Category Archives: From My Heart

Messiah in Pesach – A Seder Presentation

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Haggadah & Presentation

Written by Misty Coleman & Susan Mason

NOTE:

** or >> For presenter to be sure to include, if audience has the basic Haggadah without presenter notes.  Most items in parenthesis are presenter notes only, not to be spoken.


Introduction: to the Passover Seder

** Of Note:  I’ll be using some Hebrew words tonight

Yehovah: That’s one way to pronounce the actual name of God, written using the Hebrew Letters YHVH and usually indicated with LORD. YHVH is also sometimes pronounced Yahweh or Yahuwah, but there is a lot of evidence within Jewish record that indicates it was Yehovah, from which we get Jehovah.

Yeshua: This is the shortened form of the Hebrew name for Yeshua. It’s shortened from Yehoshua which we sometimes pronounce Joshua.  Yeho – God: Shua – to deliver or save. The name Yeshua means: “Yehovah is salvation”

Passover Seder: Is the celebration of the last meal the Jewish people ate while they were in bondage in Egypt, before the journey (exodus) from Egypt to God’s promised land. It is a reminder of the redemption provided when the angel of death passed over the homes where the blood of the lamb had been applied to the lintels of their doors?

Seder: means “order”, i.e., the order in which to celebrate the Passover dinner & ceremony.

Haggadah: means “the telling.”  It is an instruction book or pamphlet to guide you through the Passover Seder. There may be 12-15 steps depending on the Haggadah that is used.  It is God’s instructions to the Jews on the night they were delivered from Egypt.  Jews have been celebrating Passover as a permanent ordinance.  Yeshua celebrated the Passover Seder with His disciples in what we know as the Last Supper.

The Passover Seder: is structured around 4 cups of the fruit of the vine.  Each cup is named after one of the 4 specific promises that God made to Israel in Ex. 6:6-7.  Each cup is connected to one of the 4 promises God made to Moses and comes at a different stage in the progression of the Seder.

***  In the instructions on tithe, in Deut. 14:22-29  we are told to set aside the tithe (two years/the third year goes into a storehouse for the widows, orphans and Levites – v. 28,29), turn it into money, bring it to the place where YHVH would put his name (eventually Jerusalem) and there buy whatever our hearts desire – meat, grain and including strong drink and wine, to eat and drink before the Lord “and enjoy yourselves” as some translations use.  The cups in a traditional Passover, use wine, (though to not encourage drunkenness, we are using grape juice – if in a group of peeps who abstain)  I was raised with totally abstinence from wine, but When I realized that Father actually said that this is how the tithe was to be used, I got this picture of a Father who wants us to have a good time while celebrating his story of Salvation that is written into the 3 pilgrimage feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles.  He’s not advocating drunkenness, but can you imagine the revival if we had a party 3 times a year while telling the plan of salvation??
(See my blog from 2011 that discusses tithe more fully: https://shakamboqer.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/tithe-questioning-doctrine-finding-him/ )


The Four Cups are:

1.         Cup of Sanctification

Promise: “Will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

2.         Cup of Plagues

            Promise: “I will deliver (free) you from being slaves.”

3.         Cup of Redemption

            Promise: “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm”

4.         Cup of Praise

            Promise: “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.”


 *** And so, we begin…

1. Tonight, we tell a story.  Tonight, we tell not just A Story, we tell our story.  We tell it with words, we tell it with actions, we tell it as we taste, as we search, as we walk free, as we rejoice. 

We all know the story, but on this night, we remember, for Yehovah told us to remember and we know that as we do, we are drawn deeper into Him, and the Story He is writing in Us.  (Duet 26:1-9) 



There are several parts of this story, and we will tell bits thru the evening.  The meal isn’t a sit down and eat it all at once, it’s part of the story and it comes in courses.
We’ll start with remembering that Yehovah desired relationship with someone in His image, and so he said, “Let us make Man in our image”.  He took the earth from “without form and void” to lush, vibrant, living, moving – with the sun, moon and stars to determine days, and years and “seasons” which in Hebrew is the word mo’ed usually translated as Feasts or Set Appointments. The list of Mo’ed Appointments with God can be found in Leviticus 23 and Passover is one of them.  He filled the earth with good things to eat, beauty, animals, and finally, on the final day of Creation, He made Man in His image, male and female he created them, and in the cool of the evening, at the beginning of the Biblical day, He walked with Man, and they began to Know one another.  He also ordained the first marriage, and likely, on that first Shabbat celebrated their union, and His union with them.  He filled them with His Other Centered, Unconditional Love and they walked, and talked, and loved and laughed…



But we know that we have an enemy, who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  That enemy is a liar and a thief of the worst sort, and he tempted the Man and Woman, Adam and Eve, and they believed his lies, and disobeyed their Creator…  This severed their relationship with the Father – not because He was punitive, but because they no longer trusted Him or His beautiful Love, for they trusted the Liar instead. Is it possible to have a relationship with someone you don’t trust??


And in trusting the Liar, we became his slaves, his captives. We were transformed into his image of self-centered existence.  We had no hope of living in the Love, that Beautiful Love again…  We were stuck. Hopelessly stuck. But God…But Yah…  


2.  Many, many years later, Abba’s chosen family, Abraham’s children – to whom he’d promised they would become as the sands of the sea, Whom Yehovah had claimed for His own, Whom Yehovah had covenanted with – were stuck in Egypt, working for a human slave owner by the name of Pharoah.  We were his captives, we were stuck, and we cried out to Yehovah for Mercy… We cried to Him to deliver us.  



Just as We – our forefathers, were captives, in need of rescue, so We are, daily, for our enemy still prowls the earth, looking for those to devour, doing all he can to keep us in the space of self-centered life, feeding us lies that delude us.  And so, tonight, with the Hebrews of Old, we sing:

“Deliver Us” – Andrew Peterson – 3:50
https://youtu.be/EehRDNE3HJc

Yehovah made a way for us then and He has made a way for us now. He gave us instructions that we carried out then, and which pointed to the Way which was to come.

