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The Sign of the Covenant

October 1, 2013

Genesis 17:10-11

10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; 11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 


One of my best friends from college asked me  about the Sign of the Covenant which is described here in Genesis 17, I had no idea. So I went to Old Faithful Blue Letter Bible commentary with Pastor David Guzik and found some amazing information that I want to share with you. Thanks Chache for the question!

Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, God chose him to be the ‘father of a multitude’, thats what his name means. God made an everlasting covenant with him here in this chapter, which means a promise that lasts forever!

The sign of this covenant was circumcision, to some this has seemed kind of cruel and unusual, but we must remember our God’s Ways are always so much higher than ours. What we see as horribly painful, God sees as temporary pain for everlasting promises.

Here are a few reasons for this choice of sign:

  • For the first time God gave the people a sign to show their faith, to show that they receive His covenant.
  • There are obvious hygienic reasons to this, in the commentary a reference is made to some medical evidence of an incredibly low rate of cervical cancer in Jewish women.
  • More importantly, the cutting away of this flesh was a sign for them to not put their trust in the flesh of man. Which is actually still necessary for us today, to put our trust in God not in flesh(man)
  • Because of Gods promise through Abraham the seed of our Messiah would come, this was dealt as a reminder of where the seed would come from.

Why circumcise at 8 days?

On the eighth day is when a childs immune system is at optimal performance (as opposed to day 1-7), its noted that vitamin K, a blood clotting agent is not even present until day 5-7. Prothrombin, another blood clotting agent is also highest on day 8.

Rejection of the Covenant

This covenant was rejected by some, but the ultimate rejection came by those putting their trust in the sign (like the Pharisees of the New Testament), rather than their trust in the God who created the sign. It wasnt the sign that saved it is the faith by the sign that saved.

A similar parallel today is baptism. Baptism is a symbol, or public profession of our faith. Baptism alone does not save, and some have fallen subject to this religious deception. It was only faith in God alone that saved then, and it is faith alone that saves now.

God Bless All of You

Reference and Information taken from Blue Letter Bible Commentary by Pastor David Guzik.


From → Nibble of Bread

  1. Mike Sands permalink

    Very interesting stuff. I didn’t know that about a child’s immune system. Our God knows ALL.

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