I am indebted to John, a good friend of this ministry whom I was talking to yesterday, who catalysed me into writing this article on a matter which I think addresses some important concerns for the Christian/Messianic Patriarch. He pointed out to me, as I recall, that a Priest of the House of Levi was, when he married, required to marry a virgin - one who had never had sexual intercourse with someone else - and that he felt a calling to be a Priest himself. His question was: Am I, as one called to be a Priest, required to marry a virgin?
There are many issues connected with this question, all of which I will attempt to treat. That Christian/Messianic Patriarchs are striving after high standards of Gospel living is surely to be commended and this is most definitely something which we, at this ministry, encourage, for as you know we too maintain high moral standards to the best of our ability. What, then, are the scriptural issues, and how are we to understand them in a New Covenant context?
There has been a trend in the Christian Polygamy Movement towards - not so much 'legalism' (a pretty nebulous word sometimes) - but a Levitical Model of Polygamous Christianity/Messianism. This is in part due to the fact, I suspect, that polygamy, on the one hand, receives its greatest affirmation in the Law of Moses, and on the other finds a legal footing there. And so, naturally, one turns to where the most is said about a subject that interests one.
Looking back to the Law of Moses is, of course, perfectly right so long as you do not forget a number of important points:
When looking at New Covenant Prriesthood and New Covenant Priests our model, then is not to the Aaronic or the Levitical Priesthood Order (which was inferior) that we must look, but to the MELCHIZEDEK and the Melchizedek Order, of which the ancient Melchizedek was High Priest at Salem and of which Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is now our eternal High Priest (Hebrews 5-7).
- 1. The Law of Moses was not complete - it did not represent the apex of divine revelation on matters such as marriage and divorce where, in fact, Christ said it was actually purposefully defective on account of the hard-heartedness of the people at the time it was given. Their subsequent conduct over the centuries proved the wisdom of Yahweh giving them a 'lesser law' until such a time that a remnant of the nation, after much suffering and chastisement, was ready for the fullness in Christ;
- 2. The Law of Moses contained ceremonial elements that were abolished by Christ, specifically, those which served as pointers to the now accomplished Work of the Cross. Not only did Christ reform some of the statutes (such as on divorce) but completely removed the whole sacrificial system along with the Priesthood that administered it;
- 3. The fact that the Levitical (or Aaronic) Priesthood has been utterly and completely abolished must, therefore, force us to look to the New Covenant Priesthood which replaced it, and which the writer of Hebrews informs us was, and is, the MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD - the same Priesthood which governed the lives of our forefather Abraham, who paid tithes to the King of Salem (Genesis 14:18), whom the Psalmist records was a High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek (Ps.110:4).
This does not mean that we have nothing to learn from the Levitical Priesthood Order. Far from it, we have much to learn. But we will only understand the relevance of the Levitical Order if we can first understand what it is relative to the Melchizedek.
More than anything else, the Levitical Priesthood consisted of OUTWARD ordinances and statutues. It is what one might call an exoteric Priesthood. It was concerned very much with ceremonies which were designed as pointers to something infinitely higher and more spiritual. What men observed ritualistically was supposed to lead them inwardly into the world of spirit where today, in the New Covenant, our spiritual life stems from. One could say, then, that the Levitical system provided a visual model of what we are supposed to be within.
Let us take an example: chastity or sexual purity. If we are struggling with impure sexual impulses (and I bring this example up because it seems to be a ubiquitous problem, especially today in our permissive age), then there are two ways we can approach the problem:
In practice - because sanctification and cleansing is usually a process (not always - sometimes Yahweh can dramatically intervene in a miraculous way and change us literally "in the twinkling of an eye"), we operate in both exoteric (imposed) and esoteric (distilled) modes. We must both strictly discipline ourselves and trust in the power of Christ to effect the desired spiritual changes within us naturally. Thus if a person has a sexual problem, he must both keep away from a bad environment which may lead him into sexual sin and genuinely place his complete faith in Christ to effect a supernatural change in him. Once he has disciplined himself (an element of self-will is important ... we are not justified in habitual sinning nor in appealing to cheap grace every time we fall) and has 'broken"' the habit through obedience and self-choice, then Yahweh can effect the final cleansing out WITHIN by faith. The act of obedience to the commandments - externally-imposed in the beginning - is the sign of genuine faith - evidence that we are truly taking Yahweh seriously and trusting in the atoning blood of Christ. Without that obedience, we don't stand much of a chance of ever seeing any real change in our lives. To simply say that he is 'trusting' in Christ without any real effort at obedience, and to excuse himself by saying that it doesn't matter how much he sins because he will always be forgiven, is to fundamentally misread and misunderstand the teachings of Christ. It is one of those heretical teachings that has both retarded and distorted the Gospel of Christ.
