A few days ago (in 2001) I was talking to the wife of a man in a monogamous relationship, both of whom have accepted the biblical teaching on plural marriage, and she was telling me how her world had literally been turned on its head by the patriarchal paradigm. I agreed and sympathised with her for this is indeed the experience of almost all of those coming out of the monogamy-only liberal culture and into Yahweh's way of thinking and being. What I am going to suggest today is that this 'upside-down' experience is not just for the women but for the men also.
I think most people coming to Christ and receiving the New Birth would agree that once Christ is dwelling in your heart that literally everything appears in a different light. Things that were once important like material and career ambition, personal appearance, outdoing the Jones' next door, and so on, are suddenly seen to be an utter waste of time, energy and resources. The "new creature in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15) is an altogether different species to the one who before resided in darkness and saw the world in an utterly alien way.
It was of immense interest to me to discover the different ways in which animals see the outside world. Some see in black-and-white, some in colour. Others have binocular vision, others see the world rather like peering through a honeycomb. Others have virtually no sight to speak of at all and detect movement only. And when a Homo sapiens receives the anointing of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) he receives a totally new set of eyes that enables him to see above and beyond the immediate carnal world and into a new dimension and realm called the 'spirit'.
It is worth remembering at this point that there is more than one transition phase from unbeliever to believer. As a boy I used to be fascinated by astronomy and used to follow the latest technology in both optical and radio telescopes. With each new advance in technology - better grounded lenses or more sensitive electronic equipment - came more discoveries of our vast and awesome cosmos. And then when they started placing these telescopes in satellites and poisitioning them in outer space, the images produced by land-based telescoples which we once thought were fantastic suddenly became pale imitations of the 'real thing' from outer space. Suddenly a whole new world opened up, made even more exciting as telescopes left earth orbit and actually travelled to nearly planets and their satellites.
There was a time when people believed that the surface of the planet Mars was covered in canals made by intelligent beings but with the advent of better and more powerful telescopes and finally an actual visit to the martian surface, such fanciful ideas were put to rest.
In our day and age, and particularly in the last 30 to 40 to years, earnest seekers after truth have been turning their lenses onto the Word of Elohim (God), the Bible, to find out just what it actually says about Patriarchal Marriage. The result was a clear death-knoll to the doctrine of monogamy-only marriage and the bringing into sharp focus of a long forgotten - or otherwise deliberately and disdainfully ignored - ancient form of marriage sanctioned and blessed by the Almighty and lived by a very large number of His chosen servants. I speak, of course, of polygyny or plural marriage - the doctrine and practice of a man being married to multiple wives at the same time.
Over the last few weeks I have been experiencing a number of minor spiritual earthquakes in my own life as I have pored over an Old Syriac Bible which long predates our Greek manuscript-based New Testaments containing the original teachings of Christ and the apostles. Most of the earthquakes have been a shere pleasure, confirming long-held suspicions and deductions I had made from the Old Testament, though some have really raised my eyebrows somewhat as the deficiencies of our Greek-based New Testaments, which have dominated Christian Church life for so many centuries, become clearly illuminated. In actual fact, this Hebrew New Testament completely undercuts some passionately held denominational positions, in effect rendering the reason for their continued existence meaningless. Imagine belonging to a denomination which is some three centuries old and finding out that some of the key doctrinal beliefs you hold are the very opposite of what you supposed to be the truth! Such denominations must eventually face these challenges and either disband or totally reform.
As an illustration of the kind of mental and emotional U-turn that those who discover the truth of Christian/Messianic polygyny must make, let me share with you a dream I had the other day to convey the actual order of magnitude of change that is required. I hope, in sharing this, that I will at the very least provoke a little sympathy and compassion from the men who are watching their wives struggling with the readjustments required of the journey from monogamy-onlyism to Biblical Patriarchy. I also hope that this will encourage the ladies who are desperately trying to find a new footing in life.
In the dream I was with my third wife and our young daughter when suddenly the ground disappeared from our feet and we found ourselves completely naked. Instead of standing on terra firma (solid ground) we found ourselves swimming in the middle of a lake of crystal-clear water of great purity. But instead of the expected darkness below our feet where sunlight is gradually absorbed and filtered out as it penetrates the depths, I was aware of a great light underneath us that was almost blinding. As I looked down I saw a bottomless expanse that stretched away into infinity so that were I to sink under the water, I would never actually hit any 'bottom'. As I looked at this at first frightening wonder I became aware of the fact that what I was looking at was the same as if I had been looking upwards into the sky and into deep space, only everything was under my feet. But instead of being made of air the 'sky' was made of this extraordinarily pure water.
