DIG: How did Jesus get His name? Is this His only name? What other names does He have? Why does He have so many names? Under what covenants was circumcision stipulated? What was the significance of each? Whose faith does the circumcision reveal? Why is it incomplete?
REFLECT: What is the difference between circumcision of the flesh and circumcision of the heart? Has your heart been circumcised? How? When? Where? Why not?
On the eighth day, when it was time to be circumcised, His parents took the infant to the synagogue in Bethlehem. He was named Yeshua, the name the angel had given Him before He was conceived (Luke 2:21).
Under normal circumstances, the parents usually named their children, but both Mary and Joseph, on separate occasions, were told by angels to name their child Jesus, meaning salvation or savior. They were both members of the believing remnant in Isra’el at that time and as such, followed the Torah of Moses (Genesis 17:12). In the Jewish world, both then and today, the child is named on the day he is circumcised. So they did not officially call Him Yeshua the day He was born, but waited until the eighth day. Then He was officially named Yeshua in obedience to what the angel had told them.
The ancient prophet Isaiah had prophesied that the name of the Son of God would be Immanuel (see my commentary on Isaiah Cp – The Sign to the House of David), which means God with us (Isaiah 8:10b). He also said that Messiah would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6b). But the only name that embraces all these names is Yeshua, the Hebrew form of the Greek word, Jesus. Furthermore, Christ, which means anointed One, is the Greek version of the Hebrew Messiah. In His public ministry, the Savior was properly referred to as Yeshua ha-Meshiach.
Brit milah, or circumcision, was prescribed under two covenants. First, it was mandatory under God’s covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:1-14), and secondly under ADONAI's covenant with Moses (Lev 12:3). But the significance of circumcision was different under each covenant. Circumcision under the Abrahamic Covenant was a sign of Jewishness, while circumcision under the Mosaic Covenant was a sign of submission to the Torah, specifically the Pentateuch or the first five books of the TaNaKh. When Jesus was born both covenants were in effect, so Yeshua was saved on the basis of both covenants.
Under the Abrahamic Covenant, circumcision was mandatory for Jews only, but under the Mosaic Covenant it was mandatory for both Jews and Gentiles (see my commentary on Exodus Az – Surely You are a Bridegroom of Blood to Me). Since the death of Christ, the Mosaic Covenant is no longer in effect. Therefore, there is no longer any basis for circumcision for either Jews or Gentiles. But because the Abrahamic Covenant is an eternal covenant, it is still mandatory for Jews to circumcise their sons on the eighth day as a sign of their Jewishness. Some believe this violates what Rabbi Sha’ul taught in Galatians 6:12-16. However, that is not true. Paul was arguing against circumcision for Gentiles on the basis of the Mosaic Covenant. But since the Mosaic Covenant has been rendered inoperative, there is no basis for circumcising under the Torah. So it is clear that in Galatians, Paul was not dealing with circumcision for Jews on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant, but circumcision for Gentiles on the basis of the Mosaic Covenant.
In addition, circumcision shows the faith of the parents and not the child. Being only eight days old, the baby cannot comprehend the concept of faith. And moreover, if given the option, he would probably decline. That is why baptism is not the completion of circumcision. Baptism shows the faith of the one being baptized, while circumcision shows the faith and obedience of the parents of the baby boy being circumcised. The antithesis to circumcision of the flesh in the Bible is never said to be baptism, instead it is circumcision of the heart (Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; Romans 2:28-29).125