The Perpetual Virginity of Matt1618

The Perpetual Virginity of Mary

By Matt1618


A: Scriptures That Imply Mary's Virginity?

I. Luke 1:26-35: A Pledge of Virginity
II. Luke 2 and John 19
III. Ezekiel 44:1-3
IV. Ark of the Covenant

B: Scriptures That Imply Mary Lost Her Virginity?

I. Modern Protestant Presumptions
II. Matthew 1:18-25
III. Brothers and Sisters Passages
IV. Psalm 69:8: Proof Mary had Children?

Appendix - Books, Links, Church Fathers,
Early Protestants on Mary's Virginity


This is a controversial issue between traditional Christians, Catholics, Orthodox, Coptic, etc. and most Protestant Christians of the 16th through 19th centuries, who believe that Mary was perpetually virgin, against most Protestant Christians of the 20th-21st centuries. When presented with the fact that the original Protestants such as Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Anglicans, etc. taught that Mary was a perpetual virgin, that fact is often downplayed by modern Protestants. They say that well, that is fine, but I do not go by Luther, Wesley etc. I go by Scripture, and Scripture alone as my guide, and it looks to me like Mary had other children, and what is the big deal anyway? After all there are brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in Scripture, so it is obvious she was no longer a virgin. I go by Scripture, you Catholics go by tradition, and your tradition is against Scripture here. Or something to that effect.

How does a Catholic reply to such an argument? Well, in this study in the first half we will look at the Scriptures that I argue show, and are consistent with her perpetual virginity. I will try to be somewhat comprehensive but I can not look at all the Scriptures, or make all the arguments on behalf of Marys perpetual virginity. In the second half of this study, I will begin by looking at the presumptions assumed by the modern Protestant, in many cases unknowingly. Of course in all sincerity, Catholics admit that we do not go by Scripture alone. We go by Scripture and tradition with guidance from the Magisterium. Everybody knows that is where Catholics start. However, Protestant presumptions are often overlooked, because Sola Scripture, which means I go by the Bible alone, sounds like a more objective study of biblical issues. However, a few of these presumptions that they sometimes unknowingly carry into this issue, should be looked at.

Next we will look at the most often used Scriptures to show Mary was not perpetually a virgin. We will look at what the Bible actually does teach on the issue, and see if those presumptions that we look at in the beginning of the second half of this study, are true. Both sides should admit the following: Catholics, Orthodox and traditional Protestants, must admit that the Bible does not explicitly say 'Mary never had sex after the birth of Jesus and remained a virgin.' Modern Protestants (those who argue that she did have sex), who give anything more than a peripheral study of the passages that purport to say she did have children, must admit that there is no passage which explicitly says Mary had children. In fact, when asked by Catholics or Orthodox, where it says in Scripture itself that Mary the mother of Jesus had other children, ultimately they are reduced to using a Messianic Psalm, in the Old Testament to say that Mary had other children. This study will include looking at that argument. No such passage is mentioned in the New Testament. There are mentions of brothers and sisters of Jesus, no doubt but as we will see nowhere does Scripture say Mary had other children by birth. We will look at the meaning of the term brothers and sisters, referred throughout the New Testament. We will look at specific passages which speak of brothers and sisters of Jesus, which modern Protestants argue imply that Jesus had literal blood brothers. I would say that the Scriptures imply that she was and remained a virgin, though I agree there is nothing explicit. I will also quote Protestant apologists take on passages which Catholics use to show her virginity, so those arguments are given a fair hearing. I will look at the most used passages used to show that Mary had other children, and we will see that they say nothing of the sort, especially when the language used in Scripture is looked at through the prism of the Hebraic culture and the language that is used in such Scriptures. Historically, before the so-called Reformation, there were few Christians who actually argued that she ever had other children. Christians historically accepted the inspiration of Scripture, and saw it as inerrant. They saw it as teaching, or at a minimum consistent with, her perpetual virginity. Although admittedly there are not extensive writings from the Fathers in the first centuries that specifically deal with this issue, whenever this issue is brought up, she is assumed to be a perpetual virgin, there was no controversy there. Christians in the first centuries had to deal with sects such as the Gnostics, that attacked the incarnation, Sabellians who dealt with the identity of Jesus, and the other persons of the trinity, and other such important theological issues. Her perpetual virginity is assumed, there was no need to write extensively.

When it was proposed seriously the first time by someone in the late 4th century who was a Christian, his name was Helvidius, (Tertullian of the early 3rd century is sometimes proposed as a proponent, but his writing was when he ultimately abandoned Christianity for Montanism, and in any case is vague on the issue). St. Jerome said that this Helvidius idea was an innovation that she had other children and lost her virginity.[1] Jerome said that shook the faith of the whole world. Then more writing came about in defense of her perpetual virginity, because here was the first time, this doctrine was actually seriously challenged. As this is a Scriptural study, I will not quote all the Fathers on the issue, unless they give commentary that gives insight on specific Scriptural issues. At the end, in an appendix, I will give places where you can find the writings of the Fathers on the issue. I will also include information where you can find quotations of the Protestants of the 16th through 19th centuries, which support the Catholic/Orthodox take on the issue. All Christians everywhere were taught that Mary was a perpetual virgin. As in all things, Christians relied not only on tradition, but also Scripture in coming to that conclusion. This study will concentrate on the Scriptural aspect of this issue.

For documentation, if you want to see the footnote references, click on the footnote number, and after you read it, hit back, and it takes you right back to where you were reading.

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture translation will be the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

I. Luke 1:26-35 A Pledge of Virginity?

There are several passages that point to her perpetual virginity, but I want to start off by looking at the first passage in the New Testament that implies her not only virgin birth, but her perpetual virginity.

Luke 1:26-35

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, "Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!" 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." 34 And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I know no man?" 35 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.
Here comes when the incarnation is announced to Mary. Here is where Mary is told by the angel Gabriel that she will conceive and bear a child who is the Messiah who will reign. This is strange and wonderful news to Mary. We first note that the angel says to Mary, future tense, you will conceive in your womb. Mary is asking how this can be, since I know no man? Is this a pledge that she will remain a virgin even after she gets married to Joseph, as us Catholics would say? Modern Protestants will say, well when she says I know no man she is only speaking about her present state, not speaking about any pledge for the future. Now, putting aside the technicalities, let us use a similar statement on another issue and see how we would understand a similar response.

Let us say someone comes to me and says You will smoke a cigarette, future tense. My response is How can this be since I do not smoke? Technically my response is only in the present tense and not addressing the future. But the statement that I am addressing is dealing with that future. Thus, the statement I am making is not, well, up to now I have not smoked, but I will smoke in the future. Because if that is the case, if I intend to smoke in the future, there is no reason for me to ask the question. When I say, albeit in a present tense, I do not smoke; my question is addressing a statement made about the future. Thus, when I say I do not smoke it does not mean I have not smoked in the past but I intend to smoke in the future. It means I have not smoked in the past, I do not smoke now, and I will not smoke in the future.

Now going to the specific statement of the angel in v. 31 the angel does say to Mary to not be afraid and you will conceive in your womb. The angel does not say you have conceived in your womb. If the angel said so, then Marys question would make sense from a modern Protestant perspective, because she had not had sex how could she have conceived in the past? However, the angels statement is that she will conceive in the future. The angel does not hint of an immediate future. The angel has not yet told Mary that she will conceive by the Holy Spirit, she is told that in v. 35. Thus, when Mary questions the angel in v. 34 how this will get done, even though technically she is saying this in the present tense, I know not man, she is saying, I have not had sex yet, and I intend to not have sex in the future, so how can this be? Just as someone says how can this be since I do not smoke in effect says I do not ever intend to smoke. If she as of this point intends to have sex with Joseph in the future, there would be absolutely no reason to ask the question since she knows that the way she would normally have a child in the future, is to have sex with Joseph when married. Thus, this question that she asks only makes sense if she intends to be ever virgin. Thus, Mary gives us in Luke 1:34 a biblical precedent for her plan for continued virginity even after the birth of her and our Savior.

With that said, there are technical grounds to say that the way that the phrase is used in the Greek, has a future sense, in and of itself. John McHugh notes:

I would suggest that in Lk 1:34 the present tense is employed with the force of a future. This is a regular usage in New Testament Greek: for example, Mt. 26:18 is best translated as 'I am to celebrate the Passover'. The classic grammar by Blass and Debrunner states that 'in confident assertions regarding the future a vivid realistic present may be used for the future.' (That is exactly what I am saying she is saying) (Blass & A. Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, translated and revised by R. W. Funk, Chicago and Longon, 1961, p. 168, & 323) Nigel Turner comments that these present tenses in confident assertions regarding the future a vivid, realistic present may be used for the future. Nigel Turner comments that these present tenses are confident assertions intended to arrest attention with a vivid and realistic tone or else with imminent fulfillment in mind, and Moulton says: We may define the futural present as differing from the future tense mainly in the tone of assurance which is imparted. Thus the most accurate translation of Lk 1:34 would be How shall this be since I am not to know a man? [2]
One other thing to highlight is that if Luke only wanted to highlight the virgin birth, Mary would have said How can this be since I do not yet know a man. But Mary does not say that. Her statement in Luke, when analyzed, shows that she intended to be a virgin, and Luke understands it that way. Luke, writing this many years after Jesus was born, wrote this with the understanding Mary was a virgin, not only until the virgin birth, but after. Otherwise the phrasing of Luke 1:34 makes no sense at all.

Against the notion of Marys perpetual virginity, Protestant apologist, Norman Geisler in his book writes:

As to the use of Luke 1:34 (that she had no relations with a man), Ott acknowledges that this supposition of a vow of virginity by Mary is contrary to the clear statement of Holy Writ that she was subsequently engaged to Joseph. [3]
A blogger by the name of Mariano writes:
If Mary had made a life long vow of virginity, why is she a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph (Luke 1:27). It is a contradiction to claim that a life long virgin would get married and in fact the New Testament does not say a single word about a pledge of life long virginity rather, in direct contradiction to this, it does states that she made a pledge to marry. [4]
The argument thus never really looks at Luke 1:34 itself. They both say look at the fact that they were betrothed. This ignores the question by Mary herself. The angel told her she will conceive in the future, and she says though in the present tense I know no man, her statement addresses a question dealing with the future. She is speaking of her future virginity. Now, sure there is a legitimate question by the blogger and Geisler, on why would she get betrothed to Joseph if she had pledged perpetually to be a virgin. But the blogger who says that there is not say a single word about a pledge of life long virginity ignores the very words of Mary!!! They are saying well, she can not say that!!! The fact is Mary did say that. This question is a statement of her plans for virginity. As shown grammatically, her question assumes a future tense of her virginity, not looking at the past, or immediate future, but looks toward the future.

The Catholic is not required to hold that from the very beginning she pledged her virginity, but it is possible to hold that this pledge was made upon the angelic visitation. When we get to Matthew 1:18-25, we will address that argument. But no substantive argument by the Protestant side is made against Marys proclamation in Luke 1:34. The argument that she only says that she knows no man presently, which have seen argued by other Protestants, does not address the fact that the Angel says that she will conceive in the future. Marys whole concern is how she can do this as she does not know man not only now, but implies the future otherwise there would be no reason to ask the question. When we look at Matthew 1:18-25 in the second part of this study, we will address the question why she would make this pledge here, even though she is betrothed.

