Month 9:4, Week 1:3 (Shleshi/Bikkurim), Year:Day 5939:240 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 25 November 2014
Yesod haB'riah I
The Essenes, Divorce and Polygamy
Are the Essenes a Reliable Authority?
I am always troubled when a ministry cites as its authority the testimony of an ancient sect of believers to vindicate a particular doctrine, and in this case the Essenes through whom we have come into possession the oldest (and indisputably the most valuable) copy of the Tanakh (Old Testament), namely the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). I am even more troubled when it cites such a sectarian group such as the Essenes on subjects like marriage and divorce when that group required strict celibacy (though they adopted the children of others to religiously train them) and was so extreme that it even forbade urinating and defacating on the Sabbath. In that respect is not unlike the Roman Catholic Church which imposes celibacy on its priesthood.
Oxford University and Géza Vermes
My interest in the Essenes and the sect's community at Qumran goes back nearly 40 years to the 1970's because of my close aquaintance with one of the foremost and internationally famous scholars of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Oxford, Professor Géza Vermes, a Hungarian Jew, who was then Reader in Jewish Studies at Oxford University (which I was then attending) and had produced some brilliant work . As first an undergraduate and then a postgraduate at University College, I took full advantage of the slew of scholarship that was available in that city of academicians to indulge my every interest, from nuclear physics to the Hebrew language (which I studied at Campion Hall), my major being Biochemistry. I knew Géza Vermes personally and became familiar both with his work (and that of others) and with the history and theology of the Qumran Community in general, and as president of the Oxford Theocratic Society, invited him to lecture to us. Qumran and its relationship to Christianity and the development of the New Testament was a particular interest of mine in my early days as a believer . I would come to develop a syllabus and tutor a course on the Gospel of John and the Johannine Epistles  and later published my lectures and essays as Johannine Essays and be confronted later on in my ministry with a New Age cultic mutation of the sect in the form of the so-called ''Christian' Essenes'.
The Religious Sects of First Century Palestine
The Essenes were one of four major parties of Judaism in the time of Yah'shua (Jesus) mentioned by the historican Josephus  that included the more familiar (because they are mentioned in Scripture) Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots though there were many other splinter groups too, most of them unknown to us even by name. Josephus was at pains to describe all of them as "sects", from the Greek hairaseis, from which we get the modern English word 'heresies', for at that time there was not what one might call 'normative Judaism' and therefore strictly-speaking no 'orthodoxy' either, in spite of the power grudgingly shared by the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Roman Province of Judaea was a hot spot of theological controversy and those who had power had obtained it through political manoevering and not a amall amount of skullduggery. Accordingly, in those days Judaism was concerned less with 'right belief' as with 'accepted practice' . Although everybody then accepted Deuteronomy 6:4 as the fundamental tenet of their emunah (faith) - the Shema - and upheld the authority of the Torah as the very foundation of their religion, there was considerable factional strife over the interpretation of Torah and its practical application, which often expressed itself in the most bitter animosity.
Brief History of the Essenes
Time prevents all but a cursory treatment of the Essenes here, an ascetic sect whose orgins can be traced back to the second century BC and who continued to exist until the Jewish War in AD 66-70. They numbered no more than about 4,000 adherents in New Testament times and many different varietes of them existed. By the first century they had abandoned the towns and cities because of persecution by the Pharisees and Sadducees and had fled to the wilderness to become monastic. The elder Pliny describes those who lived in the desert at Qumran as "a solitary community...without women...without money..and without any company save that of the palm trees" . They were descended from the Hasidim  (from which we get the word 'Essene', meaning 'pious ones') of the Maccabean and pre-Maccabean period who fought against the inroads of Hellenism. As such they are very popular with some ultra-Messianics today who scorn everything and everyone who have so much as a fleck of anything un-Hebrew on them. They were certainly radical and took their beliefs seriously and conscientiously.
The Essenes and Marriage
Of the Essenes Josephes tells us that "they hold marriage in little esteem"  though one small offshoot of Essenes is known to have accepted marriage on a three years trial period. One or two married couples were known to have lived at the Qumran community by the Dead Sea but because of their non-celibate estate were not accepted as full members. Misinterpreting the messianic prophecy of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah to be themselves, a doctrine that modern Judaism has more or less embraced to counter Christianity, they believed that it was their destiny, by submission and suffering, to make expiation for the sins of the people . A major tenet of their belief was a prophecy that the Messiah would come 40 years after the death of their 'Teacher of Righteousness' .
