What Is Spiritual Circumcision In The Bible

The Hebrew Bible makes multiple allusions to religious male circumcision. Circumcision was imposed on the biblical patriarch Abraham, his descendants, and their slaves as “a symbol of the covenant” made with him by God for all generations, a “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 17:13), and is thus practiced by two Abrahamic religions (Judaism and Islam).

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Non-compliance resulted in kareth (Hebrew: “cutting off”) from the community (Genesis 17:10–14, 21:4; Leviticus 12:3). Non-Israelites had to be circumcised before being allowed to participate in the Passover feast (Exodus 12:48). (See also Non-Jewish Mosaic Law and Conversion to Judaism.)

Uncircumcision was “a dishonor” for an Israelite (Joshua 5:9). In the setting of the terrible warfare chronicled in the First Book of Samuel, the appellation arelim (“uncircumcised”) became an opprobrious phrase, notably a derogatory name for the Philistines, who may have been of Greek origin (14:6, 31:4). The King demanded a gruesome “dowry” of a hundred Philistine foreskins when the general (and future king) David wished to marry King Saul's daughter. David went on to say: “David arose and went with his soldiers, slaying two hundred Philistines; and David brought their foreskins, which they delivered in full number to the king, so that he might be the king's son-in-law. Michal, Saul's daughter, was given to him as a wife ” (1 Samuel 18:25).

For heathens, “uncircumcised” is used in connection with tame (“impure”) (Isaiah 52:1). The word arel (“uncircumcised”) is also used for “impermeable” (Leviticus 26:41, “their uncircumcised hearts”; see Jeremiah 9:25; Ezekiel 44:7–9), as well as the banned first three years' fruit of a tree (Leviticus 26:41, “their uncircumcised hearts”; compare Jeremiah 9:25; Ezekiel 44:7–9). (Leviticus 19:23). In the Hebrew Bible, “the Philistines, more than any other nation, are routinely dubbed uncircumcised.”

However, it appears that the Israelites born in the wilderness following the Exodus from Egypt did not practice circumcision. “All the people who came out” of Egypt were circumcised, but those “born in the wilderness” were not, according to Joshua 5:2–9. In any event, we're told that Joshua had them circumcised at Gilgal before the Passover feast.

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Circumcision is mentioned in a number of stories in the Hebrew Bible. There's the Shechemites' circumcision and massacre (Genesis 34:1–35:5), the hundred foreskin dowry (1 Samuel 18:25–27), the narrative of the Lord threatening to kill Moses and being appeased by Zipporah's circumcision of their son (Exodus 4:24–26), and Joshua 5's circumcision at Gilgal.

In the Hebrew Bible, the term “circumcise” is used in a different sense. “Circumcise the foreskin of your heart,” (also quoted in Jeremiah 4:4, New JPS Tanakh translates as “Cut away, therefore, the thickening about your hearts”) is written in the Book of Deuteronomy (10:16), along with Jeremiah 6:10: “Circumcise the foreskin of your heart,” (also quoted in Jeremiah 4:4, New JPS Tanakh translates as ” Whom shall I speak to, and to whom shall I issue a warning, so that they may hear? Their ear is uncircumcised, and they are deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafen (the New JPS Tanakh translates: “Their ears are blocked”). According to Jeremiah 9:25–26, the Lord will punish both circumcised and uncircumcised people equally, because “all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.” “Uncircumcised of heart: I.e., their thoughts are barred to God's precepts,” the New JPS Tanakh translation adds. Circumcision was practiced by non-Jewish tribes, and they were referred to as “circumcised in uncircumcision.” Jeremiah 9:24 is a prophecy from the prophet Jeremiah.

What the Bible says about spiritual circumcision?

