Introduction 1.2

This is a thorough bible study about the meaning of the Hebrew word עָרֵל, ‘ʽarel’ translated ‘uncircumcised’ (Strong’s 6189), and gives every verse where the Hebrew word “ʽarel” appears. To obtain a true understanding of this word these scriptures need to be meditated on and notes made of their meaning in different contexts. This requires putting scriptures together where they seem to have a similar meaning, and then meditating even more. The truth will be revealed by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Wherever this word ʽarel appears in the Hebrew, the translation of it is highlighted with bold type and underline. In Hebrew the suffixes and some prepositions are added to the basic word to enhance the meaning, and where this has been done the meaning of the suffix or preposition has been included in highlighted text. Every blessing be to those who seek the truth of God‘s word.

#1.2 Scriptures for עָרֵל (Htr. ʽarel) meaning ‘uncircumcised’ Strong’s 6189

Genesis 17:14 And an uncircumcised male whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.

Exodus 6:12 And Moses spoke before YHWH, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not listened to me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?


The Bible describes Yahweh (YHWH) as the god who delivered Israel from Egypt and gave the Ten Commandments,[5] and says that Yahweh revealed himself to Israel as the LORD who would not permit his people to make idols or worship other gods[6] “I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, or My praise to idols.”[7]

6:30 And Moses said before YHWH, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh listen to me?

12:48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with you, and will keep the Passover to YHWH, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one who is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.

Leviticus 19:23 And when you shall come into the land, and shall have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count its fruit as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised to you: it shall not be eaten of.

26:41 And that I also have walked contrary to them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:

Joshua 5:7 And their sons, whom he raised up in their place, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.

Judges 14:3 Then his father and his mother said to him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you go to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said to his father, Get her for me; for she pleases me well.

15:18 And he was very thirsty, and called on YHWH, and said, You have given this great deliverance into the hand of your servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?

1 Samuel 14:6 And Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armour, Come, and let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that YHWH will work for us: for there is no restraint to YHWH to save by many or by few.

17:26 And David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?

17:36 Your servant killed both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.

31:4 Then Saul said to his armour-bearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armour-bearer would not; for he was very afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

2 Samuel 1:20 Do not tell it in Gath, do not publish it in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

1 Chronicles 10:4 Then said Saul to his armour-bearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was very afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

Isaiah 52:1 Awake, awake; put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for now on the uncircumcised and the unclean shall no more come into you.

Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hear: behold, the word of YHWH is to them a reproach; they have no delight in it.

9:26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, who dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.

Eze 28:10 You shall die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, says the Lord GOD.

31:18 To whom are you thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? Yet shall you be brought down with the trees of Eden to the lower parts of the earth: you shall lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with those slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, says the Lord GOD.

32:19 Whom do you pass in beauty? go down, and be laid with the uncircumcised.

32:21 The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with those who help him: they have gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.

32:24 There is Elam and all her multitude round about her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who have gone down uncircumcised into the lower parts of the earth, who caused their terror in the land of the living; yet have they borne their shame with those who go down to the pit.

32:25 They have set her a bed in the midst of the slain with all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword: though their terror was caused in the land of the living, yet have they borne their shame with those who go down to the pit: he is put in the midst of the slain.

32:26 There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, though they caused their terror in the land of the living.

32:27 And they shall not lie with the mighty who are fallen of the uncircumcised, who have gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.

32:28 Yes, you shall be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised, and shall lie with those who were slain with the sword.

32:29 There is Edom, her kings, and all her princes, who with their might are laid by those who were slain by the sword: they shall lie with the uncircumcised, and with those who go down to the pit.

32:30 There are the princes of the north, all of them, and all the Zidonians, who have gone down with the slain; with their terror they are ashamed of their might; and they lie uncircumcised with those slain by the sword, and bear their shame with those who go down to the pit.

32:31 Pharaoh shall see them, and shall be comforted over all his multitude, even Pharaoh and all his army slain by the sword, says the Lord GOD.

32:32 For I have caused my terror in the land of the living: and he shall be laid in the midst of the uncircumcised, with those slain with the sword, even Pharaoh and all his multitude, says the Lord GOD.

44:7 In that you have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when you offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.

44:9 Thus says the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger who is among the children of Israel.

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Circumcism-Physical and Spiritual

Understanding the Principle of Spiritual Circumcision

In the Bible God revealed to us a spiritual principle and experience called circumcision. As with all spiritual truth God first revealed it in a physical picture in the Old Testament. In order to understand the Spiritual truth that we are to apply and experience in our Christian lives, it is first necessary to look at the dynamics of circumcision as God revealed them in the Old Testament.

