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Are You Good Enough to Go to Heaven?

Thoughts For Young Men


"Brethren of the Lord?"

The Bible shows us that Jesus may or may not have had brothers and sisters, depending upon to whom you decide to listen. On one hand, the Bible tells us, "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?" (Matthew 13:55,56) "And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." (Mark 3:31-35) We could continue by showing other Scriptures as well, such as, "After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days." (John 2:12) Or even from the Book of Acts that tells us, "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." (Acts 1:14) These are pretty obviously, Jesus' brothers and sisters when you are reading the Bible to see what it says. There are about ten instances in the New Testament where "brothers" and "sisters" of the Lord are mentioned (Matt. 12:46; Matt. 13:55; Mark 3:31-34; Mark 6:3; Luke 8:19-20; John 2:12, 7:3, 5, 10; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5).

The question is why do some people profess that idea of Mary being an "ever-virgin" girl?  Despite their claims, it is not Biblical.  Yes, Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to our Lord Jesus, just as the Bible prophesied in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." But after Jesus was born, she undoubtedly had more children. Their arguments are filled with half quotes and pure suggestive speculation so as to give  an appearance of truth. Satan did the same thing to Eve in the garden when he tempted her into doubting God's word. Here are some of the "explanations" given by those who believe Mary remained a perpetual virgin.

1. "Brother" and "sister," and their plurals, are indeterminate in New Testament Greek. The indeterminacy arises from the lack of words for close relations, such as cousin, in Aramaic and Hebrew. We can conclude nothing about the relationship of Jesus’ "brothers and sisters" from those disputed words alone.

The Biblical response - Read the Matthew and Mark Scriptures again! They weren't disciples, and when did Mary and Joseph open their house for all these extras? Seems like a ridiculous defense for permanent virginity. There were more precise words for "cousins" if needed.

2. "Firstborn" does not imply there was a "secondborn" child. "Firstborn" was a legal term under the Law, designating the child who opened the womb and who, if male, had special rights and duties by virtue of being the eldest son in the family.

The Biblical response - This may be correct but it certainly does not pertain to this discussion. It is meant as a suggestive diversion that does NOT apply here. Nor does it mean there was not a second born.

3. For the Jews, "until" did not mean what it means today. It implied nothing about whether an action happened after a particular instant. One cannot conclude that if Mary was a virgin "until" Jesus’ birth, she must have ceased being one after.

The Biblical response - Just another attempt to deny God's Word and Paul wrote in Corinthians about how married spouses should not deny sex to each other.

4. Calvin, Luther, and Zwingli, despite their substantial theological deficiencies, were intelligent men--at least as well read as D. James Kennedy and Ian S. McSevney. The three Reformers maintained Mary’s lifelong virginity precisely because they thought the Bible taught it.

The Biblical response - Regardless of whom says their beliefs, it doesn't matter when comparing men's words to God's ways. Man's ways are not to be followed over the Lord's ways as Paul tells us, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8) These reformers may have sincerity, however, these men are just simply sincerely wrong on this.

5. The arguments include how Mary was pledged to be a virgin. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would conceive a son, she asked, "How can this be since I have no relations with a man?" (Luke 1:34). From the Church’s earliest days, as the Fathers interpreted this Bible passage, Mary’s question was taken to mean that she had made a vow of lifelong virginity, even in marriage.

The Biblical response - Mary is consenting to God's plan and simply says that she is a virgin now. No need to read into Scriptures what is clear, that at the time of this, she wasn't having sexual relations with a man.

6. The Gospels mention four of his "brethren": James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude. It is hard to imagine why Jesus would have disregarded family ties and made this provision for his mother if these four were also her sons.

The Biblical response - Jesus cared for His mother and wanted her welfare to be in good hands. John is a believer while at this point Jesus' other family members were not yet saved.

In closing, I can't deny the obvious, that Jesus had half-brothers, and half-sisters which doesn't deny anything about God or His ways. But for the churches that promote these facts, they deny again what Scriptures tell us, proving again that they can't be Jesus' church. Gospel Light Ministries again appeals to those that defend their "Church" as "the one, true, infallible Church" and realize that the spiritual battle continues for their soul and that they're in need of the Biblical truths and Salvation. Loyalty and faith count for nothing without the solid Biblical facts as "that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 1:3)  Pick up a Bible and "as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby," (1 Peter 2:2) and as Jesus said in John 8:31, "and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."