One of the first things a father will teach his sons is about Abraham and the covenant YHVH made with him and his seed.
“And He (YHVH) brought him outside and said, ‘Look now at the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your seed be.’ And he (Abram) believed in YHVH and He counted it to him for righteousness. And He said to him, ‘I (am) YHVH who caused you to come out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.’ ” Genesis 15:5-7
“And it happened, the sun had gone down, and it was dark. Behold! A smoking furnace and a torch of fire that passed between those pieces! On that day YHVH made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘I have given this land to your seed, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river, Euphrates, the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the giants, and the Amorite and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite.’ ” Genesis 15:17-21
If you are the seed of Abraham, whether physically through his son Isaac, or through the Messiah Y’hoshua, this land is your inheritance! “And if you are of the Messiah then you are the seed of Abraham, even heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:29
What defines whether or not you truly belong to the Messiah? “Then His (the Messiah’s) mother and brothers came. And standing outside, (they) sent to Him, calling Him. And a crowd sat around Him. And they said to Him, ‘Behold, Your mother and Your brothers seek You outside.’ And He answered them, saying, ‘Who is My mother or My brothers?’ And having looked around on those sitting around Him in a circle, He said, ‘Behold, My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of Elohim (YHVH), this one is My brother, and My sister, and My mother.’ ” Mark 3:31-35
If you have made a decision to become obedient to YHVH, then you must realize that you also must choose to become a member in the family of the Messiah, the righteous remnant of the twelve tribes of Israel. To be reconciled to YHVH, whether a returning prodigal son or an alien like Ruth, there is only one pathway – following the example we have been given in the life of the Messiah, imitating His life of obedience. In the words of Peter, “Truly I see that YHVH is not a respecter of persons (does not show partiality), but in every nation the (one) fearing Him and working righteousness is acceptable to Him.” Acts 10:34-35
It is a decision – a choice – we must consciously make, for “ . . . as many as received Him (the Messiah), to them He gave authority to become children of YHVH, to the ones believing into His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but (were born) of YHVH.” John 1:12
Note: The Messiah’s Name means YAH is Deliverer. This is extremely important, for to believe in the name of the Messiah is to believe that YHVH is delivering salvation to sinners through the Word made flesh, the Messiah Y’hoshua.
Y’hoshua said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32
What is the definition of righteousness? The answer can be found in Deuteronomy 6:25, “And it shall be righteousness for us when we take heed to do all this commandment before YHVH Elohanu (our El), as He had commanded us.”
“And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be an Elohim to you and to your seed after you. And I will give to you and to your seed after you the land of your sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession and I will be their Elohim. And Elohim said to Abraham, ‘You shall keep My covenant, you and your seed after you in their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your seed after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin. And it shall be a token (a sign) of the covenant between Me and you. And a son of eight days shall be circumcised among you, every male in your generation, he that is born in the house, or bought with silver from any son of a foreigner who is not of your seed. The child of your house and the purchase of your money must be circumcised. And My covenant shall be in your flesh for a perpetual covenant. And an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, his soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.’ ”Genesis 17:7-14
YHVH said of Abraham: “For I have known him, so that whatever he may command his sons and his house after him, even they may keep the Way of YHVH, to do righteousness and justice; to the intent that YHVH may bring on Abraham that which He has spoken of him.” Genesis 18:19
Our part of the covenant is to be obedient to all that YHVH has commanded us to do, and then we can look forward with fervent hope toward receiving all that He has promised us.
As the Messiah told the Pharisees, “ . . . If you were children of Abraham, you would do the works of Abraham.” John 8:39b
What were the works of Abraham? He trusted YHVH and obeyed Him!
James 2:19-26, “You believe that YHVH is One, you do well; even the demons believe and shudder. But are you willing to know, O vain man, that faith (trust) apart from works is dead? Was not our father Abraham justified (declared innocent) by works offering up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that trust worked with his works; and out of the works the trust was made perfect. And the Scripture was fulfilled, saying, ‘And Abraham believed YHVH.’ You see, then, that a man is justified out of works, and not out of trust only. But in the same way Rahab the harlot was also justified out of works, having received the messengers, and sending them out by another way. For as the body is dead apart from the spirit (breath), so also trust is dead apart from works.”
