The best definition of God (Elohim) that is to be found anywhere is, in my opinion, the following: "God (Elohim) is love" (1 John 4:8,16). Everything that He does, everything that He permits, and everything that He forbids or condemns is motivated by pure and perfect love. Yahweh-Elohim, the God of the Bible and Father of our Lord and Saviour Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) furthermore reveals Himself to be consistent and harmonious in everything He does and says. He is, as the scripture says, "the same yesterday, today and forever" (Heb.3:18).
Of course, people have tried to pick away at, and fault, the Bible since the beginning, and more and more are doing it these days. Today I read an article by a homosexual priest from the national church who criticised those who condemn homosexuality because they don't also ban sex during menstruation, because they follow a Sunday 'sabbath' instead of the true lunisolar one, and because they ban polygamy even though all of these are completely biblical. And in a way he is right: if people claim a Christian faith based on the Bible and ignore those parts of it which they don't like, what basis indeed do they have for criticising people like homosexuals since homosexual behaviour is clearly banned? Of course the priest's logic was completely inverted since we do not have the liberty to pick and choose whatever suits us. But he was right in exposing Christians' hypocrisy - if we are Bible-believing Christians we should not have sex during menstruation, we should observe the correct sabbath, and we should permit polygamy. As a Messianic Evangelical I naturally accept all these biblical standards and reject the homosexuals'.
No matter what you say, though, people will always fault with what they don't like in God's (Elohim's) Word. If they want to call themselves 'Christians' that's OK by me, but if they then insist that they are 'sola scriptura (scripture alone) Christians' I have to step in and rebuke them for their hypocrisy. Because in challenging any part of the Word of God (Elohim) what they are saying is that Yahweh commanded people to do the things they don't approve of because He is either imperfect, wicked, stupid, or all three. And if they (rightly) cower at the thought of accusing the Creator of such blasphemy, then perhaps they will retire with the thought that Yahweh was not at fault but men for not bringing forth a reliable and true record of Yahweh's heart. But really this is still to accuse Yahweh of being imperfect, wicked or stupid, for He was, in their reasoning, evidently careless and thoughtless enough not to ensure that we have His PURE Word upon which all men and women may confidently rely. If, as one sect claims, there is NO pure Word of God (Elohim) anywhere, then frankly I do not want to know such a manifestly uncaring and unloving Deity.
I need not, however, fall into this liberal sop for Yahweh perfectly and clearly describes His character in the Bible. And He insists, in spite of His strictness, that He is love. And I truly believe that. As I look at those supposedly 'harsh' parts of His Word, what I see is actually infinite paternal care. There is a reason for everything He does and everything He says. Job, that great sufferer and man of faith, found out the hard way. Yahweh does not tell us all the 'why's' in this life but expects us to trust in His loving care. And Job got his spanking for not trusting Him as he should have.
The problem with mankind is that we have such a narrow perspective - we rarely see farther than our noses. We see the short-term pain and difficulties and cannot understand the long-term blessings. And even if we have an historical sense (not many alas do) we even then usually fail to realise that this life is but a flash in terms of the eternities and that the best is yet to come. Life here on earth is short but painful, like the suffering a woman must endure during child-birth. But I admit it can be really tough to look so far ahead. And the fact of the matter is, we can't. In the end we must either believe there is no God (Elohim) and that everything is ultimately purposeless (in which case, what is the point of living?) or we must simply trust the One who made us to see us through this difficult journey.
Though I'm sure there are exceptions, all the serious God-loving polygamists I have met - men and women - are deep thinkers. They have pondered, meditated, and prayed long not only about the challenging call to live polygamy but the question about the whole of the meaning of life. Few (if any) save the rash and lusty, I suggest, would enter polygamy if they believed it was something 'inferior' whilst at the same time demanding of them far more than monogamy every would or could. You would rightly say: 'What for?' I for one have thought many times that if monogamy is superior to monogamy, that I would much prefer monogamy. I have pondered such questions as 'What for?' with the greatest of seriousness and listened to all the reasons given by anti-polygamists and the pseudo-polygamists who say that some people are only called into this practice as a temporary measure in order to reach pagan polygamists in order to bring them to Christ. And whilst the latter would be quick to say that polygamy is by no means a sin, they are, in fact, actually saying the opposite - for why not, by the same logic, ask Christians to become homosexuals in order to win the homosexual community to Christ? True, homosexuality is expressly forbidden by Yahweh, yet many monogamy-only people are really saying just that when they say that polygamy was 'permitted' anciently in the Bible because that was a 'cultural reality' in those days, but not today. By the same token we should permit homosexuality because it is culturally acceptable all over the West now.
As you will see in the articles on this site, polygamy is not just something 'permissive' with a 'local' mission to save other polygamists who do not know Yahweh or Christ but is built into the whole structure of the Bible. And the fact of the matter is that Yahweh and Christ actually both describe THEMSELVES as allegorical polygamists to the nation of Israel and to the Body of Christ (the invisible Church/Messianic Community), respectively, something They would NEVER do were polygamy either a sin or something 'limited', 'inferior', or 'locally permissive'. Since when has any sin ever been 'locally permissive´? These are the arguments of liberals.
Now it is true that sometimes Yahweh asks His prophets to do rather unsual and (at first glance) bizzare things in order to dramatically and unforgetably convey a message to His people. One prophet He asked to go around naked for a while to show the people how they would be stripped spiritually and physically at the hands of their enemies. Another was told to marry a prostitute representing Israel who had two children respresenting their spiritual condition. Prophets must sometimes do things Christians would find appalling (though thankfully not too often) but this is not something large numbers of people are called to do. I was told recenly by a pseudo-pro-polgamist that Yahweh permitted the patriarchs of old to marry polgamously in order to be a prophetic illustration of the Church (Messianic Community) in the future. Thus Solomon and his 600+ wives was supposed to represent the division in Christendom.
