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    FAQ 80

    Should a Wife Call
    Her Husband 'Lord'?

    Q. I have read the letter written by an HEM Council patriarch who says wives should call their husband 'lord'. I disagree. I believe in being subject to my husband but calling a man 'lord' is a cultural thing and does apply to us. After all, women didn't even have the vote in those days.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject which I shall attempt to address as comprehensively as I can. Like the whole polygamy issue itself, this subject is a very immotive one and strikes at the heart of our Western cultural upbringing and thinking. Before I do, though, I'd like to share the letter which was sent in by a brother which sparked quite a heated debate off in our womens' club:

      One thing that strikes me is that until Christian wives in general start taking seriously God’s command to follow Sarah’s model as instructed in Hebrews we will not make a dent in the polygamy front. Women need to start with calling their husband lord, and then go from there.

      Sarah is the model. She called her imperfect husband lord and submitted to him as we all should submit to the LORD (Yahweh). This she immediately put into effect, in her family, a picture of Christ and his bride. Then, when she got older she brought a beautiful young wife to her husband for him.

      I know of no Christian woman who calls her husband 'lord' as Sarah did. This is due to families not following God’s command in the raising of their daughters.

      My youngest daughter gets jealous when the second youngest comes and want to sit on my lap too. I tell her, “Anabell is my little girl too.” They have to learn from an early age that Daddy’s are to be shared with other family members. So too, immature Christian women have to learn to submit to their husbands as we all should submit to God, especially husbands. Then they have to learn to share them and grow the circle of trust and love.

    There are many things I wish to say both about this brother's letter and the comments made on it by the sister, and also other sisters who were very stirred up by both. As in all immotive subjects it is important that out first goal is to quiet the emotions and find a steady keel.

    As servants of our Heavenly Father, Yahweh-Elohim, and believers in the Lord Yah'shua (Jesus), we must always remember to base our perspective in theirs, and not ours, and that means creating within ourselves, our families, our congregations and our wider fellowship a culture of holiness based solely on Elohim's (God's) Word. For I have found that in almost every doctrinal dispute that I have either moderated or taken part in, the issues have been clouded when 'culturism' has been used as either an excuse for a particular course of behaviour or as an added weight in loading one side of the scales in a contest of views.

    It was indeed this very cultural issue that alerted me to the false thinking about polygamy in the monogamy-only Church world in which my own understanding was birthed. In one of my very earliest articles on the subject, Cultural Acceptance vs. Yahweh's Truth, I recounted an experience about polygamy I had in a Baptist Bible Study Class I used to attend. The Pastor had argued that polygamy was not a sin in Abraham's day because polygamy was culturally acceptable, whereas it was in ours because it isn't. Though I didn't point it out to him at the time, I could have said that polygamy today is culturally acceptable in 83% of all world cultures, and so, using the Pastor's logic, it should be considered as unsinfull in those cultures and sinful in our minority cultures (only 16% of all cultures are monogamous). Such an assertion is, of course, ludicrous, because it measures truth against what humans say is right or wrong and not what Yahweh says about the matter. We could use the same argument to say that since homosexuality is culturally acceptable today by the majority that it also is no longer a sin. And what in the future, when paganism becomes the dominant, culturally-acceptable religion (as it will, and is even now rapidly becomming)?

    In any discussion on truth we dare not appeal to 'culture' because it was culture that repeatedly led to the downfall of Israel and Judah anciently. 'Culturism', if I can call that, is in truth just a form of 'cultism' (the two words being derived from the same root). Though we all recognise that a society in any period of time has certain values and ethical normals which are continually changing and evolving, for both good and evil, the Bible never gives any licence to us to appeal to 'culture' as an arbiter of right and wrong. This way of thinking belongs to liberal secularism, itself basically atheistic, which acknowledges no absolute truth save that which is accepted by the majority at any one particular moment in time. Truth for the liberal is a moving target, constantly changing and mutating, and increasingly in response to carnal whims and appetites. As Christians/Messianics we all know this is true. I must therefore in all candour say that appeals to 'culture' as a means of justifying a belief system is biblically incorrect, even if it may be politically correct in the secukar liberal sphere.

