Circumcision the woman and the Kinsman Redeemer

Circumcision the woman and the Kinsman Redeemer

Circumcision, the woman, and the Kinsman Redeemer

In dealing with women in ministry, the question has been asked of me, isn’t circumcision a proof that God only wants men to minister through leading and teaching since God gave the sign of circumcision for males only to his people in the Old Testament?  Did God give preferential treatment to males when he brought them into the Abrahamic covenant in the Old Testament through circumcision?

While some believe that the entrance into the Abrahamic covenant of blessing through circumcision gave preferential treatment for males, the fact is that only the males had a necessary ritual of entrance into the covenant and without this ritual, they were rejected as part of the covenant.  Females entered the covenant without restriction and without rejection.  To understand the reasons why, we need to look at the biblical requirement for circumcision.

Circumcision was performed on babies when they were 8 days old and if the parents did not circumcise their baby boy, the baby was rejected.

Gen 17:14  “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.”

Circumcision

 

Who did the circumcision?

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It is an interesting fact that babies did not circumcise themselves. Also, the failure of the father to cut off his son’s foreskin would result in that baby being cut off from the people of God.  This means that the physical act of circumcision was done by a father to his son without the son having done anything sinful of his own.  This was a generational sign done to the next generation and then passed on to the following generations.  When Israel disobeyed God in the wilderness for 40 years, one of the ways they disobeyed Him was their failure to circumcise their sons. After the fathers all died in the wilderness, Joshua took the responsibility to circumcise all of the males who were the sons of the disobedient fathers who fell in the desert. Joshua did the circumcisions so that these sons would be included in God’s covenant and enter into the promised land.  The females were allowed to go into the promised land without restriction.

God’s restriction on males

To understand God’s restriction on males and how it relates to the Kinsman Redeemer we need to understand the physical and spiritual sign that God gave as a symbol for sin.  The scriptural symbol for sin is the foreskin of the male.

Sign of physical sin
While only males carried the symbol of sin in their body, both males and females carried the spiritual symbol of sin. God said the spiritual symbol of sin must be cut off to be right with him.

heart sin

Deuteronomy 10:16  So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.

Deuteronomy 30:6  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, so that you may live.

Jeremiah 4:4  “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds.”

Spiritual symbol of sin

The spiritual symbol of sin is called the “foreskin” of our heart.  It needs to be cut off from our heart so that we can be right with God.  The Abrahamic covenant focused on the fleshly sign of sin, the fleshly foreskin on the males, the New Covenant in our Lord Jesus focuses on the spiritual sign of sin, the uncircumcised heart.  We must circumcise our heart through repentance by turning away from sin (Deut. 10:16.) However, God himself does the actual work by completely removing our sin (Deut 30:6) and God gives us a new heart.

Ezekiel 36:26  “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

While a female also have a piece of physical skin that will be removed when she is married, her skin of her virginity is a symbol of purity, not a symbol of sin. This is important because the Messiah had to come through a virgin alone and no male would be involved in passing on of the seed of Adam to the Messiah.  The male alone has the physical symbol of sin in his body, so the Messiah’s birth through a virgin woman would produce an untainted, and sinless Messiah with no sin nature.

Sign of righteousness

Circumcision was created to be a sign of righteousness, but it was also created to be something that was done to a person, not something that one does for one self.  Circumcision symbolizes that righteousness does not originate from us but given to us through the grace of God.  Romans 4:11 explains:

Rom 4:11  and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them,

Circumcision was a seal of righteousness.  It was a seal, a sign of the cutting off of sin that results in a righteous standing before God.

The physical sign of sin had to be cut off in order for a male to enter God’s Abrahamic covenant.  Only the males carried this sign of sin in their body.  The cutting off of the sign of sin was the seal of righteousness.  It was a sign of the physical, fleshly standing before God.  Abraham received this sign while he was yet uncircumcised. Abraham’s circumcision was God’s work of grace, not a work that Abraham accomplished.  This is why the cutting off of the physical sign of sin was done to babies who could not accomplish this “work” for themselves.

themselves.

Our inheritance

Why is there a physical sign of sin only on the males when the spiritual sign of sin is on both males and females?  The answer is shown in the sin nature that we all inherit from Adam.  The sin nature comes through the one man, but we add to that our own burden of sin. Because we have a sin nature, and because we ourselves practice our own sin, we are under a double condemnation of sin.

The first condemnation of sin is the sin nature that we have inherited through Adam.

Psalms 51:5  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

Psalms 58:3  The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.

We all have inherited a sin nature that causes us to sin from a little child onward.  No one needs to teach a child how to lie.  A little child sins naturally because the child is born with a sin nature.  Scripture also says that sin entered the world through one man.  It doesn’t say that it was just corruption and decay that entered the world, but “sin” itself entered the world.

Romans 5:12  Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—

Notice in this Scripture that the death that came through sin “spread” to all men.  The Greek word that is translated as “spread” is dierchomai and it means to pass through.  How did death pass through all humans?  The literal Greek says:

Romans 5:12  Because of this as even as through one human the sin into the world entered and through the sin the death and thus into all humans the death passed through on which all sinned.

Sin entered the world

It is clear from the literal translation that the sinful rebellion that entered the world is passed through all humans. As a result of having a sin nature, all humans are subject to death. Because we have a sin nature, we ourselves sin.  The Greek says “on which” all sinned.  It is what has been passed through to us, “on which” or on the basis of this, all sin.

Romans 5:14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

We enter the world in a dying body because we have inherited the sin nature from Adam and death follows to all who are descendants of Adam by his seed because these are the ones who were “in” Adam when he sinned.  All of us are the seed of Adam and all of us were there inside him in the form of his seed when he sinned.  It was Adam’s one sin that caused us to start our life as dying beings.  The fact that we enter the world in a body that is susceptible to sickness and death proves that we inherit Adam’s sin nature since death follows sin.  There would be no death if sin didn’t exist first.

Romans 5:15  But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

Spiritual separation

It wasn’t just that we enter this life in a dying body, we also enter into a fleshly body that has inherited the sin nature. We were created as sinners because of Adam’s sin.  Adam’s sin caused both a physical death and a spiritual separation from God.  The very day that Adam sinned, he was separated from God and kicked out of the garden.  We inherit this separation from God because we were “in” Adam when he sinned.  Romans 5:19 proves that it wasn’t just our death that came as a result of Adam’s sin, but we were made sinners through Adam’s sin:

Romans 5:19  For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

How is it through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners?  “The many” were made sinners because Adam’s sin was spread to us by inheritance.  By the one man’s sin, we inherited his rebellion, and this spread to all of Adam’s offspring, tainting us even in our mother’s womb. We are tainted from the beginning because we are the seed of Adam.  Romans 5:19 makes a strong point that one man’s sin made the many to be sinners.

Only Adam

Scripture also makes it clear that this sin is brought into the world, not by Eve and through her seed, but by Adam.  Scripture also makes it clear that the one who would pay for our sin must be a Kinsman Redeemer belonging to Adam’s line, yet without sin.  Jesus must be the last “Adam” not the last “Eve” or the last “Abraham”.  The one who started the sin must be redeemed by the life and work of the “last” Adam.  The word Redeemer in the Hebrew is “gaal” and it means to act as a redeemer to a deceased kinsman, to redeem or buy back from bondage.  Jesus is that Kinsman Redeemer who buys back from bondage all that was lost by Adam’s sin. For Jesus to be the Redeemer, he must be a perfect sacrifice without sin or blemish.

