"Yahweh is not the author of confusion, but of peace (shalom), as in all the assemblies (churches) of the set-apart ones (true believers/saints" (1 Corinthians 14:34, HRV).
We are, as I write this essay, at the end of Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleaveed Bread) and the Passover season, and it has most certainly been a unique time for myself, my family, and this ministry. At the same time that Yahweh has opened up the windows of heaven for us in so very many different ways so simultaneously a new time of persecution descended upon us and indeed all Christian/Messianic polygamists trying to live faithfully to Torah, Yahweh's Teaching. The current spate of hostile activity has, in particular, not only alienated many people who have been fed much untruth and distortion by persons from all parts of the world, but left a nasty taste in the mouth of those who have disbelieved the reports but who nevertheless feel 'dirtied' by it all. I know exactly how they feel. And yet, as we know, Yahweh permits all kinds of things to happen to believers, particularly to those who are at the edge of change and reform as Christian/Messianic polygamists are, for the purpose of strengthening, educating, and warning us of the bad times yet ahead for all Christians/Messianics. If we do not prepare for these now we will be left unprepared and defenceless when the refuges and shelters we currently enjoy are gone. It is a time, therefore, to be both wise and prudent.
In particular what has interested me, and in the midst of which I continue to be refined, is the way different aspects of truth become detached from, and are then pitted against, each other by the sectarian spirit as though they were mutually antagonistic things. Throughout the centuries Christendom has swung between emphasising Law (Torah) and then Grace, as though somehow unable ever to actually strike the right balance, of which certain denominational crystalisations are stark evidence. We have seen in the polygamy movement, for instance, two main 'strands' which have become, in a way, artificial axioms of 'good' and 'evil', respectively, viz. 'polygamy-by-love' and 'polygamy-by-force' when it comes to introducing first wives into this lifestyle. And in this respect this ministry has always stood squarely on the side of 'polygamy-by-love'. However, as is the tendency of human beings to transport one principle and try to apply it to other areas of the Gospel, we have also witnessed in the process of emphasising what is right in this regard a subtle yet dangerous movement on the part of some to conveniently emphasise 'grace' at the expense of Torah as though they were two mutually antagonistic principles.
Our parent body once had an assembly a few years ago where the topic of discussion was music. The teacher had with him two cassette recorders and began by playing some beautiful orchestrated classical hymnody which everyone agreed was inspiring. He then, on the other machine, played some ordinary pop music and asked people for their view of it. There were mixed responses, both affirmative and hostile. Having adjusted the two cassette recorders so that the volume of the two was the same, he then played both pieces simultaneously and invited the congregation to comment. What happened was that the beat behind the pretty melody of the pop music drowned both out. Both pieces of music were beautiful but the pop music contained an ingredient that killed both. A lot of people were surprised that day.
I am sure you have all read the biblical account of the poisoned stew. This is what happened:
It is not a difficult thing to make an excellent dish and put a little poison into it. Sometimes, as in this example, it is done accidentally. But on other occasions it is premediated. The result, either way, is "death in the pot".
"And Elisha returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. Now the sons of the prophets were sitting before him; and he said to his servant, 'Put on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.' So one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, though they did not know what they were. Then they served it to the men to eat. Now it happened, as they were eating the stew, that they cried out and said, 'Man of Yahweh, there is death in the pot!' And they could not eat it. So he said, 'Then bring some flour.' And he put it into the pot, and said, 'Serve it to the people, that they may eat.' And there was nothing harmful in the pot" (2 Kings 4:38-41, NKJV)
A few weeks ago I heard a shocking story of a family who invited friends over for dinner. They had gone out into the forest to pick mushrooms not knowing that amongst the mushrooms was a poisonous variety. A happy social gathering turned into a nightmare. Fathers, mothers and children had their kidneys destroyed and have to spend the rest of their lives on dialysis machines. I was shocked and heartbroken when I heard how a little carelessness caused so much damage. What they thought was a flavour-enhancing spice turned out to be poison in the pot.
We frequently hear teachings about polygamy from others which are basically excellent, but seasoned in the midst of this teaching are some very dangerous doctrines than can lead to much spiritual harm. Similarly, we hear stories about polygamists themselves which contain a lot of accurate information about them but also sufficient untruths and lies as to totally give a false picture of who they really are. And when those lies are given credence, as Satan's owb lies were in the Garden of Eden by Eve, death is the result.