Let’s read them now:
Ex 12:1-27. :
“The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month will be the first month; it will be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole Israelite community: On the tenth day of this month, they must take a lamb for each household, a lamb per house. If a household is too small for a lamb, it should share one with a neighbor nearby. You should divide the lamb in proportion to the number of people who will be eating it.


Your lamb should be a flawless year-old male. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You should keep close watch over it until the fourteenth day of this month.
At twilight on that day, the whole assembled Israelite community should slaughter their lambs. They should take some of the blood and smear it on the two doorposts and on the beam over the door of the houses in which they are eating. That same night they should eat the meat roasted over the fire. They should eat it along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Don’t eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over fire with its head, legs, and internal organs* (make note of this!).
Don’t let any of it remain until morning and burn any of it left over in the morning.
This is how you should eat it. You should be dressed, with your sandals on your feet and your walking stick in your hand. You should eat the meal in a hurry. It is the Passover of the LORD.
I’ll pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I’ll strike down every oldest child in the land of Egypt, both humans and animals. I’ll impose judgments on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be your sign on the houses where you live. Whenever I see the blood, I’ll pass over you. No plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

This day will be a day of remembering for you. You will observe it as a festival to the LORD. You will observe it in every generation as a regulation for all time. You will eat unleavened bread for seven days.

On the first day you must remove yeast from your houses because anyone who eats leavened bread anytime during those seven days will be cut off from Israel. The first day and the seventh day will be a holy occasion for you. No work at all should be done on those days, except for preparing the food that everyone is going to eat. That is the only work you may do.

You should observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because on this precise day I brought you out of the land of Egypt in military formation. You should observe this day in every generation as a regulation for all time.

In the first month, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day, you should eat unleavened bread. For seven days no yeast should be found in your houses because whoever eats leavened bread will be cut off from the Israelite community, whether the person is an immigrant or a native of the land. You should not eat anything made with yeast in all your settlements. You should eat only unleavened bread.”

Then Moses called together all of Israel’s elders and said to them, “Go pick out one of the flocks for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood that is in the bowl, and touch the beam above the door and the two doorposts with the blood in the bowl. None of you should go out the door of your house until morning. When the LORD comes by to strike down the Egyptians and sees the blood on the beam above the door and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over that door. He won’t let the destroyer enter your houses to strike you down.

You should observe this ritual as a regulation for all time for you and your children. When you enter the land that the LORD has promised to give you, be sure that you observe this ritual. And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ritual mean to you?’ you will say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, for the LORD passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. When he struck down the Egyptians, he spared our houses.”

The people then bowed down and worshipped.” Exodus 12:1-27 CEB

There was a Lamb, there was unleavened bread, there were bitter herbs… Not the best meal in the world, but it all had a deeper meaning. As the Jews began to keep Passover, year after year, they began to create traditions and ways of doing things in order to keep the Passover. Much of the Haggadah comes from those traditions. as does the spring cleaning…

The week before Passover:

  • **The house would be cleaned to remove leaven (which represent sin) from the home.  (Spring cleaning!)
  • **1 Cor 5:6-8 “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
  • Leaven is yeast added to dough to make bread rise.  So that means no breads or bakery products that have used yeast are allowed in the Jewish home during Passover.
  • Some Jewish homes have special pots, pans, dishes & utensils to use only at Passover to make sure there is no residual yeast/leaven.  Some even have 2 ovens, 2 stoves, 2 dishwashers, and sinks.
  • Why?
  • God told the Hebrews to quickly make bread without leaven because it takes time for the bread to rise, and they would be leaving quickly early the next morning.
  • Ex 13:7 “No leavened bread shall be seen with you or in your quarters.
  • As Christians, before we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we search our hearts to confess any sins.  As Hebrew Roots believers, we consider our lives and what needs to be removed in the weeks leading up to Passover.

The night before Passover:

** Let’s deal with the Leaven – which we are not to eat, nor even have in our homes…What are some “yeasty” foods that are to be removed?? 

We all have been told that Leaven is equal to sin, and well it may be, but our Messiah repeated several times that we were to beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees.


Can someone read Luke 12: 1-3?  
“When a crowd of thousands upon thousands had gathered so that they were crushing each other, Yeshua began to speak first to his disciples: “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees—I mean, the mismatch between their hearts and lives. Nothing is hidden that won’t be revealed, and nothing is secret that won’t be brought out into the open. Therefore, whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and whatever you have whispered in the rooms deep inside the house will be announced from the rooftops. I tell you, my friends, don’t be terrified by those who can kill the body but after that can do nothing more.”  Luke 12:1-4 CEB

The Rabbis created a tradition called the Bedikot Hametz to be performed last night, in the home.  The Mother of the house would clean out all the Leaven and save a few crumbs which she hid.  The Father would take the children thru the house, with a candle, and a feather, and a napkin and would search for the leaven, till they found it, and used the feather to sweep it into the napkin to be burned.  

I hear Yeshua’s words re-interpreting this tradition.  He tells us that the leaven of hypocrisy, which is hidden, will be found.  What was hidden in the dark closet will be found… Beware. So, with our actions – we clean our home of the leaven and leavening products, but as we do this, we also search our hearts, for that is what this all points to, and we remove the leaven of hypocrisy and evil from our hearts.
1 Cor. 5:6-8: “Your bragging isn’t good! Don’t you know that a tiny grain of yeast makes a whole batch of dough rise? Clean out the old yeast so you can be a new batch of dough, given that you’re supposed to be unleavened bread. Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed, so let’s celebrate the feast with the unleavened bread of honesty and truth, not with old yeast or with the yeast of evil and wickedness.”  1 Corinthians 5:6-8 CEB
(We are going to take a few moments to think about, and write down the “leavened products” still in our life, where do we still agree with our enemy? where is our hypocrisy?   – that we want Yehovah’s consuming fire to destroy.  We will put them in this box/or take them home and will burn it as a physical reminder of the Spiritual Reality that He will refine us and continue to complete the work in Us that He started!! I know, this is tough… it’s a hard thing to allow the Spirit’s Light to penetrate the dark corners and expose what needs to go, and I know that takes time, but I encourage you, even after tonight, to be willing to submit to His Refining Fire.  – 5 min)
(This ‘Pre-teaching’ takes about 30 min to complete)


Traditional Passover Seder (without a couple of traditional elements)

1.        Lighting of the Candles

  • The mother of the home, puts on a head covering/tallit and light the candle on the table.
  • Then say, “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctifies us with His commandments & commands us to light the festival lights.”
  • The woman brings light into the home, because it was through Mary that the light of the world, Messiah Yeshua came into the world.