 

4 circumcision

Jesus was born from a virgin without having a human father so that he would not have the inherited sin nature that comes through the seed of the man.  Jesus is the only human born who is not a seed of Adam.  Jesus was not in Adam when Adam sinned.  When God showed in his word that the male has the only one who had the physical sign of sin, God was giving the word that the Messiah would not come through the seed of the man. The foreskin is a powerful symbol of sin.  It must be cut off because the foreskin is identified with the sin and rebellion of Adam.

Scripture also tells us that the father can affect the seed within him.

Hebrews 7:9, 10 And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

If scripture reveals that the seed within the father can be credited with the act of the father, then the seed within the father can also be credited with the sinful rebellion when Adam fell just as scripture says.  Scripture very clearly says that Adam brought sin into the world.  He brought sin into the world just as surely as Levi paid tithes while he was in his father’s loins.

Why was Jesus born with a foreskin?

If it is true that the male transfers the sin nature of Adam (Adam’s seed) to Adam’s fleshly descendants, then why was Jesus born with a foreskin that needed to be cut off?  The reason that Jesus had a foreskin, is because Jesus had to be made like us in all ways, yet without sin.

Romans 8:3  For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

Jesus was sent in the “likeness of sinful flesh”.  What was that “likeness” of sinful flesh?  Jesus was born without inherited sin, but he did have the symbol of sin in his body just as all other men had.  Jesus had a foreskin, and this foreskin had to be cut off in order to fulfill the law.

Although Jesus was without inherited sin because he received his humanity through the woman’s seed alone, Jesus still had to fulfill all of the law on our behalf.  In the same way, although Jesus had no sin of his own, Jesus had to fulfill the law by being baptized.  Baptism symbolizes the washing away of sin by cutting off the foreskin of the heart, yet Jesus had no sin to be washed away and no foreskin of his heart that needed to be cut away.  But because he was to fulfill the entire law on our behalf, Jesus needed to go through each of these acts in order to be identified with us in our sin so that he could be our sin bearer.

The Sin-Bearer

As the sin-bearer of the entire human race, and as the last Adam, Jesus needed to be a descendant of Adam, yet not come through Adam’s tainted seed.  How is that possible?  God bypassed the man’s seed by going through the woman’s seed which had not been tainted with Adam’s sin.  God bypassed the one who brought sin and stain into our lives by going through the very one who had been deceived by Satan.  Click here to read how God did this by reading my article on Adam as head of the family.

Summary

To sum up the importance of circumcision and the importance of cutting off of sin, we need to see that:

1.  Only Adam brought sin into the world.
2. Adam alone was kicked out of the garden as the one whom God pinpointed as the one who would continue to rebel against God’s rules and eat from the tree that was no longer available to him.
3. Adam’s seed was not used to bring the Messiah into the world.
4. Only the males have the physical sign of sin (foreskin)
5. Death is passed through to each one of us because of Adam’s sin.
6. The sin nature that we inherit causes us to practice sinning on our own.
5. Jesus was made in the image of the first Adam and Jesus had a foreskin as the physical sign of sin, although he himself was not sinful.
6. Entrance into God’s family requires the removal of the foreskin of our hearts and this is a requirement of both males and females.
7. We are saved by grace through faith and it is God who removes the symbol of sin from our hearts and He is the one who makes us clean.

Was the male more important than the female?

In answer to the question about circumcision, this rite of entrance into the Abrahamic covenant was not a lifting up of the male as more important than the female.  Females were not given circumcision because sin does not pass through from the seed of Eve.  The sign of circumcision was God’s finger pointing toward the birth of the Messiah through the seed of the woman. Praise God that he knew a way to bring the Messiah as our kinsman Redeemer without the stain of inherited sin.  Christ and Christ alone was the unblemished lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

 

 

82 thoughts on “Circumcision the woman and the Kinsman Redeemer

  1. Wow Cheryl, this is a lot to take in. I certainly plan on printing this out and studying it. The circumcision question and how women relate to this has confused me for somtime.

    Now, not that you are busy or anything (smile) but how does this verse relate to any of this…it has confused me for years:

    Exodus 4

    24At a lodging place on the way the LORD met him and sought to put him to death. 25Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.

  2. Lin,
    God had chosen Moses to lead the people out of Egypt, but in order to do this job he needed Moses to be completely obedient. The sons born to the Israelites as well as the servants born to their family must be circumcised on the eighth day and it is apparent that Moses had not done this to his son. Perhaps it was because his wife was not an Israelite and did not approve of the practice and he listened to her rather than obeying the commandment. When God came to put Moses to death for disobedience, it appears that his wife had been holding back Moses from circumcising his son, so Zipporah finally relented when she saw that there was no other option, but she did the circumcision in anger and threw the foreskin at Moses’ feet calling him a husband of blood. The fact that Zipporah did the circumcision and it was not Moses who did the job, appears to give strong evidence that she was the hold-out and Moses should have had some backbone to do what was right even if his wife didn’t want to follow God.

    Although scripture says that the uncircumcised son will be cut off from the people of God, it appears that God threatened to cut off Moses too for disobedience. Circumcision was a requirement, not an option in obeying God. It symbolized the importance of cutting off of sin, so much so that God chose to make this a “hill to die on” and would have removed Moses if there wasn’t complete obedience.

  3. Actually, females have a foreskin too. It’s normally called the clitoral hood, but medically they are both the same thing – the prepuce. Cutting the prepuce off a girl is illegal though. Why don’t boys get the same protectection?

    Hardly any Christian countries circumcise boys, and for Catholics, it’s actually a sin (http://www.catholicsagainstcircumcision.org).

    There are also Jews who oppose circumcision:
    http://www.jewishcircumcision.org/
    http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/
    http://www.circumcision.org/

  4. Mark,
    The “hood” in a female is not called a foreskin however cutting it off is not illegal. What you are probably referring to is not cutting of the piece of skin but cutting off the entire organ. This is widely done in third world countries where the woman’s sexuality is stifled by female mutilation. This procedure is illegal and it is brutal. For this procedure to be similar in boys would be to cut off the entire organ.

    God’s law required cutting off the foreskin in an act of obedience for the Jews in the same way that God’s law requires that we have the foreskin of our hearts dealt with by the Lord Jesus. We stubbornly cannot hold on to our sin and think that we are following God. When we repent and turn away from our sin, and submit to the cutting work of the Holy Spirit, God has promised to give us a new heart and a new spirit. God’s way is the way of obedience and man’s way is the way of rationalization and disobedience.

  5. The clitoral hood is the exact equivalent of the foreskin, and both are called the “prepuce”. Cutting off a clitoral hood *is* illegal in the USA, and has been since 1997. In fact, just making an incision without removing any tissue is illegal.

    I agree that removing the clitoris is considerably worse than regular male circumcision, but many forms of female circumcision do not remove the clitoris, and most forms of Type I female circumcision do less damage than standard male circumcision.

    The more you find out about female circumcision, the less difference you will find with male circumcision. For instance:
    1) Male circumcision amongst Christians in the USA became popular in the 19th century to stifle male sexuality. Christians didn’t circumcise anywhere until then.
    2) The USA is almost the only country where Christians circumcise (the Philippines is the other, where the practice was introduced by Americans).
    3) Clitoridectomy used to be performed in the USA on “wayward” girls.
    4) Almost every country which practises male circumcision also practises some form of female circumcision.

