Making a decision to marry someone is, after making a decision for Christ, probably the most important decision in your life. But making the decision to marry polygamously is perhaps even more difficult because of the number of people who are affected by that decision.
I don't know how many times people have asked me - and especially women - "How can I know whether it is right for me to marry this person polygamously?" They rightly want to be sure that what they are doing is in Yahweh's perfect will and not the turbulent emotions of fallen human nature. And I have given many different answers to this question.
To be sure, in 99.9999999 per cent of all cases Yahweh isn't going to give you a Mount Sinai-like experience in which He commands you to marry so-and-so. Not only, as I have said many times before, is our personal agency (and therefore our personal desires) such an important factor in so personal and intimate a decision, but also our MATURITY.
Last night my wives and I were discussing a question related to this theme. I can't remember who it was, but one of us complained: "Why is it Yahweh is so silent at times?" to which I answered: "Yahweh is talking all the time - the problem is we're so [internally] noisy!" Try to imagine a conversation you're having with someone. They're talking very quietly to you but you can't hear because your concentration isn't so good. So you say a little louder: "What???" (or "Pardon??" if you're politer). But no sooner has the echo from your "What?" (or "Pardon?") died down then you again say, this time more urgently and louder: "I can't seem to hear you?" and before you have even finished that sentence, you shout: "I STILL CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!" ... and so on. But you get the point, I think.
If you really want to know what Yahweh's view of a potential marriage alliance is, then you must:
Depending on the amount of self-control you have, not to mention your spiritual maturity, you will eventually get a clear answer ... if you're patient and if you're willing to take "no" as an answer. If your mind's already made up, you're in trouble before you even start, because you'll only be tuned in to a "Yes" answer from Elohim (God). And when it doesn't come, you'll strain and strain those itching spiritual ears of yours until you're sure you've heard it. We've all been there.
When I was a younger man in my early twenties I was like a a stick of dynamite on legs - at least when it came to passion and romance. I wanted everything to happen yesterday. Though I was always very calm outwardly, I was inwardly seathing with energy and life. Taming that passion has taken many years, and learning to hear Yahweh's voice clearly through the tempestuous waves of life within has taken just as long. So the first time I fell in love with a woman, it might just as well have been a supernova. It was bad (as the Americans would put it) - really bad. And could I hear Yahweh's voice in the middle of that typhoon? My mind was so made up that sometimes I wonder whether only death itself could have stilled me.
Well, if you've read some of my earlier articles, you will know the complete story of this event concerning my first marriage. Many years on and I have learned a great deal about human passions, feelings, stillness in Christ, and hearing the voice of El Elyon - the Most High.
There are some people who are of the view that in order to hear the Voice of Yahweh you have to completely suppress your feelings. That's Buddhism and is not true. Yahweh does not want us to deny any part of ourselves - he doesn't want a blank mind, He doesn't want crucified feelings, and He doesn't want repressed sexuality. What He wants, quite simply, is STILLNESS:
When the sea is still, the water is still there, only it is resting. To still a stormy sea you don't need to empty it of all its water any more than you need to empty your mind or repress your feelings. Yahweh does not want a blank New Age-type mind which demons can fill at will. He wants you to be in complete control of your faculties. And when He speaks, He will USE those faculties - when He speaks to your spirit, your body will react with thoughts and feelings.
"Be still before Yahweh and wait patiently for Him; do not fret.." (Psalm 37:7, NIV).
"Be still, and know that I am Elohim (God)" (Psalm 46:10, NIV).
This at once presents a dilemma. There are many people who are led into making wrong decisions and into false religions on the basis of feelings. The Mormons, for instance, will ask you to pray whether their Church is true or not and listen to your feelings - if you get a burning sensation in your bosom, they say, then that is the Holy Ghost testifying to you that their Church is true. And they use this method to test any principle. Outwardly it appears a very fine and simple solution but in practice it leads to great trouble for one simple reason:
The heart is absolutely not a reliable source of truth on its own. The modern dictum, "If it feels right, it is right" is completely false. The founder of our Order once related an incident in which he was with some Mormon missionaries who asked an investigator of their religion, in the context of gaining a testimony of their Church, if he had ever experienced the "burning in the bosom" feeling, to which he replied that he had - when looking at pornographic literature. I think the point is obvious.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV).
