A Look Inside: Next Year In New Jerusalam

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.

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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.

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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

Introduction  5
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

To purchase Next Year In New Jerusalem, you can use the link below.  Feel free to contact me, either on Facebook or through the comments section below, with any questions you have.

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Next Year in New …

Alyce-Kay Hanush

$6.50

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https://www.etsy.com/listing/224328069/next-year-in-new-jerusalem-email-series?ref=shop_home_active_1

Why Would A Christian Celebrate A Jewish Feast?

The story is told of a rabbi who wondered why the Exodus story was told in the evening service.  Another, Ben Zoma, explained.  In Deuteronomy 16:3, the Jews are told to celebrate Passover  “… in order that you may remember all the days of our life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.”  Ben Zoma pointed out that “the days of your life” would only include the days; “all the days of your life” means the nights also.  That part of the explanation apparently satisfied the rabbi, but the sage continued:  “The days of your life refers to the contemporary world; all the days of your life includes also the Days of the Messiah.”

We are, folks, in “the Days of the Messiah”!  And while we, as non-Jews are not bound by the laws and traditions of the Old Testament, we are certainly not prohibited from taking advantage of them, either.  (Romans 14:5-6)

Until the fourth century, Christians called Resurrection Sunday Pascha, from the Hebrew word Pesach (translated Passover in English.)  God set up each of the Old Testament holy days as a means by which He might draw His people to Himself.  The secondary purpose, and a means to the end, was to pass on the faith to the following generations.  This is especially clear in the Passover celebration.  (Deuteronomy 16:1-3)

The theme of Passover is “REMEMBER.”  Remember and teach.  Remember God’s power.  Teach it to your children.  Remember God’s sovereignty.  Teach them to honor Him as King.  Remember your redemption from Egypt.  Teach your children that we all must be redeemed through the Lamb.  (Exodus 12)

As Christians, we long to pass our faith on to our children.  While we recognize that tradition cannot save us, it can be useful as a faithful reminder, a place to hang your hat. By celebrating Passover, we too can remember … and teach.

But as Christians, we can go a step further.  Passover is not only a time of looking back and remembering.  It is also a time of looking forward, of anxiously awaiting.

Prophecy tells us that the Prophet Elijah was to come before Messiah to prepare His way.  (Malachi 4:5-6)  Toward the end of the Passover celebration, the children in a Jewish family open the door, hoping to see the Prophet Elijah.  Why?  Because they are waiting for Messiah!  The Passover celebrates not only redemption from Egyptian slavery, but redemption from slavery to sin.  Messiah came to set us free!  (Matthew 17:10-13, Luke 1:17)

The Jewish Passover ends with the hope that next year they will be able to celebrate in Jerusalem, the Holy City.  We look forward to a new city, a New Jerusalem, promised to us in the Revelation given to the Apostle John.  (Revelation 21:10 ff)

As Christians, we are not bound to Jewish laws and traditions.  We may make good use of them, but we are free to expound upon them as well.  (Acts 15:1-33)

Passover is prophecy.  Every aspect, whether ordained by God in Scripture, or passed down by Jewish tradition, points to Messiah and His sacrifice to redeem us from our sin.

In keeping with that, this Haggadah is a tapestry of God’s commands, Jewish tradition, New Covenant, and Scripture woven together to form a Passover seder which celebrates the Lord Jesus Christ, the final and effective Passover Lamb, slain and sacrificed for us.

I hope you and your family will come up with many of your own ways to add beauty and meaning to the Christian Passover celebration.

As you read through this haggadah and celebrate the Jewish Passover in a Christian way, my prayer is that you will feast upon and celebrate the Jewish Messiah:  the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who already came and redeemed us from our sins, and who is to come.  (Revelation 5:12; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 21:2)

Next year in the New Jerusalem!

