We hear a great deal in the Christian/Messianic polygamy community at large about the "spirit of Jezebel" in those wives and women generally who oppose this form of marriage, and we hear much about how this spirit represents a feministic desire to control, dominate, or otherwise rebel against male leadership. The observations are usually accurate when it comes to identifying one of the chief weaknesses in the female gender and can sometimes be used as a lever to force women into a lifestyle that they are either genuinely not prepared for or against which they are illegetimately rebelling. But rarely do we ever see parallel discussions on, and rebukes against, the equally obnoxious and all too prevalent male Spirit of Ahab.
Jezebel, meaning 'without cohabitation' in the Hebrew - which might better be rendered in English as 'sterile', 'alone' or 'unmarried' or any combination of these, was the wicked queen of Ahab, king of the northern kingdom of Israel. If 'alone, sterile and unmarried' is an appropriate representation of the spirit of one who was outwardly the opposite of these characteristics, then Ahab's name - which means 'the divine brother is father' or 'patriarch' is just as good, for not only was Ahab not divine but he was, in the spiritual sense, in addition not a 'brother' to anyone but himself but he was also a lousy patriarch or father. In every way, Ahab and Jezebel were perfectly matched.
As we look at this man, who was the son and successor of King Omri, founder of the dynasty, who reigned as seventh king of Israel for 22 years (1 Kings 16:28ff.), we will see in him unpleasant characteristics that are surfacing and coming to a fruitless and deadly maturity in many aspirant and actual patriarchs of this first generation Christian/Messianic polygamy movement. For though, unlike the real Ahab, the modern patriarch loathes and detests the spirit of Jezebel (as he ought to), he is often smitten with the real Ahab's spirit in too many painful ways without often realising it. And he has become such a victim not only because of bad theology but because of his depraved fallen nature which he has failed to properly nail to the cross of Christ. With the spirit of Jezebel subdued and repressed (rather than overcome) by all the wrong methods, a monster arises from the depths of the lower regions of his soul to utterly subvert him as a spiritual man of Christ and make him into a veritable tyrant.
Throughout his life, King Ahab was strongly influenced by his wife Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon and priest of Astarte, whom he allowed to build a temple dedicated to Baal of Tyre in Samaria, with its pagan altar, asherah and attendants (1 Kings 16:32). She encouraged a large group of false prophets together with the devotees of Baal (1 Kings 18:19-20), and later instigated open opposition to Yahweh much like today's feministic witches. The true prophets were murdered, altars to Yahweh were torn down and the prophet Elijah forced to flee for his life, though as we know, 100 true prophets were hidden by Obadiah, Ahab's godly minister (1 Kings 18:3-4).
Was Jezebel responsible for all these crimes against Yahweh's servants? Yes, she was, but the greater responsibility lay with Ahab for allowing her this influence in the first place. He failed to stand for the Torah (Law) and true justice was exemplified in the fake trial and subsequent death of Naboth whose vineyard he lusted after and which he subsequently annexed to the adjacent palace grounds at Jezreel (1 Kings 21:1-16).
Is this not a familiar pattern, of men of Elohim (God) becoming subverted by greed and lust for power and control? How many men do we know who, catapulted into positions of responsibility and power, then abused that power in order to increase it even further by trampling over innocent souls? I have met them both inside and outside the Christian/Messianic polygamy movement. The Spirit of Ahab is well and truly alive in Patriarchy! The spiritual corpses of men who 'stood in the way' of their ambitions are strewn over this benighted 'Christian/Messianic Patriarchy' movement, and their fields of endeavour seized and annexed.
