Apostle Paul on Circumcision for Salvation

In the Book of Acts and the Writings of Rabbi Sha’ul (the Apostle Paul), we seem to find a conflicting view on circumcision between Sha’ul (Paul) and Jakov. Jakov is known as “James’ in the Protestant world because the translators who put his book into the “King’s English’ wished to kiss the royal heinie of his royal highness, so they changed the name of brother of Yeshua to “James”, like the King James Bible.

We also have Yahshua (Jesus) addressing the Pharisees on the matter of who is a “True Jew” or “Inward Jew” and who is simply one outwardly.
Yahshua warned against thinking you are saved just by being Jewish (G-d can raise up these stones to be children for Abraham), and many got circumcised in the hopes that it would get them saved.

Paul believed that being a G-d Fearer (Torah observant but uncircumcised Gentile, was enough). Circumcision on the 8th Day was commanded, but grown men didn’t not have to be circumcised to be saved). He wished to see them be G-d Fearers and not Proselytes.

Many at the time were getting circumcised IN ORDER TO BE SAVED instead having FAITH IN YAHSHUA. Paul said that if one is getting circumcised in order to be saved, then he needs to keep the whole Law or risk going to hell. But his having Timothy circumcised shows that he wasn’t against circumcision when it wasn’t being done to earn salvation.
Galatians 5:3
I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision (for salvation) that he is obligated to keep the whole law.

On circumcision, the Apostle James seemed to be afraid of losing circumcision all together. He knew full well the medical benefits of circumcision for infants on the 8th day, as well as its use for witnessing to Jews, as its function as a cultural glue. It is unclear if he, like the Judaizers of the Circumcision Group, believed that one must be circumcised as a grown gentile male and follow the traditions of the Pharisees (such as ritual handwashing, 32 traditions about the Sabbath, etc) in order to be saved. Making them Proselytes instead of G-d Fearers.

Some of these men because students of Paul
Colossians 4:11
and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me.

The Vision that Peter had seems to have changed his mind in regards to circumcision FOR SALVATION, which is the entire issue..

Peter was once part of the Circumcision Party, but the vision G-d gave him changed his mind.

Acts 11:1Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, 3 “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4But Peter began and explained it to them in order:

Peter ate a meal with G-d Fearers, but the Circumcision Party considered them not saved at all, and believed they couldn’t be saved by Yeshua until G-d gave PETER his vision. The Circumcision Group ovbviously thought not just that circumcision was medically good, or that it was a good thing if Gentiles wanted to do it voluntarily, they in fact, made it a requirement to enter the Church UNTIL Peter’s Vision.
The Circumcision Group had picked up the CUSTOM in Egypt, of Jews not eating with Gentiles. Originally, it was the Gentile Egyptians who refused to eat with the “lesser” circumcised Hebrews. Then it was the Greeks who worshipped the body. Then finally, the Jews turned the tables by looking down on Un-Circumcised Gentiles and called them “Dogs”, even refusing to eat with them.

Galatians 2:12
For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.

So AFTER Peter’s Vision, the conflict between James and Paul over circumcision would be non-existent. Now the conflict with others who remained and called themselves “The Circumcision” still had issues. not with Paul, Peter, and James.

Acts 11:13And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 he will declare to you A MESSAGE BY WHICH YOU WILL BE SAVED (not a medical procedure), you and all your household.’ 15As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ,who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted REPENTANCE THAT LEADS TO LIFE (not a medical procedure).”

Many today try to become Proselytes to Judaism by having a bit of foreskin removed by a Rabbi, even after having been circumcised as infants for medical reasons. This “bit of flesh” doesn’t have much medical benefit. But infant circumcision on the 8th day does, in fact, the 8th day is when the risk for infection is the least.

1 Corinthians 7:18
Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision (denounce Jewish heritage as the Catholic Church forced many Jews to do). Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision (to become a Proselyte to Judaism).

The medical benefits of circumcision are given here btw.

Paul (Rabbi Sha’ul, a man who was circumcised and probably circumcised many others) seems to have been concerned with new Gentiles trying to be saved by getting circumcised. He shows by him having his disciple Timothy circumcised that he was not totally against the practice in itself. Timothy was possibly circumcised as an adult because his father was a gentile but his mother was a Jew.

According to the Torah, Timothy was a Gentile, but according to the Rabbis he was a Jew, as the Rabbis as an act of mercy said that Jewishness was determined by the mother’s lineage due to the large number of Jewish women who had been raped and then given birth. This would give the children some level of support from the Jewish community. Timothy’s father was a gentile but was raised by his mother and grandmother who taught him the Torah, thus making Timothy a G-d Fearer (Torah observant Gentile). This situation shows that his mother was possibly raped by a Roman (possibly the source of the Jewish myth that Yehsua’s mother, Mary, was raped by a Roman Soldier named Pantera while she was engaged to Joseph).

If Timothy was a Jewish proselyte, then he would have underwent the Proselyte ceremony, practiced the traditions of the Pharisees, had been circumcised, and would have been allowed into the Inner Court without any problems, implying that it was commonly known that he was not circumcised.

Uncircumcised Gentiles who did not keep the 4 Laws from the Torah found in Acts 15 were not allowed near the temple at all, they were “outside with the weeping and gnashing of teeth”. Those gentiles were had not been circumcised as children, and did not wish to be circumcised as adults or to keep the traditions of the Pharisees, but did keep those 4 laws were allowed into the OUTER COURT where the money changers were. G-d Fearers (Torah Observant Gentiles who missed being circumcised on the 8th day because they grew up Jewish) were also only allowed in the Outer Court. To enter the INNER COURT you had to be circumcised as an infant (Born of Jewish blood), or to get circumcised as an adult and keep the traditions of the Pharisees, making you a proseltye to Judaism.Anyone who brought an uncircumcised man into the INNER COURT was put to death along with the uncircumcised man.

