Who is the Queen of Heaven?
Question: "Who is the Queen of Heaven?"
Answer: The phrase “the queen of heaven” appears in the Bible twice, both times in the book of Jeremiah. The first incident is in connection with the things the Israelites were doing that provoked the Lord to anger. Entire families were involved in idolatry. The children gathered wood, and the men used it to build altars to worship false gods. The women were engaged in kneading dough and baking cakes of bread for the “Queen of Heaven” (Jeremiah 7:18). This title referred to Ishtar, an Assyrian and Babylonian goddess also called Ashtoreth and Astarte by various other groups. She was thought to be the wife of the false god Baal, also known as Molech. The motivation of women to worship Ashtoreth stemmed from her reputation as a fertility goddess, and, as the bearing of children was greatly desired among women of that era, worship of this “queen of heaven” was rampant among pagan civilizations. Sadly, it became popular among the Israelites as well.
The second reference to the queen of heaven is found in Jeremiah 44:17-25, where Jeremiah is giving the people the word of the Lord which God has spoken to him. He reminds the people that their disobedience and idolatry has caused the Lord to be very angry with them and to punish them with calamity. Jeremiah warns them that greater punishments await them if they do not repent. They reply that they have no intentions of giving up their worship of idols, promising to continue pouring out drink offerings to the queen of heaven, Ashtoreth, and even going so far as to credit her with the peace and prosperity they once enjoyed because of God’s grace and mercy.
It is unclear where the idea that Ashtoreth was a “consort” of Yahweh originated, but it’s easy to see how the blending of paganism that exalts a goddess with the worship of the true King of heaven, Yahweh, can lead to the combining of God and Ashtoreth. And since Ashtoreth worship involved sexuality (fertility rites and temple prostitution), the resulting relationship, to the depraved mind, would naturally be one of a sexual nature. Clearly, the idea of the “queen of heaven” as the consort or paramour of the King of heaven is idolatrous and unbiblical.
There is no queen of heaven. There has never been a queen of heaven. There is most certainly a King of Heaven, the Lord of hosts. He alone rules in heaven. He does not share His rule or His throne or His authority with anyone. The idea that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the queen of heaven has no scriptural basis whatsoever. Instead, the idea of Mary as the queen of heaven stems from proclamations of priests and popes of the Roman Catholic Church. While Mary was certainly a godly young woman greatly blessed in that she was chosen to bear the Savior of the world, she was not in any way divine, nor was she sinless, nor is she to be worshipped, revered, venerated, or prayed to. All followers of the Lord God refuse worship. Peter and the apostles refused to be worshipped (Acts 10:25–26; 14:13–14). The holy angels refuse to be worshipped (Revelation 19:10; 22:9). The response is always the same: “Worship God!” To offer worship, reverence, or veneration to anyone but God is nothing short of idolatry. Mary’s own words in her “Magnificat” (Luke 1:46–55) reveal that she never thought of herself as “immaculate” or deserving of veneration; on the contrary, she was relying on the grace of God for salvation: “And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Only sinners need a savior, and Mary recognized that need in herself.
Furthermore, Jesus Himself issued a mild rebuke to a woman who cried out to Him, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you" (Luke 11:27), replying to her, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." By doing so, He curtailed any tendency to elevate Mary as an object of worship. He could certainly have said, “Yes, blessed be the Queen of Heaven!” But He did not. He was affirming the same truth that the Bible affirms—there is no queen of heaven, and the only biblical references to the “queen of heaven” refer to the goddess of an idolatrous, false religion.
Recommended Resource: The Gospel According to Rome: Comparing Catholic Tradition and The Word of God by James McCarthy
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