II. Luke 2 and John 19

Next we should look at the only time we have in Scripture after Jesus as a baby, and before his public ministry. Although there are varying no doubt, apocryphal accounts, Scripture itself only gives us this one occasion with Jesus and his parents. It has relevance if we focus on this issue of Marys perpetual virginity.

Luke 2:41-52:

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; 43 and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; 47 and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." 49 And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" 50 And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.
Now, the presumption we are given by those who believe that Jesus had blood brothers, according to passages that we will look at later, is that He had at least six siblings, four brothers and at a minimum two sisters, per the passages of Matthew 13:55-56, Mark, 6:3-4, which we will see later. We know that Jesus was the first of Mary. It was a custom that Jesus went to Jerusalem with his parents to the Passover feast. Of course if there were any blood brothers or sisters, here would be the point that they are mentioned. The they mentioned in v. 42 would have consisted of Jesus, his siblings and his parents. However, the they only consisted of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Mary and Joseph went with Jesus to Jerusalem until the feast ended. If there is at least six or seven true blood brothers and sisters, they would at least be mentioned. Luke would have written Mary & Joseph went with Jesus and James and Jude, or something to that effect. Or Joseph & Mary took Jesus and their other children to the temple. It says that Mary and Joseph sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances (v. 44) not among any children of theirs. In all likelihood, those kinsfolk and acquaintances will be those who we see later are those often thought to be blood brothers. Then when they find Jesus, they say Behold your father and I have been looking for you (v. 48). Not, your father and I and your brothers and sisters have been looking for you. Neither a mention of brothers and sisters who stayed behind with Jesus. Then in v. 51 it says he went down with them and came to Nazareth. Again, there is no mention of children, blood brothers, at all. Where are all these brothers and sisters, when both parents are mentioned consistently throughout this event? I propose that the reason that there is no mention of blood brothers and sisters is that there are no blood brothers and sisters. This often overlooked event in dealing with this issue can not be accounted for by those who say that Jesus did have blood brothers and sisters.

John 19:25-27

25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
If one thinks that the perpetual virginity of Mary is found nowhere in Scripture, how do you give an account that in John 19:27 Jesus gave John to his Mother. He calls her 'woman' (as noted in the prophecy of Genesis 3:15, to match the 'woman' of Gal. 4:4, to match the 'woman' of Revelation 12), and gives her to the apostle John. Where were all these alleged blood brothers & sisters? If Jesus had all these blood brothers, he should have given Mary to James and Joses for example, or any of the numerous sisters we will see when we look at the brother and sister passages. Hebrew culture mandates that they abide by the commandment of honoring their parents by taking care of them. Some will argue, well James was an unbeliever, so he did not want to give his mother to unbelievers.

I will quote Geisler, who disputes that Jesus commending his Mother to John means that he had no siblings:

The fact that Jesus commended his mother to John at the cross need not imply that he had no brothers but only that they were not present, so he could not turn the responsibility over to them. Besides this, Jesus brothers were not at this time believers (cv. John 7:5), so it was important that Mary be left in good spiritual hands. [5]
That is a weak argument. Yes, James was not there. No matter if you are an unbeliever, you go to be at your brothers side if he is your blood brother. If not him, at least one of the other supposed six or seven siblings. Let us say that the blood lines are ignored as Geisler says, and they left their own mother to watch Jesus die only with the other Marys and John (not likely). Of course if James was his true blood brother, (or Jude or Joses or Simon) Jesus could have easily said to 'John, bring my mother to James, since he is her child. ' That would be very easy for him to say. There was no evidence at hand that James had gone to Egypt. He still lived close by. The commandment to honor their father and mother were known by both Jews and Christians, and Jesus knew that James was a Jew. He would not break a commandment by taking his mother from him and give him to somebody not blood related to her, just because at the very moment at the cross, he was not there. Also, Jesus would appear to James and certainly knew that James would turn to Christ (1 Cor. 15:7) and become a believer very shortly after. If James was his blood brother, that could not be the reason, because Jesus would know that he would become a believer. The same Jesus who told Peter ahead of time that despite his protestations that Peter would deny him three times (Jn. 13:38) and would also tell him how Peter would die professing his faith in him (Jn 21:18), surely would know that only a little while later James would turn to him. That couldn't be the reason that Jesus would give Mary to John.

Another important question is, where are the blood brothers and sisters after Jesus died? Let us say that all these alleged brothers and sisters refused to be around their dying brother, while their mother Mary was right at the cross, as the modern Protestant contends. How likely is that? But, let us say that they all thought he was a blasphemer or something and that is why they left their own mother to be by herself. Surely after his death, we'd have some indication of brothers and sisters tending to his body, wouldn't we? We get 4 gospels, but the highlight of who visits the tombs, and gives spices are Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and the various Marys. Even if these blood brothers were disbelievers in Jesus, why would absolutely no blood brothers and sisters at least tend to his grave in some fashion? I would hold that was the case, because there were none.

III. Ezekiel 44:1-3

Ezekiel 44:1-3:

1: Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut. 2: And he said to me, "This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. 3: Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way."
This is a passage long considered by Christians throughout history as pertaining to Mary's virginal status. This is in comparison to God's temple in Ezekiel's vision. We see that the Lord God of Israel passes through the gate. Who is the Lord God of Israel incarnated but Jesus? Notice that only he enters it. No one else enters the gate. Many Fathers see this as pointing to Jesus Christ. Mary represents the Eastern gate. Only God, (Jesus Christ) passes through the Eastern gate. For example, St. Ambrose of Milan writes in 391 AD:
Who is this gate (Ezekiel 44:1-4), if not Mary? Is it not closed because she is a virgin? Mary is the gate through which Christ entered this world, when He was brought forth in the virginal birth and the manner of His birth did not break the seals of virginity." [6]
Now, is this a stretch or is there some biblical reasoning for the Fathers such as St. Ambrose referring to Ezekiel 44 as pertaining to the perpetual virginity of Mary? Well, the background to the section of Ezekiel 40-48 is that Israel and the temple have been destroyed. Here, Ezekiel says that the people have not been abandoned and there is a promise of a new temple which will come about. Ezekiel is not talking about the temple that was built during Christ's time, as it did not fulfill it. First we see some references from Rev. 21:10 and 12 to Ezek. 40:2, 48:30-35. The12 gates & Walls are found in the New Jerusalem of Revelation that are thus reflective of Ezekiel's prophecy. Besides that, though, we see Jesus spoke of how he would be the temple. In John 2:19 when he says in 3 days he will raise up his body, it says the 'temple of his body. ' Jesus is the new temple. But Jesus also says this:

John 7:37-38.

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. 38 He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'"
Here we see Jesus saying that in Scripture there will be rivers of living water that will flow. If you check any cross reference, we will not see any specific passage where that is quoted. However, further examination will show the general area that this is being drawn from, is Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 47:1-6

Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me round on the outside to the outer gate, that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side.

Going on eastward with a line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water; and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water; and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water; and it was up to the loins. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. And he said to me, "Son of man, have you seen this?" Then he led me back along the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw upon the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the stagnant waters of the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes every living creature which swarms will live, and there will be very many fish; for this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.

Here we see that the water flows. This is in the context of a prediction of a new covenant. This is most likely the reference that Jesus himself makes. The references to Ezekiel I found from Mark Shea's blog.[7] Thus, we see in the New Testament that there are several references to this section of Ezekiel that are fulfilled in Jesus. So the Church Fathers who refer to this, see the biblical precedent for making such references from Jesus and the New Testament authors themselves. We thus see in the passage in Ezekiel 44, that the Lord God himself will pass through the gate. In v. 3 we see him noted as a prince. Jesus is the 'prince of peace' (Isaiah 9:6) who in fact did pass through Mary's gate. No one else passed through Mary's gate.

Stephan Manelli notes:

In a hymn of the Eastern liturgy, we read: 'Hail, gate of the King of glory, which only the Most High has passed (Ezek 44:1-3) and alone has been preserved sealed for the salvation of souls. [8]
Now, here are some other references from the early Fathers on Ezekiel 44:

St. Proclus, Homily 1 on the Mother of God, 431 AD:

Jesus, as God does not break the virginal seals: in such wise he exits the womb as He entered through the ear; thus He was born, as He was conceived: without passion He entered, without corruption He exited, according to the prophet Ezekiel who says: 'This gate will remain closed.' [9]
St. Augustine of Hippo writes:
"It is written (Ezekiel 44, 2): 'This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it. Because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it... ' What means this closed gate in the house of the Lord, except that Mary is to be ever inviolate? What does it mean that 'no man shall pass through it,' save that Joseph shall not know her? And what is this - 'The Lord alone enters in and goeth out by it, ' except that the Holy Ghost shall impregnate her, and that the Lord of Angels shall be born of her? And what means this - 'It shall be shut for evermore, ' but that Mary is a Virgin before His birth, a Virgin in His birth, and a Virgin after His birth." [10]
Manelli notes that the theologian De Fiores saw Mary as the 'Gate ever closed' to the intact virginity of Mary, besides Sts. Ambrose, Augustine and Proclus, he also notes Sts. Hilary, Jerome, Peter Chrysologus, and Gregory the Great as seeing Ezekiel 44 as referring to Mary's virginity. [11]
We see this from an English 'reformer', Jeremy Taylor:
And He that came from His grave fast tied with a stone and a signature, and into the college of the apostles' the doors being shut, ' and into the glories of His Father through the solid orbs of all the firmament, came also (as the Church piously believes) into the world so without doing violence to the virginal and pure body of His mother, that He did also leaver her virginity entire, to be a seal, that none might open the gate of that sanctuary; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet 'This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord God of Israel hath entered by it, therefore it shall be shut. ' [12]
Thus, we that this passage as understood by not only Catholic but Eastern Churches, and even so-called Protestant 'Reformers', as referring to Mary's perpetual virginal status. The gate, Mary was passed only by the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.

IV. Ark of the Covenant

Catholics will sometime allude to Luke's reference to Mary in the first chapter of Luke which shows Luke drawing from Scripture to show that she is the Ark of the Covenant. Let us look at how Luke shows that she is the Ark of the Covenant in showing us these parallels, and how this pertains to our subject at hand:

Luke 1:39-40

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.
2 Samuel 6:2
2: And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Ba'ale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim.
After the annunciation, Mary arose and went with haste to a city of Judah. Here Davis likewise arose and went with people from Juda to bring up the ark of God.

Luke 1:41-42

41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
2 Samuel 6:15
So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the horn.
Notice the greetings that both Mary is greeted with by Elizabeth and how the Ark of the Lord is greeted by the House of Israel. There is shouting and a loud joyous cry in both places. The language is not coincidental. Scott Hahn quotes the scholar Rene Laurentin noting the following:
Laurentin goes on to describe how when the Ark arrived and when Mary arrived, they were both greeted with "shouts of joy." And the word for shout or the word for Elizabeth's greeting, anafametzen, is very rare. It's used only in connection with those Old Testament liturgical ceremonies that were centered around the Ark. It literally means to "cry aloud, to proclaim or to intone." [13]
It is not coincidental that Elizabeth's greeting of Mary is found to be similar to the greeting of the ark by the House of Israel. Shouts of joy accompany the Ark by the House of Israel. Shouts of joy accompany Mary coming to Elizabeth. It is apparent that Luke knew that the specific language he uses here of Elizabeth towards Mary, is the same language as used of the ark.

