Many today are re-visiting the New Testament writings, seeking Scriptural answers to many questions. One of these questions is over the issue of Circumcision. As the issue of Circumcision is a Covenant issue, it is imperative that we see what Yahuweh tells us about Circumcision.
Many Bible teachers today state that the New Testament cancels or nullifies many Yahuweh-prescribed practices found in the Old Testament. The popular thinking goes on to say that the New Testament has initiated many ‘new’ practices that have taken the place of the ‘old’ practices. The writings of the apostle Paul are then used as proof-texts to explain these changes. This method of providing ‘proof-texts’ to support someone’s notion or novel teaching has introduced much error into the Body of Messiah.
It is not the purpose of this writing to address those things that were either removed from, or retained in, the New Covenant. These are summarised in other writings. We will look at the single issue of Circumcision, however, as it appears to be a special issue related to Yahuweh’s Covenant.
We understand from the New Testament writings that some things were truly removed, and done away with when the New Covenant was ratified. Was Circumcision of the flesh included with these things that were nullified by the New Covenant? We seek to uncover the Scriptures that might answer this question.
In this short writing we will take a fresh look at what the New Testament says about Circumcision, and perhaps more importantly, what it does not say. We must begin, however, by looking at what circumcision is, and what it represents. To do this we must look in the Torah.
We will first notice some examples and principles as displayed in the lives of Abraham, Moses, and Balaam, and then see what conclusions we may draw. Let’s also notice any patterns or similarities as we read the Scriptures.
Abraham and Circumcision
The first example of circumcision can be seen in Abraham:
And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. (Genesis 17:9-14)
And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. (Genesis 17:24)
There are many things to be seen in the above passages that relate directly to the New Covenant, also called the Everlasting Covenant. Here are a few random observations, and perhaps the Reader will spot many more:
In verse 10 above, the Covenant was between Yahuweh and Abraham, and with Abraham’s “seed” after him. We are told in (Gal 3:16) that this seed is Messiah. We are then told in (Gal 3:22) that all the Covenant promises regarding Abraham apply to all who ‘Believe’ by the Faith of Yahushua.
In verse 11 above, circumcision of the flesh is a ‘token’ or sign of the Covenant between Yahuweh and Abraham. We also recall from (Ex 31:13; Eze 20:12, 20:20) that keeping of Yahuweh’s Sabbath Days is likewise a ‘token’ or sign of those who know Him whose name is “I AM.”
In verse 13 above, ‘circumcision of the flesh’ is called “My Covenant.” Yahuweh then tells us this fleshly circumcision is a feature of the Everlasting Covenant. We recall from (Hebrews 13:20) that the ‘Everlasting Covenant’ is the Covenant made in Yahushua’s Blood, also called the ‘New Covenant’ in (Luke 22:20).
As we ponder these Truths, let’s look next at the example of circumcision, seen in the life of Moses:
Moses and Obedience
The circumcision incident in the life of Moses reveals a warning for us today regarding our obedience. Let’s look at this example:
And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life. 20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. 22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn. 24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision. (Exodus 4:19-26)
Let’s list a few things we see in the above passages.
In verse 20 above, we are told that Moses took his wife and sons with him. Then we see in verse 24 a very unusual incident — we see that Yahuweh met Moses, and sought to kill him. Why did Yahuweh seek to kill Moses?
Notice in verse 25, that one of Moses’ sons had not yet been circumcised in accordance with Yahuweh’s Covenant with Abraham and his descendants. So Yahuweh met Moses and sought to kill him.
This second observation reminds us of a similar incident that happened to Balaam, which is directly related to us today. So in order to see the significance of Moses’ example, let’s first see what happened to Balaam.
Balaam and Obedience
In Numbers chapter 22, we see that Balaam committed a serious breach, and as a result, Yahuweh sought to kill Balaam:
And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. 22 And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. (Numbers 22:21-22)
And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: 33 And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive. (Numbers 22:32-33)
In the above passages, the angel of Yahuweh encountered Balaam, and stood in the way as an adversary to Balaam, and would have killed Balaam had the ass not turned. But notice in verses 22 why Yahuweh was angry with Balaam. It was because Balaam went, even though he had been told earlier not to go.
As we saw in The Doctrine of Balaam, Balaam’s error was that he refused the earlier word of Yahuweh, but he was willing to receive the later word of Yahuweh. In verse 32 above, this Way of Balaam is called a ‘Perverse Way.’
This brings us back to Moses’ example, to see the similarities, and the warning for us.
