We now need to go back and take another look at Exod. 12:48 in context where the command is given for all males to be circumcised in order to partake of the Passover.
And when a stranger shall sojourn with you, and will keep the passover to Yahweh, LET ALL HIS MALES BE CIRCUMCISED, and then let him come near and keep it; AND HE SHALL BE AS ONE THAT IS BORN IN THE LAND: FOR NO UNCIRCUMCISED PERSON SHALL EAT OF IT. (Exod. 12:48)
The reader then has to proceed on to Exod. 13:5 where it states:
And WHEN YAHWEH BRINGS YOU INTO THE LAND of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jeb’usites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, YOU SHALL KEEP THIS SERVICE (the Passover) in this month. (Exod. 13:5)
It is important to now notice what happens as soon as the Israelites do cross over to the west side of the Jordan and enter the land after 40 years in the wilderness:
At that time Yahweh said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the people of Israel again the second time.” SO JOSHUA MADE FLINT KNIVES, AND CIRCUMCISED THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL at Gibeath-haaraloth. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt. Though all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people that were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the nation, the men of war that came forth out of Egypt, perished, because they did not hearken to the voice of Yahweh; to them Yahweh swore that he would not let them see the land which Yahweh had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So it was their children, whom he raised up in their stead, that Joshua circumcised; FOR THEY WERE UNCIRCUMCISED, BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT BEEN CIRCUMCISED ON THE WAY. When the circumcising of all the nation was done, they remained in their places in the camp till they were healed. (Josh. 5:2-8)
AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL ENCAMPED IN GILGAL, AND KEPT THE PASSOVER on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. (Josh. 5:10)
In obedience to Yahweh’s command as given by Moses in Exod. 13:5, the Israelite males were circumcised. Scriptures are absolutely clear about the matter. The command for fleshy circumcision to observe Passover was only applicable after the Israelites entered the land! What is also important to understand is that this instruction was given as part of the Torah of Moses (the Law, Old Covenant) and not the Torah of Trust!
Separate from fleshy circumcision, it should also be recognized that there were other instructions given for the first Passover during the Exodus, which occurred before the Torah of Moses, that were meant only to be a one time occurrence. For instance, the killing of a lamb, smearing of blood on the doorpost, eaten with loins girded, shoes on your feet, staff in hand, eaten in haste, etc.
No Animal Sacrifices After Exodus
To prove the point that no animal sacrifice was required for Passover after the Israelites left Egypt we have the following:
For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Jer. 7:22)
In other words, when the Israelites left Egypt, Yahweh initially brought them under the Torah of Trust which was the same Torah that Abraham was justified under. No commanded sacrifices were required which would include a sacrificial Passover lamb. It is important to also recognize that freewill offerings and sacrifices were not referred to and were always acceptable.
Scriptures state that only the following command was given to the Israelites when they left Egypt:
But this command I (Yahweh) gave them (Israelites), ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your eloahi, and you shall be my people; and walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ (Jer. 7:23)
Compare this command with the reason for the justification of Abraham by Yahweh:
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. (Gen. 26:5)
Saul of the New Testament adds:
For if the inheritance be of the law (Torah of Moses, Old Covenant), it is no more of promise (Torah of Trust): but the deity gave it to Abraham by promise (Torah of Trust). (Gal. 3:18)
Since Abraham was not justified by works of a written Torah, and was already found justified prior to the token of fleshly circumcision, Abraham’s justification by trust and his keeping of the commandments, laws, and statutes were not the works of the flesh as found in the Torah of Moses.
Works of Torah of Moses to Teach
Works of the Torah of Moses were attached to the Abrahamic Covenants of Promise (Torah of Trust) to teach the Israelites because of their sin. (Gal. 3:6-20) The truth of the matter reveals that the The Torah of Moses taught the Israelites what actually constituted sin:
Therefore by the works of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Rom. 3:20)
Abraham was not required to do these “works of the law” as contained in the Torah of Moses because he obeyed Yahweh’s voice, and kept Yahweh’s statutes, laws, and commandments. (Gen. 26:1-5) Therefore, he was not subject to the penalty of sin caused by the addition of works and judgments.