Luke 1:43

And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
2 Samuel 6:9
And David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, " How can the ark of the LORD come to me?
After the annunciation, where Mary has God himself in her womb, Elizabeth remarks, 'what is this great thing that is happening to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? ' According to Elizabeth, it is a great privilege to be visited by Mary, the Mother of God, according to Elizabeth's own words. In the same way David who feared God, was taken aback by the fact that he was next to the Ark of God. It was a privilege, though part of his fear was that somebody not authorized touched the ark of the Lord, Uzziah, had been stricken dead (2 Sam. 6:6-7).

Luke 1:44

For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
2 Samuel 6:16
16: As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.
Here Elizabeth notes that when John the Baptist heard Mary's greeting, he leapt for joy. The language he used is particular. In the exact same way, when the ark came in, King David leapt for joy before the Lord. Also the word that Luke used 'leapt', was not regularly used, and is found twice in this passage (v. 41 & 44), but in the Septuagint, this specific word was used for this passage in 2 Samuel 6:16.

Luke 1:45

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.
2 Samuel 6:16
18: And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.
The people were blessed by the presence of the Ark of the Lord, as long as they did not touch it, also see below, 2 Sam. 6:11. In the same way, Mary was blessed. Also, in v. 48, all generations shall call her blessed. Elizabeth felt blessed as we saw in v. 42 by being in the presence of Mary.

Luke 1:56

And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
2 Samuel 6:11
And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of O'bed-e'dom the Gittite three months ; and the LORD blessed O'bed-e'dom and all his household.
Mary came to Elizabeth when she was six months pregnant. She spent three months in her presence and stayed until she gave birth. Elizabeth felt blessed by being around Mary and the infant son Jesus inside her. Then she went home. Likewise, the Ark of the Covenant, stayed in the house of O'bed-e'dom for three months, and the whole household was blessed.

Luke 1:35

35 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.
Exodus 40:34-35
34: Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35: And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud abode upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
We see in Exodus that the ark was covered by God�s presence and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle of the ark. In the same way, the angel speaks of Mary being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. The word in Greek is �epischiadze.� This is the same word used in Exodus 40. This is noted by Scott Hahn:
This is why from earliest times this kind of association has been made quite naturally. Now, more evidence. Let's take a look with me at Luke, chapter 1, verse 35. In recent years more exegesis has been done on this passage than on any other to show this typological connection, this figurative link between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant. "And the angel answering said to her, 'The holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.'"

Now, let's first of all look at the phrase the Spirit, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee." In the actual Greek, the definite article "the" is missing for both Holy Spirit and the Most High. The very Hebraic expression, it almost evokes a Hebrew connection intentionally, I believe. Think back in the Old Testament where the Holy Spirit would come down. Think of Genesis 1, verse 2, where you have the Spirit of God hovering over the water, the shapeless creation from which order evolves and emerges. Likewise in Genesis 2, the Spirit comes down and in the lifeless body of Adam God breathes into his nostrils, the ruah, the breath of life, and so he becomes a living soul, nefesh.

Throughout the Old Testament, Psalm 104 the Holy Spirit gives life to the entire earth. The Holy Spirit gives life-giving power, life- giving love. In Ezekiel 37, the body of dried bones is brought to life by the Holy Spirit. In Joel 3, the Jews were taught to anticipate an incredible outpouring of the Holy Spirit to inaugurate the Messianic Age. This idea of overshadowing now. Let's take a look at this term "overshadow," epischiadze, a very Greek word, overshadowing. It's only used in very few places in the Greek translation of the Old Testament. For instance in Exodus 40, verses 34 and 35, we're told that Moses couldn't enter the tabernacle because the cloud, the shechena, was covering upon it, epischiadze, overshadowing it. [14]

Luke doesn't stop here. We have him more drawing parallels from the Ark to Mary:

Luke 1:56

And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
Luke 2:21-23..
21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22 And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.
2 Samuel 6:12
12: And it was told King David, "The LORD has blessed the household of O'bed-e'dom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God." So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of O'bed-e'dom to the city of David with rejoicing;
1 Kings 8:9-11
9: There was nothing in the ark except the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. 10: And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11: so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
Here we see that after the three months the ark was brought up to Jerusalem. It was brought to the temple when God's glory came. Also, in Luke, we see Mary returned to her home. She eventually took him to the temple of Jerusalem where he got circumcised. I got these references from Steve Ray.[15]

Luke was not ignorant of the Old Testament. Even if he does not explicitly say 'Mary is the Ark of the Covenant', we can see him using language, known to the readers of his gospel, familiar with the Old Testament. He is definitely showing explicit parallels between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant. But Luke is not the only author who identifies Mary as such. Let us look at the apostle John:

Revelation 11:18-12-2

18 The nations raged, but thy wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, for rewarding thy servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear thy name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth." 19 Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. 1 And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.
We see John seeing her as the Ark of the Covenant as well. God's Ark of the Covenant is seen within his temple. The ark had been missing for centuries. Here we see the ark reappearing at the end of Revelation 11. Then, and only then we see about the woman who comes with a child. These are not disconnected events. The ark comes in the form of a woman who bears a child. If one reads the rest of Revelation 12 we can see that this child is Jesus, and the opponent is the devil. Individuals. But who is the one who bears the child? Mary is the only one who bears the child, in the context of the Ark of the Covenant. Mary is seen by John as the Ark of the Covenant as well. She bears the Son Jesus, who will rule the world. Some may argue that somehow this is Israel, or the Church, or something to that effect, but we see in Revelation 12 John talking about individuals, not national entities. Now, to go over whether the woman in Revelation 12 is Mary, that is gone over here: [16]

When the Ark of the Covenant is brought up in Revelation 11:18, who is the Ark of the Covenant but the 'woman' of Revelation 12? The fact that chapter 12 is a different chapter than 11 is not an issue as divisions in chapters were started way after the Bible was written. Chapter 12 is a continuation of Revelation 11.

All Scripture is inspired and profitable, per 2 Timothy 3:16. Luke and John meant to say something about Mary when they use language of Mary consonant with the language of the Ark of the Covenant. We see that Mary is treated by Luke as the 'Ark of the Covenant. ' She held God himself in her womb. Also we saw in the Old Testament that even when Uzziah barely touched the ark, he was slain (2 Samuel 6:6-7). We see such rigor in dealing with the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Covenant. Luke in his drawing from the Old Testament, shows Mary to be the ark of the New Covenant. Uzziah died when he touched what he was not to touch. Mary herself contains God himself. Joseph was aware of this. He obviously would hear of this from Mary herself, and that she was the Ark of the Covenant. Would he treat the woman who just bore the savior of the universe, as just a regular wife, and just have regular sexual relations as though nothing significant happened? 'Let me treat this Ark of the Covenant as a normal sexual partner? I do not want to concentrate on raising Jesus, but have sex with Mary lots of times and produce all these other children, and have to worry about raising all these other children. That makes no sense to me. Her being pointed to her as the Ark of the Covenant shows Joseph would not deign to touch her in such a way.

I. Modern Protestant Presumptions

There are some important passages that we must look at, which many modern day Protestants use to teach that not only did Mary have sex, but also consequent other children. We will address those passages but before we take a look at those passages, I want to address that there are three overriding presumptions that Protestants bring into the issue that helps color their interpretation. I will argue, before we get to the passages themselves, that bring them to the conclusion that she did have sex and other children.

1) Sola Scriptura. This is the theory that Scripture is the only ultimate guide of truth for Christians. They will say, 'well, I give respect to what Christians have said in the past, but ultimately everything must be tested with Scripture. ' Ultimately it is the individual's interpretation of Scripture which makes for them the truth by which they go by. Scripture never says to anybody 'This is what I mean.' It is up to them to interpret those Scriptures. Now, I think that is a wrong approach to understanding of Scripture, but I do not want to discuss what I believe the errors of that theology is, because that is a whole different discussion. However, this theology colors their interpretation of the Scriptures that address this issue. Many people will pick the Scriptures that we will address, and say 'Well these Scriptures plainly teach that Mary had sex and other children besides Jesus. ' At first glance, (and in effect ignoring the Scriptures we've already looked at) the Scriptures we will look at in this upcoming section do seem to indicate that she had sex and had other children besides Jesus. We read the Scripture in English and it seems to say that she had sex and children. What is ignored is that Scripture was not written in English, and what is ignored is the historic interpretation of these Scriptures. The Scriptures in discussion are written in Greek and the earliest Greek Christians who've given us interpretations of these Scriptures were unanimous in saying that these Scriptures do not teach that she had sex and other children. For example, the great doctor, St. John Chrysostem, who read and spoke Greek did not think those passages taught of Mary losing her virginity. Greek Christians in fact pretty much unanimously throughout the centuries taught that Scriptures taught, or at least was consistent with, Mary's perpetual virginity. Unfortunately those who adhere to Sola Scripture will most often ignore Greek Christian insights, even though it was written in the Greek language. Even the fact that the original founders of Protestantism who operated by Sola Scriptura, such as Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Wesley, through the late 19th century (fairly close to the advent of Fundamentalism), believed that the Scriptures were consistent with Mary's perpetual virginity. The modern day Protestant will often ignore the historic interpretation of Scriptures and make themselves the determiners of the truth through their own personal reading of Scripture. Of course in many cases, it is that they are taught by others that Scripture teaches that Mary had children. In centuries past, Sola Scriptura Protestants taught via Sola Scriptura, that Mary was perpetually a virgin. The modern Protestant presumption, is very questionable.

2) Matthew 1:25 The presumption is the passage which says Mary did not have sex until Jesus was born. We will look at this passage but I want to bring into play here the Protestant presumption when he analyzes the verse. Generally when we speak English if we say the following, it is easy to interpret it the following way: Let me say the following: 'I will not eat my dinner until 6:00 PM. ' What does this normally mean? It means that yes, I don't eat until 6:00 PM, but at or after 6:00 PM, I will eat dinner. That is the normal way that I speak and understand things. When a Catholic/Orthodox bring up that in the Greek, that the event after the word until is used does not indicate a change of status, he is condescendingly told, 'well you hold on to your false traditions, I will go by the Bible'. Even when the Catholic indicates that yes, in our eyes reading the Scripture in English, it does seem to indicate that. However, if you look at the way that the word until is used in other cases in the Bible itself, it does not indicate that when the word until is used that the status automatically changed, that is either denied or discounted and the modern Protestant just says, 'well it is clear that Matthew 1:25 indicates she did have sex'. The way that Matthew 1:25 has been interpreted as Mary's virginal status not changing is deemed, not the way that Christians have interpreted that passage for centuries, but 'a clear repudiation of Scripture in order to hold on to an errant tradition.' That presumption I would say is a shallow and non-objective view of Scripture.