Moses and Balaam: Similarities
Notice the similarities between Moses and Balaam:
In Moses’ example, Yahuweh encountered Moses in the way, and sought to kill him. Moses knew the earlier Word of Yahuweh to Abraham regarding circumcision of his son, but had not yet circumcised him.
In Balaam’s example, Yahuweh encountered Balaam in the way, and sought to kill him. Balaam had rejected the earlier Word of Yahuweh telling Balaam not to go, but eagerly received the later word from Yahuweh, a Way which Yahuweh called perverse. Yahuweh’s people must receive all Yahuweh’s word (Mat 4:4; Luke 4:4).
So we see that Moses was doing what Balaam did. From this we are warned:
Neglected or delayed obedience is equivalent to outright rejection and disobedience.
When it comes to Yahuweh’s Blood Covenant, we must be vigilant!
According to Rev 2:14, much of this generation, like Balaam, has rejected the earlier word of Yahuweh, but has eagerly embraced the later word. This too is a Way that is perverse before Yahuweh!
With this background, let’s look at what Yahushua and the apostle Paul said about Circumcision. We will first notice what Yahushua said:
The Words of Yahushua
What did Yahushua say about Circumcision?
There are at least two significant passages having direct bearing on this issue of circumcision:
If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? (John 7:23)
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken… (Luke 24:25)
Here are a few observations from these verses:
In John 7:23 above, we are told that circumcision of the flesh is required in order for one not to break the Law of Moses (‘Torah’), here referring to the command in (Lev 12:3). The Torah is the record of Commandments that Yahushua gave to Moses, so that Moses would in turn give them to all of Yahuweh’s people for all time. Yahushua tells us that those who love Him, are those who choose to keep His commandments, of which the Law of Moses is a part.
In John 7:23 above, we see the importance of keeping Sabbath does not surpass the importance of being circumcised. If keeping Sabbath is important, circumcision is equally important.
In Luke 24:25 above, we are told those who are foolish are ‘slow of heart,’ and are slow to believe (slow to be a “DO-er” of) all that the Prophets have spoken.
This last observation should turn our eyes to the Prophets, to see what all that the Prophets have spoken about our subject.
The Words of the Prophets
What have the Prophets spoken about Circumcision? Let’s look.
What did Moses say?
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. (Genesis 17:10-11)
We have already seen this passage above under the example of Moses. We must mention, however, that the words of Moses and all the Prophets are the Words of Yahushua, given to Moses, and spoken to His people.
What did Ezekiel say?
In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations… Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel. (Ezekiel 44:7-9)
For those ‘strangers’ (former Gentiles) who have been grafted-in to Israel, by Faith, this word of the Prophets is pretty clear. There is required a circumcision of the heart and of the flesh. Anything other than this is a breaking of Covenant, and is abomination. We have seen above the covenant referred to here is the New and Everlasting Covenant.
What was Joshua‘s example regarding those who entered the Promised Land?
And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel. 2 At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. 3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. 4 And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. 5 Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised. 6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey. 7 And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way. 8 And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole. 9 And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day. 10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. (Joshua 5:1-10)
Here we see Joshua entering the Promised land after having wandered in the Wilderness for 40 years. Let’s look at a few observations:
In verse 5 above, we see the same neglect of Yahuweh’s Covenant among the people in the wilderness that we saw earlier in Moses, when he neglected to circumcise his son. We recall this neglect was tantamount to refusing or breaking the Covenant.
In verse 5, we are told all who crossed Jordan and entered the Promised Land, who had not been previously circumcised, were circumcised.
In verse 9, we are told the ‘reproach of Egypt’ was taken from Yahuweh’s people when they were circumcised.
With this background, let’s look at the words of the apostle Paul.
The Words of Paul
The apostle Paul spoke of circumcision in many places. In each instance, Paul spoke of circumcision regarding various errors that were being introduced by corrupt teachers, whose stirring-up of trouble resulted in a corrupted or ‘other’ Gospel being given to the would-be converts.
Paul addresses some of these errors with the assumption that the readers already understand the Torah truths of circumcision as related to Abraham, as Paul explained in detail in Romans chapter 4 and Galatians chapter 3.
Before we look at the words of Paul, let’s summarise both of these chapters with an example, enabling us to see some truths Paul saw in the Torah.
The Banner of Citizenship
Let’s look at an example, to understand how Torah presents several important issues — the issues of keeping Yahuweh’s Sabbaths, and of Circumcision. These two issues are related, in that they are both tokens or signs — just like a banner or flag of a country or kingdom.
