Have you, as a single Christian/Messianic woman, ever been approached by a polygamist man - or one aspiring to be a polygamist man - and been told that you desperately need a spiritual covering? And that the sooner you marry him, the better for you (or something similar)? If you have been approached by such a person, you have been lied to by a false religious spirit.
That a woman needs the covering of a husband for her spiritual protection is not denied. It is a well established biblical principle that I have already discussed in other articles and which some other contributors to this webpage have also written about. I have also discussed the biblical teaching that a single woman's father is supposed to provide her with a spiritual covering and suggested that if she does not have a father in Christ, that she may find a kind of 'proxy father' in the person of another Christian/Messianic man who is willing to fulfil that spiritual paternal rôle. A Pastor or Elder would be the ideal.
As Yahweh reveals new or forgotten biblical principles to the Body of Christ, Satan always arises to counter it with a counterfeit. The latest counterfeit is being promulgated by certain 'patriarchs' who are insisting that all single women must instantly marry them for their own protection and good. But what they don't tell you is that the spirit that is driving them to make such demands are the spirits of lust and control which themselves derive from a perverse view of authority.
What is True Authority?
One of the pernicious heresies in circulation in certain patriarchal/polygamous circles (not to mention elsewhere in the monogamy-only world too) is that men have authority over all women. This is utterly and absolutely false. The only men that have authority over a woman are
And even then, that authority is prescribed by certain biblically-defined conditions. For every commandment of obedience given to a woman relative to her husband, there is a parallel one of love and consideration to her husband (e.g. 1 Peter 3:1-6 > v.7; Ephesians 5:22-24 > vv.25-28):
- (a) Her husband (once married, for eternity); and
- (b) Her father (until she is married)
The Bible makes it plain that there are different levels of authority within the Body of Christ (Messianic Community). To fulfil and be blessed in his calling, a man must remain within the boundaries of his particular office. The moment he starts straying beyond those boundaries and exercising excessive independence, or even assuming a calling that Yahweh has not given him, a door will be opened to demonic deception. Many men make the cardinal error of assuming that just because they have a spiritual anointing in their life that they are somehow absolved of relationship to others and accountability to a higher authority. It is not long before lone sheep are transformed into lone wolves. When a believer starts to think of, or say, to another Christian/Messianic, "I have no need of you" (1 Corinthians 12:21), he is setting himself up for a fall. We all need input and counsel from those who have gone before us, and the prayers and support of those whom we are serving and who have entered into the kingdom ahead us.
"Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband" (Ephesians 5:33, NKJV)
The authority structures described in the New Testament for the local assembly or church were placed there by Yahweh for our protection. This means that unless we are maintaining a submissive and obedient attitude towards these, we are setting ourselves up for spiritual trouble. There is never a time when we are justified in rebelling or speaking evil of those whom Yahweh has set over us unless they are in clear and unambiguous violation of the commandments. And even then we do not have the right to speak 'evil' of them, or to foment rebellion (Jude 1:8). There is a correct and an incorrect way to deal with wayward leaders.
Of course, there is a key element that we must interject here, and it is this: is the leader appointed by Elohim (God) or by man? Meaning, has this man been set apart by the Holy Spirit or by the arm-of-flesh? Was this man called as Aaron was, or did he call himself, or was he called by other men not appointed by the Most High? Answering that question is of critical importance, for if we resist an authority which Yahweh Himself has given, then we are not only resisting the ordinances of Yahweh but are bringing judgment on ourselves (Romans 13:2).
Every man and woman has an obligation to sustain and honour true authority whilst at the same time remaining true to the calling which Yahweh has given him/her. No one is in any doubt that the prophet Jeremiah was mightily called of Yahweh to be His messenger but there was a time when he tried to oppose the sons of Rechab and their calling, and was sharply rebuked for his trouble (Jeremiah 35:1-11). Everyone has their ministerial borders and it is none of our business crossing them. But when they step out of line, Yahweh has a tendency to slap them down and humiliate them a bit.
There are many leaders who think that their flock are their followers and that they belong to them. They don't. Every man, woman, and child - including pastors and elders - belong to Christ. The fact that those under my pastoral care have certain obligations to me doesn't mean they are my spiritual property. My job as a pastor is to keep them within the fence of spiritual safety that Yahweh has erected and to encourage them in their particular callings. My job is to make sure the sheep have pasture and to secure the pasture from predators so long as they choose to place themselves under my covering of safety.
Little wonder that patriarchal families who try to 'go it alone' begin to groan and get restless, for the kind of pasture we all need is that which is made on a scale and of a quality that comes only when many families are cooperatively working together under proper authority and leadership to provide the spiritual nourishment needed to be happy and flourishing. Because only when such conditions are met is there adequate covering.
