Indeed, let us reason, brothers and sisters. I have recently read a treatise that begins with the very strong assertion that polygamy not only is not sanctioned by Yahweh but actually forbidden by Him. There are some glaring scriptural problems with this assertion that we will cover in detail in a bit. I realize that this issue is very threatening to many in this culture, even amongst devout believers, as I have dealt with not a little fear and insecurity myself and continue to do so at times, but the final determinant is always what the truth of scripture is, not how we feel about it. We will cover this treatise point by point, without naming any names, because the point is to clarify the truth of Yahweh's word for the edification of His children, not to point fingers and ridicule anyone, no matter how great their error may be.
Let us begin then. At the very beginning the assertion is made that polygamy is forbidden by Yahweh and that those who practiced it were either punished or they repented of it. Let us see exactly what the assertion is:
You may be surprised to learn that Abraham was not a polygamist -- that David completely repented of it -- that God's legal statutes made polygamy illegal in ancient Israel! God did not sanction polygamy in Old Testament times. Contrary to the suppositions many have accepted, God forbade it -- and PUNISHED for it!
That assumption is absolutely false! God has never approved, nor made lawful, more than one living wife for any man. Quite the contrary, He FORBADE IT, even to the kings of Israel, and that by written STATUTE!
This is blatantly false and not backed up by one word of scripture. The only support the writer gives for this assertion is to say that Abraham was not a polygamist, that he never took another wife while Sarah lived. One issue I would like to clarify for you, dear reader, is that there was a sin on Sarah's part for offering Hagar to Abraham as wife to give him a child, but it had nothing to do with the fact that Abraham took her as wife. It had to do with Sarah's lack of faith and trust in Yahweh that He would give her a child as He promised He would. That is the source of the conflict between Ishmael and Isaac, not the fact that Abraham had sons by two different women. That and Ishmael's carnal jealousy of Isaac are what caused the rift in the family. If you will note, Hagar and Ishmael were not sent away because of any repentance on Abraham's part for the taking of another wife, but because Ishmael had actually become a danger to Isaac and the rest of the family. Abraham, as patriarch, made an undoubtedly painful decision to remove Hagar and Ishmael from the family camp, but he never denied her or failed to provide for her, he just put her in a separate place to protect his family. Friends, these kinds of situations have developed between the children in monogamous families, particularly in wealthier ones where inheritances were at stake. To state that the turmoil was because of the polygamous nature of the family is simplistic and simply not supportable as the same criteria could far more easily be used to negate the validity of monogamous marriage as there have, historically, been far more crimes of greed and jealousy committed between siblings from monogamous families than polygamous ones, which would tend to indicate that the problem lies somewhere other than the structure of the family.
Now let us explore the scriptural accuracy of the assertion that Yahweh forbade polygamy. Let us look at some scriptures first then see if we can tie the theme together.
I would first like to address the last verse, as this is commonly, and erroneously, used by monogamy-only advocates to try to indicate that scripture forbids more than one wife. If you will read closely, the word used is multiply, not add. Commonly used is the example of King Solomon, who had 300 wives, and 700 concubines. That obviously was multiplying wives and most of them were of pagan origin anyway, which in his old age turned his heart from Yahweh. While the bible in no place forbids a man to take more than one wife, it does instruct him not to take more than he can care for, temporally, physically, financially, spiritually, or emotionally. Obviously, since everyone is different, that could be a different capacity or ability from man to man. In King Solomon's case, the error is obvious as 1,000 wives and concubines is absolutely ridiculous.
