There is, as everyone by now knows, only one model which we at this ministry use in forming our polygamous relationships, and that is the Mystical Marriage of Christ - the allegorical marriage union between the Saviour and His people. By using this as our reference for the many complex aspects of the polygamous relationship we are able to safely chart a course in our marriages that ensures both stability and depth. What this means in practice is that our relationship to each other and to Christ, as described in the Bible but principally the New Testament, is the basis of the relationship between husband and wives, and sister-wives with each other.
Most polygamists I speak to seem more occupied with the husband-wife/wives aspect than that which pertains between sister-wives. We see in their behaviour all the elements of the monogamous man, trained as we have been to think in such terms. Man meets woman, courtship takes place, and marriage results. The more sensitive and spiritually keyed men do make an effort to ensure that a new potential wife meets and gets to know his existing wife or wives, but as you examine the relationship on a quantitative basis is is soon evident that nearly the whole drive is on the man-woman relationship. And this is what one would naturally expect ... of egotism.
The success of a plural marriage is as much dependent on the bonding between husband and wife/wives as it is between sister-wives. I often spend much time putting myself in the place of my wives and trying to see things from their viewpoint. And when I do this I am constantly comparing with the way Christ wants us as believers to be with one another. And so I ask myself these sorts of questions: when Yah'shua (Jesus) was on earth, what was He most occupied with? What was the nature of His courtship with us? You will be surprised, as you contemplate this, to learn that what seemed to drive His interest and concern the most was that having obtained our attention and love, He would devote His entire effort into getting us to relate rightly with one another. Building the Messianic Community - the Church - was always a high priority. There never was - and still isn't - a time when He ever separated our relationship with Him from our relationship with each other through Him. He was never content simply to win the hearts of men and women to Himself - there was always that drive to bring the flock together as echad - one.
I want to suggest that when a true polygamist man is wooing a potential wife that his mind and heart should be simultaneously - and equally as passionately - absorbed in getting the wives to love one another. I want to suggest that in doing so he should forget himself - his romantic, erotic, or other needs - and burn for his wives to love each other as passionately as he loves them. And I want to suggest that he cannot - will not - rest until that harmony and joy exists between them. Anything else which falls short of this goal, I venture to suggest, is not only missing the mark as far as the dynamic of Christianity is concerned, but missing the mark as to what New Covenant polygamy really is. And before I am misinterpreted, I want to emphatically state that I am not advocating bisexual lesbianism between sister-wives. To see what I really do mean, let us take a look at some incidents in the life of Christ.
"So when they had eaten breakfast, Yah'shua (Jesus) said to Kefa (Simon Peter), 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?' He said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He said to him, 'Feed My lambs.' He said to him again a second time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?' He said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He said to him, 'Tend My sheep.' He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?' Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, 'Do you love Me?' And he said to Him, 'Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.' Yah'shua (Jesus) said to him, 'Feed My sheep' (John 21:15-18, NKJV).
A sign that we truly love our Lord is that we spiritually feed and tend the believers of the Messianic Community (Church), which is a model of a husband and his plural wives. How many of you patriarchs have ever asked your wives whether they love you or not, and when they have answered in the affirmative, asked them to love their sister-wives, and in such a way that they are in no doubt that they cannot actually love you fully unless they also love and nurture their sister-wives? And how many of you plural wives have been spoken to like that by your husbands? For the most part, it seems to me that the wives are simply left to 'figure things out' while hubby concentrates on wooing each wife and basically keeping the peace. The family 'Church/Assembly' thus becomes a mere side show.
As you know, 3 is the number of divine perfection or completeness, containing the necessary dimensions for length, breadth and hight. The Godhead is Three-in-One (on one level), the angels sing their praises in triplets ("Holy, holy, holy" - Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8), and so forth. Yah'shua (Jesus) asked Peter the same question three times in order to underline both its importance and the fact this was a matter of the divine. This was Peter's last commission - Christ was saying that his relationship with Him would never be complete until he had learned to completely love the Body of believers. Leadership - such as a husband has over his wives - is critical. Like Yahweh Himself, the husband's calling is to bring his wives into a state of repose:
Husbands are gatherers, nourishers, and bringers of safety and harmony. That is their calling. Their most anxious concern should be the well-being of their wives. And their desire will be the same as Christ has for the Messianic Community (Church) - he will want to bring them into perfect oneness or echad. And the husband who does not have this as His goal, purpose and drive, is heading for the abyss:
"'For thus says the Yahweh-Elohim: 'Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,' says Yahweh-Elohim. 'I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment'" (Ezekiel 34:11-16, NKJV).