(The above is an excerpt from Next Year In New Jerusalem, a Christian Passover Haggadah, which I’ve recently updated and put back into print.   If you have the old version, this is completely compatible with it.  The Seder script is still the same.  If you would like a copy of it, visit the link below.)

http://www.thebookpatch.com/BookStoreResults.aspx?search=Next%20year%20in%20new%20jerusalem&ddl=any

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Celebrating Purim as a Christian Family

By Alyce-Kay Hanush

Purim is Saturday evening, March 15, through Sunday evening, March 16 this year.  So what is Purim, you ask?  Purim is the celebration begun at the end of the story of Esther in the Bible — the time that God preserved His people through a brave, young Jewish queen.  There are some wonderful lines in the book of Esther, such as “for such a time as this” and “if I perish, I perish.”

In Jewish families, this is a fun celebration.   You get to dress up as the various characters in the story.  You get to put on plays.  (And you get drunk, but I’m not advocating that.)  To learn more about the story of Esther, the traditional celebration of Purim, and  enjoy some fun Purim songs, you can go to the playlist I’ve put together for my grandkids.

How can we as Christian families (and I’m thinking mainly of families with elementary and younger children) make good use of this celebration?  Well, most obvious is the fact that we can use it to get to know an important story in the Bible.  But i think we can go much deeper than that.  Here are some of my ideas to get you started.  I would love it if you’d add your own ideas in the comment box — and feel free to include links to coloring pages or other goodies you find online.

TIP:  You can use this list for pretty much any story in the Bible.

1. OF COURSE, read the book of Esther as a family. You should definitely read it from the Bible, and you can probably find some books at the library, online, etc.  If you own a set of flannel graphs, I think this is a great way to learn Bible stories.  You can do the story each day, then have the kids move the pieces while you tell the story again, then have the kids tell the story and move the pieces.  We modern day families tend to look askance at flannel graph, but I’ve never found a child who doesn’t love it.  (I have a set of Betty Lukens flannel graphs — everything you need for the entire Bible, along with a book that has all the stories and tells you which pieces to use.  And the flannels are lovely and vivid.  You do have to cut out the pieces, though — I hired someone to do it for me.)  http://www.amazon.com/Large-Deluxe-Bible-English-Flannelboard/dp/B000TMKE6E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1393199685&sr=8-3&keywords=betty+lukens

2. One of the things that I love about internet is that you can print your own coloring pages.  There are lots of sources for these.  You can keep these loose, or take them to your local FedEx shop or other print shop to have them bound into a coloring book for your kids.   My daughter, Sam, who has 4 young children, especially likes this site for Jewish story coloring pages:  http://www.chabad.org/kids/article_cdo/aid/361573/jewish/Coloring-Crafts.htm

3. Look for the character qualities in the story of Esther — both good and bad. (Examples of good qualities:  Faith, courage.  Examples of bad qualities:  Envy, lying.)  You could take one each day and talk about them. Here is a process you could use to talk to children about these qualities, starting with the good ones.  (Parents:  You don’t have to do all of these!)

a.  Explain the quality to them.

b.  Show how it’s illustrated in the book of Esther.

c.  Give some examples from your own life or someone the kids know to illustrate the quality.

d.  Look for other stories in the bible that demonstrate the quality.

e.  Ask your librarian to help you find story books that demonstrate the quality.

f.  Ask your kids what they think the benefits were to the story’s characters of having these qualities.

g.  What would the benefits be to them (your children), if they developed these (good) qualities in their own lives? How could they do that? Be sure to reinforce that we need God’s help with these things. We can pray and ask Him to help us have the kind of faith Esther had, for instance.

h.  As you see your kids exhibiting these qualities — even just a little — be sure to praise them for it. Ask them what motivated them to do that? How did it make them feel? How would they feel if they could keep doing that? What do they think God thinks about them doing that?  Questions like these will help to reinforce those qualities and the desire to grow.

i.  Look at some of the bad qualities.  Talk about those, too.  Help them to recognize those qualities in Bible characters and in other stories.

j.  Talk through what would motivate someone to have those negative qualities.  What should your children’s response be to someone with those qualities?

k.  Ask what the signs would be that they might recognize in themselves so they can guard against developing the bad qualities.