The Essenes, the Epigrapha and Immortality
As a point of interest in the debate on the Pseudepigrapha and Apocrypha, and particularly the Book of Enoch and Book of Jasher, beloved by many modern Messianics and in the case of some 'one-and-only' groups, unwisely 'canonised' by them, there is good evidence to suppose that the Essene teaching about of immortality, as distinct from the Tanakh (Old Testament) notion of resurrection, is derived from these Pharisee epigrapha. Josephus certainly thought so .
A Sensible and Common Ground View of Authority
Must Preclude Meaningful Discussion
Which brings us to the matter of authority before we examine Essene views about divorce, marriage and polygamy and make any claims about them. Anciently, as now, there are men who claim the authority to make halachic (theocratically binding, authoritative) decisions about messianic communal doctrine and practice. This is often a combination of Scripture, Tradition and claims to special human inspiration. Judaism, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Mormonism and others lay special claim to the authority of tradition and the de jure (legal) inspiration of their leaders - the Jews to their Talmud and Rabbinate, Catholics to the ex cathedra pronouncements (Bulls) of Popes, Mormons to the Book of Mormon and pretended 'Prophets', and so on. And it is not unusual for the lay believer to assume that because a tradition is old that it must, ipso facto, be more reliable the further one goes back in time, though they forget that apostacy and heresy has always been present in every age, arguably from Cain himself. When most speak of authority they are, in any case, usually talking about "controlling people or situations"  within their own particular denomination, church or messianic synagogue, though there are those who claim to have authority over the whole world in spite of the majority not recognising or accepting it. To have any kind of meaningful discussion, locus of authority must, in the first instance, be taken to be the primacy of Scripture, and, so as to avoid unresolvable controversy, specifically in that body of common denominator scriptural canon universally regarded by all divisions of Christianity and Messianism, the Protestant Canon, accepted by all but fringe groups like the anti-Paulists and their modern Ebionite descendants. That is my position and the position of this ministry  if we are not to sink into the quagmire of theological relativism and end up attacking Scriptures we might not like or accept. Though Yahweh-Elohim Himself is obviously the Ultimate Authority, we run the risk of asking that existentialism or 'personal experience' be the arbiter of all debate about emet (truth) - once we go down that rabbit hole, the result is always ensuing confusion as every man becomes his own private denomination and theological system. Existentialism is, in any case, a function of circumstance and condition, and can therefore have no general application, as this is solely the realm of meaning. And though working from this empirical premise does not by any means preclude schism - witness the kaleidoscope of factions of Protestantism - it is surely the wisest course of action we can take, making us accountable to something tangible that we can all put our hands on. Then the onus of responsibility is on us to become good scholars and to apply empirical methodology.
Divorce and Marriage as Different Torah Categories
Having made this long, but, I feel, necessary preamble to establish the ground of true doctrine, we can now take a look at the recent claims of J.S.Trimm  and others, if we are to intelligently view the questions of divorce, marriage and polygamy through the Essene understanding of Yesod haB'riah , which they claim - in common with many Evangelical Christian apologists, that whilst divorce and polygamy are not forbidden in Torah - nevertheless violate what Essenes term Yesod haB'riah or "Principle/Foundation of Creation". And whilst, we maintain, this is certainly true of divorce, it is not true of polygamy as each occupies a different Torah category - the one (divorce) being negative (anti-life) and the other (polygamy, or indeed biblical marriage generally) being positive (the multiplation of life). Given the Essenes' disdainment of marriage altogether, it is not hard to understand why these sectarians, in violation of the Genesis 1:28 mandate , would want to throw the two together into the same proverbial basket of wickedness, as their Catholic successors have done, banning it for their priests and tolerating it as a 'necessary evil' for their laymen in order to continue to propagate the race.
