EDITORIAL:

ATTACK  ON CIRCUMCISION

Norman Manzon

Dear Friends,

Those of you who have been following my columns know that I am not an alarmist, nor have I written an editorial in the previous eight editions of The Shofar; but I'm convinced that now is the time to sound an alarm. There is an organized attack on the institution and rite of circumcision whether it be performed on Jews or non-Jews, and I am persuaded that solid teaching needs to go forth in Messianic circles and, indeed, in all Jewish circles, in its defense.

Bless the Lord, in April of this year, my second daughter gave birth to her first child, a beautiful baby boy, in a pleasantly designed women's center with the finest of medical equipment. Hardly had my daughter awakened from her first sleep after the birth than a team of midwives descended on her and virtually browbeat her in an attempt to get her to agree to not have her boy circumcised, which she did not agree to. Upon visiting us after her release from the facility, she told us how wonderful the entire stay and birth experience was except for the browbeating that she received. I figured, "Well, I know that there are those who oppose circumcision," and let it go at that. However, in September, I personally took the brunt of an attack against circumcision which changed my entire perspective.

I was co-teaching a difficult class of elementary school children, some of whom had serious behavioral issues, with a woman whom I knew was immersed in New Age philosophy and spiritual practices, and was herself a midwife. At one point, we found ourselves together in the back of the room, and she asked me if I was Jewish. I replied in the affirmative, and without warning or transition she vehemently told me that she could not believe in a God who would command the bloody, painful rape of a helpless newborn by "cutting off his penis." I protested by stating that circumcision was not the cutting off of the penis, but of the foreskin surrounding the head of the penis. Notwithstanding her bold faced exaggeration, she told me that she "knew that," and then proceeded to run down a litany of biological, medical and psychological reasons as to why circumcision was harmful to the child even into adulthood, and sometimes even "fatal." All this in the middle of a classroom of difficult children whom one could hardly take their eyes off lest they destroy the room and dismember each other! I responded as best I could with divided attention, but more extensively later in the day at recess, even offering the Gospel based on the shedding of innocent blood, all of which rolled off her like water off a duck's back. To round out the package, she threw in some lies about the original meaning of the Hebrew word for blood and about the nature of circumcision in ancient times; and for emphasis, told me that her Jewish husband agreed with her totally!

I personally was rattled, the attack being quick, deep and demonic, and it took me a couple of days to sort out all that I had heard and to leave the matter in God's hands. Upon returning home, I googled "circumcision," and discovered that there are some well organized groups that are vehemently opposed to the practice; and judging by my daughter's and my experiences in our little corner of an outer island in the Hawaiian chain, their influence is quite widespread. The matter has remained with me as a matter of urgency, ever since.

If you have a mind to check out the websites, be aware that some thoroughly denounce the practice, having nothing positive to say, only negative, while others present the pros and cons as they see it and appear to be honest about what's unproven. Nevertheless, whatever the claims, the lies and the facts, the believer's decision as to whether or not to circumcise must be based solely on the Word of God, even as Peter and the apostles said to their opponents, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

What does the Scripture say? The command to circumcise was made incumbent upon the Jewish people in the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 17:10-12), and later in the Mosaic Covenant (Leviticus 12:2-3). At the death of Messiah the Mosaic Covenant became inoperative, rendering Jews no longer required to be circumcised under the Mosaic Covenant. However, the Abrahamic Covenant still stands and will continue to stand, and Jews are still required to be circumcised under its provisions, and will continue to be required, until the last Jewish male is born.

Lest any Jewish believer have a question as to whether he is required to be circumcised if he is not already, let him know that:
1. his Jewishness has not been nullified by his faith in Messiah as, biblically, Jewishness is determined by genealogy, specifically, by descent through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and that
2. as a Jew, he is required by the Abrahamic covenant to be circumcised, and to circumcise his male children, as well.

What of Gentile believers? The Abrahamic covenant was made with Jews only. Therefore, no Gentile male is required to be circumcised, not even those who are part of the Messianic community. A Gentile believer may choose to be circumcised for any legitimate reason, but he would be in error to believe that he is required to be circumcised on the basis of any Bible covenant, or that circumcision would make him a Jew.

To reiterate, this writer is convinced that solid, biblical teaching needs to go forth in Messianic circles on the matter of circumcision in order to counter the current attack of the enemy on God's command to circumcise, and to strengthen the convictions of believers in this matter, particularly Jewish believers. To place it all in perspective, the attacks of the enemy against the Jewish people have been relentless and multifaceted through the ages. The present attack on the Abrahamic requirement to circumcise is a current phase in the enemy's attempt to destroy Jewish identity, and must be countered by the Word of God.

For solid, in-depth follow-up, I strongly recommend these "Messianic Bible Studies" by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, which may be obtained at www.ariel.org:

(These headings are not Dr. Fruchtenbaum's:)
DEFINITIONS AND DISTINCTIONS
mbs 007. Jews, Gentiles and Christians

COVENANTS: THEIR REQUIREMENTS AND TIME PARAMETERS
mbs 021. The Eight Covenants of the Bible
mbs 041. The Dispensations of God

CIRCUMCISION
mbs 126. The Book of Galatians
mbs 170. The Jerusalem Council: Acts 15:1-35

Also mbs 031, mbs 087, mbs 127, and mbs 171.
 

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Norman Manzon, 2007.

Norman Manzon is a Bible teacher in Hawaii
and may be reached at YeshuasTouch@hawaii.rr.com.
*   More of Norm's studies may be accessed at www.BibleStudyProject.org.   *