"If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish." (Exodus 21:10)
"And unto the married I command, yet not I, but Yahweh, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband [Whether he has remarried or not, she can be reconciled unto him]: and let not the husband put away his wife." (1 Corinthians 7:10-11)
"If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his." (Deuteronomy 21:15-17)
"If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife [Whether he is married or not]; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days." (Deuteronomy 22:28-29; cp. Exodus 22:16)
"If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her [Whether he is married or not], and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed." (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; cp. Mark 12:19)
"Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because Yahweh hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For Yahweh, the Elohim (God) of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith Yahweh of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. Ye have wearied Yahweh with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of Yahweh, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the Elohim (God) of judgment?" (Malachi 2:14-17)
"Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness. Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time." (Leviticus 18:17-18, Leviticus 20:14)
"Neither shall he multiply [Instead of adding]: wives to himself, that his heart turn not away [Such as what Solomon did, marrying foreign wives in excess.]: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold." (Deuteronomy 17:17)
Also a point. The words polygamy and monogamy do not occur anywhere in the Bible. Just the word marriage which the bible describes as a life-long, God-ordained covenant between a man and his wife/wives allowing them to have sexual relations for the purpose of procreation and bonding. That He takes the marriage covenant extremely seriously is well-demonstrated throughout the Bible, and the scriptures above are a sampling of that. Since when has Yahweh ever written instructions to regulate practices that He viewed as sin or practices that He has forbidden? And of course no mention is made in the treatise I am rebutting of the fact that in Ezekiel and in Jeremiah both Yahweh represents Himself as a polygamous husband in allegory. Is it really likely that He would present Himself allegorically in a type of relationship that He considers sinful? Somehow, I do not think so.
Further, let us do away with the tendency of the monogamy-only mindset to equate polygamy with adultery. Adultery, biblically, exists in two cases. One where a man has sexual relations with a woman who is married to another man, or two, where a married woman has sexual relations with a man who is not her husband, which are actually two sides of the same coin. If a man has uncovenanted sexual relations with a woman who is not his wife, the sin is fornication, but not because he may already have a wife, rather, because he has not entered into appropriate covenants with this woman. That is the pattern established scripturally and cannot be refuted. Time and again I have asked for scriptural validation from those who have contended that polygamy is somehow an adulterous relationship and have yet to be given even one verse that establishes this as fact. On the contrary, the weight of scriptural support for polygyny is overwhelming.
Also interesting to note in the Genesis account of Abraham's married life, that Keturah and Hagar were identified as his concubines, which in the culture of the time, was a type of husband/wife relationship. It makes perfect sense that he sent his other children away before his death, given the promise of Elohim (God) to raise a people through Isaac, but notice he did not send them away empty-handed, as though they were being disowned, but gave them gifts to take with them to establish themselves in the world. Remember, Abraham would have been a very wealthy man by that time's standards, and he did not send any of his children off into the world without any means of establishing themselves. Again, this principle is born out in monogamous families with several children, as well. The father, usually, designates a primary heir but makes bequests to each of his children. This again, has nothing to do with the type of marriage the child is born into, but has to do with inheritance rights.
Scripture does indeed not describe any wife but Rebekah for Isaac, but to equate this to Christ and His bride is fallacious and specious to say the least. I must point out that the Apostle Paul, in several places, describes the uniplurality of the Bride or Body of Christ. Although there is one Bride, to be sure, there are millions of members, a true allegorical description of an echad polygamous marriage. One marriage with many parts. This is not a difficult analogy to make nor to see for one with the spiritual honesty to see it. Again I think it necessary to point out the instances in the bible where Yahweh, then Yah'shua, are portrayed as polygamous husbands allegorically. Given the holiness and righteousness of Yahweh, and the fact that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, it is impossible to reconcile these allegories to the assertion that polygamy is sin. The logic just does not support such a conclusion.
But you read of Jacob's conversion in Genesis 32:24-30. He then put idolatry out of his household (Gen. 35:2-4). God appeared to him, changed his name to ISRAEL ('Overcomer,' or 'Prevailer with God'), and reconfirmed the PROMISES. Then God took Rachel, his second wife (Gen.35:19), leaving only his first and true wife Leah.
So, following his conversion, Jacob had but his one original wife. Jacob had repented. He lived no more in polygamy after his conversion.
Now, this is stretching a bit, to conclude that because Rachel passed away, in childbirth, which was not an unusual occurrence at the time, that Yahweh was affirming that polygamy was a sin. Jacob had sins to repent of, to be sure, but nowhere is it supportable that polygamy was something he had to repent of. Again faulty and specious logic used to support an emotional conclusion. And notice, that Yahweh built the bloodlines of Israel through the sons of all his wives and concubines, that is to say, Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, and Bilhah. Also interesting to note that while Yah'shua (Jesus) is descended mortally from the house of Judah, the temporal rulers of the kingdom were descended from the house of Joseph, and all of the twelve sons of Jacob were part of the bloodline of the nation of Israel. Now does it make sense that Yahweh would build the bloodlines of His chosen people from the houses of those He considered to be illegitimate? Somehow I think not. This again is very sloppy logic and poor exegesis of the plain truth of scripture.
