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    1

    Introduction to
    PATRIARCHAL MARRIAGE

    Two Forms of Biblical Marriage Only

    The Holy Bible, which is the standard by which this website measures all truth, recognises and protects two forms of marriage only: monogamy (one husband and one wife) and polygyny (one husband and two or more wives). For a marriage to be valid in the eyes of Elohim (God), whether monogamous or polygamous, certain basic conditions must be met:

      1. The parties must all be agreed, without force [1];
      2. The parties must be faithful to each other for the rest of their lives;
      3. Covenants must be entered into in the presence of witnesses

    All May Enter Marriage

    Anybody, whether Christian or not, is justified in the eyes of Elohim (God) if these conditions are met. Were marriage proscribed by a particular religious tradition then, by definition, all those outside that tradition would be ipso facto adulterous relationships. Thus an atheist, Hindu, Moslem, Buddhist or any other person has the right to enter into a marriage contract, monogamous or polygamous, without being a fornicator or an adulterer in the eyes of Elohim (God).

    Different societies have, unfortunately, chosen to define what is, and what is not, permissable, without giving due recognition to the Divine System. For nearly 1,400 years the Western world has defined polygamy as a sin, and has imposed it across the world through the agency of cultural imperialism and colonialism. (See John Cairncross's seminal work, After Polygamy Became a Sin: The Social History of Christian Polygamy [1974]).

    Polygamy Illegal in Most Countries

    Most countries still make the living of polygamy illegal and, theoretically at least, a prosecutable offence. But with so many living this principle in the West (probably about 40,000+ in the USA and at least half a million in France, to cite but two examples) arrests and imprisonment of polygamists has become a relatively rare event. The raid on Short Creek, a Mormon polygamous town in the USA, in which whole families were arrested and imprisoned, and their children given to foster parents, was a disaster for the then governor of Arizona, and no-one has attempted to implement the anti-polygamy Edmunds-Tucker Act on such a scale since.

    Normal in the Beginning

    Polygamy was a normal part of the early Christian Church/Messianic Community as it had been amongst the Hebrews until the Roman Catholic Emperor Justinian outlawed it. Today, after centuries of repression, increasing numbers of people are returning to what is a Bible-sanctioned estate for both men and women.

    Differences Between Men and Women

    To understand what CPM is is to undertand the difference between men and women who, whilst similar in so many different ways, do differ in mental and emotional makeup. Without each other, Paul reminds us, they are incomplete (1 Corinthians 11:11). Man needs woman, and woman needs man. But how many? And why not just simple pairs?

    HEM Spiritual Perspectives

    It is not my purpose in this short introduction to look into the sociology of marriage and especially not the propensities of the fallen Adam-nature and its lustful cravings. My perspective is going to be idealistic and spiritual. I am not the least bit interested in the carnal cravings of the maccho male, the butch feminist, the loose or the immoral. I am not interested in herding instincts, the man's 'natural' instinct to control and dominate women, or Darwinian attempts to explain behaviour from naturalistic causes. What interests me is the spiritual man and the pattern which Elohim (God) has ordained for eternally satisfying relationships.

    Celibacy Before Marriage

    Every man and woman in this mortal sphere is called to live a celibate life of self-control before entering the marriage estate. He is not, as our modern hedonistic society trumpets, called to fulfil his carnal appetite without thought for the spiritual conseqences.

    Our Sexual World

    The world we live in is a sexual world -- you cannot look at any part of the biological sphere and not see sex in action, whether in the plant or animal world. It is clear, to the unbiased observer, that the Creator ensured that sex figured prominently in the creation.

    Divine Purposes of Sex

    Moreover, it is clear that sex was given for two purposes:

      (1) to multiply or reproduce each species; and
      (2) to give pleasure.

    To Being Joy

    I find it hard to believe, for example, that the glorious array of beautiful flowers that surround us (that is, the sexual organs of plants), were not given to bring joy, at least to the human observers. Some flowers, it is true, are drab and not particularly interesting, and for me this is a type of the drab sexual lives that many people live. At the same I observe that for many species there are times and seasons for sexual reproduction.

    Sacrifice and Reproduction

    A cherry tree, when making flowers in spring, consumes vast amounts of natural resources, so much, in fact, that it must divert energy from other processes in order to reproduce. I also observe that the act of sexual reproduction actually kills many species -- the salmon, when its procreative work is done, rapidly decays and dies. The butterfly, once it has fertilized its mate, soon dies. I see many different kinds of stories about sex and reproduction in the Book of Nature and am convinced that Yahweh has given us these things to teach us about ourselves and the many dispositions we have. Nature is supposed to throw back a mirror at us, revealing both the good and the evil in us -- the spiritual and carnal natures, respectively.