As stated above, the works of the Torah of Moses (e.g., sacrifices, cleansing rites, washings, etc.) and the judgments began to be added at Mount Sinai because the Israelites sinned against the Abrahamic Covenants of Promise. They continually rebelled against Yahweh and would not listen to his voice.
After the incident of the Israelites building the golden calf—thereby breaking their marriage agreement with Yahweh (Exod. 32:1-30; see Jer. 31:31-32)—Yahu Yahweh continued to augment the conditions of the Abrahamic Covenants of Promise (Torah of Trust) with commandments, statutes, and laws specifying with greater detail what was required.
The continuing rebellious acts by the Israelites started a mounting list of augmentations which were against them. (see Ezek. 20:21-26) These augmentations were all legal within the Abrahamic Covenants of Promise—listen and obey the voice of Yahweh (Deut. 27:10). They do not stand against the righteousness of the Torah of Trust (Gal. 3:15-20), but they do intensify the original Abrahamic Covenants of Promise (Torah of Trust) for teaching purposes.
To answer those who would demand fleshly circumcision for the followers of Yahweh to partake of the Passover, we refer to Keph’s comment:
Now, then, why do you tempt the deity, to put a yoke on the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? (Acts 15:10)
Keph’s statement was made in response to the Pharisaic converts to Christianity who wanted to require the early assembly members coming from among the nations to be circumcised in the flesh and to keep all the Torah of Moses, i.e., including the works of the Torah of Moses which were against us (the dogmasin [public decrees], such as animal sacrifices, cleansing rites, customs in food and clothing, fleshly circumcision, etc.). (Acts 15:5)
Decrees Nailed to Stake
These dogmasin (public decrees), coming in the form of statutes and laws, were augmentations attached to the original requirements of the Abrahamic Covenants of Promise. (Gal. 3:15-20) With the manifestation of grace at the death and resurrection of the messiah, the fleshly regulations (being against us) of the Torah of Moses had been nailed to the stake. (Col. 2:11-16)
On the other hand, the statutes, laws, and commandments observed by Abraham, which also were included in the Torah of Moses), were not classified as works of the Torah (Gen. 26:5; see Rom. 4:1-3). Therefore, works of trust (good works) were not annulled with the death of the messiah (Eph. 2:11-17).
Keph’s words and the subseqeunt council’s decree from Jerusalem were simply trying to convey the fact that the nations should not be put under the burdens of fleshly works and were to simply return to the original agreement made with Abraham in the Covenants of Promise WHILE HE WAS IN UNCIRCUMCISION.
Fleshly Circumcision A Token of Trust
Abraham only utilized fleshly circumcision as a token of his trust in the eternal covenant of circumcision of the heart (innermost self). Therefore, we must walk as Abraham walked, continuing in righteousness and obeying Yahweh while either in uncircumcision or in circumcision of the flesh. We must also keep the laws, statutes, and commandments as contained in the Abrahamic Covenants of Promise.
In reality, there is no contradiction between the Old Testament and New Testament. Under grace we circumvent the handwritten Torah of Moses (the Law, Old Covenant), which contains the added works of the flesh, and revert back to the righteousness of the Torah of Trust.
Finally, the above conclusions do not mean that it is wrong for someone to be circumcised in the flesh, no more than it would be wrong to abstain from eating unclean meats. If one does such things for the right reasons, such as for health considerations, as a token of the Torah of Trust, and as a reminder of their prophetic meanings, they can be beneficial.
Fleshly Circumcision Not Required
Conversely, if you seek to be justified (made righteous) in order to receive the inheritance of eternal life by means of fleshly circumcision, the eating of only clean meat, and so forth, you are obligated to keep the entire handwritten Torah of Moses, including all of its works (which fleshly man is incapable of doing). Further, you fall from grace, for you seek justification outside of the messiah and the Torah of Trust.
If we are justified by the handwritten Torah of Moses and its fleshly works, then we have no need for the Yahushua the messiah, with whom we are to be joint-heirs in the Abrahamic Covenants of Promise (Torah of Trust). Nevertheless, Scriptures teach us that we can only come to the eternal inheritance by means of Yahushua the messiah.
Yahushua saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
When all of the evidence from Scriptures is considered, there can be no doubt that fleshly circumcision is not required for men to partake of the commanded observance of Passover.