I have been praying to the Lord and asking Him what He would like me to write about. This morning I awoke to the Word “Call for circumcision”. Okay, so most people would hear this and think “What…that is a Jewish thing!” Yes, circumcision IS a Jewish thing, but I think I understand where the Lord is leading us on this topic.
This morning, I began to listen to a sermon about circumcision. I wanted to understand more about circumcision since the Lord apparently wanted me to write about it. The “preacher” in this sermon is a Jewish Believer in Yeshua (Jesus).
He began by sharing something that happened in his own life. Apparently the man is married to a Gentile woman. When their son was born, he made arrangements to have the little guy circumcised. When his wife found out, she was horrified. For those of you who may not be familiar with the process of circumcision, it is the cutting away of the foreskin from a man’s genital area. His wife shouted out with a loud exclamation and then the color drained from her cheeks. The idea of circumcision seemed barbaric to her. Forcing her tiny baby boy to undergo what she felt was an unnecessary procedure with a sharp knife, seemed extremely cruel. Her Jewish husband was a little puzzled at her reaction. To him, it was no big deal at all. All Jewish boys are circumcised at 8 days old. He thought it was just a little “snip,snip”, and it’s over….no big deal. As the man continued his story, apparently several months later his Jewish mother was changing his son’s diaper, and he heard almost the exact same exclamation from his mother, and like his wife, he watched the color drain from his mother’s cheeks as she realized that her grandson had not been circumcised. Again, this man was puzzled at all of this.
To the Gentile, circumcision is unnecessary, foolish, and even barbaric. To the Jew, circumcision is such an integral part of their life, it is so profound that the only boys who are exempt from this procedure are those born into a family where two previous sons had died from hemophilia at the act. Also, according to Jewish rabbinic tradition, the circumcision is not considered valid unless there be at least one or two drops of blood drawn.
For us to gain a better understanding of the “rite of circumcision”, let’s consider a few Old Testament verses. Remember, the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament Revealed.
In Genesis 17, God made a Covenant with Abraham. A Covenant is a sacred and binding contract. The verses below show us that this encounter with the GREAT I AM was so earth-shaking, so awe-inspiring, that Abram (God later renamed him Abraham) literally fell on his face. This means that Abraham’s legs began to shake and could not hold him up. God’s presence is so intense, so unbelievably intense that Abraham basically passed out.
Genesis 17: 1: Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him,
“I AM God Almighty;
Walk before Me, and be blameless.
2 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you,
And I will multiply you exceedingly.”
3 Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,
As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you,
And you will be the father of a multitude of nations.
5 “No longer shall your name be called Abram,
But your name shall be Abraham;
For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
God then renamed Abram…Abraham. The addition of “ha”, making “Abraham” means “Father of a multitude”. We also find out later that Sarai’s name is changed to Sarah, meaning “mother of nations”. Again, we see the addition of “ah”..the same letters, but in reverse. What we’re actually seeing here is God giving Abraham and Sarah His Name, like in a marriage Covenant. God’s Divine Name is YHWH… the Hebrew letters are named Yod-Heh-Waw-Heh. The letter “Heh” is the 5th letter of the Hebrew alphabet (alef bet)..and basically has to do with spirit, revelation, understanding…God’s Divine Breath. (While writing this, I remember that I audibly heard the word “Heh” on the night of November 20th, while lying in my bed preparing to sleep.) God had entered into a marriage Covenant with Abraham and Sarah, and they took on His a portion of His Divine Name “Heh” which constitutes His Divine Breath, His Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit did not permanently indwell them, like what occurred at Pentecost, but His Spirit was with them.
God then continued to describe the benefits of this EVERLASTING COVENANT.
Genesis 17: 6: I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. 7 I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8 I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
The only thing that God asked Abraham to do regarding this COVENANT was to teach his descendants that ALL THEIR MALES MUST be circumcised at 8 days old. In this Covenant, God did NOT require Abraham and his descendants (Israel) to KEEP THE LAW, He did NOT require sacrifices. All God required was CIRCUMCISION. Circumcision was to be a SIGN, a “mark” if you will, between God and His people DECLARING TO THE WORLD that THIS PEOPLE belonged to God! The Abrahamic Covenant is an EVERLASTING COVENANT, and the SIGN of CIRCUMCISION was to be for ALL GENERATIONS…FOREVER. God even WARNED Abraham that if a male child was NOT CIRCUMCISED, then they would be CUT OFF from His people because that would be a SIGN that they had BROKEN the Covenant.