"The heart of the righteous weighs its answers" (Prov.15:28, NIV), said the King, meaning that the prudent man or woman puts a lot of careful thought into serious matters like religion and romance. Though neither the mind nor the heart are supposed to be the final arbiters, they are not to be idle but are to carefully weigh all matters up. And when it comes to passion, unfortunately there is another more complex factor in the equation which derives from an even lower source: hormones. Far too many people make life-changing decisions based on physical chemistry and sexual lust, making the decision even less reliable.
Unfortunately, most people can't afford to wait until they are old and mature before making a decision like selecting marriage partner(s), which is why, I believe, Yahweh gave us the ideal model or marriage selection in the story of Isaac and Rebekah. Although the final decision must always be made by the young couple themselves, Yahweh makes it perfectly clear that those who are wise will respect the counsel of parents, older friends, and ministers. They should listen to all carefully and then "weigh the answers". Two articles from the main website that I think are particularly helpful should be studied in this connection:
In the polygamous situation, the man's first marriage is, in many respects, the most important one ... not because his first wife is more important than the others who come later, but because the first marriage will set the tone or 'theme' of the whole marriage. Again, that doesn't mean that subsequent wives must 'fit in' to No.1 wife's way of doing everything, or anything else like that. That's not what I mean at all. My thought here is entirely spiritual: if you make a first selection which is out of tune with the Ruach (Spirit), your choice will create enormous problems later when you want to expand your family, for you may find in your first wife an opponent and not a help-mate. She must be on the same spiritual wave-length as you are, and you (as the husband) must be on the same spiritual wave-length as Yahweh so that you can lead and teach her in all Biblical truth.
There is no such thing as 100% perfect preparation, of course, because none of us is ever perfectly prepared, especially when we are young and inexperienced. Yahweh knows that and makes allowances. The critical factor in this matter is MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE OF MARRIAGE COMPANION and no matter how mature or immature you are, you must at least be able to hear Yahweh's Voice in this matter. I hope the articles cited above from the parent website will help.
My purpose in this article, however, is to help those who are contemplating polygamy - I am assuming that a marriage is already in place, whether monogamous or polygamous. How can the husband and a prospective new wife know that they are right for each other...and for the family as a whole?
I return to my original theme of spirit, thoughts, feelings and sexual attraction. Rather than theorise (which I have already done before), I want to share some special experiences of how Yahweh has worked in my life and how I have known whether someone has been right or not for me and my wives. Unfortunately, the number of women actually interest in the polygamy is so small in proportion to the number of men interested in it that what often happens is that the man will grab anyone vaguely interested or willing to say 'yes' without regard for compatibility or divine mandate.
I first became interested in my fourth wife when I observed how focussed in Yahweh's Torah she was, even as a youngster. What attracted me to her was not her looks, intelligence, or warm heart (all of which she was blessed with) but the fact that unlike other youth in our fellowship circle she had her eyes on Christ and sought to do His will in everything. She did not experiment with the commandments as many of the others did but simply accepted them on faith. She was faithful in her stewardships to the fellowship and to her family. These were the principal things that attracted me to her as a person. I saw in her all the characteristics of a GOOD DISCIPLE OF CHRIST who put the Kingdom first above all, something very, very rare and precious for her generation. This was even before the time she was of marriagable age so there wasn't anything other than spiritual interest at that time - as a Pastor might be towards those youth in his watchcare. I didn't even ask Yahweh if she was a potential wife - the thought didn't even cross my mind. Even though I was certainly 'wife-hunting' in those days, it was, of course, only amongst those who were elligible in terms of age. It was only when Yahweh showed me a vision of her as my wife in the future that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that when she was of age that we would marry. Nobody except my second wife knew of this vision at the time. (It is important to let your existing wife/wives know what you are thinking about or contemplating).
Now again I know that not everybody is shown visions. And indeed visions in their own right can be as unreliable as feelings, burnings in the bosom, and the like. Satan is able to counterfeit most things. And the only reason the case was clear-cut for me was because of all the spiritual mapping I had done beforehand - the vision was merely one factor. In this case, the vision was important, because:
From that moment onwards I nurchured her as a disciple and left Yahweh to open the future doors to wedlock. You can read her story on Kasia's Corner and how we came to be man and wife.
