One Torah for All


One Torah shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.

Exodus 12:49


Circumcision of the Heart - part 1

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:16
“Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff necked.”   

There is a large contingency of Christianity which teaches that circumcision of the flesh has been done away with and in its place is circumcision of the heart.  However, this does not quite track as we see in the verse above that circumcision of the heart is as old a command as circumcision of the flesh.  These two types of circumcision have always gone hand in hand with one another. 

One of the things that is incongruent with this argument is that those who are most adamant concerning this position of being circumcised in heart is the reality that, first, they do not even know what this means.  And second, because they do not know what it means, they are not circumcised in heart and life as Scripture is admonishing that we all should be.

Perhaps one way by which we can understand how these two types of circumcision actually complement one another is to look at immersion in water.  While there are a few who teach that baptism actually saves a person, this is actually a fringe group and not the mainstream of the believing community.  It has been rightly said that to be immersed in water is an outward sign of an inward act.  This is a very good analogy of reality in this case.  This is also true (or at least it should be) of the two types of circumcision.  The outward cutting of the flesh does not save a person any more than being dipped in water can save a person.  But the cutting of the flesh should be a sign of the work that has been done in the heart, just like being immersed in water should be a sign of the work of YHWH in a person’s heart.  Now we all know that just because a person goes through the outward motions and signs does not make it a reality inwardly.

So, if being immersed in water is a sign of repentance, and of being washed clean, and of starting fresh and anew, and of being born from above so that one begins to live for YHWH our Elohim through the atoning work of Yeshua our Mashiach, then what is the inward work of heart circumcision that the outward cutting of the flesh is a sign of?

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 30:6 
“And YHWH your Elohim will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.”

One of the desires of our Creator is to give us true life, and that eternal.  But in order for Him to be able to do that, we as the created have to respond in a manner that will enable Him to bless us in this manner.  If a person chooses not to respond in loving obedience to His Voice, then such a person cannot receive the blessings of our Creator.

The primary way in which a circumcised heart acts is to love YHWH with all of his heart, soul, and strength.  This is the activity of a circumcised heart.  When a person acts in a selfish manner, then he is walking after the flesh and is acting in a manner that reveals that his heart is not completely circumcised yet. 

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:12-13 
12 “And now, Israel, what does YHWH your Elohim require of you, but to fear YHWH your Elohim, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve YHWH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul,
13 to keep the commandments of YHWH, and His statutes, which I command you this day for your good?”

According to Scripture there really is no difference between loving YHWH our Elohim and obeying all of His commandments.  Even Yeshua taught us that if we loved Him, then we would keep His commandments.  If a person is going to be circumcised in his heart, then the love that he has for His Creator and Redeemer will be growing and increasing and such a person will lovingly obey Him in all things.  This of course includes obeying His commandments.  A person cannot do his own will and expect that somehow this is showing a circumcised heart.  A person cannot claim that any of YHWH’s commandments have been set aside and expect to be circumcised in his heart.  As we will see below, there is a direct correlation between doing right in His eyes and having a heart that is set-apart unto Him, that is, circumcised.

Micah 6:8 
He has showed you, man, what is good; and what does YHWH require of you, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your Elohim?

If a person is going to have a humble spirit then he is not going to be doing his own will.  When a person does his own will this is not humility.  It will take great humility for a person to come to that place in his life in which he is willing to lay aside everything that prevents him from keeping and obeying His commandments.

In the verse above we see that YHWH expects a person who is circumcised in his heart to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with YHWH our Elohim.  But what many cannot seem to grasp is that these things are impossible for those who toss aside His commandments and ignore His Voice.  Yeshua Himself taught us that all the commandments given through Moshe and even all that is written in the prophets hangs upon the two greatest commandments, the greatest of these two being to love YHWH our Elohim with one’s whole being.

Matithyah (Matthew) 22:37-38
37 And He said to him, “You shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.”

Of course Yeshua was taking this commandment directly from the Torah given through Moshe.  Please prayerfully consider that if all the other commandments and the prophets hang upon these two commandments, then if one takes any of those other commandments away, he is in fact depreciating one or both of these two great commandments.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 6:5 
“And you shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”

The only way that a person can actually love YHWH our Elohim with all of his heart, and all of his soul and all of his might is to be circumcised in his heart.  Without this being done it is not possible to love YHWH completely with his whole being!

Now, many wrongly suppose that the commandments of YHWH given through Moshe are somehow a burden.  But they are not if one is circumcised in his heart.  If a person is not circumcised in his heart, then yes, all of His commandments are a burden.

Matithyah (Matthew) 11:29-30 
29 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.
30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

Have you ever wondered why His yoke is easy and His burden is light?  When a person obeys the Voice of our Master, then the responsibility for the consequences of that obedience does not fall upon the one obeying, but the one who gave the command.  The converse of this is that when a person does not obey then the responsibility for the consequences of that disobedience falls directly upon the person who has chosen to disobey His Voice.

A record of His Voice and what He has commanded His people Israel to do to have life and not death, has been passed down to us today.  The problem is that many are not willing to acknowledge the validity of these commandments today because, for many generations now, it has been wrongly taught that these commandments have somehow been set aside.

However, when we rightly understand that it was the Creator who stood upon Mount Sinai and gave these commandments to Israel through Moshe, then we can properly identify the Giver of the Torah as Yeshua our Mashiach.  So when He says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” we know exactly what commandments He is speaking of, namely, those given through Moshe.

Yochanan Aleph (1st John) 5:2 
2 Hereby we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and do His commandments.
3 For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep His commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.

