Previously: the seventh day of rest
Once someone begins studying the commandments of God, such as the Sabbath commandment, to keep them, it soon becomes apparent that these commands are addressed to the children of Israel as perpetual commandments. Someone said to me, “Well, that leaves me out, because I am not a descendant of Israel!” (The relief in their voice being apparent, that they do not have to think about keeping them!)
Be very careful before you proclaim yourself not a seed.
“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 of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” Rom 2:28-29
The covenant of circumcision of the flesh was given to Abraham. Abraham had two sons. One, Ishmael, was the son of the flesh. And one, Isaac, was the son of the promise. It was the son of the promise – Isaac – who inherited his father’s covenant with God! After Abraham’s death, God appeared to Isaac, not to Ishmael, and renewed His covenant and all His promises.
Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Of them, God says, Esau I hated, but Jacob I loved (Rom 9:13). WHY? Esau scorned the birthright, but Jacob loved it. What is that birthright? It is the inheritance of his fathers! The most precious part of it is his fathers’ (Isaac and Abraham’s) covenant with God! It was Jacob who inherited his father’s covenant with God. After Isaac’s death, God appeared to Jacob, not to Esau, and renewed His covenant and His promises. Please reread the book of Genesis very carefully to assure yourself of these truths!
The history told in Torah is true history, which also teaches spiritual truths and prophesies of spiritual realities. By this history, God is revealing that it is not merely the seed of the flesh who inherits the promise of God or the covenant of God, but the seed of the promise of the Spirit. By this history, God is revealing that the one who rejects Him and who esteems Him lightly, He rejects, but the one who loves Him and desires Him, He loves and establishes His covenant with him.
Why, in each case, did the inheritance of God go to the second- born son (Isaac, and Jacob)? God commands in His Torah that it is the firstborn who is to receive the inheritance of the firstborn (Deu 21:15-17). Is God countermanding His own Torah? NO.
But by it, He is revealing that something greater than the flesh is here. He is inviting us to dig deeper to see how God is not contradicting Himself and His Word. And by doing so, Paul received the revelation that those who are the children, are those who are of the promise, and that circumcision is a matter of the heart. These realities are preached from Torah and the Prophets and not only from the New Testament:
“They have corrupted themselves;
They are not His children,
Because of their blemish:
A perverse and crooked generation.
Do you thus deal with the Lord,
O foolish and unwise people?
Is He not your Father, who bought you?
Has He not made you and established you? Deu 32:5-6
This is Jacob: the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face. Psa 24:6
That the circumcised heart is the spiritual reality of which the circumcised flesh prophesies:
Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. Deu 10:16
And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Deu 30:6
Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, And take away the foreskins of your hearts, You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My fury come forth like fire, And burn so that no one can quench it, Because of the evil of your doings. Jer 4:4
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Eze 36:25-27
(i.e., It is not keeping commandments that saves a man! Read this passage again carefully: the new heart precedes the keeping of the Lord’s statutes and judgments! However, those who are truly His, who have received a new circumcised heart and who have received the Spirit of God, submit themselves to God and walk in His ways to obey Him, out of that new heart. The Spirit and the Word or the Commandment agree, for the Spirit breathed the Commandment from the heart of God.)
Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. 1 Cor 7:19
(i.e., If you were raised in synagogue or church and your parents circumcised you or baptized you as a baby, fine; but if you do not keep the commandments of God and your heart is far from Him, do not think that the actions of your parents will save you.)
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. Gal 6:15
(i.e., Reading all of Scripture together testifies that those with a circumcised heart, those who are a new creation, are those who are His. Those who observe religious rituals out of obligation only without a new creation, are not His. And those who claim they are a new creation, but who, by their indulgence of the flesh and rebellion against the commandments of God, reveal that their heart is far from Him, are likewise not His – Mat 7:21-23, Jam 1:22, 1 Joh 2:3-5.)
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. … Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, … Eph 2:11-13, 19-20
And this is the crux. We are not to consider ourselves Gentiles any longer, because we are no longer foreigners and strangers to the covenant of promise which God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But we have also inherited that promise, that covenant, and that relationship, through the blood of Jesus Christ, along with those who are His among the descendants of Abraham in the flesh. We have been brought into the household of God and are also now His children (Joh 1:10-13).
The church does not replace the nation of Israel (do not make the mistake of some — God has not cast away His people, Rom 11:1-2)! Rather, the Gentiles have been grafted in among the nation of Israel by the blood of Christ Jesus (Rom 11:16-18), so that there is one faith and one people of God (Eph 4:4-6).
In these last days, Israel, who has always kept Torah (the written Word) is recognizing Messiah (the living expression of the written Word, Joh 1:1,14), even though He has been veiled to them according to prophecy until the proper time (Rom 11:25). And in these last days, Christians, who have always kept faith in Messiah (the living expression of the written Word) are recognizing Torah (the written Word), even though it has been veiled to them according to prophecy until the proper time.
For those who are interested in digging deeper into this topic, I highly recommend:
Continued: do no work on the sabbath