- 1. "Exoteric Imposition" - literally 'forcing' yourself to keep away from bad sexual environments (porn, sexually immoral people and places, etc), self-denial, or 'countering' it with extreem Catholic-like flagellation, fasting, etc.;
- 2. "Esoteric Distillation" - by calling upon the power of Christ within, received by the indwelling of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) following repentance, confession, and forsaking of sin, coupled with complete trust in the Messiah, thus allowing a power which is greater than our own to effect the change that we need.
There is only one New Covenant Priesthood and that is the esoteric Melchizedek Priesthood. It is not something that is imposed from without by the laying on of hands but is acquired within from the New Birth in Christ. It is what is commonly known amongst Protestants as the 'Priesthood of all Believers'. Everyone who has genuinely received Christ as his Lord and Saviour becomes a Priest or a Priestess. Everyone! But that does not mean:
Because the Melchizedek Priesthood is living (unlike the Levitical which was imposed outwardly by a symbolic laying-on of hands), it is not something that can be 'given' by mere mortals. Thus it doesn't matter a hoot how much laying-on of hands that Catholics, Mormons, Eastern Orthodox or some older Protestant Churches do because the Priesthood of Christ is not received in that matter.
- (a) that he (or she) has been automatically called into a Priesthood office and
- (b) it doesn't mean that he has acquired all Priesthood.
Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek (Shem), King of Salem
Whenever a Hebrew or a Gentile genuinely receives Christ, he is, as Paul taught, grafted into the Vine of Israel (Romans 11), of which Christ is the vine and the believers are the branches. Israel is a Royal House to which the redeemed belong. The fact that you are a descendant of Abraham or Jacob makes not the slightest difference in the New Covenant unless you first receive the legitimate King of Israel as your Messiah, Yah'shua (Jesus). The moment you receive Him, you are (if a Gentile) in-grafted or (if a genuine Hebrew) restored back into Israel. The moment you receive Christ as Saviour and start responding in obedience to His Torah or Law, you receive the Royal Priesthood which is the Order of Discipleship and Service of that "holy nation" (1 Pet.2:9) - everyone ... man, woman and child. That priesthood is a royal commission to be a servant in the theocratic state with responsibilities and privileges. All that was required of the former Levitical Priest in terms of holiness is required of EVERY SINGLE BELIEVER in the New Covenant! - man, woman and child who has reached the age of accountability.
But because holiness does not come naturally to us it must, to a certain extent, be imposed on us externally as well, by moral will. If we do not impose it on ourselves we will keep on falling and sinning until there is no longer any forgiveness for sin, for the end of that road is complete denial if we pursue it to its logical conclusion.
To receive this Holy Priesthood is the same as qualifying for admission into University but it is not to receive the final Degree. But the qualification to serve in the various offices into which we have been called does not come until we have obtained our Degree. First, there must be an intense course of discipling to make sure that we are worthy to hold the high and holy office to which we have been called by Yahweh personally and acknowledged and confirmed by the apostles and the saints in general.
The Melchizedek Priesthood is quite unlike the old Levitical System. It operates from the inside outwards. There are rules - checks and balances - but they are there only to allow us to measure ourselves. Obeying them does not save us, but obedience to them them is the evidence that we have been saved. The Law (Torah), as Paul said, is holy and is given that we may measure the degree of our sanctification and to encourage us to repent and reform through faith in the power of Christ to enable us to do so.
More could be said about this very important subject. I discourse on it briefly only to answer the question concerning a polygamist Patriarch. Every Christian Patriarch is by default a "Priest" of our Lord and Saviour Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). It is not a 'special' calling that some believers receive. Today we are a "chosen generation" (selected and set apart), "a royal priesthood" (far greater than that of the Levites), "a holy nation" (Messianic Israel), called with the express purpose of being Yahweh's "own special people", and to "proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9, NKJV). This is for EVERYONE.
It follows that the modern Christian Melchizedek Priest (you and I, man and woman) is expected to follow in the same high and holy calling of the former Levitical Priests in terms of holiness and purity. Whatever restrictions were imposed on the Levitical Priests (like not drinking alcohol while on duty, for example, in order to keep one's mind unclouded and one's spiritual wits sharpened) applies to us who are on duty 24/7. Whatever blessings given to the former Levitical Priests (like serving in the temple) applies to us because we are now the living temple of Yahweh (2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21) - everyone who accepts Christ is ministering in the Temple!
