Circumcision of the Heart

heartCircumcision was given to Abraham as a sign of the covenant. That covenant was the promise of a son, a son not born of normal sexual relations, for this reason the sexual organ was cut. [Gen 17]

Maimonides said,

Israel was admitted into the covenant by three things: namely, by circumcision, baptism, and sacrifice. 

The Messianic/Hebrew Roots community must remember that we were not told to make Jews, rather disciples of the Messiah and not Moses. We are admitted into the covenant by circumcision of the heart, baptism, and by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Our cut is not a physical one but rather spiritual. For the promise has been given. The literal sign is no longer required, however the spiritual one is demanded.

Circumcision was preformed with a rock

There are three Hebrew words for stone or rock they are eben, sela, and zur. Although the words are often used interchangeably they are slightly different in meaning. Just as rock and stone do in English. Stones are usually something shaped for a purpose where rocks are usually something has a natural form. We call them gem stones, dressed stones, or memorial stones, we rarely call these special stones, rocks.

Eben is the stone that the ten commandments were on. It is the stone that sealed wells and tombs. The altar was build of ebens. [Gen 31:45; Ex 24:12; 1 Sam. 7:12]

Sela is the cliff or crag that one hides in. [Num. 20:8; Judg. 20:47; 2Sam. 22:2]

Zur is the flinty stone that gave them water. It is the word that is behind the Rock of Israel passages.

 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. Ex. 17:6

. . . who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, Deut. 8:15

“But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked; you waxed fat, you grew thick, you became sleek; then he forsook God who made him, and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation. Deut. 32:15 

flint-knife-egyptHow should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had given them up? Deut. 32:30

The zur is also the stone of circumcision. Although the English says, “flint knives” the Hebrew is zurim (the plural of zur). Some Jewish Mohels still use a flint knife for the circumcision ritual.

At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the people of Israel again the second time.” Josh. 5:2 

 

Symbolic Circumcision

As important as circumcision seems to be in the Torah it is quite clear that a time was coming when it would no longer be necessary, that it would move from the literal to the symbolic.

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Rom. 2:29KJV

And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Deut. 30:6 

Only the Zur or Rock of Israel can circumcise the heart.

It is also something one must make an effort to allow to happen.

Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your doings.” Jer. 4:4 

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; Col. 2:11 

What does circumcision of the heart look like? A typology is given that may not make it in your English translation. Your modern translation may say that the fruit is forbidden however in the Hebrew is it uncircumcised and unclean.

For the first three years the fruit was to be accounted as uncircumcised, unclean, and not to be eaten; “But you, O my branches, now are clean through my word; that word which I have been preaching to you for these three years. Lev 19:23

These two word are often synonyms in the Text. To be uncircumcised is to be unclean. To be unclean means to be ritually unable to approach God. So if ones heart is circumcised then one is ritually clean and may approach the Throne at any time.

While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and besought him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And he stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. Luke 5:12-13

You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. John 15:3 

. . . let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb. 10:22 

The ceremonial and ritual Torah could not have been intended to be permanent. For the Old Testament is full of allusions or typologies that these were but shadows. [1 Cor. 10:11] They were never meant to be and end all in and of themselves. The Law was as Paul stated, is a temporary institution, a schoolmaster to Messiah’s work. [Gal 4:2]

 

Circumcision was always intended to become symbolic in the kingdom.

Moses knew this

. . . so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity; Lev. 26:41

Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. Deut. 10:16

And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Deut. 30:6

The Prophets Knew This

Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your doings.” Jer. 4:4

Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. Is. 52:1

 

True Circumcision

All who come into the temple must be clean. We are now that Third Temple. We are clean not by the shedding of blood at the physical act of circumcision but by recognizing the shedding of our Master’s blood for us.

For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh. Phil. 3:3

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; Col. 2:11

. . . let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb. 10:22 

Keeping the Commandments

But this never did nullify the Law (as those dispensationalist teach) for the commandments stand.

For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 1Cor. 7:19

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