Genesis 17:9: God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.
11 And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. 13 A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
Now we can BEGIN to understand why the Jewish grandmother was so horrified when she saw that her baby grandson had not been circumcised. To her, this was saying that the baby did NOT belong to God. However, like we said, this makes no sense to the Gentile.
Now, let’s fast forward to the days of Moses, a GREAT HEBREW LEADER who God used to LEAD HIS PEOPLE OUT OF EGYPT. Moses was married to a Gentile woman (Zipporah), a Midianite. God instructed Moses to return to Egypt with his family because HE was going to use Moses to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. But on the way, God was angry and confronted Moses with the intention of putting Moses to death because Moses had not circumcised his own son. If Moses didn’t obey God…then how could he be used to share the message that ALL of Israel should obey God? On the road to Egypt, Zipporah defiantly circumcised her own son and literally threw the bloody foreskin at the feet of Moses. She angrily called Moses a “bridgroom of blood” because she did NOT understand the need for what appeared to her to be a barbaric and cruel act.
Exodus 4:24: Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the Lord met him and sought to put him to death.
Exodus 4:25: Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet, and she said, “You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.” 26 So He let him alone. At that time she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood”—because of the circumcision.
At this point, you may be thinking…but we’re not Jews (or maybe you are), and what does this possibly have to do with JESUS? First, I will point out that JESUS was JEWISH, and that HE was indeed circumcised on the 8th day according to Jewish Law. But still, you are right. This post is NOT calling males to be physically circumcised. That is CLEARLY not what God meant by “Call for circumcision”. Well, then what did He mean?
Romans 2:28: For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
Romans 8 makes it clear that God is looking for the “circumcision” of the heart, not the flesh. The NEW COVENANT is actually the FULFILLMENT of the ABRAHAMIC COVENANT. Circumcision was the SIGN of the Abrahamic Covenant…FOREVER. In a similar fashion, the circumcision of the heart is a sign of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:10). The Old Testament is filled with “TYPES AND SHADOWS” of the NEW COVENANT, our Covenant with the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God called for His people (males) to be CIRCUMCISED on the 8th day of LIFE. Eight is the PERSONAL NUMBER of Jesus, whose name in Hebrew Gematria (YESHUA) TOTALS 888. Eight is also the number of BORN AGAIN, a NEW BEGINNING, and RESURRECTED from the DEAD. The Circumcision of the FLESH was only a FORESHADOW of the CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART that happens when a person is TRULY BORN AGAIN.
Circumcision is a type of SEPARATION, or separating the foreskin from the Genitalia. The Circumcision of the heart, spiritually represents the separating the HEART from the WORLD and WORLDLY VALUES.
We see this SEPARATION when Joshua (Yeshua in Hebrew) brings God’s people into the PROMISED LAND. God commanded Joshua to circumcise the men. Joshua did not just circumcise BABIES! He circumcised grown men who had not been circumcised during their 40 year trek in the wilderness! These men were preparing to go to war with the GIANTS at JERICHO..but, first they had to be CIRCUMCISED. Can you imagine…sitting there on the bank of the Jordan, in pain, feeling VULNERABLE..and were they wondering..WHY? Why did we have to do this, now there’s no way we can win this upcoming battle?? Ah…but GOD!
Just LOOK at the symbolism…
Joshua 5:2: At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make for yourself flint knives and circumcise again the sons of Israel the second time.” 3 So Joshua made himself flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. 4 This is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, died in the wilderness along the way after they came out of Egypt.
5 For all the people who came out were circumcised, but all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised. 6 For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, that is, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished because they did not listen to the voice of the Lord, to whom the Lord had sworn that He would not let them see the land which the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 Their children whom He raised up in their place, Joshua circumcised; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them along the way.
8 Now when they had finished circumcising all the nation, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. 9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.
The HEBREW MEN had just crossed the Jordan River on Dry ground, in a similar fashion to the way that their parents, who had fled Egypt 40 years prior, crossed the Red Sea on Dry Ground. God SUPERNATURALLY parted the water so that they could CROSS OVER. Once they arrived on the other side of the Jordan, in the Promised Land, ALL the nation of Israel (males) had to be CIRCUMCISED..God then DECLARED that HE ROLLED AWAY the REPROACH of Egypt from the Hebrew people. What does that mean spiritually? Egypt is a METAPHOR for the WORLD and for SIN. Reproach is another word for DISGRACE or cause of GUILT. Think about the STONE being ROLLED AWAY in the NEW TESTAMENT. Spiritual Circumcision, done by the Holy Spirit when we receive Jesus Christ into our hearts, rolls away the reproach of SIN. It literally SEPARATES us from our sin.