But not all. Ahab's rebellion against Yahweh - every bit as terrible as his wife's Jezebel's - brought the godly prophet Elijah into open opposition to his reign once again. And his righteous stand was vindicated in that story that every Christian/Messianic child knows when at Mount Carmel he challenged, defeated and routed the claims of the false prophets of Baal, just as this movement possesses its prophets operating in the Spirit of Elijah who are coming to rebuke this evil, pernicious and ever-spreading Ahabic spirit whose master is the devil himself. As Elijah prophesied the fate of Ahab, his wife and the dynasty (1 Kings 21:20-24), so the Elijah-Prophets of the Christian/Messianic Patriarchy Movement have likewise spelled the fate of those men who engage in polygamy with an unrighteous and ungodly spirit to in so doing lead women to their destruction. For this spirit - this spirit of Ahab - which was marked anciently by idolatry and the evil influence of Jezebel (1 Kings 21:25-26), and which affected succeeding generations for the worse, and which was condemned by the prophets Hosea (1:4) and Micah (6:16) - has created within our midst a NEW IDOLATRY and nurtured by ungodly men, and all in the name of 'holiness'. For these men, puffed up in their pride and fuelled by their lusts, are fulfilling in their works the very name of Ahab itself, which means 'the divine brother is father', by assuming a divine rôle which Yahweh has nowhere given them and claiming to be the 'father' or 'patriarch' over both wives and other men, whilst all the time calling themselves 'brother'.
As if echoing the works of his predecessor, another "Ahab" appears in biblical history, the son of Kolaiah. He was one of two false prophets denounced by Jeremiah for using the Name of Yahweh. His death by fire, at the hand of the king of Babylon, was likewise foretold by the prophet (Jeremiah 29:21).
There are, today, men strutting around like demi-gods, who have the spiritual maturity of infants, wielding a heart-crushing power over their wives and their devotees who are themselves most unhappy women and men. Like all tyrants, Ahab crushed the spirit of freedom and substituted it for a false religion, even (when convenient) using the Name of the Most High Elohim (God) for self-justification. Like the first Ahab of old, who fortified cities and undertook extensive work on his own capital at Samaria, and adorned his own palace with ivory, our modern patriarch-Ahabs are fortifying themselves with twisted theology and carnal weapons and then whitewashing themselves with ivory words, boastful claims, and prententious ambition. But as the ungodly Ahab discovered when he abandoned the Most High for his own idols of wood and stone and found himself at war, our wayward patriarchs are also finding conflict which seems to have no resolution except by compromise. By being magnanimous with Ben-hadad, the defeated king of Damascus (1 Kings 20:26-30) and letting him live ... but only because he wished to have rich commercial concessions, many modern patriarchs - who have strayed from the strait and narrow way - are doing comparable things by first humiliating and then love-bombing their victims in order to win concessions and advantages, using the well-worn tactics of the cultists.
Ahab's alliance with the Syrian king was to be his subsequent undoing. Though winning a temporary victory with his pagan friend and former foe at Qarqar on the Orontes against the Assyrian King, this turned out to be one of the first causes of the later Assyrian advances against Israel that lead to her destruction. His preoccuptation with Assyria led his vassal state Moab to revolt. As we know, Ahab never repented, and though warned not to by the prophet Miciah, he entered his final battle in disguise and was mortally wounded by a random arrow (1 Kings 22:3,28-40).
Men of Yahweh, if you betray the spirit of Christ for the spirit of Ahab in any way, trouble and possibly destruction will pursue you like the hounds of hell if you enter polygamy when you have not been called to enter it and oppress your wives. Disguise yourself all you will, apparently 'random' forces will expose you in ways you cannot begin to imagine and fell you like trees before the axeman's blow. Rebellion and unhappiness will stalk your homes as a perpetual reminder of your need to change direction and make things right with Yahweh your Elohim (God).
I suppose you could say that I have been bringing a prophetic voice to this movement for some years and, like Elijah, getting my teeth metaphorically kicked in for my trouble. I see this ugly spirit of Ahab more and more as people, with immaculate theology (and sometimes grotesque theology) proceed to use it as a cudgel to bring confused and unhappy women into submission. A spirit of fear and repression pervades many polygamy homes. I know of men who will not allow their wives to discuss them unless they are present. What for? What have they to be afraid of? I know of patriarchal men who will brook no criticism, whether by other patriarchs or by their wives, even when it is done in a spirit of humility, gentleness and love. For in truth they have constructed their family kingdoms by force and have cemented them together with fear. The days of their kingdoms are numbered.
