I was sitting down discussing some dreams I had recently had with my wives. I noticed that certain types of dream featured my fourth wife, others my third, and yet others my second. As we examined the various dreams it became clear that each wife was associated with different types of circumstance. For instance, when I have 'swimming' and 'children' dreams, it is always with my third. When I have 'holding-hands' dreams, it is always with my fourth. And when I have 'family gathering' type dreams, it is always with my second.
What the dreams don't indicate is that each wife has an exclusive 'function' within my life like romantic, recreational or social but what it does mean is that each ministers to me in a different way and at different times. Each supplies a need and makes up for a deficiency in my character, throwing up a mirror to enable me to see what is missing as well as planting the seeds from their own more developed characteristics into the soil of my soul. At any one particular time, therefore, my unconscious self 'looks up' to different wives and their individual perfections with which it bonds in dreams in order to be 'one flesh', as it were, in the spirit.
All three wives are mothers but as individuals they 'mother' in slightly different ways. All recognise that their motherhood is deficient in some area or another just as I recognise that my own fatherhood is. All also recognise that the other wives have traits in their 'motherhooding' which would like for themselves and which they would like to imitate. What the dreams recognise - and which the others accept without offence (for we all recognise that we must learn) - is that as far as I am concerned, my third wife comes closest to the ideal of motherhood that I currently (2001) have.
Similarly, my dreams reveal that at the present my fourth comes closest to my ideal of romance and meets my needs on that level. So also does my second meet a need for family integration - she is somehow a family 'glue' that gives us integrity. Like a miniature Body of Christ, each performs a unique but absolutely essential rôle in our marriage. It would, admittedly, be unglamourous to compare my wives to a kidney, liver or lung, I know, and when we admire a human body and its beauty and wonder we don't usually think of hidden organs. However, this is a reality that must be accepted.
Reading this you, the reader, may be tempted to think many wrong things about the way I see plural marriage. I do not see my wives as 'fragment-wives', each being less than a 'whole' wife to me. This is not what I mean at all. Far from it! As my fourth wife explained in one of her articles, each wife is 'enough' and 'sufficient' so that if I were a monogamist I could be happily married to any of my exisiting wives. In a monogamous marriage one accepts, by a process of adaptation, all the plusses and minuses of the characteristics of ones spouse.
On the surface it may seem that in a plural marriage the husband gets all the benefits of wives with different characteristics, and that between them he is able to find his 'ideal' - a kind of synthetic 'super-wife'. But this is fallacious on two counts. Firsly, even if a polygamous husband were able to get a set of wives all containing the ideal characteristics of a perfect monogamous wife, he would still be inheriting all the individual wives' faults and deficiencies as well which, added up together, would account for far more faults and deficiencies than were he just to have one monogamous wife! Whatever 'benefits' he obtains from getting the best of all is more than counterbalanced by all the negative traits he gets too. Secondly, the whole purpose of polygamy is for the wives to leaven their husband with all their virtuous characteristics in order to change HIM so that he, in his turn, by his one-flesh relationship with his other wives, leavens them in return.
What this means is that Christian/Messianic polygamy is one of the most dynamic, exciting and challenging perfecting spiritual vehicles that exists. It is a little different from the model of Christ and His Bride (the Church/Messianic Community) because the Bridegroom is perfect and needs no perfecting by the Bride. He does, however, 'need' the Bride which is why He created her in the first place. But that is a deep spiritual issue that I will treat another time. A mortal polygamous husband is, by contrast, defective in his personality and learns as much from his wives as they learn from him.
The function of the Seven-fold Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) is to reveal Her Bridegroom, Yah'shua (Jesus), to the children of men. The function of the wife, or the plural wives, is to reveal their husband to himself and to the Assembly. A man is very much what his wives make him. Though they are united in the flesh through the covenant of marriage, they are not united in the spirit with him in quite the same way. There is a parallel between the sanctifying influence of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) in a believer and the rôle a wife has in revealing her husband to himself so that he may then completely integrate her into himself and be completely one with him. As each wife returns to his metaphorical rib-cage and is reunited with him, so the wives are revealed to each other as well as to their husband, and all are revealed in all. As this integration takes place, so the husband and wives become completely whole. They become One Adam.
