Grace and peace to all who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, and greetings to all pretenders.
February the 2nd marks the celebration of the Roman Catholic feast day known as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also called the Purification of Our Lady, Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, or, as it is known in Germany, Candlemas. First instituted by Pope Sergius I, this holiday is based on the Roman Catholic belief that the Virgin Mary, after the birth of the Lord Jesus, went to the Jewish temple at Jerusalem to be purified and to present the child Jesus to the Lord God. Page 179 of A Practical Catholic Dictionary explains it thus:
“This feast is in memory of Our Lady’s purification in the Temple after the birth of Jesus. According to the Jewish law, a mother, after the birth of a child, went to the Temple to present the child and to be purified after childbirth. The Presentation in the Temple is commemorated in the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. The Feast of the Purification is also called Candlemas Day.”
Purification was done in obedience to the law of Moses:
“If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.
“And in the eighth day the flesh of his [the child’s] foreskin shall be circumcised.
“And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled” (Leviticus 12:2-4).
According to the Bible, purification is merely the natural process of a woman’s blood flow drying up after childbirth; and if the child were male, then he would also be circumcised during this time. The Law of Moses also mandated that during this time, the woman was not allowed to participate in public worship or touch sacred objects. It would not have been necessary, therefore, for Mary, the mother of Jesus, to go to the temple to be purified, as her purification would have been accomplished at home. That it was, in fact, is the Bible’s testimony that when Mary, the mother of Jesus, went to Jerusalem, her purification had already been accomplished:
“When the days of her [Mary’s] purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought Him [Jesus] to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord” (Luke 2:22).
Mary, the mother of Jesus, did not go to the temple to be purified, therefore, because her purification had already been accomplished when she went to Jerusalem. She did, however, go to the temple to make a sin offering, as the law of Moses commanded:
“And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:
“Who shall offer it before the Lord, and make atonement for her: and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law of her that hath born a male or a female” (Leviticus 12:6,7).
And Mary did obey the law:
“When the days of her [Mary’s] purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought Him [Jesus] to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons (Luke 2:22,24).”
The law did not stipulate that a mother bring her child to the temple to present Him to God, and the Bible does not give us Mary’s motive for doing so (though the reason is pretty obvious). What is clear, however, is that Mary did not go to the temple to be purified.
If Mary, the mother of Jesus, did not go to the temple to be purified, you may ask, then why does the Roman Catholic Church teach that the Virgin Mary, after the birth of the Lord Jesus, went to the temple to be purified? I believe it is to bolster the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the belief that the Virgin Mary was not born with original sin.
A Practical Catholic Dictionary defines the Immaculate Conception as:
“The privilege by which the Blessed Virgin was free from original sin from the very moment of her conception. Her soul was filled with sanctifying grace at its creation. The word immaculate means free from any stain, that is, perfectly pure. The Blessed Virgin Mary was perfectly pure from her first moment of being” (p. 118).
I believe the purpose of the Purification of the Virgin Mary is to reconcile the Immaculate Conception with the Bible’s testimony that Mary went to the temple to atone for her sins, as the doctrine of the Purification changes Mary’s primary motive for going to the temple from sin atonement to purification. This is because, if the Roman Catholic church were to acknowledge that Mary went to the temple to atone for her sins (something she would not have done if she were sinless), then they would have to admit that the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is unbiblical. As the principle doctrines concerning the Virgin Mary hang on the Immaculate Conception, especially the doctrine that the Virgin Mary is the Co-Redeemer and Mediatrix with the Lord Jesus, this is something they would never do.
If the Roman Catholic doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Purication of the Blessed Virgin are true, then the Bible is a lie. Conversely, if the Bible is true, then the Immaculate Conception and the Purification of the Virgin Mary are lies. There can be no middle ground.
Then again, if the Roman Catholic Virgin Mary were not the biblical Mary, then the Purification of the Virgin Mary could be true, as the Virgin Mary would not be Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, but another Mary. The Bible calls this other Mary the “Virgin Daughter of Babylon” and the “Lady of Kingdoms” (Isaiah 47:1,5). If the Virgin Mary is another Mary, then the Roman Catholic Jesus must be “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:3,4).
“Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”
Be encouraged and look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.
The Still Man