There is something I have read recently that I have found very troubling. It troubles me immensely that people present themselves as an expert on something and then proceed to refute whatever their pet peeve is solely with emotional diatribe, invective, and third-person, anonymous anecdotal so-called evidence. Such is the case at one anti-polygamy site I have run across recently. This person has decided that polygamy is wrong and unscriptural based on her feelings and has offered the sloppiest scriptural exegesis I have ever seen to support her opinions and feelings. This is shameful enough and deceiving enough but she further resorts to an anonymous e-mail that recounts a truly horrible story to illustrate how polygamy 'must be wrong.'
Shortly, I will launch a point-by-point rebuttal of her exegesis. As that will take the remainder of this article I will first address the issue of this email from this 'abused' polygamist wife. You see, I am familiar with this story, as are most who have been involved with the polygamy movement for a while. The 'abused' wife is telling everyone that she was beaten and her legs broken and she was dumped without any recourse at all. That is not quite accurate, as everyone in the community knows. For whatever reason she and her husband fought, he was by no means the sole aggressor in this debacle, and while I can easily concur that he was wrong to physically abuse her, she was equally wrong to physically abuse him. There is blame on both sides of that little tango that any reasonable person can see. Having survived a truly murderously abusive marriage myself, I am offended that she makes such trumped up claims just to bolster her own private vendetta against polygamy. It demeans those of us who truly are horrendous abuse survivors. The truth is here that there was mutual abuse and she was by no means the totally innocent party. When the breakup occurred, several counselors, my husband included, offered their help for the healing and restoration of her marriage, but she was not interested in that. She only wanted vindication and when she did not get it, she unleashed verbal abuse and vilification on everyone around her who would not see things her way. She then went on the attack. She stalked this man around the net and publicly attacked him in every club or chat room she could find him in. She changed names so often on Yahoo that I am surprised she could ever remember who she was. Now she has sunk to a new low. She has written an anonymous letter to a known anti-polygamist, not only airing her tired, fake story one more time, but causing untold pain for the other person she alluded to in her little story, who is indeed going through a terrible trial right now. It is truly a shame that someone who claims the name of Christ not only fabricates such a blatantly false story, but is blithely unconcerned about the harm and pain she is causing others with her ongoing and quite pointless vendetta.
She has also written to the club we have on Yahoo. She has stated that we have an abuser of women and children among us and she has also stated that we have white supremacists among us. I will not name names as she did as I do not wish to give the accusation that much credit and she has done quite enough damage irresponsibly throwing peoples' names and baseless accusations around.
She concludes her little missive with the statement that she has been asked by some network affiliates to do interviews about her dealings with the polygamy movement, and that she is going to expose as many of us fakes as she can. This is quite pitiful and truly indicative of the paranoid and deluded stated of mind this woman possesses.
I could find it in me to feel sympathy for this woman who is so filled with bitterness and gall that she has to resort to lies and innuendo to fuel her unreasonable rage, but that is not the end of it. It has gone past one woman's emotional tirade since the web mistress of this site, www.firstangel.com/polygamy.htm (now defunct) who decided to use this letter as 'proof' that polygamy is wrong. This in addition to the single sloppiest exegesis I have ever seen. Such deliberate misinterpretation of the scriptures I have never seen before. We will cover that extensively momentarily but I want to address a couple of nonscriptural points this woman made.
First, even if you accept the anonymous letter at face value not knowing the real story behind it, how is that an ipso facto condemnation of polygamy? By that reasoning, since I was almost killed in a monogamous marriage, that means that monogamy is wrong, would not that be the logical conclusion? Of course you and I, dear reader, know that is pure drivel. I have no doubt that there are some polygamous marriages that are abusive since human beings are part of them, but then so are there proportionally many more monogamous marriages that are abusive. I know I have stated these statistics before, but for the benefit of those who haven't read my previous works or those who are justifiably affected by the alleged abuse in this anonymous letter, I would like to reiterate. In the United States, a monogamy-only country by civil law, three women an hour are killed by their domestic partners. That is seventy-two women a day, folks. Not a resounding recommendation for monogamy in my books. Now for those of you who say that how man has abused monogamy does not negate its scriptural validity I say, AMEN, and neither does the occasional instance of abuse in a polygamous marriage negate the scriptural validity of plural marriage.
Now we move on to the scriptural exegesis. In the second paragraph of the above-referenced web page, the author charges that polygamy is unscriptural, unchristian, and not the way of our Lord Jesus (Yah'shua). She goes further and actually states that polygamy is dangerous. Well, since we have already covered which state is provably the most dangerous, let us deal with the other statements. Unscriptural and unchristian are the ones I mean most.