And this is what we have been witnessing in the polygamy movement - shepherd-husbands who fail to feed their wives, and as a result stop feeding themselves: finally their wives are taken from them so that they stop feeding OFF their wives! You heard it! Instead of feeding their wives, they feed off them until their wives become nothing more than empty shells. They reverse the principle of the redeemer-shepherd and become ravenous wolves just like the demons:
"'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh: 'as I live,' says Yahweh-Elohim, 'surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock' -- therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh! Thus says Yahweh-Elohim: 'Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them'" (Ezekiel 34:7-10, NKJV).
The worst of it is that these wolves go hunting for more sheep to enslave. Let notice be served to them that Yahweh will attend to "the evil of their doings". Yes, we must pray for them - always - in the hope that they will repent, but the prophets must also lift up a warning voice for the sake of the flocks.
"Therefore thus says Yahweh-Elohim of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: 'You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,' says Yahweh" (Jeremiah 23:1-3, NKJV).
I am sure you all know the incident of the washing of the disciples' feet by the Master (John 13:3-18). Again, the Master represents the servant-husband and the disciples His allegorical wives. But a word of warning: as there was a serpent in Eden, so there can be traitors amongst the believers - the Judas's. Yes, one of Christ's allegorical wives betrayed Him to death. A false sister-wife may become such too if she tries to walk the way of the flesh. (And it is very, very heart-breaking.)
A word about such women, for they are most dangerous. Like Judas, who was a Zealot, they can be very passionate about what they believe in. And like Judas, they can come to believe that they know better than their Master, and to act in their own authority. Woe unto them! Many a woman has sold her husband and sister-wives and brought great suffering on them, but because she is so occupied with herself, can only see her own perceived needs. Forgetfulness is one of the hallmarks of both the holy husband and the holy wife - forgetfulness of self. Eleven of the disciples were in echad relationship with their Master - one wasn't, and could not remain. He left, of his own accord, driven by Satan. And yes, sadly, there are a number of ex-plural wives in this movement who are filled with the spirit of hate, bitterness, revenge and the spirit of muder, whose fate is ultimately spiritual disembowlment if they do not repent. That is not to say that a wife cannot have her doubts or even betray her husband - did not Peter betray Christ too? But he repented, and was forgiven, and returned home. Did not they all scatter? So, brethren, if you have trouble with your wives, it may not always necessarily be your fault (though never exclude the possibility, for there are plenty of guilty men), but consider that yielding to a master takes great courage and inner struggling, as it does for us in finally yielding sovereignty of our lives to Yah'shua (Jesus).
Always be aware of these parallels. The whole life of Christ is a parable of the marriage relationship, from the Virgin Birth to the passion on the Cross. Hallelu-Yah! Praise the Name of the Most High Elohim (God), and praise the Name of His Son! How my soul rejoices in this Good News! We have the Way mapped out for us in such detail that it is unmistkable, but people miss it in their marriages because they will not apply it. Husbands do not want to offer their lives for the wives, and wives do not want to totally surrender to their husbands. And no wonder! How can they if they have not first of all given of themselves unreservedly - passionately and compassionately - to their Elohim (God)? These truths are etched into my very soul, for the Holy Spirit had born unmistakable witness of them again and again. My soul is aflame as I write these words to you today.
Husbands, wash your wives' feet, will you? Get on your knees, and make the same professions of service to them as Christ made to the apostles. Gird yourself with a loin cloth so that you are naked from the waste upwards, like a humble servant. Please do it regularly. And then back-up your profession with deeds that demonstrate it. Tell them often how much you love them, and how it is your desire that they love each other as much as they love you - and that they never forget to love Christ before anyone else. And if you mean what you say and do, see if it doesn't melt their hearts! And if their hearts do not melt, it is because they are in bondage.