  6. Mark,
    I have never heard of female circumcision except for what is wrongly labeled as circumcision but it is actually mutilation. It has been widely reported on in the media. As a mother of a son who had to be circumcised because the tissue grew shut when he was just a small baby, I would rather see a child circumcised in a painless way than go through what we did when it became medically necessary. It was very hard on us to see him in such pain.

    The point is that as Christians we do not need to follow the Jewish law but it is not wrong to have the procedure done. There is reasons to have males circumcised. There are no health benefits for cutting of a woman’s skin and God did not require this.

    The question on circumcision for the Jews or circumcision for our hearts all revolves around obedience. Many Jews didn’t obey God when they came out of Egypt and that generation died in the wilderness due to their disobedience. God has a right to our obedience because he is God.

  7. It’s only in the USA that doctors find reasons to circumcise small boys. In other Christian countries, less than 1% of males ever need to be circumcised, and it *never* happens before puberty. I very much doubt that any British or Australian or South American doctor would have thought that your son needed to be circumcised, especially not if he was still a baby. US doctors try to find reasons to circumcise though, and don’t know what intact penises are supposed to be like, so they find problems where none exist. Conversely, you can find doctors in many countries that will argue that there are significant health benefits for various forms of female circumcision. Over 90% of Egyptian girls are circumcised by surgeons in clinics (though their version does a lot less damage than regular male circumcision)

    Circumcision is not painless at any age, and in fact hurts newborns *more*, since a) you can’t use general anaesthetic and b), you have to separate the foreskin from the glans, which is the most painful part of the circumcision.

    I also regard male circumcision as mutilation, and it is also the view of the Catholic church that circumcision is a sin.

  8. Thanks Cheryl. That passage has been confusing because there is no ‘leading’ up to it. It is astonishing to read that God would have killed Moses. Moses!

    What is even more interesting is that Moses did not seem to be punished not marrying a Hebrew woman.

  9. Mark,
    First of all our son was done as an emergency. Even with a stretching he wouldn’t drink or go to the bathroom. I completely disagree with you especially since I have been through this. And if God required something then God is the one who knows best not us. The bottom line is that when God says to do something we must obey. God almost killed Moses because he had not circumcised his son. Although we do not have this law for Christians today, to say that it is wrong to do is simply not true.

  10. Lin,
    God does test us to see if we will obey and I think Moses was tested until the very end. God did something similar with Balaam where he told him that he could not go with the Midianites to curse Israel. Later when Balaam asked again (why would he even ask God again?) God said that he could go but with the Midianites but he must only say that God gave him to say. God was testing Balaam. Since Balaam was hoping to get some money for his “work” it appears that it took him all of two seconds to get up and go with the men. But God put an angel in the way to kill Balaam and ultimately Balaam was saved through the miracle of a talking donkey who protected Balaam from coming across the path of the angel who would have killed Balaam.

    So here we have two examples, one of God’s leader for Israel and another of a “prophet” who were both almost killed and each had a savior provided to keep them from being killed. In Balaam’s case God provided a talking donkey to keep Balaam from going further. In Moses’ case he was on the way to lead Israel when he too encountered a God-ordained appointment with death if he would have gone an further without an obedience to God in what he already knew to be true. He too was saved when his wife obeyed the commandment.

    It seems to me that these two instances are about God showing us how serious he is in our obedience and there are consequences for disobedience, yet he also provided a “way of escape” so that he didn’t have to kill the man. It also shows to me that before we take the next “step” of faith in going on with God we need to make sure that we have obeyed God in what he has already told us. The next step of faith is dependent on what we already have revealed to us and we cannot move on until we are obedient to God’s revealed will.

  11. Cheryl, it sounds like your son had a bad UTI, and I’m sorry to hear that. However, if you’d gone to most doctors in the world, they wouldn’t have thought that being intact was the cause, or that circumcision was the cure. Circumcised boys get UTI’s too, and girls get them about four times as often as boys, but then the treatment is antibiotics, not surgery. Circumcision wouldn’t even be considered in a European or South American hospital. Stretching isn’t applicable btw.

    (there is one medical reason that babies do get circumcised for, and that’s hypaspadias)

    I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree, but I believe that circumcision is not just unnecessary for Christians, but wrong. Three Popes have spoken out against circumcision, and it also appears to contravene the Catechism.

  12. While circumcision was never mandated for Christians, it certainly was for Jews, as long as there are Jews. A case could be made for Paul forbidding it, but context tells us the forbidding was due to the motivation. In other words, if someone wanted it strictly to be legalistic and “boast in your flesh”, that would violate Paul’s clear commands not to go back under any part of the old Law.

    Seeing that it isn’t expressly forbidden for other reasons, we can’t call it wrong or a sin. But that only leaves one other reason, which would be medical. Even so, there are conflicting medical views on this. One side says it prevents or minimizes the chance of infection from improper hygiene, while the other cites the pain and reduced sensitivity.

    So I’d call it a matter of medical judgment, but the Christian must never do it out of any kind of legalistic religious duty. Neither must it be done to reduce sexual pleasure, male or female. I see that as barbaric, especially female genital mutilation.

  13. Just for a little levity’s sake, I still crack up at Rabbi Tuchman’s circumcision gadget in Mel Brooks’ “Robin Hood, Men in Tights”…

  14. Here is my understanding.

    Circumcision of males was the sign of a FAMILY entering Abraham’s covenant. This is one you want to be in as it is just promises from God and is therefore sometimes called the Promise.
    It is a physical sign of a spiritual truth, the need for heart circumcision, which is true for everyone, males and females Some pagans also circumcized males, so JUST because one is circumcized does not mean anything, it needs to have been done in faith, as does everything that counts spiritually.

    ANYONE IN CHRIST has put on Christ and so is in Abraham’s covenant and so can partake in Passover in good faith, for example, where it is required to be circumcized if male to participate.

    But I do not see explicitly where the foreskin is a symbol for sin, rather removing the foreskin is a sign of being tenderized.

  15. Don,
    Thanks for your comments!

    Circumcision was a sign of the family progenitor entering into the covenant but this doesn’t mean that a male was need to get into the covenant. The fact is that only males were required to be circumcised, but female slaves and single women did not need a male to be a part of the Abrahamic covenant. This brings up the question of why?

    You are right in that it is absolutely true that anyone who is in Christ is part of the Abrahamic family of God. We all had our hearts filled with sin and it is Jesus Christ who removed the foreskin of our hearts. Removing the foreskin was a sign of removing the sin. The question that I was asking is why is the removal of the foreskin a sign of removing of sin? It is because the foreskin is a symbol or sign of sin. If is it true that we all have a spiritual foreskin that needs to be removed off our hearts, we need to also consider why it is that only men have a physical foreskin that needs to be removed that allowed them to come into the family of God in the OT? There was never one woman who was refused entrance because she did not have a male member of her family to bring her into the covenant. The covenant did not have a male mediator who brought the family into the covenant. The covenant was for each person individually. The father could not bring the sons into the covenant even if he was circumcised. The father’s circumcision was not good enough. Each male member had to be circumcised or they were out of the family of God. This is quite a sober warning of God that each son was rejected with or without their father’s own circumcision.

