Q1. I believe that an apostle or evanglist can practice plural marriage, just not a Bishop/Pastor...The Bishop/pastor is the type of Christ over His family, which is one bride, or His one Church. The Bishop/pastor has far too much to do looking after a local church that he would never have time to take care of a polygamous family, would he?
A1. There are many flaws in your reasoning here:
It seems to me that in accepting the faulty MIA translation as "one" instead of the correct "first" you are 'forcing' the passages to mean what you want them to mean whereas the correct rendering harmonises all passages on symbolic wives. Using your logic whilst maintaining the faulty MIA rendering forces you to discard polygamy altogether since the same shadows and types exist at every level of the ministry from Deacons to Apostles. But to do this you would also have to deny the polygamous symbolism of the Apostle to the local churches (assemblies) he has responsibility for, the Pastor to the members of the local church (assembly) he pastors, and the Decaon to the members within the local church (assembly) he has temporal responsibility for, for all are symbolic 'wives' to the one who is in authority over them and all are symbolic 'fathers' for those they preside over.
- 1. You are basing your argument on the faulty MIA translation of 1 Timothy 3:2. However, let us for the sake of argument say that the traditional rendering of this word is "one" as opposed to what we believe is "first" and see where that gets us via-à-vis your proposition that a Bishop cannot be a polygamist. To begin with, the New Testament MIA passages are not just limited to Bishops and Pastors but to any Elder in a congregation and all the Deacons as well.
- 2. In my experience apostles and evangelists are every bit as busy as Pastors and are in fact far more away from the home. This in itself would make them LESS qualified to be polygamous family men based on your argument of being available to their family.
- 3. All Christian/Messianic leaders are types of the Family of Christ and the desirability of oneness. True, the local church (assembly) is a type of the whole Body of Christ (Messianic Community) and the Bishop, Pastor Presiding Elder, or Overseer may be said to be a type of Christ. But the apostles are also types of Christ, the apostle Paul declaring himself to be a father or patriarch over the many congregations he had apostolic authority over and responsibility for. Indeed, the apostle may be said to be a special kind of traveling Pastor with responsibility for not just one local church (assembly) but many under the apostolically designated Pastors. Here is a perfect example of polygamy in action - responsibility for several congregations with the Pastors of each congregation symbolically being 'wives' under submission to the apostle, just as we men as heads of families are symbolic 'wives' to Christ. This is a true apostolic principle for the New Testament teaches that it is the APOSTLES who appoint Pastors and Elders in the congregations. Similarly, the Pastors appoint Deacons who become symbolic 'wives' to the Pastors.
- 4. The apostles are supposed to go without "purse or scrip" (Luke 10:4, KJV) - how on earth, then, would apostles with large polygamous families be expected to provide for them financially? Their long absences from home would seem to me to be more of a detriment to family life than the experience of the pastor who lives locally.
- 5. Experience completely overturns your model. I know many pastors who are polygamists who find polygamy a great blessing and support in their ministry. I know one pastor of a Pentecostal Church who has two wives who labour alongside him as co-pastors, doing an invaluable work.
The whole model of the Church (Messianic Community) is, as I have said, polygamous, there being one-to-many relationships everywhere:
There is a symbolic husband and symbolic wives in all of these relationships:
- 1. Christ >>>> The Body of Christ (Messianic Community)
- 2. An Apostle >>>> group of local church (assembly) Pastors
- 3. A Pastor >>>> a local church (assembly)
- 4. An Elder >>>> a group of Deacons in a local church (assembly)
- 5. A Deacon >>>> a group of members in a local church (assembly)
The way you see the above will, of course, depend on how your local church (assembly) is organised, but no matter what the set-up the priciple repeats itself. It can't not do so because it is built into the very principle of creation. The Church of God (Assembly of Yahweh) is a polygamous entity.
- 1. Christ is the symbolic husband of all Christians/Messianics who are His symbolic wives;
- 2. An apostle is a symbolic husband of a group of local church (assembly) Pastors who are his symbolic wives;
- 3. A Pastor is the symbolic husband of his flock who are his symbolic wives;
- 4. An Elder is the symbolic husband of a group of Deacons who are his symbolic wives;
- 5. A Deacon is the symbolic husband of a group of lay members who are his symbolic wives.
It seems to me that you are confused over oneness and plurality. You can't separate the two. It's like a singular tree with plural roots and plural branches. From the one comes the many. Thus Unity-Plurality (or Uniplurality) Principle (echad) is in everything.
Plural marriage at its heart is all about RESPONSIBILITY and the MULTIPLICATION OF LOVE in ONENESS/UNITY (echad). Plural marriage is a type of the Body of Christ (Messianic Community), the local church (assembly), and the Creation itself. It is THE principle that is reflected everywhere. Monogamy, on the other hand, reflects only one aspect of these things. Polygamy is, in any case, really a type of mongamy multiplied. It's about UNITY multiplying. Monogamy is the base unit of 2-in-1 but that is not the end for it progresses to 3-in-1, to 4-in-1 to infinity. Whilst a mortal man cannot have an infinite number of wives, the Infinite Elohim (God) may of course have an infinite number of symbolic or allegorical wives. Yahweh knew how much a mortal could handle so He set a limit, warning His sons:
Yahweh does not fix a number but warns not to go to excess to prevent a man from forgetting Him. Or as the Living Bible puts it:
"Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away" (Deuteronomy 17:17, KJV).
