Q. There is a very fine point between love-not-force and the need to force movement. Spiritually, I think it comes down to who really has authority and
control in our relationship. Of course I'm not speaking with a worldly understanding, but spiritual. There must be a time when a husband must say that he will no longer allow the wife to control him through her reluctance, fear, pride, selfishness, jealousy, etc. I appreciate so many of your recent articles which focus on the spiritual importance of doing what God has ordained. I must decide who I spiritually serve ... my God or my wife. I must decide if I am in any way doing a service or disservice to my wife by allowing her to drive the situation. I believe that if she lets go of her fear, selfishness, jealousy, and reaches out in love for God's will that she would grow beyone her wildest imagination in a family that included other wives. What is your opinion?
Having taught a wife the scripturality of Christian/Messianic polygamy and brought her to a point where she can no longer deny the Word, and confesses so, the next question is being absolutely sure Yahweh has called you into polygamy and that it is not just your own personal desire fuelled by lust or any other base motive. Knowing whether it is Yahweh's will for you or not is going to be just as difficult for the honest man to determine as it is going to be for a first wife to work through all the emotional turbulence caused by the challenge of polygamy to the dominion of self. If a man arrives at the conclusion that polygamy is right for him without any real struggle then the odds are that it probably isn't.
Our motives for entering the principle must be first and foremost Kingdom-building. If polygamy is a part of Yahweh's Kingdom-building program for your family then it will be right. But do not try to skirt the implications of what this actually means. Entering polygamy will mean the certain END of any ministry - let alone membership - in the church (assembly) which you now belong to unless it is already a polygamy-accepting church (assembly). If it isn't, you are going to find yourself "thrown out of the synagogue" for sure.
If it is your plan to live polygamy secretly in the church (assembly) you belong to, hoping to escape detection (and how long realistically do you expect to be able to do that, especially when children start popping up?), then I am pretty sure you are not in Yahweh's will. Then you are living polygamy for yourself. You are not makling it a tool of the Kingdom-building task.
I have said many times that polygamy has not been restored to the Body of Christ for its own sake as something 'nice' to tack on to our Gospel life, but is one of the foremost means that Yahweh is using to sift the Body of Christ. The restoration of polygamy is part of a wider plan to create from the existing Churches, Yahweh's end-time Remnant Bride. In short, if you are a member of, and serving, one of the tradtional monmogamy-only Church or Messianic denominations, entering polygamy spells the certain end of that association.
What living polygamy does not mean is that you remove yourself from the Body of Christ (Messianic Community) altogether and become a 'solo Christian/Messianic' living polygamy along with your wives. This would be a retrograde step and actually, in many respects, be worse than leaving your current Church/Assembly service (assuming the Lord still wants you there, of course), because you would stop putting the Kingdom first and will, instead, be building up your own Family Kingdom instead. The only justification for polygamy is Kingdom-building. And since you can't do that in the monogamy-only world, and since setting up your own private kingdom would pretty well constitute an abandonment of Christ's mandate to you to Kingdom-build, then the only option is to JOIN THE REMNANT PRO-POLYGAMY COMMUNITY or one of its temporary gathering points, and so continue the task of evangelism and building up the Kingdom.
There are many simultaneous forces at work today, with the restoration of polygamy being only one facet of the overall restoration work. For the most part I am seeing people enter polygamy, abandon the Body, and hide themselves away. Whilst Yahweh may indeed give us 'breathing space' for consolidation, such isolation can only ever be temporary and of short duration. The commandment given to us is to BUILD THE BODY consisting of many families and single people closely integrated into a tightly-knit fellowship. That mandate cannot be forgotten. When it is, there is always a spiritual price to pay. A polygamous family, cut off from such fellowship, can become inward-looking, selfish, and at length eccentric in its beliefs without the corrective ministry of other brethren.
One of the problems, I freely, admit, is that Yahweh is calling men and women from all sorts of denominational traditions into polygamy. Gathering this unlikely and motley crew of souls is by no means easy, because changing the monogamy-only mindframe isn't the only reformation that our Heavenly Father is after. The restoration of the end-time Church/Community is also a restoration of original New Testament doctrine and practice over which the denominations have been quarrelling for centuries. What is the resolution to that problem?