3) Brothers and Sisters. In our English language, generally when we see the term 'brothers and sisters' to us it means blood brothers and sisters. So the fact that in Matthew 13:55 & Mark 3 & Galatians 1:19, etc. Jesus is said to have brothers and sisters, those who say they go by the Bible alone, will honestly think they are right when they say, 'well, Jesus has brothers and sisters so Mary had other kids through Joseph. If you hold otherwise you are going against the Bible and hold on to a tradition that violates Scripture. ' At first glance this seems to be a reasonable position to take. However, Scripture was written in the first century culture, and the way the Bible uses the terms 'brothers and sisters' does not necessarily reflect the way of 21st century English interpretation. Unfortunately any attempt to even show from the Bible itself that the term 'brothers and sisters' is used in other ways, is often ignored because of the conclusion that they think Scripture holds: When Matthew or Mark say 'brothers and sisters' it must mean 'blood brothers and sisters. ' Unfortunately this is only a superficial look at the issue, and many Protestants will overlook the biblical culture, and how the very first Christians, even those who spoke Greek, viewed these passages. Some Protestants who will look in depth on such things as the mysteries of the Trinity, and many deep spiritual things, will not do so in the way the meaning of 'brothers and sisters' is used in Scripture itself. Or they will not seriously look at the fact that these alleged brothers and sisters of Jesus are identified in Scripture itself as children of another Mary, which destroys their whole interpretation.

II. Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew 1:18-25

18 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; 19 and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 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; 21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.
This is one of the proof texts most often put forward to say that Mary had sex after Jesus was born. I will analyze this text, but first I want to cite a Protestant apologist, Ron Rhodes' argument here:
The idea that Mary was a perpetual virgin-that is, that she remained a virgin following the birth of Jesus is directly contradicted by the biblical account. Indeed, in Matthew 1:25 we read that Joseph 'kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son'; and he called His name Jesus (Matthew 1:25, emphasis added). The word until implies that normal sexual relations between Joseph and Mary took place following the birth of Jesus. [17]
Rhodes reads the passage like I suggested the 21st century English speaker who reads the passage would. He reads it like 'I will not eat any food until 6:00 pm' which means at 6:00 I will eat. The normal English reading does seem to indicate that. However, the premise is faulty.

Before we get to how Rhodes premise is wrong though, let us look at the paragraph that leads to verse 25. First, in v. 18 we get the phrase how before they 'came together', she was found with child with the Holy Spirit. Some use it as a proof text against Mary's perpetual virginity. St. John Chrysostom and St. Jerome both say that it only means before they 'had known each other as man and wife. ' John McHugh notes the following on v. 18:

The Greek verb used in the phrase 'before they came together' does sometimes bear the meaning 'to have sexual intercourse', but most modern scholars deny that it carries this sense in the phrase under the discussion. Here, they say, the sense is that Mary and Joseph had not yet begun to live together under the same roof, and therefore this verb (in contrast to the last words of v. 18 and to v. 25) does not say anything about the virginal conception

The verb 'to come together' is frequently used in Hellenistic Greek with the sense 'to marry'; because the ceremony of leading the bride to her future home was a normal, though not essential, feature of Roman marriage. With the Jews, however, this ceremony was essential, and is the obvious Greek word to denote this ceremony. [18] .

Thus, Matthew starting off in v.18 states that when Mary was betrothed to Joseph, she conceived Jesus via the power of the Holy Spirit. Here the doctrine of the virgin birth is given. That is all it is emphasizing and says nothing about what happened after they got married. Then in v. 19 Matthew notes that Joseph wanted to protect Mary from harm, seeing that she would be put to shame because she was pregnant. Now, what is often seen from Protestants and in many cases even Catholics when they see v. 19 is that the reason why Joseph wanted to divorce Mary is because Joseph believed that Mary had sex with somebody else and/or if she told him about the angelic visitation, he disbelieved Mary's proclamation that she was pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Notice that it says 'Joseph being a just man'. If he was just, if he thought Mary had sex with someone else, he would have been just by asking her to be punished. He would have divorced her over her infidelity. However, that is not what the passage says, it just says he resolved to divorce her quietly. A more plausible understanding of the passage and what actually impacts the issue that we are speaking of, is that Joseph did hear from Mary how she became pregnant and actually believed in what she told him. However, as a very normal man, he could be so overwhelmed with the idea that he was going to be a foster father to a child who was going to be the savior of the world who is actually God the son!! How could a mere man dare raise the Savior of the world?? That is more plausible when you look at v. 20.

In v. 20 the angel says 'do not fear' to take Mary as her wife. The angel did not say 'do not be mad at Mary, for she did not have sex. ' But do not 'fear to take her as a wife., ' Obviously he was afraid to raise such a powerful son. He'd know that people around wouldn't believe him, and though Mary has God inside her, he would know that few if any would believe the proclamation she told him. It is not that he did not believe that she conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. We'd see this many years later when Jesus is called a son of fornication (John 8:41). The idea that she told him and he believed her, and he would be afraid of raising the Messiah Son, would be the most rational explanation of these verses. The angel also does not say 'After Jesus is born, go into her and have sex, and other children. ' A good explanation of the passage is given by McHugh:

When Joseph was thinking of divorcing Mary secretly, an angel appeared to him and said: 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. I say this because her child has been conceived by the Holy Ghost, but she will bear a son and you will give him the name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Joseph is told 'not to be afraid' of taking Mary as his wife: the assumption is that he was afraid to do so, not that he suspected her of infidelity or that he was perplexed and confused. [19]
This background leads us to verse 25, which modern day Protestant apologists (such as Rhodes quoted above) argue, directly implies that because Matthew wrote that they did not have sex 'until' Jesus was born, that he had sex afterwards. First off, none of the first Christians, including those who spoke Greek, thought that is what it meant to imply. We need to see how if our modern day English assumption that the word 'until' means that the status must change afterward, according to the use of the term in the Bible.

2 Samuel 6:23

23: And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to (KJV unto) the day of her death
According to the Mary must have children side, using their logic, because the word until (or to) was used, when 2 Sam 6:23 says Michal had no children until she died, means that after she died, she must have bore other children? I do not think so

Let us look at some other passages in the New Testament:

1 Cor. 15:25

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet
Using the idea that because the word until is used, that means after the time stated, that the status must change would mean Jesus, once he puts his enemies under his feet, no longer reigns? I don't think so. Jesus will reign even after he puts his enemies under his feet. We even see that in the passage in Luke 1, in the midst of the angel's appearance to Luke that we earlier looked at. There are several functions of the Messiah and one of those roles is that he will reign forever.

Luke 1:32-33

32 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, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
So unless Scripture contradicts itself, 1 Cor. 15:25 does not say that Jesus will stop reigning after he puts his enemies under his feet. Using similar language that Jesus will reign even after he puts his enemies under his feet, it is likewise plausible that Mary maintained her virginity after she gave birth to Jesus

Another example, using the very same author Matthew, we see the following

Matthew 22:44

44 'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet'
Now, since Matthew is the very author of chapter 1:25 where he uses the word until, if we insist that since he uses the word until, that means that Mary had sex after Jesus' birth, then we must insist that after the Lord puts his enemies under his feet, the Lord can no longer sit at God's right hand? I don't think so. The Matthew 1:25 passage doesn't imply that Mary had sex with Jospeh after Jesus was born, any more than that Jesus must leave God's right hand, once his enemies are put under his feet.

Matthew 28:20

20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, (KJV has 'unto') to the close of the age."
Matthew, has Jesus in his great commission saying that He will be with his people until the end of the age. That does not mean that after 'the close of the age' he then abandons his people, any more than because Matthew used the word 'until' that Mary had sex.

1 Tim. 4:13:

13 Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching.
Paul tells the people to do the public reading of Scripture. This is most likely done during the Christians worship of God. Paul is going to come to visit the readers and he says to read, preach and teach, until he comes. He does not mean or imply that after he comes, that they are to stop the public reading of Scripture, or to preach or to teach.

1 Tim. 6:14:

I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ
Paul charges the readers to keep the commandment free from reproach until the Lord Jesus comes. Does that mean that after he appears, when the Lord appears to his people, that is when they do not keep the commandment, and to start immersing oneself in reproach? That is the logic that says 'Matthew 1:25 plainly teaches Mary had sex with Joseph. '

Isaiah 46:3-4:

3: "Hearken to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb; 4: even to your old age I am He , and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.
God tells the remnant of the House of Israel that until they get to old age, God is. God does not stop being 'I am' when the remnant get to their old age. Catholics believe just as Mary kept her virginity even after Jesus was born, God remained God even after this particular Israel remnant got old.

Deut. 34:6

and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-pe'or; but no man knows the place of his burial to this day.
Moses was buried in the land of Moab but until this day, it is not known where he was buried. Of course after this was penned, it did not mean that at that point, they discovered where Moses was buried.

Now, surely there are other times that when the word 'until' is used, a change of status does occur. A Protestant can show in the Bible that sometimes the status does change, but these examples show that does not necessarily follow. Nothing in Matthew 1:25 says, hints, or implies that Mary's virginal status changed. There are numerous other examples which show just using the word 'until' does not mean that after the event, the status changes. Nor does Maryvs status change after his birth. But I've given a pretty good sample size to show this modern Protestant presumption is false.

Those who read Mt. 1:25 to say that after Jesus was born, it meant Mary had sex even overlook the way that the word 'know' is used in the passage, and what Matthew is emphasizing. As McHugh notes:

Those who see in this phrase a hint that the marriage was later consummated overlook a most significant fact: the verb used for 'know' stands in the imperfect tense, not in the aorist (eyivwokev), and therefore lays the stress on the duration of the period throughout which Joseph and Mary abstained from intercourse. The meaning is that Joseph had no carnal knowledge of Mary during the period which preceded the birth of her son. This interpretation suits the context perfectly, for the whole of Mt. 1:18-25 is concerned with the virginal conception of Jesus and its consequences for paternity. If the author had wished to imply after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary consummated their marriage, it is more likely that he would have used there the Aorist (eyvw). His choice of the imperfect implies rather that he did not exclude the possibility that Joseph and Mary lived a life of virginity after the birth of the Lord. [20]
In sum, Mt. 1:25 does not say they had sex in after Jesus was born. Just because the main teaching of Matthew is an emphasis that Jesus came via the virgin birth, doesn't mean that the virginal state changed. Now, are there times in the Bible that there is a definite implication of change when one uses the word until. However, Matthew 1:25 no such implication is made.

Greek Speaking John Chrysostom addresses this passage:

And when he had taken her, 'he knew her not, till she had brought forth her first-born Son. ' He hath here used the word 'till, ' not that thou shouldest suspect that afterwards he did know her, but to inform thee that before the birth the Virgin was wholly untouched by man. But why then, it may be said, hath he used the word, 'till'? Because it is usual in Scripture often to do this, and to use this expression without reference to limited times. For so with respect to the ark likewise, it is said, 'The raven returned not till the earth was dried up. 'Gen 8:7. And yet it did not return even after that time. And when discoursing also of God, the Scripture saith, 'From age till age Thou art, ' (Psalm 90:2). not as fixing limits in this case. And again when it is preaching the Gospel beforehand, and saying, 'In his days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away.' (Psalm 92:7). It doth not set a limit to this fair part of creation. So then here likewise, it uses the word 'till ' to make certain what was before the birth, but as to what follows, it leaves thee to make the inference. Thus, what it was necessary for thee to learn of Him, this He Himself hath said; that the Virgin was untouched by man until the birth; but that which both was seen to be a consequence of the former statement, and was acknowledged, this in its turn he leaves for thee to perceive; namely, that not even after this, she having so become a mother, and having been counted worthy of a new sort of travail, and a child-bearing so strange, could that righteous man ever have endured to know her. For if he had known her, and had kept her in the place of a wife, how is it that our Lord (John 19:27). commits her, as unprotected, and having no one, to His disciple, and commands him to take her to his own home? [21]
St. Chrysostom gives us several more Biblical examples of the word 'until' being used which meant that no change of the status occurred after the events. The Greek Doctor/Saint clearly understands more than 21st century modern Protestant readers of English translations from the Greek language.

