Understanding another culture's way of thinking and being, especially if that culture is separated from us by millennia and is perhaps entirely extinct, is not an easy thing. The natural disposisition of a 21st century person is simply to impose his or her own experiences and expectations on something like the Old Testament and to then try and flesh it out. The result, typically, is an image that is so far from the truth that one is liable to not only be confused but hopelessly deceived as well.
I am very fond of classical painting, especially those brought forth by the masters two to three hundred years ago. Knowing little of what we do today about archaelogy, it was not untypical for them, for example, to dress Roman soldiers in Palestine in mediaeval Italian uniforms.
The picture of the Last Supper (below) is illustrative and doesn't remotely look like the event or the people it is supposed to represent. As far as art goes, it is a masterpiece, but in terms of historical accuracy, it is worse than hopeless - for it gives the impression that Yah'shua (Jesus) was a blonde Aryan sitting at an 18th century (or earlier) Italian dinner table in a rich man's home. I'd love to have such a painting on the wall of my house but I wouldn't use it to teach people about how it really was on that last evening in Jerusalem.
Beautiful art but not remotely representitive of reality
The modern Western world views the sexes and their rôles through the same kind of erroneous lenses as the painter above viewed the Last Supper. Behind our views of gender relations, marriage, sex and similar things, is a whole system of philosophy that owes its origin not to the Divine Revelation but to an atheistic system of thought whose ultimate purpose is to make the genders 'unisexual' and render the traditional nuclear family unit redundant.
Most Christians/Messianics, when they think of ideal family life, probably go back about a century, perhaps earlier, to the hayday of monoganism. But even this system of family life and gender relationships, though many times preferable to what the secular society has to offer us today, was still far off the mark in terms of Yahweh's perfect and heavenly revelation. It was in part the errors of this time which precipated the anti-God feminist revolution. And though most Christians/Messianics look whistfully back at an ideal age of an all-Christian monogamy-only culture, it was in actual fact far from perfect and contained the seeds of its own self-destruction. Whatever there was that was good about that Victorian (and earlier) era, it was still far from Yahweh's original intent.
The traditional orthodox view of marriage and the relationship of the sexes is of a man (or woman) looking into a mirror and seeing his (or her) complimentary opposite. It is seen as a two piece jigsaw puzzle where male and female - or plus and minus - perfectly reflect and dovetail into one another as shown in the illustration below. And indeed it is the basic theory that lies behind Taoism with its concept of a universe of plus and minus in perfect balance. As a simple model this is, of course, quite accurate. Like a youth being given his first responsibility, the monogamy model may indeed be seen like a first marriage - Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. And even before the creation of Eve, Yahweh-Elohim was in an allegorical monogamous relationship with His first Creation, Adam. Thus the monogamous relationship is symbolically represented by man in his primordial condition as the first and only creation, much as a first wife is in a marriage.
But Yahweh-Elohim did not end with Adam. First, He took Eve from him, and then increased the family of Yahweh by causing Adam and Eve to bring forth two sons, Cain and Abel. Before Cain turned to evil, therefore, the family of Yahweh consisted of four souls in allegorical marriage to Him. Today that mystical marriage consists of many millions of believers redeemed in the blood of Yah'shua (Jesus) who are walking faithfully in the commandments (Revelation 22:14).
The early family of Adam, therefore, in allegorical marriage to Yahweh as Bridegroom, is equivalent to a polygamous marriage consisting of one husband and four wives, as was lived by the patriarch Jacob (Israel) and his wives Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah.
Jacob and his four wives are a reflection of Adam's first family
Why is this kind of lifestyle so seemingly 'natural' to the ancient Hebrews but not to modern Western man? I can answer that question by asking another one: why is the quality of mercy so completely absent from fundamentalist Islam? And the answer is simple: because that religion has never known it. For 1,500 years Islam has propagated a religion and culture which does not know mercy. It is a brutal and harsh religion as we all know from the recent wars against the Taliban in Afghanistan and ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
By the same token, Christianity hasn't know polygamy now for nearly 1,500 years. It was normal then and nobody would have questioned it in the Middle East. It's such a long time ago and has been supplanted by so many different ideas and ways of doing things that have been passed down generation after generation that nothing short of a spiritual revolution will ever change the Western mind.
Westerners shake their head in disbelief as they watch the attrocities committed by fundamentalist Moslems and ask themselves: 'Why can't they just be like us?' Well, apart from some Moslems who were born and raised in the West, these people have no frame of reference - Islam is all they have ever known all their lives, and their parents, and grandparents, and generations before them.
