The Virgin Mary
When people speak of Mary, the mother of Jesus, they often refer to her as the Virgin Mary. Is this designation accurate? She was certainly a virgin when Jesus was born.
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife,but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:24,25)
But after this she and Joseph had other children.
He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?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. (Mark 6:1-3)
Those who believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary explain this by saying that Joseph was a widower when he married Mary and these were his children by his first marriage. The only problem with this explanation is that there is nothing in the Bible to support it. We know nothing of Joseph’s background except that he was a descendant of David in the royal line. (See King Joseph.)
There is one statement in Psalm 69 that shows that Mary was the biological mother of Jesus’ siblings. This psalm was written by David and the fact that it is quoted three times in the New Testament shows that it is prophetic in nature.
For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me
is quoted in John 2:13-17,
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
Verses 22 and 23,
Let their own table before them become a snare;
and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.
Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,
and make their loins tremble continually.
are quoted in Romans 11:9,10,
Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and bend their backs forever
in reference to the nation of Israel after they had rejected their Messiah.
May their camp be a desolation;
let no one dwell in their tents
is quoted in Acts 1:20,
For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and “‘Let another take his office.’”
as a reference to Judas Iscariot.
The brothers of Jesus didn’t believe in him. (This changed after his resurrection. At least two of them, James and Jude, became believers. They wrote the New Testament books that bear their names.)
Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”For not even his brothers believed in him. (John 7:2-5)
This was foretold in verse 8 of Psalm 69.
I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother’s sons.
This clearly states that his brothers were his mother’s sons. If she was a virgin then we are faced with the fact that there were at least six virgin births besides that of Jesus.
Many of those who believe in the virginity of Mary also believe she was without sin. Here is what God says about the responsibilities of married people to their spouses.
The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Corinthians 7:3,4)
A married person who remained a virgin would be sinning by failing to obey this command.
Mary deserves to be honored for her willingness to obey God, but we shouldn’t call her the Virgin Mary.