l.  Come up with your own stories about each of the qualities.  I used to have my children dictate their stories to me — try to type them exactly as they say them.  Don’t worry about story telling skills (unless you’ve been specifically working on that).  Make sure that you include the author after each story.  You can type them up and then print them out and take them to your local print shop to bind into a family book of Purim stories. (It generally costs a buck or two to bind pages into a book form.)  You might include a smattering of their coloring pages, too.  You might want to print out a copy for your family to enjoy now, a copy for each of your children which you’ll hide away and give to them when they start having kids, a copy for grandparents.  Each book would be uniquely adorned with different coloring pages the kids have done.  Talk about precious memories!

4. After you’ve told your kids the story of Esther a few times, they’ll probably be ready to act it out. Here’s where your costumes come in.  (See instructions below for super easy Bible character costumes.)  You can let them choose parts or take turns doing various parts. Try to come up with someone they can put on a play for … this will motivate them to practice a few times … reinforcing the story and its values in their lives.

5. Learn about Persia, where the story of Esther takes place. What country is this now? Find it on a map.  Look for pictures online.  What’s the weather like?  Talk about what it would be like to live there. Can you find any information about King Xerxes? What kinds of foods do they eat there? Maybe you could include those in your Purim celebration.

6. Have 3 nights of banquets (maybe with Persian food? but any nice food is fine). Is there some big news that you can promise to share, but keep putting off, to build the anticipation in your children, like Esther did with the King?

7. The movie, One Night with the King, is absolutely excellent.  You’ll find it in my playlist, but I’ve included the trailer below.  This is the perfect time of year to watch it!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1f1Pi1DHP4

8. I would love it if you’d share your Purim ideas and resources below, in the comment box, or on my facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/ToolsForGodlyLiving?ref=hl   If you share on facebook, I’d love to see pictures of your activities and celebration!  🙂

Super easy Bible character costume:  Use my fancy-pancy drawing below as a guide.

  1. Measure your child from shoulders to the floor.
  2. Get double that amount of fabric.  (For example, if they’re 36 inches from shoulders to floor, you’ll need 2 yards.)
  3. It’s a good idea to wash the fabric before sewing, just in case it will shrink.
  4. Fold the fabric in half, crosswise.  In other words, both cut ends of the fabric will be at the bottom, the fold at the top, and the factory finished edges on the sides.
  5. On each side, measure about 14 inches from the top fold, then cut inward about 10 inches.  Do this on each side.
  6. Cut straight down from there to the bottom.  This will create kind of a sleeve.  Pin these together and sew about 1/2 inch from the edge.
  7. At the top, cut out a neck hole.  Be careful not to make this too big.  It’s always best to start small, try it on, and make the hole bigger if need be.
  8. If you’re not much for sewing, this is all you need to do.  Turn it right side out and voila!  You have your Bible character costume.  If you like to sew, you can do the following steps (9-13) to make your costumes a little nicer and last longer.
  9. Finish the neckline with bias tape, or hem it, or use a fancy edging.
  10. Hem the sleeve holes.  Add fancy edging, if you want.
  11. Hem the bottom.  You can add fancy edging here, too.
  12. Clip the underarm curves so they’ll lay flatter.
  13. Seam finish the inner seams.
  14. Accessorize with rope belts, head gear, etc., as appropriate.

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Newly released!  Next Year In New Jerusalem, a Passover haggadah for Christians.  Complete instructions for a Christian celebration of Passover. Scripted ceremony includes fulfillment of Passover prophecies through Christ, footwashing, and the Lord’s Supper in the Passover context. Over 150 Bible references provide an easy guide for optional in-depth study. Pronunciation and glossary included. The full ceremony takes about 3 hours, including dinner. It’s designed to be enjoyed by all ages. I hope that this will enrich your appreciation of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, and that you’ll find yourself worshiping Him as you long to celebrate Passover next year with Him … in the New Jerusalem.

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http://www.thebookpatch.com/BookStoreDetails.aspx?BookID=32176&ID=5a08df7c-dae3-4e70-bc00-97bfdf072ca5