Wednesday, August 22, 2012

THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN by Bro. Marwil N. Llasos

Mary the Queen
Modern Protestants object to calling Mary as “Queen of Heaven” because according to them, the title is pagan and is hateful to God. Before I respond to this to the issue, I just wish to remark that Martin Luther, the originator of Protestantism, Martin Luther admitted that the title “Queen of Heaven” is “a true enough name and yet does not make her a goddess.”[1] In fact, the instigator of the Reformation went as far as calling Mary “more than an empress or a queen.”[2]

Martin Luther: "Queen of Heaven is true enough name and yet does not make [Mary] a goddess"
Protestants point to Jeremiah 7: 18[3] and 44: 17[4] in condemning Catholics for calling Mary the “Queen of Heaven.” They say that "Queen of Heaven" is a pagan title that is offensive to God. However, the title "Queen of Heaven" in Jeremiah 7: 18 and 44: 17 actually refers to the goddess Ishtar or Astarte, a near-Eastern goddess of fertility.

Ishtar: This pagan goddess has nothing to do with Mary
Ishtar was a Near Eastern goddess worshiped for thousands of years by so many different peoples throughout Mesopotamia. Judith Ochshorn writes:“Ishtar's name is etymologically identical with that of the West Semitic goddess Astarte, the South Arabian god 'Athar, or Astar, who in Ethiopia was the god of heaven and who appears in Ugaritic or Canaanite myths as both the female Athtart and the male 'Athar 'Ariz. Perhaps her most significant designation is the Semitic version of Inanna, "queen of heaven," the multifaceted and most enduring of all the powerful Sumerian goddesses. In addition, the association of Ishtar with male as well as female deities reveals an important ingredient of Mesopotamian conceptions of the divine that spilled into cultic practices.”[5]

Astarte: This pagan goddess has no similarity at all with the Virgin Mary
Obviously, none of these goddesses has anything to do with Mary, the Mother of the Lord. A fourth-century heretical cult in Arabia, the Collyridians tried to do what the children did in Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17-18, 25 by offering Mary a sacrifice of cakes, thereby worshiping her. The Catholic Church vehemently condemned this heresy and idolatry (Mariolatry, to be precise). In his Panarion, St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, writes –

Inanna: An attempt to link this pagan goddess to the Blessed Virgin Mary is simply inane

“Certain women there in Arabia have introduced this absurd teaching from Thracia: how they offer up a sacrifice of bread rolls in the name of the ever-Virgin Mary, and all partake of this bread…[6] It is not right to honor the saints beyond their due …[7] Now the body of Mary was indeed holy, but it was not God; the Virgin was indeed a virgin and revered, but she was not given to us for worship, but she herself worshipped him who was born in the flesh from her … Honor Mary, but let the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be worshipped, but let no one worship Mary … even though Mary is the most beautiful and holy and venerable, yet she is not to be worshiped.[8]

St. Epiphanius of Salamis condemned the heresy and idolatry of the Collyridians

Early Christian literature, such as the above, disproves that Catholics worship Mary. In our theology and practice, we are one with early Church Father St. Epiphanius who wrote: “According to her nature, Mary remains human and feminine. Hence, like other saints, she is unsuited for adoration, though as an elect vessel, she is glorified in a higher degree than others. In like manner, neither Elijah … nor John the Baptist … nor Thecla may be adored.”[9]

Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is the true King of kings and Lord of lords

So what if Catholics call Mary with the title “Queen of Heaven”? The fact that a title is improperly and erroneously applied to a pagan deity does not mean that it cannot be properly and validly applied to someone else.

Let’s take, for example, the title “King of Kings.” It was a pagan title applied to Artaxerxes in Ezra 7:12. However, the same title is applied to Our Lord Jesus Christ in 1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14 and 19:16. The same title of “King of Kings” was used for Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel  2:37. But of course we know that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the true King of Kings and Lord of Lord (Rev. 19:16).

Mary is queen because her Son is King

Another example would be the title “Morning Star.” The title was used for Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12. The angels of God are also referred to as “morning stars” in Job 38:7. But in Revelation 22:16, Jesus is called the “bright morning star.” Clearly, a title wrongly applied in one case can be used correctly and validly in the proper case.

