Please note that Covenant Components #1 (purple and green - Fig.3) and #2 (light blue - Fig.4) are initially separate. However, extending this further, there would progressively be more and more SW1-H-SW2 (light blue) overlap until, when there is perfect echad, the H-SW1 (purple) and H-SW2 (green) finally disappear in the SW1-H-SW2 (light blue) area, which is the goal. All of this is a process that can go in either direction. And in the SW1-H-SW2 (light blue) area the Covenant Component #3 enters the equation too, becoming absorbed in that until it finally disappears. (It is rather hard to include this diagrammatically but hopefully you will see what I mean descriptively).
Creating an echad overlap like this can, and does, take many, many years. It is the most intimate and satisfying part of New Covenant plural marriage because it directly parallels the mystical marriage of Christ to the Church/Assembly. To funtion it requires a uniquely defined spiritual path and set of constants to which everyone is voluntunarily submitted and to which all may become attuned. It is the responsibility of the husband to define this path rather like the conductor of an orchestra who chooses the piece of music (his own signature tune, that which attracts the wives to him in the first place) and ensures proper coordination of the instrumentalists because this special union of wives is in and through him in his relationship with Christ. Like an orchestra playing a symphony, it largely leads itself, the conductor's responsibility being to maintain the timing and rhythm and to add details of emphasis. It should not be thought that the conductor or husband is the motor and the instrumentalists or wives are simply passive puppets because both orchestra and echad marriage consist of mutliple motors all harmonising together in correct tavnith (pattern). Each individual is his or her whole dynamic which subtends to the whole.
Echad Polygamy is like a finely tuned orchestra led by the husband
For this kind of marriage to work does require complete committment, especially as it does take time to get functioning. When I first entered polygamy, echad polygamy had not yet been revealed to me so we were a regular multiple-monogamy or modalistic polygamy family living under one roof. When the echad model was first implemented it was necessary to run two systems in parallel until the desired system was up, running and 'bug-free', as it were. Part of the problem was that one of my three wives did not want the echad model. It took about seven years to get the echad model running smoothly by which time one of my three wives had sadly pulled out altogether.
There was considerable struggle, even so, with the remaining two (third and fourth) wives, as egotism was gradually replaced by a group consciousness (in addition to our own separate consciousnesses) as orchestrated by myself in Christ through the Spirit. From the beginning it was clearly understood what the goal was, that all three of us wanted it, and there was never any doubt about our goal. At that time, with only a blueprint in the form of revelation, there were no living models to compare with and learn from, so it was a tremendous faith exercise, especially for the two wives at the time. There was much struggle and some hurt along the way as the carnal nature was revealed in all its ugliness and tackled. To minimise the temptation to self-justification when sin issues were confronted, they were treated as an issue to be tackled both individually and collectively under proper headship.
Both in our plural marriage and in our congregations, we entered into a rather unique set of echad covenants by which we placed the whole community in the same 'spiritual ring' or 'pool'. Thus the sufferings of one person's sorrows became the collective suffering of all, and the joys of one person's joys became the collective joy of all. Once this covenant, which was called Qum by us, had been made, we began to experience a heightened sensitivity both in terms of joy and pain. It was both glorious and frightening because it meant that from now on we would be responsible for our every action in a way inconceivable outside such a covenant. It in effect created a spiritual circuit between the community members, binding them more firmly together as they became accutely aware of one another on the spiritual plane. This covenant was entered into by several families, both polygamous and monogamous. It activated a Spirit-mediated spiritual 'circuit' that surprised everyone. The vast majority eventually dropped out of it, unwilling to have such connectivity and exposure, for in spite of the accentuated joy when people lived out their committments, it also brought accentuated sadness when they did not. For most our private pain is usually quite enough, but to connect spiritually to several other people's was no small matter, even with Christ mediating and controlling the relationship.
This type of covenant was, and is, based entirely on the model of the marriage in heaven of the saints to Yah'shua (Jesus). It is an allegorical marriage. But the covenant of Qum in an actual marriage (as opposed to between families in the messianic community which is purely spiritual otherwise it would be a kind of polyamory, which is adultery) is even more intense because such a union is also physical with much greater depth. In literal marriage there is a combining of mind, heart and body, whereas in a congregation, the oneness is fraternal and mostly of the spirit or ruach, mind and heart. It is from literal marriage that the spiritual allegory is made, not the other way round. Literal marriage is therefore the foundational principle by which the spiritual is explained in allegorical terms.
As everybody knows, entering into the oneness which Yah'shua (Jesus) prayed for in the Garden of Gethsemane on behalf of the saints does not occur in a day. The building of a relationship consisting of many souls takes time. And the longer time they are together, and the closer their spiritual interaction is through sharing and caring, the tighter the bond becomes. It is a bond which is supposed to grow until it attains the nature of the mystical marriage in Christ. But it can't do this unless there are literal families in echad union themselves. The kind of unity envisaged by Yahweh, and as portrayed in the Book of Revelation, can never be achieved by staying single, though a congregation of single people may certainly move in that direction. That is why the union of Yahweh's people to Himself through Yah'shua (Jesus) is depicted as an allegorical marriage and not something else. Were actual, literal marriage not the building block of this mysical union, then some other sort of allegory would have been chosen, as between brothers and sisters, for example.