Here is God's LAW respecting polygamy by Israel's kings:
"When thou art come unto the land which the Eternal thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me. . . . Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away" (Deut. 17:14, 17). It is spoken of as "THIS LAW" in verses 18 and 19.
Israel's first king, Saul, had plural wives. But in this he disobeyed God and followed the custom of the kings of the worldly nations around Israel. It was SIN. It was not approved by God.
This is going to be interesting to explore in the light of the truth of scripture. In the first place, there is most definitely instruction for man not to multiply wives, but nowhere in scripture does it ever, even once, say that a man may not add a wife. Not only did Saul, Israel's first king, have multiple wives, but culturally, it was common practice amongst the ancient Hebrews. And the practice of it is legislated extensively in Leviticus and Exodus, as was demonstrated above. Again I say, when has Yahweh ever given instructions regulating the practice of a principle He viewed as sin? I posit that He never has. Further, we find in 2 Samuel 12:8:
Very clear here, I think, that Yahweh not only approved of David's wives, but He actively gave them to him, and would have willingly given Him more if that were not enough. One more time it needs to be stressed that the sin David committed with Bathsheba was adultery and murder and had absolutely nothing to do with how many wives he had, but had to do with the fact that he took another man's wife and then had him murdered so he could keep her. This was the sin he was chastised for and repented of, and this was the sin that cost him his wives and the turmoil in his house. Adultery and murder were his downfall, not polygamy. It is necessary to read and absorb the entire account of his reign to ascertain the truth of the matter.
"And I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added that much again."
David had several wives. But after his tremendous sin of taking Bathsheba and having her husband murdered, David repented, in real heart-rending repentance. And he never repeated the sin. Very few seem to realize what actually happened.
See II Samuel 12:9-12. "Now therefore," said God (verse 10), "the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised ME, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife." Notice, David despised GOD -- not merely the commandment of God, as in verse 9, but also the very Person of God! He did it by taking this woman as his wife. Therefore the sword was never to depart from his HOUSE.
This is what the treatise I have been rebutting said about the situation with King David, and although he tries to make it say that David repented of polygamy, he actually illustrates clearly exactly what I stated, and what scripture clearly points out, that adultery and murder were what he was punished for and repented of. He did despise Yahweh by taking Bathsheba as his wife, but obviously not because he already had wives, but because she was another man's wife. This is plain and easy to discern. It takes an active imagination indeed to turn this passage into an anti-polygamy confirmation.
But you will read of David's private prayer of repentance to God in the 51st Psalm -- the prayer of a really broken and contrite heart. It was real repentance. David turned from polygamy.
Allow me to share just one verse from the 51st Psalm to illustrate what kind of repentance David was experiencing.
It is logically and plainly clear here, that if this is in fact addressing his repentance of his actions regarding Bathsheba, it is the blood guiltiness he had for Uriah's death after he committed adultery by sleeping with his wife. This is simple deduction and requires but the barest minimum of spiritual honesty to discern.
"Deliver me from blood guiltiness and death, O Elohim (God), the Elohim (God) of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness" (Psalm 51:14).
David had truly repented. He practiced polygamy NO MORE! When David was becoming old, he went "fully after the Eternal" (I Kings 11:6). He was "a man after God's own heart," because his heart was right. He did repent. He had been a warrior. In his younger life he went after many women. He had sown his "wild oats." BUT HE REPENTED!
His heart turned to GOD. His life's race ENDED in victory -- he "went fully after the Eternal." It is not the one who starts out with the biggest burst of speed, but the one who finishes first at the END of the race who wins it.
One more time with proof. David repented of adultery and murder, never polygamy. There is not one shred of scriptural evidence that polygamy was what he repented of, in fact, far more evidence that Yahweh Himself led David to the majority of his polygamous life, as He gifted him with Saul's house and wives, and stated plainly He would have given him more if that were not enough.
