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What is the meaning of the "covenant of circumcision"?



      

Genesis 17:1 - 14

NKJV - 1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 "And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly."

Clarify Share Report Asked October 31 2016 Mini Munya Nyanhanda

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The covenant of circumcision was the agreement that God made with Abram and the descendants that he would have through his wife, Sarai, twenty-four years after God had originally chosen Abram in Genesis 12, and had told Abram to leave his father's city, and to go to the land that God would show him.

At the time that God made the covenant of circumcision (in Genesis 17, as cited in the question), He changed Abram's name from Abram (meaning "exalted father") to Abraham (meaning "father of a multitude"). God promised to make Abraham exceedingly fruitful (even though Abraham (who was by then ninety-nine years of age) had had only one child by that time (Ishmael), who had not been born to Abraham's wife Sarai (or Sarah, as she was also renamed by God), but (at Sarah's suggestion) to Sarah's maidservant Hagar) (Genesis 16).

God promised Abraham that Sarah would bear him a son (even though she was ninety years old), and that kings would be descended from Abraham through Sarah's son. God also promised that He would give the land of Canaan to Abraham and to his descendants through Sarah as an everlasting possession, and that He would be the God of those descendants.

As Abraham's part of this agreement (or covenant), God required that Abraham, as well as all the male children of his household (including the male children of his slaves), and all male children who would be subsequently descended from Abraham and Sarah (that is, the Jewish nation), be circumcised by having the foreskin of the penis cut away, eight days after birth. Any male who was not circumcised in this way would be excluded, or cut off, from the covenant.

Following the incarnation, sinless life, atoning death, and resurrection of Jesus many centuries later, which made possible the admission of Gentiles to this covenant relationship through faith in Christ (Acts 10), the physical act of circumcision was replaced for those who became believers in Christ by the spiritual "circumcision of the heart", as discussed by Paul in Romans 2:28-29.

October 31 2016 2 responses Vote Up Share Report


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