An echad marriage, as I said, cannot be built in a day. By our reckoning, it takes a good seven years (if not more), each year corresponding to the spiritual maturing that corresponds to each of the Seven Annual Festivals, to actually get the mechanism in place. A new wife cannot just 'plunge' into it, even if that is her heartfelt desire to do so, but must dip her feet into it and gradually become immersed. This is not because her complete immersion is not desired from Day #1 but simply because it can't in practice happen without enormous readjustments on the part of everyone. Thus an incoming wife, to all intents and purposes, must begin in the multiple-monogamous mode as she is gradually drawn in to the echad reality. Like an athlete cannot possible be ready to enter an olyympic race until he has done considerable training, so a new wife cannot possible enter fully into the union until she has first sensed and understood what it is, because it is not something that can be reduced to words in an instruction manual.
Every echad marriage has false starts. The spiritual engines stall and we throw up our hands in despair and wonder why. Echad polygamy is not the same as monogamy or that type of Christian/Messianic polygamy practiced by the majority which we call 'multiple monogamy'. It's not just about making an intimate relationship with a husband but entering the spiritual core where everyone meets (the SW1-H-SW2 sphere). Every echad marriage begins with a multiple monogamous element - it's unavoidable - and there is a strong carnal drive to keep it that way. It is needed to build a new relationship but it must always be understood as something inferior which is leading to something better, purer and more joyful. A husband in an echad polygamous marriage is not, therefore, struggling to help everyone deal with one-to-one problems but must continually encourage his wives to steadily move towards the echad goal, not an easy task in itself. And to achieve that requires nothing short of what Paul calls flesh-crucifixion ... not a renunciation of physical pleasure, but of that spiritual nature to which we have given the metaphor "flesh" which tends to 'I/me' instead of to 'We/us'.
As 'dangerous' as stagnating in a miltiple-monogamous mode is the desire to plunge headlong into full echad without gradual readjustments over time. A lot of egotism can be involved in this with one of the wives wanting to 'install a new melody' that is not her husband's (first of all) or which seeks to ride roughshod over the collective orchestration of what the husband and his older wives have already established. Mutliple human relationships are both complex and highly sensitive, taking much time, patience and emotional labour to arrive at an equilibrium. A third or fourth wife entering an already extant echad marriage cannot 'push' her way in or change things around at her whim to make her feel more comfortable. The sacredness of what already is must be respected.
A new wife entering an already echad polygamous relationship should do so in the same careful and measured way as an aquarist converting a saltwater fish to a freshwater environment. He does this by adding a small quantity of fresh water daily over many weeks or months so that the saltwater fish can painlessly acclimatise to a freshwater environment. This takes great skill. Throwing a saltwater fish into a freshwater aquarium will kill it. Echad plural marriage is no different. Unlike a new husband and wife joining together, which can be a very heated and passionate affair (as it ought to be, though the quality of this will vary according to personality type), you cannot do this in echad polygamy.
For someone coming into an echad polygamous marriage ... and that's everyone ... there are major internal conflicts to be faced. If you are experiencing that, understand that it is enterirely 'normal' and is not a sign either that you are 'abnormal' or that the others cannot understand you. It is quite normal to misjudge and misunderstand what echad marriage is simply because such a notion does not exist in the world. It is an entirely alien concept to it. And thus those entering an echad marriage, even if they are already devout Christians/Messianics, are more than likely to experience confusion, feel they are being rejected, that those established in echad are cold and unfeeling, and so on. Indeed, that is a typical relation of anyone in any kind of spiritual reality which meets another that it cannot yet fully comprehend. The new wife must turn to the husband for leadership and guidance, submitting to him. If she cannot do that, then there is no way that she can enter the echad equation in a painless and satisfying manner. As in learning to awim, there are those who believing in throwing the novice 'in the deep end' and there are those who believe in building up confidence gradually. Though there are exceptions, by far the vast majority of people thrive more by gradual induction. This mean investment of time.
To successfully enter an echad plural marriage does require great patience. The best things usually take more time to get than those which are inferior. Anyone can hop into bed and enjoy sex, with or without a marriage covenant. The world does that all the time. Most people can enter a monogamous marriage covenant and simply idolise each other and find a level of psychic and fleshy oneness. Some can enter into multiple-monogamy polygamy and, through various spiritual battles, discover something 'greater' than normal monogamy (though in our experience the success rate is very low). But only a few can enter into echad polygamy and find the fullness for which marriage was originally designed by Yahweh, and so become models for local congregations seeking to build oneness without the benefit of the closer intimacy that literal marriage brings.
For most coming into this form of marriage anew, there is a tremendous amount of readjustment. For one thing, the emphasis is always on the spiritual first. For most people, the 'spiritual' comes at church/assembly, and marriage is for having a good time in bed and making babies. Thus church/congregation and marriage are, as it were, two separate but complimentary things.