Let’s look at this example:
Imagine that you desire to become a citizen of a great kingdom. You ask around, and are given several explanations on how to become a citizen. You then decide to try one of these procedures. So you find a flag of that kingdom, drape the flag around yourself, and go to the border-crossing.
The border-crossing guard asks you of your citizenship, and for your papers to prove your citizenship.
You then reply, “Look at my flag!”
The guard then replies, “I’m sorry, that is not enough to prove your citizenship.”
“What is your name?” the guard asks.
You then tell him your name.
After looking carefully at the records, the guard responds, “I’m sorry, your name is not in the Book of the Kingdom.”
The guard continues. “To enter this kingdom, you must have been born here. The flag is only a banner for those who already have citizenship. The flag does not have the power to make anyone a Citizen.”
In this example, we see that one does not become a citizen except by birth in that kingdom. We see also that the banner-flag does not make one a citizen, but is for those who are already citizens.
Such is the picture of both Circumcision and Sabbath painted by Torah. Many attempt to drape themselves in the banner-flags and tokens of circumcision and keeping of Sabbath, perhaps with the idea that these efforts will aid in gaining Citizenship in the Kingdom. But the only way to enter the Kingdom is by birth – by being Born-Again – not by showing banner-flags, but by believing in the redemption by Yahushua’s Blood.
Another example illustrates the role of the Scriptures as the ‘Instruction Manual of the Kingdom.’ One may choose to become a Citizen by first studying, and then applying, the Instruction Manual.
This ‘Kingdom Instruction Manual‘ consists of three parts:
1) Promises to those who would become Citizens;
2) Details of how to become a Citizen – How one may be ‘Born-Again’ into the Kingdom;
3) Instructions for those who have already become Citizens.
Notice that Part (3) is only for Citizens, for those already born into the Kingdom. After becoming a Citizen by birth, one may then choose to continue studying, and may choose to apply Part (3) of the Instruction Manual.
This is a picture of the Scriptures, and how they apply to us. Many today, however, confuse these three parts of the instruction Manual, mixing one part with another part, confusing the issues, and making the instructions difficult to understand. Thus the Author of the Book must break through to straighten things out, by giving light where needed.
Once a man becomes a Citizen, only then does the third section of the Manual apply to him. As a Citizen, he may choose to walk in the prescribed way, or in some other way. But the choice is still his.
The above examples describe the essence of some of the messages in Romans chapter 4 and Galatians chapter 3, in which Paul needed to straighten out those confused leaders who were mixing part 2 and part 3 of the Instruction Manual. Some of the new believers were being taught that circumcision (the banner-flag) was required to become a citizen (born into the Kingdom). Paul, however, attempted to explain that nothing was needed to become a citizen of the Kingdom except to be Born into that Kingdom, by Blood-redemption alone.
These all remind us of the Faith of Abraham, and the circumcision of Abraham, as our example.
The apostle Paul was clear in stating that circumcision, as well as the keeping of any commandments, are not a part of our Redemption by the Blood Sacrifice of Yahushua. They play no part in attaining one’s citizenship, as seen in our example of Parts (1) and (2) of the Instruction Manual. Instead, these become the token, or banner-flag, for those who have already been Born-Again into the Kingdom.
Now let us see some details of what Paul actually said about Circumcision.
The Apostle Paul and Circumcision
The apostle Paul had much to say about circumcision, but only in the context of correcting the epidemic of ignorance and mis-use of the issue of circumcision.
First we must note that Circumcision, like keeping of Sabbath, occurred prior to the Torah being given on Sinai. Both Circumcision and Sabbath-keeping were interwoven into the concept of a token or sign of the Everlasting Covenant, long before they were included into Torah commandments given at Sinai.
Thus we immediately see two different motives for implementing both of these practices — the first motive of a Covenant participant, and the second motive of Religion. It was Religion that attempted to creep in during Paul’s day, to corrupt the Covenant-keepers’ life. Thus we see many writings of Paul that show the difference between the two ideas of Religion and Covenant, of bondage and freedom.
Let’s now look at a few of Paul’s words, and notice the principles being communicated. In Galatians chapter 3, we see Paul reminding the Galatians of the difference between two issues — the one issue of simply attempting to keep the Torah commandments in their own strength, and the other issue of the Everlasting Covenant made with Abraham, whereby Abraham was declared Righteous by Faith.
Let’s look at Galatians 3:15:
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. (Galatians 3:15)
Here is one observation:
In verse 15 above, Paul tells us no man can change the covenant made with Abraham — the Everlasting Covenant. What does that tell us of Paul’s views of circumcision?