Before we delve specifically into the polygamy issues, there are a few general principles that I would like to elucidate. Having read this lady's claim that polygamy was only tolerated in the Old Testament because it was the culture of the time, I think it is necessary to point out the nature of Yahweh, for I do not believe He is a respecter of the time or of men's traditions. Let's ponder on this a bit scripturally.
Luke 3:14 And the soldiers also asked Him saying, 'And we, what must we do?' And He said unto them, 'Extort from no man by violence, neither accuse wrongfully and be content with your wages'."
John 4:46 Think not that I will accuse you to the Father: There is one that accuseth you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope.
The very first scriptural truth I would like clearly elucidated is the injunction against accusing falsely. The scriptures above are reasonably clear on the matter but anyone who feels there is another interpretation please feel free to contact me and share you reasoning with me. We who claim the name of Christ are not to falsely accuse. Enough said.
The next concept I wish to explore is this tired notion that what was blessed, sanctioned and regulated in the Old Testament by Yahweh is somehow null and void, or worse yet, has become sinful in the New Testament. Let us let scripture speak to us a bit shall we?
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things. Hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil and the very Elohim (God) of peace sanctify you wholly.
Isaiah 1:18 Come now and let us reason together, says Yahweh.
A couple of quick points here. We are to prove all things against scripture, not just accept someone else's opinion. Accepting another's opinion is precisely how so many false traditions and misinterpretations have become so entrenched in modern Christendom. Due to spiritual laziness and selfish aversion, the actual scriptural truth has been watered down and perverted over the years to suit the cultures of man rather than man attempting to reform his culture to suit the Word of Elohim (God). The scripture is the final determinant. Not anyone's impassioned and emotional treatise or scripturally baseless invective.
1 Peter 3:6-12 Finally, all of you live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For whoever would love life and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For eyes of Yahweh are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of Yahweh is against those who do evil.
Brothers and sisters, we must be very careful about slandering our fellow Christians/Messianics. It is not a small matter to do so. It is even more grave a matter to willfully slander or speak deceitfully about Yahweh's Word and the truths it so plainly elucidates. We cannot safely, from a spiritual standpoint, disregard or repudiate the truth of Elohim's (God's) word, no matter how it might affect us emotionally. More on this theme a little later.
Now let us reflect on the unchanging nature of Yahweh. As these subsequent scripture passages will clearly spell out, Yahweh is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
Malachi 3:6 For I am Yahweh I do not change; that is why you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
Hebrews 12:8 Jesus Christ (Yah'shua the Messiah) is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
Psalms 33:11 The counsel of Yahweh standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that, whatsoever Elohim (God) doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything be taken away from it: and God doeth it that men should fear before Him.
James 1:6 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights, with Whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Numbers 23:19 Elohim (God) is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: Hath He said and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken and shall He not make it good?
Irrefutably then we find that Yahweh does not change. That suggests that He is little affected by changing cultural mores or customs. He is the SAME then as now, so it seems to me to be reasonable that His commandments and blessings have not changed with the passage of time or the changing of the moral climate. To state that polygamy was tolerated by Elohim (God) in Old Testament days because of the cultural mores would be like saying He will tolerate the rampant sexual immorality and homosexuality of today because most modern cultures accept and validate these lifestyles. Any thinking Christian/Messianic can easily see what is wrong with this very sloppy logic indeed.
Since we have established beyond question that Yahweh does not change, let us look a little further at what scripture teaches about the character of Yahweh.
The first characteristic that is established firmly in scripture is that Yahweh is truthful. In fact, He is Truth. He does not, in truth cannot, lie. The following scripture spells this out without hesitation.
Exodus 34:6 Then Yahweh passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "Yahweh, Yahweh-Elohim, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness and truth.
2 Samuel 7:28 Now, O Yahweh-Elohim, You are Elohim (God), and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant.
John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth.
Indeed, just a representative sampling but there can be no doubt to the discerning reader that Yahweh Elohim (God) is a Elohim (God) of absolute and abiding truth. This is a statement with no possible rebuttal.
The next characteristic of Yahweh that receives minute documentation in scripture is the fact that He is righteous. He is just and upright in all His actions and plans. The following passages again are only a representative sample but serve to demonstrate the absolute inviolability of this premise as well.
Psalms 50:6 And the heavens declare His righteousness, for Elohim (God) Himself is judge.
Psalms 89:16 In Your name they rejoice all the day, and by Your righteousness they are exalted.
Isaiah 11:5 Also, righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.
Jeremiah 23:6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely, and this is His name by which He will be called, Yahweh our Righteousness.