The other thing to address is the argument made when discussing Luke 1:34 by Protestant apologists the fact that Mary was betrothed to Joseph in Matthew 1:18. Why would she get betrothed to Joseph, intend to marry him, if she never intended to have sex? That is a very reasonable question that a modern Protestant can ask a Catholic. Now we can say celibacy was proclaimed by Jesus himself in Matthew 19:12, and Paul talks about it being a better way than marriage, as one can be totally devoted to God (1 Cor. 7:7-8). However, if Mary had always wanted to be celibate, why did she get betrothed to Joseph? If she wanted to be celibate, there would be no reason to marry. St. Augustine and many others say that the pledge Mary made in Luke 1:34 would only make sense if she had always pledged to be celibate. However, what about the fact that she was engaged to be married? Doesn't being betrothed mean that she would have at least intended to have sex with Joseph? Despite St. Augustine's argument saying that she always pledged to be celibate, I do not think a Catholic has to argue that. John McHugh makes a good argument that they originally intended to have sex in marriage, but when the angel appeared to Mary with the announcement of her bearing the child Jesus, all things changed. This goes back to Mary's annunciation as given in Luke 1:26-35, which would give a solid answer to the question why would they betrothe, but still take into account her statement in Luke 1:34:

Mary was at the time betrothed, and normally any girl already betrothed would regard the consummation of marriage as probable or certain in the not too distant future. One would therefore expect Luke to have written 'since I do not yet know a man', if his sole purpose was to state and to underline the fact of the virginal conception. This he does not write. The words he attributes to Mary are so devoid of qualification that they represent Mary, even though betrothed, as one who does not regard the consummation of her marriage as imminent or positively probable. Why did Luke, after stating that she was a virgin, and betrothed, place such words on her lips? There seems to be only one possible explanation. When Luke composed this dialogue some seventy years after the birth of Jesus, he must have written these words because he believed that Mary had been destined to remain a virgin for ever, i.e. because he firmly believed that Mary had in fact remained a virgin all her life, before and after the birth of Jesus. In short, the words which Luke places on Mary's lips are a formal and deliberate assertion by the evangelist after the event, of Mary's perpetual virginity.

This interpretation offers many advantages. It avoids all the difficulties inherent in the idea of a vow before the annunciation, while preserving intact all the positive teaching about consecrated virginity which that theory enshrines. For example there were two objections to the theory of a vow before the annunciation: such a vow would seem to cast doubt on the validity of Mary's marriage, and if she had made such a vow, why was she betrothed? These objections cannot be urged against the present interpretation. If Luke wrote 'How shall this be' merely to introduce Gabriel's reply, and added 'since I am not to know a man' in order to assert Mary's perpetual virginity, he is not affirming that Mary had already determined to remain a virgin all her life even before the Annunciation took place. On this interpretation, it is quite possible to hold that Mary at first contemplated a normal marriage with Joseph, and to say that her choice of virginity dates only from the time of the Incarnation. [22]

This thus explains how they can still be betrothed, intend to have sex, but once Mary was told by the angel, she pledged to remain a virgin. Mary and Joseph pledge together this virginity so they could totally devote themselves to the raising of the Messiah.

Luke 2:7

And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Some Protestants will argue that Luke 2 shows that there were other children born, because Jesus is called first-born. This is again, a very superficial look at the passage and betrays any knowledge of the meaning of the term first-born. Because Jesus is called first-born does not indicate that there was a second or third born. It only means that Jesus was the one who opened up Mary's womb. That is all it means. In Exodus God tells Moses the following:

Exodus 13:1-2

1: The LORD said to Moses, 2: "Consecrate to me all the first-born; whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine."
Those who would be blessed by God were those who were first-born. They would be consecrated. The first-born is described as all who open up the womb. It does not mean that he could only get the blessing if there are others born after him. We see even prior to that, all the Egyptian first-born were slain in Exodus 12. It did not mean that those who had no brothers escaped God's wrath. We know Isaac considered Esau the first-born, he was the first to open up Rebekah's womb, Jacob followed shortly after that. Jacob did not get the blessing until he tricked Isaac. Some more information is spelled out by Manelli:
In verse 7, the word 'firstborn' (protokon ) is particularly noteworthy. This term had above all a juridical-legal meaning, and designated the 'firstborn' who was to be offered to God for his ransom (Ex 13:1-6; Num 3:12-13; 8:5-26; 18:15-16), who had the right to his father's first and most important blessing, and who received a double inheritance in comparison to other sons. Therefore, the first son was called firstborn 'even if there were no other sons after him', writes Leonardi, ' and was therefore an only son. That is confirmed by a Jewish tombstone belonging to the same period as Jesus' birth - 5 B.C. discovered in Egypt, where it is said that a certain Arsinoe died ' in the pains of the childbirth of her firstborn son' [23]
John Calvin wrote the following:
"And besides this, our Lord Jesus Christ is called the first-born. This is NOT because there was a second or a third, but because the gospel writer is paying regard to the precedence. Scripture speaks thus of naming the first-born whether or no there was any question of the second. Thus we see the intention of the Holy Spirit. This is why to lend ourselves to foolish subtleties would be to abuse holy scripture...." [24]
According to not only Catholics, but Calvin himself, those who try to use Luke 2:7 to argue that first-born means others were born, abuse Holy Scripture.

III. Brothers and Sisters Passages

Let us look at some passages which seem to indicate that Jesus did have blood brothers. There are several throughout, but none of them ever say that they were either actual children of Mary and/or Joseph. We will look at the most used passages.

Mark 6:2-4:

2 And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands! 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house."
Here there are several things to note. First, back in Nazareth the people seem to be familiar with who Jesus is. After calling Jesus the son of Mary, the 'many' say he is 'the son of Mary. ' The Son of Mary indicates a uniqueness. They are not calling him 'a son of Mary', but 'the son of Mary. ' Next they do say that he has the four 'brothers', James, Joses, Judas and Simon. No one says that they are sons of Mary and Joseph. Now, we know in Scripture that the term 'brothers' sometimes refers to 'blood brothers' but do not always refer to blood brothers. Before we get to that though, a further look in Mark 6 gives us an indication from Jesus himself that they are not blood brothers. He seems to elaborate on exactly who the townspeople are identifying as his 'brothers'. In responding back to the townspeople when he says that the people are not honoring him, He says that He is not being accepted by those in his country, among his kin, and in his house. He does not say 'in his country, among his brothers, and in his house. ' He basically is identifying these ones called as brothers, as his kin.

Now, let us look at another, similar passage that modern Protestants will use to say that Jesus had blood brothers. Following that I will look at more comments from Geisler's book that critiques the Catholic position on Mary's virginity. As we go over this, many Catholic apologists, following St. Jerome's argument, will say that sometimes 'brother' means 'cousin' and that the James mentioned here is a 'cousin' instead of 'brother. ' That will explain part of Geisler's objection to the Catholic view, we will go into this more, but will explain his comments.

Matthew 13:54-56:

54 and coming to his own country he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this [man] all these things?
Norman Geisler, in his book, writes:
There are several reasons why this text almost certainly indicates that Mary had other children after Jesus. For one thing, 'brothers' and 'sisters' are mentioned in the context of the family with the 'carpenter's son' and 'mother, ' which clearly indicates they are immediate blood brothers. For another, the Greek term for 'brother' (adelphos) here is the normal word for 'blood brother. ' In fact, there is not a single example where adelphos is used for 'cousin' in the New Testament. There is a word for 'cousin' (anepsios), as in Colossians 4:10, where Mark is described as 'the cousin (anepsios) of Barnabas. ' But this word is not used in Matthew 13 or in any passage referring to Jesus' brothers and sisters. Finally, the words 'brother' and 'sister' are used many other times in the New Testament in a family connection, always meaning a literal blood brother or sister (Mark 1:16, 19: 13:12; John 11:1-2; Acts 23:16; Rom. 16:15). [25]
First off, we saw in Mark 6:3, Jesus called 'the son' of Mary, indicating singularity. In Mark 6:4 we saw these 'brothers' basically identified as 'kin' by Jesus himself. In this passage in Matthew 13, it does not say that James and so forth are 'sons of the carpenter', only Jesus as the son of the carpenter, which by the way is mistaken. The unbelievers are wrong in identifying Jesus himself as a 'son' of the carpenter in the blood sense, then even if they meant to call them their 'blood brothers' why would they be accurate here? With that said, again they only use the terms brothers of Jesus, James and Joses and Simon, not sons of Joseph or Mary. Of course adelphos on many occasion is not limited to the use of blood brothers:

Genesis 14:14:

When Abram heard that his kinsman adelphos (translated elsewhere as 'brother') had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan
Here Lot is described as a brother of Abraham, but he was the son of Aran, Abraham's deceased brother (Gen. 11:26-28) this means Lot was really Abraham's nephew. [26] Here is just one example from the Septuagint, where the Greek translation of the Old Testament where the word anepsios is used . The Septuagint translation of the Hebrew uses the word adelphos, or the term brother. So even though Geisler is correct that there are such words as cousins, nephews and so forth in Greek, the Hebrew word is best translated as brother when translating into Greek. The above is a perfect example, though the Greek had the capability of making a translation besides adelphos, it did not do so. When the New Testament was written, the tradition of bringing the Hebrew sense even into the Greek would many times follow. We know this for example when Jesus says that to follow him we must hate our parents. The Hebrew/Aramaic in this particular case does not have a way of making comparisons to make a point.

Luke 14:26

If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
The Greek has a way of saying that in order for us to follow Jesus, we must love Jesus more than our father and mother. The Aramaic/Hebrew doesn't make comparisons and the only way of expressing that we must love Jesus more than our parents is by saying we must hate our parents in comparison. So thus, Aramaic/Hebrew idioms must be reflected in the way Jesus speaks. Even though Greek can say cousin, it doesn't always do so, in the same way that Jesus words are translated in this Lucan passage.

Even with that said, we see that the term adelphos is used in the New Testament in the following instances:

1 Cor. 9:5-6

5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren(adelphos) at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
Romans 1:13 13 I want you to know, brethren, (adelphos) that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. Romans 16:7:
7 Greet Androni'cus and Ju'nias, my kinsmen (adelphos) and my fellow prisoners; they are men of note among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
Romans 16:11 :
11 Greet my kinsman (adelphos) Hero'dion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcis'sus. [27]
The term brethren is used of adelphos here. So obviously it has a larger meaning than just blood brothers. The same word that was used in Matthew 13.

Now, back to Geisler's argument about cousins. The Catholic is not required to say that James and so forth are cousins. All historic Christianity has stressed is that James and Joses are some sort of kinsman, not that adelphos must be first cousins. There are not many times in the New Testament where there is a focus on specific types of family relations being stressed (besides the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke) so the fact that we don't know of many other instances where adelphos is used of cousins doesn't really affect the argument at all. We see adelphos used on different occasions where we know that they are not blood brothers and sisters. Next we will see in the gospels where adelphos, in family situations, does not mean blood brother or sister.

