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Featured Circumcision - Paul vs. Abraham

Discussion in 'Religions Q&A' started by Eddi, Mar 12, 2021.

  1. Eddi

    Eddi Eddifying
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    At Zoom church on Sunday I’m doing a quick "teaching spot" about the non-practice of circumcision in Christianity in which I give a little talk on the subject

    This is what I’ve got so far, in a very rough form:

    So, in Genesis 17:10-14 God clearly asks that Abraham and his male decedents practice circumcision – in exchange for decedents, land, and blessings (Genesis 12:1-3)

    Indeed he got Abraham to circumcise himself

    Yet in Romans, Paul says it is not necessary and that being right with God is a matter of the heart and not of the penis – he said the practice was only an outward sign, not an inner disposition of holiness

    He spoke of “circumcision of the heart” as a sign with being right with God, saying this was more important than being circumcised. By being circumcised of the heart he basically meant what modern Christinas call being "in-Christ"

    He said that circumcision didn’t make a person a believer, but was only an outward sign of being a believer and thus not necessary to be a believer

    Instead, having Jesus in your heart and accepting him as your Lord and Saviour made you right with God, rather than having a circumcised penis – and that it is through living as a Christian that one shows one has favour with God, as opposed to being circumcised

    It was by rejecting circumcision that the early Christians broke away from Judaism and the Abrahamic covenant, and entered into a new relationship with God, through believing in Jesus Christ

    Is this correct? Any errors or misunderstandings?

    Is there more that I could possibly add?

    Also, if the early Christians walked away from the Abrahamic covenant then how come Christians still consider themselves Abraham’s spiritual descendants? This doesn’t make any sense to me, so either I don’t understand it or Christians stopped being Abraham’s spiritual descendants when Christianity broke away from Judaism

    At church school I remember us singing this horrible, obnoxious, annoying and stupid song:



    But how can those of us who are un-circumcised possibly claim to be his descendants? If we are not upholding our end of the covenant?
     
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  2. LightofTruth

    LightofTruth Well-Known Member

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    What's interesting is that circumcision only applied to one of the sexes, whereas ALL are required to repent and believe the gospel.
    Another interesting thing is that an eight day old child cannot repent or believe the gospel.
     
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  3. LightofTruth

    LightofTruth Well-Known Member

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    It seems that Paul's argument is that Abraham believed God's promises and therefore God imputed righteousness to Abraham because he believed even before Abraham was circumcised. And that circumcision was a sign of that covenant of promise. It signified the cutting off of the sins of the flesh whereby Abraham's iniquities were forgiven and his sins covered.
     
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  4. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    I apologize, but I couldn’t help laughing over ‘decedents’.
     
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  5. Eddi

    Eddi Eddifying
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    I meant "descendants"

    I have no idea how that typographical error occurred twice

    I didn't even know "decedents" was a word until now

    But is what I say correct?
     
    #5 Eddi, Mar 12, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
  6. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein I'm not deaf, I'm just a real bad listener
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    The thinking isn't that Christians walked away from the covenant with Abraham, but that Christ fulfilled the promises of that covenant and established new covenant with all of humanity with him as mediator.
     
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  7. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    I think it is pretty clear that the New Testament is something completely different than the Tanakh (OT). And for Jews who follow the NT, it is something completely at odds.

    As far as Gentiles being descendants of Abraham, you simply aren't. There is no such thing as spiritual descendants through faith in Jesus. That is something Paul made up out of whole cloth. As Gentiles, you are not bound by Israel's covenant, either circumcision or the 613 commandments. Just love God and be good decent people. It's so much easier for you -- why would you want it to be any different?
     
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  8. LightofTruth

    LightofTruth Well-Known Member

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    I don't recall Paul saying anyone is a "spiritual descendant through faith in Jesus".

    This is what Paul says:

    Gal 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
    Gal 4:2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
    Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
    Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
    Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
    Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
    Gal 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

    Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
    Gal 3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

    Christ is the promised seed of Abraham whereby the inheritance as sons is obtained. When one puts on Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, he becomes a fellow heir and one with Christ, who is the seed of Abraham.
     
  9. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    There is no such things as being Abraham's offspring or heir via Jesus. I thought I was clear about that.

    As far as adoption goes, it can't be a one sided contract. You can't just show up on someone's doorstep and say, "Hi I'm your new adopted brother. Where's the fridge?" The adoption has to be approved by the adoptive family as well. Well, sir, we as the People of Israel do NOT approve of any adoption of Christians. I'm sorry, but that is just the way it is.
     
  10. LightofTruth

    LightofTruth Well-Known Member

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    You're free to believe whatever you like. I simply happen to be one who has accepted the N.T. as from God.

