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Many Bible Scholars say male circumcision remains an everlasting covenant with God.

Men’s Rights Activists say that it is a barbaric practise to be relegated to history.

Both cannot be correct.

MRAs: 1    Bible Scholars: Nil

 
 

1 Corinthians 7:19
   Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

 
 

2 Corinthians 4:18
   While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

One of the great tragedies of the Israelites was how quickly they prioritized the physical over the spiritual.

Upon being set free from Egypt, they viewed Moses as the one who led them out of Egypt.
Exodus 14:11
   And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?

Exodus 32:1
   for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Moses quickly reminded them that he is not leader – and that the Lord leads them.
Exodus 14:13-14
   And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
   The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Similarly, Joseph told Pharoah to look to the unseen for the interpreter of his dream.
Genesis 41:15-16
   And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.
   And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

The Jewish people could not imagine of the temple of worship being anything other than the physical temple building.
Luke 18:10
   Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Jews were confused when Jesus referred to the temple as the human body with the Holy Spirit.
John 2:18-21
   Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
   Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
   Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
    But he spake of the temple of his body.

1 Corinthians 6:19
   What?  know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Matthew 26:61
   And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

‘Born again’ – is it the physical (flesh) or the spiritual?
John 3:3-6
   Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
   Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
   Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
   That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Jesus criticized the Jewish leaders for their focus on the physical, and not on God.
Matthew 23:16-22
   Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
   Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
   And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
   Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
   Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
   And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.
   And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

 
     
 

Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.
Hebrews 9:22
   And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Old Covenant blood sacrifices:
Exodus 29:11-12
   And thou shalt kill the bullock before the LORD, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
   And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar.

2 Chronicles 35:11
   And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them.

But what is this Old Testament circumcision of men and boys?

1) Circumcision was a blood sacrifice that foretold the blood sacrifice of Christ from the seed (descendants) of Abraham and David. 

The highlighting of male genitalia relates to the seed which creates patriarchal lines.

(However, today’s circumcision is notably more severe, removing much more of the foreskin with modern scalpels, than the Biblical circumcision with comparatively primitive knives.)
Matthew 1:1
   The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

2) It is a covenant between Abraham, his descendants and God.
Genesis 17:10
   This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

A covenant relationship is: ‘what is mine is yours’.  Abraham had access to what is God’s and God had access to what is Abraham’s.

If God required Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Abraham would do it.
Genesis 22:2
   And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

And, when Abraham’s descendants required God to sacrifice his only son, God would do it.

However, this time there would be no stay of execution for God’s only begotten son.

John 3:16
   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son

3) It is a mark of separation from the heathen world.
Genesis 17:13
   He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

2 Corinthians 6:14,17
   Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
   …Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you

 
     
 

What happened when the patriarchal line of Abraham and David arrived at the Messiah: Jesus?
John 19:30
   When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

With Christ, blood sacrifices were finished, as his blood sacrifice covered all human sins forever.

Priests, with animal sacrifices, stood, as they were never finished with blood sacrifices – as none covered all sins.

In contrast, Christ was able to sit down, as it was finished.
Hebrews 10:11-12
   And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
   But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

 
     
 

But doesn’t circumcision of the Jewish people continue forever?
Genesis 17:9
   And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

No, as we must regard the spiritual, not the physical – the unseen, not the seen.

With the culmination of the foretold blood sacrifice from the seed of Abraham and of David (Christ’s sacrifice), there is no longer foretelling, but remembrance.

The Covenant is everlasting through remembrance via communion – acceptance of Christ’s blood sacrifice.
1 Corinthians 11:25-26
   This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
   For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

But, the physical act is still superseded by the spiritual act.
1 Corinthians 11:27-29
   Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
   But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
   For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

Deuteronomy 10:16
   Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

Deuteronomy 30:6          
   And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Acts 7:51
   Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Jeremiah 4:4
   Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem

 
     
 

The Apostle Paul warned that many would try to circumcise to ‘glory in the flesh’ (your flesh), rather than the spiritual (Christ).

Galatians 6:12-15
   As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
   For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
   But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
   For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Galatians 5:2-6
   Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
   For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
   Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
   For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
   For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.