Yet as we know, Muslims do convert to Christianity and can learn of that quality of mercy ... and love and grace. And by the same token, orthodox Christians may do exactly the same thing in accepting polygamy. It is no coincidence, therefore, that the kind of conversion rate of Muslims to Christianity is as slow (at present) as that of monogamy-onlyers to polygamy. Such a radical transformation of thinking, feeling, attitudes and habits does takes a long time. But once the shower turns into a downpour, and as more and more people see the benefits of Christ and of polygamy, so the shower will turn into a tidal wave. But first people have to SEE that it works and that it is desirable. And at present I have to truthfully say the track record isn't too good with perhaps little more than a 2-5% success rate.
Western culture is essentially a sceptical, pseudo-scientific culture. Faith is discouraged, and scepticism promoted. The scientific method does, of course, have its advantages in the material sphere, but is impotent in the spiritual. Some things just can't be dissected and analysed. And particularly the things of the spirit, because the spiritual is always greater than the sum total of its parts. Different rules apply on the spiritual plane.
One of the MAJOR differences between the Western and Eastern ways of thinking is that the Western mind has little understanding of one of the most important spiritual concepts of all, namely UNIPLURALITY. Because we are so busy trying to reduce things to their simple parts, we have difficulty in comprehending the whole. Easterners are far more adept at this. Occasionally scientist-theoreticians like Edward de Bono step onto the scene and introduce us to such concepts as 'lateral thinking' but it goes over the head of most Westerners. Westerners may make excellent material scientists but when it comes to spiritual science they are often the most stupid.
In 1972 de Bono published a book called PO: Beyond Yes and No which stupified the public. PO was a tool of logic developed by de Bono to help Westerners escape from the trap of traditional, rigid thinking. He claimed that we have developed a system of logic which has been consciously, or unconsciously designed or evolved to ensure that we always arrive at the 'right' answer. Whilst acknowledging that humanity (specifically Western humanity) has advanced technologically, in the realm of ideas and thought, he claimed, we are still using the restricted and restricting concepts that have always been used.
For the Western Christian mind, steeped as it is in the monogamy-only mindframe where where you are either single (Are you married?: NO) or monogamously married (YES), the idea that there is a THIRD arrangement - namely, polygyny (PO) - is simply too much for your culturally brainwashed citizen. So to the question: 'Are you married?' my answer would (using de Bono's system) be 'PO'. There is no point my answering 'Yes' (even though from the Biblical perspective I would be justified) because 'Yes' has only one meaning, and that is, monogamy-only. So if I say 'Yes' and then say I am polygamously married, confusion sets in at once. Fuses start to go, pipes start to blow. It just isn't computable.
An illustration of the kind of absurd logic that some monotheists like Muslims and Unitarians (and, ironically, Talmudic Jews) get stuck in is over the Godhead. A typical question that some ask when presented Godhead theologies like Trinitarianism, Binitarianism, etc., which posit that there is one Elohim (God) but more than one Person, is: 'How can you say there is more than one person? Listen to what the Shema says: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD your God is one God!" And then they triumphantly declare that there can only be one Person in the Godhead.
If only it were so simple! The problem is that the concept of UNIPLURALITY is unknown to them, and even if it was in the distant past (as in the original Hebrew faith before the Talmudists subverted it), it has been forgotten over the centuries, leaving the theologians to 'redefine' Elohim (God).
So is Elohim (God) one? My answer would be: PO. Confused? Listen on ...
We'll take a quick look at the Shema, the monotheistic cry of Talmudic Judaism. Let's take a look at it again, but this time look past our inadequate and limiting English language (which was birthed in the Western, Catholic mode of thinking) and start thinking anew:
or exactly as it is written:
"The LORD (Yahweh) our God (Elohim), the LORD (Yahweh) is one"
Yahweh is Elohim's (God's) Name. It refers to Elohim (God) the Father. It is always singular. But the word we translate as "God" can either be El, Eloah, or Elah (meaning one God) or Elohim (meaning several Gods). Now to the literalistic Western mind, this means that God is sometimes one God and sometimes many Gods, which is a contradiction. This is even more exaggerated when you consider that Yahweh is nearly always combined with Elohim ("LORD God" in the KJV) to give Yahweh-Elohim. And, moreoever, whenever Elohim refers to God (and not to human judges or angels) it is always connected to a singular noun like Yahweh. The word Elohim, therefore, always means 'one made up of others'. In other words, it is a UNIPLURAL WORD - both one and many simultaneously.
