Tag Archives: circumcision

It was changed in a instant…

      And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
      51      And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.
      52      The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
      53      and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Matthew 27.50-53

This was the narrative Of God changing the world as the people of the day knew it. It was going to be different, they just didn’t know how different. God had changed their lives, for good,pun intended.

By Jesus dying on the cross, things changed, more than you know. Most of us have not understood the ramifications of it all, still yet. So, let’s look back at this historical and momentous occasion and see what it really says to us.

First, let’s look at who Jesus was, and who He was representing as the death upon the cross. Jesus, was a Jew representing his followers of the Jewish Kingdom. He was perfect, He was a follower of the law. He was without sin. He lived a life of moral and honesty that people admired in his community. Jesus was God’s son, was an added bonus in that God sent him to be what He wanted to be, and do the things of God, He was His Image.

Second, Jesus was the perfect example of the system of God’s law, and His people. In Fact, He was the only one to be perfect in the system. There was no one who excelled in the understanding of the law. All God’s people were failure’s in the keeping of the law. It was only God who completed the law’s intention of being Holy. God’s people were unable to follow God’s ways of the 10 Commandments.

Jesus’ death, changed things, no longer was their going to be the ways of Israelite’s and their laws and their markers(circumcision,food laws,Temple) of who they were. Things would have to be different, the old ways did not work for the Israelite’s to follow. It was because of this that things would have to change, more of a bonding or a intimate way to succeed.

Their was going to be new ways to be identified with God, and the mode of knowing God. It started with a man named Abraham. It was his blind ‘faith’ that God recognized as righteousness unto God. God used Abraham, thru his obedience and faith in God for not only himself, but the believers with him. Abraham believed God in his life. It was that simple.

So if this was true, that God’s intended life in him was the faith that could guide us in everything, since God had made everything in our world, God was in control of it, God had only intended for us to ‘have faith’ in Him, the one true God. This would be one of those ‘markers’ of the OT that God used, that failed for his people. God was changing the identity of His people.

Their was a key moment in the story of Peter and Paul in the confrontation of the food laws of the Jews and the ones that could partake of them. It was Paul, Peter and Barnabas that were in Antioch ministering to the crowds there and eating among the jews and gentiles at the tables, when the Jerusalem disciples came to the same spot, and Peter moved from the tables of the gentiles to the table of the Jews, It is this that Paul noticed the action of Peter as not the gospel.

This was another new marker that was being introduced to all, not just the Jewish world. This was the announcement to the world that the gospel was for everyone, we were not to be recognized by food that we ate, as being a member of God’s family but by who we ate ‘with’. After all, isn’t this exactly what Jesus was doing in his journey’s. This was the marker that was telling us that God’s people had changed in definition of not who He had originally selected as the example of His people, but everyone will be His. We could all set at the same table and eat, and be His!

It is also the marker of where the Jewish God was located in the world, the Jews God was in Jerusalem in the Temple, in the Holy of Hollies. It was there that only one person actually could be in the presence of Him. It was the High Priest that was the one that was Holy in every way, that could be in His presence. God’s people were not considered Holy to be in His presence to have communion with Him. It was the High Priest that was being and representative for them to be Holy. It also the High Priest’s duty to go God to give a sacrifice to God for their failure of Holiness, a sacrifice of daily,monthly, and yearly sacrifice’s to God. But this was to be ended, in the crucified and risen Jesus that made the Jews and the world anew. They were a new Creation, all thru the Risen Jesus.

The old Markers have passed away,

Through New Creation comes new identities, the last one is where God is. Jesus’ being His son, changes this, by sending His Spirit into all, John 15.26 tells us that the “Comforter” comes to you that is from the “Father” that He will speak the ‘Truth’, He will bear witness of me! This last statement of this verse may be overlooked in importance in the actual understanding of the identity of God. Think about this, the Holy Spirit is the ‘witness’ to God!! Oh,My! God has moved his identity markers from the three things we have talked about, to actually ‘Himself’ as the witness. God’s human ways have failed and now God is using himself as a ‘witness’, not all the people of the old testament, not of the new testament, nor of the ‘witnesses’ of the ages to come but of actually God himself! Wow, Just Wow.

God has moved! He has moved from the whole world,the Garden of Eden, to a Temple,and now into His creation, Man!! All Men!!

This is the catalyst that God created by the Crucification and Resurrection of His Son Jesus. It was a Miracle, It was a witness, It was New Identity, It was God,having communion with his creation,Mankind. It was God being Himself, thru Love!

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Deeper Understanding

As always, it is when you are studying the scriptures in a more in depth kinda way, you ‘see’ things that want you to say “I hadn’t thought about that,before”! Or it could of been the tenth time you read a certain passage and seen something that you hadn’t thought about before.