We see something of this process in action in the dream state. One of the most profound dreams I ever had took place in an underground labyrinth, representing my unconscious state, consisting of three tunnels. I was standing at the centre, the three tunnels leading to where I was, equally spaced as in the Mercedes-Benz logo. Each was standing as a Bride dressed in white wedding attire and were coming towards me. Though they were individually called 'Isabel', 'Kryztina' and 'Kasia', they also had a collective name which was given to me in the dream, namely "Kar'elah" as well as being called "the Three Kar'elah's".
The meaning of this dream puzzled me for many years. At first I thought the name was 'Carella' which is not, as far as I know, a known name (the nearest would be a 'corolla' of petals). It wasn't until I realised that this was a compound Hebrew word consisting of kar ('lamb', 'pasture') and elah ('El/God-worshipped', 'elm', 'oak') that the meaning of this designation was given to me. A true plural wife is an Elohim/God-worshipper (Elah) and therefore one of His lambs/disciples (Kar) and the only way she can approach her husband to be truly one with him in eternity is if she herself is a true disciple. But this name has a double meaning (actually, there are several on different levels), for on the level of human marriage a wife is the 'pasture' in which her husband feeds and finds repose as well as being his strength, as represented by the elm or oak tree. The number 3 always represents perfection - for total union in polygamous marriage the individual wives must find the same kind of unity that is represented by the Godhead, a unity which comes from being a true "lamb" or "disciple" who worships the Most High God, Yahweh-Elohim through His Son Yah'shua (Jesus).
The Hebrew language is not a modern language like English because it is a sacred language. Each word and letter is literally Elohim/God-breathed. It is both possible and right, therefore, to take a word like 'Kar'elah' and examine it in different ways. For instance, it contains the word 'Arel' which means 'let one's foreskin be uncovered', or 'let one be circumcised'. This particular component refers, of course, to the husband who must be circumcised in his heart in order for the union to be able to take place. Unless the husband is pure and in Christ, how can the wives be grafted back into their Adam?
Biblical names are always pregnant with meaning because biblical names are given in the sacred language, Hebrew. Kar'elah is therefore a revelation on the the keys of union in plural marriage. What is also interesting about this revelation is the stress on the number 3 which I have written about elsewhere in the context of the difficulties that easily occur in a polygamous marriage when there are an uneven number of wives. The number 3 is the first plural dynamic and unlike a polygamous marriage where they are only two wives who can easily 'settle down' with one another (a sort of 'sister-wife monogamy'), three wives presents a different challenge. Whilst a marriage with two wives is certainly a major challenge as they get out of the monogamy-only mindframe, oneness with three is really the first step in the actual 'movement' of plural marriage. You cannot be complacent in such a relationship, there is no space for laziness or indifference, no room for selfish ideas like 'two's company, three's a crowd', no chance of spiritual atrophy - either you enter the polygamy dynamic and real oneness (echad) is achieved or the whole thing falls apart like a propeller flying off an aircraft because the distance between the blades is different, creating destructive vibrations.
The 'three Kar'elah's' are also a representation of the three self-existent holy principles of Faith, Hope and Love. Neither can really exist without the other, being a divine unit. These must be present in a plural marriage for it to function properly.
The way my wives dream about me and each other is also very revealing as to the way and degree they have found spiritual union in our marriage.
The three Kar'elah's in perfect union with each other and with their husband represent a kind of Cosmic Homeostasis in miniature. In our own existence we recognise three primary states which I call 'perception' (spiritual and physical), an 'internal model' and an 'external model' (see diagram below). Where 'perception' and the 'external model' overlap we have our perception of the world which we understand using the scientific method of postulating and testing by observation with our physical senses. Where 'perception' and the 'inner model' overlap we are defined as a 'person' - who we are, which is given its final form in terms of infinite values through our understanding of theology (our perception of Elohim/God). Where the 'internal model' and the 'external model' overlap we find structure - the framework on which our life is built and from this we derive a personal philosophy of life. Where all three circles meet in the centre is a grand synthesis which I call 'art' but which perhaps would best be called 'creativity' - it is the grand dynamic of the whole. Notice that the interaction between these three primary spheres creates seven.
