Rachel Weeping


Satan’s desire was always to turn the “pruning” of circumcision into an ax laid at the root of the tree of Israel.

A handful of treatments of the “massacre of the innocents” by Herod the Great see this bloodshed as the first of the New Covenant’s martyrs. But these miss the point of Matthew’s use of the word “fulfilled,” rendering it as good as meaningless. This massacre was the harbinger of the end of the old era and its promises. It said nothing about the promises of the new.

There is no way that this is the first of a series of new incidents, that is, Christian martyrdoms. Either this event simply continues the murders of offspring found throughout the Old Testament, or it brings them to an end. As my friend observes, suffering would now be different, but of course I would take this a little further than he would, concerning the significance of the sacraments.1See my previous post, Feed My Lambs. Suffering would no longer be racial, tribal or genealogical, but voluntary. Killing Jews is genocide. Killing Christians is like killing Communists or capitalists. Its intention is not to wipe out a despised people but an intolerable “ideology.” The sons murdered in Matthew 2 were physical sons, sons of Abraham according to the flesh. Martyrs however are Sons of God.2See Provoking the Dragon.

New King on the Block

The era of Christ and His apostles was a period of transition, an overlap between the Old Covenant and the New. It was much like the time between the anointing of David and the death of Saul. Seen in this light, the parallels are remarkable. Just as the anointing of David was an irreversible divine decree, so was the life of Christ. And the Herods’ reaction was much the same as that of Saul. The sword of the Lord in the hand of a king maddened by jealousy was always a Covenant Sanction from the hand of God (1 Samuel 16:14). Saul would have seen both David, and later Jonathan, slain, had not the people restrained him. He employed an Edomite to slay the priests of God. The Herods were Edomites, and for the Herods, there was no restraint. Herod the Great murdered his own family as well as many rabbis. Like Pharaoh, the Herodian dynasty was the bloody hand of Cain. Sadly, the Jews failed to see that the “greatest builder in Jewish history”3Ken Spino, Crash Course In Jewish History. had built a Cainite city upon cursed ground.

 The Mutilation

The massacre if infants at the command of Herod the Great makes perfect sense as a sign of the imminent end of the Old Covenant, a Covenant which began with a barren womb and a barren Land. These infants sons — one from each woman, due to the directive concerning the age of the boys — were all Isaacs cut off because the end of the circumcision was nigh.

Circumcision was a genealogical “pruning,” bearing the curse upon Land and Womb in Genesis 3 for all nations that there might be a priestly nation, a people fruitful in righteousness. Satan’s desire was always to turn the “pruning” of circumcision into an ax laid at the root of the tree of Israel (Matthew 3:10, Luke 3:9), not a circumcision but a castration, a mutilation.4See New Covenant Virility 1 and 2.

The prophets condemned Israel’s shepherds when they became wolves, trading and tearing the sheep instead of leading them, shedding the blood of their own people while they perverted or ignored the substitutionary nature of the blood of the sacrifices. A cultic expression of this national self-mutilation was the worship of the priests of Baal, who cut themselves and threw themselves onto the altar on Mount Carmel. God would never accept human blood, at least not until truly blameless human blood was shed. This is why Paul refers to the Circumcision as the Mutilation, and wishes they would go the whole way and castrate themselves.

Ramah and Rachel

None of this is difficult to understand, but what is the reason for Matthew’s reference to Ramah and Rachel? Most commentators focus on Rachel, but the mention of Ramah is also significant, and its meaning is discovered in the “Covenant-literary” structure of of the text.5See also Matthew’s Literary Artistry.

Then was fulfilled what was spoken (Creation)
by Jeremiah (“the Lord exalts”) the prophet, saying: (Division)
“A voice was heard in Ramah, (“high place”) (Ascension – Firstfruits offering)
Weeping and loud lamentation, (Testing – Eye and Tooth instead of Vision and Prophecy)
Rachel (“ewe”) weeping for her children, (Maturity – Warrior bride fruitless)
Refusing to be comforted, (Conquest)
Because they are no more.” (No Glorification)

In this passage, Ramah occurs at Ascension, which corresponds to the Bronze Altar (the Land) and the Table (the Firstfruits). For Israel, the foundational Ascension was the offering of Isaac on Mount Moriah. Her subsequent idolatry led her into the practice of false worship on the high places and child sacrifice in the pit, the Valley of Hinnom (Ge henna in Greek).