Matthew 6:33 But first seek His kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of Elohim (God) in Him.
Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after Elohim (God) is created in righteousness and holiness.
Yahweh is righteous and just. He can be no other. Scripture is clear and there can be no mistake so Yahweh can be relied upon to deal justly and in a right manner with all people at all times. Remember, we have previously firmly established Yahweh's unchanging nature.
Then, as we continue, let us see how scripture waxes eloquent on another of Yahweh's attributes; holiness. Holiness is described as a quality that is manifested as an equal regard for grace and truth and is closely associated with righteousness. That is an apt description of our Master, who is love but is also just .
Exodus 15:11 Who among the gods is like You, O Yahweh? Who is like You, majestic in holiness? Awesome in praises, working wonders.
Hebrews 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
1 Samuel 2:2 There is no one holy like Yahweh, indeed there is noone beside You, nor is there any rock like our Elohim (God).
Psalms 99:5 Exalt the Yahweh our Elohim (God) and worship at His footstool; holy is He.
Isaiah 5:16 But Yahweh of hosts will be exalted in judgment, and the holy Elohim (God) will show Himself holy in righteousness.
Revelation 4:8 And the four living creatures, each one of them with six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS YAHWEH-ELOHIM ALMIGHTY WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.
Thus we see firmly established in scripture that Yahweh is truth, He is righteousness, and He is holy. These facts of His nature cannot be refuted or ignored. Coupled with the previously irrefutably determined fact that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, we begin to see the fallacy in thinking that He might have tolerated something at one time because of the human customs of the time and then adjudged that same thing a sin at another time in human history. It is just not a concept that makes any sense, scripturally or logically. This would pertain to any practice, but particularly to polygamy. You see, marriage is important to Yahweh. It is so important that He has given explicit instructions throughout scripture for the conduct of it and each partner's responsibilities and duties regarding it. It is true that most of the rules were laid out in the Old Testament, and that fact is in no way justification for saying that they are no longer valid, since there is nothing in the New Testament to invalidate those instructions and validations, and the New Testament was very careful to elucidate clearly which aspects of Old Testament law were modified under the New Covenant. Perhaps there is not a lot of new material in the New Testament on polygamy and its conduct because it would have been so common in Hebrew society that to spell out the rules of conduct yet again would have been wastefully redundant. There are, however, a couple of indirect references that will logically establish that the rules of conduct have certainly not changed. We will cover that a little later in this article.
I would like to, at this time, like to address the fallacious notion that the Old Testament is null and void since the advent of the New Testament, that somehow it is a completely separate book from the New Testament. We do not have two bibles, folks. There is one, and only one. There is the part that predates the coming of Messiah, which is the Tanakh or Old Testament, as it is most familiarly called to most of you. Then there is the part that antedated the coming of Messiah, or the New Testament. Therefore the refusal to accept Old Testament scriptural validation of any Godly principles is to refuse to accept Elohim's (God's) word, plain and simple. Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself said that He did not come to change the Torah (Law) but to complete it. He goes further to say that heaven and earth shall pass away, but not the Law. He also faithfully observed Old Testament Law, or Torah, all His life as did all of the apostles, which I will demonstrate with scriptures in the next section. You see, it is a serious error to state something as scriptural or unscriptural without citing actual scripture to validate the statement.
Matthew 5:17-20 Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah (Law) or the Nevi'im (Prophets). I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass until all of the Torah (Law) is fulfilled. Whoever, therefore, breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men to do so, shall be called the 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.
Plain words from our Saviour. Not one jot nor tittle shall pass away. He goes further to warn that he who does not keep the commandments or teaches others not to shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. I should think this is a clear and concise rejoinder to any one who thinks it is appropriate to teach and practice that the Old Testament and Mosaic Law are passed away and that it is not necessary to consider them or observe them in this New Covenant time. I do not consider myself a vain or ambitious person, but I surely do not aspire to be the LEAST in heaven.
This woman, Katerina, continues on to state that she 'guarantees that plural marriage is not of Elohim (God)'. How very foolish and uninformed that statement is, not to mention unjustifiably arrogant. Obviously, there has been no serious study on her part as to what the Bible actually says about marriage. She has not taken the time nor kept her mind open enough to research responsibly and process the plain message of that which is plainly stated in scripture. It is a bit dangerous to state that something is not of Elohim (God) when the scriptures so clearly and repeatedly establish that it is, in fact, of Elohim (God).
