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Why did God have Abraham circumcised (remove the foreskin) in the first place? Have you ever stopped to ponder this enigmatic question? After all, God is not capricious. He could have easily had our father remove skin from his ear, or his finger, or other part of his body. Why the male sex organ? Messianic Jewish author Tim Hegg presents an answer that show the messianic implications of God asking Abraham to circumcise himself exactly where he eventually ended up circumcising himself. Let me summarize some of his thoughts by surveying the Genesis narrative a bit more closely for clues. Gen 16 opens with an exposition and complication: Sarai, Abram's wife, is barren. If the former narrative settled the question of God's full intention to give offspring, this unit questions the method by which the promise would be fulfilled. Abram follows the advice of his wife and takes Hagar as a second wife. The reader is aware immediately, however, that rather than solving the problem, the action of Abram and Sarai has introduced complication into the story… The story continues with the appearance of God to Abram (signaling resolution) reassuring him of the continuation and maintenance of the covenant. The issue of the promised offspring, the main subject of Gen 15 and Gen 16, continues in this section. Regardless of the etymological meaning of the change from Abram to Abraham, the narrative is clear that God has installed Abraham as a father of the nations. Thus, Gen 17 gives the Divine solution to the problem addressed in Gen 16, namely, the realization of the promise regarding the seed. The Divine speech to Abraham in Gen 17:1-5 is taken up exclusively with the promise of offspring. The introduction of circumcision continues this theme. The promise of offspring has been established, but the method or manner by which the offspring would be realized is now made clear. In the same way that the complications surrounding the promise of land and blessing were resolved by direct, Divine intervention, so too the promised offspring would come by Divine fiat. Human enterprise and strength would not be the means by which God would fulfill His promise to Abraham regarding the seed. Circumcision, the cutting away of the foreskin, revealed this explicitly. Coming on the heels of God’s renewed promise to Abraham regarding his progeny and his installation as a father of a multitude of nations, the sign of circumcision upon the organ of procreation must be interpreted within the narrative flow as relating to the method by which the complication (absence of children and age of both Abraham and Sarah) would be resolved. The promise would come, not by the strength of the flesh (which the “Hagar plan” represented) but rather by above-human means. In reference to the circumcision in the Apostolic Scriptures (NT), Hegg makes these pertinent remarks: If circumcision were a sign given to Abraham which pointed specifically to the need for faith in regard to the coming Seed, it is valid to ask whether or not the other OT authors also attached this meaning to the ritual. Interestingly, the two times circumcision is used in a metaphorical sense in the Pentateuch (Deut 10:16 and Deut 30:6), the immediate context is that of the Abrahamic covenant. In Deut 10:12, the unit begins by an exhortation to "revere the Lord your God, to walk only in His paths" which is very close to Gen 17:1, "Walk before me and be blameless." Further, in Deut 10:15 the covenant love of God for "the fathers" becomes the basis for the exhortation to "cut away the thickening about your hearts." That is, if the promises made to the fathers should be realized, it will be so only as each Israelite relates to God on the basis of faith. The heart which relies on the flesh (foreign powers, self strength, etc.) will fail. Rather, the fleshly heart must be cut away and discarded.
Circumcision is mentioned in the Bible as a part of God's covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:12-14) and later became a part of the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12 : 2) Jesus, Son of God who became Son of Man, (John 1: 14) was circumcised in obeying the Law of Moses and the covenant God had made with His ancestor, Abraham (Luke 2: 21-24). Being a Christian, means that we are believing and following our God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob in Jesus Christ, even though we are not a Jewish, descendants of Abraham, but we are blessed by God through him (Genesis 12 : 1-3). Since a circumcision is God's covenant with His people in their flesh, there is no reason for a Christian not to be circumcised.
But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from people, but from God. Rom 2:29 Since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Rom 3:30 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. Galatians 5:6 For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and take pride in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh... Phil 3:3 In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all. Col 3:11 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 1 Cor 5:7 Let no one judge you in food or drink, or regarding a festival, or a new moon or sabbaths, for these things are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is Christ. Col 2:16-17 But after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you return to the weak and beggarly elements which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe* days (sabbaths) and months (fasts) and seasons (feasts) and years (jubilees). I am afraid for you lest I have labored for you in vain. Gal 4:9-11 *(Thayers: hold nothing back for the sake of religious observation)
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