    The cherry tree in bloom: we are constantly
    reminded of the sexual component of life

    Polygamists Guided By One of Two Impulses

    In dealing with a subject like Christian/Messianic Plural Marriage we must always be conscious of these two natures for according to the New Testament that nature which springs from the carnal man is, by very definition, at war with man's spiritual nature and at war against Elohim (God). We may therefore say that there are, broadly-speaking, two impulses which lead men and women to live plural marriage:

      (a) that which stems from Yahweh's holy will; and
      (b) that which stems from man's carnal nature.

    Eternal vs. Temporal Marriage

    Though as human beings Yahweh gives us the free will to choose either, it is the contention of this ministry that only the former has any real meaning as far as eternal consequences are concerned for we believe that the only worthwhile marriages (and therefore the most spiritually joyful and satisfying) are those which are entered into with eternity in view. Accordingly, we are extremely careful about the marriage partners we choose, being concerned with a whole array of factors, of which physical chemistry (sexual attraction) is but one of many.

    Divine Providence in Spouse Selection

    We believe, first and foremost, in the providence of Elohim (God), concluding that only those marriages which have the divine seal of approbation are of any real worth. The story of Isaac and Rebekah are a case example of divine providence (Genesis 24). We believe also that spiritual compatibility is therefore infinitely more important than intellectual, emotional and physical considerations, though these are by no means unimportant and contribute important parts to a successful marriage equation.

    The Providential Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah

    Threefold Hierarchy of Values

    We have, as it were, a hierarchy of values which may be said to flow along the Spiritual-Mental-Emotional-Physical path. Unlike the world, which more often than not begins with physical attraction in the relations of the sexes, New Covenant considerations begin at the opposite end. And it is for this reason that we have a three-fold approach to courtship and marriage which finds its origins in antiquity and which blends naturally in with the Christian evangel, a system which survives to this day amongst the Samaritans of modern Israel, albeit from an Old Testament position.

    1. Marriage Dedication (Engagement)

    The path to marriage in the Chavurat Bekorot begins with Dedication. Dedication is a covenant of friendship, or spiritual brother-sisterhood as a couple explore the possibility of marriage from a spiritual perspective. The nearest equivalent of this would probably be secular Engagement inasmuch as this agreement is not permanently binding and may be broken if the couple discover that they are not called to be wed. However, couples entering into this agreement do not do so experimentally, but with a sincere view to becoming betrothed. There is no sexual contact whatsoever.

    2. Betrothal

    The Law of Betrothal is a marriage contract without sexual contact and is binding. A couple breaking their betrothal covenants and marrying others would therefore be considered as adulterers. This system was prescribed in the Law of Moses by Yahweh-Elohim and is a part of the New Covenant Law although it is almost universally ignored by Christendom. It is during this time that, having established a spiritual foundation for marriage, great stirrings of the heart begin to take place. Love blossoms on another level, that which might well be described as the 'spirit of marriage'.

    3. Full Marriage

    The third and final stage is Full Marriage or, quite simply, 'marriage' as the world would know it as. But even though full marriage (which confers the right of a couple to have a sexual relationship in the eyes of Elohim/God) brings a marriage to completion or fulfilment, it is its foundation -- betrothal -- which is regarded by this ministrty as the most important and is the basis of its success.

    All Christian Marriages are a Kind of Polygamy

    All eternal marriages --whether monoagmous or polygamous -- are, by their very nature, polygamous ones, because no eternal marriage has less than three persons. All eternal marriages begin and end with the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) who is their sealing power. Thus one would be justified, from a certain point-of-view, in arguing that all true Christian marriages are polygamous since by definition a Christian marriage involves Christ who is its guardian, protector, and empowerer...as well as being Himself the allegorical Bridegroom with the husband and wife His two allegorical 'wives'.

    Members of the Allegorical Bride

    Once we understand this key truth it will not be hard to understand why plural marriage is a legitimate, lawful, non-sinful and Elohim/God-honouring principle because this tavnith or pattern is everywhere in Scripture presented as the most natural one. That this is so is no better exemplified than in the spiritual marriage between Christ and the Covenant Community of Christians (the Church or Messianic Israel) which is His allegorical Bride, submitted to, loved, blessed and redeemed by her Bridegroom. And we will be quick to observe that in this special relationship both women and men are in the collective Bride position -- submitted, obedient, and therefore beloved.

    The Man Submitted to Himself

    A Christian/Messianic Patriarch, whose is the ruler of his household consisting of children and wife (or wives) is, first and foremost, an allegorical wife himself, being fully submitted to his Lord and Saviour. It is this submission to Yah'shua (Jesus) which qualifies him to be a polygamist in the first place. A man who is submitted only to himself (and therefore his lower passions and Adam soul-nature) will not enjoy the spiritual presence of Elohim (God) that is essential to maintain a Christian polygamous household. He will be, to one degree or another, a partial tyrant whose end is personal gratification, unless he is otherwise simply entering such a principle out of custom or tradition because it is expected of him.

