DOGS, EVIL WORKERS, AND THE CONCISION
Philippians 3:2 says, "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision." In the verse Paul exhorts us to beware of three things—dogs, evil workers, and the concision. The fact that there is no conjunction in this verse indicates that these three things refer to one kind of person, a person who is a dog, an evil worker, and part of the concision. The word "evil" in this verse denotes something that is in rebellion against God’s economy. According to the Bible, any worker who is against God’s regulation is an evil worker. The word concision is a contemptuous term for circumcision. Originally the word circumcision was a term of honor among Jews. But in this Epistle the Apostle Paul used not the word circumcision, but the word concision, a term of despite. In other words, when the Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to the Philippians, fleshly circumcision was no longer honorable, but dishonorable. Therefore, he used the term concision to diminish the honor of circumcision.
According to the context of this verse, the dogs are the evil workers, and the evil workers are the concision. Some may wonder how the Jews, who were circumcised according to God’s ordination, could become evil workers. The answer lies in the fact that God’s dispensation has changed with the coming of Jesus Christ. Before the time of John the Baptist, God ordained that His people be circumcised. That was God’s administration, God’s economy. But this economy, this dispensation, was terminated by the coming of Jesus Christ. During the present dispensation, God wants people to believe in Jesus Christ, His Son, and to receive Him. This is God’s present economy. But the Jews have not abandoned the old dispensation. They prefer the old economy with the law of Moses to believing in Jesus Christ and receiving Him. Therefore, all their intentions in doing things for God are a form of rebellion, for they are rebelling against God’s present economy.
It is rebellious to refuse to believe in the Son of God. In God’s present economy, He has ordained that His Son should be the object of our faith. God seems to say, "Listen to Him and believe in Him. Do not listen to others." But most of the Jews prefer Moses and the law; they want to remain in the old dispensation. It is not evil to love the law, but the attitude expressed in loving the law when God has changed the dispensation is evil and rebellious.
Under the present dispensation of God, circumcision is not honorable, but dishonorable. Before Him, it is no longer circumcision, but concision. For this reason, Paul tells us to beware of dogs, of evil workers, and of the concision. We must beware of those who practice circumcision in rebellion against God’s economy.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)