Why do Catholics call Mother Mary "Queen of Heaven and Earth"?
Some Evangelicals have problems with this "Queen" thing. Perhaps the best way to explain it is to compare Heaven to the Commonwealth. We live in a time when the Queen of England is the highest in the Commonwealth. There is no king. She wears the commonwealth trousers. She is it. She is the focus. We grew up singing "God save the Queen." So it is natural that our contemporary understanding of the word Queen would be someone in highest authority. But what happens to the queen when there is a king? Then who has the authority? In commonwealth law, when there is a king, the queen has absolutely no authority whatsoever except the quiet whisper in the king's ear to influence a decision. (Jn 2:3)
JESUS IS KING. He is it. Now if Mary is Queen, it means that she has no authority whatsoever over his decisions except a whisper in his ear (Jn 2:3). We call Mary the Queen without diminishing the King's (Jesus') authority in the least. In fact it reinforces it. What respectable King does not have a Queen? Revelation 11:12 says:
12 :1 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 pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne..
Jesus only had one Mother and this passage is talking about the woman that gave birth to the Saviour. She has a Crown. The passage also clearly shows Mary as an active participant in the war against the devil. The passage presents Jesus on his rightful throne.
In the Old Covenant a King could have many wives but would only have one mother. Unlike the English commonwealth, in the ancient Middle East, the King's mom was often the Queen. It was a very specific role.
The idea of the Queen Mother was ubiquitous [all over the place]... you don't find ancient monarchies in the Near East or the Middle East that don't have Queen Mothers... And [the Queen Mother] was one of the best-known institutions in ancient Israel's monarchy, or after the Civil War, ancient Judah's monarchy..." (Dr. Scott Han, "Mary, Holy Mother", 16)
The Hebrew word is "gebiran" meaning "great lady" which Mary most certainly was. There are references in the Old Testament to the Queen Mother. (1 Kings 15:13)
Then King Jehoiakim, along with his advisers, nobles, and officials, and the queen mother, surrendered to the Babylonians." (2 Kings 24:12)
She had a throne in a place of honour in the royal court, seated next to the King
She was reverenced and honoured uniquely by the King, she interceded to the King on behalf of his subjects, and the King honours her requests, and she had a role to play in worship, not as a priest, but definitely a role. (ibid Scott Hahn 16)
Why do we believe Mary is the Woman crowned with 12 stars, the New Ark of the Covenant in Rev 11:18-12:17?
- The Ark of the Old Covenant carried the Word of God made stone while the Ark of the New Covenant carried the Word of God mad flesh when Mary was pregnant with Jesus.
- The old Ark of the Covenant disappears in Jer 3:16. The new Ark of the Covenant resurfaces in Revelation 11:19 as the woman with a crown of 12 stars around her head.
- The Ark of the Covenant has been restored to the temple, which is now heaven (See also Heb 9:1-12)
- A woman with a crown is there - the new Ark
- The woman in Revelation gave birth to the King of the Israelites (Jesus) - who will rule the nations and is on God's throne
- The devil is very interested in destroying her but she is safe
- Her children are all faithful Christians who "follow the lamb" (Rev 12:17)
We think God was quite clear about who the crowned woman was in the passage. It is not because of any power that she gets on her own, but by the power she is given by Jesus her Son. Just like the Israelites carrying the Ark of the Covenant into battle. Both the old Ark and the new Ark gain their merits because of the "Word of God" made stone in the Old Covenant and made flesh in the New Covenant. A chart comparing the Old Covenant Ark and the New Covenant Ark is here.
So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. The king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right. Then she said, ‘I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.’ And the king said to her, ‘Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.’ (1 Kgs 2:19-20)
We see this echoed in the New Testament, when Mary asks Jesus to make the water into wine, which he does. Even though he acted like he wouldn't.
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana ....When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come."His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." (2 Jn 1-5)
Jesus then changed the water into wine, at his mother's request.
Some say that the Queen Mother in the Book of Kings was not a good person, because of her actions. That is true. But that's typical of the Old Covenant. Virtually every character in the Bible had a defect. Adam is a sinner, yet he was precursor to Jesus, David committed murder and adultery, Noah got drunk and naked, Moses committed murder, Peter denied Jesus, and so on. We think it would be poor Biblical scholarship to discount the role of Queen Mother because she didn't uphold the dignity of her office in this passage of Scripture.
The Kingdom of David - fulfilled in Christ
The kingdom of David included a Queen Mother and this Kingdom would be fulfilled in Christ.
You have said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
'I will establish your offspring forever,
and build your throne for all generations.'" (Ps. 89:3-4)
Psalm 2:9 says "with an iron rod you shall shepherd them. In the New Testament, the passage that introduces Mary as the Queen with 12 stars for a crown (Rev 12:1) describes her as "The woman" who brings forth a male child who will rule the nations with a rod of iron." (Rev 12:5) We believe Jesus chose Mary to be the Queen Mother in his Kingdom
All the faithful will be given crowns (1 Pt 5:4, Rev 2:10, 2 TIm 2:11-12, 2 Tim 4:7-8) How much more would Mary, his mother, receive the crown as Queen?
So there's some of the 'big stuff' about Mary that irks Evangelicals. There is much more that could be said here in defense of these doctrines (see our links page for a list of apologetics who love to do that kind of thing). This article is intended to be a sketch of why the Church believes what it believes about Mary. Apart from all this doctrine and stuff, the reason we believe that Mary is in heaven helping us is because I had an experience with Mary that I cannot refute. No one can tell me she is dead.she is as plain as day. She is a friend who prays for me and she has shown me very cool things about her Son, Jesus. We believe I am a better Christian today because of Mary.
If you are afraid to talk to Mary, I invite you to Pray to Jesus about Mary. I'm sure any Evangelical would say it is perfectly safe to pray to Jesus about anything. Ask Jesus what's up with Mary. Give him time to respond. We pray you have the same experience that has led to my powerful convictions about the validity of Mary as a helper for the helpless, and a great prayer warrior.
Other Topics on Mary
Mary in Scripture
Mary, Mediatrix, co-redemptix
Is Mary a Pagan Goddess?
Martin Luther's quotes about Mary
Mary in the early Church and today
Do Catholics pray to Mary?
Hugh's experience with Mary
Did Mary have a bunch of kids?
Sources: Martin Beckman
Fr. Terry Donahue, CC
J. Roy MacIntyre "My Soul Magnifies the Lord"
John Pacheco's refutation of Jame White's "Mary: Another Redeemer?"
Show related articles
- Mary in Scripture
- Martin Luther's quotes about Mary
- Hugh's experience with Mary
- Is Mary a pagan goddess?
- Do Catholics pray to Mary?
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- Learn the Rosary
- Download audio version of the rosary on MP3
- Mary in the early Church and today
- Did Mary have a bunch of kids?
- What's this co-redemptrix nonsense?
- Immaculate conception
- Apparitions - what's all that about?
- Vatican position paper on the New Age
Lord Jesus, let Your prayer of unity for Christians
become a reality, in Your way.
We have absolute confidence
that you can bring your people together,
we give you absolute permission to move.