As we near Passover, I wanted to share in detail about my book, Next Year in New Jerusalem. It’s still available as a print book, but is newly available as a 23-day email series, which can be used for personal study, devotions, or as a step-by-step guide to putting on your own Christ-centered Seder.
This is more than a Seder script (Haggadah). It’s also an explanation of the depth of spiritual wealth in the Passover celebration, followed by a Christian Haggadah, using the traditional 6-hour Haggadah as a guide, condensed into 3 hours (including supper), with the institution and celebration of footwashing and the Lord’s Supper woven into the places in the Seder when they would have taken place during Jesus’ last Passover with His disciples, before He was sacrificed as the final Passover Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.
The new version of Next Year in New Jerusalem
What will you find in Next Year In New Jerusalem? One of the things you may not realize is the importance of preparation for Passover, both logistically and spiritually. This edition is the same as the original edition — intentionally, so that you can use it together with any of the old copies you have.
Working with the original edition, updating and rechecking the references.
I’ve tried to include lots of ideas as well as detailed instructions in this edition of the book. Below is the table of contents and I’ll explain a little about each chapter.
Table of Contents
Getting Ready for Passover 9
When to Celebrate Passover 13
Preparing the Home 15
Preparing the Hearts 19
The Four Questions 23
Preparing the Table 25
Shopping List 29
Items for the Great Leaven Hunt 30
Additional Activities to Keep Children Busy 31
The Great Leaven Hunt 33
The Passover Meal & Ceremony 37
How to Make Jesus Your Messiah 69
Glossary of Terms 73
While the bulk of the book is the Seder script, I’ve included a number of chapters to help you understand Passover and help it to be a heart experience. And because the logistics of the Passover Seder can be complicated, I’ve included lists and detailed descriptions to walk you step-by-step through the preparation and execution of your Seder.
In the Introductory section, I explain how Christians can benefit from a celebration of Passover. While there are many benefits, one of the main thrusts of Passover is to remember and to teach — remember what God has done for us, and teach that to our children and others. I believe this is a very important thing to do, through Passover and through other events in your life. We see throughout Scripture how important it is to remind ourselves and others continually about what God has done for us. This is how we grow our faith and keep it alive. When we have a rich repository of God’s work in our lives, we are able to face the challenges of life with a stronger belief in God and trust in His guidance, protection, and provision. The Introduction section helps you to understand the philosophy of Passover celebration … the why’s.
Elijah’s place at our Seder table last year
Getting Ready for Passover helps you begin to understand the how’s of the Seder script preparation. The script is written, using the traditional 6-hour Seder script (haggadah) as a template, but the entire Seder (including supper) in Next Year In New Jerusalem is condensed to approximately 3 hours. (More about the Seder later, along with a sample from it.) Because we never know how many people will be at our Seder from year to year, and because I want to encourage you to include others in your celebration, the readers in the script part are left blank for you to fill in. This section gives you tips for doing that, as well as ideas for helping your guests feel more at home during the ceremony … and some potentially awkward situations to avoid. 🙂
As Christians, we have many options for when to celebrate Passover. This chapter, When to Celebrate Passover, explains some of those possibilities. In Preparing the Home, you’ll learn about the role of leaven in Passover and you’ll be invited to dedicate your home to God each year. This is a wonderful opportunity to make an intentional commitment to allowing your home be a place that glorifies God. Preparing the Hearts suggests ways to focus your own and your family’s hearts on Jesus, the Passover Lamb, through stories, books, activities and music. I’ve prepared a Passover playlist on youtube for my grandchildren and I invite you to make use of this as well. There’s a lot in the Passover Seder to keep the time lively and engaging for children of all ages.
The Four Questions (which are really 5 questions) are an important part of the Seder and these are listed with the Bible references so that you can prepare the children to ask these questions and watch for their answers during the Seder. There are also Additional Activities To Keep Children Busy during the waiting periods.
Preparing the Table is probably the most logistically focused section of the book, as there are a number of things that have to be included on the table and need to be arranged in a specific way. The chapter takes you step-by-step, in detail, through setting your Seder table. By the time you get to this chapter, you will have a good grasp of the components of the Seder. I have to say that I, somewhat selfishly, I suppose, reserve the preparation of the Seder table for myself, because I enjoy the special time with the Lord as I pray for the participants and saturate myself in the Passover symbolism and wealth of reminders of God’s goodness. For pictures from our celebration of Passover in 2013, you can view my Passover album at https://www.facebook.com/alycekay.hanush/media_set?set=a.10200419487223559.1073741826.1047433008&type=3 For an album of ideas for your Seder Table, https://www.facebook.com/alycekay.hanush/media_set?set=a.10202458128148308.1073741855.1047433008&type=3
The Great Leaven Hunt is an optional pre-Seder activity which is based on Jewish tradition, but takes on a distinctly Christian flavor here. During the Seder itself, you will be celebrating the Passover, Jesus Instituted the Eucharist (a.k.a. Communion) during His final Passover celebration with His disciples. The Bible warns us of celebrating the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. The Great Leaven Hunt is both an educational and fun activity for the children, and an opportunity for each participant to examine his or her heart and leave anything at the cross that shouldn’t be brought to the Table.