Shammai vs. Hillel
The Essenes, as we saw earlier, were rivals and antagonists of the Pharisee sect in Jerusalem (and vice versa) and their position is seen to be, as Trimm correctly observes, an outcome of taking the side of one of the two warring factions within Pharisaism on the matter of divorce, as Yah'shua (Jesus) did. The one faction (Shammai) was Torahconservative, only permitting divorce in the case of adultery ("an unclean matter", they called it), while the other faction (Hillel) was outrageously liberal and anarchistic and not at all unlike fundamentalist Muslims, permitting a man to divorce his wife upon so trivial a fault as, for example, spoiling the dinner. This was taken to the even more extreme libertine position of Akiva, which is recorded in the Talmud, who permitted a man to divorce his wife and take a prettier one for no other reason than he felt like it, sending the woman away in disgrace and shamefully making her unmarriable again.
Right Idea, Wrong Reasons
The Essenes rightly protested the libertinism of the Pharisaic Hillel faction but justified their objection on false grounds:
Serial Polygamy is Not Scriptural Marriage
"They (the Hillel Pharisee faction) are caught in ... fornication, by taking two wives in their lifetime although the Principle of Creation (Yesod haB'riah) is "male and female He created them" (Gen.1:27) and those who entered the ark "went into the ark two by two" (Gen.7:9). Concerning the Leaders it is written "he shall not multiply wives to himself" (Dt.17:17)" .
It is not my purpose here to get into a discussion on the various Scriptural objections offered against polygamy, or the two cited by the Essenes in this quotation - discussions on these may be read elsewhere . Rather, I want to focus on the Yesod haB'riah or 'Foundation of Creation' claim. Additionally, it should be pointed out that the Hillel Pharisees were not necessarily practicing Torah polygamy (two or more women cohabiting with one man at the same time) but what sociologists have come to call 'serial polygamy', the repeating act of marrying, divorcing, and then remarrying.
Malachi Exposes the Doctrine and Practice of Hillel
The navi (prophet) Malachi addressed this adulterous and treacherous behaviour with Yahweh's famous rebuke:
You Reap What You Sow
"You cover the altar of Yahweh with tears,
With weeping and crying;
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.
Yet you say, 'For what reason?'
Because Yahweh has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Ruach (Spirit)?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your ruach (spirit),
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth"
The crime here is not the man breaking the heart of the wife of his youth but causing her to cry and be broken-heated on account of his breach of the sacred marriage covenant. Women (and men, for that matter) can be broken-hearted because of the consequences of their own sins. A man can be devasted when he loses his wife and children when he commits scripturally-defined adultery, or vice versa. He (or she) is then reaping the reward of his (or her) crime and he (or she) then becomes the recipient of heavenly justice - he reaps what he sows. The issue in Malachi is the injustice of covenant-breaking that ruins marriages and families and offends Elohim (God) who created the institution.
The Anti-Marriage Essenes Got Their Torah Interpretation Wrong
Yahweh is not here condemning the apostate Hebrews for 'polygamy' (having more than one wife simultaneously) but for breaking covenant with the wives of their youth by divorcing them and then remarrying which, according to Torah, is adultery and treachery. Surprisingly (though perhaps not so, given their disdain of the marriage estate generally), the Essenes did not know their Torah! It was for this wicked practice of dismissing a faithful wife for a younger, prettier one (or for any other trivial or carnal reason) that Yah'shua (Jesus) also condemned the Hillelite faction of the Pharisees and those who followed their man-made rules. So, no, the Hillelite Pharisees were not guilty of "fornication", as the Essenes claimed (most Christians do not know the biblical difference between adultery and fornication ), but for unjustly divorcing their first wives.
Did Yah'shua Support the Essene Yesod haB'riah Principle?
Trimm proceeds to associate Yah'shua (Jesus) in Matthew 19:3-9 with the Essene Yesod haB'riah principle by making the assertion that "one flesh" can only mean the exclusive divine sanction of monogamy:
Yah'shua Endorses Shammai
"The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?' And He answered and said to them, 'Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what Elohim (God) has joined together, let not man separate.' They said to Him, 'Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?' He said to them, 'Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery'" (Matt.19:3-10, NKJV).
We see here Yah'shua (Jesus) taking the Shammai faction's position, and the very teaching of Torah, on divorce - and specifically, applies Malachi's warning. Clearly the questioner was of the Hillel faction . This is not a statement about monogamy or polygamy - the issue of "one flesh", with has nothing to do with monogamy or polygamy, is discussed elsewhere .
