Sunset - Larnaca

Sunset - Larnaca

Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Theotokos - Part 1

The 1st of August marks the beginning of the fast, leading up to the great feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God ( 15th ) - and so throughout the next week I will be writing two posts centred around the Virgin Mary. Today's post will be a general overview, ending with a small list of relevant Old Testament Prophecies - and this list will carry on through my upcoming posts (at the end of each piece of writing, there will be more examples of where and how the 'Mother of Light' is found in the Old testament scriptures) I hope the following pieces of writing will be of interest, and a very blessed, prayerful and healthy month to you all.

Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as the 'Theotokos' in the Orthodox Church -  meaning God-bearer. The Virgin Mary is the person who gave birth to Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. Christian theology highlights that Christ is indeed fully human, and fully divine - and therefore if it was not for her giving birth to the Lord then we would not have the human nature of Christ which is of paramount importance to our salvation. ( Christ, being both fully divine and fully human bridges the gap between God and man, meaning that we are able to have communion and an eternal relationship with our Creator )

The Virgin Mary's life is indeed an example to us all, as she completely accepts the will of God and is fully devoted to this. Throughout her whole life on earth she willingly took part in , and actively carried out, the work of God. For this reason, Mary is certainly the greatest example that we have, as servants of Christ. Her life is an enduring, sustainable path of faithfulness, obedience and devotion to God, and His holy will. Furthermore, her life gives us the path of humility; the sidelining and removal of self-centredness, with concentration on the other person and of course the grace and will of God.

The Theotokos had the most extraordinary and holy function; which was to bear and give birth to the Incarnate God, and as a Mother protect and support Him. Consequently, and perhaps even more importantly, she played a vital role in the salvation of mankind. Her calling, and function on earth was the beginning of a new world. As opposed to Eve, who opposed God's call and ignored His will, Mary indeed accepts it with obedience and humility - opening the doors to salvation, light and life in Christ. It is for this reason that the Virgin Mary is not only one of many Saints, but the 'Παναγία' (All-Holy).

Prophecies in the Old Testament - Part 1
It is well known that the Old Testament is filled with prophecies regarding Christ, the Saviour of the world, and His incarnation. The same applies to His Holy Mother, Mary - who gives birth to our Lord. Here we begin the list of just some of the many relevant links with the Old Testament, and related passages with short explanations:

* The Virgin Mary is prefigured from paradise (Gen 2:8), because here we have God's vegetation without any seeds, just as the Theotokos gives birth to Christ without seed.
* Mary is depicted by Eve ( of course in a way that is contrary ), because Eve takes us away from the goal of paradise and communion with God, and Mary brings us back on this path to salvation (Gen 2:21-23, Gen 2:6-7, Gen 3:20) 
* The God-bearer is depicted from the tree of life in Paradise ( Gen 2:9) in the sense that from her comes Christ, who grants us eternal life.
* The Mother of our Lord is prophesied in the Proto-Evangelium as the woman with the seed. ( Gen 3:15 ) This particular passage was in fact regarded by Justin Martyr and Irenaeus as 'the first messianic prophecy in the Old Testament.' The Old Testament scholar Derek Kidner also describes it as 'the first glimmer of the Gospel.' 
* The Virgin Mary is prefigured by Jacob's ladder - God coming down to earth, as a human being (Gen 28: 10-13)
* The Theotokos is prophesied as 'sprout' in the blessing of Jacob to Judas (Gen 49: 8-9)

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