This is a man-centred model of man. Yahweh impacts us through our perception of Him through the activity of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and the vessel of our inner world shaped through theology derived from Scripture. The three primary spheres of 'perception', 'internal model' and 'external model' are constantly changing on the basis of what we learn, thus altering the structure of our being, our perception of the world, and our understanding of ourself as a person. Man is a complex dynamic indeed, and man in a marriage union is even more complex still, made more complex by polygamy.
So what exactly do we mean by marriage 'union'? For most, it is little more than sexual intercourse, but this narrow and infantile view is not what Christ mean when He prayed for union between the saints and with Him such as existed between Himself and the Father. This union is not, moreoever, a complete mixing of personal essences as is taught in New Age, Occult and Hindu theology, for the union does not imply a disappearance of personality. There is no loss of the individual self, regarded as almost an evil in itself by gnostic occultism. For the Christian, Self has both a negative and a positive aspect, the former of which must be eliminated and the latter submitted to Christ.
A Patriarch who is fulfilling his divine calling in polygamous marriage must have his three primary spheres properly developed and in homeostasis. He can be no use if his head is up in the clouds because he will have an inadequate perception of reality (the external model) and will not understand the problems that others have. Such is a "dreamer" (Jude 8). A balanced man who is to be the Head of his family (or even a pastor of a congregation) must not only be a scriptorian with a properly defined theology but he must be a scientist who is keenly aware of what is going on around him and have a clear understanding of the difference between internal and external. His 'art' is placing all of these things together in balance. He has to be the template onto which his wives must overlay their lives and be built upon because they are in submission to his authority. If, for example, he is a poor perceiver of things and people, he will be defective as a person and form or deform his wives in his own image. If he is not worthy of imitation, little wonder that his wives are repelled by him, and little wonder still that they will not be together in the eternities in the kind of union implied by marriage.
Paul was the quintessential Patriarch in many ways, always striving to present himself as a model to be imitated (1 Corinthians 4:16). The Gospel is not just a matter of theology but of "imitat[ing] those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised" (Hebrews 6:12, NIV). Those who have inherited the spiritual blessings are they whom people will want to follow, not any title or authority claims they may make. In the true Body of Christ - the literal as opposed to the nominal - leaders should fulfil this quality of being imitatable: "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of Elohim (God) to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7, NIV). Note that you don't follow the leader for the leader's sake but because of the "outcome of their way of life". And the apostle John, who had a gift to getting to the heart of a matter, said: "Do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from Elohim (God). Anyone who does what is evil has not seen Elohim (God)" (3 John 1:11, NIV).
As I look around not just at polygamous marriages but at local churches (assemblies) and denominations in general, it is only too plain to see that there is poor perception and distorted or unrealistic internal and external models of life. Where too much emphasis is placed in charismata and internal experience, there is invariably a lack of structure and poor discipling. Where there is too much emphasis placed on scripture and not enough on an internal perception and experience of Yahweh, there is a distorted view of the world and of persons. This is not to say that everyone must run off to college and get degrees in science, theology or philosophy! But it is to say that we must address all three areas carefully. Are we rational beings? Are we solidly based in Elohim's (God's) Word, the Bible? Have we really been impacted by life in such a way that we have acquired true godly wisdom and not just a lot of theories which others have taught us jammed up in our heads? Have we really lived to discover these things by interacting with people and their lives with a view to learning from them and sharing what Yahweh has given us? It is here that the 'solo' or 'personal' Christian is immediately distinguished from the communitarian one for the former without exception is undevelopped in his spiritual growth.
Every individual ought to be his own theologian, philosopher and scientist. His Theology ought to be based on the infallible and consistent Word of Truth, the Bibe. His Science ought to be based on pure logic and the scientific method of investigation. And his Philosophy should be based on these other two as he lives out his life with others in the real world of suffering and joy with the daily guidance of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit).
The Three Kar'elah's in many respects represent these three and at different times they predominate in each of my three current wives. Our interaction together is therefore quite exciting because we learn so much from one another. They are all very different personalities. My third wife is very much in the 'person' area where 'perception' and the 'internal model' overlap, understanding how people are inside and the way they perceive things. My fourth is very much in the 'word' and has a good grasp of logic. And my second is very much on the 'structure' side. Between them they give me and each other unique insights and new perceptions. At all times we are planting new ideas and perceptions into one another, watering each other with love, and harvesting new understandings and ways of being which we hope are moving us in small increments to be more and more like our Saviour.