For Catholics, Mary is Queen of Heaven not because she is a goddess like Ishtar or Astarte. To insist on a nexus between the pagan title and Mary is untenable. Formidable Protestant theologian Karl Barth, himself a critic of Catholic Mariology, considered as “ill founded” the notion that Mariology developed from pagan sources. He said: “It is not to be recommended that we should base our repudiation on the assertion that there has taken place here an irruption from the heathen sphere, an adoption of the idea, current in many non-Christian religions, of a more or less central and original female or mother deity. In dogmatics, you can establish everything and nothing from parallels from the history of religions.”[10]

"Come: thou shalt be crowned" (Song 4:8, DRV)

Another Protestant theologian, John de Satgé, supported Karl Barth, stating that “[i]t is not necessary to accept … the evil conjunction of Christian piety with the primeval mother-goddess.”[11] Evangelical scholar Prof. Tim Perry likewise rejects as “genetic fallacy” (drawing a conclusion about the truth of a concept based on its origins) the argument that the Great Mother traditions of the ancient Near East are incompatible with Christian teaching.[12]

"The Queen stands at your right hand" (Ps. 45:9): The coronation of the Queen Mother

In Catholic Mariology, we do refer to Mary as Queen of Heaven because her Son is King whose kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36). Mary’s Son now reigns in heaven as King and it is said of Him, “at Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir” (Ps. 45:9, NKJV). The queen is none other than the Queen Mother of the Davidic King (cf. 1 Kings 2:19).[13] Since the ultimate King on the Davidic throne is Christ the King, the Queen Mother of His everlasting Kingdom is therefore Mary the Queen. Mary is seen in heaven as the “woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head is a crown of twelve stars”(Rev. 12:1).  While the woman in Revelation 12 has polyvalent meaning,[14]nevertheless, Evangelical theologian and scholar Tim Perry sees a Marian reference there: “the case can be made for a fourth secondary referent: Mary.”[15]Thus, the Evangelical professor goes on to state that “[i]n Revelation, at least in its canonical context, she retains her corporate referent and is exalted as the Queen of Heaven.”[16]

Mary for Evangelicals by Prof. Tim Perry

[1] Jaroslav Pelikan, ed., Luther’s Works (St. Louis: Concordia) 24:327, cited in Fr. Mateo,Refuting the Attack on Mary (San Diego, CA: Catholic Answers, 1999) p. 67. 
[2] Jaroslav Pelikan, ed., Luther’s Works (St. Louis: Concordia) 36:208; 45:107, cited in Fr. Mateo, Refuting the Attack on Mary (San Diego, CA: Catholic Answers, 1999) p. 110.

Ishtar: No point of comparison with the Blessed Virgin Mary
[3] “The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the
women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and
to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger” (Jer. 7:18).
[4] “But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our
own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out
drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings,
and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for
then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil (Jer.
44: 17).

These pagan god and goddess have absolutely nothing to do with Jesus and Mary 

[5]  Judith Ochshorn, “Ishtar and Her Cult,” The Book of the Goddess Past and Present, Carl Olson, ed. (New York: Crossroad Publishing Co., 1994) 16-28.
[6] Panarion 78:13.
[7] Ibid., 78:23.
[8] Ibid., 79:1, 4.
[9] Ibid., 79:5.
[10] Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1936-1960), p. 1:143, cited in Fr. Mateo, Refuting the Attack on Mary (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 1999) p. 69. 
[11] John de Satgé, Down to Earth: The New Protestant Vision of the Virgin Mary(Consortium, 1976) p. 80, cited in Fr. Mateo, Refuting the Attack on Mary (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 1999) p. 69. 

The true Queen of Heaven: "The queen stands at Your right hand, at your right hand arrayed in gold" (Ps. 45:9)

[12] Cf. Tim Perry, Mary for Evangelicals (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2006) pp. 269-270. 
[15] Tim Perry, Mary for Evangelicals (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 2006) p. 112. 


Mga giliw na KAPANALIG:

Pagsaluhan po natin ang KATESISMO at APOLOHETIKANG likha ng ating mga kapatid kay CRISTO ukol sa ilang malimit na isyung ipinupukol sa SANTA IGLESIA partikular kay SANTA MARIA.


TV Maria Program - Panayampalataya

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why Do the First Books of the Bible Have Those Strange Names? by Jimmy Akin

Mr. Jimmy Akin, a renowned Catholic Apologist

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deutonomy: Why the Strange Names?
The names of the first five books of the Bible sound rather strange: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
What do these names mean, and where do they come from?