Circumcising all the males in his household was an act of obedience on Abraham’s part. Not only was he himself circumcised in the flesh, his obedience to YHVH was counted to him as circumcision of his heart. As for Ishmael and the servants bought with silver from foreigners not of his seed, this marked them as belonging to a household of the covenant, but it did not necessarily mean that they belonged to YHVH. In order to belong to YHVH, they also had to be like Abraham, circumcised in the heart.
An example is that today, most male babies are circumcised shortly after their birth in a hospital. That is simply a hygienic measure, and it has nothing at all to do with the covenant YHVH made with Abraham.
The male descendants of Abraham, beginning with Isaac, were to be circumcised on the eighth day after their birth. This brought them into the twelve tribes of the covenant; and there were dire consequences for a male who was not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. His soul would be cut off from his people; for this meant that he had broken the covenant of YHVH.
The act of circumcision brought the child into the people of YHVH; but, when he was older, it was up to him to make a decision of his own volition to follow YHVH and declare Him his El. That’s why Ruth said, “your people, my people; your El, my El.” You have to become part of the people before you can become a child of YHVH.
As Paul said, “For indeed circumcision profits if you practice the Torah, but if you are a transgressor of the Torah, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. (Remember: Transgression of the Torah is the definition of sin. 1 John 3:4) If, then, the uncircumcision keeps the righteous requirements of the Torah, (will) not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And will (not) the uncircumcision, who by nature keeps the Torah, judge you who, even though (you have) the letters and circumcision, are a transgressor of the Torah? For he is not a Yehudi that is (one) outwardly, nor is circumcised outwardly in the flesh; but he is a Yehudi that is (one) inwardly, and circumcision is of heart, in spirit, not in letter; of whom the praise is not from men, but from YHVH.” Romans 2:25-29
Neither replaces the other, but both are required. The Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 56:1-8) describes how, in the future, YHVH says that eunuchs and aliens will be welcome in His house (Isaiah 56:7), “ . . . even them I will bring to My holy mount and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices (shall be) accepted on My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” However, please note that the aliens who are not circumcised in both heart and flesh will be unable to enter. “So says Adoni YHVH: ‘No son of an alien, uncircumcised of heart and uncircumcised of flesh, shall enter into My sanctuary, or any son of an alien who is among the sons of Israel.’ ” Ezekiel 44:9
Abraham trusted YHVH and was obedient to Him before he was circumcised: “And he (Abraham) received a sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of trust (while) in uncircumcision, for him to be a father of those believing through uncircumcision, for righteousness to be counted to them also, and a father of circumcision to those not of circumcision only, but also to those walking in the steps of the trust of our father Abraham during uncircumcision.” Romans 4:11-12
The sons will learn that, when they trust YHVH and live a life of obedience, just like Abraham, they will become a blessing to others, and the gentiles will see YHVH in them. In the words of Jeremiah, “O YHVH, my strength and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, Our fathers have inherited only lies, vanity, and there is no profit in them.” Jeremiah 16:19
Also, in Zechariah 8:23, “So says YHVH of Hosts: ‘In those days ten men out of all languages of the nations shall take hold, and will seize the skirt of a man, a Jew,’ saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that Elohim is with you.’ ”
Putting in place definitions, the picture becomes clearly focused: “In those days ten men out of all languages of the gentiles shall strongly take hold, and will seize the tszit-tszit (the fringes) of a man, a Yehudi, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that Elohim is with you.’ ”
YHVH desires for all men to repent of their transgressions and turn back in obedience to His instructions for having life.
“So says YHVH, ‘Keep justice and do righteousness, for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; keeping Sabbath, from defiling it; and keeping his hand from doing every evil. And do not let the son of the foreigner speak, he who joins himself to YHVH saying, ‘YHVH has utterly separated me from His people;’ and do not let the eunuch say, ‘Behold, I (am) a dried tree.’ For so says YHVH to the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths and choose things I am pleased with, and take hold of My covenant; I, even I will give to them in My house and in My walls a hand and a name better than sons and than daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which shall not be cut off. And the sons of the alien who join themselves on YHVH to serve Him, and to love the name of YHVH, to be His servants, everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and takes hold of My covenant: even them I will bring to My holy mount and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices (shall be) accepted on My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the peoples,’ states Adoni YHVH, who gathers the outcasts of Israel; I will yet gather beside him his gathered ones.” Isaiah 56:1-7