This means that all New Covenant Priests must marry virgin women and that all New Covenant Priestesses must marry virgin men - EVERYONE! There are no exceptions - those who marry the sexually impure are joining their temples (bodies) to impurity and are defiling themselves and (in a polygamous marriage) others.
Virginity does, of course, have two different meanings. On the one hand, it means (on the physical plane) one who has never had sexual intercourse with another, and (on the spiritual plane) one who is pure in heart. The burning question is: since every New Covenant Priest and Priestess is, if he or she is being obedient, supposed to marry a VIRGIN, what kind of a "virgin" is meant?
To answer that question clearly we must look at the polygamous model and ask ourselves a ridiculously simple set of rhetorical questions which will settle the matter for good.
You may, of course, be smiling at these ridiculously na´ve questions. But I have more.
- 1. Was Christ a virgin when He entered the ministry?
- 2. Was Christ still a virgin after He had made His first convert?
- 3. Was Christ still a virgin after He had made thousands of converts?
- 4. Is Christ, who has now made millions of converts, still a virgin today?
I ask these questions because this is the level at which questions must be asked in the New Covenant. This is the Melchizedek Law, not the Levitical, under which we now live.
- 5. Are sinners virgins?
- 6. Do sinners, after they have repented of their sins and received Christ, become virgins?
- 7. To whom is Christ, the Virgin or all virgins, allegorically married today?
Does that mean that physical virginity is unimportant? Yah forbid that we should ever have to answer such a question! To marry a woman who is a sexual virgin physically is a great and noble blessing indeed, and such women should be praised exceedingly greatly! Such a woman is highly desirable. But is she the only kind of woman whom a Christian Patriarch should marry - one who is under the Melchizedek Covenant?
If physical virginity is as important as it was under the Old Covenant, then what of the polygamous man? Technically speaking, once he has married a wife, he is no longer a 'virgin'. Thus when he marries a second wife, is he not to be looked upon as a virgin? And if so, is this a stigma?
I think anyone with any brains and sense of what the Gospel of Christ is knows the answer to those questions (and to the ones above). The Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) first and foremost looks upon the heart, and whilst it does not allow us to abuse our physical bodies (temples) it does teach us that those who have (and that's everyone to one degree or another) may be restored to a state of purity by the cleansing blood of Christ received through repentance from dead works, faith in the atonement of Christ, and obedience to the commandments as evidence of that profession of faith.
Some of my wives married me as physical virgins, some did not. But those who did not are today virgins ... still. Those who came having lost their virginity because of either failed marriages or fornication were defiled, they knew it, and repented of it, and have been restored to virginity. Not in their bodies (because that is impossible) but from the inside outwards. And I am married to those virgins today.
Now if we are going to try and graft the old ceremonial law back on to the Melchizedek Covenant we are going to fail. It can't be done. It has been entirely abolished, nailed to the cross, finished. Once you start trying to add-on to the Law of Christ by external things whose primary purpose was to point to the Christ who is already here, you are undermining the message of Salvation. The Levitical Law placed other requirements on Priests - they had, for example, to be free of physical blemishes. Are you, an aspirant Priest, free of physical blemishes? But the whole point is that one serving in Christ's Priesthood is supposed to be free of spiritual blemishes, in other words, behaviour patterns that might be an impediment to being a respresentative of the Son of Yahweh and a minister of the Ruach (Spirit). That is the issue.
Can you see how outward, legalistic things can corrupt the whole spirit and life of the Gospel? Exoteric religion is by definition flawed because it tries to change the inner man by outward imposition. It is useful only inasmuch as it contains or restrains certain habits while they are being worked on spiritually, which is why in society we have prisons and other such (supposedly) corrective institutions to protect the innocent. As Christians struggling with sinful tendencies we have a moral obligation to self-discipline ourselves so as not to harm others until such a time as that discipline becomes natural to us through the iwnard workings of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Thus if a man has a nasty habit of using bad language, he most force himself not to swear until the habit has been conquered, for the sake of not offending the Bride or the Bridegroom. After all, we are all allegorical plural wives and must learn to contain both ungodly and the harmful impulses for the sake of caring and loving others.
