An Overview of
Echad Polygamy - also known as plural Holy Echad Marriage, New Covenant Christian Polygyny or Oneness Polygamy - is the voluntary, non-compulsive eternal covenant-union or -marriage of one heterosexual man to two or more heterosexual women simultaneously through the power of love in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) leading to complete Adamic echad union or oneness by a process of gradual sanctification. This union is spiritual, mental, emotional and physical and has as its triple model:
Echad Polygamy is both monogamy and polygamy in one - Adam containing Eve before she was taken out of him, the primordial monogamous innocence of the first Edenic couple, and the matured and multiplied polygamous allegorical Bride of Christ at the consummation of history reflected on a human and literal level as seven (plural) women receiving the singular name of one man after the cleansing of Zion (an allegory of the Bride of Christ) and the inauguration of the Millennial Kingdom of Yahweh (Isaiah 4:1). The sevenfold cleansing of Mary Magdalene is another representation of these principles (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2).
- 1. The perfect uniplural spiritual selfless oneness of the Elohimhead/Godhead as portrayed in the Shema: "The LORD [Yahweh] our God [Elohim], LORD [Yahweh] is one" or "Yahweh (singular) our Elohim (plural), Yahweh is one" (Deuteronomy 6:5 - see Yah'shua the Messiah and His Place in the Godhead);
- 2. The perfect uniplural spiritual selfless oneness of Yahweh our Heavenly Father with His Son Yah'shua the Messiah, of Yah'shua with each saved and sanctified believer, and of each saved and sanctified believer with every other saved and sanctified believer: "Holy Father, keep through Your name (Yahweh) those whom You have given Me (Yah'shua), that they may be one (echad) as We are [one] ... that they all may be one (echad), as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us" (John 17:11,21, NKJV);
- 3. The allegorical marriage union of the Messianic Bridegroom with His uniplural Bride, the Church or Messianic Community: "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife (singular) has made herself ready ... 'Blessed are those (plural) who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" (Revelation 19:7,9, NKJV).
Those who subscribe to the Echad vision of Christian polygamy believe that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) is female and uniplural Herself, consisting of seven (plural) Persons (see The Deity of the Holy Spirit), of which the seven purified daughters of Zion in Isaiah 4:1 are a shadow.
B. What Echad Polygamy Isn't
- a. Fundamentalist Mormon polygamy (requiring "priesthood authority");
- b. Muslim polygamy (limited to four wives);
- c. Bisexual polygamy (one man married to two or more bisexual women);
- d. Polyandry (one woman married to several men);
- e. Polyamory (several men and women all married together);
- f. Swinging (casual, recreational group sex);
- g. Old Covenant polygyny (multiple monogamy); or
- h. Modern forms of Multiple-Monogamy called "Christian Polygamy".
C. Echad Polygamy vs. Multiple Monogamy
Almost all contemporary Christian polygamy ministries (such as Truth Bearer & BFree-GFMW) subscribe to what we call "multiple monogamy" which has as its model the Tanakh/Old Testament vision of polygamy set into a Christian framework. Where a man, for instance, is married to two women simultaneously, these are viewed by them as two entirely separate marriages, or two monogamous 1:1 marriages with the same husband, or literally, bigamy.
In Echad Polygamy, a marriage consisting of one man married to two or more women is regarded as both two or more separate marriages and a single marriage so that the husband is united to ONE WIFE consisting of TWO PERSONS each of whom is also a wife in her own right. He is therefore married to both one wife and to several wives simultaneously, just as Elohim (God) is both One and several (i.e. uniplural), and just as Christ is married both to One Church/Messianic Community consisting of many persons or allegorical wives (men and women positionally in the female rôle of submission).
In Echad Polygamy there are therefore two sets of marriage vows which is collectively one vow:
Thus whenever a new wife enters a marriage, a new 1-to-1 marriage is contracted with the husband and a new set of covenant-wife contracts is entered into between the wives, effectively dissolving the old one and creating a new one.
