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The Gospel of the Circumcision

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The Gospel of the Circumcision

According to Galatians 2: 7, this gospel was committed to Peter. But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

What is the Gospel of the Circumcision?  Is it the good news we are to follow today?  Is it different from the gospel of the uncircumcision given to Paul?  These are questions you should be asking, and we will attempt to clear that up.

The four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record the commission of our Lord to go to the world and teach this gospel (of the circumcision).  You will find them in Matthew 28: 19-20, Mark 16: 14-18, Luke 22: 44-47 and John 20: 19-23.  Since the account in Matthew is better known, let us examine it.  Many call this the Great Commission:  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28: 19-20)

These are the marching orders for the gospel of the circumcision.  Look at what they say.

  1. Go and teach all nations and baptize them. Teach them what? (The Gospel of the Circumcision)
  2. Teach them to observe all the things that Christ taught and commanded them.

The baptismal message they were to teach was nothing new.  It was the same message that John the Baptist began preaching prior to the ministry of Jesus:  And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; (Luke 3: 3) It is also the message that Peter preached in Acts 2: 38:  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

John the Baptist and Peter were definitely teaching the same kind of baptism, were they not?  What about marching order number two?  Do you really know what Jesus taught His disciples?  Probably not, so let’s do a quick run though of all He taught in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 2: 2: Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.  Even though this is not a command of Jesus, it does give us some insight into the overall theme of the book.  Israel had been looking for a king to come and restore them to their rightful earthly inheritance.

Matthew 3: 2-3:  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John the Baptist is declaring that the long awaited kingdom was close at hand and that the Messiah spoken of by Isaiah had arrived.

Matthew 3: 13-15:  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.  Jesus had no sins, so why was He asking to be baptized?  Answer:  To fulfill all righteousness.  The law required baptism.  Jesus placed Himself under the laws of man, in obedience to the will of the Father, and had to do all the law required. That is the issue which many people overlook in studying the truth rightly divided. The attempt to keep the law showed ones’ willingness to be faithful.

Matthew 4: 17:  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  The kingdom of heaven spoken of in the passage is the 1,000 year millennial kingdom, an earthly kingdom. It is what allIsrael longed for, a time when the prophesied Messiah would establish His Kingdom and the oppression of the Jews would end.

Matthew 4: 23: And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.  This is the same gospel (of the Circumcision) but now He is beginning to perform the miracles that prophets of old had foretold would be a sign to Israel of Messiah’s eminent return. The Jews of the Old Testament were looking for a Messiah to come and take them out of the bondage that had been imposed on them from four conquering nations: 1) Babylon, 2) Media-Persia, Greece and 4) Rome.  According to prophecy this Messiah would restore them to the land promised them by God through Abraham and the people would know Him by the miracles he performed.

Matthew 5: 2, 5:  And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying …Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  Question: What is the teaching concerning the kingdom of heaven?  It is on earth. This earthly inheritance is not for members of the Church the Body of Christ, which all who believes the gospel Paul preached, the Gospel of the Uncircumcision, will inherit. The inheritance for believes today is a heavenly one.

Ephesians 1: 3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 2: 6: And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Matthew 5: 17-18:  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. The declaration of Jesus is that He came to fulfill the law.  It is obvious that the law was still operative and was to be adhered to if they were to be saved. Remember, this is Jesus teaching His disciples and telling them to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded thee.”

Matthew 6: 10:  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. When teaching His disciple what has come to be known as the Lord’s prayer, He instructed them to pray for the kingdom on earth to come. Why, Because that will be their promised inheritance?

Matthew 6: 14-15:  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Check it out!  Forgiveness of sins could not take place as long as you had not forgiven others for any sins against you.  Is that true today?  It is not. So, if you have an open mind you will see there is a drastic difference between what Jesus instructed the disciples to teach and what He revealed unto Paul, who we follow today.

Matthew 10: 5-6:  These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  Does Jesus say stay away from the Gentiles?  Isn’t that strange?  No, it is not. Israel must be converted so she can become a blessing to the world, and the world come to the knowledge of God throughIsrael.

Why did Peter go to Cornelius, who was a Gentile? Let’s look at the topic of discussion. Acts 10: 25-28:

And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Please read Acts 10: 34-48.  Verse 35 should be studied carefully: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. What does the verse say?  It says anyone from anywhere who fears God and does works of righteousness is accepted by God, that includes the Gentile. The works of righteousness has to do with whatever work was in play for the time at hand.  It just so happens that a portion of that work of righteousness was water baptism, which was done in verse 48, as was commanded.

