Hebrew Highlights 113 – Circumcision


COL 2:8-13  “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.  For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.  And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.”

Recently, two of my sons were baptized.  When our pastor asked my 7-year old son Israel what was going to happen, he said, “The old Israel will go into the water, and the new Israel will come out.  Then he said, “and my heart will be circumcised.” 

Now obviously, little Israel had been studying with his Abba, in preparation for the baptism.  However, all of this having happened in Hebrew, he was fully aware of what he was saying.

Before I continue exploring our subject, let me assure you that circumcision of the heart is not originally a New Testament idea.  Moses mentioned it in DEU 30:5-8, "And the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.  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, in order that you may live.  And the Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.  And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today.”

“Circumcision” is one of the most misrepresented English translations of a Hebrew idea that can be found.  In English, it simply implies a “circular cut”, which indeed may be good enough to explain the rite as performed by doctors on newborn babies in Hospitals.

However, for the Jewish people, and hopefully true believers, it has a much deeper meaning, which can be found only in Hebrew.  In Jewish communities around the world, babies are circumcised on the eighth day in what is called a “bris”.  This is actually “Diasporic “ Hebrew for the word “Brit”, which means “covenant.”

In Hebrew, circumcision is called a “Brit Mila”, or “Covenant of the Word”.  This is quite a spiritual distance from “circular cut”.


We’d better look at the original commandment concerning this ancient and holy rite, in GEN 17:10-14, and 23-24, "This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.  And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.  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.  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.  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." 

Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him.  Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.”

When God said, “every male among you shall be circumcised,” it is obvious to anyone reading Hebrew that He said, “every male among you shall make a covenant with My word.”

I hope you realize the importance of this statement.  Maybe it will help if I remind you of JOH 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

When we make this all-important choice for ourselves and our sons, we are making a covenant with God himself, through His Son Yeshua.

Just so there will be no understanding, I am not advocating that uncircumcised believers go out and get an operation, although some feel the need to make this outward sign of commitment.  Forcing the issue would be unbiblical, as we see in 1CO 7:18-20, “Was any man called already circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised.  Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.  Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called.”

What IS important is our “Covenant with the Word;” our decision to keep God’s commands, and to be part of His people. 

DEU 10:12-16, "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord's commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?  "Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.  "Yet on your fathers did the Lord set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day.  "Circumcise then your heart, and stiffen your neck no more.


          Shalom, Shalom from Jerusalem