His son, Solomon, started out righteously, unselfishly, relying on God. But, "when Solomon was old," he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines -- it must have been a record harem. And his wives turned away his heart from God, and to their idols.
It was SIN! Regarding it, God's Word says: "Solomon did evil in the sight of the Eternal" (I Kings 11:6).
There was polygamy in ancient Israel. But it was SIN! God condemned it -- He never condoned or sanctioned it. They reaped what they sowed.
Solomon did sin, to be sure. He multiplied wives and most of them were pagan. The sheer numbers would tell you that there is not any way he could have cared for them the way scripture says a husband is to care for his wives. Also, he allowed his pagan wives to turn his head away from Elohim (God). Again, the sin was not in the fact that he had more than one wife, but the excess and what he allowed his wives to lead him to. Read the book. It is very clear.
On this, Yah'shua (Jesus) said: "Moses [not God] because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery" (Mat .19:8-9). ELOHIM (GOD) has never legalized divorce and remarriage. It is not allowable today.
Jesus said, in this same connection: "Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female?" Notice, Jesus was dating this from the BEGINNING. And God never changes! "And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?" Notice, a man shall cleave to his WIFE -- not wives. And they TWO -- not he and several wives -- shall be one flesh.
"What therefore GOD hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Mat. 19:4-6). It is what GOD joins together. That is the definition of MARRIAGE. God does not join together one man with plural women! Any woman a man may "marry" according to man's codes, in addition to the wife GOD joined him to, is NOT his wife, so long as his real wife lives. Any additional women, whether in polygamy, or by divorce one at a time, is plain ADULTERY! GOD never joins the second, let alone the additional "wives."
The one-flesh issue is clarified by the Apostle Paul when he instructs a man not to become one flesh with a harlot as it is a sin against his own body. Of course a man can become one flesh with more than one woman, and of course in the beginning, in primordial Eden before the fall, He created Adam, and then Eve from Adam. Adam and Eve also went around naked in Eden, but that is not used to justify public nakedness today. I would again very much like to see the scriptural reference that so thouroughly convinces this writer that polygamy is adultery, since such scripture just does not exist and contrarily, defines adultery as something much different. I can wholeheartedly support this writer's conclusion that marriage is sacred to Yahweh, and not to be torn apart, but there is not a shred of scriptural backing to assert that He 'never' joins additional wives with their husband and overwhelming evidence that He, in fact, does. Hence his refering to Himself allegorically as a polygamous husband. Emotional assertions aside and totally to the contrary, this is just not a supportable position based solely on the truth of what scripture actually says. I have asked opponents repeatedly for scriptural substantiation and it is usually at this point that the name-calling and condemnation to hell begin, which identifies the spirit of these folks quite accurately indeed.
They are NOT truly wives -- they are adulteresses, and the man becomes an adulterer. THIS BREAKS GOD'S LAW. IT IS SIN.
Jesus thus put us straight on monogamous marriage.
God made ONE wife for Adam -- not a harem! He started the human family out as He ordained they should go -- a family of ONE man and ONE wife.
This is a very dangerous statement to make spiritually, for this writer is calling brothers and sisters in Christ adulterers without scriptural validation. Let us see what scripture has to say about false accusation and slander shall we? First of all, let us consider a passage in 1 Timothy.
First off, the spirit of many who pound the monogamy-only pulpit is spelled out very clearly here as a doctrine of demons, for it attempts to forbid Godly marriage to true believers by denying the plain truth of Elohim's (God's) word and by making what is there mean something other than what the words plainly state. Doctrine of demons, folks. That is a serious thing, but plain to see. Now lets look at another passage to illustrate a related principle.
"But the Holy Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach. Through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared. Who forbid people to marry and to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and have knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
We are to prove ALL things. We are to test all things against scripture, not against feelings or traditions. Scripture is the final determinant and we are strictly instructed to hold to that which is proved out in scripture. Now let us examine another scriptural truth.
"But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] What is good; [to that] hold fast. Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be" (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).