Nothing could be more wrong. It's this dichotomy which is largely the cause of so many problems in Western Christianity because it is entirely unnatural. This is not the way we were built to be. The Church/Assembly is a collection of families - not something separate from families to which families 'go' once or twice a week. The Church/Assembly is a living organism which is, when properly functioning, defined by the relationships within the individual families of which it is composed. And to be built after the model of Christ, those family relationships have to be echad.
The journey into echad in a sevenfold series of spiritual progressions
that correspond to the seven annual festivals of Messianic Israel
The first lesson to learn in echad marriage is that there is a strict hierarchy of values. Just as building a house must begin with the foundation, continue with the walls, and end with the roof, so an echad marriage (monogamous or polygamous) must begin with a foundation of the spiritual, continue with the walls of intellectual oneness, and finally obtain a covering of emotional harmony. All the rest - making the house into something beautiful through interior decorating - is the province of the sexual union. Sex is the icing, not the cake. And yet most secular and Western Christian/Messianic marriages place an emphasis on the roof and the decorations and then wonder why they collapse so fast.
For echad polygamy to work, entering and building the echad in correct tavnith (pattern) - must occur in the right order: spiritual echad, mental echad, emotional echad, and sexual echad. In practice, of course, all four are occuring simultaneously, especially after the covenants of marriage have been entered into. This is why we advocate the absolute necessity (with rare exceptions), especially for young people or those of all ages who have been spiritually damaged through painful encounters in the world, to enter marriage in the time honoured fashion of the Hebrews by first getting dedicated, then betrothed, and only then fully married. These correspond to three of the annual festivals of YomhaBikkurim (Firstfruits), Shavu'ot (Weeks/'Pentecost') and Sukkot (Tabernacles/Booths).
Dedication is a covenant of friendship in Christ with a view to deeping the relationship into a permanent marriage. It is not an immutable covenant and may be broken by the parties if they discover thet they are incompatible and it is clear they were not supposed to be married or that they belonged to others. At the same time, such a covenant should not be entered into lightly - it not an 'experimental' game but is real and sincere intent to get married much like secular engagement (though the sacredness of the latter has diminished over the last century). Ideally, the parties should be serving in the same congregation. Thus the dedicated woman ought to move to the same location as her intended bridegroom so that she can share in the kingdom-building work with her intended, whilst living separately. Having the Kingdom as ones focus for marriage, as Christ enjoined, ought to be the purpose of the relation-building aspect of Dedication. This form of marriage covenant had been lost by the majority of the inhabitants of the Holy Land by the time of the New Testament though but was preserved by the despised Samaritans and continues to be practiced by them today. We have found its value to be enormous in cultivating spiritual relationships.
Betrothal is a permant bond of marriage and cannot be broken. It is a spiritual, mental, and emotional committment for ever but unconsummated physically. Its purpose is to cultivate the next stage of marriage, which is to build an enclosure symbolised by the walls in the house analogy. If it's a polygamous marriage, its purpose is to solidify mental and emotional bonds not just with the husband but with the sister-wives too. It is, in fact, part of the process of entering the circuit. There should be a decent interval between Dedication and Betrothal, a minimum of three months, ideally a full year. In a culture which encourages hasty intimacy which leads to turbulent and fragile relationships without any solid spiritual, mental or emotional foundation, it is vital that the local church/assembly establishes a set of rules in this area to ensure the safety and prosperity of marriages consecrated under its auspices. Proper marriage counselling is a vital part of the ministry of the end-time Church/Assembly.
For the same reasons, there should be a decent span of time between Betrothal and Full Marriage. Again, a minimum of three months is recommended. If there has been previous sexual activity - be it from a failed marriage, adultery or fornication, we make it a rule in our order to forbid Full Marriage until there has been a complete year gap. This is necessary to break ungodly bonds through deliverance ministry and to give the heart the needed time to make adjustments to a new and completely different relationship. The ability to demonstrate sexual self-control is an essential feature of echad polygamy, not because sex is not highly regarded, but because of its proper position in the hierarchy of true Christian/Messianic values. The counsel given to the Corinthian saints by the apostle Paul, to former pagans burning with sexual lust, is not regarded by us as an excuse for hasty echad marriage. Those who are burning and unwilling to submit themselves to spiritual discipline will not, in any case, ever be able to implement echad marriage of any sort. Such marriages, spurred on by uncontrollable sexual libido, will always be inferior to the spirit-centred equivalent. Building a sexual union is easy, but the system can go into overload with disasterous consequences, often resulting in multiple-monogamy. Even certain species of animal can do that, such as penguins and other kinds who bond for life. But we have been called to higher things than penguins. Those who are not willing to follow the hierachy of values I have described should under no circumstances enter any form of polygamy, and certainly not echad polygamy, the only kind of polygamy we believe to be sanctioned in the New Covenant. Such should be thinking of monogamy.