The name Genesis is easier for us to understand, but for a rather ironic reason.
Everybody knows that the book of Genesis is about the beginning. It starts with the beginning of the world, it goes on to describe the beginning of God’s people, Israel, and along the way it describes a lot of other beginnings as well.
Thus it’s no surprise that the name of the book has become a metaphor for beginnings. As a result, we might today speak of the genesis of modern science, the genesis of the Civil War, or the genesis of the Internet. In each case the word genesis is used to refer to the beginning of the thing in question, and most people perceive this as a metaphor based on the name of the book of Genesis.
The word genesis comes into Enlglish through the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible, and the Vulgate got it from the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint.
The irony is that in Greek the word genesis actually means “beginning.” So it originally meant beginning, became the name of a biblical book, and is now perceived by many people as a metaphor for “beginning,” based on the name of that book.
Why is the book called Genesis in Greek? Is it just because the book deals with beginnings or is there more to it?
Actually, there is a bit more: In Hebrew–the langauge in which the book was originally written–it is known as B’r'shit.
B- is a preposition in Hebrew that means “in.” R’shit means “beginning.” So the book in Hebrew takes its name from its opening words, commonly translated in English as “In the beginning . . . ” (Gen. 1:1a).


This is another case where we get the book title from the Latin Vulgate, which took it from the Greek Septuagint, though the ending of the word changes a bit. It’s Exodus in Latin but Exodos in Greek (this is normal when a word is brought from Greek into Latin).
In English, the word exodus basically means “departure,” “journey away from,” or “emmigration.”
The Greek term is derived from two Greek words: the preposition ek, which means “out” or “from,” and hodos, which means “road.”
An exodos thus means taking the road out, or just going out, and in the book of Exodus, the children of Israel go out of the land of Egypt under Moses. That’s why it has the Greek name it does.
This has nothing to do with its Hebrew name, though. In Hebrew, it is called Sh’mot, which means “Names.”
As before, that’s a reference to the opening of the book in Hebrew: “These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household” (Exodus 1:1).


This is another Greek to Latin to English special. In Greek, it’s Leuitikos, which gives us the Latin and English Leviticus.
So what does it mean?
It’s based on the Greek word for “Levites” (Leuites), which refers to members of the priestly tribe of Levi.
All told, Leuitikos means “relating to the Levites” or “concerning the Levites,” and it is this book that contains most detailed regulations regarding what the priests and other Levites are supposed to do in the conduct of their ministry. In fact, the first seven chapters are detailed regulations about how to offer sacrifices.
In Hebrew the name of the book is Va-yiqra (“And he called”), from the opening words: “And he(the LORD) called Moses” (Leviticus 1:1).


At last! A book with a straight-forward English name!
“Numbers” is an English translation of the Latin name: Numeri (“Numbers”), which is a translation of the Greek name Arithmoi (same root as “arithmetic”).
So we all know what numbers are, which makes the name of this book easy to understand, right?
Not so much.
Despite what you’d think, this book does not have a lot to do with mathematics.
Instead of being used in its standard, familiar sense, the term “numbers” is being used in a somewhat specialized one that might be better rendered “numberings.”
The reason is that at the beginning and the end of the book, they take a census (a counting, a numbering) of the children of Israel. There are two censuses in the book, so it’s the book of numberings, or Numbers.
As before, the Hebrew name is based on the first words of the book. It’s B’midbar, which means “In the desert” (note the same “b-” preposition as in B’r'shit).
The opening verse reads: “The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai” (Numbers 1:1).


Although Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers have names that are or have passed into English as familiar words, Leviticus and Deteronomy don’t. We’ve already seen what Leviticus means, but what on earth does Deuteronomy mean?
Once more, we’re getting it from Latin (Deuteronomium) from Greek (Deuteronomion).
It comes from two Greek words meaning second (deuteros) and law (nomos).
It’s called that because in Deuteronomy Moses delivers the law to the children of Israel for the second time (not just the Ten Commandments, but a much broader body of rules and regulations).
The generation that originally received the Law ended up dying in the wilderness, and now that their children are about to go into the Promised Land, and thus complete the exodus from Egypt begun several books ago, Moses sums up for them (with some variations) the teaching God has given in the interim. Hence, a second giving of the Law.
The Hebrew title is Devarim (“Words”), from the opening words in Hebrew: “These are the wordsthat Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness” (Deuteronomy 1:1a).