    Culture is the complex sum of values and behaviours

    We must never underestimate the extent to which the schools and the media have indoctrinated our thinking. We are living at a time where most biblical values are entirely inverted. One of the additional dangers we face is that the truths which do survive in our Western culture are embedded in a matrix of false reasoning and assumptions which, though they are made appealing because of their support of these truthful principles, are nevertheless deceptive inasmuch as they lead us to accept - albeit unconsciously - this false reasoning and assumptions. 'Democracy' so-called champions many noble things but behind it lies a secret (and sometimes not-so-secret) communistic agenda of enslavement. We can therefore be impressed when we read reports of the cruelties and repressions of the Taliban régime in Afghanistan against women and may as a result be led to glow inside in self-righteousness at the superiority or our own culture and civilisation over theirs. And yet that would be a misleading and dangerous conclusion to arrive at because the very same voices that are trumpeting women's liberation in Afghanistan are the ones that would destroy patriarchy, marriage, the family and the Bible. The fact that there are voices condemning gross injustices and wickedness does not mean that those voices, or the culture which has birthed and is sustaining them, are themselves righteousness. Indeed, as we look at some of the complaints of the fundamentalist Moslems against the West we are reluctantly forced to agree with them in many instances (even if we despise their own religion and abuses), for the West is without a doubt immoral, decadent, self-centred, and spiritually evil.

    This ought to be a warning to us not to make any moral or ethical comparisons except with that which Yahweh has Himself revealed. We know that in the Old Testament times in which the Law of Moses was birthed, that the Israelites were not spiritually advanced in all areas and that some of the laws and statutes given to them were accommodations later to be repealed by Christ in the New Covenant. Lax rules on divorce, war-like tendencies, hatred of enemies, and concubinage, are all examples of things which the Messiah brought an end to.

    But there is one other vital thing that we must understand, and it is this: what Christ taught brought the Torah - not one stage further (to be modified again later) but to COMPLETION. Christ was not one further stage in the evolution of religion as the New Agers (and even Moslems) claim, but its END RESULT. He declared quite matter-of-factly that not only was His doctrine directly from Yahweh, but that He was fulfilling all that had been revealed before in a complete package of commandments, rules, statutes, codes of behaviour, etc.. And the apostles, who very clearly understood this message, warned against others who might bring any teaching contrary to theirs, and to mark such tamperers as "anathema". You cannot read the New Testament and come to any conclusion other than Christ and the apostles were bringing to mankind the final revelation of Yahweh and His Ways (Moslem and Mormon claims to the contrary). There is no room for 'new surprises' overturning either what Christ or the apostles revealed in the future - the message is complete and unalterable. It is only the cults and the liberals (with their cult-ure) who wish to modify the apostolic witness in order to accommodate false teachings antithetical to the Word of Elohim (God). And their most common justification is always a form of spiritual, Marxist Darwinism - a belief that religion is moving from the 'primitive' to the 'enlightened', and that the teachings we find at different chronological stages in the Bible represent that evolutionary progression to something in the yet distant future which remains to be defined by the people of the day.

    Yahweh does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His Torah (Law, Instruction) does not change either. Yes, there were accommodations for human weakness in the time of Moses, but these Christ took care of "once and for all". Whilst Yahweh has been giving believers deeper insights into what has already been revealed, it has only been the cultists who have claimed new 'truths' disjunctive with what has been revealed before. New ideas about 'priesthood' (Mormons), the semi-deity of Christ (Jehovah's Witnesses), and other teachings find no justification in the Word whatsoever in spite of attempts to selectively twist it (by making new Bible 'translations' as both have done) to make it conform. Once we start viewing the Bible through any other lens than that given us by Christ and the apostles, we are on the slippery slope to heresy and spiritual destruction.