(a) It made me aware that she was a potential wife; and
(b) It confirmed everything else I had observed about her spirituality.
I was led to all my wives in different ways as well as to those whom Yahweh pointed out who were called to be my wives but for their own reasons decided not to marry me. Yahweh does not seem to have any one fixed 'method' in which He leads people to one another because everyone learns how to listen to Him in different ways. These ways are, however, all to be found in the Bible, so they are testable. I want to finish now by sharing with you one more way - one that has manifested itself in a new way to me recently. This has been - and still is, at the time of writing (2001) - a very powerful experience. There have been no visions (yet) and no romantic feelings (yet). What I am going to share with you concerns how Yahweh has spoken to my spirit through the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) which has in turn manifested itself in my mind and feelings. It has been one of my most precious and sacred experiences of late, not just because it has pointed me in a particular direction marriage-wise, but because it has deepened my communicion with, and appreciation of, my Lord and God.
The key to this experience - which has nothing to do with romance or Mormon-type chest-burning experiences, is a scripture in the New Testament. Yah'shua (Jesus) has died and has been resurrected. The scene is two disciples walking along a dusty Judean road, and whilst they are thus journeying discussing the amazing events of the Saviour's life - and, for them, His tragic death - a stranger appeared amongst them and enquired after the subject of their conversation. Like the other disciples, they were downhearted because they had thought Yah'shua (Jesus) was the long-awaited Messiah who would restore the Davidic Kingdom of Israel. They had entirely missed the point of His first coming and were devastated because the Romans had killed Him. They knew that Yah'shua (Jesus) had mysteriously disappeared from His tomb but did not know the significance of it.
The stranger gently rebuked them for their blindness and then taught them extensively from the Scriptures. This did not, we imagine, take place in a matter of a few minutes, for Luke informs us that He began with Moses and worked his way through all the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, which must have taken Him some considerable amount of time, for there are, as you know, many such prophecies which He needed not only to recite but explain. I imagine this took Him a good hour or two. It was, we suppose, evening when there would have been time for such discoursing. And so these men listened not only to the inspired Words of the Master, whom they did not at first recognise, but bathed in His presence also. For you will remember this was no mortal they were listening to - it was the Resurrected Son of Elohim (God). And though His glory was hidden from their eyes, His spiritual presence was not.
Only when Yah'shua (Jesus) blessed the food they were about to share together were the eyes of these men finally opened and they recognised their Saviour. But no sooner had they understood than Christ simply vanished before their eyes. And when the two returned to Jerusalem to bear witness to the surviving eleven apostles and their companions, they bore their testimony of the risen Lord to them. Whilst still relating these events, Christ appeared before the whole company of apostles, their friends, and the two who had been on the Emmaus road, and unfolded the revelation of His resurrection one stage further by showing them the prints of the nails in His hands and feet, and again proceeded to explain the Scriptures. Finally, He informed the company in that room that they were witnesses of this the central event of His first coming, before finally ascending to Heaven (Luke Chapter 24).
I want you to note the importance of the witness of these two unknown men who met the resurrected Master on the way to Emmaus even before the Apostles were given this privilege. There is something very special about this encounter, not only because it shows that Yahweh is no respector of persons - appearing before two unnamed men in front of the Eleven, just as He appeared to women before even these men as a whole - but because He gives us a very, very important key about the way He communicates with His disciples. These two unknown men going to an obscure village that is nowhere mentioned in the Bible again (only in Luke 24:13) reveal a truth which Christians and Messianics miss time and time again because they are so absorbed in the witness of the spiritual giants like Paul, John or Peter. And remember this: that in the last days Yahweh will send two more unnamed witnesses into Jerusalem in the days of the Antichrist who will witness against the inhabitants and against the Babylonian world system, be killed, and rise from the dead after laying in the streets some days while the pagans celebrate their demise. Remember these things.
Do you remember what the two men in Emmaus said after Yah'shua (Jesus) vanished from their midst after he had broken bread and invoked the Hebrew brakkah or blessing? Mark these words well:
The Greek for the word 'heart' here is kardia (as in the English 'cardiac') and refers to the organ of the same name. The word for 'burn' is kaiomai which appears only ten times in the New Testament, half of them in the Book of Revelation in connection with heavenly realities. The apostle John uses the same word to describe the testimony of John the Baptist:
"Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scripures to us?" (Luke 24:32, NIV).