It is this thought that I have come across some things in the deeper reading of the book of Galatians, thru the new commentary by N.T. Wright. Now, any book by Wright is usually a page turner of wealth of ‘deeper understanding’, but It was when I thought of both sides of the coin of a subject of ‘two shall become one’ in the commentary of Galatians, with the confrontation of Paul and Peter at Antioch over the subject of circumcision of the gentiles to become christians(ala, first a jew in it’s identity of jew before being a christian)

The subject has always been about what must the gentile do to become the ‘christian’, this is also the storyline of christianity in today’s church’s and theology. But I being the inquisitive type, asked my self why was there not much discussion on what it was to do for the Jewish person to become the said ‘christian’. When I thought about this for a moment, my thought was, What is good for goose is good for the gander, right? If the gentile was to be freeing its self from all god’s,freeing itself from all ritual ceremonies, that are not of the God of Abraham, then so to must the Jewish community!

But what does that entail? It comes down to the big three. It is food laws,circumcision, and the Sabbath laws. Now, All three of these are biggie’s in the Jewish laws. It was the circumcision law of set the mark of the Jewish community of the men in their communities. This was the big discussion that Paul and Peter were setting the formalities of the ‘new life’, this was settled with Paul’s chastising Peter in the confrontation. The food laws were also a discussion between them when Peter steps away from the table with his friends of gentile friendship. This was a big no-no for Paul when the whole argument was that the two groups will become one, and separate when it comes to eating with each other.

It is when we get to the third one that is really dicey. You see I haven’t seen or read anything explicit or implicit that says anything about the sabbath laws. It is this that I wish to step out on a limb, and put a couple of things together to say in for arguments sake, is the answer. My bold statement is one that I believe that has prolonged the start of the ‘New Creation’, but God, in his due time will start the motion for this, and that until the Jewish community and the Nation of Israel realize that God’s place of residence is not in the temple, but in his ‘all’ his people on earth gentiles and for the true realization of His people of the old covenant, the Jewish Nation.

Their are two key verses in the scriptures(there are more that point to this conclusion) that I will use as references and they are the following:

It is with the three things of the Old covenant, that defined the people of God is now defined as three very distinctive new ways. God is All in All, He is in all of His creation, and He is Lord,King,Creator, and God of All!

Matthew 12:6 and Romans 8: 10,11 both of these are key to realizing that the ways of the old covenant are improved into the new covenant that is salvation, and righteous loaded and ‘Life’ giving to all of God’s people, Jews and Gentiles!

Hallelujah!!

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Two shall become one

You probably have heard this phrase a million times over your life in various ways.

If you are married, you probably heard it in your ceremony of nuptials. This is the allegoric phrase that is used to say that two married will come together as one in union to live as one. It is, as always a phrase that is used to point out a union, a mixing of things to become one in whatever instance it is used.

This “Two shall become one” is again used in the story of God and His people. But two people would you be talking about? For those people that are familiar with the story of God and Gospel of the New Testament, their is a distinction of two people that defined as God’s people and ‘Gentiles'( those that weren’t God’s people), it was that simple. The story of ‘God’s people tho is a long and drug out story of the ups and downs of a people that were supposed to committed to a covenant with their God. It is this story that I would like to tell a side that has not been really told or understood in our storyline of the Gospel.

The storyline that has been really emphasized is the one of the gentiles and their struggle to leave their idols and gods behind them and to know the God of Abraham. This story has been told and retold and summarized, pulpit beating, Hell threatened, God is coming, Satan is after us to who all else knows! But I think that we may have missed something that might be key to our understanding to our side of the equation of the two becoming the one. It is what the other side is told to give up, for they were given a “new and better way of doing the thing of worship”.

I would like to point out here that this is probably true coming from the other side from the Jewish to the ‘gentile’ issues. But I think maybe on both sides we have a bigger issue that also needs to be addressed, and that is lack of digging deeper into what Paul was saying in the scriptures, about the reason that God sent his son and what that meant to ‘God’s people’ and also to the gentiles. But we will dig deep into just the one side of it. The Jewish side of it.

For the Israelite’s it was a stay the same for them scenario, Jesus’ arrival onto the scene, didn’t change anything for them(Religious authorities),they were looking for the proverbial ‘Knight on the white horse’ to save them from the bondage that they were facing in the Roman world. But whether they believed it or not, it was so. It was a different story with the ranks below them that some believed the God of Abraham had sent his Son to dwell with them to bring them out of slavery.

It was the ones that believed within the Israelite’s(also the gentiles,but just talking about the Israelite’s) that were told that their ‘ way’ of being marked as a God image was changed. It would not be the sacraments that they were used to. No longer would they be ‘officially’ God’s people by the circumcision of the men, the mandatory food laws to be strictly enforced, the Temple would not be the building that they where used to by their Kings of their forefathers, no, it was to be ‘Christ in Us’, and as a bonus togetherness, we would be ‘in Christ’! This would be so wonderful for God’s people(also for the Gentiles). But the problem for the people of God this was so irrational, and goes against what God has told them over and over again thru their forefathers. This was also a very humanistic solution for man’s problem. It was a solution for whole world, that would say that it would only take the right man to put in power to solve the problem.

God’s solution was better, It was Him.

