Today a co-worker asked whether I believed we were living in the "end times" or not, and I explained that I did not, and that Christians had believed that they were living in the "last days" since the first century. The topic drifted, as sometimes happens, and we got to discussing Mary. I explained that I thought I remembered a passage indicating that Mary would be exalted to a special position in the "heavenly kingdom". Does anyone know where the particular chapter and verses can be found? I'm remembering something about Jesus return promised before the last of the apostles passed away, and something about Mary (every knee in heaven bending, or her name being exalted, etc?). However, I don't have an extensive Concordance any more, and so can't locate these. Can someone help (assuming I am remembering correctly). Thanks in advance for any assistance here.
Help finding some scriptural references please
The only scripture text which could remotely relate to this is Revelation 12 (the whole chapter) about the 'woman in heaven.' This text might be used devotionally by Roman Catholics, but I don't think even their scholars would say it directly refers to Mary. The "woman," of course, is symbolic and has been variously understood. She may have been foreshadowed by "Zion" in the Hebrew Scriptures (Isa. 54:1; 66:8). Some think she is the nation of Israel, others the Church (conceived of including believers of both the Old and New Testaments). JWs think this refers to "Jehovah's universal organization."
Hmmm... about Mary I don't think you can't find such a thing. You seem to remember the Philippians 2:5ff hymn but it's about Jesus.
Positive comments on Mary are to be found in Luke 1:28,42 (basis of the Ave Maria):
Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
But that's not much admittedly.
Of course the ancient Catholic exegesis used to see Mary in Revelation 12:1ff:
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. (...) 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
This has inspired a lot of Marial iconography. But it doesn't really suit the Revelation text.
Edit: on the "last days" see the current "generation" thread:
More about Luke 1:28 and 42:
Some manuscripts add the "blessed are you among women" at verse 28, echoic of verse 42. Though, as Narkissos points out, it's not much, it forms the basis of the first part of the Ave Maria, the Hail Mary prayer. Through Mary's development as an intercessor in later times, her place in Catholic worship grew far beyond the almost singular statements solely in the first chapter of Luke. And I agree that the language of "every knee" bending is drawn from Philippians 2 about Jesus rather than about Mary. Mary doesn't seem to match the "Queen of Heaven" of Revelation 12. I know this has been said, I'm just agreeing with the analysis.
More interesting about Mary is the strange notion of her perpetual virginity, which view apparently even certain Reformers held on to. But I'm not trying to hijack the topic
I suppose I was remembering Revelation 12:1 and Phillipians 2:5 at the same time. I probably read Revelation and thought "hmmm, that sounds like they are talking about Mary". Thanks very much for helping locate thses.
Not so much a scriptural reference as a secular reference. I read Ron Rhodes' book "Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics" and he touches (4 chapters!) on the issue of Mary and her veneration and position. Rhodes cites the facts that while Mary is afforded some special status in the bible, it is NOwhere near what Catholics give. It is more on a level with saints.
As to her perpetual virginity, didn't Jesus supposedly have at least 1 or more brothers? That kinda shoots that myth down.
Rhodes also has a very good and comprehensive book called "Reasoning From the Scriptures with Jehovah's Witnesses" too. He is a fundamentalist so his writing is from that perspective but if you can look past it he makes some very good points.