Once we realise that the Priesthood of Yahweh is not our 'possession' - something we have been 'given' by the laying-on of hands and now 'own' as a kind of 'property right' - but is something we can lose once we have started habitually sinning and exploiting grace to the full and are no longer repenting - then we will view it from a more humble perspective and learn that ultimately our Priesthood is a function of our inner righteousness and no more.
Israel's priests had to be pure when on duty in the temple
Virginity is therefore a state of holiness. It isn't something earned but must nevertheless be yearned for. That yearning takes the form of making a decision to self-discipline ourselves for the sake of obedience to Yahweh and love of the brethren, and thence to call upon the undeserved loving kindness of Yahweh to blot our sins away through our personal faith in the redeeming blood of Yah'shua (Jesus). Once we have been covered by that blood then we are virgins in Yahweh's eyes. If we have been sexually impure in the past, perhaps even having lost our physical virginity through sinful acts of fornication or adultery, then once we have genuinely repented with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then:
That cleansing may take time. It is important to distinguish between jurisdictional salvation and actual cleansing. The two aren't the same. Just because from Yahweh's point-of-view you are a virgin (because of Christ, thus deflecting His wrath at yiour sinfulness), it doesn't mean that that is what you are in yourself. Just because I choose, through grace, to accept a non-practicing homosexual to be my Christian brother, and to forgive him of his homosexual past, doesn't mean that he has ceased to be a homosexual with homosexual leanings and desires. That has yet to be overcome. The same is true of one who has lost his or her virginity through fornication or adultery in the past. The fact that that person has ceased fornicating and committing adultery means that I fully accept him or her as a true brother or sister in Christ. But that is quite a different matter to actually marrying them in a literal sense.
- (a) we are immediately jurisdictionally declared righteous virgins in the eyes of Yahweh, and
- (b) by a process of inner spiritual cleansing by the Spirit of Christ we eventually attain the status of becoming RESTORED VIRGINS in our own hearts and spirits.
Let me explain (for this is important). Let us say that I, a Priest of Yahweh, am approached by a woman who has had a promiscuous past. She has forsaken her old way of life, genuinely repented, and wants to be pure and holy. I am bound, because Christ has accepted her, to receive her as my sister in Christ. I have no choice! If I don't (because I won't forgive her of her past), then Christ will not receive me - it's that simple (because He says he will not forgive anyone who does not forgive others). But accepting her as a sister and receiving her as a wife are two totally different things.
Christ tells us that there are two major stages or types of disciple in our relationship with Him. In the first, we are His servants. In the second, we become His friends (John 15:15). Qualifying to be a friend of Christ (as David was a friend of Yahweh) is not something that happens overnight. It comes only after testing and refining. This ought to be common sense to us because it is a fact of life in our own relationships - there is a difference between an acquaintance and a friend whom, though we treat both alike with the same standard of behaviour for the sake of Christ, we nevertheless enjoy different levels of spiritual intimacy with them.
There is a different level of union between brethren in Christ and union in actual marriage. That is why Christ's allegorical marriage in heaven only takes place after we have been through the cleansing process on earth. Ask yourself why we haven't been 'fully married' to Christ (allegorically-speaking) already? The truth is we are only 'betrothed' to Him - the full glory of our spiritual union is yet to come, being reserved for those whom John calls "overcomers" (e.g. Revelation 2:7,11,17,26; 3:21). We must not miss this important truth.
What this means in practice for the polygamist family is that a woman who has been sexually impure before, who is reconciled and obedient to Christ now, is that she must yet go through a cleansing process before she is counted a virgin and elligible to marry her Priest-husband.
This is going to be another one of those 'unpopular' teachings of Stanisław Krˇlewiec but I do assure you that the teaching isn't 'mine' - it's Yahweh's, and it's in the Bible.
Under the Old Covenant, those who became ritually impure had to go through mandatory processes of cleansing. If, for example, a couple had sexual intercourse during menstrual flow, they became ritually unclean for a week, and were required to bathe themselves before resuming normal, lawful sexual context.
Translated into the New Covenant Law, one who has been sexually impure, though forensically and jurisdictionally and unconditionally forgiven by Christ (thus maintaining the relationship intact), must nevertheless go through an INNER CLEANSING. As I have detailed elsewhere on this site, what this may (in fact, almost certainly) mean in practice is deliverance ministry. This will mean cleaning out demons given legal grounds to build strongholds in the sexually-impure soul as well as healing feelings and memories from past ungodly relations.