His commandments are not grievous if one is circumcised in his heart.  If one is not circumcised in his heart, then the commandments become grievous.  So, this brings each and every one of us face to face with a very penetrating question:  “are His commandments grievous to me?”  If they are, then such a person needs to go back to the circumcision room and have his heart circumcised.

Luqa (Luke) 11:42 
“But woe to you, Pharisees!  For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and pass over justice and the love of Elohim; but these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”

Tithing mint, rue, and herbs is considered to be one of the least of the commandments.  Yet Yeshua is chastising the Pharisees that they should have given more effort to making sure that justice and love reigned in their hearts.  But, just so that what He was speaking should not be twisted into meaning something He did not intend, Yeshua adds that while they should have given more effort to the love of Elohim and to justice, they should also not leave the other undone. 

Yet, much of Christianity teaches us that we are to focus solely upon His love and doing justice.  This could not be further from His teaching.  Yeshua clearly taught us that we were not to leave the commandments undone!  If one leaves off either side of this, either not doing justice and keeping the love of Elohim; or, leaving His commandments undone, then such a person is not circumcised in his heart.

Yirmeyah (Jeremiah) 9:26
Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that have the corners of their hair cut off, that dwell in the wilderness; for all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.

YHWH has in the past, and will again in the future, pass judgment upon all those who are not circumcised in their hearts.  Please note that this specifically includes the house of Israel, which is the northern kingdom of ten tribes.  However, this is not the end of the story for Israel.  YHWH clearly spoke through His prophet Yechezqel that there would come a time when YHWH would circumcise the heart of Israel and give him a new heart so that he would be able to keep and do all the commandments of YHWH our Elohim.

Yechezqel (Ezekiel) 11:19-20
19 “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh;
20 that they may walk in My statutes, and keep My ordinances, and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their Elohim.”

YHWH spoke this truth through this prophet more than once, that we would undergo a transformation inside of us that it would change the way that we live.  What YHWH is actually describing through His prophet is circumcision of the heart.

Yirmeyah (Jeremiah) 31:33 
“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says YHWH; “I will put My Torah in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.”

The writer of the letter to the Hebrew believers picks up this truth and teaches us that the first coming of Mashiach Yeshua actually began this process.  We are still in that process as it is not yet complete. 

Please note that in the context of this chapter, that which is being written upon our hearts is the same thing that YHWH gave to Moshe.  What this should say to us is this: YHWH will write His commandments upon the hearts of those who love Him and are willing to do them.  If a person does not want any part of this, then YHWH will not force it upon him and YHWH will allow him to go his own way.

Yirmeyah (Jeremiah) 4:14 
“Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved.  How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you?”

Just so that one does not get the impression that YHWH is wroth only with the northern kingdom of Israel, He is also admonishing Jerusalem, which is part of the southern kingdom of Judah.  But this still applies to each and every one of us.  How long will we abide evil thoughts in our hearts?  How long will we be uncircumcised in our hearts?

Romans 2:28-29 
28 For he is not a Yehudi who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh;
29 but he is a Yehudi who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of Elohim.

This is one of those verses which Christianity has taken and misinterpreted and misapplied for a very long time.  Please note that nowhere in this context does Shaul even suggest that one should not be circumcised in his flesh.  What he does teach us is that true circumcision actually happens in the heart of a person, both male and female.

In order to be a part of Shema Israel, one must be circumcised in his heart.  This is actually what Shaul is getting at in this context. 

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 31:27 
“For I know your rebellion, and your stiff neck; behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, you have been rebellious against YHWH; and how much more after my death?”

Moshe knew and understood that most of the people standing before him as he spoke these words were not circumcised in their hearts.  He knew there was rebellion lodging inside of each one of them.  He also knew that after he died their rebellion would be manifest for all to see and witness.

Tehillim (Psalm) 78:8 
And might not be as their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that set not their heart aright,
And whose spirit was not steadfast with Elohim.

For the most part, the majority of those who have gone before us have not gotten it right in His eyes.  Many have had or even today do have the commandments, or a form of them.  Others have the love of Elohim and seek justice, but do not have the commandments.  We have an opportunity before us to get it right in this generation, if we will but seize the opportunity and take up both His commandments and His love and justice.

Gilyana (Revelation) 12:17  
And the dragon grew angry with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, that keep the commandments of Elohim, and hold the testimony of Yeshua.

Please note that the dragon makes war against those who have both the testimony of Mashiach Yeshua and who also keep the commandments of Elohim, i.e., Torah. 

Let each person purpose in his own heart and mind to obey YHWH our Elohim and to serve Him without reservation.  Let us determine to do right in His eyes rather than in the eyes of man.  Man shall not judge us, but all shall stand before the one true Judge one day and give an account of why he did the things that he did.

Let us be able to stand before the One we love on that day and declare to Him that we love Him and then be able to point to His words when He said to us, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” and declare to Him on that day, “Master, this I have done to the best of my ability.”  Then, may we hear those words which shall surely be the sweetest music of all eternities, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Master!”

Ya’aqov (James) 4:6-7
6 But he gives more grace.  Therefore the scripture says, “Elohim resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
7 Be subject therefore unto Elohim; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Mashiach, let us turn fully towards YHWH our Elohim through Mashiach Yeshua and diligently seek Him so that the double edged sword of His word may cut away all that which is not pleasing to Him and circumcise the flesh of our hearts that we might fully and completely live only for Him.

ABBA YHWH, circumcise my heart now; in Yeshua’s name.  Amein!

Shabbat shalom
Zerubbabel ben Emunah



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go to Circumcision of the Heart - part 2