Jewish people circumcise their sons just as YHWH commanded Abraham as a token of their covenant:
GENESIS 17:10-14 This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt Me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed…and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My covenant.
Like the rainbow in the sky, the keeping of the Sabbath (EX.31:13-17), and keeping the Law, circumcision is the signature upon a perpetual agreement between people concerned and YHWH. However, circumcision has fallen out of favour, especially in the last generation. This is due to the medical establishment viewing it as ‘mutilation’ or ‘torture’ of a newborn boy, and the Church’s misunderstanding Paul’s rebuke in ROMANS 2:29 and GALATIANS 5:2.
Throughout history the Jews, to their credit, have circumcised their sons out of simple obedience to YHWH’s command to Abraham. This is despite the fact that probably half the Jews in the world are not descended from Abraham. One of the most sinful practices of the Christian Church today is its disobedience to YHWH’s stated commands. We give all sorts of excuses, reasons about His reasons, prune His Word to what is ‘applicable’, and discard what we think is not.
The command about circumcision is not part of the Mosaic Law but it is nevertheless one of YHWH’s Laws and should be adhered to. Yahshua was circumcised. We are to follow Him. These two facts are in themselves good enough reasons. However, there are many more.
First we shall clear up the misunderstanding of Paul’s words. Nowhere does the apostle tell his readers not to practise circumcision. He cannot, for the giants of the Church in Yerushalem gave him the right hand of fellowship, remember? The council agreed he was one of them with the same message.
In ROMANS (2:23-25) Paul writes that if a person–usually a Jew or Judaizer, one who boasts in the Law-keeping–fails to keep all the Laws, they may as well be uncircumcised. However, those who are uncircumcised, but righteous according to the Law, are as good as circumcised, which is the better position with YHWH (v.28-29).
Paul goes on to show the profit in circumcision: that the Jews, whether believers or not, have brought down to us the oracles or Laws of YHWH. If no Jew existed today, they would remain a witness because they and their doings throughout Bible history are in YHWH’s Word. For without the Law, YHWH cannot judge the World. It is His bottom line standard. This passage in ROMANS is little about circumcision and much about the witness of YHWH through the Jews since Abraham. Circumcision SET THEM APART as YHWH’s people throughout their history.
In his convoluted way, in GALATIANS 5:1-6, Paul does not say one should not be circumcised, but that there are wrong reasons for it. Judaizers were promoting circumcision as a prerequisite for salvation. If this is a person’s reasons for doing or being so, then Yahshua’s death on the cross profits them nothing. Circumcision is nothing to do with salvation except insofar as it is a Law to be obeyed as, when, and if the Holy Spirit leads us to do so. Paul writes that an uncircumcised Christian should remain so, and a circumcised one the same (I COR. 17:18-19). Fine. But the leading of the Holy Spirit supersedes Paul’s practical advice.
By far the most beautiful purpose of circumcision was the covenant between YHWH, Abraham, and his descendants. Whether you believe we are Israelites descended from the ten lost tribes or grafted in, that includes most of Christendom today, you and me. On our behalf, Abraham signed the agreement initially by the circumcision of Isaac, himself, and all the members of his house. On YHWH’s part the promise was:
- Abraham would be multiplied through his offspring;
- he would father many nations;
- he would be exceedingly fruitful;
- kings would come out of him;
- the covenant could also be established with Abraham’s descendants;
- YHWH would be their father;
- they would inherit the ‘land’, physically of Canaan, spiritually of the Kingdom of YHWH.
On Abraham’s part he agreed to:
- walk before YHWH and be perfect.
As with head coverings, if we fully understand the significance of these promises, our baby sons would all be circumcised, without question or doubt, on the eighth day of their lives, as Father commands (GEN. 17:12).
The other reasons I mentioned are predominantly health concerns. These were little known to the ancient Hebrews. It did not matter. They submitted to YHWH as their Great Physician. He knew. They did not need to.
Here are the facts:
- Uncircumcised boys are ten times more likely than circumcised ones to suffer urinary tract infections. This rate of infection has shot up as circumcision has fallen out of fashion. Two percent of these little victims die.
- Uncircumcised men are up to eight times more likely to become infected with AIDS. In Africa, AIDS is more common among tribes that do not practise circumcision, and is rare where circumcision is common.
- Although faithful marriage is the best protection against sexually transmitted diseases, almost fifty studies have shown that men without a moist thin foreskin are less susceptible to STD transmission.
- Reviews of over a thousand cases of penile cancer reveal not a single case in a Jewish man. Other studies have shown not a single case in an uncircumcised man.
- In the 18 years between 1971 and 1989, the American Academy of Pediatrics did an about-face in their attitude towards circumcision, from: ‘There are no valid medical indications for circumcision in the neonatal period,’ to: ‘Newborn circumcision has potential medical benefits and advantages…’ (None of These Diseases).
Christian boys are of course redeemed from infection and cancer of any parts of their body. But as we give birth to our beautiful baby sons, even bringing them up in the fear of YHWH, we cannot guarantee they will not go the way of the world, at least for a season. Circumcision in obedience to YHWH’s command will nevertheless give them lifelong protection from these devastating diseases. As the Word says, “I will put none of these diseases upon thee…”
Some years ago I spent time with a communal Christian group practising YHWH’s Laws. Most of the younger men were uncircumcised, as it went out of common practice with my generation. As these young men sought YHWH however, His Spirit led them to seek circumcision just prior to them marrying (with plenty of time for healing, of course).
Circumcision, it has been revealed, is one of the three times in a man’s life he should experience the shedding of blood: when he is circumcised and loses his foreskin; when he becomes a believer and is covered by Yahshua’s blood shed on the cross; on his wedding night upon the consummation of his marriage, whereby his virgin bride has her hymen broken in order to sanctify both their organs of conception and reproduction.
We know many girls and women in our modern age are not virgins when they are married. But if as a believer a bride is properly sanctified, repentant, forgiven and cleansed, YHWH in fact can revirginate her so she loses that blood upon consummation with her new husband. I write this from my own experience.