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Biblical Feasts, Jesus in the Old Testament

Who is a God like ours? The meaning of Rosh haShana

Tonight, Jews around the world will mark Rosh haShana, the Jewish New Year. Rosh haShana is one of the High Holidays in the Jewish calendar. This holiday is also of interest for Christians as it points to Jesus, our Messiah and his Second Coming.

A day of repentance

In the Bible, Rosh haShana is called Yom Teruah (Day of Repentance) or the Feast of the Trumpet (Leviticus 23). On that day, observing Jews recite the following prayer from Micah 7:18-20.

“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and mercy to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old.” Micah 7:18-20 (NKJV)

This prayer acknowledges our dependence on God’s mercy and forgiveness of sin. And the God of Heavens, the Holy One of Israel, loves to show mercy and forgive. What an awesome God we serve – there is none like Him!

And – I hope you noticed: Forgiveness of sin did not start with the New Testament!

The ten Days of Awe

Rosh haShana is followed by the ten “Days of Awe” which lead to Yom Kippur, or Atonement Day. The Days of Awe are a time of reflection of our shortcomings in life, but especially during the preceding twelve months. It is a season of repentance, of turning back to God and realigning with His will and statutes.

The purpose of Rosh haShana, Yom Kippur and the Days of Awe is to remind us of our life’s eternal perspective and of what impact our actions and choices have on where we will spend eternity.

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Who is a God like you, who pardons sin

Written in the Book of Life

According to Jewish tradition, it is during the Days of Awe when God opens the Book of Life and goes through the records of our life. Then, on Yom Kippur, God announces his judgment. As believers in Yeshua, we know that our names are already written in the Book of Life (Luke 10:20). God has shown mercy on us and has cast our sin into the depth of the sea and remembers them no more (Isaiah 43:25, Hebrews 8:12).

Rosh HaShana is a picture for Christ’s Second Coming, when at the trumpet’s sound, God will gather his elect to Himself (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). Then, Judgement Day will follow when the Judge of All the Earth (Genesis 18:25) will open His books and judge all those who did not accept His offer of grace and forgiveness.

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