Thursday, October 29, 2020

It Is Not Polygyny – It Is Bigamy


It Is Not Polygyny – It Is Bigamy (check the dictionary)

As you can tell from the title we are back again discussing the issue of multiple wives in the Messianic Body of Messiah.  My question to Abba was, why are You dragging me back into this controversy, when this subject has already been thoroughly aired?  Please bear with me and forgive me for bringing up this issue once more, but some additional, and to my mind important points, from a biblical perspective have come up.

In the wake of my previous article I received a very long rebuttal with all sorts of ‘exhortations’ from Pete Rambo, which he also made public.  After some research I discovered a number of articles and audios by excellent and qualified teachers, who DO NOT condone this practice.  If you are interested in reading and listening, you can look up:   Apologist John McKee: The Aberration of Polygamy  An article by the late Brad Scott Position Paper on Polygamy   119 Ministries: Does the Bible Endorse Polygamy  

Admittedly, there are many examples in the Tanach of men who had more than one wife, and in addition also a concubine, or two, or more.  YHVH does not seem to condemn these relationships (at least not within the cultures in which this was a common practice); case in point are our forefather Jacob and King David.  However, none of those (and other) polygamous households exemplified harmony, happiness, or contentment.  Strife, contention, and even murder, were the results in some cases.  But it was actually not the multiplicity of wives which gave rise to this state of affairs. These families’ problems were the outcome of man’s natural heart condition.  This is the point that I want to address here.

After the flood, “YHVH said in His heart ‘I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth(Genesis 8:21-22 emphasis added). Yeshua confirmed the existence of this condition, saying: "What comes out of a man that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:20-23).    Please note that even though “man’s heart is evil from his youth”, almost in the same breath Elohim’s mandate to the Adamic/Noahic family was to:  “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). Wow, can you imagine, Elohim, who knows that man’s heart is evil, still blesses him and sends him off to multiply on His beautiful earth?!  Perhaps this is so “because the foolishness of Elohim is wiser than men, and the weakness of Him is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25).   

In the same letter to the Corinthians, Paul defined the Almighty’s order of sowing human kind on the planet: “… the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual” (15:46).  A couple of verses back he compares natural man to a seed: “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (15:44).    Paul also makes a distinction between the two, noting that that which is natural is corruptible, dishonorable, and weak but the spiritual is incorruptible, honorable, and strong (see verses 42-43). In verse 51 Paul calls it a “mystery”. I call it botany. (Yeshua also explained the kingdom in horticultural terms.)

Understanding Paul’s insight into this mystery and Divine order, we now can go back to the beginning of Scripture to view the history of humanity from this perspective of, “first the natural, fleshly, in Hebrew basar, or beastly side”.  YHVH knew exactly what He was doing when He created the natural man with the potential of becoming spiritual; for a seed to transition from one state to another, requires that the seed die. This is why the natural man is governed by the “law of sin and death”, and the spiritual man by the law of Elohim, the law of life, law of liberty (please study Romans 7:1-25). Hence we need to pay close attention to the New Covenant instructions in regards to marriage.  One man one woman, as it was in the beginning.

So what does this have to do with the current resurgence of   bigamy/polygamy/polygyny etc?  On the level of the animal kingdom, which natural man is part of, there is an easy answer. The Creator put into them “male and female” all the necessary ‘ingredients’ to multiply, such as passionate desires, mixed it with hormones, called it “love” and walla the process of sowing began! Thus we have a bible full of the history of YHVH’s faithfulness to His word to Adam, Noah, and Abraham, i.e. “to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth”.  Certainly today’s population of billions originates from that seed.

Procreation was the only command of Elohim that man was ever obedient to.  YHVH did not condemn polygamy in Israel, most likely because He knew only too well the condition of their heart, and that they were of “flesh” (natural) and subject to YHVH’s command to multiply.  Elohim left it up to carnal man to decide how to accomplish this multiplicity. So “male and female” did. Thus the proliferation of the population took place under a variety of conditions, one of which is to have multiple wives and concubines.     

However, this poses a problem after we are “born again”, or when the “seed-man” falls into the ground, dies, and then sprouts up as a “new creation” – a spiritual entity.  This transformation can only happen through faith’s identity to Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection.  So on the one hand we are a new creation, but on the other we are still in this flesh and blood body.  

I could end this letter by suggesting you read Romans 8:1-14:  Here are just a couple of the verses:  “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim; for it is not subject to the law of Elohim, nor indeed can be.  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please Elohim” (Romans 8:5-8). “And those who are Messiah's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24-25).  Or as said by Yeshua to Nicodemus: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).

YHVH doesn't call polygamy "sin", but He does call "lust, pride, and self-righteousness" sin. In addition, for those living in most western nations - the law forbids polygamy which is defined as “bigamy”. Those who profess to be believers in the New Covenant Gospel and to be Torah observant but don't keep or honor the laws of the nation they live in, are not exactly walking in the paths prescribed by the Torah and apostolic writings.