"How the animals groan!
The herds of cattle are restless,
Because they have no pasture;
Even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment"
(Joel 1:18, NKJV)
What is Spiritual Covering?
It is perfectly clear from scripture that every believer should be submitted to the 'covering' of a local assembly or church. Godly ministers provide covering for their flock through their prayers and intercessions. They are called to bring the counsel of Yahweh to the local congregation and to help guide believers into realising their full stature in Christ (Ephesians 4:21). The apostle Paul, in his turn, provided apostolic covering for the pastors and the churches/assemblies that they were responsible for, covering all with prayer, encouragement, godly correction and admonitions. And he in His turn was covered by the presiding apostles, who were Peter, James and John. Under a healthy covering, our spiritual life thrives and flourishes, and we receive the necessary revelation required to overcome the pull of the flesh, the lure of the world, and the affliction of demons.
"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you" (Hebrews 13:17, NKJV)
At this point we do have to be brutally honest - not all churches/assemblies provide a healthy spiritual covering. Those congregations which do not remain faithful to either the Word or the Holy Spirit ... and please be aware that they are not necessarily the same ... can actually be positively harmful to our spiritual health. It's not just a question of finding any old church or assembly and submitting ourselves to its authority:
I have come across some congregations which have impeccable theology who are spiritually dead and even wicked, as well as those who have cranky theology but who were alive in the Spirit. Obviously we must, first, find the Spirit (and not just any old supernatural manifestation), and second, felicity to the Word.
- (a) Firstly, we have to make sure it is faithful to the Bible; and
- (b) We have to make sure it is being guided by the Spirit and not the arm-of-flesh or (and this is becoming increasingly commonplace in our apostate times) the spirits of demons.
A church or assembly which tightly embraces the Holy Spirit and is obedient to the Word provides, without a doubt, the healthiest possible spiritual 'covering'.
The Difference Between Covering and Control
Because the Body of Christ is a dynamic thing, it is quite possible to initially start out on the right track and then drift away into apostacy. Sometimes the drift can be so slow and imperceptible that nobody notices that something has gone wrong until the tell-tale signs of oppression are observed by outsiders who are walking in the Ruach (Spirit), like the proverbial story of the live frog slowly boiling. But often they are not believed until the drift has become so extreme that all but the hopelessly blind realise they are moving into cultism. Then action can be taken.
It is very important that everyone understands the difference between healthy covering and control. The ministers and elders are the key figures in ensuring where the church/assembly goes, especially if they are charismatic and have acquired a reputation on account of their previous righteous walk. People will often trust an unsound move on the part of a leader because of his early track record. It is probably for this reason that so many still trust Billy Graham and many other well-known evangelists in spite of the fact that they have now become blatantly pro-whore church.
Apostacy begins when leaders move away from a position of 'covering' their flock to 'controlling' them. True covering is only possible as long as ministers are properly submitted to the Head, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). And when they do, instead of becoming "watchmen" (Hebrews 13:17) they end up as "lords":
Authority in the Kingdom of Yahweh is not patterned after the world. It is not the same way as the heathen lord it over one another:
"Shepherd the flock of Elohim (God) which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away" (1 Peter 5:2-4, NKJV).
I don't how many patriarchs I have met who want to be 'leaders' but have no intention of serving. They think of themselves as 'great ones' and intend to lord it over others. Such is the spirit of the gentiles and not true Israel.
"But Yah'shua (Jesus) called them to Himself and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave -- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:25-28, NKJV)
What exactly do we mean by 'authority'? Authority, in this context, means 'to have or wield full privilege over', and here Yah'shua (Jesus) is saying that no single individual wields full right or privilege over the saints. That level of authority is reserved for Yah'shua (Jesus) alone, for He is the Head over all things (Ephesians 1:22). Thus any leader's authority is only ever partial authority, and if a minister begins to act and speak independently of Yah'shua (Jesus), he is actually in rebellion. And if he does not repent, he will do great harm to the Body. If he does not correct himself quickly, a great judgment will come upon him that is even more severe than that of the believer not in a position of authority. That is why James said:
When a minister rebels, Yahweh's strict judgment is provoked. As I have surveyed the Christian polygamy community in recent months, I have observed the signs of rebellion and anticipated the judgment. What is frightening is not just the modern-day Korah's who are arising as self-proclaimed 'great ones' but their followers who are blindly following their leaders down to destruction. Consider Dathan and Abiram. They, along with 250 leaders, opposed what Yahweh was doing through Moses. Ten times Israel tempted Yahweh and five times they disbelieved Him. In each case Yahweh freely forgave them. But when the leaders rebelled, Yahweh brought SWIFT JUDGMENT. The pit of Hades (hell) opened up underneath their very feet and swallowed their rebellion forever.
