creation of the world

Rosh Hashanah and Hope Beyond Hell

creation of the worldYesterday was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the anniversary of the creation of the world and beginning of ten days of awe. During this period, we reflect on our sins, the people we have hurt, on making amends, and renewing ourselves for another year with God.

Instead of throwing stones at one another on Rosh Hashanah, we throw our own stones (or more commonly now, breadcrumbs) into the water. Tashlich (pronounced tosh-leekh) is a ceremony in which throwing breadcrumbs (or stones) into a body of water symbolizes God’s power to make our misdeeds and failures disappear. He renews the world, or will renew the world, in such a way that all our sorrowful acts will be as if they never existed. More than erasing them, he will remake the world so that beauty comes from the ashes.

And there is a scripture we read during Tashlich. It describes the character of God. And we have to ask ourselves, those of us who dare to believe in life before death as well as life after, if we can really believe God is this way. Can it be true?

In mainstream Judaism, is it possible to believe in the God described in these scriptures I am about to share with you? In Christianity and Messianic Judaism, is it possible?

I believe. And being a Messianic Jew, these scriptures are among the many that make me believe in hope for everyone. I believe in hope even beyond hell. As I have been saying in articles about the meaning of God’s salvation, I believe death is not forever, hell is not forever. God’s love is forever and it wins over all things, even our own stubborn resistance. In the end, no one will be able to resist forever.

What scripture do we read on Rosh Hashanah when we perform Tashlich? What does it say about God? Do you believe it? Does it apply now and in the future? Does it apply after death as well as before? Yes. I believe it. Yes, it is true now and always:

He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.
He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.
(Micah 7:18–19 ESV)

2 Comments

  1. Beautiful piece, Derek, this is really a wonderful hope and a touching verse which shows clearly God´s loving, compassionate character. One question: what do you make of the verse right before “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?” The text speaks of a remnant, similar like Jer.50, 20 but I also recognize the verse “all Israel will be saved” in Rom.11 along with others like Hes.36 + 37 stand in contrast to the present remnant. If this includes every single person, even after hell, I can´t say, there are too many other verses which say the contrary, but the hope seems larger than just some few. I will need to reread the whole bible prayerfully in regard to this question. I do not know, all I need to trust is that all His ways are just and true. I do know God´s character is love, He has no pleasure in the death of the godless, but that they repent and live. At some point it is up to us to respond.
    The promise of comlete forgiveness is true already now for all who put their trust in the Lord and it will become true when Yeshua reveals himself to all Israel. Yes, I believe death is not the last word, the bible says the last enemy that will be destroyed is death and God will be all in all. This includes in my view, I hope, the cessation of hell in a future time, when all is brought back to original harmony with God .
    Derek, I wish you and all reading here a sweet New Year.

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