Let’s look further into what Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1-3:
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (Galatians 5:1-3)
Here are several observations:
In verse 1 above, Paul uses the word ‘therefore.’ Wherever we see the word ‘therefore,’ we should find out what it is there for. So if we have missed the context and meaning of the previous four chapters, we will miss chapter 5 also.
Notice that Paul had just told the immature Believers in Galatia that he continued to ‘travail in birth, until Messiah be formed within these Believers (Gal 4:19). Then when we read verse 5:1 above, we can understand what Paul means. Paul was calling these “little children” to “be not entangled again under a yoke of bondage.”
But what is that bondage Paul warned them of? This is one of many points where Paul’s words are easily twisted by men. Paul was speaking here in terms of comparing two yokes of Bondage that are possible for the Believer.
First there is the ‘yoke’ of bondage Messiah invites us to share with Him, using the picture of the weaker oxen yoked to the strong oxen, and together they accomplish much. ‘For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ We are the weaker oxen, He is the stronger oxen. Without Him, we can do nothing. With Him, we can do all things.
After we become Born-Again, we are invited to become yoked to Messiah. For those who refuse, or who become yoked but later abandon the yoke, there is only one other choice – to become yoked to the ‘old’ master again – of sin and death.
It is this second yoke of bondage Paul is addressing in Gal 5:1. If we do not continue being yoked to Messiah, we go back under bondage to sin. It is when Messiah is being formed within us, that we become increasingly yielded to Him, and to His direction, by our obedience to Torah, and can in this way avoid the bondage of sin. We recall that ‘sin’ is simply transgression of the Law – the Torah (1John 3:4). Thus we avoid going back into bondage of sin by simply obeying the Torah – which are the words of Yahushua.
In the first four chapters of Galatians, Paul had warned the new Believers not to heed the call by the Judaisers to mix the works of Judaism – of compulsion to keep the Torah – with the Grace that comes from being yoked and yielded to Messiah. All false religions today attempt to compel someone who has been set free from bondage, to keep some set of commandments, resulting in that one going back under bondage because of the compulsion. Under the Everlasting Covenant, however, one chooses this day whom he will serve. No one is to be forced to serve another master as a bondservant. This is a basic principle of Torah (Exodus 21:2-6; Leviticus 25:39; Jeremiah 34:14-16).
In summary, bondage occurs when we are not ‘yoked’ in bondage to Messiah through voluntary obedience, with the result that we drift away, and return to the yoke of the old master. We must realise that Judaism, like all Religions that refuse to recognise Messiah, is a Religion of works of self-effort, lacking the Grace (enablement) provided by Messiah living within — thus is a Religion of bondage. This is what Paul was addressing in all of the Book of Galatians.
In verse 3 above, Paul reminds us that circumcision is a banner of those who have chosen to keep Torah (that is, chosen not to sin). This reminder of Paul is essentially the same message James gives us:
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)
Many who have not read the Instruction Manual of the Kingdom, will be frightened off by the prospect of being guilty (a ‘debtor’) of all the whole law. Those who have become Citizens know it is only by the Grace – the enablement of Messiah-in-you from within – that enables the Born-Again ones to keep the whole law. [that is, all that is applicable for that individual. For example, males, females, kings, priests, masters, slaves, and many others, all have various instructions pertaining to them only.]
Using our analogy of being yoked to the oxen, the Grace to keep all the Torah comes only when we are yoked to the stronger oxen — yoked to Yahushua.
Let’s look at another passage:
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (Galatians 5:4-6)
Here are some points we may see here:
In verse 4 above, Paul reminds us that we are initially justified (made righteous) by the Blood of Yahushua. We increase in our on-going righteousness, the works of Yahushua-in-us, as long as we are ‘yoked’ to Him. If we throw off His yoke, to put on another, we actually fall from a place of walking in His strength (‘Grace’), to a place where we have only our own strength. This is what Paul called ‘falling’ from grace. Without the enablement of His Grace, we can accomplish nothing.
In verse 6 above, Paul tells us, “Neither Circumcision nor un-Circumcision avails (gives strength to accomplish something), but faith working by love does!” We recall that in their simplest definitions, ‘Faith’ is simply doing what the Word says; and ‘Love’ is the keeping of His Commandments. Just as the banner-flag can not gain one’s citizenship, neither can the issue of circumcision have power to gain one’s citizenship in the Kingdom.
In verse 6 above, Paul tells us circumcision is not the cause of Faith, but implies it is merely one of the visible fruits of Faith accomplished through obedience. For it is only in obedience Yahuweh’s Word that love can operate, so that every action of obedience becomes a banner that displays the Faith that produced it.
