All Christian/Messianic marriages, whether monogamous or polygamous, may be said to be either flesh-based or Spirit-based. A Christian/Messianic marriage which is flesh-based is not necessarily unspiritual - the parties in such a marriage more than likely have spiritual experiences and are striving for some sort of excellence per pro Yahweh's Holy Law - but if the base or foundation is wrong, that which is spiritual will be distorted and corrupted by the flesh.
Scripture speaks of two kinds of flesh - our actual physical body or nephesh, and a metaphor (used principally by Paul) to describe fallen human nature which is resident in the actual flesh or body (belem). Because the metaphor is frequently confused with the actual body, Christianity has, at sundry times, been plagued by a false body-hating doctrine that has led to perversions and heresies, marriage-denying monasticism being one such false course. What, then, is the meaning of the metaphor?
That the absolute and total death of this nature is required before Christ's Ruach (Spirit) can properly function within is certain from the scriptural passage cited above. It is an illusion to suppose that a soul is properly centred in, and sanctified, by Christ until this painful flesh-crucifying operation has taken place. Indeed in the realm of marriage there will be continual relationship problems until it has been accomplished, problems which in a polygamous situation will not only become amplified by numbers but entrenched by carnal alliances between individuals in the marriage.
VISION OF THE FUNERAL CAR
I once saw a vision which I would like to share here that relates to my own personal experience. I saw a funeral car carrying a coffin which I rode up to on a horse. I eyed the coffin with great suspicion and then, drawing my sword, began to vigorously pierce the coffin on all sides which began to bleed. The vision then closed.
The coffin contained a body, namely 'the flesh', which was supposedly dead but which was not. Just because the flesh is jurisdictionally dead because of the work of the cross does not mean that it is dead in us or that it will not harrass, distract, or even destroy us. The work of the cross must be appropriated by faith and acquired habits, and the execution of the flesh carried out under the aegis of our own will-power. Elohim (God) will not do it automatically for us - it has to be our choice, for Paul says:
The choice here is whether or not we allow Yahweh's Word to be written in our hearts by the pen of the Holy Spirit. Once that is done, our hearts will send out the death sentence which, under will, is then carried out. But if it is not inscribed on the heart, the fleshy nature will persist in its quest to rule. And if it does that, battling against the Spirit, we will have inner civil war and strife which inevitably will spill over into our marriages and relationships in general.
"For it was through letting the Torah (Law) speak for itself that I died to its traditional legalistic misinterpretation, so that I might live in direct relationship with God (Elohim). When the Messiah was executed on the stake (crucified) as a criminal, I was too; so that my proud ego no longer lives" (Galatians 2:19-20, JNT)
"For I through the law died to the law that I might live to Elohim (God). I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of Elohim (God), who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Ibid, NKJV).
What are the signs in our flesh (body) that the fleshy nature has been crucified? Paul spells them out: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV) - not forced or contrived, but natural and abundantly overflowing.
There has, sadly, in recent times been a dispute between our family and another patriarchal one about which I have already written but which serves as a useful illustration of the war between the Spirit and the flesh. They remain utterly blind to their offence because it is a marriage that was founded in the flesh and not the Spirit. It has now reached the point of such spiritual degradation that one of the wives unapologetically wrote the following to my betrothed wife in a public forum: "Our friendship can never be now. And, ****, if you come to your senses and leave Stan then we can consider rekindling our friendship. But till then we have nothing in common and no reason to communicate with each other again". As a result of this, and when she insisted that she had done nothing wrong, we were forced to disfellowship her.
That this is the flesh speaking, manipulating and threatening in demonic fashion is beyond dispute save to those who are in deadly fleshy denial. You see before you a classical example of matriarchal feminism. That friendship should be contingent upon breaking up a marriage is wickedness of the highest sort, even though she has invoked 'God' in her defence. Sadly the husband, who in truth is controlled by this woman's spirit, is too afraid to do much about bringing her into line inspite of my attempts to reason with him as a brother.
The flesh is no small matter. It is not a minor irritant in the war for perfection and relationship with Yahweh. It, fuelled by demons, is the primary obstacle. I often hear people say that when strained relationships result between brethren that we should forget our grievances and simply wage spiritual warfare on the invisible realm. And whilst this is undoubtedly a major activity we dare not ignore, neither can we be so foolish as to believe that the flesh will simply yield just because demonic principalities have been banished in prayer. Demons are but catalysts. So long as that flesh is not crucified with Christ it will be a demon all on its own. For this reason the apostle James wrote with great soberness and force:
The war with the flesh is no minor skirmish. It is the problem. Were it not so, why the drastic call to exterminate (crucify) it completely? We are being asked to do nothing less than the equivalent of what Israel had to do when Yahweh ordered the utterly satanised and Molech-worshipping Amalekite nation blotted out from the face of the earth - men, women, and children. Not a remnant was to be left. Thus resisting the devil must be accompanied - if not preceeded - by purification of the heart. What use is it casting out the devil who has been given access in the first place by an impure heart steered by carnal impulses if the call to purify the heart through flesh-crucifixion is ignored or resisted?
"Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim (God)? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of Elohim (God). Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, 'The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously'? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
Therefore submit to Elohim (God). Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to Elohim (God) and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of Yahweh, and He will lift you up" (James 4:1-10, NKJV).
"Elohim (God) resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble."
The word 'crucified' was not chosen by Paul idly. The word does not imply a leisurly activity like carrying the garbage out to the trash can. It is a violent word because the only way to dislodge this nature is with violence. It is for this reason that Yahweh says: "Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore" (Revelation 18:21, NKJV). And what is Babylon? Babylon is the world system whose origin, ultimately, is the fleshy, carnal nature of man. We're the ones who built and now sustain it, unless we are wise and obey Yahweh's call to flee it:
Most people's vision of Babylon is of some coarse monster that even a small child could pick out and point a finger at. But Babylon, like the flesh, is subtle like a whore. It is for this reason that she is known for sophistication with her harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters, and her fine craftsmen (Revelation 18:22). She covers her iniquities with various refinements which, detatched from her evil, would not necessarily in themselves be bad. Her evil gift is the coating of her inquity with a thin veneer of Yahweh's righteousness, a whitewash that only Yahweh's true servants are able to discern. She is an adept and expert self-justifier of her sins, a flatterer. She speaks with a golden tongue until confronted with the naked truth and then is compelled, by the evil that she truly is, to reveal the lie of her life.
"Flee from the midst of Babylon,
And every one save his life!
Do not be cut off in her iniquity,
For this is the time of Yahweh's vengeance;
He shall recompense her"
(Jeremiah 51:6, NKJV)
The Babylonian world system
I pity any marriage which is governed by such fleshy principles, and I shake at the thought of a polygamous marriage where such things obtain, for then a patriarch's cup is truly full to overflowing with trouble. And unless he deals with it, he will be destroyed by it - and not just himself, but his wives and children too.
As I have said before, we are passing through a critical time, not just in the Western nations, but in the Body of Christ (Messianic Community) also. We are passing through a refiner's fire and rather than diminish, the flames are going to get hotter. The time of grace is soon over. (In 2016 we see this being fulfilled).
The violence of heaven is, however, relative. It is as a gentle embrace for those who walk with Christ. Hell's violence is altogether different for it is destructive rather than refining and edifying. Accordingly, like David, Samuel, and the prophets, we are able to "quench the violence of fire" (Hebrews 11:33) and repell the violence of demons and their flesh-controlled human henchmen directed against the Kingdom of Heaven:
or as it is better put in the Hebrew Du Tillet and Münster versions:
"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12, NKJV)
This better fits the teaching of Yah'shua (Jesus) elsewhere who explains just how difficult in truth it is to find our way to Yahweh:
"..the Kingdom of Heaven is constricted, and the forceful plunder [it]" (HRV).
Careless violence, by word or deed, is not a characteristic of Christ but of the devil. The way is narrow and the gate through which the faithful must pass into heaven is small, and not many find it. It is not enough to name the Name of Christ or to parade one's virtue (real or imagined) - there are signs that follow true belief as Yah'shua (Jesus) went on to explain:
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14, NKJV).
Ultimately, it is not so much our theology that matters but our behaviour, because our behaviour is a reflection of our spiritual life, or lack of it. Accordingly the Master continued:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (vv. 15-20).
It is this behaviour which identifies us either as one who has built his house on a rock or on sand (vv.24-29). And if the latter, it will surely collapse of its own accord when the storms of adversity come.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (vv.21-23, NKJV).
My advice to everyone is therefore the following: check your foundations, and check them thoroughly. If your marriage has been built on a false foundation, then dissolve it and start again. Literally. If your marriage has been founded on sex and carnal lust instead of the spirit of Christ, renounce it, and rebuild it. Sex is an accompanying delicacy of true patriarchal marriage but never its foundation. If sex is the foundation, then it has likely been constructed upon the carnal nature, not because sex is wrong or sinful (Yah forbid) but because it is not supposed to be anywhere near the top of our hierarchy of marital values.
I know of one patriarchal family which started on the very basis that the monogamaniacs consistently accuse all of us, namely, carnal lust. And though it has tried to make itself properly subject to Yahweh's Law (and so avoid the accusion of not being accused as lawless) it has still failed to understand that it was founded on the flesh in the first place, and that this is the source of its present illusions, tensions and matriarchal tendencies. It is, understandably, very self-defensive and protective, and whilst these are admirable virtues in other circumstances, they are serving at this time only to prolong the agony and increase the tensions. The forces of self-destruction are already present and must be addressed quickly. A few crumbling corners in the house are easier to repair than a house which completely collapses.