I am sure many of you have seen the moving film, The Elephant Man, which is a true story about Joseph Merrick. About a century ago a man was born with terrible deformities and parts of his body were covered in a skin that looked like elephant hide. He was most revolting to look at. Perhaps not surprisingly people concluded that this man was a hideous beast - a 'Godzilla', and - cashing in on people's prejudices and fears - was promoted as dangerous and to be ignored. And yet, as it happens, underneath was a man of great sensitivity, kindness and culture. As people learned to see beyond the outer form they discovered someone worth knowing, and it was not long before everybody wanted to meet the Elephant Man. Admittedly some were still drawn by the novelty of seeing a man who appeared 'different' but the more discerning saw beyond the outer form and into his generous and appealing heart.
I think many polygamists sometimes feel like Elephant Man - misunderstood, and sometimes even feared. Some may have been encountered briefly by others and got a scare because of what they had heard said about him and not bothered to find out what the man under the skin of rumour and gossip is really like. Others may have encountered other Elephant Men who were not 'kind, sensitive and cultured', made comparisons, and drew unfounded and socially damaging conclusions. And some - like Elephant Man's owner may believe - because they are coarse and vulgar themselves - that such are no more than animals and should be shunned or treated as zoological curios.
Joseph Merrick ('Elephant Man') was a gentle and cultured soul
The world regards polygamy as an ugly deformity - a blot on the 'sweet monogamous landscape of marriage'. Most people never bother to find out what the polygamists themselves are like. Since the taboo declares that fruit cake is bad, fruit cake-eaters must be bad by association as well. But does our experience of people in different lifestyles lend credance to such a proposition? Can we take a whole nation, or a culture, or a subset of that culture and blanket-label it as 'bad'? Are such generalisations true to life? Are all capitalists good and all communists bad? Do all short people suffer from inferiority complexes? Are all Christians saved? Are all Messianics legalists?
In a similar way, I meet people all the time who think, because they have been propagandised and brainwashed all their lives, that Torah is somehow 'evil' and a barbaric relic from the past. They have been conditioned to think about the Old Testament as something 'bad' that has been 'done away with'. And when they meet a Messianic, for example, who is living the Israelite dietary code, observing the Sabbath, abstaining from intercourse during menstruation, and such things, they assume that these people are in 'bondage' and are 'lost' ... and that they (of course) have found a 'higher' or 'better' way. It is really very easy to label people and come to false conclusions about them.
I am not sure who it was who said it - an American, I think - but he wrote (paraphrasing) something that has always stuck in my mind: if we could enter into the sufferings of those around us, and come to know people as they really are, it would disarm all hostility we have towards them. People become alienated when we mentally dehumanise them and believe what others tell us about them instead of finding out for ourselves. For not only can people be good actors and put on performances in order to be seen as they want to be seen, but we in our turn can cast them into imaginary rôles and then judge them on the basis of our own mental and emotional projections. When we do this, we become accessories in the work of Satan whose purpose and delight is to divide and conquer.
To know the suffering of others disarms hostility
The purpose of this essay is not, however, to discuss dangerous theological theses that have wound their way into polygamous teachings, nor is it to resurrect the rumours, slander, and accusations of cultism which in the early spring of this year began to percolate into the polygamy community. What I think is more important, for those who truly love Yahweh and His Messiah, Yah'shua (Jesus), and who are truly of the redeemed, is to consider how it is we sometimes find ourselves dancing to the devil's tune when that is the very last thing we actually want to do. More important than theological correctness or knowledge of the personal lives of others is knowing Yahweh's Order which in turn enables us to discern between the spirits. Also, when poison does find its way into the pot, we need to know how to add the 'Elisha ingredient' to neutralise it. That ingredient I'd like to briefly discuss.