    When we see the importance of the cutting off of the foreskin in the males as a sign of passing on of the inheritance of the sin nature, it should cause us to realize why God did not give the promise to Adam of his seed being the Savior and why it was the seed of the woman alone who became our Savior. So many say that the virgin birth is unnecessary but that is not correct. The virgin birth of Jesus has been and continues to be a important part of our faith. Jesus had to be the sinless lamb who was able to take away our sin. He could not have inherited a sin nature in any way and he could not have sinned on his own or he would not qualify to be our Savior.

    It is interesting also to note that God rejected a sacrificial lamb that had any physical blemish. It wasn’t just the innocence of the lamb that was required but there there was also a requirement that there be no physical mark or blemish on the lamb in order for them to be a pure sacrifice for sin. Everything that God does is for a reason and each symbol has a meaning. Jesus as the lamb of God had to be physically without blemish (a sin nature inherited by birth would have disqualified him) and internally without blemish (without personal sin). If he failed in either way to be sinless then he could not be our Kinsman Redeemer.

  16. I was going to ask one other thing, Don, if you see scripture as saying that removing the foreskin was a sign of being tenderized, where do you get this from? Scripture says that the need for circumcision of the heart was because of our evil deeds. Jeremiah 4:4 says that if they do not circumcise their hearts, God’s wrath will go out against them. This is a consequence of their sin, their uncircumcised hearts.

    Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds.

    Uncircumcised heart = sin (or evil) in their heart. God’s wrath is poured out against our sin. This is why we are told that we need a new heart not a tenderized heart. That is the way I see scripture. If I have missed something, I welcome correction.

  17. I can find 73 hits in e-sword in the ESV on “circumc*” and 7 on “foreskin”. I cannot find any of them saying that the foreskin is a symbol for sin or circumcision is a symbol for removing sin. If you can, please post it.

    On the tender aspect, the Bible talks about healing after it is done, and it is obvious that some of the protection is removed for a very sensitive part of a male.

  18. Don,
    Thanks for clarifying what you meant. That was a very thoughtful answer.

    Let’s have a look at the physical and spiritual meaning of protection over a sensitive part. First of all we can see that both men and women have a piece of skin that acts as a protection over a sensitive part. While it is fairly rare that women’s skin is removed by circumcision, that is the removing of the skin of protection over her very sensitive part, it is very common in the third world to have a young girl’s entire organ cut out resulting in genital mutilation. If we ignore the mutilation part, we can readily see that it is possible to remove the skin covering the sensitive part on both men and women. Agreed?

    We should also be able to agree that removing the foreskin in the flesh is a fleshly act that is spiritualized by removing the foreskin of our hearts. Agreed?

    Next I think that we can agree that God only required males to be circumcised in the flesh and there was no such requirement for the females even though females also had a piece of skin that covered their very sensitive part.

    Let’s go on next to the spiritual end of the circumcision of the foreskin. Let’s look at Jeremiah 4:4 in the ESV.

    Jeremiah 4:4 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 deeds.”

    The key words here are circumcise, foreskin, hearts, wrath, evil, deeds. So what is God saying? One thing that we know for sure is that each one of us has had a foreskin on our hearts. The foreskin of the heart is not limited to males as females also have it. God says that the foreskin on our hearts brings God’s wrath and what we need to have cut away has to do with evil deeds that have something to do with our heart.

    Is God saying that we need to remove a piece of skin from our hearts that keeps us from being sensitive or we need to be made tender by the removing of the skin? Jeremiah 4:4 doesn’t appear to be saying this at all. Does God say that his wrath is to go forth like a fire because we are not tender? Or is God saying something else that is far worse? What exactly is it that God says that equates with the foreskin of our heart? Read on to see that God’s anger against us is because of the evil of our deeds. It is the evil that needs to be cut away from our hearts. Evil is sin. The evil of our deeds is the sinful thoughts of our heart that gives birth to sinful deeds.

    The next problem I think you would have if you made removing the foreskin to be a symbol of making a person more tender, is explaining why only males are to be made more tender? There is no family mediator in the OT who speaks on his wife’s behalf to God thus answering for her sin. The sacrificial system shows that each person must made a sacrifice acceptable to God for their own sin. There is no required mediator of the family where the man’s circumcision covers other people. In fact it is very clear that a father’s circumcision does not even cover his own son. A circumcised father still will have his son rejected from the people of God if his son is not circumcised.

    When I read scripture it is clear that the foreskin of the heart is a symbol of the sin and evil that is in our heart. When the evil and the sin that starts in our hearts is cut off, God says that he will give us a new heart one that follows hard after him. It is our sin that separates us from God and the foreskin is the symbol of that evil and evil is sin.

  19. Yes, removing the foreskin is a fleshly act. Yes, there can be ROUGHLY analogous parts in males and females, except the females are smaller. In my way of seeing it, the female MAYBE is ALREADY tender, but the male needed to be made so, in the physical shadow of the spiritual reality. Or perhaps it was just not a good idea to circumcize females when flint cutting tools were the norm. In the spiritual reality, both genders need to be made tender and this was true in the Torah.

    Deu 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.
    Deu 30:6 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.

    And the other 2 refs to heart circumcision:
    Jer 4:4 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 deeds.”
    Rom 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    So I can agree with all these verses and you can, we just see them differently, we explain the metaphor differently. Being a Greek thinker, I used to believe that one should seek for the ONE truth and then try to convince everyone of it. As I become more Hebraic, I realize that on SOME things there are many truths as there are many ways to see it. I try as much as possible for each to find their own truth and let each be. Of course, each should have enough info on context and culture to make an informed decision about what works for them. And always be willing to learn more and change, when more evidence comes in. And of course we all seek to have a relationship with God, who is Truth, capital T.

  20. Don,
    While I can see “tender” is a by-product of circumcision, I think there is a much greater application concerning what is cut off not what is left. This is why I believe very strongly that the scripture’s metaphor for sin is “foreskin”. I would agree with you the unprotected part now having the protection cut off is more open to being tender, but again in my article I am not dealing with the after-effects so much as the part that necessitates it to be cut off. Why must the foreskin be cut off? It can be pushed back and that would also create sensitivity. But scripture doesn’t say to pull back the foreskin but to cut it off. The emphasis is on cutting off what must not be there to be in God’s covenant.

    Although I rarely appeal to commentaries because I believe that the Bible is the final say, let me copy a few words from other commentaries showing that the foreskin is indeed identified with sin, corruption, evil, body of sins etc.

    John Wesley’s explanatory notes:

    Jer 4:4 – Circumcise – Put away your corruptions. Heart – Let it be inward, not outward in the flesh only.