Luke, in the one other reference in his works, uses the word in the context of the marriage of the Lamb and spiritually listening to Yahweh:
"John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light" (John 5:35, NIV).
The last usage of the word is by the writer of Hebrews who talks about Elohim's (God's) revelation on Mount Sinai (remember how Yah'shua (Jesus) started His Emmaus discourse with Moses):
"Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door to him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes" (Luke 12:35-37, NIV).
There are other Greek words for 'fire' but they are used a little differently.
"You have come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire.." (Hebrews 12:18, NIV).
Now I hope that the usage of these words is clear. The 'burning heart' manifestation here has nothing to do with carnal burnings but with heavenly ones. We are being shown that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) manifests in a very special way in men's and women's hearts when holy and sacred things are being discussed and when the door to the soul is opened to receive it. There will always be those - the majority - who will experience nothing of Yahweh's presence because their minds and hearts are closed.
As I have tried to underline throughout this homepage, there is a deep and intimate parallel between our relationship with Christ as the Bride to the Bridegroom as with the wives with their husband in a sanctified Christian polygamous marriage. There is a reality here that almost all Christian/Messianic polygamists have only understood theoretically but which they have not yet experienced as a revelation. This Emmaus experience is about two unmarried 'women' seeking spiritual union with their Master - two patriarchs, in fact - who encounter their allegorical Husband, the Master Yah'shua (Jesus), and receive a divine revelation to their hearts that they are 'The Called' - that they are His allegorical wives. They are drawn to their Master by the Word of Elohim (God) bathed in the Presence of Elohim (God) and simply 'know', as only married persons can, that Christ is their Bridegroom. They are on fire in their hearts - not with carnal lust, but with the same fire that burned on Mount Sinai, with the same fire as the servants (disciples) awaiting the return home of their Master (Christ), with the same fire that burned within John the Baptist, the greatest prophet after Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself, with the same fire that describes the heavenly realities in Heaven in the Book of Revelation.
Now, if a man and a woman are in Christ, if they love His Word as the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth, and if they love to bathe in His presence through prayer, meditation, service, praise, and in loving others, THEN when the time comes for them to find a mate - a husband or a wife - then Yahweh will reveal to them by the same means that they belong to each other in Him. But this testimony will not - I repeat - will not be given to those who do not do these things, for the burnings they feel will come from elsewhere, arising from a coarser dimension and thence ascending into the feeling-realm, instead of descending from heaven and downwards through the mind and heart. Remember there is both 'holy' and 'strange' (false, impure) fire that can operate in the emotional mix.
The people of the world follow their hormones, and then follow their feelings which are worked upon by their hormones, and then think as their hormone-induced feelings lead them. That is why the Scriptures say that those who are not in Christ and are not living an overcoming life in Him have a defiled conscience (1 Corinthians 8:7). Our conscience, if it is to serve us - with the feelings that attach to it - must first be purified by the Ruach (Spirit) through daily striving (Acts 24:16) and become reliable only after the Ruach/Spirit has given the Ruach's own confirmation (Romans 9:1). Human weakness extends to the conscience (1 Corinthians 8:12) - it is not a reliable barometer of truth until the soul has first become saturated by the Word and Love of Yahweh, whence the truth is made plain to it (2 Corinthians 5:11).
To hear Yahweh and know His will we must first know how to love, for "love... comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Timothy 1:5, NIV). Once that conscience has become purified, we may then begin to rely upon it within the overall context of that which stands above it (1 Timothy 1:19). Before we appeal to our consciences for revelation (which in fact we should not do directly, but rather seek for Yahweh's confirming witness to our ruach/spirit through His Ruach/Spirit), we must "keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience" (1 Timothy 3:9, NIV). In other words, our conscience is useless as any kind of measure of truth until we have put the Kingdom of Elohim (God) first in our lives (Matthew 6:33).