Elisha's ingredient was qemach or 'flour' ('meal'). It would be a mistake to start looking for some magical biochemical ingredient in flour which somehow neutralised the poison of the gourds. The meal was made safe by supernatural activity. The important thing here is the symbols. The poison was resident in the gourd, which is a wild cucumber - in other words, an uncultivated vegetable unfit for human consumption. The word qemach comes from a root meaning 'grind' and is used elsewhere in scripture as a representation of the purification of the soul. Before we, as Christians/Messianics, can be useful, we too have to be metaphorically ground into a fine powder so that we can become useful to Yahweh. And though it may not appear very beneficial at the time, opposition and persecution do have the effect of purifying us. A soul that has been purified by the grinding effects of life is better able to discern that someone who has not, provided they have reacted to opposition in a spiritual and therefore upbuilding way and not out of hatred, malice or with a desire for revenge. This is why Yah'shua (Jesus) gave us 'other cheek' theology. Rumour-mongering and slander are like wild gourds inasmuch as they are wild, unrefined, coarse, and deadly. Flour, the product of suffering, is what neutralises it. True Christianity is rightly called a 'ministery of suffering' for we are enjoined to bear others' burdens in imitation of our Master, not setting stumbling blocks before their feet.
Elisha curing the poisoned pot with qemach
For many of you unacquainted with Torah I may well be introducing new concepts here though you will soon see they are an integral part of the scriptural witness. I chose the term Yahweh's Order purposefully because order or structure are part and parcel of the Christian/Messianic way of life. There are many believers who are under the false impression that the former Old Covenant of Moses was highly ordered, structured, and disciplined, and that somehow Christ 'did away' with 'all of that'. They have this perception that we have somehow moved from 'order' into a nebulous entity called 'freedom' which pretty well allows us to do what we what provided we are convinced that it is Elohim's (God's) 'Spirit' that is guiding us when we are doing out own thing and feeling good about it. They are quick to point out the "Order of Aaron" (Hebrews 7:17), which is the Covenant of Moses (the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood being that which mediated it) but neglect to tell you that this was replaced by another 'Order' known as the 'Melchizedek Order' (Hebrews 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:11,17,21).
The word 'Order' in our Greek rendition of the New Testament translates the word táxin as in 'regular arrangement'. The New Covenant is described as the "New Order" (Hebrews 9:11, NIV), for the "old Order has passed away" (Revelation 21:4, NIV). Any thoughts that the Gospel is more liberal or even remotely anarchistic is entirely destroyed by the admonition of Christ to His disciples to exceed the righteousness of the arch-legalists of the day - the Pharisees - by doing what they said (obeying Torah) without imitating their bad works and religious hypocrisy (Matthew 5:20). Repeatedly Paul reminds believers to be faithful to Torah and to observe that which Yahweh revealed to the prophets.
Shem as first head of the Melchizedek Order blessing Abram
The society which Yahweh created in the nation of Israel was a highly structured and disciplined one. Men and women had their different rôles and positionings, as did the several theocratic officers of the state and temple. Everyone had their place. Thus we read, for example:
Just as the Holy City has 12 foundation stones upon which the whole structure is built (Revelation 21:19-21), so the Christian/Messianic faith is built upon a foundation of Torah which the New Testament writers are constantly referring back to for affirmation of the truth they taught. You might say that Torah is the background music of the Christian melody, the tune to which we dance the New Covenant. Take it away and the music ceases ... only to be replaced by 'something else'. And that 'something else' is usually the dull, soulless beat of carnality which dominates nearly all contemporary music, from rock to pop.
"Let your wives be silent in the assembly, for they are not allowed to speak, but [are] to be subject even as the Torah says. And if they want to learn a thing let them ask their husbands at home. For it is a shame that wives should speak in the assembly" (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, HRV, cp. Genesis 3:16).
It would be an interesting exercise to one day remove every reference to the Torah from the New Testament and see what remains. What you would get is a pretty bare skeleton with some dangling flesh. In the same though in an opposite way, take the drum beat out of nearly all contemporary music and what do you have left?
When believers ignore the rules established by Yahweh in Torah, it is not long before tension results, leading to disharmony, conflict, and then open warfare. The process can start very subtly and not be discerned until the blood is flowing. Arguably the Second World War started with the blowing up of a railway line in Manchuria by terrorists sponsored by the Japanese. Many argue convincingly that its origins can be traced to the unfair and humiliating Treaty of Versailles following the First World War, it's root being revenge. When Christians/Messianics ignore the root of their faith, which is Torah, they are sowing the seeds of sectarianism, division, denominationalism, and spiritual strife.
Moving country can be a nightmare as I am sure many of you will agree. A few years ago we imported some electrical cookers (stoves) from a neighbouring country only to discover to our horror that the there was a difference in 20V for these implements which rendered them useless. We had to throw them out. The European Union (EU) is slowly but gradually eradicating all these conflicts in electrical standards by making a unitary one which is making life considerably easier in many areas of life. Imagine as an American having to throw away all your electrical equipment every time you moved state because each state used a different voltage.
