jQuery Slider

You are here

The Return of the Judaizers

The Return of the Judaizers

By Alice C. Linsley
April 17, 2017

The Judaizers came to Antioch claiming that Gentile converts were to adhere to the Law and be circumcised. Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to discuss this matter with the apostles and elders. The wise council of Jerusalem agreed that Gentiles were justified by faith without keeping the Law, and a letter to this effect was sent to the churches (Acts 15). However, this was not the end of the trouble caused by the Judaizers. They went after Paul, denying his apostleship, seeking to destroy his influence, and perverting the Gospel (1 Corinthians 9:1-4; 2 Corinthians 10:1-13:6; Galatians 1:6-2:21).

Today Judaizers have returned with their false gospel in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. These insist that people must be circumcised as a sign they have entered the New Covenant. Recently an Anglican priest from Africa asked me to address this issue. Is circumcision necessary for salvation?

Scripture speaks of the circumcision of the heart, an eternal circumcision. In Colossians 2:8-9, 11-14, the Apostle Paul writes:

"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Messiah.

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.

And in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Messiah.

Having been buried with Him in baptism (of the Spirit), in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.

Having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."

What this means becomes clearer when we understand the original context of circumcision. Originally, circumcision pertained to a specific group of people: kings and their queens, royal priests and their wives. It originated among the Proto-Saharan and Nilotic rulers. Circumcision for them meant recognizing the binary order fixed in Nature by the Creator. Therefore, it was an act of obedience and reverence that signified a heart for God. Is it necessary for salvation? No. One thing is necessary for salvation: "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:31) All are saved who believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came into the world to save sinners and who receive Him; recognizing our absolute dependence on His divine work at the Cross, the empty Tomb, and at His coming again.

Circumcision, animal sacrifice, Messianic expectation, and the priesthood originated among the Nilo-Saharans before 3,500 B.C. Herodotus (B.C. 485-425) wrote concerning the Nilotic origins of circumcision: "Egyptians and the Ethiopians have practiced circumcision since time immemorial. The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine themselves admit that they learnt the practice from the Egyptians, while the Syrians in the river Thermodon and the Pathenoise region and their neighbors the Macrons say they learnt it recently from the Colchidians. These are the only races which practice circumcision, and it is observable that they do it in the same way with the Egyptians."

Concerning circumcision, it is necessary to understand the binary worldview of Jesus' Horim, that is His Horite Hebrew ancestors in Africa. Today what is called "female genital mutilation" should properly be called "Pharaonic circumcision" and it shares the same point of origin as male circumcision. Therefore it is irrational to argue against the one and not the other.

In November 1982, Canadian Anthropologist Janice Boddy's research on Pharaonic circumcision appeared in American Ethnologist. The essay was titled "Womb as Oasis: The symbolic context of Pharaonic circumcision in rural Northern Sudan" (Vol.9, pgs. 682-698). Boddy studied Pharaonic circumcision among the Sudanese for whom female circumcision parallels male circumcision and reflects the binary distinction between females and males, one of the most important binary distinctions found throughout the Bible.

Boddy explains: "In this society women do not achieve social recognition by becoming like men, but by becoming less like men physically, sexually, and socially. Male as well as female circumcision rites stress this complementarity. Through their own operation, performed at roughly the same age as when girls are circumcised (between five and ten years), boys become less like women: while the female reproductive organs are covered, that of the male is uncovered. Circumcision, then, accomplishes the social definition of a child's sex by removing physical characteristics deemed appropriate to his or her opposite: the clitoris and other external genitalia, in the case of females, the prepuce of the penis, in the case of males." (Boddy, pg. 688)

Boddy states, "while the female reproductive organs are covered, that of the male is uncovered." This is why the Horite Hebrew erected stone pillars at sacred sites, but never stone replicas of the female organ, as is done in the Vedic/Tantra tradition with the lingam (phallus) and yoni (vagina). The female in the tradition received from Jesus' ruler-priest ancestors is to be covered and her covering is her protection, both literally and figuratively. Consider how Ruth sought the protection of marriage by covering herself with the hem of Boaz's robe.

The Binary Worldview of the Bible

A binary set refers to a universally observed pattern in nature where two entities are naturally linked and complementary. One of the entities in the set is recognized as greater in some observable way than its complement. Biblical theology hinges on this binary view of reality. The binary view is expressed in the biblical assertions that God is greater than man, and life is greater than death. Male-female and sun-moon are binary sets in the Bible.

Among Abraham's people the sun was regarded as having masculine attributes and was called Shemesh (masculine). The binary framework of the Bible comes from them. However, it is older than the Hebrew language. Abraham's Proto-Saharan ancestors regarded the Sun as the symbol of the Creator. The Creator was said to be the "Father" who inseminates the Earth.

The masculine terminology for the sun is apparent in Psalm 19:4-6: "...the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices as a strong man to run his course. Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat."

Genesis 1:6 speaks of the sun as the greater light that rules the day. The sun and the moon are not equals (dualism) because the sun is the "greater light" and the Moon reflects the light of the greater body. This is the main distinction between the binary logic of the Bible and the dualism of Asian religions that developed later in the Axial Age.

Binary sets attest to the fact that there are fixed patterns in Nature. The circumcised heart acknowledges these and honors them. The person of faith believes these patterns to be fixed by the Creator. They stand as a witness to the Creator's existence, divine nature, and eternal power. The Apostle Paul speaks of this in Romans 1:19, 20: "For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse."

Alice C. Linsley researches and writes on topics in Philosophy, Bible, and Anthropology. She lives in North Carolina where she teaches technology, science and Latin.

Get the latest news and perspectives in the Anglican world.
comments powered by Disqus
Prayer Book Alliance
Trinity School for Ministry

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice


Go To Top