The last time I remember being metaphorically stripped naked and pressed into a corner was when my enemies were trying to have me brought before the courts of the land and have my children ripped away from our bosoms because I was standing for my beliefs in Christian/Messianic plural marriage. It was an horrendous experience for all of us, wracked with anxiety as we were at that time. Under the pressure of it all, one of my wives broke and fled with a son and, in her confused state of mind, briefly consorted with our enemies. My local church (assembly), of which I was then pastor, also broke and fled en masse with the exception of a few faithfuls. We felt very, very alone.
That was over fifteen years ago. We stood our ground and built an invisible wall of faith around ourselves, and simply trusted in Christ and His Word to see us through that hell. We knew what the Scriptures taught about polygamy and we were willing to put our faith to the test, albeit unwillingly. We knew that if the principle of polygamy was false that Yahweh would not justify us, but rather answer to the prayers of those others who claimed to be Christians, for they too believed passionately, but in their traditions rather than in the Word. They had the moral backing of one-and-a-half thousand years of Roman tradition behind them, plus the unbelievers, plus the law of the land. We were outnumbered millions-to-one, perhaps the only Christian polygamists in the country.
But the enemy's walls broke, shattered by an unseen hand, but not until I spoke and rebuked them in the Name of Yahweh. Then there was silence - a deafening silence, followed by assurances from the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) that all would be well. Most of our enemies made peace with us when they saw that we were not some cult of brainwashed sexual perverts. And as they got to know us better, they saw our happiness and wondered ... though they did not believe.
Yahweh our Elohim (God) reclothed us and we came out of the corner to build this ministry which has since traversed the globe. Our enemies are still here - lurking - but without Yahweh's permission they can do nothing. The old accusations simply do not hold water because so many know us now. And even many of those who disagree with us know that we stand for Christ, decency and integrity.
But my story today is not about myself or my family. It's about a metaphorical lady called 'Ishshah Monogamus', the unlikely combination of Hebrew and Latin meaning 'Monogamous Woman' (MW), but specifically here, "Monogamous-Only Woman" (MOW).
For the last few weeks I have been in heavy debates with Christian men and women over the polygamy issue. Surprisingly, the women have been more sympathetic than the men, not because they necessarily like the idea of polygamy, but because on balance they tend to be more honest when it comes to letting the scriptures speak for themselves. The men, more territorial by nature, tend to defend a dogma for dogmas's sake, whereas the women tend to be more amenable to truth. (I exclude the male unbelievers who as we know have a less than honourable view of polygamy generally).
I have also met some very militant MOW's - Monogamy-Only Women - who have clawed and hissed as only their gender know when forced into a corner. Most of these, the moment they see an unguarded piece of space, simply make a bolt for it and are never seen again. But some, who still believe in the old marriage traditions, are prepared to hold their ground, and make a last redoubt. It is this kind of lady I am addressing today.
My emotional reaction to this woman is a mixture of great respect coupled with deep sorrow. She is honourable and sincerely believes that Christ is monogamous-only. She believes that each man should have his own singular wife, that Adam and Eve are a type of the ideal monogamous marriage, and that polygamy was permitted 'in the old days' only because of the hard-heartedness of men. She is spiritually astute enough to recognise that the Christian polygamist is in all likelihood saved and that he/she will go to heaven but believes that he has been deceived by something that is no longer. For Ishshah Monogamus, the Christian Polygamist is still lost in the dusty parchments of the Law of Moses which was long since nailed to the cross (as she supposes). She sees herself as the completion or fulfilment of the Marriage Mandate, the perfection of what Yahweh intended marriage to be all along.
But when it comes to what the Bible actually says in toto, she is as metaphorically naked as I was back in 1994-5 when the monogamy-onlyists laid siege to my family and tried to wipe us out. But that is the only similarity, for whilst we drew the Word of Elohim (God) around us as our shield, all that Ishshah Monogamus is able to do is stand in a corner and draw a thin line with a pencil on the floor around her and declare: 'Here I stand or fall.'
Now, haven't we all drawn pencil lines of that kind at one time or another? We declare: 'I believe in this!' even though we may have no scriptural warranty for such a belief, and sit confidently expecting Christ to prevent our opponents from crossing it. But what happens? If our belief is not sanctioned by Yahweh in His Word, then our pencil line might just as well not be there, for Yahweh cannot see it - Yahweh cannot respect it. It is something of our own construction - beautifully and nobly drawn maybe, but still artificial. That line is about as useful to a soldier under siege as a rubber sword.