Echad polygamy's goal is far more than life-long bonding
Every new wife entering an echad polygamous marriage must spend time trying to understand its dynamic and motion. She will change it by entering it, as is expected, and in turned be changed by it. But entering echad marriage is not a tit-for-tat sort of thing. A new employee in a company will, by his mere presence, work, energy and style, and other personal characteristics, make an impact on the office and change its atmosphere. But if he expects to change company policy because he does not like the way certain things are done (in which he may have some valid criticisms), he must not expect to walk in as a freshman and expect to make changes overnight. The bigger and more complex any organised body of people are, the longer it takes to make changes. He will, if he is wise, work within the existing structure and unobtrusively and non-forcefully, in a way that will endear rather than alientate him from his co-workers, gain the confidence of those he works with by convincing them that he does not want to walk roughshod over them and push his way forward. He will be governed first of all by the servant attitude and wait until he is approached, or a favourable moment appears, to make known his ideas to his boss. This was Yah'shua's (Jesus') meaning when He said that a guest at a wedding feast should not engratiate himself by occupying the seat of honour as he may experience the humiliation of being asked to move somewhere else, even to the lowest position of honour. Rather, in humility and self-abasement and like a true disciple, he should take the least significant seat and wait for the master of ceremonies to invite him to sit elsewhere, if that is to happen, and if not, to be satisfied with the least seat.
A new wife, like a wedding guest, should assume the least
important place until invited by her husband to a place of honour
For a successful echad marriage to result, everyone must work in the servant position, as Yah'shua (Jesus) taught when He washed the feet of His disciples. We have been indoctrinated in the secular West with many ideas about 'rights' and 'equality"' which are non-biblical and which, if brought into a marriage, can introduce destabilising and destructuve forces. Just as I am always concerned when new members of the local church/assembly get it into their heads that they are going to be 'leaders' or 'great ones' and who show no interest in walking the lowly path of service in the Deaconate, so I am always concerned when I hear reports from the polygamy community of new wives who think they are going to force their former ways of being into their new marriage. And whilst a new wife must be given plenty of space and time to make readjustments - which is no small feat, especially if she is older and 'set in her ways' somewhat - she must realistically expect such readjustments to take time. Marriage is a complex and fragile thing, and whatever marriage she is entering into, will have been created through much struggle, sacrifice and tears. A new wife must respect that and seek to understand it. And whilst it should be recognised by all that changes must continue to be made in order to conform more precisely to the model that Yah'shua (Jesus) wishes us to emulate and realise ourselves, and that a new wife will be expected to both change and contribute to that change, it can never be forced. This is, of course, particularly hard for a new wife who may be used to a completely different lifestyle. It is difficult enough in a monogamous marriage, and considerably amplified in a polygamous one. Thus the need for great patience. For this reason the 'multiple-monogamy phase' may take longer for some new wives than others.
Those of you who have done some elementary electronics at school and can remember the fundamentals of circuitry, will recall, perhaps, how you placed resistors in the circuit and watched the change in voltage and current. And you will have noticed, if you ever did the experiment, the different results you get when you place a resistor in series instead of in parallel. I expect you had lightbulbs, voltameters and ampmeters to measure voltage and current. I regret I was not more interested at the time for subsequently I have found it a most useful way of understanding different forms of marriage relationship.
Relationships in a polygamous family are like a complex circuit board
Of course, we all know and recognise that sin disrupts and impairs relationships. That will be true of any kind of marriage, but it is important to underline that when sin enters an echad polygamous marriage its effects reverberate more intensely through the common 'circuit'. Sins are like resistors added to the circuit which drain power and weaken the whole. A successful and dynamic marriage, echad or otherwise, must always deal with sin issues quickly and effectively. This requires good communication, transparency, and above all, calm and patriarchal order. The husband's unquestioned headship is essential. For women, who tend by nature to be rather more emotional than men, learning to contain outbursts of feelings within sensible limits, without suppressing them (which is equally dangerous for it creates another kind of block in the circuitry) is an important skill acquired as other forces harmonise and balance them out. Every single wife of mine has had outburts, some legitimate, some not so legitimate, and others purely destructive. One of the first things that must be done when a new wife enters into a polygamous marriage is to establish the rules and regulations for expression that give her confidence she can freely express herself within the acceptable standards and bounds of the Gospel Torah. A new wife who doesn't have emotional unheavals is either perfect or suppressing herself in order not be a 'bother'. One of the greatest fears she will have, if she is considerate of others, will be a reluctance to tread in such a way as to be provocative. Her greatest fear will always to be unaccepted and rejected because she is 'different' (as is inevitable) and not instantly 'fitting in'. She will be tempted to think back on the 'good old days' of being single (or in a previous marriage is she is a divorcee) in order to find an artificial form of comfort, which will lead her to erect walls which she believes are necessary for her own emotional safety.
Every new wife struggles with these things and it is important for her to understand that both her husband and sister-wives, if they have been trained properly, are aware of this. Most of the feelings of rejection one feels are usually illusiory. Signals can be misread and blown out of all proportion, and false conclusions arrived at. We have a tendency to expect other people to react in certain ways - ways that we are accustomed to, especially if those ways have been reinforced by the secular culture. One thing you have to realise is that no two minds or hearts are alike. Coming into a Christian/Messianic milieu where different standards and rules of behaviour apply can be very disconcerting to begin with.