"My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment" (James 3:1, NKJV).
In the very near future you are going to see a similar judgment befall a section of the Christian patriarchal/polygamous community. (This was indeed fulfilled a short while after this article was written in 2002). I have been anticipating it for some time, and been sending warning signals in the articles I have written. A great evil is amongst us but the majority are indifferent or blind to it.
"And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up together with Korah when that company died, when the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men; and they became a sign" (Numbers 26:10, NKJV).
That such leaders as Korah would arise in the Christian/Messianic congregation was prophesied by Jude (Jude 1:11), and not just in the polygamy movement, of course. Ministers all over the place are gathering and doing things which Yahweh never ordained or sanctioned, creating new 'brands' of the Gospel to titillate itching ears. Today cold and aggressive men are appealing to the base carnal instincts in patriarchs are urging them to rule their wives with a mailed fist. They have unknowingly disconnected themselves from the Head of the Church/Assembly and have begun to act independetly of Elohim (God) (Colossians 2:19). And the form of rebellion they are participating in is particularly sinister. Thinking that are doing Yahweh a favour, they are excommunicating or ignoring those who don't comply with their standards and verbally stone those who are serving Yah'shua (Jesus).
Korah-type leaders weave a web of ministerial gossip and slander amongst themselves in order to isolate those with whom they do not agree. They spread poisonous, mean-spirited rumours about other ministers and think that is 'acceptable' because they heard it from a 'trustworthy' source. Ministerial gossip is a dark and sinister world of sin which the average church-goer knows very little about. The fate of such, if they do not repent, is terrible indeed.
The Built-in Possibility of Abuse in Leadership
Never, never assume that any leader is immune from the possibility of abuse. If he was, Paul wouldn't have warned against it (1 Corinthians 9:18). A minister's authority is limited and it can be abused (2 Corinthians 10:8-18). The temptation is always there. Spiritual abuse often occurs because a minister is not aware of the limitations of his authority in the gospel. Whilst an apostle (for example) has the authority to boldly convince, rebuke, warn and exhort the people, he has not right to rule or have dominion over the people's FAITH (2 Corinthians 2:24). No minister has been given the right to keep someone from obeying the Bible or the Holy Spirit.
This abuse is evident throughout a huge segment of the Christian/Messianic world. Charismatic leaders are demanding the kind of unquestioning obedience to the "LORD's anointed" as the Mormons expect to their 'priesthood'. The traditional Protestant churches are demanding unquestioning obedience to tradition and excommunicating people when they teach what the Bible actually says and actually live it (such as true Sabbath observance). And Messianic Jewish groups are condemning souls to hell because they use the Greek pronunciation of the Saviour's Name (Jesus) instead of the Aramaic or Hebrew (Yah'shua/Yeshua) or (worse) declaring that the work of Yahweh in Christendom over the centuries was worthless. And in recent times I have come across patriarchal churches/assemblies where the members can't do anything without asking their pastor's permission. I know, because I was interested in a lady as a potential wife and the pastor vetoed me and told her to break all contact with me without giving her any reasons. That is quite simply a kind of authority that leaders do not have. But it is a well-known characteristic of the cults.
A congregation built upon a minister's charismatic personality, great knowledge, or controlling counsel will have very little faith because it is not built on the rock of revelation from Heaven. It will fall apart as soon as that minister has gone. A church/assembly or ministry that is built on Yah'shua (Jesus) and the Word will have a continuous flow of miracles and will continue to grow even when the founding minister is no longer around. We only have to look at the history of the well-known cults like the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses to see the schism that aflicted them when Joseph Smith, Jr. and Charles Taze Russel, respectively, passed on.
Invisible chains of oppression are being put around the members of patriarchal Christian/Messianic ministries and churches/assemblies. The patriarchs are imitating their dark mentors and spreading the opression to more and more polygamous women instead of liberating them in the echad way. For some reason, they seem to think they are immune from error. Bloated in pride and self-sufficiency, many are behaving like little Hitlers in their homes.
The Sin of Patriarchal Jealosy
We hear much of women's jealosy in polygamy but rarely anything about the same sin in the men. Whenever Yahweh begins to restore or emphasise a certain truth within the Body of Christ like polygamy, Satan often causes jealous and controlling ministers to jump on the bandwagon and point out all the (real or imagined) errors of its ministers in order to hijack the movement for themselves. There is an inordinate amount of rivalry and jealosy between some patriarchs and their ministries who will stand by absurdly unbiblical principles simply not to agree with a truth being preached by a rival and so risk endorsing the rival.