I am reminded of the well known story of Balaam's ass:
As servants of Yahweh we are at times like that donkey. People ride on our backs and avail themselves of the comfort and ease of the footwork we have done for them. They walk that narrow path between the brick walls. And then, because the people are still, often unknowingly, walking in their carnal natures, Yahweh opposes them by sending angels to block their path. Because Yahweh's servants walk with them, guiding them along the way, we too must stop while they receive their corrective medicine. Occasionally they get their feet crushed, and because they cannot at first see the invisible hand of Yahweh, they lash out in anger and strike those who are trying to help them, attempting even to kill them, imputing false motives to those who have always been loyal and faithful to them. They want us to go ahead with them in their perversion but we must refuse. Finally, like the donkey speaking under the supernatural power of Yahweh, we must raise a prophetic voice of warning until they, like us, can see that angel of Yahweh.
"Then the Angel of Yahweh stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. And when the donkey saw the Angel of Yahweh, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall; so he struck her again. Then the Angel of Yahweh went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the donkey saw the Angel of Yahweh, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam's anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff. Then Yahweh opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, 'What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?' And Balaam said to the donkey, 'Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!' So the donkey said to Balaam, 'Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?' And he said, 'No.'
"Then Yahweh opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the Angel of Yahweh standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face. And the Angel of Yahweh said to him, 'Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me. The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.' And Balaam said to the Angel of Yahweh, 'I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.' Then the Angel of Yahweh said to Balaam, 'Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak'" (Numbers 22:24-35, NKJV)
Unfortunately, there are those who would counsel ministers like myself to be more tolerant and less corrective, and accept joint-responsibility for the sake of peace, and blame the devil instead. This we can never do. It just simply is not the Gospel Way - it is dialecticism, favourite tool of the communists and the communist-infected churches (assemblies). When we see the angel of Yahweh blocking the path of those we are guiding, we stop! We do not imitate the pagan philosophers like Hegel who advocate the synthesis of a new position above and beyond that of two opposing ones, for what need do we have of that when there is already an absolute standard of truth? Truth does not evolve - it just is.
How the flesh has its own rules and behaviour no better illustrated than in the story of the reconcilliation of Jacob with Esau. Jacob the deceiver, representing the fleshy-man, did not put his trust in Yahweh because he had for so long trusted in his own cleverness. When news of his approaching brother reached him in Gilead, he panicked, and devised a scheme by which he hoped to minimise the damage to himself and his family. Instead of confidently going forward in the Holy Spirit as David did when he met Goliath, he divided his family in half and concealed one part (so that it might survive if he perished at the hand of his aggrieved brother's sword) and he sent expensive presents in order to appease and bribe the brother whom he had earlier cheated of his birthright. As it happens, he was lucky that his brother had forgiven and forgotten, otherwise his fleshy answer to danger might have resulted in tragedy.
I was recently offered a similar compromise by a brother whom I had confronted over the behaviour of his wife (described above). He would not admit that her behaviour was evil, so instead he followed the Jacobean recipe and said to me: "I'll stop demonizing you if you stop demonizing me!" My answer was swift and to the point - the truth cannot be compromised. Evil behaviour is evil behaviour and is the fruit of a soul spoiled by and acting in sin, a soul destroying self, family, and others. It was a bribe - we'll be friends if you'll overlook this and accept the behaviour as OK. And when I told him that I regretted that this situation has arisen in the first place, and was genuinely sorry that it had come to what it had, he misinterpreted it to mean that I was admitting guilt and agreeing that his, and his wife's behaviour and criticisms, had been in order!
You cannot compromise with sin unless it is your intention to enter a compact with the devil. I have lost many friends over this issue but I would rather do that than compromise with the flesh and with my salvation. My ministry wouldn't be worth 10 złotys if I did that. I am not an ecumenical, never have been, and never will be, even though I am tolerant of diverse points of view where the Bible is not equivocable for the sake of unity. Either we must be like Balaam or the donkey. I choose the donkey. (Remember what happened to Balaam in the end). We had beetter not become like those "dreamers (who) defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries" (Jude 8, NKJV) if we are serious about our discipleship and are truly working out our salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
Will you be a Balaam or an ass?
Is it possible to uncrucify the flesh having once disposed of it? It's a sobering question. Though one would not like to think so, I would prefer to be cautious. Not all deadly wounds are deadly as you know (Revelation 13:12) and I am inclined to think that if the devil can do great signs and wonders, restoring what is an evil trait in man should not be beyond his capabilities. That is why in the vision of the coffin, which was sending me a deceptive sign that the carnal nature was dead (probably because I wished it but hadn't presided over the coup de grace), I had to plunge the sword in to make doubly so. Wishful thinking is not salvation - only when the fruits declare otherwise can we be certain. In the meantime, make sure you do the job of crucifying properly - if the beast can recover from a fatal wound, then why not the unredeemed flashy nature of man, of which the beast is, in fact on one level, a personification? I wouldn't take any undue risks, not for myself, and certainly not for my wives, my children, and my brethren. It just isn't worth it.