I take pains to explain these things because it is so easy to be deceived by the flesh. Only those who are accustomed to walking with Yahweh can really be sure of a clear channel to heaven, of unmuddied revelation, and of a pure conscience. That is why a new unmarried Christian/Messianic ought to spend time knowing his Master before he starts making committments to marriage. And certainly no Christian/Messianic polygamous man ought to go seeking (if seek he should at all) for new wives until he has this mature communication - for his own sake, for the sake of his other wives, for the sake of his children, his ministry, and indeed his whole life. Polygamy is not multiple-monogamy - it's about something similar and yet at the same time completely different.
A few weeks ago I met a woman on the internet from abroad when she wrote me an email. It didn't contain very much about her at all though I sensed from the little that was there a natural modesty and spirituality. As I looked at this email there was a warm glow in my heart. And it stayed. Day after day it just stayed there. It was like a gentle furnace, a contradiction in terms, but an accurate description nonetheless, reminding me of the Word of Yahweh Himself when He speaks, which is both supremely mild as well as strong and powerful enough to crush a mountain. As I switched my mind to other things I lost consciousness of it, but each time I thought about the lady it was there.
It is not what one would call an 'in love' experience because I know what that is - I have experienced it before. It includes that but is way above it. It does not disturb me. My heart does not race, I do not become sentimental, neither am I aroused to passion, though I sense it is capable of including all these things at some future time. When I am aware of this 'gentle furnace' I am aware of my Master as well - I am aware that He, I and she are there - together.
And now my wives are picking that up through me. They say they see it in my eyes and feel it radiating out of me. It is a joy from the spiritual dimension that seems to spill over into everything else. And yet it is not fully manifest yet. I am aware that it is something potent and potential - it is like a key that shines in your hands and sends a pulse through your soul that invites you to a door. And behind that door is the fullness of what the key stands for.
I shared a little of this with the lady with whom I have shared several emails now and today she wrote this:
"Oh, I must say that your description in your earlier email about your heart and chest warming, furnace-like, well, I found that eerie because I was going to write something about the same phenomenon, wondering of course if I was sounding a tad nutty. So, I get that too, that heart-expanding. I think of it as the sensation of an awakened heart, a heart that lives in God".
No, the lady was not a 'tad nutty' - not remotely. Rather she, like myself, had made a connection just as those two men on the dusty road to Emmaus did when they bathed in Christ. Whereas my experience of this 'gentle furnace' with this lady is new - because every personality we commune deeply with in Christ is different and therefore 'new' - the kind of experience of whose spiritual genre it is, is most definitely not new to me, but is something I have experienced, and still experience, with my wives, and which the founder describes in the following way:
This spiritual fire is the fire that fuels my marriage and also that of our Order. I have searched the churches for it but never succeeded, though some have been close. The founder further writes:
"It is deep -- incredibly deep -- there is no superficiality. It is incredibly warm, making the heart glow brightly and the face smile. It is very quiet yet, like the deepest currents of the sea, enormously powerful. It lacks any kind of pretence or superficiality. It is completely open and honest, tolerates no deceptiveness, gives no quarter to fallen human nature. There is a fire in it -- a fire that roasts -- but it is not a wild fire with red flames and crackling wood. It is the glow of white-hot heat, constant, predictable, persistent, ever-present, always there. This is the Spirit of the Firstborn ... It is a furnace of never-ending love."
This is the fire that must ignite the new generation of faithful Christians/Messianics if the divisions in the Body of Christ are to be abolished. It is the fire that, once it has come to its full manifestation, will separate the wheat from the tares - the true Christians/Messianics from the symbolic ones - and prepare the way for Christ's return. It was birthed in New Covenant Christian/Messianic polygamy and it is from New Covenant Christian/Messianic polygamy that it will move out amongst the believers. It is the Emmaus experience - it is the glue that binds the whole of the work together.
"It it not easily understood by those who first encounter it. Many are frightened away, like wild beasts from a camp fire. Others are attracted to it but are impatient to possess it, and are burned. It is gradually acquired, as the soul is sanctified by affliction, until the soul which has so earnestly fought for it can dwell in it naturally. It is the home of angels and of the Sons and Daughters of Elohim (God) ... It is not a noisy Ruach (Spirit) -- it does not bring with it the noisy chattering of the 'tongues'-speakers".
May Yahweh bless you to find it and be blessed by it.