Easy to understand. To accuse a brother or sister living polygamous of sin is to falsely accuse for there is not one verse in the bible to substantiate that being married polygamously is a sin, not one. And if there is no scriptural substantiation of an accusation, then the accusation is false and the accuser in serious spiritual jeopardy. Feelings irrespective, we may not falsely accuse without proper scriptural support. Further, scripture goes further to say this:
"Those serving as soldiers also asked him. And we, what shall we do? And he replied to them, Never demand or enforce by terrifying people or by accusing wrongfully, and always be satisfied with your rations and with your allowance" (Luke 3:14).
Now that, folks, is a powerful statement. Lets think about this a bit. Moses will be the accuser, and furthermore ... he was a polygamist. The prophet who led Yahweh's people out of bondage in Egypt and spoke of the coming Saviour, was a polygamist. Further, when Miriam objected to it, she was struck by Yahweh with leprosy till she repented. The loopholes are just getting tighter and tighter here.
"Put out of your minds the thought and do not suppose [as some of you are supposing] that I will accuse you before the Father. There is one who accuses you-it is Moses, there very one on whom you have built your hopes [in whom you trust]. For if you believed and relied on Moses, you would believe and rely on Me, for he wrote about Me [personally]" (John 5:45-46).
The marriage relationship, in the New Testament, is the type of the relationship between Christ and God's Church.
The worldly churches are MANY. Those who claim the NAME Christian -- Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox Catholic, hundreds of Protestant churches -- all claim to be, combined, the Church which Christ started. They seem to believe, somehow, that when Christ returns to earth to marry His CHURCH, that Jesus Christ will be a POLYGAMIST -- that He will marry HUNDREDS of churches -- have HUNDREDS of WIVES! THEY ARE WRONG!
Jesus Christ will marry but ONE Church -- the True Church of GOD -- and all these worldly churches will be on the outside looking in!
This is a true statement as far as it goes, but needs to be taken further. We will explore the uniplurality of the church scripurally, but the gist is this. As I will demonstrate with passages from the Pauline epistles, the Body of Christ is one, the Bride as described in the book of Revelation, but there are many, many members in the Body. This speaks far more for our view of uniplurality than it does of any enforced monogamy doctrine. Let us examine.
The above passages illustrate conclusively that, though there is indeed only one body, it consists of many, many parts. Let us look at what Revelations has to say about the Bride, shall we?
"Now, you [collectively] are Christ's body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function]" (1 Corinthinans 12:27). (Actually, this whole chapter bears study regarding this principle, but this verse sums it up well)
"[It is this:] that the Gentiles are now to be fellow heirs [with the Jews], members of the same body and joint partakers in the same divine promise in Christ through [their acceptance of] the glad tidings" (Ephesians 3:6).
"He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent]" (Colossians 1:18).
We see through these passages, both subtly and overtly reinforced, the concept of a uniplural Bride. One body, but many parts. This is, allegorically represented, what echad Christian/Messianic polygamy is an earthly representation of.
"Let us rejoice and shout for joy [exulting and triumphant]! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come, and His bride has prepared herself" (Revelations 19:7).
"And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from Elohim (God), all arrayed like a bride beautified and adorned for her husband; Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of Elohim (God) is with men, and He will live among them; and they shall be His people, and Elohim (God) shall personally be with them and be their Elohim (God). Elohim (God) will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away" (Revelations 21:2-4).
Let us, then, understand it once and for all! Polygamy is a SIN. God condemns it! It is ADULTERY! IT HAS NEVER BEEN APPROVED OR CONDONED BY GOD AT ANY TIME, IN PATRIARCHAL DAYS -- IN OLD TESTAMENT TIMES -- OR NOW, TODAY!
I still require scriptural validation of this assertion and to date have received none, no not one verse that can even remotely validate this assertion. I call, at this time, on those who make this assertion to earnestly repent for denying the truth of scripture and falsely accusing believing brothers and sisters of sin that cannot be substantiated. I do not look for such repentance, but would be remiss in my duty as a believer not to ask for it for the sake of the ones in error.