Because all of this was so 'new' and 'unexpected' my wife, daughter and I headed out towards our house which we could see was floating on this unusual sea. Because of the illumination from underneath, we could see the foundations of the house clearly. We clambered onto the steps leading up to our entrance way to notice that part of the roof was missing and that the walls of the house were collapsing. At that moment I woke up.
This dream tells in graphic detail the kind of transition not just from unbelief to belief into Christ but of the entire re-orientation of thinking and feelings that must take place as we move into the fullness of the Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). It isn't, as some naïvely suppose, just a question of swopping labels and outer behaviour patterns and habits but of a complete destruction of the old life. When Paul said that he was crucified in Christ he wasn't exaggerating, neither was he indulging in Hebrew hyperbole. He meant quite literally that his old life and ways were gone and that he had embarked on an entirely new one in his Saviour. His old 'house' had come tumbling down, swept away by the spiritual waters of eternal life now coursing his veins. He was, as he himself said of his self, dead to the world and alive in Christ.
Until the doctrine of Christian/Messianic polygamy broke out into the Christian world in the 1980's and 90's and perhaps a little before, the inner transformation from unbeliever to believer was not complete. The turning from one way of heathen life to a truly Christian/Messianic one of Millennial character was only partial. People continued to be stuck in the old Roman Catholic dogmas, inherited from Greek paganism and Gnosticism, which had been passed on uncensored and unchanged into the body of Reformation doctrine and practice. Dislodging this old dogma, cemented deep into the ground upon a clay foundation of mythology and antichristian teachings, would take a number of distinctive blows before the whole edifice came crumbling down, of which Christian/Messianic polygamy was but one of the larger hammers.
Spiritual rebirth changes your perception of everything
The mistake I made in the dream was my reflexive impulse to return to what I knew in terms of my old spiritual 'house' which was not only already badly damaged but was actually in the process of completely falling down into a heap. I ought to have remained in that water, which was a representation of the endless Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) illuminating me from below as well as from above! But as creatures we are afraid of new and big changes - some of us are more hesitant than others. We prefer the 'old familiar ways' to anything new and revolutionary, perhaps because we are afraid of being 'tricked' - after all, have we not all witnessed countless cheap imitation gospels foisted on us by false prophets and messiahs over the centuries? Are we not understandably wary of the cults with their outlandish doctrines, their brainwashing techniques, suicides and other abuses? Haven't we witnessed counterfeit churches claiming great 'Restorations' of anciently lost truths, only to discover that they were not what they claimed to be? Add this to the philosophy of scepticism taught us from school days upwards by the liberal secularists, and we find that we are less than willing as a rule to examine anything that might appear 'new' let alone challenge cherished beliefs.
This, then, is why change into the fullness of Yahweh's truth is often painfully slow not just for us as individuals but for whole denominations and societies as a whole. If anything, denominations do not reform but become more entrenched and crystalised in their beliefs and habits. Constantly Yahweh has to send John Wesleys and other revivalists to shake up the 'established' churches and what we see as regrettable in terms of the 'splintering' of the Body of Christ into new groups and denominations is actually but the divine preservation process in action; and whilst outwardly creating a shambles by splitting church organisations up, it is actually preserving the purity of the truth by taking the sheep out from amongst the goats. It is the great institutions, more than anything else, which have historically quenched the activity of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and have cooperated together in ecumentical councils to dilute what purity of the Word was left by mixing it with the bilge water of human secularism and the Gospel's implaccable enemy, occultism. So when people complain of life's seemingly endless difficulties, they are really missing the point: for this is Yahweh's method of gathering the wheat by thrashing them out from amongst the tares.
Now we, as Christian/Messianic polygamists who are on the front line of change, will be the first to admit that we have received a sound thrashing, and more than once. Left alone in their crystalline rock of stasis, the adherants of the monogamy-only camp can only gloat and congratulate themselves when they see the suffering that polygamists go through as they forge ahead into the new spiritual world of heavenly reality. The problem is that the monogamy-only house is collapsing about them but they cannot see it. And being the inheritors of that nasty human character-set called Pride and Stubbornness, they will, for the most part, not only stay standing within the collapsing inferno but, like the sinner who will not repent when the truth is plainly taught to him, actually wish for the rocks to cover them from the blinding light of reality and truth (Rev.6:16).
Now I do assure you in the Name of the Living God, Yahweh-Elohim, that it is infinitely preferable to suffer now as you make the journey into the truth of patriarchy and come out the victor than to stubbornly dig your heels in denial and meet the fate of all those who resist the the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and the truth (Ac.7:51). We have seen time and time again, have we not, the fulfilment of the words of Christ when it comes to our witness of Christian polygyny, when He said: "I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict" (Luke 21:15, NIV). Has not the Most High poured out upon us an irresistable Spirit of Wisdom in the promulgation of this doctrine? Has He not gathered all the loose threads in our hands and tied them together? As we have been willing to allow the facts to override our cherished but manifestly unhelpful and spiritually oppressive traditions, have we not seen Him perform a marvelous work and a wonder amongst Christian/Messianic men and women polygamists living fully submitted to His Word? I know for myself that I can truthfully and without the slightest hesitation or embarrassment declare that Christian/Messianic polygamy has done something wonderful for me, and those of my wives and my children who have not turned their back on it. And I fully expect, as my family increases in size - as I am sure it will - that yet greater and more wonderful things will be our reward.