Geisler argued that the times that in a family connection adelphos always means blood brothers and sisters. He does give some examples, but an example he skipped is the one most relevant to the whole argument on Mary's perpetual virginity. The one example he skips shows his whole argument specifically dealing with Jesus 'brothers' and sisters are identified as a non blood brother and sister. In fact Geisler does not note that the 'brothers and sisters' of Jesus that he identifies as 'blood brothers' are never identified as sons of Mary the mother of Jesus, but of another Mary! She is married not to Joseph but another person, Clopas. The Protestant who argues that James is a blood brother of Jesus totally ignores the fact that these brothers of Jesus are identified yes as kin of Jesus, but are children of another Mary!!! This takes a little bit of work to show, but it is apparent when we read the relevant Scriptures. We have already noted the supposed brothers of Jesus in Mark 6:3-4 and Matthew 13:55-56, but before we go into this identification another thing or two must be noted:

As we have already noted, in Luke 2 when Joseph and Mary went to the Passover feast there was no children with them, but they looked for them with their 'kin'. In this text in Matthew 13 there mentioned these four supposed blood brother James, Joses etc. Again where were James, Joses, Simon & Jude in Luke 2, why no mention there at all of any siblings at that time? Joseph and Mary would go looking for Jesus but the gospel writer did not care to mention any of them there? But here, in Matthew 13, it refers to these unbelievers mentioning not only the four supposed 'blood' brothers, but it says are not these sisters 'all with us. '? Thus, there must be multiple sisters. All does not mean one or two, most likely means at a minimum at least three or four but definitely imply many sisters. So in Geisler's view Mary, after giving birth to the savior of the universe, did not concentrate on helping to raise Jesus. He was just one of probably eight or nine, although absolutely none of them are mentioned in Luke 2 when he was twelve years old, nor when their own blood brother died. Nobody even visited his grave!!. According to this modern Protestant concept, she just became a sex & baby machine for Joseph. That does not sound right to me, nor did it sound right to the early Christians.

With all that said we do know who James & Joses' parents are. It is not Mary and Joseph. We saw them mentioned as 'brothers' of Jesus in Matthew 13. We see the Scriptures played out in the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus. We see in different places different Marys. First we see the following in Matthew and Mark:

Mt: 27:55-56

55 There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him; 56 among whom were Mary Mag'dalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zeb'edee.
We see here Matthew speaking of a Mary who is the mother of James and Joseph. Obviously he is not speaking of Jesus' mother. He wouldn't go a round about way by speaking of Mary the mother of James and Joseph without touching on her being the mother of the main character, Jesus.

Mark 15:40:

There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Mag'dalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salo'me.
This Mary who is the mother of James and Joses is not the Mother of Jesus. This Mary, from afar, is Mary the mother of James the younger and Joses.

Then we see next in John 19:25-27 who this other Mary is married to, and that she is related to Mary the Mother of Jesus, making her kin:

25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Putting all three passages together we see that there are at a minimum three Marys involved. The synoptic gospels refer to the two Marys, Mary Magdalene, and another Mary, who were at first afar. Then later they came close to be at Mary the mother of Jesus' side per John 19. But we also have the fact that here Mary, the mother of James and Joses is called Mary's sister. And this 'sister' is thus kin to Mary and thus related to Jesus. This other Mary, who is called a 'sister' of Mary, is not Mary the Mother of Jesus, but is married to Clopas. Now, this specifically shows that James, though termed a 'brother' of Jesus, clearly has another mother who is not Mary the mother of Jesus. Now Jerome in his argument against Helvidius cites these passages to correctly show that James' mother is not Jesus' mother. Now he did argue that Mary of Clopas was Mary's sister. That is after all what Scripture says. Thus, James and Joses (and by implication Jude and Simon) would be first cousins of Jesus on Mary's side. However, a Catholic does not have to hold that specific theory. According to McHugh, Jerome did not appeal to any traditional support that Mary was actually Mary's blood sister. McHugh gives a good argument that this sister is actually most likely Mary's sister in law. The most likely scenario according to McHugh, is that the Mary who is married to Clopas and the mother of James and Joses, is actually Joseph's sister, and thus Mary's sister in law. This seems to be a better explanation of who this Mary is. Why? Because who is going to give two different daughter's the same name? The parents of Mary the mother of Jesus, most likely would not name two children Mary. That is what Jerome's argument is. Thus, that would explain how even though the term sister is used in John 19, it most likely means that this Mary is Mary's sister in law. By the way, this passage (John 19:25, in conjunction with Mark 15:40 and Matthew 27:56) also destroys Geisler's assertion:
There is a word for 'cousin' (anepsios), as in Colossians 4:10, where Mark is described as 'the cousin' (anepsios) of Barnabas. But this word is not used in Matthew 13 or in any passage referring to Jesus' brothers and sisters. Finally, the words 'brother' and 'sister' are used many other times in the New Testament in a family connection, always meaning a literal blood brother or sister (Mark 1:16, 19: 13:12; John 11:1-2; Acts 23:16; Rom. 16:15). [28] Geisler, ibid., p. 303.
Well, we see two of Geisler's arguments destroyed. He argued that sister always means sister. First, and this is the main one, if you argue the way Geisler did that Sister always means sister that means that here we have identification of Mary's sister as this other Mary, who is thus the mother of James and Joses. Thus, if brother and sister must always mean brother and sister, this mandates that the James and Joses be Jesus' first cousins on Mary's side. If that is the case, this shows that James is Jesus' first cousin on Mary's side, which destroys his whole assertion that brother can not mean cousin. The brother named James, must be not Jesus' blood brother, but his cousin. Thus, Geisler's whole argument against Mary's perpetual virginity is destroyed. In addition, using Geisler's logic, here brother must mean cousin.

Second, in all likelihood rarely does anyone give their children the same name. Most likely this other Mary is not Mary's sister, even though she is so named. Thus, here is the example, where sister does not always mean sister, just as brother does not always mean 'brother', which destroys Geisler other assertion. They may not be blood sisters, but they are kin at least in some fashion, thus making James kin to Jesus. The Hebrew culture was not one as far as I know where we have parents calling their daughters the same name. In our culture, George Foremen who gives his son names of George I & George II, George III, etc, is a rarity in any case, and is not normal. Most likely there is no Mary 1 or Mary 2 but most likely only one Mary per parent. This passage shows a sister who in all likelihood is not Mary's blood sister. More likely it is Mary's sister in law or at least some other kind of kin. McHugh's take is that in John 19, there are 4 Mary's and the Mary who is the mother of James and Joses is actually a different Mary that is mentioned as married to Clopas. He argues that the mother that is married to Clopas is the mother of Jude and Simon, and the other Mary mentioned is the mother of James and Joses, Again take a look:

John 19:25-27

25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother (1), and his mother's sister (2), Mary the wife of Clopas (3), and (4)Mary Mag'dalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
At first glance the #2 & 3 can be seen as the same person, but McHugh has a different take. McHugh cites these as #2 & 3 Mary as different people, which is also a plausible reading. He thus sees that as an explanation of the whole scenario, which we will see further on.

McHugh then gives the best theory that I have seen on who James, Joses, and the others are, and still be termed brothers:

If James was the first cousin of Jesus, why in Mk 6:3 is he called his brother? Most Roman Catholics are content with Jerome's explanation (which stands independently of Jerome's ideas about the exact relationships) that the word 'brother' here means close relative. Honesty compels us to admit that this interpretation of the term 'brother' at Mk 6:3 stretches its meaning to breaking point, and one cannot seriously expect those unconvinced of the perpetual virginity of Mary to accept it. There is, however, one meaning of 'brother' not explicitly alluded to by Jerome in his 'natura, gente, cognatione, affectu' which gives a very normal sense to the word, and yet permits one to think that James was in fact a first cousin: namely, 'foster-brother'. Lightfoot mentions a nineteenth-century German scholar who suggested that Joseph undertook the charge of his brother Clopas' children after their father's death; if so, the presence of Simon among Jesus' brother (Mk 6:3) would be explained. But on the genealogical table given above, it would have been the children of Mary, Joseph's sister, who were brought up in the same household as Jesus (with or without Simon and Judas). If Joseph's brother-in-law had died, and Joses had been brought up with Jesus, then it is reasonable to think that they would have called each other brothers, and that the people of Nazareth would have talked about them as brothers And this is all the gospel text (Mk 6:3) says. [29]
In fact, even today we can put forth such a scenario. If someone lives closely and has a cousin, and a Father dies, what can happen? What if those first cousins move into the house of the other family, and they live side by side? Blood wise they would be first cousins. But they will also live as brothers, and ultimately as they live in the same house, would they not term each other brothers? Surely that would happen in our case. Even more likely so in the culture of Jesus' time. McHugh notes:

Suppose that Clopas was (as Hegesippus says) the brother of Joseph and that Mary the mother of James was Joseph's sister. I suggest that this hypothesis, and this one alone, explains all the references in the gospels; and that it is confirmed by the testimony of early tradition. [30]
McHugh then gives a list of early Christian authors in which this explanation best fits the scenarios that are given. This also nicely fits in with other references to James being termed the Lord's brother, in Galatians 1 for example (We have already seen him identified as the other Mary's son).

As a side note, Fr. John Hainsworth, notes about Hegesippius, the following:

Hegisippus, a Jewish Christian historian who, according to Eusebius, 'belonged to the first generation after the apostles' and who interviewed many Christians from that apostolic community for his history, relates that Clopas was the brother of St. Joseph, foster-father of Christ (apud. Eusb. Eccl. H. iv:22). If this is so (and Hegisippus is generally acknowledged as fully reliable), then 'Mary wife of Clopas' was the Virgin Mary's 'sister' in that she was her sister-in-law. [31]
The Church Historian Eusebius thus documents Hegesippius himself a generation after the apostles, had interviewed those Christians from the apostolic community itself. This would give us an historical understanding in John 19:25, that the term sister can mean sister-in-law, another defeat of Geisler's proposition of sister always meaning sister (remember if Geisler was accurate, that would prove James was Jesus' first cousin on the mother's side).

McHugh notes:

In the New Testament, the term 'brothers' does not mean 'cousins'. It means 'brothers'. But that is not to say that it denotes blood-brothers; it can denote first cousins who were known as brothers; whoever refers to his 'foster-brother' as anything but his 'brother'? These 'brothers' were, as this chapter has shown, the first cousins of Jesus on his father's side, and not (as the Adversus Helvidium suggested ) on his mother's. [32]
Finally, McHugh notes that the argument that James was actually Jesus' blood brother was only heartily advanced by Helvidius, in about 380 AD. However, the reaction to this argument was shock and revulsion:
The other ancient writers whose names are invoked need not detain us either, for they all belong to the closing years of the fourth century, and their opinion was decisively rejected by the Church as soon as it was voiced, on the ground that it was contrary to all tradition. Helvidius was apparently the first to shock the faithful with his novel theory, in or around the year 382; his booklet at once provoked an explosion of invective from Jerome, writing in Rome. A few years later, the same ideas was put forward by a certain Jovinianus, a rather worldly monk living first in Rome and later in Milan, and by one Bonouss, bishop of Sardica in Illyricum (the modern Sofia), Jovinanus was condemned in the year 390 at a synod held in Rome under Pope Siricius and by another held in Milan under St. Ambrose. Bonosius was condemned in a synod held at Capua in 391, and in another synod held shortly afterwards at Thessalonica. Ephphanius records that similar views were being voiced in Arabia about the same time: he labels the men who put forward these views 'Antidikomarianitae' or 'Opponents of Mary' because they denied the perpetual virginity of the mother of Jesus, and he evidently regards their views as a heresy previously unheard of, 'a novel madness'. [33]
If one reads the other passages in the gospels not mentioned yet here, for example, Mark 3:21-35, John 7:3-5, Matthew 12:47-48, it nicely flows with the understanding that they lived as brothers and sisters, even though technically they were first cousins. They termed Jesus as a 'brother' because they were in effect foster-brothers, though they were first cousins. All the aspects of truth, of course had not yet been revealed to them up to that time, which probably accounts for their disbelief at that time.