A typical reaction, which all husbands should be aware of, is the belief of a new wife unaccustomed to the way the marriage functions, that if the husband has a disagrement or a problem with one wife he can go to the others for comfort leaving her out in the cold. I am sure such may, and probably does, happen, in multiple-monogamous relationships. A clique can band together, isolating the unhappy wife, in order to 'force' her by isolation into their way of being. This cannot happen in echad polygamy. If one wife is sad, husband and sister-wives partake of that sadness automatically, not because that is what is 'expected' of them but because that is the nature of the spiritual inter-connectedness (the 'SW1-H-SW2 Zone'). It is the reality of the common circuit established by covenant and cultivated by love. If one wife is hurting there is no way I can be 'comforted' by going to another for succor. The experience is, for me, no different from being in a monogamous relationship. That is what happens in echad polygamy. It just 'is'.
Once everyone realises that their actions affect everyone else deeply and intimately, they become more careful in how they respond to situations. The interests of the whole then become the priority instead of perceived personal 'needs' and 'wants'. This is perhaps the most important and fundamental adjustment that has to be made in the echad way of being - something that ought to be natural to the Christian/Messianic but which in practice isn't because compromises are always made with the surrounding culture's way of being and doing things. This is another reason why patriarchal communities are so important, where shared values can be reinforced between families. Every time one interacts with the outside world - in work or leisure (even through TV and Internet) - there are invisible forces, like a gravitational pull, which would take us towards that which we are trying to escape from. We are in contact with people who have different values from us whom naturally we wish to interact and bond with to a certain degree, but which in fact connects us to other circuits, forces, and modes. That is why solo Christians and solo families are at such a considerable spiritual disadvantage. It is one reason why we homeschool now. Those children of mine who, in the past, have gone to state school, always brought back a certain spirit with them that took time to deal with. When they are home over the vaccation, especially the long summer one, they change considerably for the better. We notice (though they likely do not) how different they are in attitudes and spirit having been at home for some weeks compared to the way they are after daily immersion in the world system at school. It does make a considerable difference.
The same principles apply in polygmous marriage. Simply getting immersed in the family's way of being is the sensible first step of a new wife. In many ways it does feel as though you are a 'guest' no matter now much you are welcomed and accepted. As one who has travelled and lived away from home for long periods of time as an international evangelist or in work, I know how 'uncomfortable' it can feel living in other peoples' homes where different rules apply and spirits operate. Learning to do that gracefully in a spirit of acceptance is an acquired skill. I was a batchelor for many, many years before marrying, and adapting to having a second person in the house was tough enough. That is the way we are built. And we must learn to be patient with ourselves and with others. Those of us who have made these adjustments ... and have done so many times in polygamy ... do understand the struggles of a new wife, even if she may at times have problems believing that because of the intensity of the feelings she has within. That is always the value of experience which is why I am so sceptical of those who run polygamy ministries but have never experienced the real thing except what they have heard from others. It's rather like going for marriage guidance to someone who has never been married (like a Ctholic priest), or going to train as a pilot with someone who has never been in an aircraft but who has read all the manuals and sat in some simulators.
How can I explain what echad polygamy really is? I admit, it is not easy. How do explain to someone what it's like to work in a team when they have only ever worked alone? How do you explain the cameraderie of men working together in a common cause where their lives are in danger and they support one another (as in a combat situation) or of women sharing a husband in an echad marriage where the word echad or 'oneness' means something totally different to the outside world? How do you do it? Words, descriptions of examples, do most certainly help, but the reality can only ever be known by participating.
I can look into my wives' eyes - those who have been with me many years - and without saying anything we can just 'know'. The need for discussion diminishes in proportion to the degree of echadness which you enjoy. I say this not to intimidate new wives, who often feel that a tortuous marathon lies ahead of them, but to simply assure them that with patience, trust and openness, this will be their's also, if they really want it. It will cost them a lot, but then so does anything of exceptional value. Freedoms taken for granted that belong to an independent existence as a single, or in a semi-independent existence in a monogamous relationship, do have to be sacrificed. Many don't want to surrender these privileges of independence and remain single or commit only to monogamous marriage. These are choices, and they must be respected. But once the choice has been made to enter echad polygamous marriage, it is both unrealistic and foolish to suppose that they can be held onto still. One way of life has to be substituted for another. You can never have the benefit of both. Others get around this by having multiple monogamous polygamous marriages where wives have their own households, own bank accounts, and so forth. Sometimes they even live in different towns! But in echad marriage we live the parallel principle of the first Jerusalem congregation, which had all things in common. Just as the worldly goods of the saints were placed at the feet of the apostles for redistribution, so an echad polygamous wife places all her worldly possession and freedoms as a single or a monogamous wife at the feet of her husband, to do with as he sees fit and as led by the Spirit. At the same time, the husband who is part of a community will do the same thing with the other family heads, placing his possessions at the feet of those apostles selected to lead the community.
In both cases, our worldly possessions are deeded back to us as stewardships. Hence one of my wives, who brought a computer into the family, had the computer deeded back to her as her stewardship. Though she is the 'head' of that piece of property, it is understood that it is to be shared when needed. The 'covenant deeds' vary according to the nature of the items. Keepsakes like photo albums are, of course, the owners', like watches, wedding rings and other necessary items like clothing. In the family, these are all unwritten 'deeds', because in echad polygamy love must always be the primary governing bond, with rules to fall back onto when the lines of communication temporarily go down.