Gayundin, nang dalhin niya ang kaniyang tanging dakilang Anak sa sanlibutan, 
sinabi niya: At hayaan siyang sambahin ng lahat ng anghel ng Diyos. 
Hebreo 1:6

            Isa na marahil sa pinakagasgas na linya ng mga “kristyanong” hindi naniniwala sa pagkadiyos ni JesuCristo ay ang sitas ng Bibliya kung saan binanggit niyang:
Juan 14:28
Narinig ninyo ang sinabi ko sa inyo:
Ako ay aalis at muling magbabalik sa inyo.
Kung iniibig ninyo ako ay magagalak kayo
sa sinabi kong ako ay pupunta sa Ama
sapagkat ang aking Ama ay higit na dakila kaysa sa akin.
            Ang mga huling kataga ng talatang ito ang ginagamit na dahilan ng ilan upang palabasing hindi DIOS si Cristo manapa’y isa lang sa mga HINIRANG ng DIOS AMA sapagkat siya na mismo ang nagsaysay na ang AMA ay higit sa kanya.

            Tama nga kaya ang pagkaunawa nila? Nais nga ba talagang sabihin ni Cristo na hindi siya DIYOS?

Bago natin direktang sagutin ang napakasimpleng tanong sa itaas, marapat muna nating malaman ang sitwasyon ni JesuCristo sa mga panahong nasambit niya ang mga bagay na ito.

            Ang ebanghelyo ni San Juan ay nagsisimula sa mga katagang:
Juan 1:1
Sa pasimula pa ay naroroon na ang Salita.
Ang Salita ay sumasa Diyos at ang Salita ay Diyos.
            Sa unang talata pa lang, mapapansing si San Juan ay nakatuon na sa tinukoy niya bilang SALITA. Ang salitang ito ay tuwiran niyang inihayag bilang DIYOS.

            Ngayon, sino ang ‘salitang’ iyan? 
            Ang sagot ay nasa ikalabing-apat na bersikulo sa parehong kabanata:
Juan 1:14
Nagkatawang-tao ang Salita at nanahang kasama natin.
Namasdan namin ang kaniyang kaluwalhatian,
ang kaluwalhatian ng bugtong na Anak ng Ama.
Ang Salitang ito ay puspos ng biyaya at katotohanan.
            Malinaw na malinaw na ang SALITA—na  DIYOS,  ay ang SALITANG NAGKATAWANG-TAO na nilaanan ni San Juan sa katawagang “bugtong na Anak ng Ama” sa halos lahat ng pagkakataon sa kanyang buong aklat.

            Ang doktrinang ito—ANG PAGKAKATAWANG TAO NG ANAK NG DIYOS ay siyang tuon ng misteryo ng INKARNASYON sa pananampalatayang KATOLIKO at matibay na pinanghahawakan ng Santa Iglesia sapagat tuwiran itong itinuro ng Banal na Kasulatan at sinosuportahan ng hindi mabilang na dokumentong isinulat pa ng mga sinaunang ama ng Simbahan.
            Sa sulat ni Apostol San Pablo sa mga taga-Filipos, ganito ang kanyang pagtuturo:
Filipos 2:5-11
Ito ay sapagkat kailangang taglayin ninyo
ang kaisipan na na kay Cristo Jesus din naman.
Bagaman siya ay nasa anyong Diyos,
hindi niya itinuring na kailangang pakahawakan
ang kaniyang pagiging kapantay ng Diyos.
Bagkus ginawa niyang walang kabuluhan ang kaniyang sarili
at tinanggap niya ang anyo ng isang alipin at nakitulad sa tao.
Yamang siya ay nasumpungan sa anyong tao,
siya ay nagpakumbaba at naging masunurin hanggang sa kamatayan,
maging sa kamatayan sa krus.
Kaya nga, siya naman ay lubhang itinaas ng Diyos
at binigyan ng pangalang higit sa lahat ng pangalan.
Ito ay upang sa pangalan ni Jesus
ay luluhod ang bawat tuhod ng mga nasa langit,
ng mga nasa lupa at ng mga nasa ilalim ng lupa.
Ito ay upang ipahayag ng bawat dila
na si Jesucristo ang Panginoon, sa ikaluluwalhati ng Diyos Ama.
            Sa mga pahayag na ito, lubusang ipinakilala ni Apostol San Pablo ang PAGPAPAKABABA ni JESUCRISTO upang sundin ang kalooban ng AMA. Tuwiran niyang inilahad na si CRISTO ay NASA ANYONG DIYOS!

