Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mary, Blessed mother and Magdalena, the Beloved

Yesterday, I wrote about how Christ appeared to Mary, called "Magdalena," and told her not to touch him since he had not yet ascended to the Father. I used that to link to a peculiar type of toxicity noted with a luminescence observed in the Bible. (I'm referring to her as Mary called Magdalena, because I think that Christ named her, "Magdalena," not merely because she may have been from the town of Magdala, if she did. I'll touch on that later.There are many Marys in the NT, at least 7, and it was the most popular name of the day, so, referring to Mary is easier if it's Mary, mother of Jesus, or Mary called Magdalena.) But, to establish my context for examining why Jesus told Mary called Magdalena not to touch him, I refer back to John 20:
John 20:17
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God.

I realize that I have a wide and wild imagination, but, even I can't make the assumption that when Christ told her not to touch him, it would be because he was radioactive. 

I was taught, and it might be the case, that she could not touch him because he could not be polluted, since he was in an extremely pure state of being, no longer associated with the mortal body.

There's no question about Mary's position as the spiritual and metaphoric consort of Jesus, and his implied favoritism towards Magdalena denotes a special relationship. She mourned for him, like a widow would.

 But, there's no reason to assume she was his betrothed, as in partaking of a sexual relationship. NOT that there was anything wrong with that. 

Why? Because, there was no reason for him to not marry her, not one. His mother Mary would have been thrilled. His disciples loved Magdalena, and would never see this as unholy, since Moses, Aaron, most of the Prophets, and many of them were married. Marriage is a holy union, a sacrament blessed by YHWH, and sex is highlighted as the ultimate  mystery of transformation in God's Plan. There's nothing wrong with marriage or sex, from a Messiah's sexual life with a wife, either, but, he did not marry her. She was just a pet disciple.

Let's visit this some more. Christians cling to his purity and chastity, embracing this as if it were superior to living in a married state. It doesn't even come close. Try to see what it meant for Jesus Christ to be a 30 year old celibate and chaste man in that culture.

Jesus is thought to have been a virgin, but, it is not black and white. We get that assumption from his description as being without sin, even though being tempted. We assume that means he never loved a woman sexually. That may be the case. But, when it refers to his sin, it's not in sexual impropriety, or in believing that a married Jesus would not fulfill the prophecy of the Messiah. It was a prophecy of a virgin BIRTH of Jesus, not virgin death of the Messiah.

I'm not stating that he did have sex. I'm just saying that it isn't written in that context of being sinless.

Celibate men were often thought of as castrated, flawed, cursed,  or as if they were afflicted by being castrated, like many interpret the Prophet Daniel. In the Torah, these men were  excluded from the priesthood if they lacked the so-called stones to be a mensch, in both the physical and symbolic sense.

Think about what a disadvantage it was for Christ to not have a wife,  as a leader and a rabbi. It would be the same as ministers today who try to appear as good role models and husbands. 

There's another reason for his chastity, but, we have drawn all the wrong conclusions based on our assumption that he had to be a virgin.

This is a similar argument that I have to fight when those who doubt the virgin birth argue that they had to hide Mary's pregnancy because she'd be stoned to death, or some other ignorant assumption.

 We have modern values, and don't put in context the cultural values in Israel at the time. It's the same conundrum as harlotry and homosexuality, pertaining to them, not us. Harlots and homosexuals were related to pagan temples in the Bible, which is seen as satanic, and were condemned by that principle, not the way we use this information to condemn sex, or homosexual love between two people of the same sex.

 Sex is sex, but, it was different back then. As evolved as modern scientific people as we think we are, ancient man was not less inclined to have sex, and they were less inhibited than we choose to see.

 It was through the repressive lens of the church ages and 2000 years of filters, that we became convoluted towards sex, and sex in that ancient era and sex in the Bible.

King David had a harem, and was beloved of God. Solomon had 1000 princesses and was the figure for Christ in the Song of Solomon. 

2000 years ago, was like a different planet and species. If we want to get the message, we need  to learn their culture, and to open our minds and see it clearly, otherwise, we cannot interpret the holiest of messages to us.

If a harlot was damned, other than being a pagan temple priestess, then, why did Rahab, the madam harlot of Jericho, become so honored, even to become the wife of Joshua? Why was Tamar, who prostituted herself, become the mother of Judah's twin sons?

These people were in Christ's lineage.

Similarly, when understanding homosexual men of the Bible, we have to consider how this was specific to the perverse acts of priests of the demonic cults, and so sodomy was associated with demonic worship. 