Hardness of Hearts and Divorce
Trimm is correct in asserting that divorce, whilst permitted and regulated in Torah (though not encouraging it either), falls short of Yahweh's ideal, and in that sense his thesis accords well with the Essene principle of Yesod B'riah or Foundation of Creation. Yah'shua (Jesus) says as much when he replied to the Hillelites, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so". In other words, there shouldn't really be any divorce at all, and the Messiah is upholding the Shammai faction's interpretation. No such parallel statement by either Yah'shua (Jesus) or the apostles concerning polygamy exists in the Scriptures and indeed no negative mention of a man having more than one wife simultaneously is mentioned anywhere in the New Testament. We are nowhere told that Moses permitted "polygamy because of the hardness of [men's] hearts" precisely because the existing Torah regulations were sufficient and needed no reforming.
Tightening Up Judah's Lax Marriage Laws
One of Yah'shua's (Jesus') missions was to tighten up Judah's lax man-made divorce laws and re-establish the honour of women, and so restore marriage to its proper place. But does polygamy fall within the same category as divorce? Was monogamy the 'ideal' with polygamy only tolerated? If so, where is the saying of Yah'shua (Jesus), or even the apostles , 'tightening up' Judah's 'lax' rules on polygamy? They cannot be found. For one thing, no distinction is made in scripture between 'monogamy' and 'polygamy', which are Greek concepts, for whether a man had one or more wives the relationship was still defined as 'marriage'. There are a considerable number of rules in Torah defining what marriage is not and what is not permissable but none of these seek to differentiate between monogamy and polygyny. The only limitations were who you could or could not marry, and to not to marry to excess beyond a man's means to properly take care of his family (Dt.17:17).
Messiah and the Apostles on Marriage
Does the New Testament, then, introduce anything new to our understanding of marriage? A great deal. The goal of its writers was to make marriage Messiah-centred and to elevate the standards of husband-wife behaviour. The sayings of Yah'shua (Jesus) and the apostles work on the assumption that everyone knew the basics of Torah (it had, after all, been Israel's lifestyle for 1,500 years) - and what was, and what was not, acceptable. There was therefore no need to repeat that except to incidentally illustrate some point or other, which is why Torah appears incomplete and piecemeal in the New Testament.
Why Was Polygamy Even Permitted?
Though the New Testament assumes, like the Old, that the vast number of marriages would only be between one man and one woman (in part because of the almost equal ratios of the genders, save after long and devastating wars, it does not proscribe those with a good spiritual reputation from having larger families with the means to do so. Indeed, that some of these larger families were by the ordination of Yahweh and served a prophetic and redemptive purpose, is very clear. Abraham, David and Jacob certainly fall into this exalted category, their humanity, frailty and propensity to make mistakes - sometimes serious ones - notwithstanding, monogamists and polygamists being no different in the capacity to make wrong choices and sin. Indeed, New Covenant believers today continue to be linked to polygamist Abraham and his emunah (faith) (e.g. Gal.3:9). Likewise, they are still called Israelites after the polygamist father of the tribes, Jacob renamed Israel (e.g. Rom.9:4); and even though it appears on the surface that he stumbled accidentally into polygamy, thanks to the machinations of his devious father-in-law, Laban, there can be no doubt that Yahweh's divine hand was not only providentially involved throughout the events that led to this large family but that His approbation of the twelve sons of such a plural union is eternally approved by the enshrining of these tribal names on the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem (Rev.21:12). Similarly, Yah'shua (Jesus) is not ashamed to link himself to polygamous King David as the oft-mentioned "Son of David" (e.g. Mt.1:1; Lk.20:14). All of these men, who had more than one wife  and were never viewed as second-rate husbands who, compared to monogamists, chose an inferior (though permitted) lifestyle (moderate position à la Trimm), nor accused of adultery (extremist position of most funadamentalist Christians), enjoyed Yahweh's special favour, with Abraham even being called "the friend of Elohim (God)" (Jas.2:23). That Yahweh did not take pains to exclusively exalt monogamous qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) must at the very least stimulate the thinking mind into expanding its view of marriage beyond the limited walls of anti-polygamist church (since the Edict of Justinian) and (since 1000 AD) Jewish tradition.