The Mormons teach that if Elohim (God) has a calling for a member of their congregation, He will tell the Bishop (Pastor) first, and then the Bishop (Pastor) will tell you. But this is not biblical. All callings come to the INDIVIDUAL and other witnesses. True, apostles are supposed to call and set apart pastors but a pastor must first obtain this calling himself and, desirably, other witnesses independently of one another. Callings come not from men or through men but through Yah'shua (Jesus) and Yahweh the Father (Galatians 1:1).
I know of patriarchs 'authorising' others to start polygamy ministries as though they were given the sole right to dispense Yahweh's gifts like some pope. Paul did not immediately consult with man about his call to be an apostle. He developed it by walking with Yahweh and receiving revelation from heaven. He didn't have to prove anything to anybody except the One who called him. His fruit was all the proof he needed.
As a minister, it is essential to learn how to hear and obey Yahweh for yourself. Yes, it is profitable to receive counsel from godly ministers who have a good track record, but never let the opinions of men take the place of the Word of Elohim (God) in your life. If you lean on the arm of flesh and always allow the shallow opinions of men to mould your thinking, you will not have what it takes to fully complete your call. There are too many ministers preaching second-hand revelations in the Body of Messiah. Stolen or second-hand waters are sweet (Proverbs 9:17) but they are not a fresh flow of revelation for the people. If you want to be an effective minister of the Gospel, you have got to learn how to hear Yahweh for yourself.
Boldness vs. Dictatorship
Ministers should be bold with their (genuine) authority but they must know its limits and not become dictators. This is as true in husband-wife relations as it is is to ministers and their congregations. No one is required to submit to someone who is speaking on their own accord. Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
A congregation is only obligated to follow a leader to the extent a leader follows Christ, and the same is true of a wife following a husband. No one is called to follow anyone else down to hell, be he husband or pastor. Pastors and husbands must lead with their lifestyle and not bullying words. If you are not living what you're preaching, you are destined for a fall.
Everyone - congregation and wives - has to learn how to hear Yahweh for themselves. That is the great aim of pastors and husbands. Anyone who finds themselves losing patience with Yahweh's sheep or their wives, or who are controlling their lives, blanketing their zeal, or looking down upon them in a condescending or critical manner, may be succumbing to the spell of a religious spirit. Such must REPENT before their ministry or marriage collapses.
A True Covering
A congregation led righteously by faithful ministers is a sure covering for the flock. When ministers, and therefore the flock, are moving in the Ruach (Spirit), everyone is protected, the married and singles alike, whether they have the covering of a husband or father or not. Single women should therefore seek first of all a sound church/assembly to provide them with communal covering and not be intimidated by the patriarch-wolves in sheep's clothing who would force them into marriages not made of Yahweh and not according to their desires or the Spirit's leading. Anyone who tries to force marriage by making single people feel guilty about being single is a dangerous wolf. There's plenty of covering for such people and Yahweh will lead them to it if they are true and faithful - a covering where they can make a careful and considered decision about marriage without being pressurised by patriarchal predators. And in view of the many dark-spirited polygamy churches/assemblies that are arising like plagues, they are probably best served by finding a home in a non-polygamous congregation -- at least for now -- until they are led to their husband.
I wish I could say - go to this or that polygamy-accepting church for there you will be safe and respected, but frankly I know of so few these days. Most of the polygamy churches/assemblies are definitely unsafe. They're just the cattle markets of unrightous, lusty and 'religious' patriarchs who will not hesitate to use the Bible as a cudgel to force you into a loveless and/or divinely unauthorised marriage.
Seek your covering in Christ in a body of true and faithful believers lead by godly men, even if (at this point in the history of our movement) they are not polygamy-accepting. You can at least use such as a base until you are led to your husband and, hopefully, to a polygamy-practicing community and church/assembly, keeping your polygamy beliefs to yourself unless definitively moved by the Spirit to do otherwise.
No woman needs the covering of a rogue for this is no covering at all but a cell of confinement (be it padded or not). Serve Yahweh our Father, grow in grace in Yah'shua (Jesus) and bring forth the fruits of righteousness in your works. Take care of these and the Elohim will take care of everything else in its right season.
K.D.Anderholm, Beware of Men: Exposing the Spirit of the Modern-Day Pharisee (True Light Publications, P.O.Box 269, Orange, MA 01331, USA, 1996), ISBN 0-9655407-0-7. Not all the Pentecostal views expressed in this book are those of this ministry or the Chavurat Bekorot. Otherwise highly recommended.