Again we see a similar statement in Galatians 6:15, with the context seen in verses 12-15:
As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Galatians 6:12-15)
This is simply a repeat of the reasoning of the previous verses. Here we see the following:
In verse 12 above, notice how the Believers are constrained (‘compelled’) by their leaders to be circumcised, perhaps as a supposed requirement to become a Believer. Paul then tells us in verse 13 that these leaders, though circumcised, do not keep the Law, as it is a violation of Torah to compel anyone to become a Believer. Instead, it is a matter of one making a choice of his own free will.
In verse 15 above, Paul re-states there is no power in Circumcision nor un-Circumcision to accomplish anything, but here Paul states that a ‘new creation’ can accomplish something. When we are Born-Again, we become a ‘new creation’ (2Cor 5:17). We then are invited to become yoked to Messiah, where much can be accomplished, if we remain willing and obedient.
In summary, Paul is saying that “In Messiah” circumcision does not produce or accomplish anything, but Faith (obeying what is already written in Torah) does accomplish much. Paul is simply reminding us that what counts is not what mortal men say about an issue, but what Yah has already written!
We can see also in Paul’s restraint in his use of words, that he is saying to those already “in Messiah” that it is not an issue of some mortal man telling us the answer; it is an issue of what our heart tells us about walking in obedience to Yahushua’s Word already written in Torah!
Whom will we obey — Yah or man? Whose Word will we obey — the earlier Word of Yahushua, or the Later Word of Yahushua, or both?
This question of Circumcision, like the keeping of Sabbath, is another test of the Believers, testing us to see whether we hold to the Doctrine of Balaam in our modern-day religious setting!
Again, Paul uses the term, “In Messiah.” Here Paul is telling us of a secondary issue — that it is not a matter of becoming Born-Again, but of ruling and reigning for those who are already Born-Again.
We might say that Paul, in his writings, is reminding us that our entering the kingdom is of far greater importance than what size house we will have when we get there. Paul was far more protective of those little ones who were barely entering the Kingdom, than of those who were after strong meat.
Thus we see the issue of Circumcision does not relate to being ‘Born-Again’ or to our redemption by Blood. It is not a matter of entering the Kingdom, but of ruling and reigning after we are born into the Kingdom. How we rule now in smaller matters, is how we will rule later in larger matters.
Let’s now recall the bigger picture, so as not to forget which Covenant we are discussing.
The Everlasting Covenant
As a reminder let’s recall what the Everlasting Covenant really is:
…and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. (Genesis 17:13-14)
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (Hebrews 13:20)
Notice that the Everlasting Covenant is the covenant sealed in the Blood of Yahushua Messiah! Thus everything pertaining to the Covenant, and to the promises made to Abraham, including circumcision, are for us today, through Messiah, according to the apostle Paul in Romans 4 and Galatians 3.
However, like keeping of Father’s Sabbaths, and like keeping all of Father’s commandments, it is a matter of individual choice. Our love for our Father is shown by our choice of obedience to Him, and by our seeking to find His delight. We either love Him, or we do not.
Circumcision and Yahuweh’s Sabbaths, are both tokens or signs of Yahuweh’s Covenant, for those who are already participating in His Covenant.
Circumcision is simply one of many indicators of one’s willingness to walk in the yoke of obedience to Messiah while on still earth. Circumcision, like observing Sabbath and Passover, is one of many New Covenant issues that mark or identify Yahuweh’s Covenant people. Like the keeping of Sabbath and Passover, Circumcision is one more indicator that the Doctrine of Balaam is not present in that Believer, to prevent him from living by every Word of Yahuweh.
Circumcision, like Sabbath-keeping and Passover, is seen in Scripture as a vital part of Father’s Everlasting Covenant. According to the apostle Paul, no man can add to, or diminish from, this Everlasting Covenant made initially with Abraham, and brought to fruition among the Gentiles through Messiah (Deu 4:2;12:32; Gal 3:14-16).
Likewise, the Psalms and the Prophets testify that those who break Yahuweh’s Covenant, and thus forsake him, are those who reject walking in Yahuweh’s judgments. We must conclude therefore, that just as Sabbath-keeping and Passover remain today as active parts of Father’s Everlasting Covenant, so likewise does Circumcision remain. However, like all issues of the Everlasting Covenant, walking in obedience to all of Yahuweh’s Word is a personal decision to be made by each individual Covenant-keeper.
Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised (Genesis 17:24). This should be an encouragement to all who desire to walk in the steps of that Faith (Romans 4:12) of our father Abraham, which (Faith) he had, being yet uncircumcised!
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