    Accordingly, Paul explains that the Jews are in bondage to the law (the ministration of death as he calls it) which is a schoolmaster to lead to the saving faith which Abraham showed when he believed the promises God made to him whereby God imputed His righteousness to Abraham. The law was given to the Jews to show them their complete inability to live up to its just demands and that they ought seek mercy from God for breaking the covenant they made with Him.
    The righteousness God imputes (God's own righteousness) to man comes by faith in the promises of God just as Abraham. It is ONLY the covenant God made with Abraham whereby anyone can receive those promises.
     
  11. Eddi

    Eddi Eddifying
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    That has always been my understanding :)

    Thank you for your reply
     
  12. LightofTruth

    LightofTruth Well-Known Member

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    Gen 15:5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
    Gen 15:6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

    Abraham was accounted righteousness because Abraham believed God.

    Gen 15:18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land....."

    Gen 17:4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.
    Gen 17:5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
    Gen 17:8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

    Now, how is it that Abraham himself is to inherit the land of promise, the land which he was instructed to walk, if Abraham is dead?

    Exo 3:6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

    God had told Moses that He IS "I am" the God of Abraham. God was still the God of Abraham even though Abraham was dead.

    Jesus explains:

    Mat 22:31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God:
    Mat 22:32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”

    Because the dead shall rise, God can be the God of Abraham. And therefore Abraham can receive the inheritance promised to him and his offspring by faith.

    Rom 4:17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

    Even though Abraham does not now exist, God says he does, as though he did.

    Abraham becomes the father of all who are of like precious faith.
     
    #12 LightofTruth, Mar 15, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2021
  13. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    Not the kids, the kids have no say. The Parent does, though. The only say.
     
  14. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    The requirement for circumcision was only for the Jews. Since Jesus fulfilled the Law and ended it, (Romans 10:4) Gentiles were added to the Christian congregation but were not required to keep the Jewish Law......so when the circumcision question arose it was determined by the Apostles and older men in Jerusalem that circumcision was no longer a requirement for God's worshippers. (Acts 15:1-12) Jews too were released from the Law, but if they chose to circumcise their children, it was fine to do so...it was just not a requirement any longer.

    The decision reached by the Apostles and older men was this...
    Acts 15:28-29....
    "For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you except these necessary things: 29 to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!”
     
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  15. LightofTruth

    LightofTruth Well-Known Member

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    Abraham is possessor of all things (heaven and earth) through his own seed...which is Christ. Christ is the testator of the covenant God made with Abraham which was brought into force by Christ's death. So, all those who are in Christ are adopted sons of Abraham by faith.
     
    #15 LightofTruth, Mar 15, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2021
  16. LightofTruth

    LightofTruth Well-Known Member

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    Gal 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
    Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
    Gal 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
    Gal 3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

    According to the custom of men, when they have an inheritance to bequeath to their heirs, they make a will or testament so that the inheritance may be given to the proper heirs according to the wishes of the testator.
    First, there is the making of the will.
    Second, there is the confirmation of the will in the presence of two or three witnesses.
    Third, the will is brought into force by the death of the testator.
    And forth, the time appointed for dividing the inheritance among the heirs.

    These same things apply to the covenant God made with Abraham.

    First, as recorded in chapter 15 of Genesis, Paul says that God gave the inheritance to Abraham (and his seed) by promise.

    Second, the covenant was confirmed some thirty five years later to Abram by the oath of God when Abraham offered up his son Isaac. Then to Isaac when God swore to Isaac. And third when He swore to Jacob.
    So, there are the three witnesses of the will. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And the confirmation of it covered about 170 years from the time of God's oath to Abraham and finishing with His oath to Israel.

    Third, God's will was brought into force by the death of the testator of the will....Christ.

    Fourth, the time of reward for the heirs of promise comes at Christ's coming and the resurrection of the dead.
     
  17. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    The rule was apparently abrogated in Jesus' time (a new covenent). The Abrahamic God is in habit of changing rules. Did that with the later messengers / manifestations / mahdis also.
     
  18. LightofTruth

    LightofTruth Well-Known Member

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    It's the same covenent. The covenent is refered to as new because it laid barren until the death of the testator which came after the covenent at Mount Sinai. It was newly brought into force by the death of Christ.
     
    #18 LightofTruth, Mar 15, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2021
  19. Tzephanyahu

    Tzephanyahu Member

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    Hey,

    My honest feedback is that I find the tone somewhat disrespectful. That was probably not your intent and I realise it was a rough draft, but there are ways to say things and a way not to. By writing "...rather than having a circumcised penis" seems to be a line to evoke humour with it's bluntness (at least that's how it seems in the text alone). Everyone knows what you mean by circumcision and the context of your message. By regularly throwing "penis" into your message, it seems as though you are abasing it or attempting to make your point by humorously undermining it.