When Peter was confronted by the Jewish leaders about what he had done (gone to the home of a Gentile), here are his words: Acts 11: 17: Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. Remember this, we are discussing the Gospel of the Circumcision being taught to a Gentile and the Holy Ghost fell on him just as it had done on the Jews at Pentecost. The gospel Peter preached to Cornelius was the Gospel the Lord commanded him to preach, and that Gospel was “repent and be baptized,” which is also known as the Gospel of the Circumcision. 

Let’s continue with what the Lord commanded His disciples in the Book of Matthews.

Matthew 10: 9-10:  Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.  Do you know many preachers today that have little thought for money?  They are one in a million.  Then why were they instructed to teach this?  In the new kingdom, of which they were to be a part, there would be no need for anything because everything would be provided for them. That is why God instructed Luke to write these words:

Acts 1: 14: These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Acts 2: 1: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Acts 2: 46: And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Acts 4: 24: And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

Acts 5:12: And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.

They were all with one accord because it was to be the beginning of the promised restoration, where everyone will be content because Jesus will be reigning as King. In theKingdomofGodthere will be harmony among the people.  This is what the Kingdom is all about. Those first saved in Acts 2, 3 and 4 were of one accord until Acts 5, which marked the beginning of the downfall of the Jews and eventually led to their becoming Lo Ammi. (not God’s people).

What happened in Acts 5? Ananias and Sapphira kept back a portion of the land they sold, therefore breaking the command to sell all their goods and bring them to the disciples. What was the result of that action?  They died on the spot. Acts 5: 5: And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. Acts 5: 10: Then fell she (Sapphira) down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

So, you can see how important being in one accord was. Great things began to happen with the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost in Acts 2, but things started going downhill after Acts 5.  That is why God raised up Paul in Acts 9. Paul was given a new commission, a greater commission as a matter of fact, the commission of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5: 17-21: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ (not the Jewish nation), as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

I hope you have seen that the Jewish nation was given a commandment to tell the all the Jews about Christ having come.  They in turn would then go and evangelize the world for Christ.  It was very important that the Jewish nation believe this good news of the Messiah having come so they could go forth and “teach all nations, baptizing them.”

But let’s continue discussing the commands of the Lord to His disciples.

Matthew 12: 39:  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:  So why do men look for signs today?  They must be evil and adulterous or have listened to evil teaches and believed what they said.  How many denominations do you know of who are advocates of the sign gifts? Should they be, according to the passage? We think not!  The signs were toIsrael, so they could believe Christ had come.

Matthew 15: 22-26:  And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. 

There are several things in these verses you need to look at carefully.  The lady asked for mercy and called Him Lord.  He did not even answer her at first but when He did He told her he was not sent to Gentiles – He was sent to Israel.  Bread, in the passage, refers to salvation, which He said should not be given to Gentile dogs beforeIsraelhad received it.  Is that the message for today?  It is not.  But at the time Jesus spoke the words it was the program of the day and His disciples were instructed to follow that program. That is why Peter said what he did to Cornelius, and that is why Peter was given the vision he received prior to going to see Cornelius.

FACT: Gentiles were not to be offered salvation until allIsraelhad received and believed. There were a few exceptions based upon a strong fear of God, as in the case of this woman as well as the one concerning Cornelius. But the fact remains that both of these people were saved in accordance to the Gospel of the Circumcision, which is “repent and be baptized.”  Once they were baptized they became a part of those who would inherit the earth.

Matthew 16: 21-23:  From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.  Can you believe it?  The disciples had no idea what Jesus was talking about.  They did not understand anything about the death, burial and resurrection that was to come.  Why?  Luke 18: 31-34 says it was hid from them.  In other words it was a mystery hid in Scripture and they were not supposed to understand it at the time. That mystery was given unto Paul and he began to preach another gospel, the Gospel of the Uncircumcision after the Lord called him to preach.

Matthew 24: 13:  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  Those who do not believe in eternal security use this to state their case.  It is sad they do not realize this message was toIsrael and has no such application under the message of grace in the present dispensation. But what you should be able to see is that this is part of what the Lord commanded the disciples to preach/teach. Eternal security is a product of the Gospel of the Uncircumcision committed unto Paul and was not given to those saved under the Gospel of the Circumcision committed unto Peter. People saved under the Gospel of the Circumcision will have their sins blotted out, and their security assured when the Lord return to earth to reign for 1,000 years.