We are told over and over in Scripture to uphold the law in one's country, unless that the law forbids us to act righteously or evangelize (Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13). Everyone knows polygamy is illegal in the US and many other countries
Well, actually, this is taken highly out of context and misrepresented. We are to respect the civil authorities of the society in which we live, yes, and obey the civil laws of the land inasmuch as they do not conflict with Yahweh's law. The passages cited above deal predominantly with taxes, which would be within the state's purview to regulate. Marriage is not within the state's authority at any rate, as it is a covenant established and made by Yahweh and before Him.
This would indicate that the things that are of Yahweh are His to regulate. Further, just for clarification, the above passages make no exception to evangelizing or acting righteously as they are predominantly concerned with temporal taxes and governing. As demonstrated by the passage in the book of Matthew, Yahweh is quite capable of legislating His principles and His commandments to supercede any man-made laws. Note that the writer attempts to exclude evangelizing and behaving righteously from his injunction to utilize the passages above as some sort of condemnation of polygamy, when in actual fact, when the passages are read we discover that the writer has added words that are not there to make them mean something they do not, whereas, in Matthew we see that we are to render unto Elohim (God) that which is Elohim's (God's), and that is the plain truth of what scripture says. Since Godly marriage is between the husband, the wife/wives, and Yahweh, the state has no authority to legislate it. In any event it is not necessary to be in violation of civil law to practice Christian/Messianic polygamy in most places anyway, as it simply is necessary not to legally register each marriage thereby becoming a bigamist. Covenants exchanged before Yahweh in the presence of witnesses are what constitute Christian/Messianic marriage in the first place, otherwise why the injunction for man not to tear asunder what He has joined together?
"Then He said to them, Pay therefore to Caesar the things that are due Caesar, and pay to Elohim (God) the things that are due to Elohim (God)" (Matthew 22:21).
Finally, every instance of polygamy recorded in Scripture that I can think of, details family disruption and disharmony. For instance, the intense feud in King David's family all centered around a son's lust for his half-sister. Had she been his full sister, such a thing would be most unlikely. We find Hannah being severely provoked by her 'rival,' her husband's second wife (1 Sam 1:6-7), we find bitterness between Sarah and Hagar, and between Jacob's wives and concubines. Scripture seems to go out of its way to paint polygamy as most unwise. Why, then, would the God of the Bible lead someone to do something that he himself has painted as unwise?
Excuse me, but the family disruption and disharmony this writer is talking about are prevalent and commonplace in modern society, monogamy-only society in particular. It has nothing to do with polygamous marriage, but has to do with fallen human nature, that is greed, jealousy and selfishness. Does the writer wish his readers to believe that those carnal failings are the fault of polygamy? Does he seriously think that we are too stupid to see how prevalent these faults are throughout our monogamy-only society today? Perhaps these are reasons to justify calling monogamy a sin. Hmmmmmmmm...an interesting supposition.
The truth of the matter is, that any practice that involves human beings will have the pitfalls of fallen human nature. By no means does this mean that the principle itself is wrong, just that flawed human beings are pursuing it.
It has been suggested that polygamy is acceptable because the New Testament does not specifically repeal the Old Testament tolerance of polygamy and because Martin Luther, when forced into a tricky political corner, drew attention to this fact. To use this logic one would have to conclude that we should execute heretics because this was not only allowed but commanded in the Old Testament, was not specifically repealed in the New Testament, was advocated by the reformers, and too bad if it's illegal.
Pharisees challenged Yah'shua (Jesus):
Skyrocketing divorce rates over recent years is a sad commentary on the worldliness of modern Western Christians. Don't let this harden you, however, to Yah'shua's (Jesus') response, which I believe is as relevant to polygamy as it is to divorce.
"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" (Matthew 19:7)
Yah'shua (Jesus) replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery" (Matthew 19:8-9).
Now let us look logically and see what this passage actually tells us. It is about divorce and its prohibition. On this I do not think I basically disagree with the writer. What I do disagree with is the path down which his own feelings have taken this passage. Word for word, particularly in the last sentence, the injunction is against divorce, not against a man taking more than one wife. A man is not allowed to divorce his current wife to marry another woman. He never was allowed to. Even in Old Covenant law, a man was prohibited from divorcing the wife of his youth. No matter how you try to turn it around, you cannot escape the truth of what this passage is really saying. You may not divorce. That is all. The adultery is when a man divorces his wife to marry another, not when he marries another wife in addition to the one that he has. Again, it is necessary to read only the words that are actually there, not add to them what we think they are really saying. That is always a truly slippery slope when we begin that.
