by Barri Cae Mallin

"God required circumcision of the secret part of the body."

ith the New Year here, I like to remember 1999's New Year's Eve celebration as it unfolded worldwide. Paris, London, New York - every city's celebration was spectacular.  Just viewing the excitement on television thrilled me.  I admire those who can stay up and watch the New York City ball drop or watch the Georgia Peach drop!

The actual date of Messiah Yeshua Jesus' birth is debated, yet for us who celebrate His birthday on December 25, New Year's Day takes on a special importance.
And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was {then} called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.  Luke 2:21

And in Lev. 12:3, we read
On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.

If you count eight days from Christmas Day, you get New Year's Day.  What a different spin that gives to celebrating New Year's, doesn't it?  New Year's Day can now be called Happy Circumcision day! 

The ceremony of circumcision, also called the B'rit, continues to this day.  Biblically, the father of the boy is required to perform the act; however, most families today have a mohel perform this procedure.  It is required that blood be shed in this ceremonial act.  The beauty of this is that this ceremony is still performed today; thousands of years after God instituted it with Abraham.

The Hebrew word B'rit means covenant.  The covenant of circumcision is described in Genesis 17:10-12:

This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of  the covenant between Me and you. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout  your generations, a {servant} who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants.

God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants.  It was a God-made covenant and not a man-made or fabricated covenant.  God invoked penalty if this procedure was not carried out.  God required that it be an eternal covenant (Gen. 17:13).  God required circumcision of the secret part of the body.  God desires that all secret parts of our lives, including our hearts, be circumcised.  True Bírit is secret; True Bírit is of the heart; True circumcision is of the heart.

God has made a covenant with us, one that is eternal, an eternal covenant for those of us who are the true circumcision.  Blood is required for the physical Bírit; blood is required for the spiritual Bírit.  This covenant was made by the Blood of His son, Yeshua Jesus.  Jesus' blood was shed at eight days after His birth to enter into covenant with God the Father; His blood was shed at death to bring us into covenant with God the Father. 

Our circumcision is one that is made without hands (Col. 2:11); it is made by the power of the Spirit.  Rabbi Shaíul, Paul, says it well in Romans 2:28-29: 
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
Ceremonial law never keeps us in right standing with God.  Only by accepting the vicarious Blood atonement of Yeshua are we able to be in right standing with God.  New Year's day reminds me that there is absolutely nothing I can do to gain right standing with God.  I can't make any resolutions or promises that can be any better than the Blood covenant God gave to us through the death of His son. 

For in Messiah Yeshua Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
~  Gal 5:6

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold new things have come.
~  2 Corin 5:17

Happy Bírit Day!


Barri Cae Mallin holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from
Trinity Theological Seminary. Other devotionals by
Barri Cae may be found at
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