So in short, Timothy was considered a G-d Fearer or a gentile that kept the 4 Laws in Acts 15 as Timothy went into the Outer Court with no problem, by the larger Jewish community (hence them trying to have Paul killed for bringing Timothy into the INNER court, showing that Paul himself was circumcised as he brought him in there). The Outer Court is given to the Gentiles in the book of Revelations, which is why a Mosque is on top of it today, but Solomon’s Temple is where the Inner Court was.

This also showed that Paul didn’t try to have himself uncircumcised (an attempt at making oneself visually looked like a gentile, very popular during the time of the Greek Olympics when athletes competed naked, and those who were circumcised were considered to have “mutilated” their bodies, and therefore could not compete. This anit-circumcision attitude is still very popular today, using the same terminology.

1 Corinthians 7:18
Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision.

On the flip side, we find the Paul the Rabbi worried about the completely Greek gentile Titus. Titus may have come under the sway of the Judaizers and the Pharisees who insisted that he could not be saved if he was not physically circumcised as an ADULT male. Paul assured him that if he was getting circumcised in order to be saved then the Passover Sacrifice of Yahshua would do him no good.

Paul’s view on circumcision seems to be that he believesthat infant circumcision on the 8th day was required (as the Torah commands), as opposed to adult male circumcision as a requirement (as the Pharisees commanded). He believed, in light of the case of Timothy, that adult circumcision was allowed if one chose it. In the light of Titus however, it should not be done for salvation or out of fear of losing one’s salvation.

A. Paul warned against ADULT MALE GENTILE circumcision for Salvation.
B. Paul believed in the medical benefits of circumcision of infant circumcision.
C. Paul was circumcised
D. Paul had Timothy circumcised.
E. Paul believed in Torah commanded circumcision on the 8th day.
F. Paul distinguished between the ceremony of circumcision of adults to be full legal “Jews” in the eyes of the Pharisees, and the infant circumcision on the 8th day required in the Torah. As he says in regards to Salvation: “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, KEEPING THE COMMANDS OF G-D (Torah) is what counts.”
G. Paul wished the Gentiles to be made G-d Fearers, while James wanted them to become Proselytes most likely.

Adult Circumcision is different from keeping Torah:
Romans 2:26
So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Torah is different from the “Written Code” of the Pharisees, a document called “Works of the Law” which concerns ritual purity.
Physical Circumcision of ADULTS is required in the “Written Code” but Not the Torah.
Romans 2:27
Then he who is physically uncircumcised but KEEPS THE TORAH will condemn you who have the written code (Talmud) and circumcision but break the Torah.

What did Yeshua say on the matter, that Paul quotes!
Romans 2:28
For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.

Romans 2:29
But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter (not just a matter of outward observance, but out of heart obedience to Torah). His praise is not from man but from God.

Yahshua warned against thinking you are saved just by being Jewish (G-d can raise up these stones to be children for Abraham).

Two men, both practicing circumcision, but with two different concerns. One was concerned about the practice being lost altogether with the Gentiles coming in (therefore seeing the Gentiles lose the physical benefits of the Torah) and the Church losing its Jewishness. In trying to reach the Gentiles, the Church would lose its Jewishness.

The other worried that the Gentiles would be try to be saved not by believing in Yahshua, but by becoming Jewish proselytes and keeping the traditions of the Pharisees (Legalism). He worried that the Church would rely on its Jewishness to be saved.

10For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans,a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons. 13This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them( sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Here Paul warns about Judaizing who are preaching circumcision FOR FINANCIAL GAIN. This was big business back in that day. Making G-d Fearers and Pagans into Proselytes was also big business, as someone had to pay temple taxes to the Pharisees and Sadducees once they turned 21 if they were a circumcicsed natural Jew or a Proselyte. Their missionary efforts are talked about Yehsua who says that they travel land and sea to make disiples who are just as much sons of Satan as they are.

Jewish myths included many notions, including that one must be circumcised to be saved, and that Mary was raped by a Roman soldier named Pantera, and that Yeshua taught Lawlessness (instead of just Talmud-lessness).

“To the pure, all things are pure”, referring to the Gentile converts.
“15 but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.”
Referring to those who followed the book “Works of the Law” which led them to be obsessed with “Ritual Purity” by not eating with gentiles, or failing to perform the correct handwashing ritual. He is saying that their concern for ritual purity does not good, if you have a corrupt heart. Yeshua taught the same message in regard to the Pharisees cleaning only the outside of the dish.

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Shalom, my name is Brian Newman. In case you are curious about the "Asriel", it's Hebrew for "Elohim is my Comfort" which is a pen name I took on earlier in life. You may know me as the host of the TV Program "Let's Talk Shalom" , the co-host of the "Shalom Letters" podcast, or the author of "Audio Poetry" and "Redeemed". I am also a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force, a Certified Peer Support Recovery Specialist, a Certified Life Coach, Dream Interpreter and the Founder of Psalm 16 Media Ministry. More importantly though, I'm the father of two beautiful daughters, Aliyahna and Shema, and a follower of Yeshua (which most know by His Greek name "Jesus").

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