In the United States, somewhat more than three-quarters of boys are circumcised as newborns. Circumcision of the heart, while not a life-saving procedure, will change lives. Please understand that the heart I am writing about is the spiritual heart, the seat of our emotions, our mind, our thoughts, the thing within us that inspires our actions. Before you start thinking there is some new medical procedure for the physical organ we call the heart, please understand that the heart I am writing about is the spiritual heart, the seat of our emotions, our mind, our thoughts, the thing within us that inspires our actions.

While the Bible's narrative are accurate, the rules and religious ceremonies were frequently tangible manifestations of spiritual reality. Take, for instance, the night of the Passover. The firstborn of every house without the blood on the door died that night after the Hebrew households killed a lamb and placed the blood on the doorposts of their homes. The Passover is a tangible picture of spiritual truth: those who do not have the blood of the Lamb of God on their heart's doorposts will die spiritually.

Now let's get down to business: spiritual circumcision. Spiritual circumcision is discussed throughout the Bible. Each section builds on the one before it, providing us a comprehensive picture of the problem.

Deuteronomy 10:16, Deuteronomy 10:17, Deuteronomy 10: “Circumcise your heart's foreskin, and don't be stiffnecked any longer.”

This poem does not teach us much, yet it does teach us something. It must be something we can do on our own since God tells us to do it. He also argues that we would no longer have a pompous or stubborn demeanor as a result of this.

30:6 (Deuteronomy) “And the LORD thy God will circumcise your heart, as well as the hearts of your descendants, to love the LORD thy God with all of your heart and soul, that you may live.”

The Bible clearly states that God will circumcise someone's heart here. This statement is not a contradiction to the prior verse, which states that we can accomplish it ourselves; rather, it is a clarification. We can change if we are determined enough. Anyone who has abstained from alcohol or drugs is a prime example. God, on the other hand, circumcises the heart in this verse. As a result, we have a complete love for God. When these two texts are combined, we can understand that it is God's circumcision that brings life. We can't save ourselves even if we turn over a fresh leaf.

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What is the circumcision of God?

As explained in the popular 14th-century text The Golden Legend, Jesus' circumcision was historically considered as the first time his blood was spilt, and therefore the beginning of the process of man's salvation, as well as a demonstration that Christ was fully human and obeyed Biblical law. This was constantly emphasized by medieval and Renaissance theologians, who also emphasized Jesus' suffering as an evidence of his humanity and a foreshadowing of his Passion. These ideas were carried on by Protestant theologians such as Jeremy Taylor, who claimed in an essay published in 1657 that Jesus' circumcision demonstrated his human character while also obeying Moses' law. Taylor also points out that if Jesus had been circumcised, Jews would have been much less receptive to his evangelism.

The “Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord” is a Christian commemoration of the child's circumcision, which took place eight days (according to Semitic and southern European reckoning of days) after his birth, and on which the child was formally given his name, Jesus, which is derived from Hebrew and means “salvation” or “saviour.” Although it was undoubtedly long-established, it was first mentioned at a church council convened in Tours in 567.

The feast day is observed on January 1st in the Eastern Orthodox Church's liturgical calendar. It is also commemorated in the pre-1960 General Roman Calendar and is observed by Anglican Communion churches (though many revised Anglican calendars, such as the Episcopal Church's 1979 calendar, tend to associate the day more with the Holy Name of Jesus) and nearly all Lutheran congregations. On this Feast, “Beschneidung des Herrn” (“Circumcision of the Lord”), Johann Sebastian Bach composed many cantatas, notably Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 190, for 1 January 1724 in Leipzig.

It has been superseded on January 1 by the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, in the current Roman Calendar of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, although it is still commemorated by Old Catholics and conservative Catholics who worship according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite (that follows the General Roman Calendar promulgated in 1962).

It was once united with the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus on January 1 before the two were split, and now that the Feast of the Circumcision has vanished from the official Catholic calendar, the other feast may be considered to be celebrating it as well.

What does Paul mean about circumcision?