    In John Gill’s exposition of the Bible he says:

    and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; this is the true spiritual circumcision; and they that are possessed of it are the circumcision, the only truly circumcised persons; and they are such who have been pricked to the heart, and thoroughly convinced of sin; who have had the hardness of their hearts removed, and the impurity of it laid open to them; which they have beheld with shame and loathing, and have felt an inward pain on account of it; and who have been enabled to deny themselves, to renounce their own righteousness, and put off the body of the sins of the flesh: and though men are exhorted to do this themselves, yet elsewhere the Lord promises to do it for them, Deu_30:6, and indeed it is purely his own work; or otherwise it could not he called, as it is, “circumcision without hands”, and “whose praise is not of man, but of God”, Col_2:11, and the reason of this exhortation, as before, is to convince those Jews, who were circumcised in the flesh, and rested and gloried in that, that their hearts were not circumcised, and that there was a necessity of it, and they in danger for want of it; as follows:

    lest my fury come forth like fire; to which the wrath of God is sometimes compared, Nah_1:6 and is sometimes signified by a furnace and lake of fire, even his eternal wrath and vengeance

    Matt Henry’s commentary on the bible says:

    (Jer_4:4): “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskin of your heart. Mortify the flesh and the lusts of it. Pare off that superfluity of naughtiness which hinders your receiving with meekness the engrafted word, Jam_1:21. Boast not of, and rest not in, the circumcision of the body, for that is but a sign, and will not serve without the thing signified. It is a dedicating sign. …Circumcision is an obligation to keep the law; lay yourselves afresh under that obligation. It is a seal of the righteousness of faith; lay hold then of that righteousness, and so circumcise yourselves to the Lord.”
    II. The danger they are threatened with, which they are concerned to avoid. Repent and reform, lest my fury come forth like fire, which it is now ready to do, as that fire which came forth from the Lord and consumed the sacrifices, and which was always kept burning upon the altar and none might quench it; such is God’s wrath against impenitent sinners, because of the evil of their doings.

    Jamieson, Faussett and Brown’s commentary says:

    Jer 4:4 –
    Remove your natural corruption of heart (Deu_10:16; Deu_30:6; Rom_2:29; Col_2:11).

    Keil & Delitzsch Commentary:

    “Circumcise you to the Lord” is explained by the next clause: remove the foreskins of your heart. The stress lies in (Hebrew text won’t copy); in this is implied that the circumcision should not be in the flesh merely. In the flesh all Jews were circumcised. If they then are called to circumcise themselves to the Lord, this must be meant spiritually, of the putting away of the spiritual impurity of the heart, i.e., of all that hinders the sanctifying of the heart; see in Deu_10:16. The plur. (Hebrew text won’t copy) is explained by the figurative use of the word, and the reading (Hebrew text won’t copy), presented by some codd., is a correction from Deu_10:16. The foreskins are the evil lusts and longings of the heart.

    NET notes:

    9 tn Heb “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskin of your heart.” The translation is again an attempt to bring out the meaning of a metaphor. The mention of the “foreskin of the heart” shows that the passage is obviously metaphorical and involves heart attitude, not an external rite.

    The Bible Knowledge Commentary

    Jer 4:3-4 –
    Jeremiah then used two metaphors to show the need for repentance. The first metaphor pertained to farming. Just as a farmer does not sow his seed on unplowed ground, so God does not sow His seed of blessing in unrepentant hearts. The men of Judah and… Jerusalem needed to break up the unplowed ground of their hearts through repentance. The second metaphor came from the Jewish practice of circumcision. Circumcision was a sign of being under God’s covenant with Israel (cf. Gen_17:9-14). The men, though circumcised physically, needed to circumcise their hearts so that their inward condition matched their outward profession (cf. Deu_10:16; Deu_30:6; Jer_9:25-26; Rom_2:28-29).
    Unless Judah did exercise true repentance — not just outward profession — God’s wrath would be released and would burn like fire against the people. And once God’s wrath was released no one could quench it.

  21. Don and Cheryl, I think both aspects are applicable. As to which is to be in the forefront, well first one must cut off the sin before the heart can be made tender. 🙂

    Thanks for quoting the commentaries. I have Keil and Delitzsch’s also. Good quotes.

    BTW Don, a couple people have asked if you knew about the Christian egal discussion forum at http://equalitycentral.com/. Seems you are getting a name for being a Christian scholar with a heart of grace.

  22. Well Done Sister Cheryl Well Done!
    This is amazing, you been the sciptures out so clearly a little child can understand. I thank Our Lord for feeding us using you a Woman! Amen

  23. Hi all
    everytime i read about the council of Jerusalem it blows me away.
    it really is quite incredibe how they council, on Paul and Barnabas’ encouragement agree to do away with this incredibly significant ritual from the days of Abraham…
    what is perhaps even MORE amazing is that a few verses ‘later’ in the next chapter Paul ‘makes’ Timothy get the ‘chop’ (just after he’s fought for Christian’s right to NOT need circumcision physically!) so that the gospel is not hindered….
    i’d love to have been a fly on the wall when he sat poor Tim down to give him the ‘bad’ news of what ‘had’ to be done ….

    i just think that’s ‘amazing’ – but Paul was all about forwarding the gospel …. i think that this illustration of two opposite ‘practices’ in Ch 15 and 16 of Acts is a warning to us on taking too ‘literally’ specific local actions taken in the early church such as stuff that is discussed in the gender debate… ???

    on a purely ‘medical’ note… on my dad’s side, my hubby’s side and my brother in law’s side there have been at least one or two circumcisions done after the age of 10 due to serious infections. God has given me three daughters – so i am thankful it’s a ‘non’ issue for us! but these poor blokes went through circumcision at ages where it was not only painful but very embarrasing… not sure about official stats – but ‘local’ ones seem to be a lot higher than ‘1%’. (based purely on medical, not religious reasons that is!)

    God bless you all!

    kerryn

  24. I too have wondered what on earth Paul was thinking. It didn’t make any sense to me the first time I read it, and it still doesn’t.

    Why is that only the USA seems to find medical needs for circumcisions at a later age though? The rate is 1 in 150 in the UK. It just looks like they’re trying to find reasons to do it. The other possibility is that parents used to be told to retract their sons’ foreskins, and this itself causes problems.

    It’s actually less painful to be circumcised when you’re older – you can use general anaesthetic, and you don’t have to separate the foreskin (in Scotland, hospitals will perform circumcision for Muslims, but the child must be at least six months old, so that general anaesthetic can be used). In most countries, 99% of Christian males are intact, and 99% of them have no problems. If there is a problem and they need to be circumcised, then it’s easier to have it done later on anyway.

    drops in male circumcision:
    USA: from 90% to 56%
    Canada: from 47% to 14%
    UK: from 35% to about 3% (

  25. (the website doesn’t seem to like a bracket next to an angle bracket)

    UK: from 35% to about 3% (less than 1% among Christians)
    Australia: 90% to 12.6%
    New Zealand: 95% to below 3% (mostly Samoans and Tongans, less than 1% among whites)
    South America and Europe: never above 3% (includes many of the world’s most Christian countries eg Poland, Spain, Italy, Brazil)

  26. Regarding the sin that passed through the seed of the male alone, Here is a quote from Luther:

    “Through the fall of Adam sin entered into the world, and all men in Adam have consequently sinned. For the paternal sperm (i.e., seed) conveys the corruption from generation to generation.” (Luther: in A History of Christian Thought, J. L. Neve, Muhlenberg Press, Philadelphia, 1946, vol.1, p 230.)

    Luther also made a clear difference between the seed of the woman and the seed of man so that it was only the male seed that passed inherited sin to all of us.

    While I am not a Calvinist, I certainly can quote from Calvin too:

    “We are not corrupted by acquired wickedness but do bring an innate corruptness from the very womb. . . All of us, therefore, descending from an impure seed come into the world tainted with the contagion of sin.” (Calvin, Institutes, Book 2, Chapter 1, Section 5.)

    Ulrich Zwingli said:

    “Original sin is inherited, a sickness (morbus est et conditio: it is both the disease itself and the condition), but not a guilt. . . . It is the root of all individual sins and it makes self-redemption impossible.” (Zwingli: in Neve, ref.2, p.244.)

