Mary Queen of Heaven

Heaven is inhabited by the Holy Trinity, angels and the souls of men, women and children. Amongst this collection it would seem perfectly reasonable for there to be a special place for the mother of Jesus; the specially chosen daughter of the Father and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.


Elsewhere in these pages is an explanation that the Blessed Virgin Mary is a New Testament ‘type’ of the Ark of the Covenant since the cloud of God’s Presence overshadowed her and she contained Jesus the Word of God for 9 months. She may be considered to have an ongoing special and intimate connection with the Spirit of God who is her Spouse.
While we are all called to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit how much more then will Mary be filled with Grace and the Holy Spirit?

1 Corinthians3:16,17 ' Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.'

Ephesians 5:31 -32  'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church.

There are several ways that Mary is suggested as being a queen, both in the Old Testament and also in the New in Scripture:

It is recognised that the importance of the ‘queen mother’ is well established in the Davidic kingdom. At the time of King David when a new king took his place, his mother was routinely given the title of ‘gebirah’, which is Hebrew for ‘great lady’ or ‘queen’. It was not the wife of the king who was acclaimed as ‘queen’, but his mother. The sense behind this may be understood because they often had many wives (King Solomon had 700) and since the king had only one mother, there was much wisdom in this arrangement.

Edward Sri observes that in ancient Israel, “… the queen mother was no mere figurehead. Rather she held an actual office with real authority in the kingdom. In fact the prophet Jeremiah described how she shared in the king’s rule over the people and even possessed a throne and a crown of her own – a symbol of her royal power.
Jeremiah 13:18,20  'Say to the king and the queen mother: 'Take a lowly seat, for your beautiful crown has come down from your head.' … Lift up your eyes and see those who come from the north. Where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful flock?'

In this passage, Jeremiah forecasts the imminent fall of the kingdom of Judah. But in doing so, he reveals how the “flock” of Israelites will be taken away from the current Jewish monarchs and will be handed over to the invading Babylonians.

What is important to note is that this prophecy is addressed to both the king and the queen mother. Thus, when God says “your beautiful flock” will be taken away, He is referring to the fact that the king and his royal mother shepherded the people together. But because of their unfaithfulness, both will lose their flocks. Both will lose their thrones (“take a lowly seat”) and their thrones will be taken away.”
(Edward Sri: Catholic for a Reason II – Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God, also Edward Sri: Queen Mother – A Biblical Theology of Mary’s Queenship.)

Bathsheba, the wife of David and mother of Solomon is perhaps one of the best Scriptural demonstrations of the authority and importance of the queen mother in the Davidic kingdom.
1 King 2:19 -20  '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.'

Throughout the Bible, anyone sitting on the right hand side is the ultimate place of honour. Jesus is referred to as sitting at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews1:13), so Solomon offers his mother the most powerful position he could in his whole kingdom – a throne at his right hand side. Sitting at the king’s right hand, the queen mother clearly has a powerful share in the king’s royal authority, allowed to her by the king.

Asking Mary to Pray for Us

An obvious dynamic mentioned in this Scripture also relates to how the Catholic Church regards Mary. Bathsheba was approached to speak to her son on behalf of another person, who was confident that the king would listen to her. To confirm this, her son himself assures her that he will not refuse her request. (In this example the king doesn’t heed her request, but obviously she is an influential advocate towards the king.

Similarly, many Catholics recognise that Mary is a powerful advocate to speak on behalf of individuals to her Son Jesus. Hence there are so many prayers asking for her intercession on our behalf. Certainly Protestants ‘can go straight to Jesus’, no problem, but Catholics may be aware of a powerful advocate that Protestants don’t!

Also interesting in our reflection about Mary (as queen mother sitting at the right hand of the King - Jesus), to recall the words of Jesus in the gospel:
Matthew 20:21-23  …She said to him, 'Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.' But Jesus answered, 'You do not know what you are asking.… to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.'

In the gospel of Luke, amongst several important things that Gabriel says to Mary he also prophecies that her royal Son will have an eternal kingdom and God the Father will restore the Davidic Kingdom to Him.
Luke 1:31-33 'And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.'

And as we have just seen clearly from scripture, David’s kingdom held a very high position of authority and honour for the queen mother – the mother of the King, within his kingdom. In Jesus’ Kingdom, that powerful queen mother at His right hand is Mary, to whom He has given power and authority.