- 1. The primary vows the husband makes with each wife (and vice versa); and
- 2. The secondary vows the sister-wives or covenant-wives make with each other.
In the diagram below this is illustrated symbolically as a set of triangles in a marriage with three wives. Each interface between the husband and one of the wives is a separate primary covenant as well as a unique relationship. By a process of spiritual osmosis mediated by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) there is a complex exchange of characteristics between husband and each wife which is shared by all, represented in the diagram by different colours of the rainbow. This is something that is cultivated by mutual submission to the mitzvot/commandments of Yahweh and submission by each wife to the husband's direction for his family as revealed to him by Yahweh. The goal is complete harmony of wives in their husband and together as his is complete harmony with Yah'shua.
This concept of echad is unique to this ministry. All other Christian polygamy ministries and churches/assemblies seem to practice a form of plural marriage that does not have as its goal a blending to form a supra-character that defines the whole in addition to the separate identities of each of the husband and wives.
Another difference between Echad Polygamy and other forms of modern Christian polygamy is our belief that there are two types of marriage:
We believe that all eternal marriage is Adamic Marriage and that terrestrial marriage is only for this life - the kind that Yah'shua spoke of to the Saduccees when they tried to trap Him using a question about the Law of Levirate and the resurrection (Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40; Matthew 22:23-33). Adam was created married - he entered into no marriage covenants with Eve because when she was taken out of him they were already "one". All subsequent earth-marriages were "made" or "entered into".
- 1. Adamic marriage; and
- 2. Terrestrial marriage.
The allegorical marriage of Christ to the Church/Messianic Community is an eternal allegorical marriage and must therefore be an allegory of human eternal marriage - marriage which does not end at death. Since man in his own self is not eternal, the only marriage that can be eternal must be that which is joined together by the Eternal One, Yahweh through Yah'shua. Thus an earthly or terrestrial marriage can become an eternal one through union with Christ. The redeemed man therefore enters into dual marriage covenants - an allegorical covenant with Christ as the Bridegroom and a literal marriage with his wife or wives.
As Adam and Eve had a union before they were separated, so we believe that before coming into mortality we enjoyed an Adamic existence in the spirit world and that our wife or wives were taken from us in the manner demonstrated by Yahweh in the Garden of Eden. We believe that the malakim/angels currently exist in this Adamic state and will subsequently have their "Eves" taken out of them. (The wish of some of have spouses before their time led to the rebellion in heaven and caused them to come down to earth before the flood and unlawfully take wives of the children of men - see Genesis 6:1ff).
We subscribe additionally to a doctrine of pre-existence. We believe that on this terrestrial sphere we search out our soul mates - monogamously and polygamously - as part of a drive to find the pre-mortal union we once enjoyed before earth life. This is not always successful and we make wrong choices which may result in divorce or in "until-death-do-us-part" marriages. Many of us may never know who our actual soul mates are until the next life when Yahweh will make all things right, returning spouses to their original mates.
Because of the very different approach Echad polygamists have to marriage compared with the majority "multiple monogamy" school, we tend to have different perspectives, different committments, different scriptural exegeses, and different results. We have observed, with horror, the fruits of multiple monogamy - in excess of a 95% failure rate, much marital conflict and much unhappiness, something Echad Polygamy can avoid. We believe the model Yahweh has given us is a recipe for success if all are committed and united to the shared principles.
D. Who is Echad Polygamy For?
This form of marriage is only for those called into it. We believe, moreover, that it is the only form of Christian/Messianic polygamy that is fully recognised by Yahweh as having an eternal dimension. Most modern Christian polygamy is a form of Mosaic marriage that belongs to a former covenant brought to completion and subsequently changed. By its very nature, then, it cannot be everlasting, and furthermore must be defective or incomplete. As such it is not fulfilling for the women who live it, as the casualty rate in this form of marriage has now proven. Quite apart from this, most of the men trying to live it, or who are looking to live it, have proven themselves failures in even simple monogamy and are manifestly unqualified therefore to enter any sort of polygamy.