*** As a note, this is the Jewish tradition, and there’s nothing wrong with this tradition, but there is not actually a command, in Torah (the First 5 Books of the Bible, referred to as the “Law”, “Moses” or “Instructions”) to light the festival lights. That command came in the Gemara.  For those unfamiliar, the Talmud (the body of civil and ceremonial laws) is comprised of the Mishnah (oral laws) or the Gemara (Rabbinic commentary on the Mishnah). They contain laws not included in the Torah. They are the traditions and oral law that the Jews created to protect the Torah.  In this case, the protection was created around the Sabbath. Torah does say that the people were not to kindle a fire on Shabbat. So, the Rabbi’s felt that it was appropriate to have candles lit at the beginning of Shabbat, before sundown. They would then burn out completely by the end of the evening, and no other fire would be lit until after Shabbat was over. Hence the tradition of lighting Sabbath candles. (Even today, some stoves have a “sabbath setting” that allows the oven to stay warm for 24 hrs so that the “fire” doesn’t go out, and therefore nothing is kindled when you want to warm food.)

Often, when the Pharisees are questioning Yeshua about what he’s doing and blame him for breaking the law, they are actually accusing him of breaking these “fence laws”, that is they had come up with to protect Torah and keep the people from even coming close to breaking Torah but were not actually in Torah.
Two examples of that are when he was questioned on why his disciples ate without washing their hands (there is no hand washing command in Torah) or when he healed the lame man on Sabbath and told him to take up his bed and walk. This instruction “take up your bed and walk” was in direct opposition not to Torah, but to the Oral traditions of “sabbath’s day’s journeys” and not carrying a burden – not even in one’s pockets, on Sabbath.  Messiah wasn’t breaking the actual, God given law of Torah. He was breaking the human traditions and laws of the Jews written mostly during the Babylonian exile.
Still, there are times in Messiah’s life that we can see Messiah defining the traditions, showing how even in their tradition’s things pointed to him… MUCH like the candles that are lit on the feasts and Shabbats, which remind us of Messiah, the Light of the world.  We will talk about some of those “Messiah Defined” traditions tonight. We will start with the cups – they came from the tradition of the Passover seder. They are not commanded in Scripture. Yet every cup points to something regarding Messiah.

2.        1st Cup: The Cup of Sanctification (also called Cup of Blessing)

  • **The father lifts his cup and says, “This cup sanctifies (or sets apart) the ceremony and the rest of the evening as holy, special to the Lord.”
  • Ex 6:6a “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
  • “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has created the fruit of the vine.”
  • Drink a few sips of the juice.
  • Yeshua may have been referring to this cup, in Lk 22:17-18, “And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.”
  • As believers, we remember Yeshua died to free us from our burden of sin.

3.        Washing of the hands –*** again, this is a tradition within the Jewish Seder pointing to the command for the priests to wash.

  • **Have everyone dip their fingers in the bowl & wipe them on their napkin.
  • ** This reminds us of the priest’s need to wash before they could go before God on behalf of the people of Israel.
    ***Did you know that before anyone went into the temple, they had a mikveh?  That’s where we get the idea of a baptism.  There were pools below the temple gate, and the people would first dunk in the water of the pools and then walk up the steps to the temple. The command to the priests to mikveh and wash before serving in the temple comes from Torah, as does the command to wash at evening if anyone wanting to enter the Temple had become ceremonially “unclean”.
  • The family ceremonially washes their hands in a special bowl (that represents the laver in the Tabernacle) and wipes them on a napkin (towel). 
  • **Washing our hands reminds us that God is holy (set apart) and we too must be holy.
  • **Ps 24:3-4 “Who may stand in His Holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”
  • **Mt 5:48 “You are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
    ** This is a reference to the Passover lamb being “without blemish”. The Hebrew phrase ‘tamayim’ can also be translated Whole and Complete, or Perfect.  When we think of perfection, we think of a list of dos and don’ts often.  But “Whole and Complete” has a totally different context of being wholistically healthy, emotionally, mentally and spiritually! 
  • **As Yeshua celebrated His last Passover with His disciples.  John 13:2-17 tells us that as Yeshua celebrated His last Seder with his disciples; He took a towel and washed their feet, giving us an example of being a humble servant.
    **Because the last supper was 24 hrs. before Passover was to be celebrated, it’s likely that Messiah was doing a “teaching seder” which was common for the Rabbi’s to do.  Rabbis would teach their students/disciples how to go through the Haggadah the day before Pesach, so that those students could do the same the following day, with their families, as Pesach was commanded to be a family affair. 

4.        The Karpas – Dipping the parsley in salt water

Bitter Herbs – These bitter herbs (both the parsley and the horseradish which we will eat later) remind us of the bitterness of slavery from which we are delivered. They remind us of the bitterness of the pagan gods and worship from which we were rescued from.  They remind us of the bitterness of our choices, when we choose to believe the Liar, rather than our Lover.
(If you have time) Let’s take a few minutes to consider what are our “Task masters”?  What are we crying out to Yehovah to be delivered from?  What is to be drowned in the sea? 

** Please stand for this until our first bit of matzah: 

  • **We now remember the tears of our people when we were slaves in Egypt
  • **Father lifts the parsley
  • **Parsley is like the hyssop plant used to place the blood of the Passover lamb on the doorposts and lintels (Ex 12:22) during the 10th plague when the angel saw the blood and passed over the house sparing the 1st born male.
  • Hyssop was ** also used to offer Yeshua sour wine on the cross. (John 19:29)
  • Passover comes in the spring, when we see new life coming from what appeared to be dead.  The Karpas or parsley reminds us that life is a gift from God.
  • ** Dip a sprig of parsley into the saltwater (a symbol of tears)
  • **The first dip refers to the tears shed in slavery by the Israelites.
  • Ex 2:23-24 “The Israelites groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help.  Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God.  And God heard their groaning and remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.”
  • ** Dip the parsley again and eat.
  • **The second dip remind us of the drowning of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea and the miraculous deliverance of the nation of Israel.   (Ex 14:13-31)

5.        Breaking Middle Matzah
T
he Father lifts the Unity Bag.  ** Here’s another tradition that is defined by Messiah.

