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.