A part of this formula for deepened echad oneness is also the mutual confession of sin. Now you might say that as Christ was sinless that the model breaks down here but it doesn't, for he confessed His sins too ... OUR SINS. He had none of His own, but He confessed ours and repented for ours ... that's ATONEMENT. Earthly husbands are sinners like earthly women, and they should be confessing their own sins ... and their wives' ... to Christ. That doesn't mean the wives shouldn't be confessing their own sins - of course they should, and must, and obtain forgiveness for themselves. But marriage is more than a series of separate sinning units - they are a uniplural echad. The sins of one affect the whole marriage relationship - the sin of one wife, or the husband, affects the whole! Heresy? Not at all. Read the story of Achan and the effect His breaking of covenant affected the whole nation of Israel! (Joshua 7). Achan was an allegorical wife of Yahweh but caused all his allegorical sister-wives to suffer until his sin had been purged.
Now I can understand why a lot of people are turned off by echad plural marriage. They don't want the responsibility, they don't want the sacrifices, and they don't want the suffering. But equally they are missing out on the great joy and passion which is this oneness. Look at what Israel achieved in its conquest of the Holy Land when the Hebrews lived this covenant principle! They went from victory to victory, from glory to glory. Things only went wrong when they conpromised by making fateful covenants with the Canaanites, as we do when we negociate peace terms with our carnal nature by giving presents to the flesh. Don't do it! It isn't worth it. Instead, choose the path of service, of sheep-feeding.
My goal is that my wives should be in love with each other as they are in love with me. I want them to have with each other the same joy that they individually and collectively have with me. Because of the nature of the covenant relationship, it is not possible for them to have this joy with each other apart from me, any more than it is possible for us as believers to have a fullness of spiritual joy with each other apart from Christ. Any relationship between sister-wives that is separate from, and independent of, their husband is lesbianism in all its aspects. Lesbianism says: 'We don't need men - we can have with each other what woman and men have'. And bisexuality is a compromise with lesbianism by supposedly having the best of both words. Seen from the spiritual standpoint, the equivalent of bisexuality is of a believer loving both other believers and Christ equally. It is the same as putting the Two Great Commandments on an equal footing: "Love Yahweh with all your mind, might and strength, and equally love your neighbour in the same way". Not true. Our love for Christ, we are told, must be so great that our love for each other will seem like hatred by comparison. The two are not equivalent! Not remotely. And that's why bisexuality is wrong. Lesbianism places the Second Great Commandment above the First, and bisexuality puts them alongside each other. Echad places them in their proper order. And as for homosexuality, this is the equivalent of worshipping man as God - and is pure Satanism. And that is why, spiritually speaking, homosexual acts between men is much greater evil than that between women.
It is our natural disposition to love the things and people we see more than those we do not. It's a mindset we usually have to grow out of in increments, depending on our degree of faith and willingness to be obedient to Torah (the Law of Yahweh). The reason lesbianism is not mentioned in the Old Testament is because it was the lesser of the two evils - it is not until the New Testament that Paul reminds us in the higher Code of the New Covenant lesbianism is also wrong. In terms of the fullness, it is equally evil. And that is why we make no compromise with bisexuality in plural marriage. Because the first commandment takes precedence over the first - and because there is such a gap between it and the second - all true marriage must be heterosexual. Whatever relationship there is between sister-wives must therefore be something different from lesbianism and bisexuality. It's the simple spiritual pattern of the Word.
I understand the fear people have in entering into deep relationships. You have to make yourself vulnerable to disappointment and hurt. And that's why you must carefully pick out your mates and not rush into anything presumptuously. The zeal of Judas is not beneficial. We need the wisdom of John. The necessity of getting out of the world's way of 'loving', with all its false notions about romance and committment, needs to be accepted and then acted upon. If you want an echad marriage you must first seek an echad relationship with Christ and with the Body. If you don't, you'll end up in trouble.