The prevailing idea in most churches is that God’s primary objective is to forgive our sins so we can make it to heaven for eternity. While salvation and the forgiveness of sin is a fundamental objective in God’s plan for His creation, and heaven is our ultimate destination, this falls way short of the complete work God desires to do in and through you and me. It was never a thought in God’s mind that we would find forgiveness only to be left in bondage to sin. It wasn’t God’s intent that you keep repeating a cycle of sin and forgiveness over and over. Here is God’s perfect vision for you…

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” Rom. 8:29

Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished much more than simply the forgiveness of sins. It made it possible for you to become like Christ. In order for you to become Christ-like you must get rid of the old flesh nature that is sinful. This is where the spiritual principle of circumcision comes in. Circumcision is the cutting away of the flesh.

God Reveals His Covenant To Abraham

“This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner–those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” Gen 17:11-14 NIV

When God revealed Himself in a covenant to Abraham He gave Abraham a sign of that covenant … Circumcision. Many times we read right past significant issues never realizing the spiritual message God is trying to impart to us. Almost any thinking person would have to ask a simple question here. Why circumcision? What does that have to do with anything? Why is God so concerned about an extra little piece of skin?

It brings to mind the scripture where God commands the children of Israel not to eat any leaven or even to have it in their house during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:15). Does God have something against yeast?

In both of these instances God seems to be pretty serious about the people’s obedience to His commands. In both cases the people who didn’t obey were to be cut off from Israel–left out of the covenant. This is serious business in God’s eyes.

In the big scheme of things we can be pretty sure that having yeast in our house or having an extra little piece of skin isn’t a big offense to God. Therefore God must have had something else in mind when He gave these commands.

Jesus asked the Jews an important question. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? John 3:12

God first established spiritual truth with natural laws. Once the principle of the thing was understood, He could make the jump to spiritual truth and application.

Throughout the Old Testament God spoke to Israel in picture form. His commands, although righteous, also carried a deeper prophetic message. The seven yearly Feasts, the temple, all the sacrifices and the minute detail of the elaborate costume of the high priest all bore more significance than the Jewish people (and most Christians) actually knew. So it is with the issue of circumcision.

God has a spiritual truth for you and me to enter into. In order for us to understand it He had to give us a physical demonstration so we could see it. Before we look at the dynamics of circumcision revealed to Abraham, let’s see what the New Testament has to say about the issue.

” A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code…” Rom. 2:28-29

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” Col. 2:9-14

Notice these two New Testament scriptures speak of a “spiritual circumcision.” This is what God is after. The Old Testament law was simply an example and picture to help us understand what God was really after … a heart that was circumcised to him.

What is the significance of circumcision and how do we become spiritually circumcised? Let’s look.

First of all we need to understand the significance of circumcision from God’s point of view. He gave the natural or physical sign to illustrate spiritual truth, so we need to start there.

From our passage in Genesis 17:11-14 we can glean some important facts.

Circumcision was not optional. It was to be KEPT!

Every person had to be circumcised, even foreigners who lived with the Jews.

It was THE sign of the covenant.

Circumcision was to be performed on the 8th day after birth.

Failure to be circumcised was regarded as a breaking of the covenant and was grounds for being “cut off” or removed from the people of God.

To these obvious statements we might add a few other observations.

A person didn’t circumcise themselves. They yielded to circumcision.

Circumcision was the “cutting off of the flesh.”

Circumcision was done in a private, personal part of the body

That which was cut off is unnecessary.

Circumcision was a point of consecration.

It concerned the cutting away of flesh.

From the two New Testament passages we can ascertain that:

God wanted our hearts circumcised

The Spirit performed spiritual circumcision.

Let’s begin to apply these principles to the spiritual circumcision.

Circumcision Was Not Optional

Under God’s Old Testament illustration circumcision is not optional. It is something that the Jews had to submit to. If God’s pictures are to convey any truth at all they must remain consistent. I believe that God was telling us that spiritual circumcision is not an optional part of Christianity. Not to go through spiritual circumcision would be a breaking of God’s spiritual covenant, just as failure to be circumcised was a breaking of His natural covenant. We need to understand this spiritual principle and yield our lives to it.

How does this apply to our spiritual lives? First, many people make a profession of faith in Christ, but their lives never changed. By its very nature, salvation is a life altering experience. It isn’t a mental assent to live better or turn over a new leaf. It is a personal, spiritual encounter with God whereby a person’s very nature is changed from the inside out. These passages in Romans 2 and Colossians 2 point out that the spiritual circumcision is performed by the Spirit of God.

When a person is born again a circumcision takes place. Something of the old flesh nature is cut away and the Spirit of God is imparted. Where no life change take place there has been no spiritual circumcision and thus no salvation.