    This original sin cannot be “washed away” by baptism as the Catholics suppose. It can only be dealt with by Jesus Christ who alone came through the seed of the woman.

  27. God made mankind “in his own image”. He gave males a foreskin for very good reasons. It was not intended to be cut off at the whim of a cultural habit – or some misguided belief in ‘original sin’.

    By definition, Christianity is founded upon the life and teachings of Christ Jesus. We should look no further than the Sermon on the Mount. There we will learn all we need.

    God is LOVE. How does love apply to the circumcision of males, young or old? What is ‘loving’ in the act of painfully removing a healthy and hugely beneficial part of a male’s genitals which God gave him as his birthright?

    By the way, I totally support the concept of women in ministry. They have as much value as men in ministry – possibly more.

    Christopher

  28. Christopher, welcome!

    God of course does not have male body parts and for sure has no “skin” or “foreskin”.

    If we only needed Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, then Jesus would not have needed to raise up Apostles to give us His teaching that isn’t recorded in the four gospels. There is much to learn about suffering, servanthood, sacrifice and patience as well as the foundation of the gospel that tests all false gospels.

    Since God gave man the foreskin as a sign of sin in the first place and even Jesus had his removed by the submission of His parents, surely God can decide on what He does and doesn’t want His covenant people to do. It was in effect until Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and now the fulfillment is in Christ so is no longer needed as a sign.

    Thanks for the support of women in ministry. That is very much appreciated.

  29. Cheryl… I didn’t hope from a response from you. I Googled information about “a perfect circumcision” – and found this website. I felt compelled to respond to you.
    I thank you for your reply… and apologise for not replying sooner.
    Must I respond to you here? I will if it’s important as a part of this discussion… but may I e-mail you first? Or you me?

    islaywhisky@hotmail.com
    Christopher

  30. Hi Christopher,
    You may email me in private if you would like. My email address is listed above at the “email” tab at the very top of my blog. Or you may comment here if you would like. Whatever you prefer.

    Blessings,
    Cheryl

  31. Cheryl, I learned things about circumcision I never knew, by reading your investigation, and the topic is not a new one to me. I’d like to state that when people see the word “circumcision,” it’s tragic that it could ever appear in any context other than applying to males. It was a refresher to me about the Council of Jerusalem deciding that male converts need not have their foreskins cut off. I am thinking the decision was questionable at least on the basis of sanitation—the Middle East is a hot and arid region, and the foreskin makes cleanliness difficult. A tributary issue is how much skin was removed, and I have read that when Jews in Greece and Rome wanted to conceal their status, they could “lengthen” the remaining skin. That caused their leaders to circumcise more skin, so that no disguising of circumcised status could be accomplished. Main thing I learned is about the foreskin of the penis representing disobedience and sin, so it’s quite logical that God would command it has to be circumcised. I re-read everything and I feel your scholarly views are correct. I feel the church has not had nearly enough to say about circumcision and how important it was in God’s eyes for every male to be submitted to it. The references to women not needing, or having any comparable requirement, are deeply interesting. Who ever heard of the Virgin Mary being circumcised? The fact that Christ had to be circumcised on the 8th day should settle arguments. As to circumcision not being spiritually mandatory today, I feel more comfortable at some distance from that view. I am happy that my mother’s doctor addressed my foreskin by circumcising it. I believe God wants us to be clean physically as well as spiritually; campaigns against circumcision as routine for baby boys are misguided. Pat Robertson said years ago he “could not support a campaign against circumcision,” and medical authorities have well established that cutting off a male’s foreskin, while painful temporarily, confers health benefits for himself and his partner. Bernadine Healy M.D., (a cardiologist) had a nice article in US News & World Report, “Don’t Be Afraid To Circumcise Your Baby Boy.” Jill Stanek, who has a Christian website, says she is an advocate of male circumcision. If males lose sight of the value of circumcision, females should consider it appropriate to remind us. But may I suggest if you re-do the artwork in the “Restriction By Circumcision” illustration, replace the folding utility knife with a scalpel or a Gomco circumcision clamp. Still a very thoughtful—and correct—illustration. Very respectfully yours.

  32. Charles, welcome! Thanks for your comments and your suggestion. Unfortunately I don’t think I will be redoing the graphics anytime soon and the utility knife (unfortunately I am not an expert on knives!) will have to do with the comic type characters, but I think we all know that the instrument of the removal of the skin would have been the sharpest knife. If I ever find myself with nothing else to do, I could always consider re-doing the graphic by looking for another example of a scalpel. A worthy suggestion never-the-less.

  33. The graphics make the point very “sharply!” And it’s amusing to realize that though circumcision isn’t necessarily a current requirement, on the health side, evidence is very heavily in favor of circumcising males, and there’s talk the Centers for Disease Control may recommend making it compulsory by law for all male infants. So if we don’t circumcise for one reason, we circumcise for another worthwhile reason, but in any case we do circumcise. Kind of like taking a trip by car, or taking a trip by train, same destination; and a very wholesome destination it is. The harvested foreskins from infant circumcisions are used to help burn victims, among other positive applications. Spiritually I think of the circumcision of Christ as the first shedding of His blood, way before being condemned at age 33.

  34. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123802256715541879.html Dr. Susan Black chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics task force on infant male circumcision. She says evidence favoring routine circumcision is “very compelling.” AAP will announce recommendation of task force this year. PLEASE write AAP asking that they recommend in favor of circumcision for every baby boy. It’s what they WANT to recommend. They need some moral support!

  35. Circumcision is very popular in the Philippines and appears linked to Christian missionary activities who very thoughtfully provide mobile circumcision clinics. Regardless of what St. Paul said about circumcision I feel better knowing I’m circumcised and would have it done if I missed out at birth.

  36. Circumcision certainly has many symbolic and medical aspects; removal of the symbol of sin, the living cells of his foreskin die = sin causes death. Circumcision changes the appearance, permanently reminding the circumcised male (several times daily) of the seal of righteousness. Unfortunately circumcision isn’t 100% always in reference to a removal of sexual skin from males. That situation leads to another aspect—often when God does (or orders something be done, as circumcising all males), the devil has an immoral counterfeit; “female circumcision” which the U.S. Congress very correctly criminalized; while at the same time also very correctly refused to “protect” males. The 14th Amendment equal protection clause does not apply as male circumcision is a highly valid health measure, while cutting females is merely an insult to civilized ethics. The upshot is—circumcision is either moral and ethical (if imposed on males) or immoral, sinful and criminal (if inflicted on females). Some years ago the percent of female OBGYNs started rising in response to women being more comfortable with women MD’s (understandably). In that sense, with more baby boys receiving their circumcisions at the hands of females, there are more Zipporahs on the scene. A cheerful thought!

  37. Commentary by male minister more historical insight on command to circumcise males, it was taken with all seriousness and has been carried out for thousands of years.

  38. As a Christian mom I am aware that in the NT we are not required to circumcise our male children. However, we must also acknowledge that God’s own son was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. Why should my son be exempt from circumcision when our saviour bore such a mark? When my son was born I felt that I should have his foreskin removed and that he should have the mark of circumcision. It was cut off the day after he was born.