Paul claimed that circumcision was no longer a physical act, but rather a spiritual one (Romans 2:25–29), and 1 Corinthians says: “Is it possible for a man to be circumcised? Please don't let him go uncircumcised.” (7:18) (1 Corinthians 7:18)

Later, Paul publicly condemned circumcision, rejecting and denouncing anyone who advocated it for Gentile Christians. Circumcision proponents, Paul cautioned, were “false brethren.” (Galatians 2:4) “Are you so foolish that, since you began in the Spirit, you would now be made perfect by the flesh?” he asked Galatian Christians who advocated circumcision, accusing them of turning from the Spirit to the flesh. (Galatians 3:3) He accused proponents of circumcision of glorying or boasting in the flesh (Gal 6:12) and of desiring to make a good showing in the body. Galatians 3:13 Some believe Paul composed the entire Galatians Epistle to oppose circumcision and any necessity for Christians to follow Jewish law, saying in chapter five: “Take note of what I'm saying! If you allow yourselves to be circumcised, Paul warns you, Christ will be of no use to you.” (Galatians 5:2; Galatians 5:3)

He advised Christians in a late letter to “beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision,” (o, katatom), claiming that Christians were true circumcision because they worshipped in the Spirit of God. (Philippians 3:2–3)

What is the symbolism of circumcision?

The blood symbolizes the start of a Jewish life in circumcision. Male converts who have already been circumcised in Orthodox and Conservative Judaism are required to partake in a Bris, in which a drop of blood is pierced from their penis, representing their acceptance of the covenant.

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What did Jesus said about circumcision?

Circumcision is clearly stated in the Old Testament as a covenant between God and all Jewish males.

The New Testament makes no mention of circumcision as a requirement. Christians are encouraged to be “circumcised of the heart” by trusting in Jesus and his cross sacrifice.

Jesus was circumcised because he was a Jew (Luke 2:21; Colossians 2:11-12). Circumcision, on the other hand, was a major issue in the early Christian Church. Adult Greeks, in particular, who converted to Christianity, were averse to the invasive procedure.

Circumcision was not required among non-Jewish converts, and some even considered it to be against the Christian faith. It became a symbol of division between circumcised Jews and new Christian converts.

The Didache, one of the first Christian manuscripts unearthed, disputed the topic.

How many times is circumcision mentioned in the Bible?

In this article, all references to circumcision refer to men.] The Greek New Testament has 75 references to circumcision. The English translations do not include all of these; some are left out for stylistic reasons, while others are reworded to clarify the meaning.

Why is circumcision important in the Bible?

The Covenant of Circumcision (British: Brit Milah) is one of the most often kept laws in Judaism. The mandate to circumcise was given to Abraham as part of a covenant, as reported in Genesis 17:10–14:

‘And God said to Abraham, ‘This is my promise, which you shall maintain between me and you and your descendants after you — every male child among you shall be circumcised.'


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According to the biblical reason for this commandment, circumcision serves as an external bodily sign of God's eternal covenant with the Jewish people. A person who is uncircumcised is subject to spiritual excision, or kareit, according to Judaism, regardless of how observant they have been of the religion's other precepts.

The Jewish circumcision is done on the eighth day of a child's life, and it can only be done during daylight hours. It can, however, be postponed for medical reasons, and Jewish law stipulates that when a kid's health is a concern, circumcision must be delayed until the youngster is declared fit to undergo the process. The Brit Milah cannot be postponed for any reason other than the child's health, and it can even be performed on the Jewish holy days of Shabbat and Yom Kippur.

A Mohel, a pious, observant Jew educated in circumcision techniques as well as applicable Jewish law and custom, must perform the circumcision. Regardless of whether a rabbi is present, circumcision performed by anybody other than a rabbi is not valid. This is due to the fact that the removal of the foreskin is a religious ceremony that must be conducted by a religiously qualified individual.

What does Romans say about circumcision?

Romans 2:23 establishes a concept on which Paul and his interlocutor will agree: whoever disobeys the identical law about which he boasts dishonors God. All of this sets up the trap that Paul intends to make for his gentile interlocutor, who boasts about and preaches circumcision but does not practice it.