However, unlike the prophets who were told to go around naked or marry a prostitute, Solomon was evidently not told about this and as far as we can tell was not a bit troubled by his marriages. (We shall set aside for now the fact that he broke Yahweh's commandment in multiplying wives excessively which led to his seriously compromising the true faith and to his eventual downfall). These pseudo-pro-polygamists are telling us that thousands of Christians should enter polygamy in order to reach pagan polygamists, presumably to make them feel 'more comfortable'. But pagan polygamists have been converted by both monogamists and polygamists today and in the past, and whilst many of the monogamists have (to their terrible shame) forced polygamists to break up their families leaving wives and children destitute and heart-broken, the better have allowed them to continue living that way. (See East African Polygamy: From Tradition to Yah's Kingdom).
But really my question is this: if Yahweh wants pagan polygamists to be converted to Christ, why not call a Christian prophet living amongst them to live polygamously and create some sort of prophetic drama of how inferior or temporary polygamy is? If polygamy is indeed this, why can't monogamists do the job? Isn't the Ruach Elohim (God's Spirit) strong enough to convict the pagan polygamist? Is He forced to turn to monogamists and force them to become polygamists in order to make the pagans more 'comfortable'? Is this what Paul meant by putting on the clothes of the gentiles in order to win them? I don't think so. Customs regarding dress are one thing, but a marriage practice that is inferior and maybe (in the eyes of some) a sin, is wholly something else.
I have weighed such possibilities up and been unconvinced. As I look through the Bible I see men and women of Yahweh called to do difficult tasks because not only would others be blessed but also because there would be something valuable for THEM in doing those tasks. Marriage itself, Yahweh informs us, is for companionship, physical intimacy, child-rearing and spiritual communion. Marriage has always been exalted as THE great human-to-human relationship, blessed to be a fullness of joy by first having a God-to-man relationship. If polygamy - which after all is a MARRIAGE - has a purpose, then it must be for companionship, physical intimacy, child-raising and spiritual communion too. If it isn't, then it isn't marriage. And if it's marriage, then what Yahweh has brought together let no man divide asunder.
I must say at this juncture that I am one of that small band of orthodox evangelical Christians and Messianics who believes that marriage is eternal, and you'll find out why in other articles on this site. I believe all relationships that are sanctified by the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God) are eternal, because Yahweh is eternal. But I also believe that those whose relationships are not sanctified by Yahweh do not necessarily have eternal marriage relationships. However, this is a big subject and beyond the scope of this short article. Let me just say I believe that in the end everything is all happily sorted out by our loving Heavenly Father. Needless to say the pseudo-pro-polygamist does not accept eternal marriage because such upsets his whole liberal world view.
There are three reasons I practice plural marriage: (1) Yahweh has unmistakably called me into it; (2) I believe it is true marriage in the Edenic sense if the word, at the least equal to monogamy, and at best superior to monogamy; and (3) I believe in eternal marriage. This means that I am going to invest everything I have into it because I have eternity in mind. I am not considering 'dropping' my wives when I die but in meeting them at that great reunion in heaven where we may enjoy the fullness of Christ in our relationship.
I do not believe that polygamy is a kind of prophetic drama or a means of reaching unsaved polygamists. To me that is degrading not only to the pagan polygamists but more than that to my wives who are therefore little more than disposable stage props in the evangelistic war for people's souls. I wouldn't want any woman to come to polygamy if I felt it was something inferior to monogamous marriage. I wouldn't want any wife to feel that she has to select 'second best' because there aren't enough men to go around. Never. I would want her to come in the knowledge that the sacrifices she will have to make in polygamy (and there are some sacrifices though not nearly as big as monogamists imagine) will be more than compensated for by not only great spiritual blessings but temporal and physical ones too. And you will see in the articles on this homepage that women in polygamy have a relationship that NO OTHER women can ever enjoy - a non-sexual intimacy and closeness that is created between co-wives. Added to that, I firmly believe that in sharing me with other women, they themselves have an enriched relationship with me because the good influences of other wives that they pass to me are in a special way passed on to them too. And not only that, our children have the enormous blessings to being able to model their lives on many different people in the family.
My wives and I have seen all these things happen. Polygamy is, in the final analysis, about LOVE and nothing more or less than LOVE. And love is about MULTIPLICATION. The Kingdom of Heaven, Yah'shua/Jesus taught, is like a tiny amount of yeast that multiplied and multiplied until it filled the whole dough, leavening the bread (Matthew 13:33). Polygamy is like that yeast, multiplying and multiplying until the family is whole and one. Polygamy is a microcosm of Yahweh's relationship to Israel and Christ's to the Church/Messianic Community. It is a microcosm of the Kingdom of Heaven, ever expanding in love. It is like a tree which grows more and more branches so that the birds of the air may settle and roost within it, and where men and animals may take shelder in the shade. Polygamy, when it is founded in Christ, is very, very STRONG.
As such, then, polygamist families should serve as models in the Church/Messianic Community of the allegorical marriage between Christ and His people. They should inspire monogamists and singles to greater consecration and sacrifice, to more spontaneous giving and sharing. Polygamy is a model of oneness and plurality, showing how Yahweh moulds, shapes and brings together imperfect souls into an image of His multi-faceted Kingdom.
In the final introductory articles to this webpage I would like to share some personal insights into the joys of practical as well as spiritual polygamy. For us, you see, polygamy is a type of the whole of life - it's about living to the fullest possible extent. Join with me, then, and glimpse something of the joy we share in our family.