    Circumcision is a covenant sign given by the Creator of all things. It shouldn't be undermined or degraded at all, unless your intent is to do that to the Creator as well, which I'm sure it's not. If you think Paul was dismissing this covenant sign in disgrace, I think you need to revisit his words.

    I think your theology is a little lacking as well. Saying "Jesus in your heart and accepting him" is, to be honest, an empty platitude to those unfamiliar with the Scriptures. It can be interpreted in a number of different ways. What does it mean to have Him in your heart? What does accepting Him mean? What do I do on day one? How should I live? But this general statement won't help guide the new disciples.

    Also, if you believe you have broken away from the Abrahamic Covenant, then there really is no promises for you to be found in the Bible. Christians become Abraham's seed through the Messiah and so inherit the promises through him - being grafted into Israel. But if you "broke away" from Abraham, then where is your root? Are you basing your faith in the New Testament alone? The "New Testament" is a continuation of the "Old Testament" and to try and divorce them, it will leave you with many questions and subsequent errors in your theology. In short, if you have no part in Abraham, you have no part in Israel, David or the Messiah. The Gospel to the Gentiles was to graft them into Israel to share in her promises - this is the message through the whole Bible. And as for this claim that early Christian's walked away from the Abrahamic Covenant - I would be interested in reading your citation for that as I have never heard this. Unless you mean "early" as in the Catholic Church - which isn't really early Christianity.

    Apologies for the brutal feedback but I think you need to reassess this matter very seriously. May He guide you through the Scriptures on the topic, for His glory

    Peace.
     
  20. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    Deeje " The requirement for circumcision was only for the Jews"

    What a misrepresentation of Abraham and of "G-d's Everlasting Covenant" with/through Abraham a JW-Pauline-Christian has done, I could never think of?! Right? Perhaps they read the Watch-Tower Magazine more than the Bible (their scripture), please. Right?

    Berei**** - Genesis - Chapter 17

    1And Abram was ninety-nine years old, and God appeared to Abram, and He said to him, "I am the Almighty God; walk before Me and be perfect.
    2And I will place My covenant between Me and between you, and I will multiply you very greatly."
    3 And Abram fell upon his face, and God spoke with him, saying,
    4"As for Me, behold My covenant is with you, and you shall become the father of a multitude of nations.
    5And your name shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
    6And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings will emerge from you.
    7And I will establish My covenant between Me and between you and between your seed after you throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant, to be to you for a God and to your seed after you.
    8And I will give you and your seed after you the land of your sojournings, the entire land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and I will be to them for a God."
    9And God said to Abraham, "And you shall keep My covenant, you and your seed after you throughout their generations.
    10This is My covenant, which you shall observe between Me and between you and between your seed after you, that every male among you be circumcised.
    11And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be as the sign of a covenant between Me and between you.
    12And at the age of eight days, every male shall be circumcised to you throughout your generations, one that is born in the house, or one that is purchased with money, from any foreigner, who is not of your seed.
    13Those born in the house and those purchased for money shall be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant.
    14And an uncircumcised male, who will not circumcise the flesh of his foreskin-that soul will be cut off from its people; he has broken My covenant."
    15And God said to Abraham, "Your wife Sarai-you shall not call her name Sarai, for Sarah is her name.
    16And I will bless her, and I will give you a son from her, and I will bless her, and she will become [a mother of] nations; kings of nations will be from her. "
    17And Abraham fell on his face and rejoiced, and he said to himself, "Will [a child] be born to one who is a hundred years old, and will Sarah, who is ninety years old, give birth?"
    18And Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael will live before You!"
    19And God said, "Indeed, your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac, and I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his seed after him.
    20And regarding Ishmael, I have heard you; behold I have blessed him, and I will make him fruitful, and I will multiply him exceedingly; he will beget twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.
    21But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year."
    22And He finished speaking with him, and God went up from above Abraham.
    23And Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house and all those purchased with his money, every male of the people of Abraham's household, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskin on that very day, as God had spoken with him.
    24And Abraham was ninety-nine years old, when he was circumcised of the flesh of his foreskin.
    25And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised of the flesh of his foreskin.
    26On that very day, Abraham was circumcised, and [so was] Ishmael his son.
    27And all the people of his household, those born in his house and those bought with money from foreigners, were circumcised with him.
    https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8212/jewish/Chapter-17.htm

    Where the name Jews is mentioned (with reference to circumcision)in the above Chapter, please? Right?
    It was an "Everlasting Covenant", kindly tell us , what is meant by the natural word "Everlasting" , please? Right?
    Was Abraham a Jew (where with reference to circumcision) it is mentioned, please? Right?
    Ishmael is also mentioned in the above chapter, why to exclude him altogether, please? Right?
    Will one kindly read Genesis Chapter 17 in full again and revise one's post to make it in alignment of the Chapter 17, please? Right?

    Regards
     
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