On the Wings of Eternity
People often ask me what the 'echad experience' is like in plural marriage to which there is always an endless number of answers. How does one describe the human equivalent of an epiphany, or a divine revelation, or a supernatural moment of ecstacy? How does one explain in a few words an enchanting image such as the sunset photo at the beginning of this article?
This morning one of my wives and I were talking about one of the supreme mysteries of heavenly marriage and she remarked to me a discovery that she has made over the last nine months. "True equality," she said, "can only be attained by complete submission. I have never felt more your equal than I do now and this because I made the decision to totally submit to you." And then she went on to tell me how now she felt an intimacy, understanding, safety, cosiness, and echad oneness that she had never experienced in our relationship before.
And it's true. Our marriage has been going through a type of renaissance ever since she stepped out and made herself completely and utterly vulnerable by making the decision to follow the biblical injunctive to totally submit herself to me in all things. This took a huge leap of faith on her part considering all the potential risks of abuse that such a step could result in, but made it on the basis of having observed me closely during 10 years of marriage. Though it was something I had been asking for all our married life, it was not something I ever forced for I knew that when something like this is 'expected' it invariably descends into something quite ugly. And it also meant that I had to be cogniscent of the enormous responsibility to love her as Christ loves the Church (Messianic Community) when she did this. She, for her part, knew that she could not 'expect' me to love as Christ loves the saints as this would add a dimension of force from her side, and so she made the decision to yield without expectation ... another huge risk of her part.
I believe that when a woman yields herself fully as scripture mandates that the husband to whom she has yielded assumes responsibility for her welfare in a way that is incomparable to when a wife is not yielded. When she is fully submitted he becomes a 'head' in more than a symbolic way but in the same way that Christ becomes head of the Messianic Bride. This headship - which is true headship - means the ultimate sacrifice. Christ's ultimate sacrifice is to be viewed in the Cross and a true husband's in his 'bearing' of his wives. And though this is very easy to express in words, its reality is horrendous when deeply meditated on.
The cross is the standard, the measurement and the empowering
I remember Yahweh showing me the responsibility that was mine when my fourth wife finally yielded to me totally - I shuddered. I knew that with such trust given to me that the judgment on me would be exponentially more severe than it would have been before she did should I abuse that trust. There are many men eager that their wives should submit to them in a selfish way and who will employ coercision to fulfil this egotistic lust. What they do not perhaps realise is that this kind of submission is the kind of perversion that is the hallmark of tyrants, demons, molesters, and other power-greedy maniacs - submission without the return of unconditional love is nothing less than devilish. No man should desire a wife to submit to him until he is quite clear in his own mind and heart that he is not only capable of loving unconditionally but that he is willing to do so. Furthermore, I would suggest to such men that they enter into covenants to do this in their wedding vows so that they may be held accountable by their mentors (Pastors, Elders, etc.) in parallel with the vows made by their wives to be submissive and obedient in all things. If you have never entered wedding vows to do these things (and are already married), I heartily recommend you have a special ceremony with witnesses when you do these things, even if this is decades after the original marriage vows you have taken.
In our Order - the Chavurat Bekorot - we take progressively deeper marriage vows over time. These are things that should not be entered into lightly but in full cogniscence of what one is doing, because to break these vows has serious spiritual consequences. That's one reason why no one should be baptised into Christ until they are quite clear what this means in terms of discipleship and committment for the act of baptism is a covenant with Yahweh. Covenant-breakers do not fare well in the resurrection.
Some kinds of covenant do not require witnesses. They can be personal ones between spouses and Yahweh. My wives and I often enter into such covenants in private which means our accountability in them is between ourselves and Elohim (God) and no one else. In all things the Holy Spirit must lead and covenants must be by mutual agreement and without compulsion of any kind. Sometimes covenants are unlilateral - both myself and my wives have entered into one-way covenants (non-reciprocal covenants) in which we agree to do something unconditionally. They are by far the best because the initiative to be faithful is between the one initiating the covenant and Yah'shua (Jesus) in whose Name these covenants are made. When my wife made the decision to submit to me fully it happened when we were alone in bed. She woke up during the night having had a clear lead from Yahweh and whilst in my arms - and of her own initiative - covenanted to submit to me in all things. That was a turning point in our relationship. There were moments of great fear in the days that followed but as the fruit of such a covenant began to be revealed the fear gave way to a deep inner peace.
