[Editor’s note: The context of the two questions below is a Christian living in the Middle East, debating about Jesus with Muslims who use Catholicism against Christianity]


What does the Holy Bible say about Mary? Did she marry  after Jesus’ birth?  Who are Jesus’ brothers?   And does this verse “The LORD said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it” indicate that Mary didn’t marry?


Yes, Joseph definitely married Mary.  This is recorded in Matthew 1:24-25 which definitely implies that she “had union” with him after the birth of Jesus.  Besides, we know from more than one passage that Jesus had (half) brothers and sisters through Mary, not Joseph, so clearly she was married.

We know the name of four of Jesus’ brothers.  James, the Brother of Jesus is a significant person in the New Testament, being found in Acts, Galatians and also having written the book of James.  Josephus reports his death as a martyr in AD 63.  The other brother of Jesus we know something about is Jude.  We know much less about him, but tradition is that Jude, the brother of Jesus, is the author of Jude.  From Matthew 13:55 we also know the names of two more of Jesus’ brothers, Joseph and Simon.  We can conclude from this same verse that Jesus had at least two sisters, as the plural is used in this verse.

Given these facts, including the record of the non-Christian historian Josephus, we can be sure that the passage you quote is NOT talking about Mary not marrying!   Using Ezekiel 44:2 to “prove” that Mary did not have children is just about the most blatant example of the bogus use of proof-texts I have ever seen.  No one would ever believe this unless they were looking for support for a conclusion they had before making the investigation.  This is a vision of the temple and its restoration under Cyrus, as was fulfilled in 516 BC.  To apply this to Mary is to stretch the scripture beyond measure.

John Oakes


Many Catholic websites use this verse Ezkiel 44:2 to prove that  Mary didn’t marry.  In your opinion whatis the gate which Ezekiel saw?    In addition, in Matthew 27 : 56 we read “Mary the mother of James and Joseph”, If Jesus was her son, and he was the oldest brother, why didn’t Matthew say “Mary the mother of Jesus” although Mary is always called “Jesus’ Mother”?  Can we conclude that Joseph had married before engaging Mary, and Jesus’ brothers were Joseph’s sons?


I already answered this question, to be honest, but let me give it another shot.  The gate in Ezekiel is the gate in the city which leads to the temple.   Any simple reading of Ezekiel 44:2 makes this obvious.   It is rather obvious that your Muslim friend who uses Catholic sources never even read this passage.  My suggestion is to pull out the passage and ask your friend what it is talking about.  Do not let on that you are showing how ridiculously bad his argument is—simply ask him what the passage is talking about.  It is talking about the gate of the sanctuary.  Just read Ezekiel 44:1!!!!  The Lord says about this gate that “It must remain shut.”   Would any Jew have interpreted this as applying to Mary’s womb?  Really?  Seriously?   The meaning of this passage, literally, is that the gate will remain shut.  Why?  Read the passage.  It is to remain shut “because the Lord, the God of Israel has entered through it.” This application to Mary’s womb is so ridiculous that it does not even deserve consideration.  In fact, it is so ridiculous that your friend out to be embarrassed for using a passage so blatantly ripped from its context as to be an embarrassment.

No, no, no!!!  This argument is really quite absurd.  You need to admonish these people for grasping at straws when there are not even any straws to grasp at.  The clear testimony of the Bible (and the Quran!!!!) is that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus.  She is the mother of Jesus.  Also, Jesus’ brothers are clearly younger than him, as can be seen in the biblical accounts and Mary was the mother of James, Judas and Simon.  Exactly how Matthew worded it is his business.  Jesus’ mother is grammatically equivalent to the mother of Jesus.  Insisting that he should word it in a certain way, and then using your statement as circular reasoning to prove something else is a logical fallacy which does not even deserve consideration.  These people are engaging in argument for the sake of argument and showing no interest in arriving at truth.

John Oakes

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