"Yahweh our Elohim, Yahweh is one" (Deuteronomy 6:5)
At this point, the Western man's mind dissolves. Instead, he comes up with elaborate Nicean-Triniatrian formulations which no-one actually understands. It is simply marked down as a 'mystery' and left at that. We are not supposed to 'delve' into such things because it is supposedly beyond our finite human minds.
Well, I disagree. Scripture promise us that we can, and should, know Elohim (God). Indeed, we are told that there is one infallible way of knowing who Elohim (God) is, and that is by possessing that quality called "eternal life" - not mortal, biological life, but spiritual life which has no end (e.g. John 17:3).
The 'mystery', so called, is an artificially created one ... created by our own false logic. Elohim (God) is both One and Many. We therefore speak of Elohim (God) consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Ruach haQodesh) ... seven Holy Spirits if you wish to elucidate it further (e.g. Revelation 1:4). There are at least three (or nine) Persons in this Godhead.
As I don't want to get into a Godhead debate here, I will leave this topic with this simple statement: Elohim (God) is One and Many. He is Uniplural.
And so is marriage. We speak, do we not, of One Marriage consisting of (a minimum of) two spouses: a man and a wife (monogamy). Marriage is Uniplural. We speak of the 'mystery of marriage' too - of being "one flesh" and then our Western minds cook up all sorts of fanciful ideas as to what this means (usually allegorised away into something airy and unsubstantial).
You see, at one point (at the beginning of history) Adam was One being or entity. But he was more than just one Person. He was two. When Eve was created, she was not created de novo (from scratch) as he was, but was 'taken out' of him. This was a marriage created 'from within', rather like a female clone, but not. And if you examine the scriptures on the Godhead you will discover that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) was also created 'from within' (though the word 'created' is probably a misnomer). Eve always existed - she was 'inside' Adam and was 'brought out' just as the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) has always existed ... being brought from 'inside' the Godhead. There is a subtle difference between being "created" (as Adam was) and from being "brought out" or "excised".
Adam was therefore Uniplural before Eve was 'taken out' of him. He was both one and two. Hard to imagine? Perhaps, but it is not difficult to adjust to this way of thinking. New, yes, but actually very old - it's the way the ancients thought because they walked much closer to Yahweh than we do.
When Eve was taken out of Adam, 'he' (Adam) became a singular being. And yet he remained Uniplural. He went through no 'marriage' ceremonmy because he was already 'married', showing that marriage is much more than a 'relationship between a man and a woman' but actually far, far more. Adam's marriage to Eve was simply the same unity that prevailed before but in a different way - the one became two but remained one still. They were still a single unit.
The Bible starts with this 'marriage which never was not a marriage' and ends with another marriage which will never end as a marriage. The Bridegroom in this last marriage is called the Last Adam or Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) (1 Corinthians 15:45), a marriage which has a beginning point since we are all born separated from Yahweh-Elohim and must seek out our allegorical heavenly Bridegroom, the Messiah.
As we all know, we are none of us (except our first parents) born or created married in the same sense. We are born in an unnatural state - single and alone (which Yahweh-Elohim says is not good in the long-term - Genesis 2:18). From about the time of puberty we can think of virtually nothing else but marriage, as invisible forces, biochemical and spiritual, drive us to find our mates. And only then do we find our rest on one level.
But what are we heading towards? It is not a monogamous marriage involving just one person but MILLIONS. Yes, the Bride is depicted as single and monogamous just as Eve was, but we know that this Bride is not just one but MANY - we know that she is simultaneously MONOGAMOUS and POLYGAMOUS. And it's at this point that Western minds brought up in Western logic start splitting themseves at the seams. They are incapable, because of their brainwashed state, to say out aloud that the Bride of Christ is any more than one, because to do so is to indirectly acknowledge that POLYGAMY IS CHRISTIAN/MESSIANIC MARRIAGE, and absolutely so.
We all know the logical acrobatics that the monogamy-only people employ to escape the inevitable truth of polygamy. They are faced, for them, by an 'impossible' choice - 'Yes' or 'No' when there is a third answer 'PO'. It's either monogamy for them or it isn't - they simply cannot grasp that there is a third way, anymore than they can grasp that a polygamous marriage can possibly work. And that is because their thinking is two-dimensional - they cannot see the plane on which Eternal Life is a reality - a reality which is Uniplural in every respect.