            NGAYON, isa-isahin na natin ang ilang punto kung bakit nasabi ni Jesus na ang AMA ay higit sa kanya.

            una, ang Anak ng Dios sa mga panahon ng pagdating niya sa lupa ay NAGKATAWANG TAO at tumanggap ng ANYO ng isang ALIPIN (cf. Phil. 2). IBIG SABIHIN, kahit saang anggulo mo tingnan ay LUBUSAN SIYANG BUMABA SA KALUWALHATIAN BILANG DIYOS at NAKITULAD SA TAO ayon na rin sa kagustuhan ng AMA.

            ano pa ang patunay na siya ay NAGPAKABABA? Ang sagot ay nasa aklat ng Hebreo:
Hebreo 2:7, 9
Sa maikling panahon ay ginawa mo siyang
mababa kaysa mga anghel.
Pinutungan mo siya
ng kaluwalhatian at karangalan. Ipinailalim mo
sa kaniya ang lahat ng gawa ng iyong mga kamay.

Ngunit nakikita natin si Jesus.
Sa maikling panahon ay ginawa siyang mababa
kaysa sa mga anghel
na dahil sa kahirapan sa kamatayan
ay pinutungan ng kaluwalhatian at karangalan.
Ito ay upang sa pamamagitan ng biyaya Diyos
ay tikman niya ang kamatayan para sa lahat ng tao.
            malinaw pa sa sikat ng ARAW na si CRISTO ay NAGPAKABABA kung kaya’t sa panahon ng kanyang pagparito ay tunay niyang nasabi at KINUMPIRMA sa JUAN 14:28 na ang AMA AY HIGIT SA KANYA.

            ikalawa, ang pagparito at pangangaral ni JesuCristo ay para sa kaluwalhatian ng AMA ayon naman sa ikalabimpitong kabanata sa aklat pa rin ni San Juan.
At ang pagluwalhati niya sa AMA ay may kalakip din na pagluwalhati sa kanya ng AMA.
Juan 17:3
Ito ang buhay na walang hanggan: Ang makilala
ka nila, ang tanging Diyos na totoo at si Jesucristo na
iyong sinugo.
            Ang AMA ang UNA sa tuon ng pagpapakilala ni Jesus at hindi ang kanyang SARILI. At sa parehong kabanata ay HINIHINGI na ni CRISTO ang PAGLUWALHATI NAMAN SA KANYA NG AMA.  
Juan 17:5
Ngayon, Ama, luwalhatiin mo ako sa iyong sarili ng
kaluwalhatiang taglay ko nang kasama ka bago pa likhain
ang sanlibutan.
            At ang kumpirmasyon ng pagluwalhating iyan ng AMA sa kanyang ANAK ay mababasa sa aklat pa rin ng Hebreo:

Hebreo 1:8-12
Ngunit patungkol sa Anak, sinabi niya:
O Diyos, ang iyong trono ay magpakailanman.
At ang setro ng katuwiran ang magiging setro
ng iyong paghahari.

Inibig mo ang katuwiran
at kinapootan mo ang hindi pagkilala sa
kautusan ng Diyos. Dahil dito ay pinahiran ka
ng Diyos, na iyong Diyos, ng langis ng
kaligayahan higit sa iyong mga kasama. 
At sinabi niya:
O, Panginoon, sa simula pa man ay itinatag mo
na ang saligan ng lupa. At ang mga kalangitan
ay mga gawa ng iyong mga kamay.

Sila ay mapapahamak ngunit mananatili ka. Silang
lahat ay malulumang tulad ng isang kasuotan.
Babalumbonin mo silang tulad ng isang
balabal at sila ay mababago. Ngunit ikaw ay
mananatiling ikaw at ang iyong mga taon ay
hindi matatapos kailanman.
            Sa mga nabanggit na pahayag, ang DIOS AMA mismo ang KUMILALA sa PAGKADIOS ng kanyang ANAK. Gayundin ay sukdulan niya itong niluwalhati sa puntong ang DIOS AMA mismo ang tumawag sa kanyang ANAK bilang PANGINOON (verse 10). 

            Kung tatanggapin natin ang argumento ng mga "kristyanong" hindi naniniwala sa pagkaDiyos ni JesuCristo, kokontrahin natin ang AMA sa kanyang DEKLARASYON at tiyak ang kaparusahan natin dahil sa pagsalungat sa KATOTOHANANG inihayag NIYA sa atin.




*ang lahat ng sitas na ginamit sa artikulong ito ay mula sa salin na ANG SALITA NG DIYOS (SND)
**ang mga larawang ginamit ay nagmula sa