Lesbianism and bisexuality have, as their root, a sexual abberation. We have seen what the spiritual equivalents are. That means there is no harmony between the spiritual expectation and the sexual reality. They can't meld. There can be no echad between them. The Echad principle begins with the spiritual which then percolates down to, influences, and then changes, the sexual. The lesbian principle is the exact reverse. You start with the 'fact' that that is your 'sexual attraction' and everything else is defined by it, including the spiritual. And to make peace with the spiritual, the spiritual has to be selectively 'modified'. We all know how homosexuals 're-interpret' Scripture by (for example) saying that the sin of Sodom was not buggery but a lack of hospitality. They have developed quite a sophisticated biblical exergesis which can only be maintained by subtle twists of meaning here and there, or by totally ignoring passages that blatantly contradict . You can't have the fullness of marriage if there is any trace of lesbianism or bisexuality ... in either genders. Furthermore, whether you are heterosexual or bisexual (for heterosexuals are just as guilty), there has to be reversal of the whole human drive so that when we come to sexuality we begin with the spiritual and end with the physical, and not the other way round. Frighteningly, perhaps, for the man (or woman) who is preoccupied with sex above most other things, this means nothing less than the death of his carnal sexuality and its rebirth in the proper context. When we are baptised into Christ, our sexuality (whatever it may be) must go into the watery grave as well.
I say this because whatever relationship that develops between sister-wives in a polygamous marriage - on both the spiritual, emotional and physical levels - must be pure. I titled this article, Women in Love because I believe there is a right way for women to be in love with each other, and a wrong way. The wrong way is on the basis of sexual attraction (lesbianism) and the right way is on the basis of the same kind of overwhelming love we feel for Christ and our Father in Heaven when the Ruach haQodesh or Holy Spirit floods into us during those moments of spiritual ecstasy we know so well when our whole soul is seized by joy.
Most people coming into plural marriage bring all their sexual abberations with them. These must be crucified - absolutely. Because sexuality is such a holy force, it is easily abused - and that which can be used for edification can very quickly be turned around and used to create spiritual and emotional chaos. Much of our jealosy in this area stems from a wrong attitude to it because it is viewed as something exclusive and egotistical (see my article, Echad Sex: Contemplative Intimacy in New Covenant Plural Marriage). Having talked with many men and women as a minister over the years, I have been struck by the fact that those who have the greatest problems understanding what true sexuality is are usually the men who, by virtue of their gender-rôle, have a much greater abundance of this force than women. It is a great struggle for the noble among them to deal with it and bring that power into proper subjection to the spirit. Typically, the more carnal quickly appeal to 1 Corinthians 7:9 ("It is better to marry than to burn [with lust]") in self-justification for a libido out of control. We know this is 'second best' counsel because of everything else said on the subject in Scripture and yet the undisciplined love to exalt it. Far better to crucify the flesh altogether and let Christ rebirth your sexuality in the Spirit. Any man marrying polygamously because he is 'burning' and sees this lifestlye as a means of 'relieving himself' is setting himself up - and his wives - for great disappointment. For once he has burned himself out (as he probably will) he will discover that only a vaccuum lies behind the deception of sexual power. Imagine how the wives are going to feel after being keyed up to expect a certain kind and quantity of sex to find their man progressively being unable to deliver the goods. And if he has not cultivated spirituality, what will be left?
The relationship between my wives is, after that between ourselves and God, my great consuming passion. Having had a few educational knocks and learned the hard way, I have decided that contentment between my wives and any prospective wives is the #1 thing I am looking for. The chances are that if they get on well with each other that they will naturally gel with me too. The ability of wives to relax with each other and be joyful together, never having to look over their shoulders for fear of stepping on someone's toes, is the guarantee of a harmonious relationship at home and the best for myself, themselves, and our children - more even than those, it is the guarantee that my family will then become a true model of the relationship between Christ and the Redeemed that others can look up to as an example. And as a pastor this is very important to me.
I hope you have enjoyed the pictures in this article because they reflect something of the spirit that I am trying to cultivate between my wives. I look to the mortal Yah'shua (Jesus) as my rôle-model in His treatment of the Messianic Community (Church) in the way I treat my own wives. My prayer for them is therefore identical to that which Christ gave for the Body:
Continued in Part 2
"I have manifested Your name to the men [read 'allegorical wives'] whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one (echad) in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one (echad) just as We are one (echad): I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one (echad), and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:6-26, NKJV).
 Important reading material on this subject includes Robert A.J.Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Abingdon Press, Nashville: 2001); Michael L. Brown, PhD, Can You Be Gay and Christian? Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality (Front Line, lake Mary, Florida: 2014 and A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long Strange Trip It's Been (Equal Times Books, Concord, North Carolina: 2011)