Those "Of the Circumcision"
The phrase "they of the circumcision" is mentioned in Acts 10:45 when Cornelius' who was uncircumcised was baptised.
Acts 10:45 And they OF THE CIRCUMCISION WHICH BELIEVED were astonished, as many as came with Peter because that ON THE GENTILES also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46 For they HEARD THEM SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and magnify God.
This presumably indicates that there were some "of the circumcision" WHO DIDN'T BELIEVE that God had done this. Perhaps at least some of “those of the circumcision” somehow couldn’t get their brains around the fact that Exodus 12;48 MUST have been only temporary, that is, until God decided to call gentiles on an EQUAL footing with Israelites. So God was showing the church that Genesis 17 was intended primarily, let’s call it “identity legislation for the nation of Israel” and insofar as that OCCASIONALLY included gentiles until they were called on a larger scale, so be it. BUT from the baptism of Cornelius onwards it would be different. Now contrary to Exodus 12:48 Gentiles no longer needed to be circumcised to participate in Passover.
God was about to call not just a few gentiles here and there, but as many gentiles as Jews in parallel. But let’s be clear about one thing: this was not a change to the law that any of the apostles had dreamed up. God showed the church because of the way in which Cornelius was given His Spirit that the Almighty God Himself was modifying one very small aspect of His law because numerous other prophecies pertaining to the calling of the gentiles en masse would begin to be fulfilled.
Interestingly we find that same expression in Galatians 2:12
Galatians 2:12 last part of the verse: he (Peter) withdrew and separated himself, fearing THEM WHICH WERE OF THE CIRCUMCISION.
As we'll see, even after Cornelius' baptism, (and to some extent understandably because of Exodus 12:48) some of "those of the circumcision" who weren't convinced that uncircumcised gentiles could eat Passover came to Antioch (a Galatian church) and began what became known as the Galatian controversy or Galatian heresy.
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© www.gentiles-and-circumcision.info Jan 2006.
Paul kept Nazirite vows, even after the crucifixion & offered sacrifices at the temple many christian theologians believe, so how can the Torah law really be "done away" in Galatians?