When we sin against the temple of Elohim (God) (the body) we do untold damage to it. Our souls are not just pieces of solid rubber which we can bash around, believing there are no spiritual consequences. When we sexually sin, we disturb the whole harmony of the soul, made worse by all the demonic interference which Satan legally has the right to inflict as a result. It is not unlike dropping a clock into the sea and leaving it there for a few months and hoping it will work normally when we retrieve it. It has to be cleaned up. Similarly, we can be retrieved by Christ by confessing, repenting and forsaking sexual sin and be forgiven for our stupidity, but that doesn't mean we are in 'working order' automatically. It really ought to be common sense. The number of Christians I have met who have forsaken sexual sins but whose marriages have been a mess because they aren't yet 'cleaned up' inside is surely evidence enough that what I am saying is true.
So, yes, it is very important that we all marry virgins. As Priests and Priestesses of Yahweh we are obliged to do so in the New Covenant. But a virgin is not necessarily someone who has never known another man or woman. The essence of New Covenanr virginity is SPIRITUAL.
This does not mean that we can just go and marry any Tom, Dick or Harry (or Sue, Jane or Sally) just because they have forsaken former lives of sexual sin and are trusting in Christ. That is not enough. There must be cleansing. And that cleansing may take time -- or it may take very little time at all, depending on the gravity of the sin and the willigness to change. That means that there has to be recognition, in humility, that things may be wrong and need fixing, and not suppose that the previous life of immorality was 'OK' because of Christ. She has to recongise that her former sinning cost Christ His shed blood, and that same blood is yet needed to clean her up inside.
You may, of course, ignore this counsel but if you do, be prepared to suffer the consequences. And remember, that in a polygamous marriage, sexual impurity in the form of demons (not to mention STD's) is rapidly passed to all the wives through sexual intercourse. Dare you take the risk? And would you, in any case, want a polygamous marriage plagued by spiritual and sexual problems? Those not entering polygamy with a spiritual eye may well ignore the advice but then their end is, in any case, not going to be a happy one.
Shall we therefore exclude all women from polygamous marriage because they are not literally virgins in the flesh? Yah forbid! For then Christ will level the charge of hypocrisy and it will not go well for us. But shall we, as a result, just accept anyone into a marriage? By the same token, No! Yah forbid!
We have our responsibilties, not only to our Creater (our first and most important responsibility), but also to ourselves and to our families. I don't want a pack of filthy demons from a wife with a previous record of sexual impropriety who hasn't been cleansed out, and I certainly would never inflict my other wives with such impurity. What sort of a husband or a man would I be? WHAT SORT OF A PRIEST WOULD I BE?
There are always consequences for sin. The Bible gives us plenty of examples. For King David, who committed murder and adultery, there was pardon but also a life of trouble for him and the nation. If we have been stupid enough to have lived sexually immoral lives before coming to salvation, then wilst we have Christ's free and generous pardon and have our guilt removed, there are still consequences to be dealt with. And some sins are much worse than others, as King David discovered to his great cost. It is na´ve at best, and stupid at worst, to believe that all our sinful dispositions and issues are erased upon profession of faith. It just doesn't work like that.
If you have lived a promiscious sexual life before coming to Christ - if you have fornicated (slept around with unmarried people), or committed adultery (slept with married people), then there is cleansing that needs to take place. And if you have been involved in religious sex such as is practiced by Satanists, devil-worshippers, and others, then I guarantee that there are some serious demonic strongholds that will need taking care of WHICH WILL NOT BE EASY. These are amongst the most difficult demons to dislodge which is why perverse sex figures so strongly in devilish religions.
I cannot underline this point more emphatically. A person who does not deal with this problem is storing up untold trouble and misery for him- or herself and the rest of their polygamous family. The demonic side cannot be ignored. If it is, you are going to be hounded and harrassed on a pretty well non-stop basis until either you or your marriage (or both) have been ruined. Acknowledge that Satan has legal grounds even to afflict Christians/Messianics when they have not been properly cleansed out and you will be saving yourselves a lot of needless sorrow.
In the coming weeks I shall be creating some materials to help guide those of you who come from such backgrounds. This will not be a pleasant matter, but then sin never is. But it has to be done.
May we all constantly aspire to ETERNAL VIRGINITY (PURITY), which is the hallmark of the polygamous Bride of Christ, and know the blessedness of that holy estate in this life and in the next, in Yah'shua our Messiah (Jesus Christ). Amen.
 Confession, Salvation and Deliverance Before Plural Marriage