(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).
The Mosaic covenant had strict laws regulating the naming of newborns, circumcision of male infants and dedication of babies to the Lord. In the law, a woman was considered unclean after childbirth, and would remain so for variable lengths of time, depending on whether she gave birth to a male or a female infant. A woman who gave birth to a boy would be unclean for seven days. On the eighth day, the boy was to be circumcised and named. The new mother would then remain ceremonially impure for another 33 days, before she could undergo purification rites, accompanied by the offering of sacrificial animals, after which she would be declared pure and would then be fit to touch sacred things and appear before the Lord. Those who gave birth to female infants would initially be unclean for fourteen days (after which the child would be named), and would require an additional 66 days to undergo purification before they could appear before the Lord to dedicate their children. Thus, for male infants, child dedication was done 40 days after birth, while female infants required twice that length of time (80 days) before they could be dedicated to the Lord. This was a strict ordinance of the Mosaic Law which was religiously observed by the Jews in the Old Testament. Even Jesus Christ, who was born under the law, was subjected to this regulation of the Mosaic law, as he was circumcised on the eighth day, and was dedicated to the Lord 40 days after his birth.
Leviticus 12:1 The LORD said to Moses,
Leviticus 12:2 “Say to the Israelites: ’A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period.
Leviticus 12:3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.
Leviticus 12:4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over.
Leviticus 12:5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.
Leviticus 12:6 “’When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering.
Leviticus 12:7 He shall offer them before the LORD to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. “’These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl.
Leviticus 12:8 But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”
St. Luke 2:4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
St. Luke 2:5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
St. Luke 2:6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
St. Luke 2:7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
St. Luke 2:21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
St. Luke 2:22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
St. Luke 2:23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord” ),
St. Luke 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
Galatians 4:4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
Galatians 4:5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
As we can see from the Scriptures above, the Jews in the Old Testament had strict laws regulating child-naming and child-dedication. These ceremonies concerning newborns were not left to parents and families to decide when to perform them, but were fixed by laws which had to be observed strictly. Thus, believers under the Old Testament had clear-cut instructions concerning naming ceremonies and dedication of newborns. Under the New Testament, confusion still lingers among some believers as to when to perform these ceremonies for their newborns. Are New Testament believers to follow the regulations of the Mosaic law concerning naming ceremonies, circumcision and child-dedication, or are parents at liberty to decide when to perform these duties for their babies? The key to answering this question lies in understanding the fact that New Testament believers are not under the Mosaic covenant and its injunctions. The old covenant under which the Jews in the Old Testament operated has expired and has been abolished. Therefore, the regulations of the Mosaic Covenant are no longer binding on believers in the New Testament. We’re now under a new covenant, the terms and conditions of which are to be found in the Acts of the Apostles and the Apostolic epistles. The Christian does not therefore look back to the expired and abolished Mosaic Covenant for conduct, order and doctrine. Rather, we look to the writings of the original Apostles of the Lord (who are the foundation of the church) for guidance and spiritual direction.
Hebrews 8:7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.
Hebrews 8:8 But God found fault with the people and said : “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
Hebrews 8:9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
Hebrews 8:10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Hebrews 8:11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ’Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
Hebrews 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Hebrews 8:13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
Romans 7:1 Do you not know, brothers and sisters —for I am speaking to those who know the law —that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives?
Romans 7:2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him.
Romans 7:3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.
Romans 7:4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
Galatians 3:11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”
Galatians 3:12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
Galatians 3:14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.
Galatians 5:3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.
Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
Galatians 5:5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.
Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Colossians 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
Colossians 2:10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
Colossians 2:11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ,
Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Colossians 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
Colossians 2:14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
Colossians 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
Colossians 2:17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Colossians 2:18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.
Colossians 2:19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
Colossians 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:
Colossians 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
Colossians 2:22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.
Colossians 2:23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
Romans 6:14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,
Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
St. Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
St. Matthew 28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
St. Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
St. Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
St. Matthew 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In the New Testament, there are no injunctions on when to name babies or when to dedicate them to the Lord. Circumcision of male infants is no longer a religious requirement to be strictly observed on the eighth day. Thus, believers are now free to decide when to name their babies and when to present them before the Lord for dedication. Women are no longer considered ceremonially unclean after childbirth, and so can appear before the Lord whenever they’re strong enough to do so. No purifying sacrifices are required to make parturients fit to appear before the Lord, as the blood of Jesus Christ has sanctified them once and for all when they became born again. Whatever parents offer in thanksgiving during child dedication is to be a freewill offering now, and not a mandatory offering as required by the Mosaic law. Thus, parents can name their newborn children anytime they like (and they may choose not to have any special ceremony for that). In the same vein, parents can dedicate their children anytime they wish. Similarly, a new mother can resume fellowship with the saints anytime she wants, guided by her strength and speed of recovery from the effects of childbirth. These are the liberties that the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ have procured for believers under the dispensation of grace. Let us then stand fast in these liberties and be not entangled again with any yoke of bondage, by attempting to go back to observance of the Mosaic law!
Thanks for visiting the blog. We’d love to have your feedback and comments. You can also follow us to have new posts sent directly to your email. God bless you!