The Passover Meal and Ceremony make up the bulk of the book, of course. I’ve excerpted a couple sections below, so you can see how it works. But a bit of explanation first. You’ll notice blanks before each new line in the Seder. These blanks are for you to fill out with the names of your reading guests. Detailed instructions and suggestions are given earlier in the book. This takes some time to prepare, which is one of the reasons you don’t want to wait until the day of your Seder to start preparations! I recommend filling these in a few days ahead of time, then the day before the Seder, sitting down with your children or a couple helpers and filling in the names in all the copies (in pencil so you can change these for next year). It’s best to wait until close to the Seder to fill in all the Haggadahs which will be used by your guests, just in case there are any changes in your guest list.
This Haggadah includes appropriate Scripture references all throughout. These are not meant to be read, per se, at the Seder itself, but are meant for additional study and reference. There are many Scriptural allusions in the Jewish Haggadah, and I’ve included even more here; this way, you can spend time, if you like, familiarizing yourself to the Scriptures the Seder is based on. I can’t begin to express what a wonderful blessing this is for you and your family. You might even want to spend the week before Passover reading these passages in your family devotions — or make one of these references each night into your family devotions from New Years until Passover.
The following are two of the sections of the Haggadah in Next Year In New Jerusalem, so you can get an idea of how the script works and how the traditional Jewish haggadah is overlaid with the fulfillment of Passover prophecy in Jesus and His institution of the Lord’s Supper.
Breaking of the Middle Matzah
(________ standing, lifts up the plate with the matzah for everyone to see.)
________: This is the Bread of Affliction which Israel ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are needy come and celebrate the Passover with us. (Deuteronomy 16:3; Psalm 146:7; Deuteronomy 15:11)
(________ seats himself.)
________: Now we are here; next year may we be in the Land of Israel, or better yet, in the New Jerusalem, which will come down from Heaven. We were formerly slaves; now we are free. (Revelation 21:1-4, Romans 6:20-22)
________: Let’s pray for those who are still slaves to sin.
(Pray generally and/or specifically for friends and relatives who do not know Christ.)
________: There are three pieces of matzah here. They are each distinct, yet they are one on this plate. This matzah reminds us of God. He is three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — but He is one God. (Deuteronomy 6:4)
________: This is a mystery to us, one we will probably never fully comprehend, but it is true.
________: Jesus, the Son of God, is the only person in the trinity that anyone has ever seen or touched. Likewise, the middle piece of matzah is the only piece that is ever seen or touched. To the Jews, this is a mystery. To us, it represents Christ. The Jews remove the middle piece of matzah and break it. (I John 1:1)
(________ places the matzah plate on the table. He removes the middle piece, being careful not to expose the other two pieces. He holds the middle piece of matzah up and breaks it, reciting I Corinthians 5:7b:)
________: “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.” (I Corinthians 5:7b)
(He wraps half of the broken matzah with the extra napkin and puts the other piece back on the plate.)
________: Jesus was sacrificed like the Passover Lamb, so that death would pass over us. When He died, His body was wrapped in cloth and hidden away in a new tomb. (Exodus 12:13; Matthew 27:57-60)
(All the children must close their eyes while ________ hides the wrapped and broken matzah. The traditional hiding place is behind the father’s cushion, but you may feel free to break with tradition and hide it anywhere you want. The children will search for it later.)
(This next portion comes quite a bit later in the Seder.)
The Lord’s Supper: The Bread
(________ passes the broken half of matzah around. Each person breaks off a piece and holds it. ________ takes an extra piece to crush.)
________: This bread, free from leaven (which reminds us of sin) is a symbol to us of Christ. Notice that it is striped and pierced.
________: “He was pierced through for our transgressions. (Isaiah 53:5)
________: “He was crushed for our iniquities. (He crushes his extra piece in his hand as this is said, for all to see.)
________: “The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
________: “And with His stripes we are healed.” (Last line is King James version.)
________: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to You, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks …” (I Corinthians 11:23-24)
(________ stands, holding a piece of matzah in one hand, with his other held over it in blessing.)
________: We bless You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who gives us bread to eat. We bless You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who sets us apart to be holy and freed us from our sins.
________: “… He broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (I Corinthians 11:24)
(EACH PERSON eats their piece of matzah.)
The section after the Seder, How to Receive Jesus the Messiah, is written for your guests who have not yet received Jesus. It’s written in an easy to understand manner which doesn’t assume any church or biblical knowledge. I hope that this section will be useful in introducing others to the Messiah they’ve just celebrated.
The final chapter, The Glossary of Terms, sounds a little boring, but I hope it’s actually one of the most interesting. It explains some of the terms used in the haggadah that you might not be familiar with, as well as some of the background meaning and interesting facts.
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