If we are to understand the issue of Israel today, and how it connects to our lives as followers of the Messiah, then an understanding of the physical (or “natural” as Rav Shaul refers to it in the first book of Corinthians) and the spiritual is crucial. It is a connection found in the Word of God, which in order for us to fully understand the Word, we have to acknowledge and accept. Not only that, but it is something that, I believe, we can apply to our daily lives!
This is especially true in Abraham’s case. God slowly revealed to Abraham His amazing plan for Abraham’s life as the father of a multitude of nations, ultimately culminating in an act that would separate a people of His own possession, first physically, and then spiritually – the act of circumcision:
“God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. “And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. “A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. “But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.” Genesis 17:9-14
God reveals to Abraham that part of the sign of His covenant with Abraham and his descendants after him would be circumcision. This sign would separate Abraham and his descendants from the rest of the world.
This was a physical act, which foreshadowed the spiritual act of circumcising the heart. Rav Shaul (Apostle Paul) affirms this idea when he writes that, “…circumcision is that of the heart…” in Romans 2:29. Remember, the natural/physical always precedes the spiritual in God’s economy. (1 Cor 15:46)
My dear brothers and sisters, as I said before once cannot separate the two! In the same way that there is a physical circumcision and later came the spiritual circumcision, so it is with the physical return of the Jewish people to the Promised Land. Now that the physical return is happening, we are seeing the beginning of their spiritual return to God.
In the next blog entries, we will continue to study these important matters as well as the issue of the unconditional covenant, including the blessings, the Land, and Abraham’s descendants.
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