Unlike the heathen who wish only to tear down, however, as Christian polygamists we are not waging war against people but against unseen powers. We do not come crashing across the pencil line and assault poor Ishshah Monogamus for we are her friend, not her enemy. We come only with an eraser to rub out that line, and then to gently say, 'Wouldn't you rather get dressed and ally yourself to the truth?' and then turn our backs while she once again clothes herself and is restored to honour.
I am glad I am not defending the monogamy-only fort because it is only a soap bubble. But most of all I feel sorry for the women who have been coerced through the weight of tradition into defending it by their husbands who centuries ago abandoned the truth for a Roman lie. I do not feel very sorry for the men for, as leaders of the home responsible for teaching their wives, I consider that they have demonstrated a dereliction of their duty. I am particularly harsh on those who twist the Word of Elohim (God) and then accuse polygamists of twisting it, for this is religious hypocrisy - and against such Christ reserved His harshest condemnation. Though each woman is of course a steward of her own personal belief, she is nevertheless bound by the Law of Yahweh to obtain teaching from her husband, who is her head. And the judgment against false teachers is, as we know, not light.
The sin-issue is not whether or not Ishshah Monogamus accepts that she must become a polygamist but whether or not she accepts polygamy as a godly principle. Or to be more precise, whether she is willing to accept the biblical definition of marriage, viz. one man married to one or more women. It only becomes a sin-issue in the former sense if her husband has most definitely been called to expand his family with one or more wives and she resists their calling.
Let me put it another way. It is not a sin if I refuse to be a pastor if Yahweh has not called me to be one. But it would be a sin-issue if:
I knew a man who was called to be an apostle. He accepted the call, his wife rejected it and said: 'Over my dead body!' She got her wish. In a matter of only a few years she, a young mother, was dead. The man was called again but he married another woman who likewise resisted him ... I don't know what happened the second time round because I lost contact with the man.
- (a) I rejected the whole concept of pastors, and
- (b) if I was called to be one and I refused - either of my own volition or if my wife pressured me not to accept such a call because she didn't agree with it.
I know a man called to be a prophet. His wife resisted him and threatened to leave him if he accepted his call. He became a prophet, she left him, and shortly thereafter died.
Both were young families.
You don't mess around with serious calls and you don't mess around with sacred principles. Equally, principles do not apply themselves.
When the persecutions against us started in the 1990's a man said he would come and beat me up if I did not stop living polygamously. He went to meet me at the local railway Station but on the way there received a call from his wife to say their house was on fire. He had to hurriedly return home in order to take care of the emergency. He and I never met.
Quite recently I received an ultimatum from a relative to quit polygamy by throwing my wives and children out, or she would have nothing more to do with me again. She became so demonised in the end that she lost a great deal of her sanity.
You can't wage war against Christian/Messianic polygamy and win. You can persecute polygamists, create much anxiety, misery and unhappiness, but woe unto the one who does these things and who opposes a latter-day move of Yahweh! (Matthew 18:7) There is a power in this work which cannot be opposed without the direst of consequences for those who persecute it.
Now I have not said these things before now lest people accuse me of psychological manipulation. But really all I am saying is that if you try to harm innocent people, it will not go well with you, whoever you are or whatever you may believe. And if you try to oppose the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), you will have the Creator of this Universe to clash swords with. This is no pet doctrine that we Christian/Messianic polygamists (the honourable amongst us, at least - I cannot speak for every one who espouses this belief or who practices this doctrine) have invented just to justfy some lecherous desire to sin away, because we aren't interested in sexual promiscuity. Indeed, of all the Christians/Messianics I have met, we are the most passionately opposed to such things! No, we are saying these things because of what we have experienced - because we have seen the hand of Yahweh so mightily at work. We are merely witnesses of what is.
There are still many Christian/Messianic polygamists - the majority, probably - who don't yet quite understand how holy a principle this is or how vital it is to the restoration of all things in Yahweh's endtime Church (Messianic Community) (Acts 3:21). This one doctrine is indeed the actual UNIFYING PRINCIPLE of the relationship between Yahweh and His people. Indeed, were you to remove polygamy, there would be no consummation in heaven. No polygamy, no final victory and glory.
The doctrine of polygamy is far bigger than a few men marrying multiple wives. The doctrine of polygamy is about the raison d'Ítre of all things! It is the principle of multiplication in the universe - it is in the very heart of Yahweh-Elohim Himself. It is the way He thinks, operates and acts. Indeed, the closer you look at this principle in the Holy Bible, the more you realise how integrated it is with the whole concept of Christian/Messianic truth: it is what distinguishes it from all false religion.
