on earth should pray for others. The child of God not only will find this desire in his heart but he also has many examples & exhortations in scripture to do so: Matthew 5.44, Luke 23.34, & Acts 7.60 with respect to our abusers; II Thessalonians 3.1 with respect to the ministry of the word; & I Timothy 2.1-2 with respect to a general command. Of course, these are just a few cites to establish a biblical truth. What I cannot do is quote scripture that refers to the saints departed praying for those on earth. Now, I may have overlooked something here, & if I have I would appreciate it if you would provide me with clear biblical scripture that teaches the saints in heaven pray for those who are still on earth. You provide reasoning to reach the conclusion that the prayers of these folk who are now in a full state of grace could provide very powerful prayers. You know, you may be right. However, it is nothing I can feel confident about unless I have scriptural confirmation this does happen. Reasoning is good, & most effective when one reasons from scripture as Paul did in a synagogue at Thessalonica where he preached that Christ must suffer & be raised from the dead (Acts 17.1-3). I prefer to reason from scripture. From my present vantage point I will say no more than you may be right, but I don't know that it is true. If there is plain scripture out there, please educate me where it is.
With reference to your final point, you state: "And lastly, and probably the most important thing is if Mary wouldn't have ever said 'Let it be done to me according to Your will' None of this would have ever happened. That is the moment that Genesis 3.15 does fall into place." I sense an underlying assumption in these words. Pardon me, if I am wrong, but I cannot think that you would have written as you did unless you are saying that if Mary did not say, "Let it be done to me according to Your will," Genesis 3.15 would not have had fulfillment & Jesus Christ, the Savior of sinners, would not have been brought forth into this world. Now, since I see this as your underlying assumption, I am going to proceed in my reply accordingly. You can correct me, if I missed your intended meaning. Whether I missed your point or not, it is clear you have made a completely hypothetical statement; one, if you will, that is based upon "a what if it had been another way" situation. Of course, the problem is, it wasn't another way. Mary, in fact, did express herself in the favorable manner (Luke 1.38) as you stated. So, then, was fulfilled, not only Genesis 3.15, but also all of the other statements pertaining to the eternal Word being brought forth into this world. But rather than having this hinge upon the expressed willingness of Mary, let me suggest that it was the sovereign purposes of God upon which these things rested.
Since you have written in a hypothetical manner, allow me for a moment to do likewise in reply to you. Here is one hypothetical assertion. If Mary had said, "no way will I consent to having this child", the Lord would have had His angel respond: "Oh yes you will! God has chosen you to bear this child, &, by golly you are going to have Him. Don't think you can prevent it by refraining from sexual contact with a man because God is going to see that you conceive this child as a virgin. And don't think you can use any present means available in these times to abort Him. God won't allow it. And also don't think that after the child is born you will be able to kill Him. God also will not allow this. Wait & see. Herod is going to try to kill Him after you bear the child, but God also won't allow him to succeed. God doesn't care whether you want to have this baby or not. After all, Jonah wasn't all that thrilled about going to Ninevah to preach, but God took care of that matter & he went anyway even though it is clear from the 4th chapter of that prophecy that he was never really happy about doing the Lord's work. Go shape up, Mary. You are going to have this child."
Let's present another hypothetical. After hearing Mary express her unwillingness to have the Christ child, the Lord says: "OK! You had your chance. But I gotta do something. You were my 1st choice. I guess now I'm going to have to look around & find another virgin that will agree to what I want done. After all, there is this prophecy in Genesis 3.15, & also there is Isaiah 7.14. In that passage it states the woman will be a virgin. Now I have a response to give to Job, when he asked, 'But he is in one mind, and who can turn him' (Job 23.13)? I guess Mary can turn me. She turned me to look for another virgin that will be willing to do my bidding."
See where "what if it had been some other way" propositions can lead you. It leads you to nowhere land. And I confess I do it all the time; especially when I'm out on the golf course. I hit a very bad shot to the green. I say to myself: "Oh man, if I had only factored in the wind! I would be on the green if I had not used the wrong club." But, you know, I'm doing no more than playing games with my mind here. At this point the only reality is what actually did take place. I really don't have a clue what might have been. For all I know, if I had done things differently, the shot may have fared as badly, if not worse. In short, the reality for us mortals is in what is or was; not what might have been.
I now relate all of this to the expression you cited that Mary made. I want to reason from the scripture. Go to the last part of Proverbs 16.1. I will not go to the 1st part of that verse. There is some dispute how that part of the sentence should be translated. However, I do not believe there is dispute regarding the latter part: "the answer of the tongue is from the LORD." Think of that verse when you think about Mary's expression. Her answer was from the Lord.
Now, let me return to Isaiah 46.11. I believe that "ravenous bird from the east" that executes God's counsel from a distance country is none other than Cyrus, who was to see that Jerusalem & the temple there was built. Read Isaiah 44.28-45.5. The interesting thing about this prophecy is that a lot of things had not yet happened when the inspired prophet spoke these words. Both Jerusalem & the temple were still standing. They did not have to be built. They were not destroyed until Babylon destroyed them in the days of Jeremiah. Likewise, Cyrus was not even born then, let alone being in a position to build the fallen city & temple. You see then the truth of the tenth verse, how God could declare the end from the beginning. Now, turn to Ezra 1.1-3. This is not prophecy. This is history. It relates what had been prophesied about Cyrus. Notice in verse 1 that the Lord had a way to see that Cyrus would make a proclamation concerning the destroyed temple at Jerusalem: "the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia." Can you not see that God saw how He would execute His will in Cyrus by working within him to do His pleasure? Likewise, I submit God so worked inwardly in Mary.
If all of this is too much predestination for any free-willism you may have in your veins, then go to the matter of God's prescience: "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15.18). If you don't want to deal with the decrees of Almighty God, at least acknowledge that prophecy assumes God knows the future. There is a determinism built within the framework of His foresight. That is to say, what God knows will come to pass must out of necessity come to pass; otherwise God does not have perfect foresight. He then would be left with "egg on His face, wouldn't He? His Word in Genesis 3.15, Isaiah 7.14, Isaiah 9.6-7, Micah 5.2, & all other passages that spoke of Christ coming into the world, suffering, dying, being raised up were not written for God to have to say: "Gee, I thought sure these things were going to happen. I guess I was wrong."
I have no question at all in my mind that it could have been any other way than it was with Mary. Things don't hinge upon people. They are founded upon the Almighty, eternal God who was praised: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4.11). It was in this that we see the special role God had for Mary. She was the virgin that was to bring forth in flesh the Son of God. It is for this reason that scripture sets her forth as blessed "among," not above women.
With this, I close this lengthy reply.
David K. Mattingly