Luke 24:1: On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared. 2: And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
Psalm 103:12: As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions (sin) from us.
With the rolling away of the Stone, mankind DISCOVERED that the CHRIST, the MESSIAH had RISEN from the dead! The stone of our REPROACH of SIN had been ROLLED AWAY.
CIRCUMCISION SYMBOLIZES SEPARATION from the world. God’s people were to be CIRCUMCISED, to show that they had been SET APART from the world (sin). When we, as Believers, RECEIVE God’s Holy Spirit, we are SET APART as HOLY, SANCTIFIED from the world. We have God’s HOLY SPIRIT, HIS DIVINE BREATH (HEH) living INSIDE OF US. Like AbraHAm, God has placed HIS NAME on us.
Galatians 3:27: For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
God has always been concerned with a CIRCUMCISION of the HEART.
Romans 2:25: For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
In Romans 2 (above verses), Paul is discussing the role of the Old Testament Law as it relates to Christianity. He argues that Jewish circumcision is only an outward sign of being set apart to God. However, if the heart is sinful, then physical circumcision is of no avail. A circumcised body and a sinful heart are at odds with each other. Rather than focus on external rites, Paul focuses on the condition of the heart. Using circumcision as a metaphor, he says that only the Holy Spirit can purify a heart and set us apart to God. Ultimately, PHYSICAL circumcision cannot make a person right with God; the Law is not enough. A person’s heart must change. Paul calls this change “circumcision of the heart.”
This concept was not original with the apostle Paul. In the Old Testament (Torah), Deuteronomy 30, the Lord used the same metaphor to communicate His desire for a holy people:
Deuteronomy 30:6: “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.
Physical circumcision was a sign of Israel’s covenant with God; circumcision of the heart, therefore, would indicate Israel’s being set apart to love God fully, inside and out.
God is looking for HEARTS that yearn for Him. He’s looking for HEARTS that LOVE Him. He’s looking for HEARTS that YIELD to Him.
I was reading today about this individual who is now the first transgender Pastor in the Lutheran Church (ELCA). Apparently this transgender “woman” had lived for many years with this condition, not understanding what was wrong. He claims that he got heavily into drugs and alcohol to hide from his problems. He says he begged for God to heal him, but God did not. He became angry with God, apparently cursed at God, and began to abuse drugs and alcohol. Finally, he decided that he just needed to embrace his condition and become a transgender female Pastor. Of course the Church encouraged this behavior..and this “woman” feels so happy that the Lutheran Church was so loving and accepting. When reading this, I felt compassion for this person, but also SORROW that these things are so prevalent, and that those who do not EMBRACE this type of thing are considered “haters”, and those who do are considered the “GOOD, GODLY PEOPLE”.
It is obvious that the Lord has allowed this type of condition (LGBTQ) to grow and expand in these last days. I have absolutely no doubt that many of these people SUFFER FROM SORROW, DEPRESSION AND SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. It is thought that the “trans” community has a 40% suicidal rate over the general population. That is so terribly sad! I was so sad for these people, and YET I KNOW what God’s Word says about homosexuality. To be honest, transgenderism is not quite as clear as homosexuality, but in the Old Testament God makes it clear that men should not dress as women and vice a versa, at least to garner sexual favors. Sigh. Okay, but what about those with a mental condition that makes them really THINK that they ARE the other gender? What about their suffering? We know what the Church has to say about this, but what about God?
For some reason, this example again reminds me of Abraham and Sarah. After waiting for years and years and years for their promised “son” (Isaac), and after Sarah’s womb grew old and cold, Abraham and Sarah decided that they had to force fix this situation themselves…enter Hagar and her son Ishmael. Sarah and Abraham had stopped TRUSTING that God fulfills promises, and that His ways are higher than our own. They FORGOT that our God is a God of MIRACLES! And boy did their “fix” cause problems! As a matter of fact, it’s STILL causing problems because there continues to this day a cold war between the descendants of Ishmael (Muslims) and the Descendants of Isaac (Jews). What potential and unforeseen future problems could the LGBTQ agenda hold for the human race?