    There is a consistency and a harmony in the whole Bible revelation. After a lifetime of study I am more and more impressed by this truth. From Genesis to Revelation there is both an unfolding of truth as well as a confirmation of the very earliest principles revealed to Adam and the patriarchs. And whilst there was certainly brutality in the very earliest days of civilisation, it seems to me that little has in fact changed. Certainly I find little to justify the claim that our modern Western culture is 'superior' in any way, say, to that of the Patriarchs. And to anyone who makes such a claim I have only to point at the social anarchy around us. Whatever good principles have survived in the modern culture, they are prisoners to a great subversion.

    If we are to both understand and walk in the Spirit of Christ we must be prepared, in principle, to reject every tenet our society has taught us and start from scratch. It doesn't matter how many good things our culture may have preserved if that culture is built on a false foundation - for in that scenario, Yahweh is being recruited to support the kingdom of Satan.

    The doctrine or polygamy strikes at the heart of feminism and witchcraft. The doctrine of New Covenant HEM polygamy strikes at the very heart of male chauvanism and pseudo-patriarchy and its undoubted abuses. It is for this reason that any study of polygamy cannot be made apart from the wider matrix and context of the Gospel of Christ. Polygamy, as we all know, is as open to abuse as monogamy. Understanding the Biblical order of marriage must therefore be attended by an understanding of what the Bible teaches about every other activity and sphere of life. My view of polygamy rests uncompromisingly within this frame of reference - on all the Scriptures and not what my carnal fancy happens to like.

    The perspective of spiritual wholeness was understood from the earliest times. The first men and women were not primitive. The only primitives and primitive cultures have been those which have departed from the revelation of Torah. We therefore understand, with the so-called 'primitives' of the Old Testament, some of the deepest and most satisfying truths:

      "The work of righteousness will be peace,
      And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
      My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation,
      In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,
      Though hail comes down on the forest,
      And the city is brought low in humiliation.
      Blessed are you who sow beside all waters,
      Who send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey."

      (Isaiah 32:17-20, NKJV)

    When men and women are living true principles, and know their true place, they naturally and effortlessly find their "peaceful habitation". They are not as a result easily aroused or provoked by false teaching, for they know, through the inner harmony and wholeness which they have in Christ, that they truly abide in Yahweh. No matter what is thrown at them, their appeal is always to the infallible and unchangeable word of Yahweh. They do not need to wrestle with modern cultural fads or condend with the latest philosophies of men, for they know these things are mere wind and vanity, the shifting sands of shllow opinion. They know, not merely because they have arrived at an intellectual synthesis, that they are abiding in truth, but because the truth is abiding in them and has bestowed upon them the easily recognisable and knowable fruits spoken of by the apostles. Their internal and fraternal unity is not disturbed by the darts of false contention, because what cements them is the same Spirit that wrote the words of the Bible in which they are pinning their trust.

    Save where, for example, the apostle Paul clearly expresses an opinion, we are not given the choice to pick and choose whatever scriptures we want. It is written:

      "All Scripture is given by inspiration of Elohim (God), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim (God) may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NKJV).

    All of it. Even those parts which have been abolished, such as the ceremonial Law, whose function was to point to the cross of Christ, for even though we no longer live it, we see what Yahweh was driving at from the very beginning. And even though we no longer abide the preparatory statutes like lax divorce, we can see, by what Christ changed, just what Yahweh intended all along, and how His heart truly yearns to give us "better things". As we look at these things we see that Christ and His teaching is that "better" Way, because it is a complete way, the way of fullness. The teachings given 2,000 years ago by the Son of Yahweh remain eternally valid in all generations.

