Who is a God like You
And remitting transgression
Who has not maintained His wrath forever
Against the remnant of His own people
Because He loves graciousness!
He will take us back in love
He will cover up our iniquities
You will hurl all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
You will keep faith with Jacob
Loyalty to Abraham
As You promised on Oath to our fathers
In days gone by.
-Micah 7:18-20 (Jewish Study Bible)
Rosh Hashanah is the start of the Jewish New Year and is the beginning of 10 days of self-examination and repentance, which end on the solemn day of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). The hope is that all will come to repentance and be made righteous and be ‘sealed’ in the ‘book of life’ to live – this ‘sealing’ is for life.
C. S. Lewis had no qualms about acknowledging the place of Judaism as the place to “begin” the journey of “enlightenment” to know the Lord “as an utterly concrete Being”. For Lewis, the inevitable arrival at the sacraments and tenets of Christianity better begins by looking at the Lord’s ‘concreteness’ through
. . . circumcision, the Passover, the Ark, and the Temple. For ‘the highest does not stand without the lowest’. Does not stand, does not stay; rises, rather, and expands, and finally loses itself in endless space. For the entrance is low: we must stoop till we are no taller than children in order to get in. (*Ward, 2008:119)
Without looking into the depths of Judaism in the life of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, the ‘Chief Cornerstone’ (Is 8:14, 28:16; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Ephesians 2:19-22) of that architecture, what Christian can understand the depth of meaning behind Rev 7:3-4, when angels are dispatched to “put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God” or Rev 9:4-6, where “only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads” were subject to the torture “like that of the sting of a scorpion” and who “will seek death, but will not find it”?
Those who do not ‘stoop’ low to bow before God and seek forgiveness, who do not repent, who do not receive God’s righteousness, they are those who are blotted out of ‘the book of the living’. So while Rosh Hashanah is a time of celebration for the New Year, it is also the start of the solemn process of self-examination – will we be found wanting? If so, we should turn, humble ourselves, accept God’s gracious gift of forgiveness, be sealed with His righteousness, and rise up into life.
The Lord is coming!
*Ward, Michael, 2008. Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis. Oxford University Press.