Failure to repent of false worship led to the slaughter and slavery of the children of Israel by Assyria and Babylon. The Lord protected Ramah and the other towns of the kingdom of Judah (Judah and Benjamin) from the Assyrians (Isaiah 10:24,27-29), but the continued corruption of Judah led to invasions by the Babylonians. It is believed that there was a prison camp at Ramah where the people of Judah were held before being carried into exile. This may be the background for Jeremiah’s mention of this town in 31:15. Jeremiah himself was imprisoned there for a time (Jeremiah 40:1).

What is the connection between Ramah and Rachel? Ramah was a town in the allotment of Benjamin, son of Rachel. He was the last son born to Jacob and his name means “son of my right hand.” Benjamin and Ramah thus symbolised an end to the immediate Succession of Israel, pointing to the cutting off of “the last son.”

Joseph’s brothers “slew” him, and Joseph tested them in return with the “slaying” of Benjamin, Rachel’s only other son, whom they presumed to be the only son of Rachel still alive. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt and all Israel suffered in slavery. Just so, Israel’s child sacrifices in the Valley of Hinnom led to that valley being filled with the bodies of the idolaters. In the first century, this massacre not only of the sons of the flesh but also of Israel’s sons of the Spirit (Abraham’s true sons) would lead to a final filling of Ge henna, this time not at the hands of Babylon (the first empire) but Rome (the last). The circumcision intended as mercy for Israel on behalf of all nations (to avoid another flood) was twisted into a kingdom of bloodshed, a land filled with violence (Genesis 6:11).

You and Your Children

This “head-and-body” multiplication of judgment helps us to make sense of the words of Jesus, who not only knew of the massacre of the innocents and His own miraculous rescue, but also what was in store for all the Jews who rejected Him. It is Jesus Himself, as the suffering prophet on the way to His death, who tells the “Rachels” weeping for Him to weep for their own children.

This is the context of Peter’s words to the Jews on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, a text upon which rests almost all the supposed weight of arguments for paedosacraments. However, even a cursory reading by a one-eyed, uneducated, blithering ignoramus like me reveals its context to be entirely Jewish, with not-so-subtle references to the treatment of Joseph by his brothers.

Brothers,… Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

This clearly has nothing whatsoever to say about the children of Christians. This text is the Reformed equivalent of Haeckel’s fraudulent embryo diagrams. Although its abuse is so easily exposed, it remains in the textbooks because the cupboard is otherwise bare. Despite clear, concise and convincing arguments from myself and others, paedobaptists simply close their eyes and recite “You and your children” like some magic mantra. The irony is that Dispensationalists would likely understand this text perfectly!

Wait a minute, I hear. What about “those who are afar off”? Firstly, Peter was addressing all the house of Israel, and as is common in Scripture, but commonly overlooked, his literary architecture is triune, an oratory reference to the Tabernacle:

You (Word, Most Holy – Fathers)
Your children (Sacrament, Holy Place – Sons)
Those afar off (Government, Court – Spirit)

I suppose this is easy to dispute, but as it was with Moses’ supposed “murder” of the Egyptian, the true crime is identified through God’s righteous judgment upon it and the corresponding atonement. Those who rejected Peter’s warning to this last generation of the children of Abraham according to the flesh were cut off; the fathers, the sons, and even those far off. Not only were the Jews trapped in their own city, clever Titus waited until Passover before he besieged the city, so that Jerusalem would be filled with Jews from all over the empire, “those afar off.” In the final act, six thousand Jewish women and children were slain in one stroke when part of Herod’s Temple complex collapsed at the end of the Jewish war. And the best of the young men, the Josephs, were sold into slavery in Egypt. This “cutting off” brought an end to the Circumcision, the era of “sons,” and the inauguration of the age of the Spirit.


Circumcision was about pruning that there might be more fruit. Baptism is a celebration of the firstfruits of the Spirit, a public testimony. Good fruit makes the cultivation or non-cultivation of the tree irrelevant. To turn baptism into merely another sign of cultivation misses the point entirely at best, and at worst puts our children under a curse. The sign of the end of Christendom  and its carnal sacraments comes with a massacre of infants of untold proportions. The answer is certainly not more paedosacraments.

Share Button


Comments are closed.