    And we can read of the miraculous transformation of an uncouth, impetuous, emotionally unstable though fiercy loyal and basically good country bumpkin like Peter (Kefa) into a man of sublime spirituality and wholeness when we compare the Gospel accounts of him with his two epistles. The letters of this apostle are bursting with senstitivity, purity, enlightenment, and the very presence of Yahweh Himself. The Peter before the cross and the Peter some decades later were two totally different men, attesting to the perfecting presence of the Holy Spirit. If there is one thing that we can be quite sure of is that both he and the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, had a crytal clear understanding of the mystical marriage of Christ so forcefully and brilliantly expounded upon by the chief apostle, John, in the Book of Revelation. This doctrine, which marks the climax of everything, was deeply inculcated into these men. It was the apex of everything they strove for, and every word given them by the Holy Spirit in the scriptures Yahweh brought forth through them, pointed to this grand consummation of time. They knew what the Mystical Marriage of the Messiah was and they understood why the parallel institution of marriage was so very important. That they should in any way be in error on this the most vital of teachings is unthinkable. Their whole hope was bound up in this concept of heavenly marriage - of the allegorical polygamous union of the saints to their Master, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). And because of this pulsating truth which filled every fiber of their being, they knew equally how important it was to get human marriage right.

    The third chapter of Peter's First Epistle shows a perfect understanding of these things. There is not a single word out of place, not a single concept remotely distorted by carnal thinking. In the first 7 verses of this chapter he summarises the whole way of being in true Christian/Messianic marriage which was first revealed in the Garden of Eden and brought to a complete and full understanding in the image we are to set our fondest hopes on: the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.

    We are going to look at this short passage now to make sure that we properly understand it. But to do so, we must completely divest ourselves of all our Western cultural notions and prejudices and let Yahweh do the talking. For these words are the words of Elohim (God), revealed not through the carnal mind, but through the Holy Spirit:

      "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behaviour of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behaviour. Your adornment must not be merely external -- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of Elohim (God). For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in Elohim (God), used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord (master, sir), and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing" (1 Peter 3:1-9, NASU).

    I want you first of all to notice that complimentary instructions are being given to both wives and husbands. The apostle is not singling women out here. Furthermore, this passage is referring back to the previous chapter to a THIRD agency, our Lord Yah'shua (Jesus). The apostle writes:

      "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls" (1 Peter 2:21-25, NASU).

    Once again, we are being pointed back to some other principle as the apostle unfolds a salient truth that we are to understand in another part of the second chapter when he speaks of our submission to rulers and masters:

      "Submit yourselves for the Lord's (Master's) sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of Elohim (God) that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of Elohim (God). Honour all people, love the brotherhood, fear Elohim (God), honour the king. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favour, if for the sake of conscience toward Elohim (God) a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favour with Elohim (God)" (1 Peter 2:13-20, NASU)

    You see, brethren and sisters, we are not being called to behave like the world. When we are placed in situations where we suffer, there is always a redemptive purpose, no matter how terrible our experience may be. The issue is not primarily the terrible situation we may find ourself in (which is not to say that it is a non-issue) but the way we RESPOND to the situation which Yahweh permits us to be in. We have ALL suffered in one way or another - suffered terrible injustices, been abused, beaten, betrayed, etc.. - and whilst Yahweh deeply cares about these things, the only reason that He has permitted them in the first place is because it is likely the only way that He can bring us to perfection. The lessons we learn from these things are what equip us to be redemptive servants later. All has a purpose.

    The key issue which runs through the scriptures again, and again, and again, is SUBMISSION, a term which angers many people, especially women who have been subjected to vicious and wicked men. For those who have been abused, especially those whose perverse parents or husbands have demanded their unconditional submission to evil, any kind of 'submission concept' can trigger a terrible fear within them. This is something that many righteous men, who are attempting to counter the feministic teachings on rebellion and gender-rôle equality, often fail to understand. For it is a truth that not only feministic thinking, but the unrighteous patriarchy that was its catalyst in the first place, have caused immeasurable damage to the thinking of women who associate all concepts of submission with the abuses they may have heard of or experienced first hand for themselves. And then to ask them to call their husbands 'lord' is, for them, the ultimate indignity bordering on mental rape.