Unlike in Islam where a man is limited to 4 wives, Yahweh's Law leaves the final number up to him and assumes he will exercise responsbility and follow the Spirit. Thus whilst one polygamist may not be able to cope with more than 12 wives, another may not manage more than 2. Similarly, the vast bulk of men (85-95%) could not manage more than one (to take care of, love, cherish and minister to) and are called to be monogamists. (That is not to say that all monogamists aren't good enough to practice monogamy, only that they may have other callings that would preclude them from doing this based on a number of considerations and factors known only to Yahweh).
He must not have too many wives, lest his heart be turned away from Yahweh..." (Ibid., Living Bible)
Plural marriage is a dynamic system of complex interactions requiring the utmost skill and an abundance of overflowing love. When these things are in place it is a wonderful earthly working model of Christ's relationship to the Church (Messianic Community) reflecting both plurality and oneness.
Now to your second question.
Q2. I understand your views of 'many wives to one God', but it's from a 'human view', not God's. God's Spirit is ONE SPIRIT. In order for the Church to become ONE BRIDE, they must receive the fulness of God's Spirit and walk in unity of Christ, in HIS SPIRIT, which is ONE SPIRIT, which is His unconditional love. It is not hard to understand, UNLESS, the bride insists on worshipping herself and her own human love, which is naturally a conditional love. Sure, we can all 'love each other' and stroke one other with human feelings, but it's not Christ's love. It's not what took him to the cross. It's not what drove him to do the Father's will.
Thus, your analogy breaks down. We are not to view others in Christ as 'sister wives'. We are to all seek to become ONE BRIDE in CHRIST JESUS. We are to draw the unconditional love of Christ out of each of us, and move 'ourselves' and 'selfish love' out of the way in the process. Your view looks at the 'human spirit' to build upon and not upon God's Spirit. (i.e. One God to many wives -- human spirits) This is NOT God's will nor is it his message for His Church. At least, that is what the Holy Spirit whispers to me as his representative. So as an apostle, a true one, I'm setting the record straight. [Ed. At the end of 2002 the writer confessed he was not operating under the true Spirit or apostolic anointing]. People can judge for themselves by my writings who has the true Spirit of God supporting their calling at this time and who does not... 4) David is a type of the Church after the ministry of Christ. Like David, the church was after God's own heart, but it was not perfect. The Christians lusted after gnostism and killed many pure doctrines to birth the 'gnostic Christians', or the 'first child' of David/Bathsheba that came BEFORE Solomon, the second child, or the Catholic Church. Thus David murdered Bathsheba's husband as a prophetic type of early Christianity. They committed spiritually adultry, and killed the truth, lusting after gnosticism. The gnostic Christians all died, just as David's first child died after birth. You are not going to win on this one, because it truly is what the Bible predicted. You are like the Jews talking away the Biblical prophecies of Jesus, not understanding the Holy Spirit.
A2. I really do not need to comment in great deal here because your assumption that the "Spirit" is solely 'one' is false as we read here:
The expression "seven spirits" may also be translated "sevenfold Spirit" (though "seven spirits" is certainly the literal sense) implying that the Spirit is not only singular but plural. We find this meaning elucidated upon in Zechariah 4:2,10 where the "seven eyes of Elohim (God)" are described (v.10) in the famous menorah candlestick revelation. Whilst the Ruach Elohim or Spirit of God is One (echad) it is also seen to be Plural. You will find this concept saturating the whole Bible.
"These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of Elohim (God)...From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of Elohim (God)...Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of Elohim (God) sent out into all the earth. " (Revelation 3:1; 4:5; 5:6, NIV).
Your view is therefore the 'human' one which cannot think in terms of unity and plurality simultaneously without a special endowment of the Spirit to do so. As a polygamist with three wives who are each three separate 'spirits' I also know that we are 'one spirit' - we are a unity as well as a plurality. Monogamists struggle to grasp this and with few exceptions end up failing because they are not called to this principle and are not therefore spiritually endowed to understand it. Again, that is not to say they are inferior but to point out that Yahweh endows His servants with His Spirit to equip them for their special callings. Nevertheless, because we are all "one Body" a time must (and shall) come when we all understand and are understood (2 Corinthians 1:14). Thus those not called into polygamy must, to a lesser or greater degree, be living in darkness with respect to it, thus precluding their ever understanding it in this life (John 1:5). This is true for everyone with respect to other principles and is by no means shameful - we are required simply to accept many things in faith as stated in the Bible and await the good pleasure of Yahweh to enlighten us whether in this life or the next.
I hope these few scriptural tidbits will persuade you to do some further digging and cause to to consider that maybe you have your model upside down. That the Father, Yahweh, is One and the Spirit many may be quite a revolutionary concept for you. If you care to look around in nature you will see this principle everywhere as, for example, in white light which, whilst appearing to be one colour (and indeed BEING one colour in one respect) may be split into many by passage through a prism. My marriage is a SINGLE entity and yet may be split up into FOUR on one level. One multi-faceted Spirit ministers to us and unites the many of us as one. This is indeed to mystery for all by those who have experienced it, though they may have glimpses of it through the unity of brethren in the Church (Messianic Community).
May Yahweh bless you to one day understand what for us polygamists is a self-evident reality.
 The Ultimate Pastor: Problems Facing a Polygynous Husband