That decision changed my life as well and initiated a spiritual renaissance in me too, and it was about that time that doors began to open for me and for the family as a whole in many areas of life. Simultaneously, opposition increased. It was about that time that the slander campaign was initiated against me on the internet and reached a peak a few weeks ago. Satan opposes when his kingdom is disturbed, and his kingdom is always disturbed when believers align themselves more closely to Yahweh and become spiritually enabled by Him as a result. Because of the spiritual closeness the family began to experience at this time we were able to meet the persecution relatively easily even though it was naturally uncomfortable and unpleasant. The guilty party (a Christian who lost Christ-focus for a while) initiated the rumour-mongering by warning every unmarried woman in the polygamy community against me - which subsequently got hijacked by satanists who are ever waiting for an opportunity to exploit division in the Body and spiralled out of control (I was being accused of being responsible for someone's death!) - eventually confessed, made restitution, and the slander ebbed away. Of course, the satanists achieved their aim to sow mistrust and so many who were open to us as counsellors and marriage prospects before are now (2003) hesitant - we all know how those who are slandered never quite regain the credibility that was once had before except amongst those who are walking in the Spirit and know better. To this day many in the unsaved Talmudic Jewish community believe that Yah'shua (Jesus) was guilty of all kinds of crimes and impurities simply because lies about Him have been perpetuated in their writings for so many centuries. People have to make a conscious decision to resist lies because lies do not walk away by themselves.
The effect of the campaign against me actually backfired for it had the effect of drawing my family and friends closer together (because they knew better) and sifting our acquaintances into two camps of 'believers' and 'unbelievers'. And at about the same time wonderful people have been entering into, and been enriching, our lives. This has certainly been a time of great blessings.
Righteous submission brings about so many unexpected bonuses. I have spoken of one of my wives submitting to me. For myself, I have found it progressively easier to submit to the will of Yahweh in 'all things' as the futility of following the carnal man in any aspect is laid bare. Challenges are repeatedly given me by other well-meaning Christians to water-down our faith to conform with the more liberal versions of the Gospel they subscribe to. I do know, however, that they are in error because of the fruits I have tasted in being obedient to all of Torah and not just those parts which happen to tickle my fancy. Yahweh is not wasteful and everything He has asked us to do is purposeful and contains blessings for those who will trust Him and be obedient. Again, I am not talking about the blind obedience of a marionette because there is no love and joy in that. Our yielding is, for the most part, progressive. Trusting has to be learned because fear has to be overcome through the proof of the pudding, and this is especially true for the victims of abuse. There is nothing more that a woman wants to be able to do than to yield in complete trust to her husband but with so many bad male rôle models these days they are understandably hesitant. My heart goes out to the many victims of abuse for whom trusting can be a Marathon and who suffer in their marriage relationships as a result. Neither husband nor wives can thrive until that trusting is in place, however, and that trusting is made harder when there isn't enough oil of love to to keep the heart hearth warm.
The blessings of righteous submission are enormous
The wonderful thing about echad is that you never come to the end. Love simply grows and grows. I was telling my wife this morning that in spite of all we have - and that is much - that we are still only seeing the tip of the iceberg. "Imagine," I said, "this just growing and growing throughout the eternities!" Because love is eternal there can be no end to it or of its multiplication, and whilst we can - and should - be satisfied with what we have, we can yet know that the best is still to come. As I looked into her eyes I could 'see' that what we had was a companionship in Yah'shua (Jesus) that would never end, that love's boundaries would continue expanding for ever, and that Yahweh's mystery and glory would always be unfolding for us. (I had no idea then of the fatefil choices that would be made later that resulted in the agony and desolation of our echad union.)
And as we talked and thought about these things, our desire was to bring others into this envelope of love both within our own marriage and within the Family of Yahweh as a whole. How can one not want to share what Yahweh has given? The nature of Yahweh's giving is that its substance can never be hoarded. It is for sharing. And that is why polygamy exists. It is why the Church (Messianic Community) exists. Furthermore, the safety of the Way is bounded by Torah since the Way is defined by Torah. Take away Torah and you have lawless love which will spill where it may, lawfully and unlawfully, joyfully and painfully. We have so much come to appreciate what Torah is really for, because when yor are ringed by the safety that Torah brings, you do not have to worry about whether you are damaging others even if they are experiencing pain. It is assumed, wrongly, that all pain is harmful. Sometimes it is redemptive, and often Torah is the instrument of that redemption. Lawlessness never did bring joy.
