Protestants tend to downplay the role of Mary in salvation history, emphasizing that the New Testament does not focus on her too much. Exalted titles for Mary, such as the "Ark of the New Covenant" appear to them as distracting from the centrality of Christ, and probably even blasphemous. But...
What if I could PROVE that the BIBLE plainly teaches that Mary is the "Ark of the New Covenant"?
Protestants love to find parallels and see typology between the Old Testament and the New. Well, here is one that they have never heard about from their pastor. It can be easily found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells." (CCC 2676)
It can be easily found in the early Church:
St. Ambrose (c. 339-397, teacher of St. Augustine)
“The prophet David danced before the Ark. Now what else should we say the Ark was but holy Mary? The Ark bore within it the tables of the Testament, but Mary bore the Heir of the same Testament itself. The former contained in it the Law, the latter the Gospel. The one had the voice of God, the other His Word. The Ark, indeed, was radiant within and without with the glitter of gold, but holy Mary shone within and without with the splendor of virginity. The one was adorned with earthly gold, the other with heavenly” (Serm. xlii. 6, Int. Opp., S. Ambrosii) (Blessed Virgin, p. 77). Read more: http://www.catholicfidelity.com/apologetics-topics/mary/church-fathers-on-mary-as-ark-of-the-new-covenant/
But where is it in the BIBLE, Protestants ask? Well, if you are assuming that St. Ambrose is relying on 'traditions of men' here and was confused, you should also recall that the canon of the New Testament was just being settled by the time of his death, so if the tradition was corrupted about Mary, how could that same corrupt stream of tradition have gotten the New Testament canon perfectly nailed down to 27 books which you now trust wholeheartedly?
But, of course, St. Ambrose was not following a corrupt tradition at all.
It's all there in Luke chapter 1, starting at verse 35:
35 And the angel said to her,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born will be called holy,
the Son of God.
(Compare to Exodus 40:34, see the overshadowing and indwelling of the LORD)
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud abode upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
The WORD of GOD (Jesus Christ) dwells inside of the Ark (Mary).
(Compare to Deuteronomy 10:4)
4 And he wrote on the tables, as at the first writing, the ten commandments which the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them to me. 5 Then I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they are, as the Lord commanded me.
44 For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
(Who is the babe? None other than St. John the Baptist! He was the son of a priest and a priest himself. In the Old Testament, 2 Samuel 6 shows us King David, dressed in a priestly ephod, leaping for joy before the Ark!)
13 and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the horn.
Elizabeth exclaimed with a loud cry (v. 42) while David brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting for joy in the presence of the Ark!
43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
(Compare to 2 Samuel)
9 And David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
(Compare to 2 Samuel)
11 And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of O′bed-e′dom the Gittite three months;
The Ark goes to Jerusalem and the glory of God is revealed in the Temple: Luke 2:22 Mary (the Ark) had already returned to Jerusalem, and now the newborn Jesus (the glory of God) is revealed in the Temple.
(Compare to 2 Samuel)
12 And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of O′bed-e′dom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of O′bed-e′dom to the city of David with rejoicing;
(Compare to 1 Kings 8:10)
10 And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
Jesus, who had been inside the Ark, went on to be brought back to life to prove He is the eternal High Priest.
(Compare to Numbers 17, the rod of Aaron, which was kept inside the Ark, came back to life to prove he was a true High Priest)
8 And on the morrow Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds, and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.
Yes, it all makes sense. Jesus is the WORD of GOD, just as the stone tablets were the WORD of GOD as well. The WORD dwelt inside the Ark of the Covenant. The Old Covenant was in stone, but the New Covenant had a heart of flesh. The Ark of this New Covenant of flesh was Mary.
26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26).
Now, do you think St. Luke was aware of what he was writing??? Are these parallels all random coincidences while the rest of the New Testament is packed with intentional allusions to the Old Testament?
These are not the only Biblical blind spots of Protestants:
This is a perfect example of the value of Sacred Tradition upholding revealed Truth. Do you think St. Ambrose (and all the other Church Fathers) found this alone by noticing all these parallels? He may not have discovered it by himself through private Scripture study, just as Protestant pastors have not discovered this through their private Scripture studies. He was taught, just as his teachers were taught, all the way back to the apostles. Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are woven together through the early Church and through to the present day.