Because of the abysmal failure of the multiple-monogamy form, Echad polygamists strongly discourage this practice. There are many who are trying to "put on a brave face" in order to convince fellow Christians, Messianics and the wider public that their way works even though they have largely failed. Biting the bullet is not how Christian marriage is supposed to be. Furthermore, such multiple monogamists have tended only to address the issues of polygamy from one side - namely the defects of the women and have manifestly failed to tackle the problem areas in men. As a result, women are usually exclusively blamed for the failure of their own marriage system when a good measure of the fault lies with arrogant and boastful men who attempt to compell rather than attract their wives to this lifestyle.
The character defects of the genders are not, however, the only barrier to success. A major part of the problem is a failure to understand the true scriptural principles or divine pattern of this lifestyle. A wrong spiritual foundation guarantees huge problems that may find no, or only partial, resolution. Without what we call the Elohim Principle, which is discussed in our Essential Introduction there can be no ultimate shalom/peace or success. A supernatural lifestyle (meaning it can only succeed with Yahweh) cannot be lived in the natural and hope to be happy.
Echad polygamy is not therefore for immature Christians and Messianics, and especially not immature men. The need to address this issue has been clouded by many things, not least coming to an understanding of who Echad polygamy is for. According to a very clear prophetic word given to our founder, polygamy in this first generation is, with few exceptions, only for:
- 1. Those who have received a definite davar/word from Yahweh to enter this principle, as opposed to those who have ignorantly or deliberately confused the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) with their own lusts;
- 2. Those men who are ELDERS, viz. Apostles, Evangelists, Pastors and other forms of Elder, or who have clearly been called into these offices (we believe Deacons will be called later);
- 3. Those who love the Master Yah'shua with their whole might, mind, and strength, who are obedient to the Davar/Word and who are properly observing New Covenant Torah;
- 4. Men who are willing to live fully consecrated lives, by gathering into communities where all material goods are had in common as in the first Jerusalem congregation (Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-35).
E. Echad Polygamists, Polygamy and the Future
The higgledy-piggledy way in which Christian polygamy was birthed in the 1990s and Messianic polygamy in the 2000's and has since progressed (we were living it at least a decade before the multiple-monogamists came onto the scene in the 80's) does not bode well for the movement. There have been many horrendous abuses with some polygamy groups showing strong cultic tendencies that have already brought great disrepute upon the practice generally. Because of our disgust with these developments we have had little or no contact with others in the polygamy movement.
Some are trying to get public sympathy and to get polygamy legalised - we are most definitely opposed to the legalisation of polygamy (though wish to see all anti-polygamy laws repealed as has happened in Colombia, pointing to the laws of the Canadian province of British Columbia as about as near to the ideal one can reasonably expect) because it will attract all the wrong kinds of men. We want to see less government regulation of marriage generally, not more.
Echad Polygamy was revealed to a group of European believers back in the 1980's and the first attempts to live this way were made in that decade with mixed success. We had to learn as we went along and experimented with all kinds of systems which you can read about on our large website consisting of hundreds of articles, FAQs, books (some authored by ourselves and some by others) and discussions from various online groups and discussion networks we have run over the years. We have changed a lot over the years and, we hope, matured.
You will notice the high profile which the women enjoy and the way in which they are very much in the forefront of witnessing this lifestyle, not because they have been forced to (Yah forbid) but because they have discovered the joy of Echad Polygamy and wish to communicate it to the remnant who have been called into it. At the same time there have been failures and much sadness.
Please take a look around our ministries and other facilties and join our online HEM discussion network if you have any questions. May Yahweh bless those who have been truly called.
SBSK, 27 February 2002 (updated 8 June 2010)
This page was first created on 7 January 1999
Last updated on 8 June 2010
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