In this article I will present more evidence in support of Mary’s perpetual virginity by showing how the Lord God made her womb the holy of holies for Christ to dwell in all his fullness.
THE HIGH PRIEST AND THE HOLY OF HOLIES
The God-breathed Scriptures affirm that the high priest alone was authorized to enter into the holy of holies, also called the most holy place, once a year in order to make national atonement for all Israel:
“Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary.For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place.Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies,having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties;but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary is not yet opened as long as the outer tent is still standing(which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,but deal only with food and drink and various ablutions, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9:1-10 – Cf. Leviticus 16
No one else, not even the priests that served along with the Aaronic high priest, was permitted to enter and come out of the most holy place.
JESUS OUR HIGH PRIEST
According to the [N]ew [T]estament writings, Jesus our Lord is our High Priest who entered into the heavenly tabernacle, which the earthly sanctuary was modeled after (Cf. Exodus 25:8-9, 40; 26:30; 27:7-8; Acts 7:44). Christ did this in order to present himself before the Father in the holy of holies where he presents his sacrificial death on our behalf as he intercedes for all those who place their trust in him:
“Therefore, holy brethren, who share in a heavenly call, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. He was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in God’s house.” Hebrews 3:1-2
“The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.” Hebrews 7:23-28
“Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary; for when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, ‘See that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain. But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.” Hebrews 8:1-6
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption… Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrews 9: 11-12, 23-28
JESUS’ FLESH BODY: GOD’S IMMORTAL TABERNACLE/TEMPLE
The inspired Scriptures further proclaim that the eternal Word of God became flesh in order to make his physical body the immortal tabernacle/temple where Christ as God would permanently dwell in all his fullness:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men… The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (eskenosen), full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” John 1:1-4, 9-10, 14
The Greek word for dwelt comes from skenoo, which is the verbal form of the noun skene, the very term which the Greek versions of the Hebrew Bible employ for the [O]ld [T]estament tent/tabernacle/temple where God said he would dwell and fill with his glory:
“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting (ten skenen tou martyriou), because the cloud abode upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle (he skene).” Exodus 40:34-35
“Now Moses used to take the tent (ten skenen) and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; and he called it the tent of meeting (skene martyriou). And every one who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting (skene martyriou), which was outside the camp.Whenever Moses went out to the tent (ten skenen), all the people rose up, and every man stood at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he had gone into the tent (ten skenen).When Moses entered the tent (ten skenen), the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the door of the tent (tes skenes), and the Lord would speak with Moses.And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the door of the tent (ten skenen), all the people would rise up and worship, every man at his tent door.Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tent (tes skenes).” Exodus 33:7-11
“When Solomon had ended his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. When all the children of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD upon the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the earth on the pavement, and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever.’” 2 Chronicles 7:1-3
The foregoing highlights that Christ’s physical body has now become God’s eternal, abiding temple where all the fullness of God’s glory would dwell:
“It was in him that the full nature of God (pan to pleroma) chose to live, and through him God planned to reconcile in his own person, as it were, everything on earth and everything in Heaven by virtue of the sacrifice of the cross.” Colossians 1:19-20 J. B. Phillips New Testament (PHILIIPS)
“For the entire fullness (pleroma) of God’s nature (theotetos) dwells (katoikei) bodily in Christ,” Colossians 2:9 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
Here’s another rendering of this verse:
“because all the essence of deity inhabits him in bodily form.” International Standard Version (ISV)
The Greek verb for dwell is used elsewhere in reference to God dwelling in the temple:
“and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells (katoikounti) in it;” Matthew 23:21
This explains why Jesus referred to his body as the temple which the Jews would destroy, and which he would raise up on the third day:
“Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.” John 2:19-22
MARY AS JESUS’ FLESHLY TABERNACLE
This now leads me to the issue of the blessed Mother.
The Christian writings affirm that Mary conceived and gave birth to God’s eternal Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Scriptures emphatically proclaim that God in all his fullness entered into the holy and consecrated womb of the blessed Mother for the express purpose of becoming human:
“But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,” Galatians 4:4
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emman′u-el’ (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.” Matthew 1:18-25
What all of this shows is that God made Mary’s body the very tabernacle/temple of God, and therefore made her womb the most holy place since that is where Immanuel, YHWH Almighty, came to dwell in all the fullness of his Deity up until the moment she gave birth to him.
This is explicitly brought out by what the angel Gabriel said to her after announcing that she would give birth to the Mighty God of Isaiah 9:6-7:
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this be, since I have no husband?’ And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.’” Luke 1:26-35
The phrase overshadow is the same term, which Luke employs elsewhere in regard to God visibly appearing in the glory cloud on the Mt. of Transfiguration as he enveloped Jesus and three of his disciples:
“Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Eli′jah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli′jah’—not knowing what he said. As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’” Luke 9:28-35
We’ve already seen that this is the same cloud that filled the OT tabernacle/temple, and that Jesus’ physical body is God’s abiding, indestructible Temple. Therefore, it makes sense that the same cloud which filled the OT tabernacle/temple during Moses’ and Solomon’s time, would overshadow Christ in order to bear witness that Jesus is the beloved Son of God whom all must obey.
Hence, it isn’t surprising that this same verb would also be applied to Mary being overshadowed by God’s power so she could conceive the very physical body which would become Christ’s tabernacle/temple.
This brings me to my next point.
The NT teaches that Jesus is the Last Adam, since the first Adam was a type and shadow of the One to come:
“Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned—sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.” Romans 5:12-14
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
“Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” 1 Corinthians 15:45-49
Now one major contrast between the two is that, in the case of the first Adam the woman came out from him, being bone from his bones and flesh of his flesh:
“Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:23-24
Interestingly, v. 24 is applied to Christ’s union with the Church, which is said to be his very own spiritual body and bride:
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body.Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own;you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:15-20
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:25-33
Now in the case of the Last Adam he came forth from a woman, thereby making him bone of her bones and flesh of her flesh.
In other words, Jesus as the greater Adam derived his flesh and bones from the flesh and bones of Mary!
Seeing that this is the very flesh that became the physical tabernacle/temple of God, this means that God initially consecrated Mary’s own physical body to become his tabernacle/temple!
To put this in another way, Mary’s body was the initial temple which Jesus came to dwell in all his fullness for the express purpose of taking on a physical body. And after becoming flesh from the holy flesh of his blessed Mother, Christ then made his own fleshly body God’s eternal tabernacle/temple.
What the foregoing texts establish is that Mary’s body was God’s temple, with her womb being the most holy place where God came to dwell in all the fullness of his Deity.
And when we recall that the high priest alone was permitted to go in and out of the holy of holies, this means that Jesus is the only One that could enter into and come out of the consecrated body of his holy Mother. After all, Christ is the heavenly High Priest who was conceived in the blessed womb of Mary.
There’s simply no way of getting around this explicit biblical teaching.
PROTESTANT SCHOLARSHIP ON LUKE 1:26-56 AND MARY AS GOD’S ARK