Did the pre-incarnate Yeshua appear to Abraham? Why circumcision as a sign?

Genesis 17:1, 22, YHVH appears to Abraham and establishes circumcision as a sign of the covenant. 

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, YHVH appeared [VTR/ra’ah meaning “to see, look, behold, show, appear, observe, have vision, present oneself, be seen”] to Abram, and said unto him, I am El Shaddai; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

YHVH proceeds to lay out to Abraham the terms of the Abrahamic Covenant including circumcision and the fact that Sarah would give birth to a son with whom YHVH would also establish his covenant. When YHVH was done Scripture records the following in verse 22,

And [YHVH] left off talking with him, and Elohim went up [VKG/alah, to go up, ascend, climb, depart] from Abraham. (KJV)

And when He had finished speaking with him, God ascended from upon Abraham. (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach)

And He ceased speaking with him; and the Glory of the Lord ascended from Abraham. (Targum Jonathan)

And when He had ended to speak with him, the Glory of the Lord ascended up from Abraham. (Targum Onkelos)

And be left off speaking with him, and God went up from Abraham. (LXX)

This text does not state how YHVH appeared or spoke to Abraham, just the fact that he did. According to the Hebrew rules of biblical interpretation (and the rules of common logic when reading anything), a scriptural text is to be taken at its literal or plain (peshat) meaning, unless the text itself suggests an allegorical (drash) or mystical (sod) interpretation. The Talmud (the Jewish Oral Law) states this in Talmud b. Shabbath 63a ( … that a verse cannot depart from its plain meaning”) and Talmud b. Yevamoth 24a (“Although throughout the Torah no text loses its ordinary meaning …”). Therefore, it is evident that YHVH appeared to Abraham in some tangible form with which humans are capable of interacting. If he did so once, we have to ask, cannot he do it again in the Person of Yeshua of Nazereth, the Messiah?

Let’s now note some reasons why YHVH chose circumcision to be the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. Remember, physical circumcision is not passé, but is still a requirement for those desiring to be priests in YHVH’s future (spiritual?) temple (Ezek 44:7, 9):

  • It is a token or sign of spiritual things—a sign which always goes before us. (Gen 17:11)
  • It signifies purification of the heart from all unrighteousness by cutting away a piece of the flesh which would otherwise be a carrier of filth and disease.
  • It is a holy seal of righteousness—the foreskin removed is round like a ring. A ring signifies a bond or union and is worn constantly even as the seal of circumcision is worn constantly.
  • Circumcision occurs at eight days of age. Eight is the number meaning new beginnings. A new heart, a consecration of the person to YHVH; the commencement of a covenant. (Gen 17:12) 
  • The rite of circumcision is painful and humiliating. So is repentance and self denial of which circumcision is a picture.

From the penis flows the seed of life. Circumcision is a sign that the seed should and could be righteous and consecrated to YHVH.

In Romans 4:11, Paul teaches us that circumcision is a sign, mark or token, and a seal (placed on someone) or an impression or stamp made by a signet ring signifying ownership. Circumcision spoke of Abraham’s righteousness and the faith he had in YHVH and YHVH’s “ownership” of Abraham. A modern-day example of this would be the marriage ring. One can be legally married without wearing ring; however, a wedding ring is an outward and visible sign of one marriage covenant. The same is true of circumcision. It’s not a salvational requirement, yet it’s an outward sign of an inward spiritual reality.

The Scriptures make it clear that circumcision is not a requirement for salvation (see Acts 15) or else women couldn’t be saved. Circumcision is, however, an act of obedience that indicates one’s identity with the Abrahamic Covenant model of salvation and with the people of Israel. Additionally, the Torah makes it clear that circumcision is required for all men who desire to take Passover, and those who do not keep the Passover will be cut off from Israel (Exod 12:47–48), although in the New Covenant, circumcision of the heart is now the chief requirement (Rom 2:25–29; Gal 6:15; Col 2:11).


6 thoughts on “Did the pre-incarnate Yeshua appear to Abraham? Why circumcision as a sign?

  1. An outward sign to who? In marriage, the ring is seen by all because the hand is visible to all. But the penis is not. So how much of a sign is circumcision if no one can see this sign?

  2. Shalom Natan

    Thanks again for your lucid commentary that guides back to the Word and the Word made flesh !

    Heard something the other day…please put your feet under your seat because what I say next, may step on your toes………..& I am not trying to hurt you.