What are the signs of God's covenant?

The biblical Hebrew term brit, which means “covenant” or “contract,” refers to a variety of agreements made between individuals or between God and a person or group of people. One with Noah, many with Abraham (primarily in conjunction with circumcision), with Israel through Moses, David, Aaron, and Phineas (priesthood), and with Joshua,Josiah, and Ezra are among the covenants with God. In the backdrop of the return of Israel and Judah to their homeland, Jeremiah promised a new and lasting covenant: “I will set my law within them and write it on their hearts” (Jer 31:33).

The conditions, or “smallprint,” of covenants are included in a lot of biblical legislation. For example, the parameters of the covenant of 29 are defined by the regulations in Deuteronomy 12 through 28. The law, on the other hand, stands on its own as God's generous gift to us. The fact that God has blessed us with a covenant is a proof of his love, but what matters most is His guidance as represented in the law. Perhaps we might see the covenant as an addendum to the laws, rather than reading the laws as small print of the covenant.

God appears to be bound by covenants. Can God, on the other hand, be restrained? According to Jacob B. Agus (1981), the “The idea of imposing restrictions and constraints on God's will made prophets uncomfortable. God's relationships with Israel were based on his righteousness, love, and compassion; as a result, biblical authors frequently qualify the term “covenant.” “with words like hesed (love) and shalom (peace) (peace).

Scholars have seen analogies between the biblical brit (covenant) and'ala (oath) and their cultural analogues.

From third-millennium Sumer onwards, George E. Mendenhall (1954) analyzed Ancient Near Eastern covenants, particularly those incorporating an oath. The first international agreements for which he identified sufficient source material were those of the Hittite Empire5, which lasted from around 1450 to 1200 BCE, roughly the same time as Moses. They have a preamble, a historical prologue, stipulations, a provision for depositing a copy in the temple and reciting it in public on a regular basis, a list of gods as witnesses, and a curses and blessings formula. This bears a striking resemblance to Deuteronomy's framework, even down to the periodic recital of the Law in front of the public (Dt 31:9–13) and the need that the pact be read by the king or in his presence (Dt 17:18–19).

However, there are some important variances. Numerous portions of the treaty established by Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, with “Ramataia, city-ruler of Urukazabanu” in 672 BCE were uncovered during the British School of Archaeology's sixth mission to Nimrud in Iraq in 1955. The jigsaw was eventually rebuilt by D.J.Wiseman (1958); the manuscript as a whole reflects the Hittite administration's shape from the preceding millennium, which is also represented in Deuteronomy. But, unlike God in Deuteronomy, Esarhaddon does not ensure the welfare of his loyal client, nor does he include blessings in his covenant; his imprecations, while sharing phraseology with Deuteronomy, are far longer and more barbaric; the high sense of moral purpose that pervades Deuteronomy is completely absent, as is the sheer literary genius of Deuteronomy and the high poetic quality of many of its sections; The most notable characteristic of Deuteronomy is that love and loyalty are directed solely to God, rather than to a human figure; “heaven and earth” replace the heathen gods as “witnesses” to the covenant.

Many covenants in the Bible are territorial in nature. God promised Abraham “the Land,” according to Genesis 17:8. The Land is presented in Moses' final sermon as the site for the construction of a model, covenantal society (Dt 16:18); the ultimate threat is banishment from the Land (Dt 28:63), though God will care for it and it will enjoy its sabbaths even then (Lev 26:34). Some Hittite treaties have a territorial dimension as well; verses 15 and 16 of Goetze's (191927) version of the Maduwatta treaty, excavated at Boghazko and dated by Goetze (p. 158) to just around 1200 BCE, read as follows: “I've handed you control of the Zippala mountain range. Maduwatta, you seed your people's habitation in Zippala's mountain land “0.6

Prophets such as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and, especially, Hosea, figuratively describe God's connection with Israel as that of a husband and wife linked by a marriage vow. Idolatry is harlotry, and Israel, the “wife,” is accused of betraying her marriage covenant. The concept of the “jealous” God (Ex 20:5; Dt 5:9, etc.) fits this image, as does the legal formula “you will be my people, and I will be your God” (Lev 26:12; Dt 29:12, cf. Hos. 2:4), as documented in many legal records from the Ancient Near East.