New Testament and Mary as Queen of Heaven

Finally, let us consider the Book of Revelation chapter 12:1,2,5 and particularly let us examine “the Woman clothed with the sun”.

Revelation 12:1-2  '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. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth.'

Revelation 12:5 '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;'

Her Son is Jesus

Because the Woman gives birth to a son who will ‘rule with a rod of iron’, and this imagery is also used in Psalm 2:8,9 which clearly speaks of the coming Messiah:
Revelation 12:5  '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;

Psalm 2:7-9  'I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, 'You are my son; today I have begotten you.  Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.  You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.'

So, we know the mother of Jesus is Mary and considering our previous discussion about the place of the queen mother, in the vision of the Woman clothed with the sun, we see Mary alongside her Son Jesus, reigning in Heaven.

On Her Head a Crown of Twelve Stars

Like other queen mothers from the time of David’s Kingdom, we see Mary wearing a crown, which symbolises her status and authority.

The fact that her crown is made of twelve stars has several significant implications. Firstly it represents the twelve tribes of Israel, because she will bear the Davidic king, so she has an exalted place in relation to Israel and can be identified as the ‘Daughter of Zion’.
Zechariah 9:9  'Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold thy king will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.'

The daughter of Zion is a virgin who belongs to the Lord who will marry her:
 'For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you' (Isaiah. 62: 5).

Also the twelve stars represent the twelve apostles, who were the very foundation of the Christian Church. Jesus identifies Himself with His Church as demonstrated when He protested to Saul (later Paul) for persecuting Christians:
Act 9:4,5  'He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'  He asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' The reply came, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.'

So the Christian Church is often recognised as the Mystical Body of Christ, but because of the intimacy and spiritual union which God calls us to as His sons and daughters, the Church of Christ is also referred to as the Bride of Christ, especially from Ephesians 5:22-32 “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church”.
Mary then, represents the Church as the Bride of Christ, ‘without spot or wrinkle’, since she is already the Bride or Spouse of the Holy Spirit who fathered her Child. Her crown of twelve stars, when applied to the 12 Apostles and the Church, suggests that she has authority over the Church – indeed she is also considered to be the Mother of the Church (the Mystical Body of Christ her Son).

Ephesians 5:25-27  ' …. just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendour, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind--yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.'

Ephesians 5:31,32  'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church.

Certainly such a union is a mystery when it takes place between two humans, but when such union takes place between God and a person, this has been long recognised within the Church as ‘mystical union’ of the soul with God, according to the writings of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila. Such a spiritual union is considered to be the height of spiritual perfection and maturity, accompanied by great peace and joy - of God abiding in us and us in him.
Galatians 2:19, 20 '…. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.'

1 John 3:24  'All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.'

Mary as a person in whom the Holy Spirit abides perfectly, is Mother of the Church and represents the perfection of all her children (who keep the commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus), and in whom the Holy Spirit abides as in a temple:
Revelation 12:17  'Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus.'

Clothed with the Sun

As for the sun, with which the Woman is clothed, this symbolises the presence of God, the Light of the world, who had overshadowed her and dwelt within her, just as with the Old Testament Ark, so His presence would always accompany her. By this we may presume that Mary the New Ark of the Covenant would be both empowered with the Holy Spirit and also protected by God’s presence, just as He jealously guarded access to the old Ark of the Covenant.

Standing on the Moon

The moon is beneath her feet as a representation of night and the darkness of sin, always being beneath her feet. Similarly the weakness of sin in Mankind, was also to remain beneath her feet without having any hold upon her.
In this image, is also represented, the connection with Genesis 3:15, where the Woman (Mary), is prophesied to crush the head of Satan – and her we see her standing upon the moon symbolising the darkness of sin and the Fall of mankind.

1 Thessalonians 5:5  'for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.'

Revelation 21:23,25 ' And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.    Its gates will never be shut by day--and there will be no night there.'

She was Pregnant

To show Mary in her pregnant state, emphasises that she is ‘her in whom God dwells’ the New Ark of the Covenant. As an important observation, the chapter delineations were allocated well after the Scriptures were written, and it is apparent that the end of Chapter 11 and beginning of Chapter 12 of Revelation should not have been separated by the Chapter end:

Revelation 11:18-19  'The nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth. Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.'