For such monogamy really is the only option until they are willing to make that leap of faith and let Yahweh teach them. But by remaining on that two-dimensional plane they are confronted by mental and emotional conflicts that find no resolution. They see that Yahweh is talking about a third dimension of reality of which they know nothing and it scares the pants off them. And the only way to find resolution is to let go of the old way of thinking and to let Yahweh expand their horizons.
I am a polygamist currently with three wives. And yet I have one wife because it is a single marriage consisting of four people. I am a monogamist and a polygamist. I have a uniplural marriage, just as Christ does allegorically with One and Millions.
As an illustration of the blind panic that these people experience, let me share a letter I recently received. He wrote:
What can one say to such a person? Do you see the dilemma his Western thinking puts him into? He sees a monogamous marriage in the Garden of Eden but cannot see the Grand Consummation of the end. When Yahweh, using an allegorical polygamous image to depict the relationship of His Son to the Church (Messianic Community), is so blatanely contradicted by the monogomaniacs like this man above, Elohim (God) and Christ are being accused of sin! And of course, he is forced to also attack Patriarchy because it destroys the childish 1:1 functional gender equality rôle-model under which he still operates.
"Your position would be very laughable if it were not so diabolical, and set on fire from the pits of HELL. You have been deceived by a demon from satans army. But the lust that is in your heart is the feeding grounds he was allowed to enter upon. Your only hope is to cry out (to) th(e) almighty to deliver you from the spirit of error, and ask him to give you a love for the truth. Many are being deceived at this time as the time of the rapture to (sic) take place. What greater victory for satan than to deceive a believer at the very last minute to be cast into everlasting fire. I am so sorry for you.
These people and this trash cannot be defended from the bible or any other source. This was not found in the garden of eden before the fall. God created one woman for one man, and it did not change until the deception, sin came into the world, polygyamy, murder, sickness, wars, and all other woes which came out of hell. By the death and ressurection of Jesus Christ, creation was reconciled with God, and we have the power to resist all sin, even polygyamy, and christian patrichsiam (sic). Men learn how to possess your own boddies (sic) and bring under subjection your lustfull spirits. From the true watchman of God for the last days."
In truth, his reaction is not that diabolical, for youngsters are often revolted by the sexual relations of their parents. They find romantic concepts embarrassing, shocking and even revolting. The man - and the millions of monogamy-only Christians who cannot see what polygamy actually is - who thinks in this way is very often little more than a spiritual babe operating in the second dimension. He has similar problems understanding the Godhead and other uniplural literal and allegorical concepts. So we must be merciful with such people and give them space to mature. But if they refuse - if they insist on remaining bound to the cradle when Yahweh opens the way for them to grow, then they are opening the doors to sin and, ultimately, demonic penetration, as Paul warned Timothy (1 Timothy 4:1-3). There is no sin in being young and immature, but it is a sin to refuse to grow up when you can and when Yahweh expects you to. And at this juncture in history, Yahweh is calling Christendom to grow up.
This lack of appreciation of unipluralism in our culture is most obvious in our language. There are some examples, to be sure, as for example in 'man' which can either mean a single human being or the whole human race ... though rarely an intermediate group of men. And the latter embraces women too. Interestingly, a woman is a wo-man ... we rarely (if at all) speak of 'woman' and mean 'womankind' and never does it include men. This aspect of our language is a continuation of the original concepts from the dawn of history, though these are now under attack by those who wish to create a unisexual vocabulary, even to the point of mutilating the Word of Elohim (God) to make it conform to their pagan ideas.
This concept of man including woman, and the use of uniplural words, is much more widespread in both Hebrew and Greek. To take the latter first, no distinction is made between woman, women, wife and wives - all are represented by the single word gune. Usually the context reveals what is meant but occasionally, when it does not, translators have been known to take liberties in order to propagandise a pre-conceived (and often anti-biblical) doctrine. Thus one of the favourite monogamy-only proof texts is:
The trouble is there is another way you can legitimately translate this:
"But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28-29, NKJV).