    Non-Christian Polygamous Marriages Can Be Successful

    This is not to say that such a man will not succeed in keeping together and causing a polygamous family to prosper, for though he may not be under the Law of Christ, or else not be conscious of the origin of those principles of righteousness which govern his life, and therefore his household, he will at least enjoy a portion of the Spirit of Christ. And it is for this reason that non-Christian polygamous marriages can be successful. And by the same twist, a polygamous marriage calling itself 'Christian' may be anything but, because it is being lived in the wrong way. We must therefore be conscious of many spiritual forces in judging whether or not a polygamous marriage enjoys divine approbation or not. A label is not everything.

    A Moslem Polygamist Family in the UK

    The Husband as Allegorical Wife

    A Patriarch is, by definition, polygamous even if he has only one wife, because he is himself a part of a polygamous marriage, which is the Bride of Christ (the Church/Messianic Community). To understand what his wives need, and how he can best serve them sacrificially, he must understand clearly how his own Lord and Master, Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), serves and sacrifices for him. A Christian Patriarch/Messianic, moreover, will likely have heads in the local Church/Assembly of which he is a member to whom he must naturally learn to submit, and obey, in righteousness.

    Not Manipulated or Controlled by Lilith or Hecate

    A true Christian/Messianic Patriarch is therefore every bit under submission as the wives who submit to him. He will know and understand his own limitations and know what it is to be redeemed by grace, for he will have a clear vision of his own inability to live the Law of Christ in perfection without the power of Christ. This vision of his own nothingness before Elohim (God) will therefore shape very much the way he governs his household, for he will know that his wives need the same kind of grace from him as he needs from Christ. He will, like his Redeemer, be strict but also full of love, always putting Christ first in everything. He will not yield to the fallen Lilith [2] or Hecate natures in his wives which seek to manipulate and control by various carnal feminine devices any more than he understands that Elohim (God) will not listen to, acknowledge or justify the fallen Adam nature in him which is at war against both his soul and His Maker. As he must learn to yield to the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), as Jacob had to until finally he surrendered completely at Peniel, so too must he enssure that he is not beguiled by the Lilith and Hecate natures in his wives which would competitively seek for pre-eminence and favour.

    Not Steered by an Ahab Nature

    Like God, therefore, he must be utterly impartial, resisting the fallen Adamic, Ahab-type tendencies within him. This means that he must, at various times in his marriage (most likely in the beginning but also as new wives enter his household), be prepared for that very unpleasant condition called spiritual war. It means that he must be prepared to be alone, not yielding to fallen womanly wiles, until his wives have learned that his first love is Christ, and not them. And unless he does this, plural marriage will be a living hell, a battleground, a microcosm of the world. If he is not prepared to stand up, defend and personally incarnate the righteousness of godly principles, whether in the face of threats of divorce or any manner of Lilithic or Hecatic device, then he is fundamentally unqualified to be a patriarch and a polygamist.

    Jezebel and Ahab, Types of Wickedness in Marriage

    Fires of Affliction

    I have never met a true spiritually-regenerated and sanctified Patriarch or a Matriarch who has not been through the fires of affliction and not overcome through the power of Christ. I know of no true Christian plural marriage which has not been through hell in order to reach heaven if that marriage has been entered into without a proper biblical foundation. And it must be stated for the record, so that none is under any illusion -- there is a great risk of disaster and heartbreak if plural marriage is entered into for any other reason that for the glory of Elohim (God).

    Society and the Marriage Barometer

    Like many monogamous marriages, though, some plural ones seem to sail through virtually problem-free. The risks of success and failure are, generally speaking, as great in polygamy as they are in monogamy. Nowadays 50% of all monogamous marriages fail as the restraints imposed by former Christian societies are exchanged for secular, hedonistic values. And I would say that 50% is a 'natural' figure. By that I mean the Adam nature, which demands attention, self-glorify, self-gratification, and so forth, is a 50% component of our nature anyway. The other 50%, which is Christ-like, forgets self and gives attention to serving and loving others. Once we cross that 50% mark, though, we are in danger of seeing the total collapse of society because it means that the Adamic nature is in full ascendancy. It is then that marriage as an institution is not only in danger of collapse but even the ability of man to live in the marriage estate spiritually becomes less and less possible. Thus the 50% divorce rate is a good barometer of the state of war -- of the shifting front line between righteousness and evil that is within us -- that is being waged.

