dreamstime 9385560b 300Q: What is the "circumcision made without hands"?

A: This is a reference to Colossians 2:8-12.

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 Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 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 Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of G-d, who raised Him from the dead.  (Colossians 2:8-12)


  • The Abrahamic covenant includes the requirement that males who are participants in the covenant be circumcised in their foreskin. This is known as the "circumcision of the flesh".
  • In the New covenant the "circumcision of the heart" is the critical element (as described by Paul in Romans 2:29).


The New Covenant (described in Jeremiah 31:31-34) describes G-d's Torah written upon the heart. G-d had previously declared that Isra'el has a "heart of stone" (Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26). In order to write His Torah upon their hearts He removes the heart of stone and gives them a heart of flesh. Paul, in Romans 2:29 declares that the "circumcision of the heart" is what is critical in the New covenant. "Circumcision of the heart" is a Hebraic expression for G-d given humility (see Lev 26:41, Deut 10:14-17, Deut 30:5-6, Jer 4:4, etc) and baring one's soul before G-d. Human beings in our fallen, sinful state do not do this on our own accord but only according to the work of G-d's Spirit.

In the Jeremiah 4:4 passage G-d tells the "Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem" to "remove the foreskins of your heart". Was G-d telling these men to perform "open-heart surgery" on themselves? By no means!

The physical heart has no literal "foreskin" so to what was G-d referring? This is another Hebraic expression metaphorically describing the removal of the "natural" covering (i.e. foreskin) of our "heart" (our inner-most being) so that our soul is laid bare before Him. Once our inner heart is laid bare then He will write His Torah upon it as part of the New covenant.

This then is the circumcision made without hands: the work of G-d to remove our sinful nature as a barrier between us and Him. That is the work of Messiah Yeshua.


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Yom Rivi'i, 16 Kislev, 5784

Wednesday, November 29, 2023


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