Part of the blindness which afflicts the Western mind when it comes to the truth of plural marriage is its lack of understanding of a very Hebrew but non-western concept called uniplurality. Uniplurality is the simultaneous existence of both one and many.
In the example of the mystical marriage of the Lamb we see this uniplural concept beautifully illustrated. The Messiah, we are told, is married to His 'wife' (Rev.19:7), which on one level is very clearly a monogamous relationship. However, everybody knows that this 'one wife' does not consist of one saved soul but millions, "a great multitude", in fact (v.6). The allegorical wife of Christ is both One and Many. She is uniplural.
The same is true of the Godhead. There is, we are told, only one God, and yet we all know that He consists of a minimum of Three persons - Father, Son and Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Roman Catholics and their daughter churches call this the 'Three-in-one' or 'Trinity' (Triunity) doctrine. Interestingly, the Scriptures speak of a sevenfold Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) (Rev.1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6) which means that technically-speaking there are Nine in the Godhead in total (1+1+7).
This is not easy for us to understand in English because the word 'God' actually translates four different Hebrew words. One is always singular - El, Eloah, or Elah - and always refers to God the Father, and the other is Elohim which is Uniplural - it is both singular (God) and plural (Gods). Very commonly Yahweh - God the Father - has His Name attached to Elohim as 'Yahweh-Elohim', what the King James Version renders as 'LORD God'. Yahweh is Elohim, Yah'shua (Jesus) is Elohim, and the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) is Elohim, but only the Father is El, Eloah, or Elah.
That is why in the creation narrative in Genesis, God is always described as 'us' and 'our' and not 'me' or 'my':
"Then God (Elohim - uniplural) said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" (Gen.1:26, NKJV).
But when Paul says, "for us there is one God (Eloah), the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ (Master Yah'shua the Messiah)" (1 Cor.8:6, NKJV), he is not saying that only the Father is God because the word used here is 'Eloah' (singular) and not 'Elohim' (uniplural). Thus Yah'shua (Jesus) is Elohim but He is not Eloah. That difference is important.
It is clear that God is many-in-one, just as the Bride of Christ is many-in-one.
The word we use to describe this uniplurality is the Hebrew Echad which means both 'one' and 'united' or 'agreed'.
In His High Priestly prayer before His arrest in Gethsemane, Yah'shua (Jesus) prays to Yahweh that His disciples may be "as we are" (John 17:11,21-22). He prays that they may have the same kind of unity or echad as He has with Yahweh His Father. Philip the apostle initially had a problem understanding this concept:
"Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Yah'shua (Jesus) said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?" (John 14:8-10, NKJV).
Now what this does not mean is that Yah'shua (Jesus) and the Father are identical Persons. Yah'shua (Jesus) is not the Father, Yahweh is! What Yah'shua (Jesus) is pointing out is that He and the Father have such unity (echad) that to understand or know one of them is to understand or know the other too.
It often surprises Christians who are not familiar with Hebrew or Greek to learn that a single word can be translated as 'wife' or 'wives', rather like our uniplural English word 'sheep' which can mean either one sheep or many sheep. We don't have a word 'sheeps'. Only the context of the word can tell us whether it is one or more sheep being spoken of.
Let me give you an example which illustrates so well how Bible translators can be biased.
1 Corinthians 7:2 reads in the Greek: "dia de porneia echo hekastos echo heautou gune kai echo hekastos echo idios aner" which all our translations render as follows: "Nevertheless, [to avoid] fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband" making it sound as though a Christian man is only allowed one wife and a Christian woman only one husband. The key word here is gune which means 'woman' or 'wife'. Or does it? The fact of the matter is the word gune can be translated as either 'woman', 'women', 'wife' or 'wives'. In 60% of the cases where it is used in the New Testament, it is translated as 'wives' and in 40% as 'wife'. Thus this passage could equally well be translated:
"Nevertheless, [to avoid] fornication, let every man have his own wives, and let every woman have her own husband".
Gune is an example of a uniplural word like 'sheep'. And since the context does not tell us whether it should be rendered 'wife' or 'wives' the most honest translation would be:
"Nevertheless, [to avoid] fornication, let every man have his own wife/wives, and let every woman have her own husband".
It is here that honesty is required. The translator has to decide which is the most likely reading - 'wife' or 'wives'. Statistically, 'wives' is favoured 3:2. From the point of view of what Yahweh has already revealed about marriage, 'wife/wives' is the most accurate rendering, since a man may have one or more wives. But the translators, being biased in favour of the Roman Catholic-inspired Greek monogamy-only culture, always render the Greek word gune as 'wife'. This, of course, is completely dishonest.
In the negligible number of scriptures in the New Testament used by those who believe in one wife only there are always two possible renderings.
But there's more to this than meets the eye. Taking all the scriptures together, we are forced to one inevitable conclusion: a man with several 'wives' actually only has 'one wife' just as Christ only has 'one Wife', the Church. Thus if I am true to what Scripture says on this subject, it would be more correct to say that I have one wife and three.
Now this may sound strange to a Western-trained mind but really it ought not. When we think of the nation of Kenya, for example, we think of one nation called Kenya containing millions of Kenyans. When we say, 'Japan attacked China' back in the 1930s we know that this was a single nation consisting of thousands of soldiers. And when we say that Hitler attacked Poland in 1939 we know that Hitler didn't do it alone - here 'Hitler' means thousands of nazi soldiers. These are all examples of uniplurality.
As an allegorical Bride of Christ, I know I am one of many. I am His allegorical 'wife' but millions of others are His allegorical 'wives' too. Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah were the four wives of Jacob but in the echad model are also the the uniplural wife of Jacob. Jacob, then, had one wife and four.
This is the way you have to learn to think when you approach the Hebrew Scriptures and it's frankly the only way you can ever understand the mystery of the Godhead. Thus the great revelation on God - the Shema - is worded clumsily in English:
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength" (Deut.6:4-5, NKJV).
Does this mean, as Talmudic Jews claim, that there is only one Person in the Godhead? No, it does not. Rather, it should be literally translated as:
"Hear, O Israel, Yahweh our Elohim, Yahweh is echad. You shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength".
What this means is that Yahweh is One Person but the Elohim (Godhead) is United.
Paul described the union of a husband and wife, as also Christ to His Church (the Messianic Community of believers), "a great mystery" (Eph.5:32), as indeed it is. And very few have understood it. As one who has several wives who are simultaneously one wife, this way of living has opened numerous doors of understanding to me, drawn me closer to Yahweh, and made me a better Christian.