Here is a passage that Protestants will also use:

Galatians 1:19

But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother.
In Galatians 1:19 James is termed the Lord's brother. However, there is no way possible that it proves anything. We saw above references how Paul used the term adelphos, and it did not mean blood brothers. Here there is no context which Paul makes which indicates that he is writing about blood brothers. In fact Dave Armstrong's study of Paul use of the word adelphos indicates:
The striking thing is that it looks like every time he uses adelphos he means it as something other than blood brother or sibling. I may have missed one or two because I am going by the concordance and not looking up everything, but it appears to be a unanimous use of the larger sense of adelphos. In fact, Paul uses the word(s) no less than 138 times in this way. Yet the liberal Protestant argument will make great hay of Galatians 1:19: ". . . James the Lord's brother." 137 other times, Paul means non-sibling, yet amazingly enough, here he must mean sibling, because, well, he uses the word adelphos!? Does that make any sense? Of course it does not [34]

The other reference, in Acts 1, just speaks about all being together in prayer. By this time Jesus had appeared to James as evidenced by 1 Cor. 15:7. Mary with the apostles and others prayed with Jesus' brethren. This would be the perfect chance for Luke to say, 'Mary prayed with her children'. He said nothing of the sort. Luke, who also wrote of the annunciation and Mary's vow in Lk 1:34, of course was aware that Mary had no children. These brethren were obviously kin, but through our look at the gospels (Mt. 13:55, Mt. 27:56, Mk 15:40 and John 19:25-27), not his blood brothers.

IV. Psalm 69:8: Proof Mary had Children?

Another argument used by the Mary had children side is Psalm 69:8. It is said that it is a prophecy towards Christ and it is fulfilled in Mary having children. I will use Ron Rhodes' argument from his book, verbatim where he tells Protestant to use these verses to prove to Catholics she had children, and to not only cite the Psalm but to ask questions to Catholics based on this passage. I will give the passage and the surrounding context to see whether this passage truly proves that Mary had other children. Rhodes highlights (I underline v. 8), but I italicize verses 4 and 5, and I'll explain that as we move along.

Psalm 69:4-9

4: More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies. What I did not steal must I now restore? 5: O God, thou knowest my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from thee. 6: Let not those who hope in thee be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek thee be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. 7: For it is for thy sake that I have borne reproach, that shame has covered my face. 8: I have become a stranger to my brethren, an alien to my mother's sons. 9: For zeal for thy house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult thee have fallen on me.
The part underlined is what Rhodes highlights as he says the following:
Furthermore, in a messianic prophecy in the Old Testament that was literally fulfilled in the life of Jesus we read: 'I have become estranged from my brothers, and an alien to my mother's sons' (Psalm 69:8). That this psalm is messianic in nature is clear at numerous points of comparison:

--compare verse 8 with John 7:3-5;
--compare verse 9 with John 2:17 and Romans 15:3;
--compare verse 21 with Matthew 27:34;
--compare verse 25 with Matthew 23:38

Clearly then, since verse 8 is a messianic reference to Christ's alienation 'to my mother's sons,' Mary most definitely had other children besides Jesus.


* Would you please read aloud from Psalm 69:8?
* Since this is a messianic prophecy, referring to Jesus the Messiah, is it not clear that the reference to 'my mother's son proves that Jesus had brothers?


Rhodes point is that Psalm 69:8 says that he is alien from his mother's sons. He applies this to Jesus, since this Psalm is shown to be fulfilled in Jesus in the New Testament. No doubt parts of this Psalm are Messianic, I even add another passage that Rhodes left out showing it to be at least even more partially Messianic. That is the one I italicized before the passage in Psalm 69:8 (verses 4 & 5) he referred us to (and he highlighted, and I underlined). In John 15:25 Jesus quotes from the very same Psalm in 69:4.

John 15:25

It is to fulfill the word that is written in their law, 'They hated me without a cause. '
In the Last Supper discourse, John quotes Jesus referring to Psalm 69:4. So at first glance Rhodes argument seems to be accurate, but let us break this down, before we actually answer Rhodes' questions. Yes, Psalm 69:4 is quoted by Jesus as being fulfilled in him, as many hated him without cause. However, if you notice one verse away is v. 5. Now, if the entire Psalm is Messianic we run into a problem that all Christians would encounter. We must remember that David is writing the Psalm, and though some of Psalm 69 ultimately speaks about Jesus, it also is referring in some sense to David himself. Verse 5 says that the Psalmist talks about all the wrongs that he has done. He has committed folly and thus sins. So if this is Messianic in toto, David is saying that Jesus is a sinner and committed folly! Of course Jesus was like us in all things except sin, Hebrews 4:15. It is blasphemous to even consider that he committed wrongs and folly. The wrongs and folly can not be committed by Jesus, otherwise he can not be the sinless Savior. This passage, verse 5, only applies to David. Thus, even if it is only one verse away from a passage cited by Jesus himself, does not mean that the passage right next to this verse, must apply to Jesus. I have a feeling that Rhodes was aware of this fulfillment but refused to quote this passage as Messianic because we would see the parallel to the verse he wants to point us to.

Now we get to his comparison. There is one huge difference in his comparison of passages. He compares Psalm 69:8, 9, 21, and 25 to show that they all apply to Jesus, so it must mean Jesus had true blood brothers. Indeed, besides verse 4, 3 passages in Psalm 69, verses 9, 21 and 25 are indeed referred to by Matthew and John, to Jesus. (Actually Rhodes gives a wrong cross-reference for Psalm 69:21. It is quoted and fulfilled in Acts 1:20, not Matthew 23:38. However, the same point is made by him so that is not disputed). Those verses are quoted in those passages. However, the big difference is that Psalm 69:8 is not quoted or cited in John 7:3-5!!. This is only Rhodes and other Protestants bent on finding somewhere that Jesus had blood brothers, putting that passage as a cross-reference. The passage is not cross-referenced by John, Jesus or anybody. In the New Testament there is absolutely no quotation of Psalm 69:8 which said he was alien from his mother's sons in the New Testament. No allusion to it. David was estranged from his blood brothers, is all that David means in Psalm 69. There are other verses in this Psalm which clearly indicate that not all of the Psalm is messianic, besides verse 5. For example, the Psalmist asks God to redeem him (v. 18). The psalmist needs salvation (v. 29). We saw the psalmist admits committing folly and sin (v. 5). This is surrounded by the messianic verses. Jesus did not need to be redeemed. Jesus did not need to be saved. Jesus committed no wrongs and folly, nor did he sin. Many parts of this Psalm are not messianic. Psalm 69:8, if it is quoted or referred to in the New Testament would be proof that Jesus had blood brothers and sisters. However, despite Rhodes assertions, that is not the case at all. Just because Psalm 69:9 is quoted in the New Testament does not make Psalm 69:8 apply and make Jesus have blood brothers and sisters. In the same way, because Psalm 69:4 is quoted in the New Testament, does not make Jesus a sinner per Psalm 69:5. Rhodes assertion is thus wrongheaded. Psalm 69:8 thus says nothing about Jesus having any blood brothers or sisters.

One final note on the passage that Rhodes used here, John 7:3-5. Let us look at the wording of John 7:3-5 itself:

3 So his brothers adelphos, said to him, "Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. 4 For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world." 5 For even his brothers adelphos, did not believe in him.
Of course this is not a citation of Psalm 69:8 despite Rhodes reference. We see again that Jesus' brethren/kin are unbelievers. Payesko in his book also notes a scholar who looks at the specific way the term 'adelphoi' is used by the apostle John here and elsewhere with a distinction:
J Mateos in his analysis of John's gospel says: According to the Greek expression used by John (1:41) Andrew (after his encounter with Jesus) went to look for his brother (Peter) 'ton adelphon ton idion' (John 1:41). John considers insufficient the word 'adelphos' (=brother) to express the relationship between Andrew and Peter who were true blood brothers. This is why John says 'ton adelphon ton idion.' This expression is in contrast with the different expression 'hoi adelphoi autou' used a little later to describe the meaning of the 'brothers of Jesus' (John 2:12; 7:3-10). This is the key to grasping why 'adelphos ' can signify 'cousin, ' 'countrymen' (4,45), 'townspeople' (7:5). The brothers of Jesus in the gospel of John are his fellow countrymen, not true siblings. [36]
The terminology that John uses in using the word adelphos thus differs between the way John refers to Jesus' brethren, and the way John refers to the blood brothers Peter and Andrew. The phraseology makes a distinction in the way adelphos is used. In addition, the passage indicates the way Jesus is being commanded by his unbelieving kin: Hebrew culture would not allow younger blood sibling to attempt to command Jesus around in such a fashion. We know that if they were blood brothers, they'd have to be younger, as Jesus was first-born. However if they are either older, or about the same age, which could only happen if they are not blood brothers, this would not be surprising.


We have taken a look at this issue from a biblical perspective. There are many Church Fathers I could quote for support, but my intention in this study is to show how Mary's perpetual virginity is consistent with Scripture. I have taken a look at first the passages that seem to indicate Mary's perpetual virginity, and then looked at the passages that modern Protestants will use to 'prove' that she lost her virginity after Jesus was born. We started off looking at Mary in Luke 1. There we saw that the angel told her she will conceive in the future, not that she already conceived. Mary asked the question that would only make sense if she planned to be and remain a virgin. We examined the tense and the verse reflects a vow of virginity. Next, we looked at some passages such as Luke 2 and John 19 and following which reflect there being no brothers and sisters mentioned at all in the place where there would be most likely to be mentioned. Jesus gives Mary to John, which despite Protestant assertions, makes no sense at all unless there were no blood brothers and sisters. Next, we did a study of Ezekiel 44:1-3, which points us to the New Covenant. It pointed us to the prince of peace, Jesus himself, who would be the only one who would pass through the gate. The Church Fathers and the historic Christian church saw this point to Mary as the gate which no one else can pass through. We also saw Luke refer to Mary as the Ark of the Covenant, with explicit parallels drawn from 2nd Samuel. We saw language used in Luke 1:35, which reflects language used of the Ark of the Covenant in Exodus. We also saw the Ark of the Covenant also mentioned in Revelation 11-12, which reflected Mary. We also recalled that when one touched the ark in an unauthorized fashion, like Uzziah, one was struck dead. Joseph was aware of this, and reflected on Mary being the ark, when he took Mary as his wife.

