Joseph Herrin (09-29-09)
The last two posts on the subject of Lawful Polygamy has led to some having failed in manifesting patience. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, and it is never more needed than when a subject is being discussed that is difficult and the Biblical testimony is contrary to socially acceptable morals. For those of you who have not read the comments posted on the past two blogs, you will find that there is a diversity of opinion among the saints of God. The most vitriolic responses have come via e-mail, and being sent as private communications, they have not been posted. Some have been so upset as to ask to be removed from the mailing list.
Let me share some perspective on these last two posts. They are not intended as advocacy for men entering into plural marriage unions. They are part of a larger teaching on the marriage covenant. It is needful to address this particular topic as it has much bearing upon understanding what Yahweh has permitted, and what He has condemned, as it pertains to marriage. The evidence has been presented that Yahweh permitted men to marry more than one wife, and that many righteous men chose to do so.
One sister wrote to ask if there were any other examples in Scripture of Yahweh speaking in reference to Himself as having more than one wife. The example from Ezekiel 23 was given where Yahweh speaks of having taken Oholah and Oholibah, two sisters, as His wives. They are symbolic of Israel and Judah (Samaria and Jerusalem). There are other similar Biblical examples.
Then Yawheh said to me in the days of Josiah the king, "Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. And I thought, 'After she has done all these things, she will return to Me'; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. And it came about because of the lightness of her harlotry, that she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception," declares Yahweh.
In these words written by the prophet Jeremiah, Yahweh portrays Himself as being wed to two sisters who act as harlots. These are Israel and Judah. Yet, such examples of Yahweh being wed to more than one wife are not limited to the Old Testament. They are found in the New Testament as well.
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking: for these women are two covenants, one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. For it is written, "Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear; Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor; For more are the children of the desolate than of the one who has a husband." And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman." So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.
In this allegory, explained by the apostle Paul, Hagar and Sarah stand as symbols of Israel and the Church; those under a covenant of Law and those under a covenant of promise (faith). Marriage is a blood covenant, and these two women represent two covenants that Yahweh has made with His people. He has in effect, married two wives, one free and one a slave. The bondwoman brought forth children first, and then persecuted the child of the free-woman, even as Ishmael mocked Isaac when he was weaned.
Once a man or woman have their eyes opened to discern the presence of plural marriage in the Bible, they begin to see it in many places.
However, I would exhort those reading these things to consider them in the larger context of those things I have taught. It is very easy to take one teaching and run to great error with it. Ever since I have had a public teaching ministry, I have taught that the saints are held to a much higher standard than simply doing what the Law allows. The second book I wrote, and perhaps the most important, is the book Sabbath.
It speaks of the great need for all the people of God to enter into Sabbath rest. The apostle Paul, writing in the fourth chapter of Hebrews declares, “Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.” This is a very serious matter. We are to FEAR lest we fall short of entering God’s rest.
What is this rest? The Sabbath of the Old Testament was merely a type and shadow of that spiritual rest the people of God are to enter into. Even as man was forbidden to do any work one day of the week, so are Christians called to cease from their own works. While the shadow pertained to only one day a week, the substance applies to every day of our lives. Here is the apostle’s description of Sabbath rest.
For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
If we are to enter God’s rest, we must cease from doing our own works. That is to say, we must no longer be led of our soul. We are to be surrendered to the leading of the Spirit of Christ in every action and every word. The apostle ends this subject by speaking of the need to divide between soul and spirit.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
It is absolutely vital that the people of God discern the thoughts and intentions of their own hearts. They must divide between those things that arise from their soul, and those things that arise from the indwelling Spirit of Christ. They must cease from doing works of the soul, and only walk by the Spirit.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are [mature] sons of God.
Consider that many things were Lawful for Christ to do, but He limited Himself to only doing those things the Father revealed to be His will.
"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
Yahshua therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”
Yahshua said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.”
"For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.”
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”
Christ walked in perfect Sabbath rest. There was no Law forbidding Him to turn stones into bread when He was hungry, but He discerned that it was the Father’s will for Him to wait. After the Devil left, the angels came and ministered to His needs. There was no prohibition against proclaiming openly the mysteries of God’s word, but Yahshua discerned it to be the Father’s will to speak to the people in parables.
If we only concern ourselves with what we may do, and do not consider what the Father’s will is, we have not yet begun to enter into God’s rest. Yahshua is the pattern for every believer. If we would be His disciples we must walk as He walked. It should be our goal to also declare, “I do nothing of my own initiative. I only do the will of the Father.”
When we arrive at this point we will no longer merely be concerned with what is permissible in the Law. We will desire to know the will of our Father in everything, that we might do His will. Then we will be able to testify as did Paul. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”
I encourage you to keep these things in mind as you continue to ponder this present teaching. It is not complete. It is being presented precept by precept. It is necessary to look at some difficult topics, and some will find the teaching of Scripture offensive. However, if you will be mindful that this teacher is not advocating that any believer pursue the desire of their own soul, they will find there is no cause for alarm or offense.
I do ask for your prayers as I continue. I am in great need of discerning the mind and heart of the Father. I have been greatly helped thus far, but I need His wisdom to continue.
I would also mention that I have been camping for the past two months. I may be moving to another location tomorrow, as my time has run out at my present location. There may be some delay in posting the next writing, as well as in answering the many letters I am receiving, until I am settled at my next location, wherever that may be.
I thank all of you who send financial gifts. The Father has truly performed a marvelous work in this area over the course of the past ten years. He has kept me supplied, and it is a blessing to observe how He uses the body to minster those things that are necessary to the various parts.
The whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Yahweh has called me to walk after the pattern that Paul described to the church in Corinth.
I Corinthians 9:7, 11, 14
Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?... If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?... So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.
Time after time, when there has been some need, the Father has impressed some part of the body of Christ to send forth that which was needed. You who have done so know who you are, and I owe you a debt of love, which is one debt I am glad to carry.
This week, I have found myself rejoicing in the calling the Father has caused me to enter into. From the time of my youth I desired to be a writer and a minister. These desires were seeded in my heart even as Joseph dreamed dreams of his future, or as David was told as a youth by the prophet Samuel that he would one day shepherd God’s people.
The great joy of realizing what the Father has done, after many years of patient waiting and preparation, has flooded my soul this week. I have found myself confessing to the Father my great delight in seeking treasures that are hidden in His word and sharing them with others. It is truly a great joy, and one which makes my heart glad.
Even when I am brought to some difficult topic that results in impatient and fleshly responses from the people of God, I yet delight to know the truth and to share it. It is for those who have ears to hear that it is presented.
People of God, I am not perfected yet. My knowledge and understanding is daily being matured. I am open to discussing any sincere objections to any topic I have taught upon. I only ask that you would agree with me to use the Word of God as the measure of that which is true. Let us look to the Spirit of Christ to preserve love of the brethren and to guide us into all truth.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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