Because Yahweh-Elohim is echad or one, His Torah or Law is echad (one) too. The only changes made to it were made by Christ who in Himself fulfilled certain certain Israelite ceremonial obligations in his death and resurrection. When communist Poland became a partiamentary democracy, most of the communist laws were overturned and replaced by new ones. However, what the state didn't do was throw away all the laws of the land and declare everyone to be 'free'. Freedom, as understood by the doctrine of democracy, does not mean freedom from law but freedom from oppression. There isn't a single democracy which doesn't have a code of law because without it there would be anarchy. Freedom doesn't mean lawlessness. Citizens in a democratic state are still accountable to law even though they enjoy freedoms (such as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly) which they did not enjoy in a Marxist state.
When Christ died and was resurrected He did not purchase freedom from the Torah but freedom from the condemnation of Torah. The purpose of Torah is to reveal our sins and thus condemn the one sinning. Under the Old Covenant the solution was ritual sacrifice which gave the believer a temporary covering. Under the New Covenant we don't 'do' anything to redeem ourselves of our sins since Christ has done it for us. But the Torah remains. If it didn't, we would no longer be accountable for sin, never need to repent, never reform. Repentance is as much a feature of the New Covenant as the Old and is enjoined on all men and women even at the end of the Bible (e.g. Revelation 16:11).
It is assumed, usually naïvely, that the Old Testament believer had the Torah and the New Testament believer has the Spirit as though the one replaced the other. It comes as a surprise to many Protestants to learn that the Torah and the Spirit are integral to both Old and New Testaments. Yes, there was a special anointing of the Spirit at Shavuot (Pentecost) as Yah'shua (Jesus) promised and it was of a character unlike that which had been experienced before because it was connected to the atonement and resurrection: but it did not replace Torah. Torah was modified just as the Spirit was bequeathed in a new way but the two never became antagonists of one another.
Feelings do not equate with Ruach/Spirit but with psyche
The danger - and this is really what this essay is all about - is when a person assumes that they no longer need to obey Torah, conclude that they, as believers, must therefore have the Spirit, and then assume that every good feeling they have is guidance from the Spirit. One of the most dangerous ways of living a spiritual life is by following your feelings. You might as well be living by your horoscope. Whether it is in marriage or in the spiritual life generally, if that life is not carefully underpinned by Yahweh's Torah, trouble is bound to follow. This does not mean, of course, that we should not "live in the Holy Spirit" (e.g. 1 Peter 4:6) which is the goal of every believer. There is no Christian/Messianic life without the Spirit. There is, however, the carnal man, with all its attendant impulses, feelings, intuitions, and other invisible and unmeasurable principles which so easily and commonly get mistaken for the Spirit. The Spirit and Torah are supposed to work together in consert so that if, for instance, we get a 'feeling' that contradicts Torah we can know that that feeling is a product of the carnal nature and not the spiritual.
Having been fooled by the carnal man far more times in my Christian/Messianic life than I would care to admit, I do not say these things lightly. Every day I meet believers who are being led down the primrose path by unsanctified feelings because they have been taught the lie that for a born-again Christian, 'feelings = Holy Spirit'. It is not necessary to 'feel' something is right to 'know' it is right. There is yada' (knowing) using the rational mind and there is yada' which comes from an intimate acquaintance with Yahweh through the Spirit. When it is the latter it always harmonises with Torah. Always. Indeed, you will search the Bible in vain for any kind of feeling-based theology because this is a product of liberal hedonism and occultism. In the few passages that are connected with human emotions we are warned:
And yet, when you examine the Hebrew ground text, it isn't 'feelings' in the general sense that are being spoken of at all - it is ruach (spirit, breath)! The issue is between human ruach (spirit) and divine Ruach (Spirit): in short, are your feelings being generated by the carnal man (or woman) or are they coming from Yahweh Himself! You see, the carnal man is supposed to be crucified in Christ - totally put to death ... not in part, but wholly. When we are in Christ, and the carnal man is dead, we react as Christ would, not as 'we' would, because we derive our life force from Him and not from ourselves. Our feelings are a minefield unless we are truly dead to self and alive in Christ. Hence the need for Torah and constant Scripture study.