The physical and financial resources are pooled under the husband's management in echad polygamy and then deeded back to the wives and their children according to several needs in a United Order
Echad polygamy is both a road which you walk on, which can be described in detail, and an invisible dynamic that is hard, if not impossible, to communiate orally or in written form. For the most part, this website is about communicating what can be written. Those who want to go the next step go and visit a polygamous family for longer or shorter periods of time in order to get the 'feel' of things. There is a world of difference between reading what someone writes to actually looking into their eyes and seeing the Spirit radiating from them (or, if you are unlucky, a lack of it). People are naturally and understandly suspicious of what is written because there are many fakes who can wax eloquent on paper or in cyberspace but who are in real life monsters. I myself have been accused of being a European communist slave-driver by fellow Christian/Messianic polygamists. Other Christian/Messianic polygamists have said I am not married at all but making all this up in order to get money! (I have made zero złotys from this work whilst spending lots to host visitors, some of whom have written about their experiences here).
Echad Polygamy is both a road and a dynamic
Echad polygamy is an immersion or a baptism, and like all immersions, you first have to learn to swim in it. To begin with, you are swimming against the current of the carnal man (or woman). Secondly, you are swimming in faith for you only have the word of those who are experienced practitioners, which means that you begin almost completely blind, your sight progressing from dim to brighteness the farther you swim. Thirdly, you're swimming under water and breathing the water, not the air above it. That needs a word of explanation.
Looking at the turbulance of an ocean in a storm you might, unless otherwise informed, be tempted to believe that under the surface it is just as bad. But as any submariner will tell you, the best place for a submarine crew in a storm is far down beneath the billowing waves.
Baptism is a model given us in the New Testament of total involvement. It has a dual meaning. On the one hand, it is a washing away of the old man of sin - not partial (by sprinkling), but complete (by immersion). By going under the water we symbolise death in the grave - the death of the old man - and by coming out we represent the new life in Christ.
We also speak of being "baptised into Christ" which means a complete identity with him. In this particular immersion we do not "arise" since we remain in Him. We go down and we stay down! It is this imersion of which I am speaking in the echad polygamy context. We exchange the rarified air of worldliness for the solid water of the Holy Spirit. It is a totally contrary world, as different as breathing using lungs and gills. Oxygen (life) is still the name of the game, but we obtain it rather differently.
As described in other articles here, the Ruach haQodesh or Holy Spirit is seven-fold and female. 'She' consists of seven female Beings, the Brides of Yahweh, created from Him as Eve was created - or better - 'derived' from Adam, since neither were de novo creations. Both are uniplural - Yahweh having One Bride who is also Seven, just as a week is one but also seven (days). Evach Ruach (Spirit) corresponds to one of the seven days of creation and its continuing maintenance activity. Since we are made in the image of Elohim (God) we too have a seven-fold spirit, each one-seventh aspect corresponding to one of the seven overcomings in the Book of Revelation as represented by the seven congregations of Asia Minor. One of the seven Ruach haQodeshim (Holy Spirits) - the seventh - is the Spirit of Rest, or the Sabbath.
The Bible speaks of three categories of spirit - nefesh (associated with the human spirit), ruach (often translated as 'breath' and the most common designation of the Holy Spirit or Ruach haQodesh, and neshamah (about which little is said). When Yah'shua (Jesus) conferred the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) on His disciples you may remember that He did not lay hands on them but breathed on them (John 20:22). The symbolism of this should not be missed. I think most people have an image of Yahweh breathing on a lump of fashioned clay when Adam was created (Genesis 2:7) which is as it is supposed to be understood at a simple level. But unless we believe Yahweh is a mortal human with lungs that exchanges oxygen with some sort of environment (as occultists and New Agers believe in their quest for prana through meditation and Yoga techniques) - which I do not - we are forced to seek for another interpretation that squares with similar or equivalent passages of Scripture. And since the Ruach or Spirit is a Person, and not just an impersonal force (as some like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists and many Messianics believe), and since this same Ruach (Spirit) overshadowed the Virgin Mary and caused her to conceive, we must posit that She is in some way a Creator under the direction of the Father and the Son. There is a power involved, which can overshadow, and it is mediated by a Person in the Godhead.
When I speak, therefore, of being immersed in spiritual "water", it is the Ruach (Spirit) that I am talking about. However, there is not just one Ruach (Spirit), as we have seen, but Seven, and also three types of biblical Ruach (Spirit) - nefesh, ruach, and neshamah.
The Bible speaks of three types or classes of resurrection that correspond, in their luminosity, to the light of the stars, moon, and sun, respectively. These are directly paralleled by the nefesh, ruach, and neshamah.
Similarly, we learn of three categories of resurrection - the resurrection of the damned and the resurrection of the just, of which there are two orders: (a) the 144,000 firstborn patriarch-rulers and their wives, and (b) the rest, or the great host of the redeemed. And within these we know from Yah'shua (Jesus) that there are many "mansions" or sub-orders. Yah'shua (Jesus) taught also that there was a stage in which a disciple graduates from being a disciple (the "rest") to a friend (the 144,000) after the trial of their faith and demonstable obedience and loyalty to the truth.