  “The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against YHVH” (Proverbs 19:3).

P.S. I believe that the invasion of the spirit of Islam into the Western Judeo-Christian world is playing a major part in the sudden interest in multiplying wives.   

Friday, October 16, 2020

A Lesson Learned


This past week I had one of the scariest and most disconcerting experiences ever. But before I begin to share this experience, I need to give you a little background.  My teenage years were basically from 1957 to 1964.  Like many other young people, in those years I tried to “find myself”, or define who I was. That is, I was looking for “who is the you that others are relating to”.  During those impressionable years our experiences impact us in ways that tend to leave indelible marks on our mind, memory and character.  But in our latter years, in our 60’s or 70’s, a ‘thing’ called nostalgia sets in and we look back at those significant teenage or earlier years;  glancing through old photos, videos, play some of our yester-year favorite music all of which bring back some of the good-old, fond memories. 

A few months ago we decided to disconnect from all of our television channels (tell-a-vision), we canceled our subscription (or should I say, prescription) and started using the internet only as the source of our cyber information.   It did not take long to realize that our cell-phone and computers not only took up the TV watching time, but soon became a morning to bed time companions.  Between these two communication devices our past could meet our present and influence our future in one click.  Obviously the amount of information that is available is astronomical. But being limited in our/my capacity as to how much of that world we/I want or can entertain, we/I pick and choose our/my topics of interest while the cyber world knows how to ‘expand our horizons’ by directing us to other options.  Of course at the same time there is another unseen reality that is working behind the scenes to subtly and deviously entice our interests, passions and desires.  Probably the most influential is what is called the YouTube application.   If you have any experience with this user app (or abuser app?) you know what I mean. 

This brings me to the point of an early morning experience that I will never forget.  Six months of being under varying degrees of lockdown, one finds themselves more and more dependent on the internet for many things.  For entertainment I started looking into documentaries related to famous and influential people of my past (way past).  Music was my favorite area of interest.  And so, the other night YouTube introduced me to one of their many choices of 50’s and 60’s music.  One could listen all at once to excerpts of 100 songs, each lasting about 10 seconds.   I clicked and started to listen, which meant around two hundred songs, some repeats. Although it was a very short time span, yet I went to bed with many of those songs playing in my mind.  The following morning, upon waking up from a dream in which I was walking in my parents’ house singing a Ricky Nelson song “Hello Marylou Goodbye Heart”,  I suddenly realized that my mind was locked into hearing song after song, after song and I could not shake it off.  I thought that my mind and memory fused and that I had become a permanent juke box.  This went on for about five to ten minutes, before I started crying out to YHVH in the name of Yeshua for help.  Suddenly it was as if someone pulled out the plug and it stopped.  I took a deep breath and started praising and thanking Yeshua for the divine intervention.  Needless to say, this was a lesson learned in what could have been a “hello new reality, good bye heart”!

A couple of days later I started thinking about the YouTube, and why this application was so named.  We know what the “you” refers to, but why the “tube”? What is a tube? I remember going swimming with an inner-tube, which was a rubber tube from a tire which when filled with air made a great play toy.  When I studied biology, I encountered many tubes in the body’s anatomy. Tubes are found in science, in the home, everywhere there are tubes.  Their simple definition is, “a long, hollow cylinder of metal, plastic, rubber, glass etc. for holding or transporting something chiefly liquids, gases” and I might add “spirits”.  Perhaps our brains and our minds are like a tube.  In the beginning they are empty and hollow, but as we experience life they begin to be inflated, until their content defines our “you”.  Thus the simple idea behind the YouTube is to help us discover a new reality as to who we are according to the image and likeness that the internet algorithm determines.  I realized that when it comes to the use of this tool, one has to really pay attention to whether one has the permission from the Holy Spirit to make that “click”.  Yeshua’s words to me after that episode were: 

You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;  but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah…  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of Elohim    …To Yeshua the Messiah be the glory both now and forever.  Amen” (2nd Peter 3:17-18; Romans 12:2).  

Friday, October 9, 2020

The Grand Finale'


Just before we go back to where it all began – to the B’resheet – let us pause and come under the blessing which was announced and bestowed upon all of Israel’s tribes. Even though allocated to each individual tribe, it is still called “this blessing”, singular. “Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of Elohim blessed the children of Israel before his death” (Deut. 33:1).  This seems to indicate that every thing which is said to each individual tribe is actually applicable to the destiny of the nation as a whole.  In other words, when the tribes are joined together as one people (sons of Jacob) they share or complement one another, with their individual blessings. 


Thus, it is possible that these words never failed to accompany the descendants of Bney Yisrael, even in their dispersion and oblivion as to their identity and heritage.  Is it possible that these words, which aside from being blessings are also prophetic utterances, defined historical destinies for the ones whom YHVH recognized and determined as those whose lot was to be cast by these words? How much more so nowadays, when the identity is being restored and the recipients of the blessing/pronouncements actually embrace these words and are watching for their on going and progressive fulfillments! The various parts of the one blessing form a tapestry that by necessity interconnects the ‘lot’ of all the tribes, a tapestry that one day will be held up before the whole world as a banner over the Bride as she enters the wedding chupah (canopy) with her Bridegroom. 