    I wonder why the tradition of wedding rings is worthy of our walk? Seems rather extra biblical and introduced into 1st millenia Christianity from other origins.
    The rings of signet spoken of in the bible from my understanding are seals used to designate authority/ownership and identity. They were not part of the marriage contract at all.

    I was convicted some years back by the Spirit to look into the source & history of wedding rings & took mine off….which was not easy as it signified different things to me than my research. I had been a sexually immoral person of the world and the wedding ring was exceptionally special as an indicator of choosing exclusive fidelity to one …just as Elohim desires & I thought it was a Godly biblical thing to do as well.

    Once I took off the ring, shortly afterwards the Holy Spirit asked me to look up the word Easter and I grabbed the dictionary and then began finding out a lot of really confronting truths about my walk with Yeshua actually being a mocking mixture of pagan fertility practice in offering with faith in salvation too. : ( !!

    Of course that was through ignorance of truth & not straight out rebellion.

    This knowledge and decision to no longer keep easter/christmas led me to Sabbath and leaving my Christian denomination of Church of England & all the tears and tearing apart of trust as I sorted more truth to be lived out in my life…..My life that is His now in reality..

    The symbolisms that underlay the actual wedding ring seem rather different.. just like the Rabbit and Eggs of Easter have been attributed a “holy” function to remind us of Messiah’s new life instead of their original profane actual identity. They are just redirects away from the simplicity of truth. As the marriage ring is also a boast/sign before men & perhaps like a rabbinical fence when we were given the tzitt ziot for that purpose .

    Let our yes, be yes, always to our our marriage vows. Simple.

    None of us can make a thing Holy but we can sure use that which is profane through lack of understanding, attributing goodness to the symbol to be under bondage to subtle darkness by embracing it.
    The ring actually becomes an idol of a man made truth and satan has opportunity to misdirect or keep our eyes shut to more biblical truth when we go astray but He is merciful and will teach the heart that seeks the narrow Way again.

    The pagan ring operates like a magic spell to blind us in certain key areas in our walks. The confusion and disorder amongst us following the Hebraic understanding continues as we bring a pagan idol from our former life in normative Christianity across with us not realising what we are proud of is not pure in Elohim’s sight. Let us be renewed and new creations with no accretions of other practice.
    To me it is like finding out about valentine’s day being ungodly. We must turn back to Elohim and not think in our hearts Elohim should turn to follow us.

    Love you all very much to share this. Do hope your toes are under the chair until you investigate it for yourself. Shalom Shalom. Shavua Tov.

    • FJ, In the past I was attracted to man and because he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring I thought he was free, which is why I believe every married person should wear one as an outward sigh that you are one with another and no other:)

    • If the wedding ring is of pagan originations, then maybe we should instead all get nose rings and earrings when we get married, for in Ezek 16 we read of Elohim marrying Israel at Sinai and…

      Eze 16:8 “When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord GOD.
      Eze 16:9 “Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil.
      Eze 16:10 I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk.
      Eze 16:11 I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck.
      Eze 16:12 And I put a jewel/ring in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.

      Scripture says that whatever is not of faith is sin. In areas where the Bible is not explicit, then we have to be led by the Spirit. If you’re convicted not to wear a ring, then you need to follow your faith on that.

      I have heard these issues discussed for decades. As such I have discovered that if we were to remove from our lives everything that is of pagan origination we wouldn’t be left with much. For example, much of our vocabulary would be exempted thus preventing us from communicating effectively with those around us. Moreover, much of our clothing would be forbidden, so we’d have to go around virtually naked. I could go on. For me, it’s about balance. If something isn’t overtly and blatantly pagan such as a phallic symboled Christmas tree or an the sexually explicit Easter bunny, I’m a little less concerned about the spiritual ramifications of it, since the historical record going back millennia as to the exact origins of things is very hazy. Many things that some people think are of pagan origination actually started out as being initiated by Elohim, but were co-opted by the Satan the great counterfeiter and his heathens minions. Now these things appear to be heathen, when in reality they were originally of godly origins. The cross symbol is an excellent example of that with its origins being the ancient Paleo-Hebrew letter tav with its potential righteous pictographic symbology and significance.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns on the origin of the wedding ring. This is by no means the first time I have heard this argument. May the reader be convinced one way or another in his or her own spirit on this subject. Blessings.

  3. YHVH gathers His people. Recall the Scripture Matt 23:37. First comes the gather-ring, then the netzer-ring, then the engagement ring, then the wedding ring 🙂

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