Advent reading - Jeremiah 31

I listened for the second time in my life to a church service of lessons and carols with a trained choir and a serious pipe organ. There are seven lessons, all readings from the Bible to prepare us for the Advent. One of the readings was a mere 4 verses from Jeremiah 31:31-34. But when I read it today, in its totality, I could not believe they only picked these few verses. It's in Jeremiah 31 where Matthew references a fulfillment of Herod's slaughter of the innocents. But the chapter is mostly about God's unilateral restoration of his people despite their failings.
31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband,[g] says the Lord33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
As I heard this read, I thought to myself, God seems to be overlooking everything contrary to his holiness. It's as if his mercy towards his children love as a Father short circuits the judgment. The reading gets even more ambitious after this. God doubles down.
Thus says the Lord,

who gives the sun for light by day
    and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
    the Lord of hosts is his name:

If this fixed order were ever to cease
    from my presence, says the Lord,
then also the offspring of Israel would cease
    to be a nation before me forever.
Thus says the Lord:

If the heavens above can be measured,
    and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will reject all the offspring of Israel
    because of all they have done,
says the Lord.
He can't make this more clear. God will forgive their sins unilaterally, and he will never reject his people. The last view verses though, are the whipped topping of this universalist dessert in my thinking.
38 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah.40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the Wadi Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall never again be uprooted or overthrown.
Do you know what the valley of the dead bodies is? Gehenna. As the NET  study bible notes say in this passage at verse 40,
 It is generally agreed that this refers to the Hinnom Valley which was on the southwestern and southern side of the city. It was here where the people of Jerusalem had burned their children as sacrifices and where the Lord had said that there would be so many dead bodies when he punished them that they would be unable to bury all of them (cf. Jer 7:31-32). Reference here may be to those dead bodies and to the ashes of the cremated victims. This defiled place would be included within the holy city.
Gehenna, also explained in the NET bible notes, (Gehenna is a transliteration from the Aramaic form of the Hebrew ge-hinnom, "valley of Hinnom") is the place Jesus refers to in the synoptic gospels that is usually translated "hell" in our English bibles. The amazing thing is God will make the valley of the dead sacred.

The early creeds speak of Christ descending to hell between his death and resurrection. It is sometimes referred to as the plundering, or harrowing in old english, of hell.

This post is long, and I'm not writing a book yet, so there are many loose ends here. But I do think this section from Jeremiah adds more evidence to my hope in universal reconciliation.


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