Before Moshe ventures into the specific blessings, he “the man of Elohim”, recaps in verses 2 and 3 (of Deuteronomy 33) the central theme of the wilderness journey and takes us to spiritual mountain-tops, from where he unravels an overall view of what he had been called to do:  to reveal to the nation of Israel the Elohim of their forefathers.  To begin with, he advances three phases of YHVH’s appearing to the nation: "YHVH came from Sinai, and dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran…” (33:2 emphases added). Even with the citing of Sinai, Seir and Paran, this overview is pointing to spiritual peaks upon which Elohim met – and will meet again - His people.


It is actually the non-too clear articulation of this short passage that makes it necessary to dig and search for the treasures hidden therein, and thus to uncover them. The first phase points to YHVH’s “coming” - denoted by the simple and direct “ba” – being in both past and present tenses.  This expresses His continual “coming” to His called out ones, until they become as He is, conformed to His image and likeness (1 John 3:2), which was His original intent at creation.   Thus, at each of His comings He reveals aspects of His nature, His purpose, His character and His glory.


In the second part of the verse, YHVH is said to have “shone” or “risen”, employing a verb that is used mostly for the sun’s appearance. This is being echoed by Isaiah’s:  “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of YHVH is risen upon you.  For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but YHVH will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1-2 emphases added).


In the third phase it says that, “He shone forth from Mount Paran”. This verb speaks of radiating as if from darkness, just as we saw above in the words uttered by Isaiah. This time, however, He is not alone. The Hebrew rendering adds another “coming”, but switches to the Aramaic – “atta” – such as in “maranatha”. And where is He said to have come from (yes, “from” and not “with”) this time? From the “ten thousands of holiness” (no, not “holy ones”), which is a curious term indeed! What is this multiplicity of “holiness”? It seems to indicate that His holiness is with or in the multitudes of His people, like a great cloud of witnesses, or messengers, that have actually become the message/the word - an expression of Himself.  In this way He is revealing His glory which emanates from those who have been conformed to His image and likeness, does this sound familiar? “Then Elohim said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion’” (Genesis 1:26).  Only now at the end of the Torah, do we see how this might be realized in the future.


We continue reading in verse 2 (in its literal translation, with a certain necessary modification): “By His right side/hand is/was a blazing/gleaning/glowing fire”.  Obadiah verse 18 states that, “the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame”. Moreover, verse 3 continues to ‘enlighten’ us regarding YHVH’s hand: “Yes, He loves the peoples; all its [that is the nations’] holy ones [those called out from the peoples/nations] are in Your hand”.  Habakkuk 3:3-4 adds to this: “Elohim came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.  His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, and there His power was hidden”. Amazing! All His power, His kingdom authority and the light of His glory hidden in the palm of His hand and ready to be cast forth as flashing fiery arrows against the darkness, piercing through and destroying the works of the devil! (ref. 1 John 3:8).


One would think that by being placed in YHVH’s hand the “holy set-apart ones” have now come to full rest. However, our text continues (still in Deut. 33:3) to say (literal translation): They are struck down at Your feet; elevating Your utterances/speech” (emphases added). Like Yeshua, their Redeemer, who was “struck by Elohim” (Isaiah 53:4, using the same root of the verb “struck”), these ones also have to be humbled-struck some more in order to elevate – lift up – His utterances, His speech. The word used here is “mid’bro’techa” – Your “midberot” – words/speech/utterances. Interestingly, in Song of Songs the Bride is addressed by her Groom, who says (literally): “Your lips are like a strand of scarlet and your speech - mid’barech - is lovely” (4:3). “Midbar” is singular for “midbarot” – referring to the Bride’s speech. In the days to come the Bride, sitting at His feet, is destined to have her Groom’s Word on her lips.


This brings to an end Moshe’s summation-cum-prologue or grand finale, to which is added: “Moses commanded a Torah for us, a heritage of the congregation of Jacob” (verse 4), and lastly, what can only be a prophetic expression (literal translation): “And there was a King in Yeshurun, when the heads of the people gathered, together the tribes of Israel”. We just read YHVH’s declaration that He loves all peoples and nations, but from and out of those nations He has called a people whom He separated unto Himself.  He then humbles them, causing them to lie down at His feet in order to receive His Word/Torah, which is their heritage as the united community of Jacob. And even though past tense is used here, Jacob obviously has not yet been straightened, so as to be in an upright-straight posture, his heads have not been gathered and neither have the tribes come together. But once the leaders and the tribes are reunited in the Oneness of His holiness/righteousness, YHVH will show Himself as King in Yeshurun.  We look forward to the day of this great fulfillment.