Divorce and Marriage Are Two Distinct Categories
Yahweh's holiness is in no way tainted by the polygamy of the patriarchs, and nor is that of the qodeshim (saints) in general. This was not 'negative polygamy' that Yahweh leant His name to, but positive and approved. That there was, and still is, 'negative polygamy', in the sense that men and women live it badly, that reflects badly on Elohim (God) is undeniable, just as there is negative divorce (without Torah grounds). However, divorce also has a positive connotation otherwise Yahweh's holiness would be contaminated by His divorcing Judah and Ephraim for apostacy. Though divorce is regrettable as a whole, there is just, even mandated, divorce, and therefore qodesh (holy, set-apart) divorce, even though all divorce is negative by definition, unlike righteously-lived polygamy. You cannot put polygamy into the same category as divorce because as a general principle it cannot be seen as regrettable without implicating Yahweh for endorsing righteous polygamists. There is bad polygamy like bad monogamy, but they are both in the same category called 'marriage' which Yahweh has pronounced "good" when lived properly. If something has a good, positive and upbuilding aspect it has a future whereas divorce never can. Divorce belongs to the kind of death which Messiah came to conquer. And whilst some polygamous (as well as monogamous) marriages may be said to be 'deathly' or 'causing death' because of the sin of man, you cannot then logically say 'polygamy' is 'deathly' as a principle, any more than you can of monogamy, or marriage in general.
The Deeper Mystery Explored
The link between the seven legitimate wives of David, the messianic figure, and the seven Ruachot (Spirit) of Elohim (God) and the ideal end-time husband with a good reputation (Is.4:1), is unmistakable (Rev.3:1; 4:5; 5:6). The echadness (oneness) between the One (1) and the Many (represented by the ideal number 7) - between Messiah and His uniplural  Bride - demonstrates that both monogamy and polygamy are held up as complimentary, yet different, ideals that are not in competition with each other. The Bride of Messiah is many (represented by 7, the number of completion) and one (represented by 1, the number of wholeness), the many (7) being in the one (1). Thus whether a man has one wife like Isaac or Joseph, or seven like David, they portray different aspects of the one emet (truth) which, because both are associated with the Creator, are therefore both qadosh (holy, set-apart) in their own sphere according to the will of Elohim (God).
The Crass Carnality of Many Christian Polygamists
The issue I have with the modern Christian and Messianic polygamy movement (which by and large has been a disaster in the West, and is far from being perfect in Africa and elsewhere where it is commonly practiced and has been around for thousands of years) is not with the principle itself but with the unsanctified riff-raff, who fall considerably short of the high standards which the New Covenant demands of all marriage, monogamous or polygamous, who take more than one wife. A good many of them aren't even able to hold a monogamous marriage together and are using polygamy as an escape from their responsibilities and failures or do so simply to indulge their baser appetites whilst using the biblical principle to give them the appearance of respectability.
Carnal vs. Spiritual Marriage
We can no longer enter the estate of marriage in the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) by only subjecting ourselves to the external rules of the Tanakh (Old Testament) without thought of spirituality and conforming to the prophetic New Testament mandate to reflect the glory of Messiah through overcoming in ahavah (love), vitally important though the ground rules of Torah are. We must must now make considerably greater spiritual investment to make our marriages reflective of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth of whatever kind (monogamous or polygamous) they may be. The Wild West, which much of modern Christian and Messianic polygamy resembles, sends the wrong message to honest seekers after emet (truth) who are looking for something better and purer than the failed relationships the world system presses on them. Monogamists and polygamists alike are under far more exacting spiritual demands than their forebearers were under the Mosaic Covenant and we must not forget that. What the Christian and Messianic movement has tended to ignore (because it imitates the gross carnality of undisciplined modern man) is the revelation in Isaiah's portrayal of latter-day New Covenant polygamous marriage, which is that the women are to seek out the men and not vice versa:
"Seven women shall take hold of one man ... saying, ' We will eat our own bread, and wear our own clothing: only let us be called by your name. Take away our reproach" (Is.4:1, ATOT).
It is important to note that what attracts these women is not financial security or good looks but the man's shem tov or good name. He is a man of high spiritual reputation and stature, not the maverick cowboy who frequents Babylon's salloons because he seeks mere sensual gratification. So attractive is such a man with a shem tov (good name) to spiritually-minded women that they are not only willing to share him but are willing to forfeit their right of "bread" and "clothing" which is the responsibility of the husband to provide! The man is not hunting these women as trophies, safari-fashion, as is the hallmark of the modern polygamy movement  as though marriage was the objective rather than Kingdom glory and Yahweh's will - it is the women who take the iniative and who are willing to sacrifice to be a part of something Yahweh-honouring and spiritually attractive. As the rest of Isaiah 4 makes clear, this is prophetically looking forward to the New Covenant and has nothing to do with the Old:
The Conditions Have Not Arrived Yet
"The Branch of Yahweh will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called qodesh (holy, set-apart), all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. Yahweh will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. Then Yahweh will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain" (Isa.4:2-6, NIV).