    Not only have the men got to understand that many women cannot automatically call their husbands 'lord' because they are emotionally damaged, but these women have got to understand that godly submission and sumbmission-by-compulsion to evil are absolutely not the same thing. For such women coming to learn to trust and submit to Yahweh may in itself be an horrendous experience at first because of the abuses they have suffered at the hands of evil men. Yet it is much easier to submit to a perfect Elohim (God) (once one has finally understood that He is loving) than it is to an imperfect man (who may not always be as loving as Yahweh has commanded him to be). Nevertheless, the message from Yahweh, Christ, and the apostles is clear - a life of submission to authorities and to spouses is not an option, but a commandment, in order to teach us righteousness. And moreover, it has been done by the Son of Man, who was tempted in every respect as we were, whom we are able to imitate though His resurrection power bequeathed to us through the Holy Spirit as our faith is firm and our obedience to the commandments unyielding.

    So is it true to say, then, that Yahweh permits evil in our lives just to refine us? No, it is not that simple. With the exception of the Job-type tests (which are often meaningless to us and require total trust in Yahweh when we go through them), most of the access that Satan has to us is because of unbelief and rebellion. Every commandment we disobey gives Satan access rights. Balanced against this is Yahweh's restraining hand when we sin in ignorance through the wrong teachings of our parents, schools, pastors, and other peers. Though it is an ugly and often painful reality, it is frequently our own fault when we are harrassed and fall into the hands of evil men.

    Part of the responsibility is collective - it is wrong to analyise our situations in purely personal terms. Whilst we have a personal responsibility to do what is right, there is also a shared responsibility with our neighbourhood, country, and the whole human race. Just as we are called to bear one another's burdens in the church/assembly, so we have a collective guilt when, for example, nations sin, even if we have played no part in the nation's rebellion. Thus both the good and evil suffered in Nazi Germany, just as innocent Afghan civilians are suffering in the current war in that land.

    No human being is an island and no human being can claim treatment from Yahweh in complete isolation. What has been our part in raising a warning voice in our families and local communities? Do we have responsibilities and stewardships there? You will find out, as you read the Bible, that the Gospel is not just personal but intensely communal. And that is the message of Christian/Messianic polygamous marriage, for it is a model of how we are to be interacting in the wider perspective beyond self-interest.

    I am not saying any of these things are easy, nor am I insensitive to the suffering most of us have gone through in our confrontation with (and abuse by) evil people. But what I am saying is we can't just discard holy principles because evil men and women have abused them. That gives Satan a double victory. Like it or not, we all have 'lords' and 'masters' even if modern liberal secularism has created a sense of indignation in us when such terms are used. Hierarchies exist for our perfection - many of them are temporary (leaders of state, slaves and masters, military commanders, etc.) but there are two which are eternal: Yahweh to mankind, and husbands to wives. Yahweh will always be our Lord and Master, just as husbands in Christ will always be lords and masters to their wives.

    I know there are problems with terminology. Language evolves and new meanings are given to words. What does one do, then, when those who subscribe to BDSM (Bondage, Dominance and Sado-Masochism) use identical terms? As one sister once commented:

      "While a Christian wife is certainly to submit righteously to her husband’s authority, and while he certainly has a responsibility to wield that authority in a responsible manner, there is no doubt that the primary loyalty and submission of either must be to Christ. For me to say that I belong to my husband heart, soul, mind and body supplants that relationship and is spiritually a very hazardous attitude. It places the submissive party in the position of putting a person before God."

    Problems occur when the same words are used to mean different things. Should we then find substitutes for 'lord', 'master', or 'sir' which such 'dom' women use all the time?

    To do so, in my opinion, is to conceed ever more of our vocabulary to Satan. He has already sought to hijack 'God', 'Jesus', 'love' and other key Gospel words by changing their meaning. Shall we just let Him do it? And it is a fact that the pagan religions, even in Biblical times, used some of these same words for their own deities.