"A fool vents all his feelings,
But a wise man holds them back"
(Proverbs 29:11, NKJV).
There are a great many believers who are riding huge emotional waves thinking that they are being driven by the Holy Spirit and wonder - often in great pain - why they come crashing down. They are convinced that the emotional high which drives their worship and evangelistic zeal is from Yahweh. They are like the seed planted on stony ground which has a sudden and rapid growth but then gets burned out. They don't understand that the good soil of the soul is TORAH! Plant the seed of faith anywhere else and grief will be your reward. Torah spans the depth of Yahweh's mind and heard. Neglect this and your faith in Christ will eventually burn itself out because Christ never came independent of Torah. He declared, most emphatically:
Every day I meet people with 'new interpretations', 'new gospels' and new ways of doing things, who think they can improve upon Torah. You can't. And in the end, those who come against Torah are crushed by it. There will always be people who think they can circumvent Yahweh's rules or 'explain them away' by making them out to be irrelevent. Whether you like them or not, they are the eternal truth, and not "one jot or one tittle" is about to pass away from Torah whether any of us likes it or not. Simply put: if you are dancing to any other tune than that played by Torah you are tap-dancing with the devil. If any part of Torah revolts you, annoys you, irritates you, makes you angry, or drives you away, it is because YOU are NOT RIGHT WITH YAHWEH!
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill (bring to completion). For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17-20, NKJV)
The passage I quoted from 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 above is usually enough to send most modern women into a nose dive or ignite a volcano of indignation. When that happens they demonstrate that they are enemies of Torah and enemies of Elohim (God). Their only course is repentance. It is also one of the two core secrets of success in marriage. What was the Torah that Paul was referring to?
That is a delegated authority and as we know the husband is given a parallel responsibility to love his wife in a proportionate way. This is the love that justifies the obedience in the spiritual sense and makes it beautiful and glorious. There are many women who would love to create new authority structures to overturn Torah and in so doing demonstrate their rebelliousness and cut-off state. Of course they typically take such passages of Torah in isolation and not within the context of the husband's duty as well, which has the effect of distorting the revelation of Elohim (God) and pointing an accusing finger at the Most High behind a thin veil. For Paul, a man ruling (mashal) over his wife was clearly meant to mean that she should not be argumentative but learn in silence and meekness, which was understood to be so for thousands of years before 'modernists' came along with an agenda to overturn the ways of El Elyon and feminist pied-pipers mastered (misstressed) the tune.
"To the woman [Yahweh-Elohim] said, 'I greatly increase your sorrow and your conception - bring forth children in pain. And your desire is for your husband, and he does rule over you'" (Genesis 3:16, ISRV).
A careful study of those people who have been seeking to agitate and stir up our movement reveals that they are either unbelievers with an anti-Christian/Messianic agenda (one has even been spreading rumours, can you believe it, that I am a murderer!), believers without a Torah-foundation who judge out of the witness of their feelings thinking it is the Spirit, or believers who ought to know better than to put their trust in the arm-of-flesh by listening to gossip.
"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of Elohim (God). And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in Elohim (God)" (John 3:18-21, NKJV).
The world has known many of what I call 'mass movements of the psyche'. By whipping up feelings and passions in the carnal man, it is not difficult to initiate a tidal wave of unreason and blind obedience to the false gods of the flesh. We have seen it in the mass political movements of the last century and we are going to see it again - one more time - in this one. This mass movement is already at work, and indeed has been at work now for several centuries - arguably ever since Lucifer fell from his position of glory and in his conceit desired to be Elohim (God) himself. This penultimate perversion has already crossed into the religious sphere, including Christianity, where it has been working its dark counterfeit of light by posing as light itself, whilst being incapable of understanding the Light, who is Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). It possesses its own spirit and plays its own music - literally and figuratively - in that it rides the waves of the psyche ... of human feelings ... and tries to pawn these off as the Holy Spirit of the Creator. It masquerades as love, and indeed may possess elements of love, but its pulse is something else. We know it by its fruits which, though proclaiming peace, is not peaceable - and which, though it proclaims love the most vociferously of all, is not true love but a diabolical counterfeit that plays upon unredeemed sentiments and rides on the backs of the honourable but deceived. And yes, it names Names too - it is all too willing to proclaim 'Yahweh', and 'Jehovah', and 'the Lord', and 'Yah'shua', and 'Yeshsua', and 'Jesus' ... and indeed may use the vocabulary of our Bible as the cults do, but its heart - its core - its soul is NOT the Holy, Set-Apart Sanctified Spirit of Elohim (God) but soul. It is 'soulish', not spiritual. And because it is of the flesh, it will always attract and fool the majority, and is destined to briefly triumph - as it supposes - at which time it will reveal its true colours, and the dupes will see that they have been duped, but only after it is too late.