That "day" has clearly not yet come generally either for the messianic community (church) or for the Middle Eastern republic styling itself as 'Israel', so the conditions for the more widespread advancement of righteous polygamy have not yet arrived, though they will. And the conditions are describing the Second Exodus and Final Gathering which, though they have started (2014), are still in their infancy. We are still some way off before this passage of Scripture can be fulfilled even though there is now a definite gender imballance in the Body of Messiah that is ever widening. A lot of spiritual purging has to take place amongst both male and female believers and doubtless the imminent collapse will do much to both initiate and catalyse this process.
It should be clear now that unlike divorce, polygamy not only does not violate Yesod haBriah - the 'Principle or Foundation of Creation' - but actually conforms to - and completes - it together with monogamy as the natural outgrowth of the uniplural echad marriage principle, so both Trimm and the Essenes are half right and half wrong. In the second part of this series we shall discover how properly lived, polygamy, like monogamy is, in fact, present as a divine tavnith or pattern in the very Genesis account of Creation that has for so long been appealed to as the ultimate bastion of the monogamy-only doctrine. As "the Ruach (Spirit) searches all things, yes, the deep things of Elohim (God)" (1 Cor.2:10, NKJV), so must we who claim to be filled with the Ruach (Spirit) do likewise, and not be afraid to go where churches and synagogues - and especially old religious movements long since dead like Esseneism - fear to tread. Though we may be challenged in doing so, we shall not be disappointed if we do not waiver. Amen.
Continued in Part 2
 Géza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK: 1976); The Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran in Perspective (Collins, London: 1977) - his work on Yah'shua, Jesus the Jew: A Historic Reading of the Gospels (Fontana/Collins, London: 1973), which he autographed for me while we were dining together one day (see picture at top), is seminal.
 For example, Ed. James H. Charlesworth, John and Qumran (Geoffrey Chapman, London: 1972)
 University of London, General Certificate of Education, Advanced Level Religious Studies (1983)
 Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, xviii.1-6
 D.S.Russel, The Jews from Alexander to Herod in the New Clarendon Bible Commentaries, Vol.V (Oxford University Press: 1978)
 D.S.Russel, ibid., p.165
 Now a branch of Orthodox Judaism founded by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem that lays heavy stress on scholastic study and Jewish mysticism and venerates its leaders as being embodiments of Divinity.
 D.S.Russel, op.cit., p.168
 D.S.Russel, op.cit., p.169
 Believed by many to have been Onias III (others believe hin to have been Judah the Essene); likewise the 'Wicked Priest' and 'Man of Scorn' are believed, respectively, to have been Menelaus (some think Jonathan the Maaccabee or Alexander Jannaeus) and Antiochus Epiphanes (some think the Pharisee Simeon ben Shetah)
 Flavius Josephus, Wars of the Jews, II.vii.11 (155) - cp. Jubillees 23:31; 1 Enoch 103:4; Assumption of Moses 10:9ff.; Apocalyse of Abraham 12,14,21
 N.T.Wright, How Can the Bible Be Authoritative? - The Laing Lecture, and the Griffith Lecture (1989), originally published in Vox Evangelica (1991), 21:7-32, p.3
 The Constitution of the New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh, 10th (2013) edition, Article 6, Scriptures, §6.1
 Author of The Hebraic-Roots Version Scriptures (HRV), Society for the Advancement of Nazarene Judaism (SANJ), Hurst, TX: 2004) along with numerous theological Messianic Jewish books, and unilateral founder of the 'International Nazarene Beit Din'. Judging by his claim that his organisation (SANJ) is the actual 144,000 mentioned in Scripture (Rev.7:4; 14:1), we may deduce he is one of those who believes that their church or organisation (like the Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, and others) is the 'one-and-only' true body of believers possessing exclusive authority to represent and prosecute the Kingdom mandate on earth. The claim is made that his HRV was Scripturally foretold, much like the Restored Scriptures True Name Edition (RSTNE) of Moshe (Marshall) Koniuchowsky, is either prophesied in the Scriptures or, in the case of the RSTNE, "has been in the heart of Father YHWH from the very down of His covenant with Jacob/Yaakov" and that the members of his organisation, Your Arms to Israel (YATI), "are the result of His faithful mission, the return of all the believing exiles of all 12 tribes, both physically and spiritually" (RSTNE, 2nd Edition, North Miami Beach, Florida: 2005), p.v. Both Trimm and Koniuchowsky (also a one-and-only'er) have flirted with the Book of Mormon, though Trimm has not yet gone as far as Koniuchowsky who has openly embraced and 'canonised' it. Both are partial to the Pseudepigrapha and Apocrypha and have 'canonised' some of them. Trimm and Koniuchowsky differ on the doctrine of divorce and polygamy (Koniuchowsky actively promoting it), resulting in much public acrimony between the two, Trimm attacking Koniuchowsky for his polygamy doctrine and practice, and Konuchowsky accusing Trimm of unjustly divorcing his first wife.