And yet - and yet, there is always that first hesitant step of acceptance in some outwardly tangible way for us all to make, is there not? It is one thing to accept that Yahweh teaches us to forgive our enemies, but it is quite another thing to bite our lip and go and do it in complete faith of His justification and divine approbation? So why are so many hesitating when it comes to the revelation of Christian/Messianic polygamy? Why is there always that postponing escape route, 'Oh, it can't possibly be for me' or 'It can't be for now, but for later'?
I remember well a lady who was a good friend of this family telling us how scripturally true polygamy was. She knew, because I had taught her, that this would not be a universally practiced lifestyle until the Millennium when all families - at least Christian Israelite ones - would be living it. But when she saw that my family was living it, she totally withdrew her fellowship from us and was lost from sight. In her one concluding letter to me she confessed that were she to ever acknowledge this principle that she would be disowned by friends and family, and that this was a sacrifice she was not willing to make.
Many believe but will not acknowledge for fear of others
No, indeed, there are many not willing to make this temporal sacrifice for an eternity of blessings. And for this lady it wasn't even a question of living plural marriage, it was just assenting to its truth in public! And so, I would respectfully suggest, that no living soul can actually make peace with Yahweh in regard to this doctrine until they have completed the following three-step process:
(a) Acknowledgement that it is completely scriptural;
(b) A willingness to bear public witness of its scripturality; and
(c) A willingness to live the principle if called to do so.
You cannot come as far as stage (a) and not completely go through to stages (b) and (c) for they are links in the same chain. To stop at any one point is to hide your light under a bushell (Matthew 5:15). If Christian/Messianic polygyny is true, then that truth is indispensible, and to hide it is no more or less than actually denying it, making the one professing its scripturality a liar and a hypocrite. That is not to deny the very real fears people may have in absorbing and integrating polygamy into one's way of being, for we all surely struggle with many Gospel principles. Yahweh is graceful and mericiful as we respond to His righteous demands of us. To deny doing anything about it is, however, to manifest a singular lack of faith, for Yahweh never places before His children anything they cannot handle or do. That means, on the bottom line - and as I have always maintained - that anyone and everyone is capable of living polygamously, and that the only reason some people aren't called into it is either because they refuse to live it (the women) or because they are unable or unwilling to live it (the men). The calling is not an 'equal' one inasmuch as men and women are built differently and have different responibilities and functions within polygamy, thus the reasons men and women are not called into it are usually different for the two sexes. The truth is the truth and isn't just for some but for anyone who will receive it.
I say this not just because I am convinced it is true but because all too commonly women use as the excuse that they are absolutely not called into it under any circumstances (which is a lie) when in fact the only reason for their denial is that they don't want to enter the principle. For the men it is very different - most want to become polygamous but for all the wrong reasons and in so doing disqualify themselves from the start. Whilst all men are called into polygamy, the majority are disqualified because they lack the qualifications to sacrificially love and take care of more than one wife ... and some don't even qualify for even one wife (increasingly so, sadly). They do not yet (and may never) have a Shem Tov or Good Name because of faithlessness and disobedience.
And so it is that only a small minority of the Body of Christ (Messianic Community) are actually to live this principle in this dispensation. And those who try to who are not ready might just as well be standing on the San Andreas faultline waiting for an earthquake.
Polygamy will turn the worlds of both men and women on their heads. The Cassanovas, Ahabs and the macho brutes, like the feminists, Jezebels and men-hating women, will flee from it for the cowards that they are. Even I, who has been living this principle for nearly 30 years (in 2016) and who is regarded by many in the West as the modern father of this principle, freely admit that I have a lot to learn and unlearn. And my wives are discovering the same thing. Even at this 'late' date I am, on occasion (as the dream showed), still trying to find refuge in 'what I left behind' because of the unfamiliarity of the new terrain and the thinness of the patriarchal population. It has been, I freely confess, a very lonely journey at times, not because the principle is at fault, but because I am, and because of the paucity of true men and women living it with whom to fellowship. But with so many following in our footsteps now, many having turned off the rocky tracks of other patriarchs following personal agendas, we know we must continue for both our sakes and theirs. Sometimes, like Peter, we must be willing to be taken to places we do not want to go to (John 21:18) because it is in those places that we become exalted in our discipleship and in so doing bring glory, honour and praise to the Most High.