The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that as a woman submits to her husband and obeys him in reverence and quietness, her husband is IN TURN (and actually BEFORE he gets such a response) to love and serve her sacrificially. Most husbands seem to think that the women are supposed to take the initiative in submitting but they are forgetting one important thing: this is NOT the model that Christ taught. For He, as our Bridegroom, does not force us to obey Him, but gently knocks on our door until we open and let Him in. He brings souls into the Kingdom by attraction, not compulsion. And we are only able to love because HE loved us FIRST! Read it in the Good Book, brethren, and see for yourself! Remember this also: Christ didn't love us first IN ORDER to 'get' us into His Kingdom but for love's sake.
How many aspirant polygamist men do you know who have started profoundly loving their wives sacrificially after a life of indifference IN ORDER to win them to polygamy? Yet that is is not why they are supposed to love them sacrificially - the only reason for doing this is because because Christ loved them first, and without a price ticket. So if your price ticket for loving sacrificially is 'polygamy', forget it! You are loving for all the wrong reasons. If you have not been loving sacrificially up to the point you discover polygamy, DON'T suddenly pop the 'polygamy question' if you don't wish to be looked upon as a phoney. The chances are if you DO begin your 'polygamy adventure' this way that you are NOT CALLED INTO POLYGAMY.
Of course, there will always be exceptions. I know of men who have started loving their wives as a result of discovering polygamy and who - often through a great deal of suffering in the process - then led their wives lovingly and joyfully into this lifestyle. I do not wish to be utterly dogmatic about this. What I DO wish to say, however, is that if it is polygamy that causes you to suddenly start 'turning on your love' for your first wife, the chances are you are under a STRONG DELUSION and will reap a bitter harvest unless you abort your poly-project. Women are not stupid and can see through an insincere man who is 'turning on the charm' in order to get a carnal prize.
In my experience, those men who are called into Christian/Messianic polygamy are already of a deeply loving disposition and who have faithfully loved their first wives as monogamists. They are more than satisfied with their monogamous relationships and don't 'need' polygamy. Not always, but very frequently, such men and women are called because they have the spiritual credentials. That's not to say there won't be a shake-up - that's hardly avoidable - but it does mean that they are equipped and will likely ride the storm well and without the attrocious fatalities we are seeing in the first generation of polygamists. Just look at all the divorced first wives (98% by one estimate)!
There are many who think I believe that only leaders with theological and ministerial experience are called to be polygamists and I wish to correct that perception here. I believe that FOR THE MOST PART that such are only being called to it NOW so that there is a strong body of mature spiritual men who can guide the second generation of men be they leaders or not. Not all ministers are particularly loving, and a sacrificially loving nature is THE central qualification for this lifestyle, though not the only one. We see this from the HUGE polygamy casualty rates caused by immature, cocky, boastful and foolish 'Ahab's' and should understand that Yahweh is calling loving, stable men first so that a new generation of men, raised in polygamnous families or around them, can arise as bona fide polygamists in the next.
If you want to enter true polygamy, brethren, be prepared to be in a minority of Christian/Messianic polygamists just as Elijah was in his day as a prophet. Ahab had plenty of false prophets just as the spirit of Ahab has in the modern polygamy movement. Don't think that you are alone, for just as there were 100 prophets in hiding which Elijah initially knew nothing about, there are a 'hundred' Christian polygamists living this lifestyle the right way. Whilst we may in our carnal natures be drawn to the 'crowd' for imagined safety and comfort, it is by far the better thing (the only thing, in fact) to align yourself to the '100'. Their day will come.
No discussion of women and the spirit of Jezebel can possibly ever be entertained in a godly way without a PRIOR discussion of men and the spirit of Ahab. Examine any web site on human relations in polygamy and you will find that the vast majority is always about the Jezebel spirit in women and how men can overcome it. The answer is: they can't ... until they have first overcome the AHAB spirit in themselves. And if they think they don't have it, they should be very, very careful, for it conceals itself under mantles of self-justification and holier-than-thou attitudes which often create a mirage of actually being the CORE.
Education in the polygamy movement has mostly started at the WRONG END - the women. It's like training up a congregation with leaders who are themselves untrained! Put an immature leader at the head of an assembly or church, and what will you likely get? An immature, unruly and unhappy congregation!
Marriage is no different. Judgement starts at Elohim's (God's) House just as responsibility for godliness in marriage must start with the MEN. They're the ones who are going to carry the can if they botch up the marriage.