I remember well back in the late 1999's when pro-polygamy people started coming together to discuss this subject that a huge debate errupted between the charismatics and the non-charismatics over the tongues issue. It divided the participants right down the middle and, in time-worn Protestant fashion, they had to 'agree to disagree' for the sake of the common task of promoting polygamy.
But this is no solution at all. Polygamy isn't just an item of merchandise that you can add to your private Gospel shopping basket. Polygamy is part of an integrated whole, just like every other Gospel principle. And so there was a 'charismatic polygamy movement' led, for the most part, by Israel C.S. Lim in Singapore, who ran a pro-polygamous Pentecostal Church. As much as I admire and hold Brother Lim in the profoundest respect, I do not agree with him. He has since not only abandoned poluygamy but also the Gospel. No doubt an assortment of tongue-speaking polygamous believers have since taken his place.
Significantly, and this is a point I have made before, the majority of Christian polygamous patriarchs are moving in the direction of Torah-observance and away from many of the Protestant paradigms. Almost all of them are sabbatarian now (though there are three divisions between Gregorian, Enochian and Creation Calender observers) even though like most Protestants we were all Sunday-observers at one time. When the polygamy issue forced us to dig into the scriptures more deeply than we had ever done before, we began to discover that there were plenty of other things wrong with our belief structures. Different patriarchs have, to be sure, moved along at different paces and down different paths, but it is significant that many are coming to identical conclusions. Many flirt for a while with Messianic Judaism in a bid to get back to New Testament roots and then have to go through the tedious process of weeding out all the Talmudic/Rabbinical Judaism that has accreted over the centuries. This envariably leads them into Messianic Israelitism (not to be confused with Messianic Judaism) such as we at the Chavurat Bekorot espouse. HEM has 'picked up' many people at different stages along their journey down this road, fellowshipping on the basis of mutual respect until we all come to a unity of the faith as we believe we shall and sooner rather than later. We are convinced that we are on the same track heading towards the same goal.
Now you may be wondering what this has to do with your original question. My point is that a woman being led out of the monogamy-only mindframe to a polygamous one will find it a lot easier if she is simultaneously being guided out of false traditions generally and into the Messianic mindframe of the end-time Remnant. The reason I say this is not just because truth is important for its own sake but because polygamy is not properly understood in terms of Kingdom-building until it is set in its proper place in the matrix of the rôle of the end-time Church or Messianic Community. Once the divine IMPERATIVE is seen behind polygamy in terms of the Kingdom-building task, then it becomes all the more easier to take those struggling with its implications out of the realm of self and personal family interest and to put them - and us - where were were supposed to be all the time - seeking first the Kingdom and its righteousness.
I therefore like very much what you say about directing a resisting wife to keep spiritually moving whilst not forcing her to just 'enter' polygamy. This is without doubt the correct perspective. One of the great dangers I have seen is where a man, understandably frustrated by his wife's resistance, decides himself that the 'limit' of his patience (and therefore God's, as he presumptuously supposes) has been reached and then unilaterally forces her by taking a second wife with or without her agreement. This cannot be right. What is right - and absolutely - is that the husband keep gently pushing his wife along the spiritual stream of internal reformation. This needs careful clarification.
A woman who is impeding her husband's ministry is opposing Elohim (God) Himself. This is, of course, assuming that that this is his ministry (whatever it is) and not just what he wants it to be. Now you men had better be careful here - the mind and heart are terribly deceptive things and can convincingly rationalise what they want and pass the buck to Elohim (God). It is the easiest thing in the word to say something like: "This is what God has called me to do, polygamy is part if it, so you'd better fall in line". This is just manipulation of the wife by using the Name of God for a personal end. It is a dangerous mistake to make and one, I dare say, all men have used at some time or another. Come on, let's come clean here - WE HAVE ALL DONE IT. We have all tried to recruit 'God' in our plans (not forgetting the women recruiting 'Him' for the monogamy-only camp too). It wasn't only the German Wehrmacht who had Gott mitt uns inscribed on their army belt buckles. The danger - and it's a serious one - is that we break the third commandment not to misuse the Name of Yahweh our Elohim (God) (Exodus 20:7) - not to use the Name of Elohim (God) as a magic talisman to serve our own selfish ends.