  39. Linda,
    Welcome to my blog!

    The Savior bore the marks of circumcision as he had to fulfill all of God’s law on our behalf. We on the other hand are not able to fulfill the law and so we receive the payment for our sin and the fulfillment of the law through Christ. While having a son circumcised is not a requirement, it is also not a sin. However if we are looking to circumcision to fulfill our part of the law, then Christ has no value to us as we cannot share in the sacrifice for sin. Either we attempt to be righteous before God by obeying the requirements of the law, or we are made righteous through Christ.

    What we all can have is the sign of the circumcision of the heart as we are to turn our back on sin in order to follow Christ.

    God bless!
    Cheryl

  40. The Jews regard circumcision as a symbol of eternity, because it’s a circle, a shape without beginning or end. It’s astonishing that so much meaning attaches to what today we correctly regard as a beneficial procedure for health. Circumcision doesn’t save because saving is what man can’t do for himself. However, since the foreskin was the symbol of sin, it could continue to be; and sin causes disease and death. No sin, no death. We should all favor circumcision for health purposes.

  41. A “beneficial procedure for health”? “We should all favor circumcision for health purposes”?

    You might also want to check out the following:

    Canadian Paediatric Society
    http://www.cps.ca/english/statements/fn/fn96-01.htm
    “Recommendation: Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”

    http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/pregnancy&babies/circumcision.htm
    “Circumcision is a ‘non-therapeutic’ procedure, which means it is not medically necessary.”
    “After reviewing the scientific evidence for and against circumcision, the CPS does not recommend routine circumcision for newborn boys. Many paediatricians no longer perform circumcisions.”

    Royal Australasian College of Physicians
    http://www.racp.edu.au/index.cfm?objectid=65118B16-F145-8B74-236C86100E4E3E8E
    “In the absence of evidence of risk of substantial harm, informed parental choice should be respected. Informed parental consent should include the possibility that the ethical principle of autonomy may be better fulfilled by deferring the circumcision to adolescence with the young man consenting on his own behalf.”
    (almost all the men responsible for this statement will be circumcised themselves, as the male circumcision rate in Australia in 1950 was about 90%. “Routine” circumcision is now *banned* in public hospitals in Australia in all states except one.)

    British Medical Association
    http://www.bma.org.uk/ethics/consent_and_capacity/malecircumcision2006.jsp#Circumcisionformedicalpurposes
    “to circumcise for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive would be unethical and inappropriate.”

    The Royal Dutch Medical Association
    http://knmg.artsennet.nl/Diensten/knmgpublicaties/KNMGpublicatie/Nontherapeutic-circumcision-of-male-minors-2010.htm
    “The official viewpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organisations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity. Contrary to popular belief, circumcision can cause complications – bleeding, infection, urethral stricture and panic attacks are particularly common. KNMG is therefore urging a strong policy of deterrence. KNMG is calling upon doctors to actively and insistently inform parents who are considering the procedure of the absence of medical benefits and the danger of complications.”

  42. I will say this once, not twice! I won’t debate this fellow, because I can easily discern a reprobate when I encounter one! However, this is for the benefit of the fence-straddlers. I used to know someone who raved about how smart Bill Gates (Microsoft) is. That’s correct, Gates is one of history’s great geniuses. Gates has so far contributed $50 million funding to male circumcision programs overseas and he has access to panels of THE most informed scientists with over 1,000 academic degrees among them. This is not an “anti-male agenda.” It IS an “anti-foreskin agenda,” because like it or not, human health of both sexes is best served by circumcising males. And that’s best done at birth when he can be most easily “volunteered” for it. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17312-bill-gates-helps-fund-mass-circumcision-programme.html Physical health and spirituality I think are never totally separate concerns as the old adage has it “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

  43. I have no opinion on this issue, because if the Apostle Paul didn’t make a big deal out of it, neither will I. He was circumcised himself but did not even try to make Timothy be circumcised. One thing I very much disagree with, though, is calling someone a “reprobate” because he disagrees with you.

  44. A “beneficial procedure for health”? “We should all favor circumcision for health purposes”?

    I’LL bet, we’re dealing with the letter…

    Anti-spam “shoe”
    If it fits, wear it? lol

    Thanks Charles 🙂

    Sorry Mark 🙁

  45. The Savior bore the marks of circumcision as he had to fulfill all of God’s law on our behalf.

    *thumbs up*

  46. I have no opinion on this issue, because if the Apostle Paul didn’t make a big deal out of it, neither will I.

    *Thumbs up*

  47. Timothy was circumcised as an adult by Paul, see Acts 16. Titus is the one who was not circumcised and used as an example of inclusion of gentiles.

  48. The inner foreskin is the source of a lot of sexual sin. I know from experience. The inner foreskin should be completely removed.

  49. I posted the official position statements on male circumcision of various national medical organisations. That doesn’t make me a “reprobate” or a spammer.

    @Robin Winkel: Some people think that parts of females are the “source of a lot of sexual sin”, and use that to justify cutting girls. Doesn’t make it right.

    Jesus had almost none of his inner foreskin removed btw, because that’s not how they did it back then. They only used to cut off the overhang, and Jesus would have looked a lot more like an intact man than a man who has had a modern western circumcision. The procedure was changed by rabbis (not Christians) in 130AD to prevent Jewish men from pretending to be Gentile.

    Funny how Christians didn’t circumcise for the best part of two millennia, and yet because of some seriously bad *medical* opinions in the late 19th century, some Christians are looking for reasons to do it today.

    90% of Christians worldwide do *not* circumcise, and the Catholic church has been opposed for centuries.

  50. This subject seems like it will never be resolved, but eventually it will be, like all disputes, when the Almighty appears and says what and who is right. I have to side with views of Kerryn, Linda and Robin. The male’s foreskin is best subtracted from him at birth as a matter of medical routine. There is no right on his part to retain it. Parental consent suffices and if health authorities do the right thing and make it mandatory, even that won’t be required.

  51. To address medical misinformation presented by Lyndon, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2422990/ by Anne Marie Houle MD of Canadian Urological Association for 8 compelling reasons males should be circumcised. As in court proceedings, both sides offer their “expert” witnesses. In this case, one side favors “natural,” the other favors surgical intervention. The fact that God at one time ordered it should suggest something about the medical issues. If immunizations are required, circumcision should be also. It’s derided as “immunization by amputation.” That is factual, so should not be faulted.

  52. That’s a paper by one urologist. There are hundreds of similar papers, both for and against. I posted links to the official position statements on male circumcision of four national medical organizations. Hardly “medical misinformation”.

    I’m all in favor of immunizations, but I don’t see a comparison with circumcision, and I’ve never heard circumcision described as “immunization by amputation”.

    There are only two countries in the world which circumcise a majority of baby boys (the USA and Israel). 90% of Christians worldwide do *not* circumcise, and in the most Christian countries in the world (places like Mexico, Poland, Brazil, Spain, Italy), the practice is almost unknown.

    Like I already pointed out before, circumcision in Biblical times was very different from the usual operation today anyway and only changed in 130AD, but I’m guessing you want baby boys to have the same operation you had. I can’t help thinking that you wouldn’t be so keen to tell people how great circumcision was if you weren’t circumcised yourself.

  53. See link on United Nations organization endorsing male circumcision. Article was submitted by a woman and a woman authority was quoted. Are women conspiring to circumcise men? If so it’s a beneficial conspiracy.

