If the modern State of Israel is a nation in covenant with God, then physical circumcision is still relevant and binding. In the Bible no male descendant of Abraham was an heir to the covenant or the land without circumcision (Genesis 17:10-14). This is why Joshua circumcised all the males before Israel entered and took possession of the promised land (Joshua 5:2-8).
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells us that if physical circumcision were relevant, the offense of the cross would cease (Galatians 5:11). Paul taught that physical circumcision no longer had any relevance because of the cross (Galatians 6:14-16).
Because of the cross, Israel no longer has a covenant with God which separates them from all other nations. Through the cross Jesus brought an end to the separating wall – the law which was Israel’s covenant with God (Ephesians 2:13-16).
Through the cross, the promise God made to Abraham, which was to justify the heathen through faith and make Abraham the father of many nations, has been fulfilled (Galatians 3). Abraham’s children are now from every nation, identified by their faith in Jesus with a spiritual circumcision which is in the heart, and not in the flesh (Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11; Romans 2:28-29).
BIBLICALLY, ISRAEL’S COVENANT WITH GOD WAS THE LAW GIVEN THROUGH MOSES
Consider Deuteronomy 5:1-3:
And Moses called ALL ISRAEL, and said unto them, Hear, O ISRAEL, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. THE LORD OUR GOD MADE A COVENANT WITH US IN HOREB. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.
The covenant Moses is referring to here is the Law which was given to Israel at the time of the exodus from Egypt. The Bible marks the exodus and the giving of the Law at Sinai as the time in which God made covenant with the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Notice that Moses says in the text above, this covenant was not made with their fathers, a reference to the Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
If modern Israel is in covenant with God, then the Law given through Moses is still binding. If the Law given through Moses is still in effect, then Israel is still under the curse, and the Messiah still needs to come, and salvation has not yet to come to the Gentiles.
In the book of Galatians Paul warns the Gentiles, who were being seduced by the Judaizers, that all who are of the works of the Law are under the curse. The Judaizers were not simply attempting to indoctrinate the Galatians with some sort of works righteousness. Instead, they were attempting to make Jewish converts and that is why there is such an emphasis on the issue of circumcision – the mark of Jewish identity – in the book of Galatians.
Paul tells the Galatians, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10).
Galatians 3:10 is a direct quote from Deuteronomy 27:26. Israel was to keep the Law fully in the promised land, or they would be expelled and lose their inheritance. The right to the land was not an unconditional promise, it was 100% dependent on circumcision and obedience to the Law. The curse of the law meant that Israel would be expelled and lose it’s inheritance (Deuteronomy 27-30).
Biblically speaking, the right to live in the land as a sovereign nation under the Rulership of God alone, meant that Israel had to keep the law and be a holy nation unlike all the other nations. Israel was eventually taken captive by the Assyrians, and Judah by the Babylonians because of the curse. The prophet Daniel prayed the following during the Babylonian captivity:
Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore THE CURSE is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him (Daniel 9:11).
God gave promises through the prophets that there would be a re-gathering of the people back into the land after the Babylonian captivity. Many Zionist attempt to apply those promises to modern Israel, and since those promises are associated with Israel’s distinction under the law, it follows that Zionists also teach a return to the Law at some point in the future. Yet the promises given by the prophets were to the ancient Jews, who returned after the Babylonian captivity. God brought a remnant of Jews back into the land in preparation for the coming of Messiah.
During the time of Nehemiah, the Jews returning from the Babylonian captivity, bound themselves with A CURSE to dedicate themselves again to God and to the covenant God made with their forefathers through Moses (Nehemiah 10:28-29).
In Galatians, Paul warns the Gentile believers not to seek justification by the works of the law; because the curse accompanies the law. All who are under the Law are under the curse.
The law (ancient Israel’s covenant) demands continuation in the works of the Law to all who are under it, and all who do not continue in all things contained in the law are under the curse.
Because of sin, ancient Israel failed to keep God’s covenant given to them through Moses, and therefore were under the curse and in need of redemption. Paul tells us that this redemption came through Christ when he died on the cross, and through His death on the cross, the blessing of Abraham has come on the Gentiles (Galatians 3:13-14). Because of the death of Jesus, the Law (Israel’s covenant) has been fulfilled and now a new covenant has been established with Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-13). In Hebrews 8, the writer of Hebrews tells us exactly why a new covenant was necessary:
FOR FINDING FAULT WITH THEM, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…(Hebrews 8:8).
God found fault with Israel and Judah under the first covenant!
The first covenant (the Law given through Moses) reveals sin and gives no grace to overcome sin. Everyone under the law is under the curse. This new covenant is unlike the old, in that Christ, enthroned at the right hand of God, is the mediator, and not Moses.
The new covenant is said to be with Israel and Judah but unlike the first one:
I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: NOT ACCORDING TO THE COVENANT THAT I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS IN THE DAY I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. (Hebrews 8:8b-9).
This new covenant is based on circumcision of the heart, which comes through faith in Jesus. The new covenant gives a new heart that keeps God’s law (love) by the Spirit of Christ.
In this new covenant, the blessing of Abraham has come on the Gentiles who believe in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:14). In Christ Jesus, believing Jews and Gentiles are heirs together of the covenant (Ephesians 3:1-6) and are equally the true children of Abraham through faith (Galatians 3:26-29). This was God’s intention from the beginning.
Jews who reject Jesus, consequently reject the new covenant, and are cut off from being the people of God (Acts 3:22-23). There is no longer any national covenant status for Israel.
Modern Israel has no in covenant with God, because the old has been made obsolete, and the new belongs to those, Jews and Gentiles, who are in Christ Jesus.