Were you to get into the hearts of all the Christian/Messianic patriarchs today I guarantee that you will find that all of them have done this to one degree or another and that probably the great majority are still using this card to manipulate women into polygamy. Woe unto them unless they repent!
That is why you have got to know Yahweh's will first and you have got to have the Kingdom as your first priority. So long as these are in your eye you are not going to be deceived and misled into costly error.
Unless you are willing to abandon your church denominations and ministries, don't even look at polygamy. It'll destroy you.
It really ought to be obvious, but when a soul is blinded by 'love' (read, 'passion'), it can't see clearly and won't see clearly. I don't know how many desperate letters I have received from men in high ministerial office in the churches who want to marry polygamously, who have a first wife dead set against, and yet who want to remain where they are. They have got to be prepared to make the sacrifice to enter this lifestyle, and the biggest one is letting go of all our false traditions, possibly going down many pegs in the social and ecclesiastical ladder, and learning to be tutored like John the Baptists in the wilderness. You had better be sure you are willing to adapt to the spiritual locusts-and-honey-diet in the wilderness of rejection amongst other patriarchs and their wives who have made the sacrifice. If you aren't, you are going to be destroyed.
If you feel a calling into polygamy, Yahweh is going to force you to penetrate into doctrinal and practical areas of the Christian/Messianic faith which hitherto may have been taboo to you. Every false construction, every egocentric kind of 'love', and every false motive will be shaken like a tree in a mighty storm. The cost will be great. You may suffer multiple calamities. You may lose your families, your wealth, your reputation, your standing in society and in Christendom. Consider these things before you contemplate polygamy.
Once you, the man, have accepted the cost and are willing to pay, then and only then, do you have the right to keep your wife 'spiritually moving' because then and only then will you be moving in the Spirit. It is so easy to confuse the movement of the soul with the Holy Spirit - Christians/Messianics are doing this on a more-or-less continuous basis, crediting the 'Spirit' with their own carnal movements.
I am sure you would like me to tell you that a man can know Yahweh's will 100% at all times, particularly in so sensitive an area as polygamy which rubs against the cultural grain of centuries. I can't guarantee that. There is, in every important decision, a big element of faith. The important thing is to test that faith as rigorously as rigor may be allowed to. And to do a thorough testing, a considerable amount of time may be needed as you strip away all false motives and allow Yahweh to reveal who you are to yourself in stark nakedness.
A person who enters polygamy without having first gone through the 'long night of the soul' is almost certainly unprepared. And even at the end of that struggle, he must rely finally on truth mixed liberally with common sense. Yahweh does not, it seems, intend to do all our thinking for us. He does not want robots.
Yahweh's will becomes apparent enough once you start implementing your decision. That is not to say that every obstacle should be interpreted as divine disapproval, but it does mean that there should be enough positive signs to make the road ahead clearly visible.
In preparing to live polygamy with my second wife I had to navigate an often complex path. The problem in her case wass that whilst she was most certainly scripturally converted, and whilst she was spiritually converted most of the time, there were times when she swung forcibly 'out' of her testimony and rode the crest of her own carnal feelings. Was she ready when I brought my third wife into the family? Should I have waited longer as she would have wished? Who indeed is capable of fathoming such deeply complex questions!?
Had I waited longer I probably would have had to wait another 10 years. The question then becomes: is a disciple really totally ready for any calling Yahweh gives? And if so, how much 'witness' is needed before one is equipped to step out in faith?
Had my second wife been resolutely opposed, all the way down the line, I would not have stepped forward. However, with her, the situation was rather special: she had received a direct and independent revelation from Elohim (God) telling her to enter plural marriage. And she had testified of it many times. She actually heard Yahweh speak to her audibly whilst driving her car one day.
