“But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. ‘Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,’ she said.”-Exodus 4:25
This whole Tzipporah circumcision incident is a good opportunity to touch on an important theological principle that is actually all wrapped up in one singular Hebrew word.
That Hebrew word is KARET.
This is the Hebrew word used for “cut off” in verse 25 of Exodus chapter 4 where it says Tzipporah “cut off” her son’s foreskin.
The fact that this word was used here in this context has always been a real head scratcher for the Rabbis.
The reason is because “KARET” is a word ONLY to be used in the context of one being separated from God’s chosen people.
Let me say that again.
“KARET” is a word ONLY to be used in the context of a person being separated or “cut off” from God.
The Hebrew words used for the normal physical action of cutting like in the case of “cutting an onion” would be one of the following words:
Now notice that last word “MILAH”.
In regular Hebrew, the procedure of circumcision is called BRIT MILLAH, which literally means to “cut a covenant”.
So why is KARAT used instead of one of the above words that seem more appropriate given that those are the actual Hebrew words used for the plain action of cutting?
Is this a mistake or a misuse of the word “KARAT”?
Well, if it comes from God’s Word, then it cannot be a mistake.
It turns out that the theological and prophetic implications are profound indeed.
There is actually a spiritual narrative running through this whole thing that ties circumcision, Passover and the death of Yeshua together.
First, keep in mind that the symbolism represented in the act of circumcision is that a piece of one’s flesh must literally be removed and die.
In fact, under standard Jewish procedures, the foreskin was buried in the ground because it was dead.
You’ve all heard the expression “dying to one’s flesh” haven’t you?
This phrase comes from the symbolism of the rite of circumcision.
The idea being expressed is that what dies of the flesh is “cut off” or “KARET” from God.
So what I’m getting from all of this is that the foreskin represents that part of the body that must be cut off so that the rest of the body can live, kind of like removing a cancerous growth from the body so that it can live.
Spiritually speaking, I believe the foreskin represents the stubborn, un-surrendered will of man that must be removed in order for man to live in harmony with his Creator.
Either his stubborn will is “cut off” or he himself will be “cut off” or KARET.
In the case of Passover, without exception, every person who did not surrender to God in obedience and accept his offer of salvation was cut off from the Body of God’s people.
When Yeshua cried out on the cross “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”, in that instant He was KARET from the Father.
In that instant, Yeshua became that piece of flesh that had to be removed and die so that we could live.
It’s kind of funny how we say, “come just as you are” when invited to join God’s people.
No! No! No!
You can’t come as you are.
You have to “cut off” your stubborn will and your defiant attitude first.
You have to be circumcised (in the heart that is).
And then, unencumbered by that which God has pointed out is unacceptable, you can join and become ONE with God’s covenant people.
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN EXODUS CHAPTER FIVE