In our last posting we took a look at the covenant God made with Abraham, a covenant that became the foundation of the three most prolific religions in the world. This covenant promised that Abraham would be the father of many nations and that the land of Canaan would be their possession.
However, all the men of Abraham’s family would have to be circumcised as a visible sign of the covenant. I have included the scriptures of Genesis 17 that communicate the essence of this message here for your review:
for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan (the Promised Land where there are many mansions) where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God. ” 9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant (the new covenant is a covenant of selfless love), you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised (symbolic of casting away one’s own flesh). 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you (as our love for one another is a sign to others that we follow Jesus.) 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant. ”
Now, one of the things we spoke of last time was that this covenant of circumcision was prophetic of Jesus in many ways. So today we are going to drill down a bit on this idea so that we can see the scriptural foundation for this statement.
Lets start with the act of circumcision itself. Circumcision is the act of cutting away the foreskin of the part of a man that defines him to be a man. God asks Abraham to do this to all the men in his family as a sign that he was in covenant with God. This seems peculiar to say the least and one has to wonder why this would be the case. We hope to address this as we tie the covenant of circumcision to the ministry of Jesus Christ.
As we alluded to in our prior posting, the very idea of circumcision seems outrageous on the surface and yet it contains a powerful message for all the generations that followed. The message is that we were not created as physical creatures but rather as spiritual creatures who were created in the image of God.
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Since God is spirit,
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
then we are also spiritual creatures, otherwise we could not have been created in Gods image. We took on our physical bodies when Adam and Eve chose to know evil. It was then that they discovered for the first time that they were naked and sought to cover themselves. This means that they took on the flesh of their physical bodies.
It was at this time that God also told the woman that her childbearing would come with pain,
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Gen 3:16
and so, what we see here is that mankind took on a major transformation because of our desire to know both good and evil. From that point on we were all born as spiritual creatures encapsulated in physical bodies.
Prior to the fall from the Garden there was never a report of Eve giving birth to children, only afterwards did she give birth to children. The point of all of this is that we are not our bodies!
Interestingly, science proves that we are not our bodies as well. Scientists have proven that each cell in our bodies is replaced every seven years. Therefore, we are not physically the same being that we were just seven years ago. We are not the baby that we were when we were born, nor are we the teenager that we were in our youth. Yet, there is a consistency that continues to be us despite the physical change in the bodies we inhabit, and that consistency is our spirit. This is the message of the covenant of circumcision: our flesh is irrelevant in seeking eternal life with God. This message is verified by the words of Jesus as reported by John the disciple:
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
Therefore, it is our spiritual nature that is important to God as we are to seek God in spirit.
Jesus came to us teaching us by way of parables and therefore one way to view covenant with Abraham is as a parable. This parable tells us that to be in covenant with God we must cast away our own flesh as worthless. In addition, it tells us that the people who we come in contact with must be able to determine that we are in covenant with God as a result of our interaction with them. They must be able to see a visible sign that we have turned our back on our own physical life in favor of a spiritual relationship with God.
Jesus spoke the following words:
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
So how do we do this? The casting away of our own flesh is the giving of our life toward loving one another. This love is not self centered but rather others centered.
This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
It is a love that is enacted by following the lead of the Holy Spirit of God. When we walk in the Spirit of God we will be led into spiritual warfare where the dominions of power and evil are brought down. It is then that we truly enter into the ministry of Jesus Christ. The reason for this is because at this point we begin to do the things that Jesus did.
Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
In this regard Jesus confirms the covenant of circumcision by giving up His own body so that He would receive the punishment that we otherwise would justly deserve. He took on the wiping, the spitting, the beating, the thorns in His head, the nails in His hands and feet, the taunting and humiliation of being hung on the cross so that all of us could achieve forgiveness of our sins and live under the new and better covenant that He earned for us.
This is the degree of love that He showed us as He suffered on the Cross, giving up his flesh willingly for us. This is the example that Jesus gave us. It is proof that the flesh profits us nothing as Jesus was resurrected from the dead and then ascended into heaven to be with the Father once again. This is the example that he left us. This is how He wants us to love one another. To love others like He loved us!
Jesus also said that we should do the works that He did in His ministry. That means that we should see answers to our prayers. We should see people healed, demons cast out and people raised from the dead. These things come from the Spirit of God. They are acts of love. To tap into this our spirit must become one with the Holy Spirit of God.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
This is what is required. We must become one with God in spirit and this in turn means that we have to turn our backs on our own flesh. This is exactly what Abraham and Jesus did. It is what the apostles of Jesus did as they all died marters for the Gospel of Jesus. Truly, it is the narrow path that leads to God.