I am a great believer in looking for prophetic images in the Bible. Indeed, I don't believe that any of the personalities cited or their related stories are accidental. This was much the view of mediaeval theologians too who saw real events as spiritual allegories, the best example of which is the Song of Solomon which, though actually about sex and romance, was seen by them as an allegory of the relationship between Christ (the Messiah) and His Church (Messianic Community). Where the mediaeval theologians went wrong was that they lost sight of the actual historical events portrayed and became overly absorbed in the allegories.
My essay today is about Abraham and Lot who represent allegorically two types of patriarch. Both were good men but had their eyes fixed somewhat differently when it came to life's goals. Whilst Abraham's faith and hope was fixed in the Messianic line which he was promised would come through him, Lot was thinking of a life of ease amongst the pagans in the Jordan valley.
Like the present generation of Christian/Messianic patriarchs who have drawn disciples to themselves, Abraham and Lot walked side by side and each in their turn became wealthy. But a time came when, the Bible tells us, the land could no longer support both of them, resulting in quarrelling between their respective herdsmen. In the end they separated amicably, Abraham remaining in the more desolate mountain territory and Lot descending to the wealth and corruption of the valleys (Genesis 13).
That exactly happened in the first decade of 21st century to the Christian/Messianic Patriarchal community, and with prophetic signs of this separation quite clear by the turn of the Millennium. One group of patriarchs choose the simpler life and the other lusted after the temptations of the world. They separated more or less amicably but only the one which had its eyes firmly fixed on the Messiah and the Kingdom will ultimately survive. The spiritual terrain cannot hold both of them because they have different world views.
Now I am not saying that those after the Lot spirit are necessarily crass materialists or even unbelievers. We are told that the reason Lot chose the low road was because:
What Job saw was beautiful, reminding him of Eden. I doubt that his soul was filled with lust of the evil kind, not even remotely. He saw something that reminded him of heaven and he yearned for it. Like many of us who get weary with life, we often desire for that which is to come. And we see how the gentiles have chosen the better part of the land and we wish we had it too.
"He saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of Yahweh, like the land of Egypt, towards Zoar" (Genesis 13:10, NIV).
But the Jordan Valley was not the Garden of Yahweh; In fact, it resembled the Nile Delta. The place that Lot saw, Zoar, was not as wonderful as he imagined. The word zoar literally means 'little' in Hebrew - in terms of its spirituality, it was microscopic rather than little. It looked promising to the carnal eye but compared to the spiritual riches of the Judean hills where Abraham chose to remain, it was destitute. But Lot apparently did not know that.
Polygamy is not an easy lifestyle to live. In spite of that, many people are being attracted to it, seeing it through Lot's eyes as a sensual Garden of Yahweh. But they are looking at it through Egyptian eyes - through the eyes of Hagar - instead of through the eyes of Sarah. We learn from scripture that because of its abundant and dependable water supply, Egypt came closest to resembling Eden (Genesis 2:10). But in spite of these geographical advantages, Egypt was never Eden. Though it came to be a temporary refuge to the children of Israel in the days of Joseph, it turned out in the end to be a land of slavery. The Egyptian Eden mutated into a labour camp.
Christian/Messianic polygamy isn't what the majority of pro-polygamists think it is. With few exceptions they look upon it as a kind of Abundant Land. And in one sense it is, but in another, it is also a land of great hardship. Spurred on by prosperity doctrine and other mutations of the true Gospel, many Christian/Messianic polygamists are looking at polygamy as a kind of pension to brighten up their latter days, perhaps seeing polygamy as a 'reward' for good service to Yahweh.
It isn't. Polygamy is a refining centre, a contradiction in worldly eyes, for it is both a place of spiritual lusciousness as well as a desert of affliction. If the Gospel of Christ had a Marine Corps, Polygamy would be it.
Two kinds of Christian/Messianic polygamist will grow up side by side but they will eventually separate as they mature into mutually opposing visions of what polygamy is actually for. One lot will go to the right towards an illusiory land of plenty and starve whereas the other will go to the left into a desert wilderness and flourish in righteousness.
Immediately after Lot had separated, Yahweh told Abram (as he was still called at that time) that all the land to the north, south, east and west would be inherited by his descendants. What this means prophetically, on one level at any rate, is that the whole earth will, in the Millennium, be inherited by polygamist patriarchs descended from those who took the dusty trail up in the mountains in the last, and penultimate, generations before Christ returned. Lot, by contrast, received no promise.
It wasn't long after that Abraham had to rescue Lot from a triple alliance (cp. the trinity of Satan, Anti-Christ and False Prophet) of foreign invaders (Genesis 14). Lot became tied up in the politics of the region in which he had settled and soon became its victim. Those who compromise with the world will get sucked up into its intrigues and tragedies. But like Abraham, we must get out of the cities and be content with simpler conditions out in the countryside.
To be sure we, like Abraham, will have our fair share of problems, but nothing quite as devastating as the experience of Lot. At least Abraham's family remained an integral whole and Yahweh's messianic purpose was accomplished through him. But Lot lost everything, surving with only two daughters who got him drunk with wine and, un beknown to him, forced him into an incestuous relationship. The fruits of his loins were to be implaccable enemies of Abraham's seed in the future even though the two men had been the best of friends. But friendship with the world is to make of Yahweh your enemy (James 4:4).
Lot had to make no sacrifices, unlike Abram. He had no gruelling experiences in the courts of Pharaoh and Abimelech. He did not have to go through the agony of offering that which was most dear to him in apparent contradiction of everything that he stood for. Lot had a relatively peaceful life ... until right at the end. He suffered little on the way, but when the time of accounting came, he lost everything.
What Yahweh is offering patriarchs and their wives who are willing to walk the path that Yahweh has revealed is a path of difficulties to be consummated in great glory. The other path offers a relatively easy and trouble-free life but an end that I would wish no man. If you are reading this article and contemplating polygamy, consider soberly the two paths that are presented to you: for one leads to eternal life and the other to certain destruction.
This is not to say that Abraham's life was entirely gruelling. It wasn't. It was, by all accounts, a good life, but punctuated at unexpected moments came times of great testing. And he made some mistakes, but none as final as Lot's. We, as Christians/Messianics, are commanded by our Lord to do the works of Abraham (John 8:39), which means walking his path and imitating his lifestyle. There is no escaping it, for as Paul declared, "those who believe are the children of Abraham" (Galatians 3:7, NIV) - literally. If you truly believe in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), you are a child of Abraham doing the works of Abraham.
There is always a division into two camps in this world when a new truth principle is restored to Yahweh's People. As soon as Yahweh starts anything good, Satan is in like a shot to corrupt and destroy.
The story of Abraham is one of great wealth coupled with violent sporadic attacks by the enemy followed by supernatural intervention and deliverance. The story of Lot is one of gradual corruption that leads, finally, to an apocalyptic ending. Which side of the polygamy curtain will you find yourself on? What are the signs of Christian/Messianic maturity that we should expect to find in true patriarchs? What will they be doing, and saying, and living? What will their wives be like?
The way of Lot has "a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:5, KJV) but it may not be easy to spot at first except by the spiritually discernment.
I've taken the high road - the mountain paths - who will join me?