Moreover, she wanted to try even though she was terribly apprehensive about her ability to cope with the feelings involved. There was no doubt in my mind that it was right for me to marry my third wife when I did. I knew there were problems, and I knew they would take a long time to resolve. I also know that the problems were in some respect unique to her own personal childhood experience. There was no doubt that she had been given the green light by Yahweh, and because it was clear she had been given for it, it was also clear for me as well. My job would be to gently but firmly steer her through plural marriage until her other problems could be sorted out.
But that was second wife. Each woman's struggle is somewhat different. The feelings may be similar but the internal, spiritual obstacle course is always unique to some extent. I could have waited and given her more 'time' but in view of the fact that Yahweh's will was clearly known to both of us, there was no justification in delaying further. Once His will is known to both, then the wife seeking entrance must be given due consideration too. She cannot be expected to wait indefinitely because another wife is chopping and changing all the time. The spirit must not yield to the flesh.
In those days I used to believe that an existing wife had a veto in admitting new wives but I subsequenrly learned that there is no scriprtual mandate for that and that my predisposition towards this 'rule' was more a tool of appeasement. I long ago scrapped it. A woman has no more a veto admitting a wife into a family than a church has admitting a new believer to fellowship in Christ!
We do have a fallen tendency to make 'rules' to try and appease a resistant wife by giving her marital rights she does not have. If a husband does that, he will undermine his own authority. The rules must be biblical, strict and unchanging. And we must never lose sight of our primary model of Christ and the Church (Messianic Community). The rights of a wife in polygamy are no different from the rights of believers in the Body. When churches drive sinners from Christ because of man-made doctrines, then this is no different a husband denying a new wife access to his marriage because of man-made first wife-appeasing rules. The oldest members of a congregations do not have 'senior citizen' rights - everyone operates under the same rules and receives the same wage whether they come to Christ at the beginning of the day or at the end of it. We must never forget that.
Your first wife - the wife of your youth - is not a queen or head wife even if she is important. Her status in your marriage is the same whether you marry her first or last. Her experience does not confer a special rank upon her or give her managerial rights. And yet this is the way of the flesh, is it not? Don't people try to lord it over others by appealing to the rank of age or experience? Even I, who am one of the 'oldest' of the Christian/Messianic polygamy restorers, have no greater 'rank' over someone entering this principle later on in the day. More than likely I will be overshadowed by others who can leap-frog over the fields of discovery that I had to laboriously till, sow and harvest, in order to move on to the next ones that I may never have time or opportunity to reach and enjoy.
There are queen or shegal wives to be sure but that honour is based on one's spiritual walk and not on temporal seniority or age. But there are no coronations and no regalia of office. An apostle, the higest rank in the Church (Messianic Community) is, in any case, but a gifted Deacon - a servant - with heavy responsibilities. Queen-wives there may be many, and others less exalted in the things of the Spirit, but they are all waged in the same way, all receive a common salvation.
It is not for me to tell any man how to keep the spiritual waters moving in a reluctant and resistant wife. They are his waters to stir, not mine. I cannot know him as she does and so my counsel, based on experience with my own wives, may not be very much good to him. But move those waters he must, just as Christ inexorably pushes us away from carnal whirlpools and ever onwards to the safety of the spiritual net.
Marriage must surely be one of the most complicated operations to manage for any man. Rather have the directorship of small business! That is why it, and especially mutliple marriage or polygamy, is the apprenticeship of the highest callings in the Kingdom. Too many lax and careless pretenders will seek it, as for crowns not theirs. More the pity there is not some sort of more visible and tangible and legislated mode of accession to this high calling, guaranteeing that all the right men step forward and the wrong ones be exposed before they can harm themselves and the women on whom they wish to practice such a kingly art for which they are so unfit.
In a theocratic society, whose sort we shall not see until our blessed Master returns, such matters will be more readily solved. But in the Wild West of the death throes of the old but fatally flawed Christian/Messianic Order, we must not expect such luxuries. Fatalities there will be, alas, but if we, who are called to protect this sacred institution, are more vocal and, in due course (God willing) respected, then perhaps some sort of polygamous 'Knights of the Round Table' may be established where noble women contemplating this holy estate may turn in search of knights chivalrous, and so know they will be assured of the best the spiritual land can offer.