  • **Explain that there are 3 compartments in the unity bag, each holding a piece of matzah.
  • **To believers it represents: God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Jews thought it meant, God, the priest and the people or Abraham, Isaac & Jacob.
  • The Father takes the matzah (unleavened bread, no yeast) from the middle of the unity bag.  Show the matzah to everyone.
  • **Matzah is a flat bread because it has no leavening agent or yeast to make it rise.
  • *God told the Hebrews to quickly make bread without leaven because it takes time for the bread to rise, and they would be leaving quickly early the next morning.
  • Ex 13:7 “No leavened bread shall be seen with you or in your quarters.
  • Yeshua compared leaven to sin saying that a little leaven/yeast will leaven or cause sin to spread to the whole lump of dough.
  • **1 Cor 5:6-8- “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?  Clean out the old leaven that you may be a new lump just as you are in fact unleavened (without sin).  For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.  Let us, therefore, celebrate the feast not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerely & truth.”
  • *Show the middle piece of the matzoh in front of the candle to see the holes (where it was pierced), examine the lines (stripes); all symbols of the wounds Yeshua suffered for us.
  • **Zech 12:10b “They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced.”
  • The father breaks the middle matzah in 2 pieces and places one half back into the middle section of the unity bag.  (Yeshua is the 2nd person of the Trinity)
  • The broken middle piece of matzah is called the Afikomen.
  • *Afikomen is the only Greek word used in the Seder and it means “He came.”
    ** It can also mean “what comes at the end” (such as entertainment) or “dessert”.  Regardless of which Greek word Afikomen is derived from all 3 give us a glimpse into Messiah!

**It represents Yeshua, whose body was broken, in the sense that He was beaten, whipped, spat upon, beard plucked out, and a crown of thorns shoved onto His head, nails driven into His hands and feet and heaved up on the cross.  NOTE none of His bones were broken.

  • *Is 53:5-7 “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening (punishment) for our well-being fell up Him, and by His stripes we are healed.  All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.”
  • **At the Lord’s Supper, Yeshua took the middle piece of matzah, broke it and said, “This is My body which is given for you.  Take, eat and do this in remembrance of Me.”
  • The Father wraps the other half (Afikomen) in a napkin
  • Yeshua’s body was wrapped, and a linen cloth was placed over his face for burial,
  • Children close their eyes and keep heads down
  • The father hides the Afikomen (the piece of matzah in napkin) in the room. 
  • This piece will be used later in the Seder.  Only God the Father know where Yeshua was and when He’d be resurrected
  • Yeshua’ body was hidden in a grave for 3 days.
    ***So now we begin to see why He Came is an apt definition for Afikomen, as is “What came after” After his death, came resurrection!  And, of course, his life, his redemption is our dessert!!
  • Then the father asks the children to open their eyes.

*** Matza: Immediately following Pesach or Passover begins the 7-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. The first and last days are no workdays, with a holy convocation, but aside from that, the entire nation is commanded to EAT unleavened bread for these 7 days.  

 This is a proactive command. We aren’t to fast from Bread! We are to eat, consume, live on Unleavened Bread this week!   We know from our instructions in Exodus, that this reminds us of the haste in which we had to leave Egypt, having had no time to allow our bread to rise. 

We also know that Paul reinterprets that to mean we are to walk in Sincerity and Truth as we read in a moment.  However, I believe the biggest reminder of the Unleavened Bread we eat is that we are to consume our Savior’s words, actions, life, salvation.  What does it mean to consume Him??

 Take a piece of the matzah on your table and eat it.  Remember – the first time this meal was eaten, it was in haste, with sandals on, staffs in hand.  There will come a time, when another exodus will occur, when Yehovah gathers his Remnant from every corner of the earth.  Scripture says that it will be such a great event that people will no longer remember Yehovah by the first Exodus but by the Second one.
Jer. 16:14-16
This is why we stood to eat the matzah and the bitter herbs, why we stood to taste the meal – to remember a time yet coming, our final deliverance. Jews always recline for the entire meal, but I wanted to remind us that there is still an element of being ready to “go” quickly – regardless of what/how we believe that will happen (rapture, actual exodus, caught up in the clouds in everyone’s sight – or any other way we think the end will be – we can all agree that we want to be ready, to be okay with leaving everything behind and quickly “leave”).

Now though, we will sit, recline, and be comfortable Resting in Him, our Messiah, knowing that He is our Deliverer as we eat and talk of His Redemption. 
Let’s Eat this meal, and with our bodies act out our story as we taste and feel and see and smell these things which remind us of our Deliverance, of our story!

6.        **4 Questions

  • 1)  The youngest child asks, “Why is this night different from all other nights?  On all other nights we eat either bread or matzah, but why on this night do we eat only matzah (unleavened bread)?”
  • The father says, “On Passover we eat only matzah because it reminds us when we fled from Egypt we didn’t have time to let the bread rise.”
  • Lift 1 matzah & examine it, but do not eat it yet!
  • 2)  The youngest child asks, “On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables.  On this night why do we eat only bitter herbs?”
  • Lift the Maror (mah-ROAR) (horseradish/bitter herbs)
  • Bitter herbs/horseradish reminds us of the tears shed in slavery and the horseradish brings tears to our eyes.
  • We remember how bitter our ancestor’s slavery was in Egypt.
  • Life is bitter under sin.  Yeshua reminds us in John 8:34 that without Yeshua we are slaves to sin.  “Everyone who commits sins is a slave to sin.”
  • 3)  The youngest child asks, “On all other nights we do not dip our vegetables even once.  On this night why do we dip them twice?  Why do we dip parsley in salt water and put bitter herbs on the charoset?”
  • Lift the charoseth (hah-ROH-seth)
  • Charoseth is a mixture of apples, dates, raisins
  • Charoseth reminds us of the mortar and bricks we were forced to make as slaves in Egypt.
  • Out of pressure comes sweetness.  Work creates the sweet reward of a job well done.
  • 4)       On all other nights we eat our meals sitting.  On this night why do we eat in a reclining position?
  • On the 1st Passover we had to eat in a hurry, with our coats and sandals on as we waited to be delivered from slavery.  But now we can relax and enjoy our feast and recline in leisure.