The danger when fleshy and spiritual motives mix together
There is not such thing as - and never can be - unity and harmony amongst Christian/Messianic polygamists. Which is not to say that such is not desirable, or that we should not seek to achieve it, but is simply to state a reality that has played itself in every movement of the faith throughout history. The only ecumenicism that will triumph is an ecumenicism of all that is anti-Torah, and which is only capable of uniting AGAINST rather than for. It is a relataively easy thing to be 'against' the truth, for anyone can cast stones. But to support the Truth, and to remain in it, there has to be a love which demands the best of every soul that longs for it - a love which, in the end, is consistently built upon one - and only one - principle: sacrifice - sacrifice of self, sacrifice of personal ambition, sacrifice of that which is both lawful and unlawful for the sake of the One who sacrificed everything to bring to pass the Kingdom of Yahweh and life everlasting.
So once again I ask you all this question: whose tune are you dancing to? And are you willing to strip away all the illusion and grapple with your carnal nature, and every demonic stronghold that would imprison Yahweh's children, and show others how to wrestle and overcome too? For if you are not, you will be sucked into the whirlwind of passionate movements whose life is soul and psyche and not RUACH (Spirit). This message is, as it always has been, unpopular, because it challenges the hegemony of the flesh which is of the world, and which was, and is, and always shall be, an eternal enemy of Elohim (God). Rather than to vainly try to dilute and water-down the truth for the sake of an artificial unity, let us rather proclaim the living Christ through whom alone salvation is possible, and remind everyone that the soul in which we plant the Christian/Messianic life must uncompromisingly be TORAH - the Word, Teaching, and Doctrine of the Creator, Yahweh-Elohim. Without it you will be misled, without it you will respond positively to the piping of strange music, and rush headlong into the billows of spiritual ruin. The battle for souls today is intensifying, the competing voices ever more assertive and confusing: the lure of Satan's concealed agenda ever more enticing and beguiling. This is the last great drama, the theatre of darkness with its thousand spotlights and massed bands all calculated to titillate the eye and ear, and conceal the demonic colours.
Our agenda is one of gentleness and truth. The truth does not need to busily make the circuits to persuade as many as it can by 'revelation' and appeal that it is what it claims it is because it speaks for itself. And those who do not know it, as the scripture says, simply cannot comprehend it. As a brother once said to me when speaking of one who claimed to be an expert on polygamy: "He wouldn't know a polygamist if he met one." Oh, the man in question knew his scriptures alright, and was most eloquent in his exposition of them, but his problem was that he was a monogamist and had never experienced polygamy in his life. There are likewise many who have a profound knowledge of Scripture but who have never met the resurrected Christ, and only speak of Him theoretically as a mathematician might speak of an imaginary relationship of numbers. And then there are others who have met Him but not walked further with Him, and assumed they came to know everything from that first encounter.
"'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,
Says Yahweh of hosts"
(Zechariah 4:6, NKJV).
"With my soul I have desired You in the night,
Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;
For when Your judgments (mishpatim) are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness"
(Isaiah 26:9, NKJV).
The Christian/Messianic life, to be strong and clear, must constantly be building. There is no stasis in the Spiri) because we have not yet come to the fullness within our own souls. Until every dark corner is swept clean and illuminated with the beacon of Christ's love and truth, we have not reached the end. It is too easy to sit back on Christ's laurels and assume that no change is expected of us by virtue of the accomplished work on Golgotha. There is, as Paul said, a race on, and a trophy yet to be collected, and we dare not slacken our pace or lose courage because of adversaries who long ago cast their lot in with the enemy. Christian/Messianic polygamy is, in any case, only one of many facets of the restored end-time Gospel and it is well not to get too bogged down in it, as I have tried to avoid in this essay by reminding us that we have a greater call and duty.
Our agenda must always be gentleness and truth