 James Trimm, Yesod haB'riah: Two Become One - Why Polygamy and Divorce Violate His Plan, 22 November 2014
 Also Genesis 9:1,7; 35:11; Jeremiah 23:3; Ezekiel 36:11
 m.Gittin 9:10
 Damascus Document 4:20-5:2
 For a full Biblical exegesis on polygamy, see our book, The Truth About Biblical Marriage written for our early Kenyan congregations; for the Deuteronomy 17:17 passage prohibiting the multiplaction of wives, see Chapter 15 of the above, Do Not Multiply Wives, and for the Genesis 7:9 and related passages, see Chapter 26, From Eden to the New Jerusalem.
 Fornication is a unmarried or unmarried man having non-covenant sex with an unmarried woman; adultery is an unmarried or married man having sex with a married woman - see The Truth About Adultery.
 A useful resource examining, in part, Yah'shua's (Jesus) relationship to the Pharisee factions is Harvey Falk, Jesus the Pharisee: A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus (Wpif and Stock Publishers, Eugene, Oregon: 1985); also Géza Vermes, Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Readings of the Gospel (Fontana/Collins, London: 1973) and Peter Schäfer, Jesus in the Talmud (Princeton University Press, New Jersey: 2007).
 See One Flesh.
 See the whole book, The Truth About Biblical Marriage, which deals with New Testament passages often cited in evidence that polygamy was abolished in the New Covenant and is on par with the lax divorce laws of Hillel.
 Abraham had an number of wives, Jacob had four as David had seven principle wives.
 This illustrates the real danger of trying to interpret the New Testament apart from the Tanakh (Old Testament) - unlike the Pentateuch (five books of Moses or foundational 'Torah'), the New Testament was never 'designed' to be a self-contained book, nor is its collection anywhere predicted in either the Tanakh (Old Testament) or in any Gospel or Epistle. The "Scripture" in 2 Timothy 3:16 is the Tanakh (Old Testament) Canon, and "this book" in Revelation 22:18 concerns only the "prophecy" that is the Book of Revelation, not the Bible as we have it as a whole. That is because, technically, the New Testament is still an evolving canon, and will continue to be until the whole story is told of the history of the Messianic Community to the Second Coming of Messiah and, arguably, beyond into the Millennium. The Protestant Canon is a convenience only to prevent schism and heresy until Messiah returns to authorise its expansation. The Bible is an expanding and unfolding narrative, from Genesis to Revelation and beyond, and cannot be divided up into self-contained units. Such divisions as do exist (e.g. the Torah, Nevi'im (Prophets) and Kethuvim (Writings) in the Tanakh (Old Testament) are purely for academic convenience and aside from the Torah are themselves collections assembled over time. Likewise, divisions of the New Testament (e.g. 'Gospels and Emissaries', 'Major Testimonies', 'The Ten' and the 'Second Testimony of Yochanan' in Roth's Aramaic English New Testament are personal and arbitrary, along with the differing book orders in Messianic and Orthodox editions of the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament), to say nothing of chapter and verse divisions and numbering
 Being both one and many, like the mystery of the Elohimhead or Godhead which is echad - three (in the Trinitarian model) or more Persons as One Elohim (God).
 It is sickening to see these men on-line advertising for extra wives as though they were commodities needed to fulfil an ambition so contrary to the Isaiah 1 principle.