7.        **The story of Passover

  • Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived in the land of Canaan.  A famine came and Jacob’s family moved to Egypt to escape the famine.  The Hebrew nation grew, and Pharoah made us slaves.  As the nation grew Pharoah was afraid the increasing number of Jewish people would join Egypt’s enemies and fight against them.  In order to control the Jewish population, he made a law to kill the Hebrew baby boys.  By faith one Hebrew mother hid her son in a basket in the Nile River.  Pharoah’s daughter found the boy whom she named Moses and raised him as her own.  Moses knew he was a Hebrew and saw his people being mistreated.  He took matters into his own hands and killed an Egyptian taskmaster.  In fear, Moses fled into the wilderness and worked as a shepherd 40 years.  Yet God heard the cries of His people and He appeared to Moses in a burning bush.  God told Moses to go tell Pharoah, “Let My people go.”  Each time Pharoah said, “NO!”  God sent plagues (disasters) on Pharoah and the land of Egypt.  Each plague was harder and became harsher. By the 10th plague the Lord Himself said, “I will go throughout the land of Egypt on that night and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast.”  God instructed Moses to have the Hebrew people kill an unblemished 1 year old male lamb at twilight and to put some of the blood on the 2 doorposts and the lintel of the door of their houses. God then instructed them to roast the lamb and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  God said He would go through the land of Egypt that night and would strike down the first-born males, of men & beasts, but when I see the blood, I will pass over you and no plague will destroy you.   Exodus 12:1-27

8.        **2nd Cup of Plagues (also called Cup of Judgment)

  • The father quotes Ex. 6:6, “I will deliver you from being slaves.”
  • Each Passover cup is symbolic of joy except for the 2nd cup.  God teaches us never to rejoice over the fate of our enemies.  Therefore, the filling of the 2nd cup must be reduced. 
  • Add some juice to the cup, BUT do not drink it!  Repeat after me the name of the plagues out loud and dip your finger in the cup and drip the juice on your plate as we say the name of the plague together.
    • Blood
    • Frogs
    • Gnats
    • Flies
    • Cattle diseases
    • Boils
    • Hail
    • Locusts
    • Darkness
    • Death of the 1st born male/son

Everyone says, Dayenu (die-AY-noo)

Dayenu means it would have been sufficient or it would have been enough. With a grateful heart & a healthy fear of the Lord, we sing Dayenu together, remembering how many great acts that God has done on behalf of His people.

  • With loving-kindness He redeemed us from Egypt, bringing judgment on the Egyptians and their gods.
  • Dayenu
  • With awesome power He divided the Red Sea, allowing us to pass over in safety.
  • Dayenu
  • With tender care He protected us in the wilderness, feeding us with manna and providing for our needs.
  • Dayenu
  • With great goodness He gave us the law on Mt. Sinai.  With triumph He led us into the promised land of Israel.
  • Dayenu
  • We are thankful for Yeshua because in Him we have forgiveness of sin and everlasting life.
  • ** We don’t drink this cup because Yeshua drank it for us!  He took the plagues upon himself. In the same way, none of the Hebrews were impacted by the plagues.  We are spared, because Messiah said, in Gethsemane – Father, let this cup pass from me, but then he submitted to drink it.

9.        The Passover Lamb – Begin to eat the actual meal at this point:

  • ** Lift the shankbone of the lamb *** Since the destruction in the Temple, and the inability to sacrifice a lamb, the Jews have used a lamb shank bone to remind them of the lamb.  As a Messianic Believer, I prefer to have a lamb roast, not as a sacrifice – We know that Messiah was our Passover; but as a taste of what the Hebrews, even our Messiah, Yeshua, experienced in his life, during this feast.  Taste and see that the Lord is good! (Summarize points quickly)
  • The shankbone of the lamb reminds us of the lamb that each Israelite family killed on the night of the first Passover.  God commanded that they take the blood of the lamb and put it on the top and sides of the door frame of their house. (Ex 12:7-13)
  • That same night they were to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs & unleavened bread.
  • They were to eat with their cloak tucked into your belt, their sandals on their feet and staff in their hand.  They were to eat in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover
  • The blood will be a sign for them on their houses where they were; and when God saw the blood, He passed over their house.  No destructive plague touched them when I struck Egypt.
  • Yeshua is our Passover lamb.  He was without sin, spot or blemish and died in our place, just as the Passover lamb died in the place of the first-born sons in the house.
  • John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  John 1:29
  • Remember I said to take note that the first Passover lamb was to be roasted with the entrails left inside? Numerous historical records report that by the second Temple period, (the temple that Messiah visited and ministered in), the last lamb sacrificed was the Passover Lamb for the nation. It was roasted in the Temple compound, to be eaten by the Priests serving there. It was roasted upright on a stake, with a cross member through it’s chest cavity. The entrails were removed, BUT they were wrapped around the lamb’s head, and as it roasted they formed a gnarly crown on it’s head. So, during the time of Messiah, the priests were LITERALLY looking at a lamb, on a stake, with a crown of thorns on it’s head.
    Here is an article about this practice: https://www.academia.edu/9014656/Ponder_the_Passover?fbclid=IwAR2fTFpjmf1W2FDJDZIdyDX3l3_EmPz1v_0YTx3zhdz8517Z5gyRsWFTC_8

    Here’s a FB album that describes a Passover Experience hosted by Michael Rood. It gives some pictures of what may have been experienced at the time of Messiah. It also has several other second witness links in the comments: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1968622169542&type=3

***   We have several Lambs in Scripture to look at – each one tells us a bit about our Messiah. 

The first Lamb in our story was the one Yehovah killed in the Garden, in order to clothe Adam and Eve.  The word used in Genesis is “Labash” and means, to dress, or to clothe.  Did you know that in Judges 6:34, the same word is used…? “But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet;” The Spirit of the Lord “Labash” Gideon.  He Clothed Gideon.  Just so, our Passover Lamb clothes us.  