Christ emphasized that there is a significant difference between what God permitted under the Old Covenant, due to people's hardness, and the way that people should act. Jesus had just explained the "way" it was "from the beginning." He quoted Genesis saying that two (not three or more) shall become one flesh (Matthew 19:5,6).
Sadly, in the light of all of the above, I am forced to conclude that the chance that your being led to take a second wife was a product of the lust of the flesh or the wiles of Satan, is enormous. I recognize that facing such a possibility would be extremely painful for you. Everything within you will want to rebel this. It would take a very brave and strong man to face up to it. If you are willing to do so, I shall do my utmost to try to support you.
The writer of the above is so sure of the way it was in the beginning, it would appear he has not read how it will be at the ending. Of course, when the human race was new and just beginning, it would have been different than it is now, and it is plain that the plan for the culmination of the human race, far from being static, is dynamic and greatly reliant on the multiplicity principle of Christ's love for us. The one-flesh argument was covered earlier in this article so will not be addressed again.
I would like to point out the extreme prideful arrogance of the assumption, without scriptural backup, I might add, that the person being addressed was motivated by a spirit of lust to seek another wife. The prideful way he attributes such a call to the wiles of Satan is indeed quite frightening, for it clearly illustrates the spirit he is operating in, one of divisiveness and destruction. Note the subtle flattery in the last sentence that posits that only a brave and strong man could see the error of this. This sort of manipulation in the absence of any biblical backing is positively satanic and that assertion is strongly backed by concrete scripture. (see aboveJ)
In most cases, marriage vows included something along the lines of "forsaking all others," and even if not expressly stated, it was no doubt in the husband's heart when he made those vows before God. Polygamy would therefore be a breaking of those vows.
There is a small point here to be made about covenant-breaking. It is necessary to remember that a covenant can be modified by mutual agreement. If a man and his wife, after prayer and study, mutually agree to rescind the exclusivity covenant and take another wife into the family, there is nothing scripturally that condemns them for doing so. If the first wife is resisting, particularly in this first generation after so many generations of suppression of this Godly principle, then the husband must lead her in love to the truth of Yahweh's word and acceptance of his call. If she is a true believer and willing to be obedient to the will of Yahweh, she will, in time, be able to embrace her husband's call for the truth that it is.
Leaders must set an example to the congregation. And what example should the congregation be following? Monogamy.
Again the mia controversy. Without going down oft-trodden paths once again, suffice it to say that the one husband-one wife passages in Timothy and Titus could, in the original wording, just as easily have been translated to say that the elder should be married to his first wife, indicating that he not be divorced, and in fact that interpretation would make far more sense in the context of where these passages are found. They are injunctions against divorce, that is the only thing that can clearly be inferred from the modern translations, and unlikely to have any bearing on the number of wives a man has at all, except to say that he must not have divorced them.
In conclusion, it is plain to see from all the scriptural evidence I have presented, and the total lack of evidence that the other writer has presented, that polygamy is a form of marriage established by Yahweh, blessed by Yahweh, and even used as an allegorical model to represent Himself by Yahweh so let us not make the dangerous error of calling an institution instituted by Him error or sin. To do so places the person doing it in far more serious spiritual jeopardy than the jeopardy one who might be practicing a principle in ignorance that is not approved of Yahweh (although, as I have conclusively shown, is not the case, scripturally). It is necessary to put feelings and traditions aside and abide by the plain truth of scripture. That, in the end, is what will see us through the veil.
All Bible quotes are from the Amplified Version (AmpV) or the King James Version (KJV/AV).
Postcript (2016) - The antagonist in this discourse was the late Herbert Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God which many view as a cult. He was certainly a false prophet even if he was more or less right about some things like the festivals. Ironically, he dumped (divorced) his first (older) wife in order to marry a younger one (the Bible calls this adultery when there is no just cause), something I have noted several monogamy-only leaders have done (SBSK).