So how do you choose? The answer is you must choose the rendition which does not contradict what Christ, the apostles and Yahweh have said on marriage and divorce before. That the monogamy-only people would choose the first version is quite natural even though it is disjunctive with what has been said before. And because the vast majority (if not all) Western Christian linguists (who are all monogamy-only) render the passage the first way in all the known English versions, leads your average Christian to conclude that to contradict them is to 'twist scripture'. And this because they ascribe a certain degree of infallibility to translations (especially the KJV) instead of the original autographs. Unfortunately, this is how error is perpetuated - people are simply too scared to challenge the scholarly élite, forgetting that Yahweh has a jugdment even for these (Isaiah 29:4).
"But I say to you that whoever looks at a[nother man's] wife to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart"
None of the monogamy-only proof-texts is, in fact, fullproof. They are usually based 'alternative translations' which have become popularised and ubiquitous because the monogamy-only people have censored the alternative renderings.
I give but one Greek example. Armed with this you will discover an army of scriptures with alternative renderings which will cause you to think and ponder more deeply. Scriptures commanding women to be silent in Church/Assembly reveal, upon closer inspection, to be addressed to unruly wives in a specific context, namely, tongue-speaking in a congregation at Corinth gone out of control (see, for example, Women in the New Testament Church).
As in the English 'man', so the Hebrew adam can mean 'mankind' (including women), a 'single man', 'several men', and the historical person "Adam". Another word, ish, can not only mean a 'male human being' but also a 'husband' and even the plural 'husbands'. A third word, which translates the Hebrew baal (meaning 'lord', 'master', 'owner' or 'possessor' is also used of husbands even though 'Baal' is a pagan deity as well. This is paralleled by the fact that the word Elohim, the uniplural for 'God', not only refers to Deity, human judges and angels, but also to false gods and idols.
As with the Greek gune (woman, women, wife, wives), the Hebrew ishah can either be rendered 'woman' or 'wife' (a separate word for 'women' and 'wives' exists, namely, nashim as well as a less often used word for 'men', methin).
We see, therefore, not only a degree of ambiguity in ancient words but also considerable interchange which must therefore lead us to be cautious when making translations from the original Hebrew. But perhaps more pertinent to this study is the ancient concept of ADAM being a uniplural word. Every man is an adam, a uniplural concept, and though there is no more 'taking out' of women from their men, the resident thought is that of an in-grafting of a wife or wives to a single man in a polygamous sense as epitomised by the great Bridal Feast of the Lamb in Heaven.
Western man needs to be released from the shakles of a Catholic-inspired and -imposed modus operandi in thought and deed, and to allow for 'PO' in addition to 'Yes' and 'No'. For instance, is every man called to be a polygamist? My answer would be 'PO'. Actually, everyone is - men and women alike - but because the vast majority choose not to be, the answer is a conditional 'No'. Not everyone is called ... until they are ready. And since most are never ready, because they will not break out of the shackles of wrong thinking, feeling, and behaving, they never will become polygamists. And if they try, they will bring chaos and hurt to many people, including themselves, like an untrained surgeon let loose in a hospital.
I have touched on many new concepts for most of our readers and could probably expand this into a book, but enough is enough. The Bible will remain partially sealed and a mystery to those who continue to think on the horizontal two-dimensional plane. Heaven is three-dimensional and vertical as well, and once you are immersed in that plane and partaking more and more of eternal life, so mysteries evapourate, just as the types and shadows of the Old Covenant did to those who were saved in the New Testament:
To unbelievers, Christ is a mystery - an enigma - even though the mystery is spelled out in Scripture. It takes the Holy Spirit to open their eyes and to interpret scripture for them.
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth -- in Him" (Ephesians 1:7-10, NKJV).
Polygamy is no less. But just as there are those who believe in a 'christ' of their own imagination - who have not been regenerated and who as a result teach and practice false doctrine, leading nobody to salvation (like the Jehovah's Witnesses), so there are those who embrace polygamy who have NO IDEA what it is. And instead of becoming a soothing and healing balm, it instead turns into a primitive but deadly nail-bomb that maimes and even destroys others ... and mostly women. Just as there will always be two categories of people naming the Name of Christ - the true and the false - so there will always be two types of Christian/Messianic polygamist - the true and the false. And to discern both is of paramount importance.
Is everyone called to be a Christian? PO. Is everyone called to be a polygamist? PO.
All are called to be Christians but Yahweh has preordained those who will be saved - not by compulsion but by foreknowledge.
All are called to be polygamists but Yahweh has preordianed those who will enter the principle - not by compulsion but by foreknowledge.
Quite sobering thoughts ...
"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified" (Romans 8:29-30, NKJV)