Revelation 12:1-2 '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. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth.'

Just as the Ark of the Covenant is seen in Heaven, so the pregnant Woman is also seen, separated only by the description of a spectacular ‘symphony’ of some of the loudest powers from Nature.

Compare this display of nature with Jesus’ comment on his final entry into Jerusalem and His Passion:
Luke 19:38-41  … saying, 'Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!'   Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, 'Teacher, order your disciples to stop.' He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.'   As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it,'

This was a loud acclaim from Creation which announced the appearance of the Woman clothed with the sun – Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant.

Travailing in birth and pained to be delivered

Because Mary had no original sin, it cannot be the case that she experienced the pain of childbirth, since this was a punishment from the Fall which would affect all (other) women.
While some scholars including Feuillet and McHugh consider that this reference to pain in childbirth must relate not to the infant birth of Jesus, but to his death and resurrection – giving new life for the Church, which of course was preceded by the sorrow of the crucifixion and Mary bravely accompanied Jesus to Calvary. Although plausible from Scripture exegesis, there may be another explanation.

Since Mary knew that she would be the mother of the Messiah, from Scripture she also knew how He would be treated and sacrificed unfairly as the Redeemer of Mankind, so it is very likely that Mary was saddened and tormented about bringing her Child into the world to face His fate, which She knew about so clearly.

Revelation 12:2  'AndG2532 she being with childG2192 G1722 G1064 cried,G2896 travailing in birth,G5605 andG2532 painedG928 to be delivered.G5088 '
The Greek word translated in most Bible translations of the verse as ‘pain’ is ‘βασανίζω’ basanizō (bas-an-id'-zo)
From” G931; to torture: - pain, toil, torment, toss, vex.” (Strong’s Bible Dictionary = KJV+)

If we look then at the other instances where this Greek word ‘βασανίζω’ basanizō also occurs, we see that the only time, in the whole Bible that this word is translated as ‘pain’ is in Revelation 12:2, the verse we are looking at – the rest of the time it is usually translated as ‘tormented’ ( 8 out of 12 times) or ‘toiling’, ‘tossed and ‘vexed’. This is quite a different emotional meaning than the extreme physical pain of childbirth.
So it would appear that Mary was not in physical pain, but in emotional pain about the birth .

Her Child was snatched way and taken to God and to His Throne

Some scholars have struggled with this verse, suggesting that when Jesus was born, he remained with Mary and Joseph and on Earth until his Resurrection and he wasn’t immediately taken up to Heaven.  However, this may be taking the verse rather too literally, since it is referring to the shifting and spiteful dynamics happening  in the Throne Room of Heaven around the time of the birth of Jesus – particularly in relation to the dragon planning to destroy the Child.
Revelation 12:4,5  '… 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. 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;'

Clearly Satan the fallen Archangel believed that he could destroy Jesus, who was about to be born a Man and for Satan to be reminded that even if Jesus is a man, he cannot destroy God Incarnate - because He enjoys the authority of God’s throne, seems a reasonable boundary for him to be given in the circumstances. The Woman seems to be relatively untouchable by the dragon also, because of God’s protection – so Satan is left with making war on Mary’s children – the Church.
Revelation 12:17  'Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus.'


To conclude then, the Catholic Church believes, with significant Scriptural evidence and interpretation, that the Woman referred to Revelation 12 in Heaven wearing a crown is the mother of the Child that sits with God at His throne – Mary the mother of Jesus. The Catholic Church regards her as being honoured by God with the title of ‘Queen’ in Heaven as represented by the crown of stars. This does not place her on any throne of equality with God, or suggest that she is at all divine, but only that she has authority in Heaven over angels and souls, given to her by God.

Respect not Conversion
It is not our intention to convert Protestants to believe or agree with Catholic teaching, but to demonstrate and reassure any Protestant reader of the intellectual integrity of the Catholic Church’s interpretation of Holy Scripture, and particularly on these pages, the Catholic understanding of the role of the Virgin Mary – “the handmaid of the Lord “ in God’s plans for mankind.
We hope that to demonstrate that each of the respective Catholic beliefs about the Virgin Mary is rooted in the Bible and Christ-centred is a valid biblical interpretation for the Catholic Church to make, which our Protestant brothers and sisters should be able to respect.

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