Circumcision and Baptism Signify the Same Thing

Circumcision and Name of Jesus Thursday

Luke 2:21

“And after eight days, when the child was circumcised, his name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”

The eighth day was perhaps also determined for some physical reason so that the child would grow a bit tougher prior to the circumcision, so that it would not appear as if. In this way, if the child was circumcised soon after the birth and died out of weakness, it would not have the appearance that he died because of circumcision. But the spiritual interpretation is more reputable. Seven days mean this transient time until the Last Day, because this time span, described in Genesis 1, is measured in weeks or seven days. The eighth day is the Last Day, after this time, when the weeks, months, and years will end and there will only be an eternal day. On that day, circumcision will be consummated when not only the soul but also the body, redeemed from sin, death, and all impurity, will shine like the sun; meanwhile, the soul is circumcised by faith from sin and an evil conscience. Thus, we see that Scripture urges faith everywhere–but only faith in Christ! This is why circumcision is not given by the law of Moses; it was also not given to the fathers before Abraham. Rather, it was given to Abraham to whom Christ, his Seed, was promises as a blessing, so that everywhere the physical circumcision would be consonant with the spiritual circumcision. But why, then, did it cease since the same faith in Christ it signifies still goes on and remains? Answer: From the beginning of the world to the end, God has always preserved one faith in Christ. But he has not always paired it with the same sign. If all signs urging faith would remain, who might keep them? But now that faith is inward and invisible, God set it before man by many outward signs, so that he would be enticed to believe as by many examples; and God left each sign in place for its time. How many signs did just Moses alone do in Egypt and in the desert? They are all past, even though they were all signs of faith. Likewise, when God promised Abraham the blessing in his Seed and gave him a sign for it, circumcision, it could not, out of the power of the same promise, exist past the fulfillment of that promising. But when Christ, the promised Seed, came, circumcision came at its end and fulfillment, so that it was no longer to be expected. Thus, it was necessary for the sign to come to its end and cease: On what basis should it continue to exist if the promise on which the sign hinged had ceased? But faith, the meaning of the sign, remains at all times, no matter what signs signify the promise. But circumcision is not ended in such a way that it would be sin to get circumcised, as St. Jerome and many with him believed. Rather, circumcision has become free: If you want to, you may get circumcised, so long as you do not do it in the opinion that circumcision is necessary and commanded or that God’s promise to Abraham is still unfulfilled, or you attempt to become good by
getting circumcised. This is why it does not depend on the work of circumcision but on the reasons behind the work…
Moreover, God also has never had the custom of reestablishing a sign that had come to its end, but has always given new and different signs. Thus, after the fulfillment of his promise, after Christ’s first coming, he established a different and new sign for Abraham’s Seed, namely, baptism which, however, is the last instituted sign before the Last Day because God instituted it by himself. But the same faith in Christ always remains what it was in Abraham, because faith knows of neither day or night or any outward change. Baptism signifies the very thing circumcision signified.

St. Louis ed., 11:290-291.

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