Other “meetings” with God are also described in covenant terminology in Scripture. There are “promissory” covenants, such as those with Abraham (Genesis 15, 17) and David (2 Samuel 7; Psalm 89), which deal with the gift of land and the gift of kingship and dynasty, respectively. To remind the parties of their commitments, a covenant is sometimes accompanied by an external sign or mark. The Sabbath, the rainbow, and circumcision are “signs” of God's three great covenants, which he established at three pivotal points in history: the Creation (Gen 1:1–2:3; Exod 31:16–17), the restoration of humanity after the Flood (Gen 9:1–17), and the birth of the Hebrew nation. Circumcision became known as britmilah—”the covenant of circumcision”—in Jewish tradition as the most distinctive sign of the covenant.

Creation, Noah, and Israel are the Three Great Biblical Covenants. These are (a) the environment, which includes all species, (b) humanity as a whole, and (c) Israel as a religious country.

Walther Eichrodt (1890-1978) is recognized with ushering in a new age in Bible studies with his Theologie des Alten Testaments, which was originally published in 1933 while he was a professor at Basel. In response to the “tyranny of historicism in OT studies,” he set himself the task of “understanding the realm of OT belief in its structural unity and how, by examining on the one hand its religious environment and on the other hand its essential coherence with the NT, to illuminate its profoundest meaning” (Eichrodt 1961, 1:31. Author's emphasis). Eichrodt skillfully reformulates the threefold element of God's covenant, with his people, the world, and man, into a unifying biblical subject in two hefty volumes. Unlike earlier Bible scholars such as Kraetschmar, who saw “covenant” as a late-prophetic concept, Eichrodt argued that “the entire course of Israelitehistory, in which the religious sense of solidarity is bound up with the Sinaitradition, affords further evidence” that the covenant-union between Godand Israel “was an original element in all sources, despite their being in part in very fragmentary form” (1:36); further, “It must be noted thatthe establishment of 7

“We must reject all designs that originate from Christian dogmatism,” Eichrodt says, denying doctrinal bias (1:33). Nonetheless, he makes the error that systematic theologians are prone to: placing an arbitrary structure on sacred text's fundamental substance. In terms of a covenant relationship, it is feasible to”explain,” that is, to convey, basic occurrences like God's kingship, revelation, mythic emancipation, and personal attitude toward God, and Eichrodt is good at finding textual support for this. However, many of the occurrences can be explained in terms of other relationships, such as father and kid (“freedom from myth” =”growing up”) or doctor and patient, to name just two. Extra-biblical elements will influence the choice of hermeneutic—in Eichrodt's instance, despite his disclaimer, it may be influenced by a desire to present Christianity as the fulfillment of the “OldTestament.” The fallacy is not just in picking “covenant” as a hermeneutic key at random, but in assuming that there is a consistent “system” that can be unlocked with a single key.

The covenant language is used throughout Scripture, but it is not the only one. The variety of imagery in scripture contributes to its richness, and taking any one of them as a definitive declaration of teaching, or in a strictly literal sense, impoverishes our understanding. In this case, as we will see momentarily, it has also resulted in pointless argument and strife.

The multiplicity of its depictions of the relationship between God, society, and the world contributes to the richness of scripture.

“Chosenness” is closely related to “covenant.” The following are the consequences of both concepts:

  • They hold Israel responsible for being obedient to God's instructions as a collective.
  • They have a vocation to spread God's “plan” for the globe by constructing a model society based on faith in him.

These three dimensions have formed the Jewish and Christian understandings of “election” to God's service, with varying degrees of emphasis.