Paul describes three kinds of resurrection likened to the glory
of the sun, moon and stars - 1 Corinthians 15:40-42
There are, therefore, three types of marriage 'spirit' - nefesh, ruach and neshamah that correspond in humans to inner states of being or degrees of sanctification. And there is a definite transition boundary between the one and the other. Each of these spirits corresponds to a sphere of activity - we possess all three. The nefesh corresponds, roughly speaking, to body-centredness, the ruach to the solo or monogamy-only mindframe or way of being, and the neshamah to echad uniplurality. All of these are valid expressions of the spirit, and all three are necessary, and are ministered to, respectively, by the 'Nefesh haQodesh', (Holy 'Nephesh'), Ruach haQodesh (Holy 'Ruach'), and the Neshamah haQodesh (Holy 'Neshamah'), which are three aspects of the Seven-in-One Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God). What is important here is which sphere of the Spirit dominates in our life - Neshamah, Ruach or Nephesh, for this determines which primary spirit steers us.
There is a very real etymological (meaning of words) problem here since distinctions of spirit have never been made in our language and so no equivalent English words exist. Just as we have one word for snow, so the Eskimos have many different ones (from 50 to 300) which describe all the different types. English is, in this respect, a handicap to us. So when I use the Hebrew words as they stand, they imply what I have tried to convey above. More than that is is not possible to do until an agreed vocabulary is established.
Echad polygamy operates in the realm of the Neshamah haQodesh, monogamy and multiple monogamous polygamy operate in the realm of the Ruach haQodesh (which also, unfortunately, serves as a general word for all types of Spirit - such multiple usages afflict us in other Hebrew and Greek words). The Nephesh haQodesh has no independent existence since it requires one or both of the other two (Ruach or Neshamah) to have life, rather like our body being dependent on the breath of life to become alive.
Neshamah and Ruach are two very different worlds indeed. Many of the conflicts within Christendom have arisen because those operating out of Ruach know nothing of Neshamah. Those of the Neshamah haQodesh are invisible to them and are invariably misjudged and abused. The Neshamah Spirit cannot be written about which is why Yah'shua (Jesus) never wrote anything - He was pure Neshamah. We "see" Him through the eyes of His disciples who, though of the Neshamah, were obliged to express their witness in a medium which is essentially Ruach. That is why no Scripture is by private interpretation. It has to be revealed in a Master-Disciple relationship until the disciple becomes transformed into a friend by direct association.
When we are drawn to the Neshamah sphere it does not necessarily mean that we understand it, but have been called as apprenticies to it. All our knowledge in the Ruach sphere is of little use. Being educated to be in the Neshamah as opposed to the Ruach is the difference between direct (solar) and reflected (lunar) light. Nevertheless, we do have to start in the Ruach. There's no bypassing it.
It is very easy to 'disprove' the Neshamah using the scalpel of Scripture just as it is easy disproving the existence of the spirit-man on an operating theatre. You cannot view the Neshamah through the lenses of the Ruach for it will always be invisible. The only way to see and touch the Neshamah is by becoming the metaphorical crysalis or pupa and allowing the invisible hand of the Almighty to effect a complete inner reorganisation until the spiritual butterfly emerges.
The metamorphosis of a butterfly is an incredible thing. When the larva (symbol of the lower nature) pupates, every single cell is reorganised. Every organ and tissue dissolves and is reassembled into those of a butterfly by an invisible genetic program which, when we have understood it finally, will astonish us. The caterpillar is not conscious of the process, for it happens automatically, and the next thing it knows after a period of unconsciousness over the winter, is that it is a butterfly ready to emerge into a new world. This process is also, on another level, a type of the resurrection when we lay down the mortal man and take up the spiritual.
The larva stage of metamorphosis corresponds to the Nefesh nature
We know that the caterpillar becomes a butterfly even though we don't fully know how. Biologists have been able to study the cell migration but still have no idea how the DNA mediates it. And we don't need to know. Try though we may to assemble a mathematical manual using the scriptures, as we do (and must do) on the Ruach level, we cannot for the Neshamah. At this point - if we have reached it - our Father in Heaven takes over. This is what it is like in echad polygamy.
Nevertheless, the Ruach walls must be there. We dare not overlook them. Echad polygamy is something that metamorphoses gradually as you yield to the Neshamah haQodesh that invisibly guides it.
Were this all theoretical, rejection of it (especially by sceptically trained Western minds, Christian/Messianic or otherwise, who love to dissect and analyse and do not comprehend that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts) would be understandable, and I suppose this is why I was required to live it secretly until at least two of my wives had attained it together with me. I speak not of perfection here, for we are a long way from that, but of making the very definite transition from one frame of being to another. And that we have most certainly attained. That is why, I suppose, we were held back from making echad polygamy known until about 20 years ago, and to actually name it and explain the difference between it and multiple monogamous polygamy as recently as 2001. At first we walked alongside other polygamy ministries that espouse (in all but word) the multiple-monogamy type until the time came to make a clear break. We have, I guess, come of age.