The next Lamb in our story is the ram, caught in the bushes, when Abraham was asked to sacrifice His son on the very mountain where Our Messiah was crucified (Children may act it out)

Gen 22:1-14 This Lamb in the bushes was a substitution for Isaac thru whom the blessing and covenants made to Abraham would be passed on.  In the same way, Yeshua is the substitution of the truth that wages of sin is death, for us – those believers to whom the blessings and covenants will be given. This Lamb – Messiah, was the “lamb which God Himself will provide”. 

Lastly, we have the Passover Lamb.  The death angel is on his way and has claimed the firstborn.  But there is a way, there is a sign, there is safety under the Blood. 
One of the instructions in Torah regarding the Passover lamb is that, on the 10th day, the Passover lamb was brought into the home, and inspected. It was to be without spot or blemish.

Did you know Our Messiah rode into Jerusalem on the 10th day, on the back of a donkey, which had never been ridden?

Did you know that the Jewish custom at the time was to bring the Passover Lamb that the Priests had chosen for the entire nation through the SAME gate that Messiah rode through?  So, imagine this… the people are lining the streets, waiting for the Passover Lamb, as was the tradition.  A cry rings out, “Behold the Lamb of God” which is what the Priests said to announce the coming of the literal lamb.  Messiah begins to ride up the street.  People, as they always have during this event, wave palm branches, Praise Father, Sing Hallelujah!  I believe Messiah intentionally preempted the literal lamb and defined this custom, in fact, He told the Pharisees that if the people were quiet even the rocks would cry out! 

Did you know he spent the next few days, in the Temple – being inspected and questioned?  Was there a spot? Was there a blemish, on this, our Passover Lamb?? Remember the phrase from the Hebrew “tamiym” can also be translated Whole and Complete, or Perfect. We see the same word in Psalm 19 – “The Law of the LORD is Perfect- without spot, whole, complete.” Yeshua was in the temple, allowing the priests and people who had come to Jerusalem for the feast to test him, to determine – was he whole, complete, perfect?
On the 14th day, before sunset, we were to sacrifice the lamb, drain its blood, and, using Hyssop, paint the door posts with the blood.  Across the top, on the sides…  

And, on the 14th day, of the month of Aviv, Yeshua was crucified.  His blood ran and painted the “door” at his head, and at the base and on either side. His death renewed and sealed the marriage covenant He’d made with us, but which we had broken.  He drank the bitter cup of jealousy, for our God is a jealous God, and we had committed adultery against Him.  That cup was ours to drink, but Yeshua drank it instead.   (For more on that specific curse, read Num 5:11-31 and remember that throughout scripture, Father refers to his people as his bride, his wife)



The Lamb was to be eaten that night, totally – wholly, completely, on this, what was now the First day of Unleavened Bread.  Nothing was to be left till morning and Numbers 9:12 tells us that no bone of it was to be broken even after it was roasted.  
So, Yeshua, was consumed by death that day. Totally.  No bone was broken. (In accordance to Exodus 12:46, and reaffirmed in Psalms 34:20)

After his death, he was laid in a tomb…   

“Passover Us” – Andrew Peterson – 4:11
https://youtu.be/VbI2xVeZogk

10.      *The Matzah

  • Father lifts the Unity bag and takes the middle matzah from the unity bag and breaks it into olive size pieces and gives a piece to each person. And says, “Blessed are You, O Lord our God.  You set us apart as your people and commanded us to eat unleavened bread.”
  • All EAT matzah

11.      *The Maror (mah-ROAR) 

  • The father passes the horseradish and each person scoops some onto their plate and places some on a piece of matzah and says, “Blessed are You, O Lord our God, who has set us apart by Your Word and commanded us to eat bitter herbs.”
  • All EAT matzah

12.      *The Charoseth

  • The father places some Charoseth between 2 pieces of matzah, like a sandwich.  He passes the Charoseth and each person scoops some onto their plate and places some on a piece of matzah.
  • * The Father says, “The charoseth reminds us of the mortar and clay bricks that we made as slaves in Egypt.”
  • All EAT charoseth
  • * At this point in the Passover, Yeshua told His disciples that one of them would betray him.  When each asked, “Surely, not I?”  Yeshua said, it was the one who dipped his bread into the bowl with Yeshua. 
  • ** Now, we will also make a Hillel Sandwich, Some of the Maror on one end, charoset on the other.  Eat it all… and experience both the tears and the sweetness in one. Messiah died, we grieved, yet his resurrection is sweet, just as toil comes with sweat, tears, and joy.

13.      * After all have eaten the main meal:

Eating the Afikomen (only Greek word in Seder & means “He came”)

  • After the meal, the children hunt and find the afikomen (which was wrapped & hidden).  The Afikomen represents Yeshua.
  • The father redeems it back by paying money to the child who finds it.  (Give them a quarter)
  • Yeshua paid the penalty for our sin.
  • Ex 6:6 says, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm.”
  • Gal 3:13 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law.”
  • 1 Cor 6:20 “For you have been bought with a price.”
  • The father unwraps the napkin and shows the matzah to the family.
  • At the Lord’s supper, Yeshua took the middle matzah and breaks it and says, “This is My body which is given for you.  Take, eat, do this in remembrance of Me. (Lk 22:19)
  • Yeshua called Himself the bread of life (John 6:35)
  • I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)
  • Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)
  • Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.   John 6:58)
  • Is 53:5 “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”
  • Look at how the matzah is pierced.
  • Zech 12:10b “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced.
  • See how the matzah is unleavened.  Leaven stands for sin.  This bread is without leaven, Yeshua was without sin.  It is written in Is 53:9 & 1 Peter 2:22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
  • The father breaks the afikomen and gives a piece to each person and all eat.
  • The middle matzah from the Unity bag is broken, just as Yeshua, the Messiah was broken with suffering and death.  We wrapped it in a white cloth, just as Yeshua’ body was wrapped in linen cloth for burial.  Just as the afikomen was hidden, so Yeshua’ body was hidden for a short time in the grave.  Just as the afikomen was brought out of hiding, so Yeshua was brought back from the dead when He rose from the grave.  And now we understand why any definition of the word Afikomen – “he came”, “dessert” or “what comes at the end” fits!!
  • ***Do you remember that when the disciples came into the tomb, they found the linen folded at the head of the tomb??  The custom was to fold the linen, after the afikomen was found, and to lay it aside.  It’s believed that when Messiah folded the linen, he folded it the same way the afikomen linen was folded. That’s why the disciples noted that it was folded. It was Messiah’s “tell” that he was the Afikomen!
  • As Yeshua said, in Lk 22:19 “This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
  • All eat the afikomen (matzah) and remember the broken body of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

