Created 21/12/12    Updated 4/1/14

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What is real circumcision?
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'Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.' (De 10:16)


 Circumcision of the flesh is only of little value by itself, being mandated for Jews, it
is chiefly a sign of an inward reality. Esau was circumcised was he not? So were Achan, Dathan, Abiram and Abihu, Absalom - yet they lacked the seal of the sign. Was Job circumcised, probably he lived some time after the initiation of the sign - but he obtained Divine favour, and was party to the covenant of redemption (Job.19.25). Was Jethro circumcised? Yet he rejoiced in God and was grateful for His works of deliverance in Egypt, in a way many children of Israel were not. Who like him acted as guide to the nation's lawgiver? Was Naaman cleansed in heart, when his flesh was healed? There were many other lepers in Israel. Were the children of the wilderness generation circumcised before entering Canaan? Were Rahab's family, whilst being saved from the destruction of Jericho? No doubt, many of these partook of the outward sign later, but they tasted its substance first.

Circumcision of the heart has much to do with lust, but it has the whole old man and his sinful ways in mind - stubbornness against the Law of God, hardness of heart, a superficial view of the leprosy of our sin, unpreparedness to speak for God are all described as forms of uncircumcision, and have nothing to do with lust per se. Circumcision of the heart is precisely what Jeremiah describes as the engraving of the Law on the heart, what David describes as a new created clean heart and a right spirit, as a great delighting in and yearning for the commands, what Ezekiel calls 'a new heart and a new spirit', or a resurrection from the dead, what Habbakuk calls that faith by which the just shall live, and what Jehoshua the Messiah describes as a new birth, without which even the most learned rabbi cannot see, let alone enter, the Kingdom of God. It is the Messiah Who alone may provide and complete this circumcision, though His own High Priestly sanctification to death and His rising from the dead. It is God's Spirit, poured out upon men and women, Who uniquely brings this life into the desert of our beings, this life of holiness into our moral darkness, this gentle submission into our howling rebellion.

With respect, is it not rather Rabbinic Judaism that has invented a new religion, unknown to Moses and the fathers? A sonless, sterile 'father', a solitary Simplex, better known to Plotinus and Plato, than to the prophets of Israel. It is the rabbis, the Talmud, and Maimonides that have stolen the inheritance of the Messiah and vainly sought to transfer it to the nation. What childishness to claim Isaiah 53 applies primarily to Israel's role as a victim! It is not Messiah that will expose them in the Day of days, it is Moses and the faithful prophets, they have claimed as masters. Have they idolised the Sabbath and circumcision, the Nation, the Rabbinic masters, the Temple and the Ark, as a former generation idolised Nehushtan, have they neglected humility, purity and piety? Sometimes, just as with Muslims and Roman and Greek Catholics, it seems the more 'Orthodox', the more radically religious - the less holy, the less caring, the less humble, the more corrupt. Was this true of the pious ones of Israel of old? Of course not. Who then has actually abandoned circumcision? Don't we too feel the edge of Stephen's words to his opponents, 'Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye'?

The LORD alone shall be exalted in that Day, in His Word, and by His Spirit.



An old rabbi's appeal to the Jewish people

Yitzhak Kaduri's note

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 'And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed,

to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.'

(Deut 30:6)