Let’s go back to the solution for the Israelite’s and what the Gentiles and I mean mainly the christians that have heard the gospel, that it seems that we have took up the ways of old, and are working withing the system of the Israelite’s, we have gone back into slavery, which Paul was telling the believers of Jewish background that they kept going back into, but why?

It is this problematic scenario of the christian believers now that have fallen back into the ways of old, that we can’t go back into the old covenant. We are in the ‘New Covenant’! Jesus’ death and resurrection has brought us into the New Covenant!! It is New!

Let’s look at the three thing that I believe that ‘We’ as christians have been ‘working within the parameters of the old covenant and trying to work as tho we were in the New Covenant! You can’t. It’s stupid to think that we could. I believe we either didn’t realize we were doing this or we ‘really didn’t know we were doing it’.

Circumcision, let’s face it this is an outside ‘marker’ of God’s people, but it was ‘hidden’ within the world. This is in itself not a ‘saving gesture’ of God.

Food laws, is in reality a very life changing thing for anyone, let alone for the Jewish sect of God’s people. This commandment was a ‘gesture’ of putting them in the world as ‘different’, it was at first a good thing, to ‘see’ you God’s people were. But in itself was not going to be a ‘saving gesture’ of God’s plan. It was the plan of the Israelite’s eating with others, because now it would not be an issue of what was ‘clean’ of God. It was now considered ‘all clean’ for everyone.

Now we come to the issue that I think is our biggest stumbling block of all. It is the ‘Temple’. Do you ‘see’ from what I have very briefly said about what happened with Christ’s death and resurrection changed things for both sides. For which neither side has done a very good job of adhering too. But it is gentiles that we are working on now, that we need them to see that what the Israelite’s were giving up, they must also.(the physical temple of God, God changed this thru his Son) We are ‘in Christ, and ‘He is in Us’, this the same action as what the Temple and the High Priest were doing every time they went into the ‘Holy of Holies’ room.

This action is what is needed, along side the other two things that the Jewish people needed to believe that God was not only in them but in everyone in the world, after all everyone is God’s image and likeness!!

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In principle, the same

The old covenant and the new covenant are the same in principle, but different in practice.

My take on this principle of the scriptures, is that we are still stuck on the old covenant practices.

Let’s just take a look at it and see if we are right?

Food practices of the old covenant were such that specific food was not on the menu of the Jewish table’s. Certain food was considered to be unclean for consumption considering where or how the animal lived, this was in accordance with the lifestyle of Jewish people to be ‘Holy’,clean in every way. The life of Israel was to be spotless in every way,outside and inside it’s people. It isn’t until Peter was shown a ‘revelation’ by God that all things are good to eat, because they were made good from the beginning of time with Adam and Eve. A marker.

The visible things of the Jewish ‘Holiness’ was the most relevant for the world to see, but it was the outward appearance of the people of Jewish people by their circumcision of the men that was different. This was one thing that was always the tell tale sign of the ‘Godly’ people, was their signature sign that they belonged to God. It was to them and to anyone else you believed that their God could be also theirs, would have to be circumcised too. A marker.

It is when we bring up the third marker for the Jews that seems to have really stuck with us in its reality into the new covenant, that has hampered us into the full eternal purpose that God has for us. That is the physical, literal place of where God is! God set up a Garden of Eden to start his kingdom, with man and the Creator together in one spot. It was the World, the Universe, the exact place where man and God could commune together. It was Paradise.

But this changed, when man shunned God in the garden, to which God left man to his own abilities, and wisdom to run God’s world. God was still in charge but let man to his own ways. (For results of this just look at history,or today!) God chose a people(Jews) that would be Holy, just as their God was Holy, to be like Him. It was set up in the beginning to have ‘His’ people together as a community with the center of it a place for God to commune with His people. alas, The Temple. Only a High Priest would be able to go into the Holy of Hollies to ‘be’ with God. It was a temporary arrangement, with its full effect to become back to ultimate desire of Garden of Eden. But this arrangement was to strengthen the people of God to become Holy by a ‘written word’ of God to follow. This seemed to be harder than it looked, because the people strayed from their God, to worship other gods to their delight. Man’s desire to be free from restraints continued to rebel against their God, not being able to follow God’s words. This achievement for man to follow God’s laws would be deemed to be impossible to follow because of man’s ‘wisdom’ of his to not follow God.

God’s abundance of Love and Grace has changed the old covenant, to include the reality that God is everywhere (not just a building or a temple), But is more to the point He is everywhere, because He is ‘in’ all of His creation, mankind.

It is because of this that God saw fit for him to redeem ‘His’ people for their inability to follow God by way of His laws, and to now also include everyone else in the world to be included to be redeemed. The Jews being redeemed and also the ‘Gentiles'(all of the creation) would now be in a new covenant, with the same principles but with different outside and inside parameters.

God has subdued the stumbling block for the Jews, and the abundance of Mercy for all mankind to be ‘In’ Christ, and for ‘Christ’ in Us. We are ‘in’ One. As was the beginning. As will be the End of Time. See Revelation 21-22. This is the storyline that God has laid out for us to see!

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