14.      >>3rd Cup of Redemption

  • Add more juice to the cups
  • The father lifts the cup and quotes Ex. 6:6 “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm.”
  • This cup represents the blood of the Passover lamb.
  • **This was the cup of redemption, that Yeshua took after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”  Lk 22:20
  • Just as the blood of the Passover lamb provided salvation for us in Egypt, so Yeshua’ blood provides eternal life to all who believe.
  • Yeshua celebrated the Passover and the next day He became the Passover lamb for us, without spot or blemish.
  • 2 Cor 5:21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
  • Lift cups and drink

*** Jeremiah 31:31-34 foretells the new covenant: “I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares YHVH. For this is the covenant I will make with them, I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Hebrews 8:6-13 directly quotes Jeremiah. You can hear that Father is referencing the Marriage Covenant between he and His people. Let’s talk a little about that.

  1. It was shadowed in the marriage of Adam and Eve, as they celebrated their first day together on Sabbath (Exodus 31:13, and Ez. 20:12 & 20 say Sabbath is a sign of our covenant with Him, that He is the one who sanctifies us- He is the one who makes us holy.)
  2. Yehovah declared the Covenant with Abraham and then promised to fulfill it, when Abraham asked, how will I know that you’ll keep the covenant.  Abraham was told to cut the animals in two and then God caused him to sleep, and while he was asleep – GOD in the form of a Fire Pot and a flaming Torch walked between the animals, ratifying it. Saying HE would fulfill it. Abraham had nothing to do with the fulfillment of the covenant. He didn’t walk between the animals. God did.  (Genesis 15:7-2)
  3. He confirmed it with His people, at the base of Mount Sinai, 50 days after the Red Sea Crossing on the day we call Pentecost (you can find that story of the entire Ketubah in Ex 19-24). Pay special attention to Exodus 19:5&6 and remember how it is repeated by Peter in 1 Peter 2:9.
    “Then you will be my own TREASURE from among the peoples, and you will be a KINGDOM of priests for me.” That word treasure denotes the marriage covenant he’s about to make with them in the giving of the 10 commandments and following.  So much can be said about this, but in short, A Ketubah was a set of promises within the marriage, and in the event of divorce. It was the Jewish prenup.  The the traditional Marriage promises, written in a Ketubah is what is happening from Ex 19-24.  Usually, we hear the 10 Commandments as You shall not – as a command, but what if they are promises? When God takes us as His, when we are in a relationship, we WILL not do those things? 
  4. We, of course, broke that marriage covenant, and Yehovah tells us by way of the prophets, Hosea, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, that he Divorced us, respecting our choice of other lovers.  It’s no wonder he hates divorce. He literally says that he gave Israel a writ of divorce BECAUSE he respected her choice to go after her own desires and lovers (false worship/gods)
  5. But through those same prophets, he said that He would marry us again, He would renew the Covenant of Love.  It was that Covenant which Yeshua / Yeshua was talking about.  It was that Covenant that He confirmed at Pentecost when He Poured out His Spirit upon He disciples, and it’s that Covenant that will be consummated during the Wedding Feast of the Lamb in the final fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles!   What a day that will be!!!

15.      *The Prophet Elijah

  • The father sends one of the children to open the door to see if Elijah will come to the seder.  “Is Elijah here?”
  • Child replies, “No, he is not here.”
  • Malachi 4:5 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and terrible day of the Lord comes.”
  • We who believe in Yeshua believe that Elijah has already come.  Yeshua spoke of John the Baptist as the Elijah who was to come when he said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

***Scripture gives us some clues about when John was born. Luke 1:5-56. Zachariah served in the temple at a specific time, and David was the one who instituted the times each “course” of priests would serve. Given this timing, it’s believed by many that Zachariah was serving in the temple at Pentecost (the Feast of Weeks) and that when he returned home, Elizabeth conceived.  She would be 6 mos. pregnant when Mary came to her, likely around Hannukah time (The festival of lights when the Light of the world was conceived), and Mary stayed with her 3 mos., and returned home. Given these time frames, its very likely Elizabeth gave birth to John, who was in the Spirit of Elijah, during Passover, fulfilling this tradition, and that Yeshua was then born 6 mos. later, likely at the Feast of Tabernacles – in fact, when John rights, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”, He uses the word “tabernacled” which we translate “dwelt”. 

16.      *4th Cup of Praise

  • The father lifts the cup and says, “We praise Him because of His promise to us: “I will take you as my people and I will be your God.” Ex 6:7
  • The Jewish people look forward to a golden age where everyone will be at peace.
  • We, as believers eagerly wait for His return when He will take us home to heaven.
  • We give thanks to God in the words of a Psalm just as Yeshua did with His disciples.
  • After each of the following phrases of thanksgiving, the family joins in saying, “His love endures forever.”
  • Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
  • His love endures forever.
  • Give thanks to the God of gods.
  • His love endures forever.
  • Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
  • His love endures forever.
  • To Him alone who does great wonders. To Him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt.
  • His love endures forever.
  • And brought Israel out from among them
  • His love endures forever.
  • With a mighty hand and outstretched arm
  • His love endures forever.
  • To the One who remembered us in our low estate
  • His love endures forever.
  • And freed us from our enemies
  • His love endures forever.
  • And who gives food to every creature.
  • His love endures forever.
  • Give thanks to the God of heaven.
  • His love endures forever.
  • All drink the juice.
  • The prescribed order of the Passover is complete.  May we remember throughout the year that our redemption is complete by the sacrifice of our Passover Lamb, Yeshua the Messiah.
  • Everyone in the family says, “Next year in the Jerusalem!”
  • As believers we say, “Even so, come quickly Lord Yeshua!” Rev 22:20