A word, if I may, about what marriage is scripturally, before we continue. The bible defines marriage as the exclusive, lifelong covenant between a man and one or more women allowing them to have sexual relations for the purpose of companionship and the raising of a family. It is Elohim/God-ordained and blessed. The words monogamy and polygamy are not mentioned anywhere in the Bible and the number of wives a man may have is limited only by his ability to care for them temporally, physically, spiritually and financially. The bible counsels against a man having too many wives but does not give a specific number, and nowhere, Old or New Testament, does it intimate or state that he may have only one wife. It matters not to me what any other person who has an emotional aversion to polygamy guarantees me is or is not of Elohim (God), it matters what the plain truth of scripture is. In the end, that is the only determining factor.
Let us continue and spell out clearly what the scripture teaches about adultery and fornication as these words crop up often in anti-polygamy diatribe. The bible describes fornication as an unmarried man and an unmarried woman, or a married man and an unmarried woman, having unlawful sex. In either case, the man is required to marry the woman, no provision being made for whether or not he is already married, so has no bearing on plural marriage really, except to appear to mandate it if a married man has sex with an unmarried woman, since a marriage under Elohim (God) is a bond for life, and cannot be terminated before Elohim (God) by a man just to take another wife, as is done so commonly in today's monogamy-only cultures.
The bible continues on to describe adultery as a married man having sex with another man's wife, or a married woman having sex with a man who is not her husband (whether he is married or unmarried). The bible speaks plainly about this. I realize many feminists will be appalled by this statement, but nevertheless, that is the truth of scripture. A man just is not guilty of adultery before Yahweh for having more than one wife. It does not meet the scriptural criteria, in fact, is contrarily presented as a blessed principle before Yahweh. Anyone who has scriptural refutation of this please feel free to share your findings for we who have studied extensively and long have tried to find holes in our exegesis and cannot.
Very simply put, adultery can be described as having unlawful intercourse with the spouse of another, and fornication is illicit sexual intercourse, the requirement being that marriage take place afterwards if the couple has committed it. It makes no allowances for the man already having a wife, it just mandates that he marry a woman he has illicit sex with, period.
Further, just because plural law may be against the man-made law of the land, does not make it adultery or a sin. Where Elohim's (God's) law conflicts with man's law, we are to obey His law first. To state that man-made laws against biblical marriage make that marriage a sin would be to say that to spread the gospel in a country where there are man-made laws against Christianity/Messianism would make evangelizing a sin. Do you see the paradox, here? To use this line of reasoning to refute polygamy is double mindedness and the scripture has something to say about that as well.
James 1:8 A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.
James 4:8 Draw nigh to Elohim (God) and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts ye double minded.
Enough said on that issue. If it can be established that plural marriage is blessed, validated and even sometimes mandated by the Word of Elohim (God), then the fact that it may be illegal in opposition to the Word of Elohim (God) does not make it a sin in any form or fashion.
At this point, I will begin the point-by-point dismantling of first angel's anti-polygamy fallacies. Remember, we have established that Yahweh does not change, never has, never will. We have also established His character of truthfulness, righteousness, and holiness beyond any argument. We have also established the error of falsely accusing fellow Christians/Messianics and we have graphically demonstrated that the New and Old Testaments are not two separate books, but parts of a whole and that Yah'shua (Jesus) did not abolish the Torah (Law), but completed it. A more detailed exegesis of this fact may be found at my exegesis supporting keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, yet this scriptural study supports keeping the Law generally and specifically establishes that the apostles did, and further, that Yah'shua (Jesus) did, all the days of His life and never changed that at all.
Very first of all, Katarina, you say that you guarantee that polygamy is not of Yahweh (God). That guarantee, frankly, at the risk of being rude, is totally meaningless. We see in scripture that Yahweh portrays himself allegorically as a polygamous husband. This is done several places in the Old Testament. We will look at a couple of them. In the meantime, please consider this. Does it make any logical sense at all that Yahweh, an Elohim (God) of truth, righteousness, and holiness would portray himself allegorically as something He considered unrighteous or sinful? I think not and I think we have adequately demonstrated the fallacy of this notion scripturally. There is always the option of denying scripture but if you accept scriptural validation, you cannot deny that Yahweh has presented Himself in allegory as a polygamist husband to Israel and Judah, also in one place to Jerusalem and Samaria.
Jeremiah 31:31-32 'Behold days are coming,' declares Yahweh, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house if Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,' declares Yahweh.
Here Yahweh refers to Himself as a husband to Israel and Judah. Hmmmm......
But let us continue in this development of scriptural accuracy to establish it firmly. We continue to the 23rd chapter of Ezekiel for a further allegory. Yahweh is presented as the husband of Aholah and Aholibah, that is, Samaria and Jerusalem. The bulk of the chapter describes Samaria and Jerusalem's rebellion against Yahweh and is a wonderful and prophetic allegory I would encourage the dear reader to read studiously at his earliest opportunity. Let us now look at one passage in particular.