  54. I read this commentary, apparently by an Islamic person, discussing Scripture of Genesis 17 and various New Testament scriptures. Not to stir up any hornet’s nest, but he/she makes interesting case concluding that physical circumcision of males was not set aside by the New Testament. I don’t feel I’m the most qualified to analyze this stuff, and would appreciate Cheryl or other reviewer to look at it and think it through http://mostmerciful.com/?p=76 Maybe this will give hope to comment #28 by Kerryn. Till I know otherwise I will strongly suggest circumcision for any male infant, certainly for cleanliness.

  55. Paul confirmed that circumcision was nothing (Galatians 6:15) and Christ was all and in all (Colossians 3:11). Jeremiah had already taught that circumcision in other nations was uncircumcision (Jeremiah 9: 25-26).
    Paul advised people to accept their lot in life and not seek circumcision or uncircumcision, or slavery or freedom (1 Corinthians 7:17-24).
    Paul condemned people he described as false believers (Galatians 2:4). These people were pressuring Christians to become circumcised. Paul was so incensed by this that he said:
    I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!
    (Galatians 5: 12, New RSV)
    Paul taught that Jesus accepts people as they are and does not ask them to become circumcised or uncircumcised to become Christian (Galatians 5: 6). Paul said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…’ (Acts 16: 31).

  56. Hank,
    Welcome to my blog!

    Circumcision is indeed nothing when it comes to salvation. However circumcision that is for medical reasons is not an issue of slavery or freedom. Neither can physical circumcision remove the sin from our hearts. It is a sign and a symbol that was fulfilled by Christ.

  57. Hank left out Titus chapter one where all appearances are that Paul said circumcision was an Egyptian invention retained by the Hebrews as a sign of tribal unity (instead of slavery) after escaping Egypt, then they attributed it to God to make it seem unquestionable—Titus 1:14 called it a “fable” a fable is indeed a story from the past which has no basis in fact. It is known that circumcision existed in Egypt before Abraham. Is that what we’re going to believe about male circumcision—that it’s a fable and was never commanded by God? In situations where sanitation is difficult circumcision is always the answer. To see what your son will endure in a typical hospital circumcision http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra5t0OsmWf0&feature=feedwll If it looks drastic remember it’s only skin and nonessential like an earlobe and he won’t remember it. It symbolizes obeying God, dying to the flesh and living to the spirit and medical benefits to both sexes of circumcising all males at birth are well established and only being challenged on emotional grounds—he’s losing a body part. But it’s an undesirable part! I can’t rewrite the Bible but if I could circumcision would still be an absolute commandment.

  58. http://ugandaradionetwork.com/a/story.php?s=33903

    “Several women want the law on male circumcision to ensure that the practice is compulsory.

    Susan Akello from Orom sub-county says government should pass a legislation that will compel all men to be circumcised and those who refuse be punished.

    Jane Adokorach, a self styled women activist agrees with Akello. Adokorach says women should deny sexual rights to men who are not circumcised. She also proposes a law that will include punitive measures for men who refuse to be circumcised. She says this reduces the rate of infection for men and transfer of the disease to their spouses.”

    Read more: http://ugandaradionetwork.com/a/story.php?s=33903#ixzz1Y60By4Dc

  59. Controversy over removing the foreskin from the penis is going to persist as long as people exist, especially due to the emotionalism concerning absence of choice on the part of the circumcised male. The moment will never arrive when there is universal consensus. The reason is that the old devil successfully misleads so many into defending a body part which has no acceptable place in decent society. Barbara Kay, a Jewish columnist from Canada, spoke of “excising a bacteria trap.” That is an acceptable description. Many Christians in the Philippines circumcise their males, and the emphasis is on sanitation rather than spirituality. I believe I’ve contributed enough to this discussion and leave the field to the rest of you.

  60. Cheryl talked about the male’s foreskin being the physical symbol of sin and that was a basic reason for God ordering it cut off. This image should on instinctive level suggest why cutting the foreskin off is still the right thing to do (image location removed by Cheryl as unnecessary graphic for the discussion).

  61. A whole gallery of pictures suggesting why cutting parts off genitals is the wrong thing to do:
    (link removed by Cheryl)
    Re comment 69: If intact male genitals have a “bacteria trap”, then surely intact female genitals have a much bigger bacteria trap. Harder to clean too. Women seem to maintain hygiene without surgery though.

  62. The removal of the skin on the male is tied into a spiritual lesson that God created and He is the ultimate authority whose Word we need to believe. I don’t think that scare tactics from those who practice shoddy work should take us away from the truth of God’s Word. I am going to remove the link to the graphic pictures as I don’t think that is appropriate or called for on my blog. Blessings.

  63. Umm, I know it’s your blog and you can do what you want, but why did you remove one link and not the other? What do you mean by this: “scare tactics from those who practice shoddy work”?

    That first link seems to show a healthy penis, albeit with a much longer than usual foreskin, yet it was being presented as something that “should on instinctive level suggest” that circumcision is a good thing. In countries where they cut women, they find intact female genitalia distasteful, especially if the labia minora are larger than average, but that doesn’t make it acceptable to cut parts off girls.

    My link gave a warning, and showed the damage that can result from circumcision. Yes the images are graphic, but I didn’t think they were out of place, since we’re talking about genital surgery on infants, and a link to an explicit image had just been posted. It’s worth noting that many of the problems are cosmetic rather than medical complications, and men who have been circumcised apparently usually don’t even realise that their skin tags, skin bridges, twists etc were caused by circumcision. Most of these complications only arise with circumcision of newborns btw.

    There are only two countries in the world where more than 50% of baby boys are circumcised – the USA and Israel. 90% of male Christians never get circumcised.

  64. Mark,
    I will take the other link to the picture off as well. The warning is inappropriate from your side since surgery should not be feared with a qualified professional. I have seen this issue from both sides from different males in my family and the circumcision was always a good thing and it is a sign that God has given to all of us regarding the good effects of circumcising of our hearts. God does not use a bad procedure to illustrate a good result.

    I think we have had enough discussion of physical circumcision so that those who read can judge for themselves.

  65. Cheryl, In your opinion, how much should be removed? Some think only a nick is sufficiant, while others say a complete removal. One female Mohel contends that a jewish male should have a complete removal and she takes it all. What is right?

  66. Cheryl, your lessons on circumcision for males closely resembles that which was told to me by the female mohel whom I mentioned earlier. Have you always felt this way about circumcision even before you circumcised your son? You do make a good point about it.

  67. My only question here is this.. where in the Bible does God command the circumcision of INFANTS.. If God “demands” it as a sign of Obedience.. why are parents FORCING it on an Infant that has NO concept of “obedience to God”.. God said “Circumcise YOURSELVES” .. not Your Children… please correct me if I’m wrong….

    FORCIBLY cutting an infant for “religious reasons” is Oppression.. not obedience.

  68. JHunter,
    God requires the circumcision of infants in Leviticus 12:3, the eighth day after birth. The requirement is repeated in Genesis 17:10, 12. The obedience is first required of the parents, and then of the person themselves as the fleshly act at 8 days is the responsibility of the parents, and the responsibility to circumcise one’s heart is the responsibility of the one who has sinned. This second act is found in Jeremiah 4:4.

    Jeremiah 4:4 (NASB) “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds.”

    If you are a believer in the Bible, then it should be easy to see that God did require this of His nation Israel to circumcise infants. God did not label this oppressive, but an act of obedience.

    I hope this helps!

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