The mystery of the Echad of the Elohim (God) and of polygamous marriages lies in the ordered motion that is created by the interaction of love and Torah-obedience. They create what I call a 'singularity' as illustrated in the motion of a galaxy (see right) which rotates around a core from whence love and Torah come, namely, Yahweh. In spite of attempts by many evangelicals to 'do away' with Torah and create a spiritual universe where a Torahless 'love' as the only principle, the scriptures again and again declare the inseparability of the two. We might as well try to create an electric circuit without a + or a - as to do away with Torah in the eternal dyanmic of spirituality. The very relationship between husband and wife cries against the 'monism' of the 'love-only' doctrine where the husband's unconditional love cannot enter into a creative union with female until there is unconditional obedience to his law or torah which is supposed to be Yahweh's Torah riding on the wings of Yahweh's unconditional love.
Similarly, Yahweh cannot enter into a creative echad union with us until there is proper love and obedience in dynamic interaction. When a human being is walking towards something there is a complex interaction of bodily parts all of which are operating on the basis of complexly integrated laws. Love does not exist in a Torah-vacuum. Everywhere you look and everything you do involves Law some way or another. The universe we live in is held together by the laws of physics without which it would collapse. The world of spirits is held together by similar laws which are easily tested - though you shouldn't obviously try this, go and kill someone and see if love will restore you to the place where you were before you killed. You reap what you sow. The forgiveness of Christ, however, wipes away all guilt and judgment and allows you to sow again. Nevertheless the original consequences of sin the remain. The dead person cannot be brought back. Those who grieve for the loss of the dead person cannot have their original joy restored. They may find comfort and peace in forgiveness but what is done remains done. When laws are broken there are effects. Some effects are cancelled through repentance and forgiveness from Christ. King David repented in bitter tears for his adultery and murder - he was forgiven but the consequences of the sin still had their after effects like the ripples in a pond all his life. Those ripples will make their way to the edge of the pond and reflect back again. There are consequences for our actions in this sphere whether we repent or not. But the consequence of not repenting is Eternal Judgment.
All actions, good and bad, have consequences, sometimes complex
Can you see why obedience to Torah is so very important? It is not just to do with forgiveness through Christ - the original actions are not cancelled in this life because everyone and everything down here is connected. Only when this world is terminated and the new heaven installed are all of these eliminated too. We are therefore responsible for everything we do down here because those around us are affected.
This is important to understand in marriage as well as in the Body of Christ and in the whole world. Sinful actions have consequences beyond ourselves. It is an illusion and a lie to believe that coming to Christ eliminates these consquences. The ripples still move outwards and back again. But we can set up new waves of love within the system with all its complex interactions whose origins are both good and evil. It is what we are commanded to do, not just for 'love's sake' as some sort of abstract principle but because we have a responsibility and a duty to bring the redemption of Christ not only to people individually (by offering them salvation) - the most important mandate we have - but in spreading waves of love in a sea of chaos so that those touched by it may more easily respond to the invitation to salvation and the negative ripples be cancelled out! We are the cancellers until Christ returns and directly intervences to renew the whole system.
Marriage and the family is a mini-system like that of the world. Careless barbed words and thoughtless selfish deeds still cut and crush even after we have asked for forgiveness and made right what we have done wrong. That is why Torah must continually be before us. The Christian/Messianic faith is not, as Martin Luther implies, the freedom to crash into people's lives, causing destruction here and there, to then ask for grace afterwards to cancel out the effects of our foolishness. That's like a gardener taking no precaution against the thorns on rose bushes by pruning them bare-handed because he knows he has plenty of bandaids he can use to plaster himself with afterwards. Why expose yourself unnecessarily to wounds? Isn't the more intelligent thing to put gardening gloves on and keep the bandaids in reserve?
The Torah is given for our protection whether it is written on our hearts or not. The commandments are our gardening gloves both for ourselves and for our neighbours. Common sense alone tells us that Law-keeping is good even if it is out of a sense of obligation and our hearts are not in alignment with it. Better still to have heart-agreement, of course. But to refuse to wear gardening gloves until one 'feels' right about it is foolishness in the extreme.
Love and Torah are two separate entities in our fallen world. In the heavens where Yahweh lives they are echad or one. We need rules until we have found that echad - until we have developed enough trust to obey spontaneously without having to force ourselves.
Our mind, heart and actions are supposed to agree with Torah
One of the things I enjoy doing in the spring is burning all the dead grass and plants after the winter. It is, however, a risky business and can spread, endangering neighbours' property and woodland. In order to give consideration to my neighbours I therefore limit myself in the extent to which a burn, making the job longer and harder. When my heart is filled with love for my neighbour and I make it harder for myself joyfully, then the Law may be said to be written in my heart in that respect. But when I resent it because it is slowing me down (for example), then I am still loving my neighbour even if I don't feel it, only in this instance I am forcing myself to be self-limiting for his sake. Both of these conditions may be said to be based in 'love' only the first is perfect love. Nevertheless, in the absence of the first, I am still obligated by the Torah of Yahweh to force myself to be considerate. The third scenario is the totally loveless one wherein I don't give a fig about my neighbour and just burn away without thought of the consequences.