It is always difficult when talking about such things not come across as being arrogant or of having something which others don't have. Doubtless there are those who have such a haughty view of themselves. But there is little we can do about revealing a truth which is 'higher' than has been revealed previously, anymore than we can apologise to those who may still be abiding Old Covenant Torah in telling them that Yahweh has revelaed a covenant based on "better promises" (Hebrews 8:6, NIV) and I am sure noone will accuse Paul (or whoever wrote Hebrews) of being 'arrogant' for saying do). What is, simply is. How we announce it, of course, will always be 'read' depending on the frame of mind of the reader. All I can say is that those who are drawn to echad polygamy will be drawn to it, and those who are not, won't be. We aim to minister to those who are drawn and leave everyone else in peace (even if at times they may not reciprocate).
People are touchy. We all like to think that we're further ahead than we actually are. It's a part of human nature, that part which is called the 'flesh'. Pride is easily offended by truth, which is why we are supposed to crucify it, or risk Yahweh opposing us actively and so rob us of our peace. The Jews were offended when Yah'shua (Jesus) announced a better way. And they still are. Only the other day a Tadmudic Jewish woman openly said she was 'offended' because I was honouring the Sabbath which she considered was 'theirs', namely, the Talmudic Jews (even if they observe it on the wrong day of the week). Well, what can one say, except to bless such people and simply move on? People do get trapped in mental ruts and run around them in circles, never going anywhere, yet are impressed by the speed at which they are running. Sometimes it is better to stand still and survey the spiritual landscape.
I have now reached the point in my spiritual life where I am openly opposed to all and any form of polygamy except echad polygamy. People come along to this ministry and assume, that because I am a polygamist, that I accept all forms of polygamy. Well, I don't. I don't support all forms of monogamy either - the child-bride marriages, the shotgun marriages, the flesh-based marriages. I accept that what is done is done but it will not get my blessing or approval. I have seen the casualties and what I have seen is not good. I would wish no woman (and ultimately no man) such a spiritual death sentence.
Multiple monogamy, if it exists, is no more than a phase, rather like a candidate or catechumen preparing for baptism. It's not the goal, only a stepping stone. The more it is prolonged, the worse it becomes. Can you imagine being stuck in school all your life? There is a short time and season for schooling, but after that it becomes a form of slavery. Multiple monogamy, like spiritual 'concubinage', can only ever be regarded as a very brief phase that remains as a safety net when things go wrong, but which can never be the primary focus. We know, if we are honest, that in any spiritual journey, the full rights and privileges come with time. As Christians we are supposed to treat everyone alike, for we are all equal in the sense of jurisdictional salvation (being something we can never earn), but the reality of different degrees of sanctification, of experience, and of spiritual enlightenment are simply states which we must accept as belonging to some and not others at any one point of time, just as we are obliged to accept our different giftedness. Each and every one of us is streaks ahead in some things over the others and a wise person simply accepts that and does not fall into the sin of envy.
In echad - whether in polygamy or communital living - it is irrelevent anyway since the gifts are all shared as one. It is accepted that everyone is progressed in different areas at any one time. In Holy Echad Marriage (HEM) it is a collective giftedness and maturity. When you are in female (submitted) relationship to one who is more progressed (male position), you partake of the giftedness of the one who is more progressed. As the Bible says:
The one thing that has to be overcome to make echad marriage or communal living thrive, is the lie that has been fed to us that our worth lies in who we think we are based on self-observation or the observations of others instead of what Christ has done for us and thus how our Heavenly Father views us. For many, this is just an intellectual proposition that has to be forced into an artificial reality to make it work, but it isn't. The message is that it is real, and animated by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), to be 'touched' and experienced.
"Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward" (Matthew 10:41, NIV).
To be sure, there is much mental reprogramming that has to be done, and that is very much an act of volition or free choice. Yahweh doesn't make our choices for us. He acts when the choice has been made in committment, preferably covenant. It is covenant that Yahweh 'sees' and it is covenant that Yahweh justifies, provided it is sincere and made in trust.
What is it like to be in the Neshamah haQodesh in echad polygamy? It is very quiet, very still, very peaceful, very warm (a red hot glow that never dies down is how I describe it), very embracing. The self not so much dissolves but becomes hidden in the whole. We retain individuality (unlike in Buddhism, Hinduism and New Ageism) but we glory in that which is greater than the individual, the oneness of the union of many. And that really is the glory of the Mystical Marriage of Christ in heaven. It is independent of our fickle human feelings which come and go like the tides of the sea, and get stirred up like stormy oceans on the surface. Down 'below', in the Neshamah, all is in repose. Anxieties about whether one is loved or not do not abide there - one just knows and trusts because one has let go of the ceaseless demands of the self and the fallen nature.
In echad polygamy you have identity in Yah'shua (Jesus) and in the marriage. I have found it and I want nothing else. Though the storms may be about and the difficulties in life may from time to grow bigger and more challenging to refine us, within there is gentle calmness and this wonderful love.