Acts 3: 19-21: Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.  The times of restitution is the promised restoration of Joel and Hosea.

Matthew 24: 14:  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  Matthew 24: 13-14 was a part of the gospel of the circumcision.  The Jew will live with Christ for 1,000 years on the earth.  That is their inheritance but it is not ours.

The sixteen items listed above paint a clear picture of what Jesus taught and did during His three year ministry on earth.  He chose twelve men to carry out the work He had begun.  He trained them, taught them everything they needed to know to carry out the task that was before them.  What He did not want them to know He kept hid from them, however, what they were instructed to do is clear:

  1. They were to teach – “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins.” (Matt. 28: 19-20; Acts 2: 38)
  2. They were to begin their ministry atJerusalem. (Luke 24: 47)
  3. They were to wait for the power that would come from the Holy Spirit before they were to begin their ministry. (Acts 1: 8)  They had already received the Spirit (John 20: 22) but now they were to wait for the power to come.
  4. Once they had that power, they were given instructions as to where they should begin their ministry:  beginning atJerusalem, then to all Judea, then toSamaria, and after all that to go to the uttermost parts of the earth. (acts 1: 8)

(Let me explain Acts 1: 8.  Judea andSamariawere the Southern and Northern sections ofIsrael.  The disciples were instructed to begin their ministry inJerusalemand then go to the rest of the Jewish nation before seeking out Jews in the rest of the world.)

  1. They were to teach everything the Lord had commanded them to do.  (Matt. 28: 19-20)
  2. As a part of that command, they were to tell everyone who would listen that the kingdom of heaven, which was on earth, was at hand.  If one wanted to be a part of that kingdom, one would have to repent and be baptized and believe what the prophets of old foretold.  Peter said as much in Acts 2: 16-30.
  3. When the people of that day asked what one needed to do to be saved (Acts 2: 37), Peter said repent and be baptized. (Acts 2: 38)  One does not need to be baptized today in order to obtain a heavenly inheritance with God. They did under the Gospel Peter was commanded to preach.

Israelwas charged with evangelizing the world.  When they failed to meet their responsibility God raise up Paul,, who had been chosen in his mother’s womb: But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, Galatians 1: 15. But not called to preach until Acts 9.

Those who do not recognize the uniqueness of the Gospel of the Uncircumcision committed unto Paul ask: Why was Paul baptized?

 The answer is simple.  He was baptized because it was the order of the day.  It was God’s requirement at the time of his salvation. Paul was also a Jew and in order to preserve unity he was baptized. But after Paul went into the desert to receive his instructions from the Lord (Galatians 1: 17), he writes the following words to the Corinthians: For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (1 Corinthians 1:17)

Did Paul baptize anyone? Yes he did, according to 1 Corinthians 1: 14-16, but he hastily declares in verse 17, that the gospel he preached was not the same as the one committed unto Peter, to whom was specifically told to teach “repent and be baptize.”

Paul also tells Peter, James and John that as we see in the letter to the Galatians 2: 7-9:

But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

So we can say that what Paul was saying to the Corinthians was something like this: “Peter, James and John were ordained of God to preach the Gospel of the Circumcision, and that gospel was to teach repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and then to teach that all their sins would be blotted out when Christ returns to earth to reign for 1,000 years.  However, Christ did not send me to preach that gospel.  I started out by preaching that Jesus was the son of God, which was exactly what Peter preached, but then God revealed unto me something he called a mystery.  Part of that mystery was hid in the Scriptures (Romans 16: 25-26) and part of it was hid in God. (Ephesians 3: 9) God showed me that Israelwas failing to do what she was chosen to do and that is the reason he called me to be the apostle to the Gentiles. Romans 11: 13: For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:”

We are living in the dispensation of grace, which followed the dispensation of the law. In the dispensation of grace a work by man is not accepted for remission of sins, as water baptism was under the dispensation of the law.  In this present dispensation we a told in Ephesians 2: 7-9 this: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

The gift of God is Jesus dying for your sins. The work of man has been replaced by the work of Christ – he died was buried and rose again for your sins. In other words our justification for sins is not baptism, but the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  It was Christ faith tin God that God would raise Him from the dead if He willingly went to the cross. Galatians 2: 16: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

There is a difference in the Gospel of the Circumcision and the Gospel of the Uncircumcision. If you will search the Scriptures you will see it.