A Sign Of The Covenant

Circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant. It was the seal, so to speak. The New Testament gives us a “sign of the covenant” and even links it to the old sign. We have just looked at Col. 2:9-14. Notice how circumcision is the common subject, both physical and spiritual; but also notice how Paul brings in baptism and says that a circumcision takes place at that point. Baptism thus becomes the sign of the new covenant, just as circumcision was the sign of the old covenant. Paul says something happens in our lives when we yield to baptism in faith.

I have sought God on the issue of baptism for a number of years and I am convinced that indeed a spiritual work takes place in a person’s life when they yield to baptism in understanding, faith and obedience.

Performed On The Eighth Day

There are several reasons for this. Physically and medically it has been shown that the blood clotting agents in the male blood stream reach their peak on the eighth day after birth and then diminish afterwards to normal levels. This was the practical side of the issue. A baby circumcised some 3000 years before modern surgical methods would not bleed to death.

Spiritually I believe that God knows when we are ready to have something of our flesh cut off. God doesn’t want us to “bleed to death” spiritually, so He works in out lives to prepare us for His dealings.

Another reason is more directly related to spiritual reality. Circumcision wasn’t performed right after birth. Likewise God doesn’t start our Christian life out by cutting deeply into our hearts. While there is a fundamental change that takes place when we get saved, we usually go through a nurturing period where God is very tender and loving.

As we begin to grow and mature God begins the work of spiritual circumcision. Circumcision is God cutting off that part of us that is unnecessary. It is a deep and personal thing and cuts to the very core of who and what we are.

The number 8 in the Bible is the number of new beginnings. Throughout the Bible God did things in series of sevens, seven being the number of divine completion. After God brought His purpose to completion there was a new beginning. This is significant in the context of circumcision for two reasons.

The first is that nobody was ever circumcised before they had experienced one Sabbath. (See the booklet “Keeping Sabbath” in this series of messages for a better understanding of the principle of spiritual Sabbath.) Cutting off our fleshly nature is not easy. We were born with a sense of self-preservation. Nobody likes to deny himself or herself. God did not expect a man to circumcise himself. He was to submit to it. Experiencing spiritual Sabbath is resting in God’s ability to get the job done in our lives. We stop striving and working and we begin to place our faith in God to do what we could never do.

One of two problems exists today in this area of cutting off our flesh. Either we’ve never been told it is necessary, or we set about to do it on our own. Spiritual circumcision is something that we must rest in. It came on the 8th day after a day of rest.

The 8th day also signifies a new beginning. Something is different after circumcision. It is the start of a new thing in our lives. Sometimes people come to know the Lord and are really excited about God, but after a while they get stagnant. Newness comes after the old has been cut off. And the reverse is true also. There are some new things we can’t enter into until we’ve submitted our lives to spiritual circumcision.

Verse of the Day 1-21-13

Verse of the Day

“Don’t be fooled. You can’t outsmart God. A man gathers a crop from what he plants. Some people plant to please their sinful nature. From that nature they will harvest death. Others plant to please the Holy Spirit. From the Spirit they will harvest eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8 NIRV

Galatians 6

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Do Good to Everyone

6 Brothers and sisters, what if someone is caught in a sin? Then you who are guided by the Spirit should correct that person. Do it in a gentle way. But be careful. You could be tempted too. Carry each other’s heavy loads. If you do, you will give the law of Christ its full meaning.

If you think you are somebody when you are nobody, you are fooling yourselves. Each of you should put your own actions to the test. Then you can take pride in yourself. You won’t be comparing yourself to somebody else. Each of you should carry your own load.

Those who are taught the word must share all good things with their teacher.

Don’t be fooled. You can’t outsmart God. A man gathers a crop from what he plants. Some people plant to please their sinful nature. From that nature they will harvest death. Others plant to please the Holy Spirit. From the Spirit they will harvest eternal life.

Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up.10 So when we can do good to everyone, let us do it. Let us make a special point of doing good to those who belong to the family of believers.

The Creation of a New Nature

11 Look at the big letters I’m using as I write to you with my own hand!

12 Some people want others to think well of them. They are trying to force you to be circumcised. They do it for only one reason. They don’t want to suffer by being connected with the cross of Christ.13 Even those who are circumcised don’t obey the law. But they want you to be circumcised. Then they can brag about what has been done to your body.

14 I never want to brag about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through that cross the ways of the world have been crucified as far as I am concerned. And I have been crucified as far as the ways of the world are concerned.

15 Circumcision and uncircumcision don’t mean anything. What really counts is the creation of a new nature.

16 May peace and mercy be given to all who follow this rule. May peace and mercy be given to the Israel that belongs to God.

17 Finally, let no one cause trouble for me. My body has marks that show I belong to Jesus.

18 Brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.