We cannot transpose this message and paint all homosexual men with this brush, today. I believe we've done a great disservice to the Kingdom by persecuting some who cannot help the way they were made, in my opinion. I may be wrong, but, this is what I think. We need to be loving and careful, in any event, before we judge another person, convinced that they are damned, if we are convinced we are saved. 

Back to Mary and Joseph's sex life and betrothal, there was no reason that Mary, mother of Jesus, whether she was 12 or 15, needed to hide a pregnancy by lying about it. She may have been betrothed, or engaged to Joseph from childhood. That's the custom of tribal people 2000 years ago in Israel. 

They both had fathers of Judah who may have tied them together, maybe with a hope of the kingdom restoration through the offspring of David's sons, Nathan and Solomon's lineages joined.

 Think of the importance of royal bloodlines, especially historically. Think of how even in the present era, the Romanov survivors cling to the threads of royalty in their bloodline, after the fact. Think of how the royals in England try to keep some of their bloodline pure, although they blew it with Kate Middleton. No Diana Spencer, of the Spencer bloodline. Sorry.

Bloodlines matter if you are royal. The Imperial line of Judah was Joseph and Mary's tribe, and their union may have been prearranged by their parents, even in hope of the promise God made  to their forefathers that the MESSIAH would come through their genes. They knew their history and religion. They were enlightened about the Messiah coming through their genes.

 Both Mary and Joseph were direct descendants of David. Mary's father's ancestry was David's son, Nathan, and Joseph's father was directly in the royal line of Solomon. While Nathan's line was going to produce the Messianic seed, it was still Solomon's heirs who were entitled to sit on the throne of Jerusalem before others. This was the ORIGINAL and true line of royal succession.

 You can see why this union would be important to these tribal people at the time of Israel being without a King, and occupied by Rome. They were praying for restoration of the Kingdom, and relief from being under Rome, desiring the birth of the Messianic King promised to them.

If Mary and Joseph had been intimate, whether from 10 years old on, it would NOT be a problem, or a sin, or a crime, both in civil and religious society. There were no pedophile laws that applied. Again, sex was different, and the culture was very different.

 Technically, according to this culture, they were considered married, or as good as married, and could do whatever they wanted, since they were contractually bound. The marriage ceremony ensued when property and possessions were added.

 The fiancee of the bride would build a house somewhere, and establish a homestead, then come back for the bride. That's when the celebration wedding took place.

It's important to know this because this is a vital allegory for salvation and the coming of Christ. This was the story in Song of Solomon. The groom goes off to build the homestead, and is gone for long, leaving his lovesick beloved in a state of despair and longing. This custom is why Jacob worked seven years and another seven years for his bride Rachel. It could take time before the groom was able or allowed to have their own domicile and wedding. 

 This is the allegory and metaphor for Christ's ascension and promise to come back to get us. When we are brought to the home he has prepared for us, he deliberately calls it, a wedding feast and celebration, bidding all to come, so it would make sense to the people of the day.

This is the basis for Christ's message in John 14:2-3
In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.
If Mary were impregnated by Joseph, there would be absolutely no harm, no foul. NONE. 

If she were impregnated by another, he had a right to put her away or deal with her publicly, and he decided not to do that, because we are told in the Gospel of Luke, that the Angel Gabriel told him that she was impregnated by the Holy Ghost. 

Remember, this was following the miraculous sequence of events related to Elizabeth, (probably her aunt, her mother's sister),_being impregnated by Zecharias, her husband the priest, after she old and was past menopause. This was the birth of John the Baptist, Jesus' cousin. 

Six months later, Gabriel came to tell Mary and Joseph about Elizabeth's pregnancy, and about Mary's pregnancy with the Son of God. This family event fortified Joseph's belief that indeed, their prayers of the Messiah coming in their lineage would be coming true. They were people who had knowledge and they also had real faith.
(Luke 1:11-80)

There was no reason to hide anything. Joseph was legally bound to Mary, and no one would have cared. 

Similarly, if Jesus loved Magdalena, as his betrothed, and wanted to marry her, everyone in his life would celebrate. He was over 30. They'd say, "It's about time." In fact, as a representative of God, a Prophet, in those days, he was expected to have a wife. If he didn't, it was thought to be immoral, as if he was sleeping around, or abnormally peculiar about sex, and these types were not usually revered as good men. 

Think about it. This was before the Catholic Church set up celibacy standards.

He did not marry because he was going to leave her widowed, or endanger her more than she already was as his disciple. Mary the beloved, and John the Beloved, author of the Gospel, were the only disciples at his crucifixion, other than his mother and family. 