    I have never forced my wives to use the English equivalent of adonai (Heb.) or kurios (Gk.), which we variously translate as as 'lord', 'master', and 'sir', and we have not, I freely admit, resolved quite the best way to deal with what is a language issue. My fourth and seventh wives, and occasionally my third, frequently call (or have called) me 'my lord' or 'sir' but this is something they have done spontaneously. And their choice, so far, is very personal and based on her perception of the meaning of these words. Some people are uncomfortable with the word 'lord' because they are concerned that since Evangelicals refer to Yahweh and Christ as "Lord", they may easily find themselves in idolatrous transgression.

    The concern is legitimate. The fault, again, is with our culture, or at least with the precursors of our present culture. In part the Talmudic Jews are to blame for in their superstitious belief that the divine Name YHWH should never be articulated, they not only substitued the vowels of the Hebrew adonai ('Lord') into the YHWH consonants, creating the bastard and blasphemous word "Jehovah" (Heb. Jah is perverse) which we in Western Christianity have inherited (to our cost), but also substituted YHWH entirely for Adonai, a Greek loan word from the pagan god 'Adonis'. It is for this reason that almost all English Bibles use "LORD" instead of "YHWH" or "Yahweh". Thus for the Western mind, "Yahweh" has become "LORD", a term mostly used to designate human persons in authority. This is one reason you will find that I very rarely use the term 'Lord' in reference to deity, preferring such appellations as El Elyon - the Most High God.

    In the New Covenant, we are commanded to address Yahweh as "Father", Abba, to indicate our new relationship with Him through the atoning work of Christ, in addition to calling upon His Name, Yahweh.

    Because Christ and Yahweh are called 'Lord' by most Christians and many Messianics, there is often a confusion between the two. Since the term 'lord' was originally used of human masters, the solution to this problem of confusing human lords with 'THE Lord" (a term also used of pagans for their deities, like lord Buddha, etc.) may very well be to drop the term 'Lord' for Yahweh and Christ and to use the equivalent Hebrew expressions as the Jews do, by refering to Christ as 'our Adon Yah'shua' and the Father as 'our Adon Yahweh-Elohim', or simply 'Adonai'. This would then free the word 'lord' for what it was originally intended - a title of respect and submission to worldly rulers and husbands but then leaves you with the dilemma of using a word that hearkens back to a pagan deity, Adonis, who was originally the Phoenician god of fertility.

    In saying this I realise we face a mountain of cultural resistance rooted in centuries of (ab)use. For now I have decided to let my wives choose the word they feel the most comfortable with - 'lord', 'master', or 'sir'. These words, incidentally, are not intended to be substitutes for terms of endearment (Yah forbid!) like 'dear', 'honey', 'sweetheart', 'darling', 'love', and so on, but I think ought to punctuate a wife's speech often as a reminder of her true position. The husband, in his turn, ought to be remembering his position of submission to Christ as his head, and making the proper obeissance.

    But how can a woman look at her imperfect husband in the kind of way that her husband looks up to Elohim (God)? There are, of course, equivalences and non-equivalences. And when it comes to mortal man, we must remember that there are TWO forms of submission:

    • 1. First, there is the conceptual submission to a GOD-ORDAINED office. It is hard, I know, to respect and honour a corrupt president, for example, but that isn't the point - we are to reverence the position of Yahweh-established authority SO LONG as that does not compell us to break the commandments, whence we must obey Yahweh before man, even a state ruler. There are precendents in the Bible. If you want a wonderful example of how we are to do this, read the account of David when he was a fugitive and how he consistently honoured the wicked King Saul because Saul was Yahweh's anointed;

    • 2. Secondly, there is voluntary submission to righteousness and love, the goal that every husband should be setting for himself, to make himself spontaneously attractive spiritually to his wife. This can never be forced or expected. Yahweh does not compell us to love and obey Christ but impells us through attraction.