There may therefore be said to be three conditions of being:
Because we are not perfect, Christians/Messianics should operate out of #1 and #2. If we examine ourselves honestly we will see that some Torah-commandments we do spontaneously and consistently with heart-warmth (indicating they are written in our heart), and others we have to force ourselves to do because we 'know' it is right (because Yahweh says so) even if we don't particularly want to obey (indicating that this aspect of Torah is not yet written on our hearts). Many people falsely rationalise, however, that unless they feel this heart-love in respect of the commandments that they need not do it because, they suppose, such would be hypocrisy. They then use this rationale to justify sinning. However, sinning is never justified because it is lawless, and the lawless have no part of the Kingdom. Thus every true believer will, until he has overcome, be living an inner contradiction to some extent. These are the things we wrestle with - these are the issues we struggle with, trying to "work our our salvation with fear and trembling", forcing ourselves to be obedient because we love our God and our neighbour and do not wish to hurt them, whilst praying that as we yield, the Ruach (Spirit) will write these things on our hearts.
- 1. Echad unconditional Torah-written Christ-like heart-love;
- 2. Self-Imposed Torah-based mind-love; and
- 3. Torahless lovelessness.
We can love our neighbour freely or by self-compulsion
You cannot achieve an echad union with Yahweh, with the saints, or with your marriage spouses unless you have #2 fully integrated in your way of life. Yes, this way of 'being' will gradually pass away when the Torah is fully written on your heart but cannot be dismissed until it is. That is why we need to know what Torah is. That is why we are told to be commandment-keepers, that is why we must make the effort to comply until it comes naturally to us. That is why a change of behaviour is something we have to work at. Sitting around and expecting the empowering Christ to then do our own doing does not work. The Parable of the Sower teaches us that the good soil of the soul has to be prepared. The seed of the Kingdom may be a free gift but soil-breaking, soil-manuring, soil-watering, and soil-care (weeding) in general is our active responsibility. That soil-care is is accomplished in many ways but not least by pain old obedience to Yahweh's commandments ... not just the ones we 'like' but all of them. You can't expect the Kingdom of God to well up within you if the soil of your soul is as hard as stone or if it is infested with weeds. We are to garden our own souls. The supernatural work resides in the seed about which we can do nothing. That is the free, unearnable gift. It is the salvation of Yah'shua (Jesus). For more on this internal gardening process, please see The Eight Stages of Changing Wrong Behaviour.
Gardening doesn't do itself and neither does Torah-obedience
I can without hesitation say that these are the principles that have led to such harmony in my marriage at present (2003). This tilling of the spiritual soil within is essential. If you don't do it, the weeds of false belief (based on lies which create links to demons and harrassment) will grow and choke out the good seed of the Kingdom. The echad union of the Kingdom and Marriage is a result - try to separate out the two by putting romance in one box and the Kingdom in another and you will have tensions and barriers. Everything in the Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is supposed to be Echad or one. We are not to divide portions of our life off because all belong to Him is we are truly Christians/Messianics.
Once you are in echad you won't want anything else. It is, however, unrealistic and naïve to believe that wives enter marriages all echad-prepared, as it were. Everyone without exception, in my experience, is damaged in some way and everyone needs ministry. You just can't separate marriage from the Gospel if you want the marriage to survive and thrive. Every area of our being should belong to Yah'shua (Jesus) so that He can integrate everything as a whole. The partitioning of aspects of our lives is a product of our secular culture, not least Christendom which - in order to appease the culture - does the same thing. When we yield to the demands of culture - those at least which are anti-Torah - be become partakers of the cult and are by definition cultists! If you want polygamous marriage to be successful and to come to full fruition and glory, then there is no other choice but to admit Yah'shua (Jesus) and His New Covenant Torah into every aspect of your life. Where commandments are ommitted, secular expectations fill the gaps and the truth becomes watered-down, disempowering you.
It is my desire that everyone in Christian/Messianic polygamy would ride the wings of eternity that comes from unconditionally loving and from Torah-obedience. Coupled together they naturally merge to create new universes of possibility within.
First created on 16 May 2003
Updated on 28 March 2016
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