We then looked at presumptions that many Protestants take in this study. Unfortunately, their version of Sola Scriptura, ignores, or seriously downplays the fact that Greek Christians who knew the language, much closer to the time of Jesus than ours, believed that Scripture taught of her perpetual virginity. To be fair, Sola Scriptura, by itself, is supposed to be an objective study of Scripture, with study of language background and culture, in order to understand passages. Of course for more than 3 centuries, most who went by that theology affirmed that Scripture taught her perpetual virginity, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Zwingli, etc. However, nowadays modern Protestants on this issue, come to a different conclusions. They now go by a surface analysis which to them seems to show she had sex, and resulting children. The problem is only that this conclusion is only on the surface. They ignore or downplay objective analysis of particular verses, because of their on the surface reading of certain passages, seems to them to indicate she had seven or more other children, via Matthew 13:55-56.

We looked at the most often used passage which alleges to show Mary had sex, Matthew 1:18-25. Because Matthew highlights the fact of the virgin birth when he used the word 'until' in verse 25, did not mean that after Jesus was born, that Mary had sex, though that is the common modern Protestant view. Because it says she did not know Joseph until Jesus was born. We noted from a scholar cited by McHugh that if Matthew wanted to hint that Mary and Joseph had sex after Jesus was born, he would have used the 'aorist' tense. Matthew chose not to. We gave many, many passages which showed the use of the word 'until', does not mean that the status necessarily changes. Several times in Matthew himself he uses the word until, with the status not changing, Mt. 22:44, 28:20. We noted that Greek Christians did not see a hint in Matthew 1:25 that Mary had sex. The Doctor/Saint John Chrysostom who wrote/spoke Greek certainly did not understand Matthew 1:25 to mean that and he gave several Biblical instances of the word until not changing whatever status it was. We even saw a passage which says Jesus will reign 'until' (1 Cor. 15:25) he puts his enemies under his feet, obviously does not mean he will stop reigning after he puts his enemies because in the annunciation itself, it is told to Mary that Jesus will reign forever (Luke 1:33). Sure sometimes when the word 'until' is used the status is changed, but no hint is given in Matthew that Mary's virginal status so changed.

We also looked at the term 'brothers and sisters. ' Again, most of the Fathers believed that James, Joseph, Jude and Simon were cousins or only Jesus' kin. Now there are many different theories on what relation to Jesus James had, but historic Christianity has affirmed one thing consistently: Mary bore no children besides Jesus. We first noted that none of these 'brothers and sisters' were around or mentioned when Jesus was 12 years old, which would be kind of strange, since he is alleged to have at least 7 or 8 blood brothers/sisters via Matthew 13:55-56/Mark 6:3-4. When Jesus was on the cross none of them were around, and none tended to his body after his death, quite strange to say the least, even if they were unbelievers. We did see some identification of actually who James and Joses were. Through Matthew 13:55-56, and comparing that to Matthew 27:56, Mk 15:40 and John 19:25, we see that James and Joses, the ones most often alleged to be his blood brothers, identified as the Son of another Mary, called a sister. That sister/kin was married to Clopas. St. Jerome called James the Lord's cousin on his mother's side. McHugh, in his study, came to the conclusion that it is more likely that Mary's sister was probably her sister-in-law, thus Joseph's sister. McHugh's theory is that the most likely scenario is that Clopas died, and Joseph took their children under their umbrage. Then as they lived in the same household as Joseph and Mary, James and Joses would be termed 'brothers', even though they were technically cousins. Many of these kin questioned Jesus and did not believe (Jn. 7:3-5, Lk 8:19-21), but ultimately Jesus appeared to James and his brethren ultimately became believers (1 Cor. 15:7). Finally, we looked at a passage that Protestants try to use to prove Mary had other children, Psalm 69:8. There it said that the psalmist was alienated from his mother's children. The Psalm was of course partly Messianic, but many parts of the psalm did not apply to Jesus. Psalm 69:8 was not quoted in the New Testament and just because it is next to a verse that is quoted (v. 9), does not mean it applies to Jesus any more than Jesus quoting Psalm 69:4 to refer to himself, means that verse 5 applies to Jesus. That would make him a sinner, because the psalmist (David) is a sinner, per v. 5. That passage only applies to David, who we know did have blood brothers. We also know David sinned, not Jesus.


[1] St. Jerome, The Perpetual Virginity Of Blessed Mary, Against Helvidius, Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Second Series, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953) Volume VI, pp. 334-346. This writing is also available here::

[2] John McHugh, 'The Mother of Jesus in the New Testament', (Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City, New York), 1975, p. 195.

[3] Norman Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1995, p. 302

[4] From the following blog:, by Mariano, Roman Catholic Maryology: Eternally a Virgin?

[5] Geisler, p. 302.

[6] St. Ambrose of Milan, The Consecration of a Virgin and the Perpetual Virginity of Mary , 8:52 in William Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, vol. 2, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1978, #1327, p. 172.

[7] References in Ezekiel found from Mark Shea's blog:

[8] Manelli, p. 77, from Hesychius of Jeruslaem, Homily 1 on the Presentation. PG 93, quoted in Testi mariani del primo millennio, vol. 1 (Rome 1988), p. 930.

[9] St. Proclus, successor of St. John Chrysostom, as Bishop of Constantinople, Stefano Manelli, All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed. (Academy of the Immaculate, New Bedford, Massachusetts), 1995, p. 77, footnote 36.

[10] St. Augustine, (+430 A.D.), De Annunt. Dom. iii:, found here:

[11] Manelli, p. 77.

[12] Robert Payesko, The Truth About Mary: A Scriptural introduction to the Mother of Jesus for Bible-Believing Christians,: From Human Inventions to the truths taught by Scripture, Volume 1, (Queenship Publishing Company, Santa Barbara, CA), 1996, p. 57, footnote 63, quoted in A.M. Allchin, 'Seventeenth Century Anglican Theology,' In The Blessed Virgin Mary,: Essays by Anglican Writers, E.L. Mascall and H.S. Box, eds (London: Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd, 1963), 61.

[13] Scott Hahn,, Answering Common Objections, Mary, Ark of the Covenant.

[14] Scott Hahn, ibid.

[15] by Steve Ray, 'Mary, Ark of the Covenant'

[16] Is Mary my Mother? A look at Revelation 12, by yours truly,

[17] Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 2000, pp. 272.

[18] McHugh, pp. 158-159

[19] McHugh, p. 171.

[20] McHugh, p. 204.

[21] St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew, Homily V, ed. Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, vol. 10 (Peabody Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1995), p. 33.

[22] McHugh, pp. 195-196.

[23] Manelli, p. 219, footnote 21, Leonardi,: 'LInfanzia di Gesu, ' p. 207.

[24] John Calvin, (Sermon on Matthew 1:22-25, published 1562) found here: Defense of the Perpetual Virginity of our Lady And the Marian Title "Mother of God" Phil Porvaznik / To: Ron Wallace / Subj: Perpetual Virginity Debate (Theotokos)

[25] Geisler, pp. 302-303.

[26] Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, CA), 1988, p. 282.

[27] References found here, Dave Armstrong, Dialogue on Supposed Biblical Disproofs of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary: Round Two, Part II (vs. Ken Temple).

[28] Geisler, p. 303.

[29] McHugh, p. 246.

[30] McHugh, p. 244

[31] Fr. John Hainsworth The Ever-Virginity Of The Mother Of God :

[32] McHugh, p. 254.

[33] McHugh, p. 206.

[34] Dave Armstrong, already cited: Dave Armstrong

[35] Rhodes, p. 273.

[36] Robert Payesko, The Truth About Mary: A Scriptural introduction to the Mother of Jesus for Bible-Believing Christians: Mary in Scripture and the Historic Christian Faith, , Volume 2, (Queenship Publishing Company, Santa Barbara, CA), 1996, p. 205.

Appendix - Books, Links, Church Fathers,
Early Protestants on Mar 's Virginity

– There were a lot of resources that I looked at in order to produce this paper. I left out a lot of arguments, but even then, this work may have been a little too long for most. However, I would like to offer some good resources for those who would like to go into further study of this issue. The first book that I probably cited the most in this paper is John McHugh, The Mother of Jesus in the New Testament. This book gives a comprehensive view of all the texts dealing with Mary including 3 chapters on Luke 1:34, and gives the four varying views of who the Brothers of Jesus are. He gives a fair hearing to the Helvidian (In effect now the Protestant) view, Epiphanian Theory (James and Joses are children of Joseph from a previous marriage, and she died), St. Jerome's Theory and his own conclusions, some of which is spelled out here. He gives analysis of all the Church Fathers views, and how their theories come about. He gives about 54 pages, 200-254, giving a thorough analysis of all the relevant Scriptures and citations and references to Church Fathers. Of the books I cite, I highly recommend getting this book as the most scholarly and thorough. Another book written by Stephano Manelli, is also a good book called 'All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed' gives a look at all the Scriptures dealing with Mary. Another series of books is Robert Payesko s'The Truth About Mary', three volumes. It is not as scholarly as the first two books, and is more of an apologist series of books. It confronts the Fundamentalist view of things, and addresses Protestant arguments against Mary. I don't find the quality quite as high as McHugh's book, but you do get more of a historical look at the Protestant position, and how it has evolved since Martin Luther. In the first volume, the first section is of high quality with plenty of quotes from Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Calvin, Zwingli, and many of the English reformers, how they held to most Marian doctrines, pp. 49-66. Then the second part of the first volume is mostly a rejection of 'Once Saved Always saved', which Payesko somehow ties in to Mary. That is not particularly useful, to be honest. The second volume takes a Scriptural look at all the Marian doctrines and quotes Protestant sources that support various Marian doctrines. The third volume is a look at the doctrines quoting Protestant/Fundamentalist attacks on Marian doctrines, and Catholics responding to those attacks. A shorter study on Mary that is helpful, and deals with all the Marian issues is 'Refuting the Attack on Mary' a booklet written by an anonymous Father Mateo., available at Catholic Answers. If you are looking for a shorter take on the issue, that would be a place to look.

A full online debate on the issue of Mary, including her perpetual virginity is here: Dwight Longnecer (Modern Protestant) & David Gustafson (Catholic) Debate On Mary's Perpetual Virginity. This is a book length debate on Marian issues that is partially available online here.,M1
I have not read it totally, but it looks like a good, respectful debate. The section on her perpetual virginity begins on page 63, and gives a portion of the actual debate. The book is Gracewing Publishing, 2003 if one wants to take a look at the totality of both sides of the debate. .

Dave Armstrong has a list of the Protestant 'Reformers' who support Mary's Perpetual Virginity. In reality, the attack on Mary's perpetual virginity coincide with rise of Fundamentalism in the late 19th century.

Church Fathers:

Catholic Answers has a link on the Fathers entitled: Mary:Ever Virgin. here:

A Dave, Writings on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. from quotes some Fathers here :

Church Father specialist Joseph Gallegos has a link entitled Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Finally, Br. Anthony Opisso, M.D. has written a paper entitled The Perpetual Virginity Of Mary available here: This book looks at the issue from the Jewish law, looks at Mary's relationship with the Holy Spirit, and how the celibate tradition goes back to Moses. He gives extensive research with Old Testament and historical background to lay a framework for Mary's Perpetual Virginity not spelled out in my piece here.

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2008, Completed February 5, 2008, The Perpetual Virginity of Mary....By Matt1618. This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written consent of the author.