Ezekiel 23:4 And the names of them were Aholah the elder and Aholibah her sister; and they became Mine and they bore sons and daughters. As for the identity of their names, Ahola is Samaria and Aholibah is Jerusalem.
Guarantee or no guarantee, Yahweh Himself presents himself in these two passages as an allegorical polygamous husband, and it would the sloppiest of logic, not to mention disparaging of Yahweh's nature, to have us believe that He would present Himself, even in allegory, as something less than righteous and holy. I leave you to draw your own conclusions on this matter.
There are several scriptures that are presented on this page that describe how husbands are to love and treat their wives. All though I am not sure of the reasoning behind presenting them in this context, I concur wholeheartedly. Notice that more of them than not use the plural wives and not the singular wife. Perhaps the terms are more interchangeable than some emotional dogmatics can accept or admit.
We have noted that there is not a lot of new material covering plural marriage in the New Testament, as well as the completely sound reasoning as to why. There are, however, some scriptural references in the New Testament that indirectly support the already extensively and specifically validated sanctity of polygamous marriage.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 And unto the married I command, yet not I but Yahweh, Let not the wife depart from her husband. But if she depart let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
Note here that no exception is made for the fact that the husband might have remarried, nor is there any instruction for him to remain unmarried as there is for the wife. Indirectly, this supports the existence of sanctified polygamous marriage, as the instruction is only that she should be reconciled to her husband, with no distinction being made as to whether he has remarried or not. BUT......there is no instruction for him not to marry again, only for the wife not to marry again.
As for the one wife passages, this is the mia question again and has been extensively researched and presented in several places. I will place links to a couple of pages that present this exegesis in detail with scriptural references but the gist is this. These verses, translated correctly and taken in context, have nothing to do with naming the number of wives a man must have, they delineate that he must not be divorced, must still be faithful to his wife. Now before we get into an emotional discussion about a polygamous husband not being faithful, let us remember how the Bible views a husband's faithfulness. It is not based on exclusivity, but on loyalty to his wife/wives. A wife's faithfulness IS based on exclusivity. That truth may strike an emotional chord in some, but in no was does that emotional response negate the plain truth of scripture.
For a detailed exegesis and explanation of the mia question see: MIĀ REVISITED I: Disposing of a Stumbling Block and MAMMA MIĀ! More Insights on Miā Gune.
These lay it out well and concisely. There are also many other links that answer the mia question as well. It, perhaps, is one of the most extensively answered and refuted anti-polygamy arguments that exist and I won't give a lot of time here to an old and tired argument since the answer is readily available to any who want the answer, except to say that the conclusion is obvious to anyone with any spiritual honesty at all. These passages are describing the requirement of elders and deacons to be responsible and faithful husbands with which you will get no argument from any Bible-believing Christian/Messianic.
There was also the assertion on this first angel sight that Yah'shua (Jesus) said that polygamy was adultery. I am afraid I must ask for the scripture reference that led her to that conclusion, which will be most difficult for her to provide, as it does not exist. Note, I am not trying to say that the Saviour did not condemn adultery, I am saying without hesitation that He never identified polygamy as adultery. Furthermore, in Revelation, the relationship of Christ to the messianic community (church) is again represented allegorically as a polygamous marriage, as is plain to discern. Again we have the dilemma of having to believe that Yah'shua (Jesus) would allow Himself to be represented in a role, even allegorically, that would be considered perverse or sinful. That is an assumption which is, at best, untenable and highly unlikely.
I think this pretty well covers most of the charges raised at the first angel site. Further discussion is always welcome of course, but I recommend that you bring your Bible, as I always bring and reference mine.
The scriptural and sanctified principle of Christian/Messianic polygamy is well established as a Godly marriage estate in scripture, one that will not be for everyone, to be sure, particularly in this sinful, carnal, and uninformed time, but a blessed lifestyle with much to offer spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, to those mature enough and devoted to Yah'shua (Jesus) enough to put away carnal selfishness and possessiveness and follow Him. I know these facts to be true. Scripture extensively supports them and I am living them. For those of you who do not feel called to live polygamously, you need not think anyone is trying to force you to live the principle, just admit that scripturally it is sanctified by Yahweh. There is a great deal of misinformation and misgiving to be overcome by people in this time regarding righteous plural marriage, but all of that misinformation and misgiving is of human origin. Yahweh knows and has always known how He wants things done. Just read the book. I have.