    Thus there is COMPULSORY submission to, and respect for, the GOD-ORDAINED OFFICE of a husband (or worldly ruler) and there is VOLUNTARY submission to, and respect for, the righteousness of the PERSON. We must not confuse the two. (A helpful article illustrating this principle may be found in The Pastoral Office: A Guide to Congregational Leadership).

    Issues such as the 'women's vote' are, in hindsight, totally irrelevent. Yahweh isn't interested in democracy but in righteousness. Men and women who have a free vote can still be oppressed in a liberal democracy as those who have no vote can in a dictatorship. Yahweh frankly isn't concerned about democracies or dictatorships so long as they are governed in righteousness. And it's worth pointing out here that the Kingdom of Elohim (God) is not a Western-style democracy (which is now ripening in iniquity) but a benevolent THEOCRATIC DICTATORSHIP, with the Messiah as our King. Yes, that's right, the world which all Christians/Messianics are looking forward to when Christ returns isn't a Republic but an Absolute Monarchy. Something to think about.

    The Gospel of Yah'shua (Jesus) is not, in any case, about 'rights' (which is ego-centric) but about 'responsibilities' (which is other-centred). And even though one or two modern parphrase translations of the Bible have inserted our modern word 'rights' into some texts, you will find no such concept in the Hebrew. This again is another area of 'cultic culturism' that Christians/Messianics have to be re-educated in.

    Yes, the concept of theocratic dictatorship is open to abuses, and especially by men. We have seen plenty of examples in the denominations and in the cults throughout history. But because man has messed up doesn't make the principle wrong nor does it give us the right to redefine the Gospel because of our fear. Which brings me back to my original citation from Peter and to a phrase that is often overlooked, and is usually the cause of woman's rebellion against submission and authority:

      "...just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear" (1 Peter 3:9).

    Sarah submitted to Abraham calling him 'lord'

    The reason women react negatively to the idea of calling a husband 'lord' is NAKED FEAR. I am not saying that those do not have some basis in legitimacy because of previous bad experiences with unrighteous dominion but what I most definitely AM saying is that the fears have got to be worked with and overcome in Christ. In that respect, the husband's (and ministers') part is to reflect the corollary of wifely submission by the husbands following the apostle's instruction to:

      "Live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honour as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:7).

    This is simply Peter's echo of Paul's instruction for the husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church (Messianic Community), and the wives to submit to their husband as the Church (Messianic Community) is supposed to submit to Christ.

    The equation is complete. Both sides of the coin are plainly visible. A wife is to submit to her husband and call him 'lord' (or equivalent) as the husband is to profoundly love his wife. When this synergy is operative, the task of both becomes natural, desirable, and joyful. But you can't selectively leave out part of the equation and expect things to run smoothly. And not calling the husband adonai or kurios is not optional. At the same time there is the jurisdictional requirement to honour and respect the CALLING of a husband. Whether he is honoured and respected as a PERSON is entirely up to the wife, and that is something the husband must earn and not expect. By the same token, a wife cannot 'expect' to be loved as a person because she is rebellious and unlovable, yet the husband is expected to love her unconditionally because of what Christ did for the Church (Messianic Community), for Christ's sake ... for righteousness' sake.

    Such paradoxes as may seem inherent in such concepts disappear only when the carnal nature is crucified and both husband and wife live in Christ. Then the outer and the inner can be harmonised and wholeness result.

    A final word. I do not believe a wife (or a husband, for that matter) should suffer abuse unto death. There comes a certain point when we must either leave/divorce a spouse or a church (assembly) which is destroying us physically and/or spiritually. But that issue I have addressed in other articles.

    May Yahweh bless you with the grace to clearly see the intention and love behind His Word and not to compromise with it in any way. For the Word is your life and your righeousness, even as the Incarnate Word is your salvation. Amen.

    Author: SBSK

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    First created on 15 November 2001
    Updated on 16 May 2016

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