The trouble with most people is that when you mention the word 'polygamy' the first thing they usually think about is SEX. When I have been in discussion rooms in the past all that people seem to want to know is what happens in the BEDROOM. They're looking downwards at their reproductive organs instead of upwards at the tapestry of creation! But then when you talk about marriage - even monogamous marriage - that's what people mostly see too ... they aren't the slightest bit curious about the practical implications of the allegorical union of Christ with His people in heaven which is the way ETERNITY IS DEFINED.
I don't doubt, having said this, that somewhere you will meet a polygamist who is looking between his legs instead upwards at Christ. I don't apologise for him or defend him for he is not what I would consider to be a true Christian/Messianic polygamist. There will always be those who are into marriage, monogamy or polygamy for all (or many of) the wrong reasons. But that does not invalidate the principle, though there are opponents who focus on nothing else and create a grand illusion with which to propaganise people by dishonest manipulation. The wise and honest will see through such scams, I hope.
If you have read through my many articles and come this far then I suspect, if you were of the monogamy-only disposition, that you are by now beginning to wonder ... If you have hopped over 50 or so articles you probably won't have gained much. Like learning a new language, you need to really get acquainted with the facts and concepts which for many are so totally new. Do you remember how shocked Yah'shua's (Jesus') disciples were when their Messiah was killed? They had been working out of the completely wrong mindframe ... the wrong paradigm. What they were expecting was totally at variance with what Yahweh was actually doing - Christ was coming not to restore the Davidic Kingdom but to create an invisible one ... for now ... this time round.
Simply, for centuries Christians/Messianics have been content to play around with the allegorical concept behind polygamous marriage (and O, how they loved to allegorise!) and skipped around the actual principle itself. This was not unlike discussing the symbolic meaning of the cross as a love offering insead of dealing with the literal, physical spilling of blood which was the very life substance that washes away sin! Christ didn't just die on the cross to show us how to be brave or to sacrifice for something one believes in but to literally atone for man's transgressions against holiness. And similarly, Christ didn't just give the apostle John a pretty vision about an allegorical wedding between Christ and the Church (Messianic Community) in heaven to convince us that heaven would be a happy meal but to show us that we have to live this way as polygamists ourselves for real. The vision wasn't just given to teach us an abstract idea about unity but to teach us about REAL union (echad) that comes about when man and women come together and create a child. Whatever is revealed in the heavenly realms is supposed to incarnate or fully manifest on the physical - if it wasn't, Christ wouldn't have bothered to come down here on this clod of earth to die for us and Yahweh would have omitted physical resurrection altogether. NOTHING IS COMPLETE UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH HAVE MET AND BECOME RECONCILED.
It is little wonder that so many pseudo-Christian theologies try to spiritualise everything away. It's how the early Church went astray as aestheticism supplanted practical living. The Kingdom of Elohim (God) is not full of dreamy mystics with their heads in the clouds but with tangible people living as men and women are supposed to live in family relationships. Heaven is populated with farmers, not philosophers - with prophets, not sooth-sayers. Elohim (God) is a GARDENER - a tiller of the soil, just as the first man was. Eden wasn't a Metropolis or a hermit's cave but a GARDEN. Paradise - the place of the Blessed - is likewise a WALLED GARDEN. And when Yahweh made the first man, did He wave a magic wand and say, 'Hey, Presto!' No, He dug His hands into the elements of the earth and formed Adam before finally breathing life into him.
Polygamy is about original gardening! It's about making things and cultivating the earth with your own hands. It's about a creativity that employs mind, heart, spirit and body - the whole man - and it's about a future Whole Earth - a resurrected earth, a glorified earth - heaven come down into matter. It's about raising godly families and finding all joy in that endeavour - and with interacting with other godly families doing the same thing to the glory of the Creator-God, Yahweh-Elohim and His Son Yah'shua (Jesus). That's what it's all about, not the Nimrodian dream of the city state - the metropolis - where sin has always matured and spread in its most deadly forms.
Polygamy is about the simple life where people matter more than things and dreams, where ones greatest earthly ambition is to make families thrive. Polygamy is about FAMILY. And yes, you need a bit of sex to make a family, but you don't need to be obsessed by it like the monogamy-only world is, to compensate (as it supposes) for its deficiencies elsewhere.
Polygamy is a whole way of life - a way to draw close to Yahweh and to men and women. It is the best way to really come to know Yahweh's heart and what He finds the most pleasurable in human relationships. Polygamy is about FELLOWSHIP and COMMUNITY. It is about Yahweh's ideal for people. It is about the New World to come.