After much prayer and consideration, I’ve come to this conclusion. At the end of the day, each one of us has to decide are we going to follow God, or are we going to go our own way. Do we TRUST that God has the answers, even when the healing doesn’t come? Or…do we need to try to heal ourselves our own way? Does “healing our self” go against God’s Word? If so, what do we do? Are we going to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope? If we do, does that make embracing the transgender or homosexual condition a better option, especially if we do so IN THE CHURCH? Apparently much of the Church has determined that it is okay to go against God’s Word as long as you live your best life, as long as you are “living for God.” That seems like an oxymoron to me, but whatever.
However, let’s remember’s God’s Word…
“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
They say…”Whatever makes you happy, fulfills YOU” is what is best! This is a difficult and painful issue for many people. Those who truly have gender dysphoria are not capable of understanding their true identity. Personally, I would never judge the homosexual or transgender because that is not my “job”. My job is to love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind and love my neighbor as myself. I PRAY for those (and their families) who struggle with these VERY DIFFICULT and obviously PAINFUL issues!
Hosea 6:6: For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Matthew 12:7: If only you had known the meaning of ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
As it was in the days of Moses, the unbelieving Gentile finds the idea of HEART circumcision FOOLISH, BARBARIC and stupid. They think that it is STUPID to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. They think it is STUPID for us to lay down our lives, our will, our desires, and live our BEST LIFE in CHRIST..not in/of/for ourselves. Why would ANYONE do that TO THEMSELVES? Why wouldn’t they just transition, or engage in the relationship that they DESIRE?? DENYING ONESELF seems like FOOLISHNESS to the uncircumcised heart. And MUCH of the Church is NOW in agreement with these sentiments.
I’m not going to say this is easy, because it’s not. These issues have touched my own family! Sorrow fills my heart over this! I regularly PRAY over this! But, God wants us to LOVE Him, and He wants us to TRUST HIM. He wants us to TRUST that HE knows MORE about us than we do! Paul was ready to lay down his LIFE for JESUS. Even today, in parts of the world Christian martyr’s LITERALLY lay down their lives for the Name of JESUS. A Transgender person who is suffering terribly has a horrible cross to bear. So do they bear their CROSS for the Name of Jesus, or do they FLIP and do something that is outside of the Will of God so that they can feel better? What if they say that transitioning helps them believe in God? What unforeseen consequences might arise from them trying to “fix” this themselves? I’ve recently read that children who are put on transitional hormones have a much higher risk for certain cancers. Infertility is also a huge issue.
This life is very HARD. Many people are suffering. A list of “dos and don’ts” doesn’t cut it. God wants our hearts, He wants our minds, He wants all of us. The only way that we will be willing to lay down our lives and pick up our cross and follow HIM…is when HE CIRCUMCISES OUR HEARTS with HIS HOLY SPIRIT, HIS DIVINE BREATH. Then and only then will we be given the STRENGTH to live out this difficult and painful life HIS WAY, and not our own way. We have to VALUE what HE WANTS more than we VALUE what WE WANT. It’s the only way to overcome. Paul said that those who practice the law, even though they are NOT under the law, have circumcised hearts. When a person (Jew or Gentile) OBEYS GOD, not for salvation (we are ALREADY SAVED by JESUS).. but BECAUSE we LOVE GOD more than our own life..then our HEARTS have been TRULY circumcised. Like physical circumcision, circumcision of the heart can be painful, and is foolishness to the unbeliever (and sadly even to much of the modern apostate church); however, it is a sign of the New Covenant Believer and is beautiful in God’s eyes. We know that physical circumcision provides numerous health benefits including protection from cancer and increased fertility. In the same way, spiritual circumcision also provides benefits in the natural including less depression, a sense of purpose, and abundant fruit of the Spirit. THOSE WHO CARRY THEIR VERY difficult CROSS (burden) and FOLLOW JESUS, even when the healing doesn’t come, have TRULY circumcised hearts, will find HELP from the HOLY SPIRIT, and are blessed in this age and in the age to come.
Too often, we approach God asking HIM…what can YOU DO for us…when really the question should be “What can we do for YOU? God is worthy of our LOVE and AFFECTION even if He doesn’t do a single thing for us in this life..even if HE doesn’t heal us. WHY? Because He is our Creator, our redeemer, and HIS GRACE is SUFFICIENT. His ways are higher than our ways, we need to TRUST HIM that HE KNOWS what WE NEED BETTER than WE DO!
Circumcision of the heart, this is what God wants.💖