    Why We Do Not Promote Polygamy Generally

    Because monogamous marriage is in danger of becoming extinguished in the West, I do not believe that polygamy can ever be a natural condition of marriage here generally. Only in those countries where family values remain strong, or in areas of Western countries where this is so, can plural marriage thrive. I would not, therefore, promote it generally, because the spiritual condition of people generally is far too low. But I would defend the right of those who are spiritually qualified to live it if they have been unquestionably called by Elohim (God) to do so. As a principle lived in holiness it is without a doubt both workable as well as deeply satisfying to all concerned and those men and women who have lived it, and continue to live it in this spirit of holiness, would never wish to return to a monogamous way of life. Naturally (and it is from these cases that all the anti-polygamous diatribes originate) if the principle is not lived in holiness according to Elohim's (God's) immutable laws, then the principle is a recipe for disaster. Such persons should not, in most cases, ever have entered the principle, for either they were not called into it or they refused to abide by the principles deemed absolutely necessary by Yahweh for it to be permissive.

    The Key is Unconditional Love

    One thing is clear -- the ingredients that make a holy and joyful monogamous marriage are pretty well identical to those which make a polygamous one thrive; and those which cause monogamous marriages to fail are those that cause polygamous ones to fail also. What, then is that magical ingredient? Christ stated it in His summary of the Law:

      (1) Love Elohim (God) unconditionally; and
      (2) Love your spouse, children and sister-wives unconditionally.

    What is True Christ-Like Love?

    The key, of course, is understanding what that great big word -- so often falsely represented -- 'love', means. And so many of the misunderstandings that have arisen over polygamy have usually arisen because true Christ-like agapé or ahavah love has been misunderstod too.

    Family of Yahweh Par Excellence

    We may say -- and we do so unapologetically -- that the only justification for polygamous marriage is Christ-like love. And it is the only principle that enables it to work. However, plural marriage was not created by Elohim (God) just for itself. It is not supposed to be inward looking, meditating on its own naval. Just as the Body of Christ -- the Church/Messianic Community -- was created to be an example to, and witnessing tool for, the world, so plural marriage exists to give strength and direction to the Church/Messianic Community. Part of the weakness of the Christian Church/Messianic Israel is owed, I firmly believe, to the absence of strong, spiritual, polygamous marriages which are, after all, a type of the Church/Messianic Communmity herself. Polygamy is, therefore, FAMILY par excellence and, most importantly, FAMILY OF ELOHIM (GOD).

    Conclusion

    With these thoughts in mind you are cordially invited to peruse the pages on this Patriarchal Christian/Messianic website. May Yahweh-Elohim, the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and our Lord and Saviour, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) bless you with a new and expanded vision of a world that will be when this old and corrupt one passes away in the fields of Har Meggido (Armageddon). Amen.


    Endnotes

    [1] Technically-speaking, according to the Law of Moses, a man is not required to ask permission of his other wives before marrying another one, and he would be justified in unilaterally entering new marriage covenants if he so chose. Under the New Covenant, whose centre is agapé/ahavah love, a husband would be wise to obtain the support of his other wives before expanding the family. If he does not, he may well create unnecessary strife in his family. As a rule, New Covenant Patriarchs will go out of their way to obtain concensus with their wives before adding a new one. If, however, the will of Yahweh is absolutely clear, and if he faces a choice of either obeying Elohim (God) or the unsanctified will of a wife or wives, he must follow the first course and do what is right. He must walk circumspectly in obedience to Yahweh-Elohim and divine love. These kinds of problems are discussed in greater depth elsewhere on this site.

    [2] Lilith, according to Hebrew tradition, was the first wife of Adam who rebelled against patriarchal authority and against Yahweh-Elohim. She deserted her husband and became a mass murdress. As a disembodied spirit, she is regarded by many Jews to be the consort of Satan. Whether or not she was a literal, historical person is not as important as the fact that she encapsulates or respresents the anti-patriarchal, feministic spirit whose locus is antithetical to Elohim's/God's plans and purposes. The spirit of Lilith is often equated with the spirit of JEZEBEL, a New Testament equivalant described in the Book of Revelation who, through her occultic practices, lured weak Christians into sexual immorality (Revelation 2:20). There is an Old Testament Jezebel too who introduced paganism into the northern Kingdom of Israel and made an important contribution to the moral disintegration and eventual destruction of that nation (1 Kings 16 - 2 Kings 9). She vigorously persecuted Elohim's (God's) holy prophets but was, in the end, defeated and paid with her life. All three women represent anti-Christ forces that were not only present in the world anciently but which pervade its values today. Lilith and the Jezebels, not to mention the witch Semiramis who shares similar characteristics with them, are highly venerated by feminist occultic orders. The unrepentant followers of the Lilith/Jezebel spirit are doomed to destruction

    Author: SBSK

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    First created on 21 March 1998
    Updated on 16 January 2016

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