I think John was his youngest brother, and that Christ was like a father to him, since Joseph was apparently dead. John sat next to him at the Last Supper, leaning on him and weeping when told he would be killed. John was told to look at Mary and Mary was told behold John, as son and mother, not because it was symbolic,  but, most likely, because they were. Why did he need to have his youngest kid follower adopt his mother, or his mother adopt this kid, if she had other children who were older and more suitable to sustain her? 

I think it was because they were mother and son, and without Jesus, he wanted John to take her out of Jerusalem, and Mary to take John out of danger, and John and Mary went to Ephesus.

 Magdalena took up the cross, and the  cause and was every inch the rank of Apostle, in fact, she's called: "The Apostle's Apostle."

The Song of Solomon is revered by lovers, but, none so fiercely as the true believers in Christ, who understand the hunger, thirst and deep spiritual longing for his presence and deliverance. We are his bride, as is the church and the Kingdom of Israel, when he returns. He incorporates it all into a solid concept.

But, in the Bible, certain people's lives were also meant to represent metaphors. Mary called Magdalene assuredly represents the bride of Christ, the bride of Solomon, as understood mystically.

Mary called Magdalena, is thought to be a different person than Lazarus and Marhta's sister, Mary, from the town of Bethany. 
It's not believed they're the same, since Mary called Magdalena is  assumed to be identified by her town of Magdala, near Galilee, probably to differentiate from the other Marys.

But, I think that she was called "Magdalena"  for another reason. Magdala is the same as the root word for "tower," which is "Migdal". This not only  the word for tower or fortress, but, also for "pulpit." It was Magdalena who was the original pulpit and witness of the resurrection, blessed to tell the Apostles of his return.

Just like Jesus called Simon Peter, "Petra", the rock, and John and James Ben-Zebedee, "Boanerges" or "Sons of Thunder", he could have called Mary "Magdalene" to represent her as his pulpit and tower.

This matches the mystical language of the beloved in Song of Solomon.

Song of Solomon 4:4
(Groom to bride)
Thy neck [is] like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men

Song of Solomon 7:4)
Thy neck [is] as a tower of ivory; thine eyes [like] the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose [is] as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus

Speaking of Song of Solomon, there isn't really any mention of bride or bridegroom, at all. This is actually a subtlety that is often missed. It is implied, but, completely absent. The word for bride in Hebrew is "kallah" (same as the bread challah) and it is never uttered. The only representative word used by the two lovers is, "Beloved."

This is who we are in the eyes of God, as the betrothed. It is not until the return of New Jerusalem, coming from heaven, when the bride appears in the linear theme of the Biblical bride of God.

THe word "Beloved" is "dowd" and it is used 34 times in the Old Testament, and 32 times in just the seven chapters of the Song of Solomon. Dowd can also mean father's brother, or uncle. But, this is the word that is exchanged in dialogue in the deep symbolism found in Song of SOlomon, the most esoteric messianic book of wisdom in the Bible, essential to understand the ineffable  mystery of the union of Christ in marriage.

Now, why am I still not 100% convinced that Mary, called Magdalena, is not Mary of Bethany?  Like Magdalena can be found to represent the bride, so can Mary of Bethany, sister of Lazarus, who was the one who poured the ointment on Jesus, crying and wiping his feet with her hair, much to the shock and awe of the religious community, because, Mary of Bethany had a bad reputation as a harlot or immoral woman.

Luke 7:37
And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that [Jesus] sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
And stood at his feet behind [him] weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment.

We are told that Jesus loved this Mary above all others, as well, and she was definitely one of his favorites. It could well be another Mary, or she could still be the same Mary as Magdalena, his special one, his strong tower, the one who sat at his feet learning, the one who waited at his tomb, when all others had forsaken the cause.

It is those who are beloved of God, though, who are betrothed to wed Christ, as is the culmination of human history, and the beginning of the Kingdom Age, with New Jerusalem, in the new era.

Revelation 21:2
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

When we despair of the futility and tribulation of things in this current world, it is encouraged to meditate and pray about who we are in this new world. We are adopted to this heavenly family by the bonds of matrimony in Christ. We are taken into the mispuchah of God, because, through his blood, we are justified in God's sight.

We are indeed the BELOVED. Like the Beloved John who said and saw these miraculous visions, who loved Christ like a brother and father. Like beloved Magdalena, we are part of the hope of faith in the destiny of grace towards those of us who would otherwise perish in the holocaust of this world.

How blessed to know how much we are loved and to understand this.

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