At the other end of the spectrum (not to leave this discussion one-sided) there are those who are SO obsessed with the righteousness of the men that they end up unwittingly releasing a neo-Jezebel spirit in the women. I know of at least one poly ministry where the women rule if not in name but in spirit because the men, consumed with guilt and anxiety about their abuses in the past, are too afraid to exert proper authority and spend their time eulogising women and kow-towing to them. Lip service is paid to patriarchy but matriarchy rules the day. That is just as bad.
As a very wise sister and friend of mine said to me recently: "If the men would just love us sacrificially we would gladly submit to them!" Perhaps not all women, but certainly many of the women called into Christian/Messianic polygamy.
King Ahab corrupted the worship of Yahweh by continuing Jeroboam's golden calf worship before he allowed Baal worship to infect the whole nation through the auspices of Jezebel. Let's not forget that. And what is this golden calf in modern Christian/Messianic Patriarchy? I'll tell you, because I have seen it in all its blinding horror: PATRIARCHS HAVE SET THEMSELVES UP AS GOD.
Haven't you noticed it? The way they censor, falsely accuse and cut their opponents out, and rule with an iron rod? I even know one patriarch who told his wives to treat him as if he were Christ Himself because Christ was in him! They were therefore required to treat his words as though they were the Saviour's Himself. If they did not, he would treat them with the scorn and hatred of a pagan divinity. I could hardly believe my ears when I first heard of it but it was true - absolutely true. The Christian/Messianic Patriarchy movement has spawned modern Joseph Smiths and Brigham Youngs, and before long probably some Jim Jones' and David Koresh's. It's what such a spirit leads to, I promise you, unless nipped in the bud. (Such indeed happen with one charismatic 'Christian' polygamist in California who not only ruled his family like a monarch but ended up murdering one of his wives when she had had enough of him and was going to leave).
These men suffer from a grand delusion called a SAVIOUR COMPLEX and it is very dangerous. It is a form of idolatry. It is a golden calf. And out of that flows a multitude of evils. And guess who the prime victims are? Yes, you've guessed, their oppressed wives and children.
This kind of totalitarianism is CULTIC and, ultimately, if allowed to come to full fruition, demonic. It is a blight amongst us and one of Satan's feet through the door. If you're involved in such an autocratic system, lift a warning voice against it and GET OUT FAST! For when judgment comes to such - as it does - it is well to be far away.
True Christian/Messianic Polygamy has nothing in common with this kind of barbarism. True Christian/Messianic Polygamy, of the kind we are trying to establish here at HEM, knows only the power of reason, love, patience and loving-kindness. Yes, strictness too, but not oppression which leads to repression.
One of the reasons so many polygamy families are miserable is because neither the men nor the women have OVERCOME in the biblical sense. Men have suppressed the call of the Spirit to be humble and loving and women have suppressed the call of love to be quiet, submissive and obedient. Not the love of man - for this will inspire nothing - but the love of Christ manifested in the husbands. Godly women will be attracted to this like magnets or bees around a honey pot. And the only way a man can obtain this love is if he willingly crucifies the flesh and allows Yah'shua (Jesus) to be the LORD (MASTER) and Saviour of not only his life but the lives of his wives too! The Spirit-filling doesn't stop at him - he isn't the Holy Spirit-vessel that his wives drink from - they must drink from the Holy Spirit themselves. The Holy Spirit in him is what should inspire them to search for Her for themselves.
Men are not the dispensers of salvation in the direct sense, nor of sanctification. The salvation and sanctification of women comes not from obeying their husbands but in obeying CHRIST. And if a man is in Christ, he will be pointing to Christ and showing them the fount to which they must go themselves - he is not the fount itself!
This kind of patriarchal heresy is the bane of Mormonism - which I suspect some of these 'Christian' 'patriarchs' have been influenced by. It is actually a subtle substitute for the Mormon Priesthood system. Instead of 'Patriarchal authority' read 'Priesthood authority'. What has happened is that a form of PRIESTCRAFT has evolved in Christian/Messianic Patriarchy. And what happens at the end of the day in this system is that the Patriarch ends up marrying women who in spirit are little more than DAUGHTERS - females who are never allowed to grow up into spiritual maturity or to fulfil the measure of their creation. They become pale, anaemic shadows of their husbands. Worse, they don't even bother to properly convert them to Christ, itself a geni of destruction for a Christian family.
What a tragedy! What foolishness! Have these men forgotten that it is not only the woman who is not without the man, but the man is not without the woman, and that both are not without the Messiah?! As fellow partakers of the gift of eternal life, they are actually SUBMITTED TO EACH OTHER in the most important aspect of social relations - life in Christ! And without that, there is no marriage in Christ - none at all.
For polygamy to work - really work - there must be this mutual submitting, in love, to Yahweh through Yah'shua (Jesus). When this happens, the headship rôle of man becomes rather like that of the police force in parts of Wales in the 1800s which experiened true Christian revival. The prisons were empty and nobody committed any crimes! The police were bored stiff because they had nothing to do! When husband and wives are in Christ and submitted to His perfect will, the husband doesn't need to be a family policeman or ruler because the rule of Christ is in and around them all.
In practice, with few exceptions, we have not accomplished this yet. But I assure you that it is possible and that I know of one or two polygamous families where this is close.
Ahab built temples for Baal just as men are building family kingdoms and ministries for themselves. He also erected a sacred pole in honour of Astarte (Asthoreth), a phalic symbol, just as men are entering polygamy for 'respectable sex' (with 'God' as #2). And all feed from Ahab's royal table - the 'divine brother is father'. Impressive as this false religion was to the eye, successful as it was to commerce and to Ahab's reputation amongst the pagan nations, the contest at Mount Carmel revealed Baal to be a total non-entity and the outer glory a complete sham. And that's what's going to happen to all false versions of 'Christian'/'Messianic' polygamy. It will be seen for what it really is - empty.
But just as Yahweh made sure that Ahab had a House Manager called Obadiah to save the true prophets of Elohim (God), so Yahweh has set house managers amongst the wolves to safety conduct the true patriarchs and their wives to safety. Be sure you find them before you get sucked up into the wicked false system.
After the contest in which the prophets of Baal were shown to be mere wind, and were executed, the drout in the land was ended by a drenching downpour of rain. That rain, which is a prophetic type of an infilling of the Holy Spirit, will come to the Christian/Messianic Patriarchal/Polygamy Movement too, but not before the judgment of the false prophets. And just as Ahab and Jezebel reacted to their humiliation by breathing violent threats at Elijah, resulting in his flight to Mount Horeb where the Torah was given to Moses (1 Kings 18:17-46), so too will the false patriarchs breathe violence and cause the true patriarchs to return to Torah, to Yahweh's Law, where they will hear Him speak, not as a raging whirlwind or an earthquake, but as a still, small voice whispering from the kernal of holiness, the purified heart of the true believer.
More could be said, for the Word of Elohim (God) is an endless source of wisdom and truth, but I think the main points have been made. Remember this - Jezebel outlived Ahab, but only a while. Both met their end, the one by a random arrow as he tried to disguise himself and run away from who he really was, and the other eaten by dogs for prostituting the truth. The evil of one was not greater than the evil of the other, anymore than the Jezebel spirit in rebellious and jealous woman is any more evil than the oppressive and tyrannical rule of men who dare to set themselves up as little saviours. Both are equally accountable and both will meet the same end unless they repent.
May we all be wise.
At the end of 2002 and beginning of 2003 the leader of one of the major Christian/Messianic polygamy ministries, despite numerous warnings about the Ahab spirit that had dominated his ministry, experienced storms rage through his congregation and family and ended up abandoning all but one of his four wives and their children with whom, as far as we know, he has had no contact since. His church also collapsed. Still unwilling to repent or make right with his other three wives, he effectively closed down his polygamy ministry and church and switched to a different area of ministry, claiming that this was all part of the 'evolution' of his calling. What were orginally just cultic tendencies led to a firestorm, forcing him to flee the state he had been living in before finally relocating to a third state where he changed his name and attempted to remove or hide every last trace of his former involvement with polygamy. May we all be warned as we see the destructive forces of the adversary reap their grim harvest and pray for this minister's salvation and those under his influence. (25 January 2003)