Conclusion:

God gave us a picture of Yeshua in the Passover. The only issue was, is there blood on your doorposts?  Nothing else mattered.  It was not, I’m not good enough, or I’m too bad, or I love God, only the blood counted.  If you believed God and obeyed Him and applied the blood to the door, you lived.  If there was no blood on the doorpost, then it was a certain death of the first-born male.  The requirement is the same today.  God still demands a blood sacrifice to atone for our sins and Yeshua was the sacrifice that God provided, the Lamb of God, His own Son.  Yeshua paid the price.  Are you covered by the blood?

** (This Will take about 10 Minutes)
 A few notes of interest going forward.  Immediately Following Passover, on the 15th day of the month (which starts at sunset) begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread, one of the mo’ed, or Set Appointments or Feasts of Yehovah. It ends 7 days later at Sundown. As we’ve already discussed, we are to EAT unleavened bread during this week.


There is one more Feast this week, in the midst of Unleavened bread, and that is the Feast of First Fruits.  Lev 23 says we are to celebrate it on the first day of the week, following the weekly Sabbath (7th day).  You’ve celebrated it!  But You know it as Resurrection Sunday! Its fulfillment came in the resurrection of Yeshua!
IN fact, 1 Cor 15:20 & 23 directly references this day when Paul writes that Messiah has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.   It is a celebration of the First Fruit of the Resurrection, our Lord and Messiah!! 

Going back to this entire week, the Week of Unleavened bread:
YHVH says, in Exodus 13:16: Have someone read…
(“It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”)

and, in Exodus 13:9, 10
(“It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt.  You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.”)


Sign on hands, memorial/mark between eyes… sounds vaguely familiar… mark on the hands, mark on the forehead??? Is there a connection??



A few years ago, as I thought about this Feast, I realized that it begins with the Death of the Passover Lamb, and the Last High Sabbath is the day that the Jews believe the Hebrews crossed over the Red Sea. 
I realized that the very first Week of Unleavened Bread – from Egypt to the Red Sea – showed the entire plan of salvation…
It starts with the Passover Lamb, deliverance from bondage, and the choice to follow Him in faith, into the Wilderness… where we travel, day and night, following His Cloud, His Pillar of fire. It’s a faith walk, it’s hard, it can be exhausting, but He provides.  The week comes to its climax with us “entangled in the land” the Red Sea in front of us, with nowhere to go, and our enemy right behind us, and us waiting on the Lord for His deliverance to come… Finally – The wind blows, we cross over on dry land, and our enemy is ENTIRELY consumed.   Isn’t that the big picture?  

Accepting the Lamb, walking by Faith, trials that test our faith, and eventually all evil consumed?!

What’s interesting is, The Hebrew word “Sign” is

אוֹת

‘owth

Breaking the letters down to their beginnings to the Pictograph meanings, and Reading from Right to Left:

letter name – picture – meaning:


Aleph – Ox Head – Strong, Power, Leader, Yoke

Vav – Nail/tent peg, secure, pierce – can also mean hook, join

Tav – Crossed Sticks – mark, sign, signal, monument – can also mean covenant, ownership… and, of special note, just to repeat – the original picture was crossed sticks – Yes, the first “sign of the cross” pun intended!

So, the word “Sign” from Exodus 13, which is to be on our hands, in pictures takes us directly back to the Passover Lamb – THE LAMB of YHVH!!!

The Strong Leader, who was pierced, on a cross, and by so doing secured the covenant and sealed us!!




11.  And the Hebrew word for Frontlet??  

טוֹטָפוֹת

To-Ta-Foth (to-ta-pot)


Breaking it down, reading from Right to Left:

letter name – picture – meaning:


Tet – Basket – Surround, contain, mud – can also mean snake, twist


Vav- Nail/tent peg – secure, pierce – can also mean hook, join


Tet – Basket – Surround, contain, mud – can also mean snake, twist


Pey – Mouth – blow, scatter, Edge – can also mean to speak, to open, the beginning (think “in the beginning YHVH spoke and it was so”), enter, command


Vav – Nail/tent peg, secure, pierce – can also mean hook, join


Tav – Crossed sticks – mark, sign, signal, monument – can also mean covenant, ownership… and, of special note – just to repeat, the original picture was crossed sticks – Yes, the first “sign of the cross” pun intended!

Do you see it??  Red Sea Crossing???
Pharaoh, with his snake hat becomes secured in the mud, when YHVH blew a strong wind, then commanded the waters to fall again, thereby securing a sign, the signal and His ownership over His people that they were His and they were, truly, Free!
  (I have a video for you if you’d like, that goes into the archaeology of this event – there’s a picture of a 4 spoke, Gold plated chariot wheel! It’s still at the bottom of the Red Sea, and it matches what we know of Egyptian chariots, the Pharaoh’s chariots from that time period!!! See “Red Sea Crossing”)

 Looking forward… That great enemy of ours, the serpent, will be secured, contained, surrounded, in the mud (in the pit?), snake that he is, when YHVH opens His mouth and commands, whereby Securing His Everlasting Covenant of Peace, Securing His ownership, and giving us a sign, a signal that We are HIS and We are Truly Free and the Snake is completely and utterly destroyed, just as Pharaoh was on the bottom of the Red Sea!!!


Now that’s a promise I’ll keep before my eyes and thoughts anyday!!! In this Feast of Unleavened Bread and what happened in that week, we are looking at a tiny microcosm of the entire plan of Salvation!!
And that’s a reason to praise Him, to Dance, to worship, to sing!!! Moses sang a song; Revelation tells us it’s our song!! Now I know why!

Song of the Lamb – Michael Card – 3:00
https://youtu.be/DgUbAGOV6z0

Close with Prayer

At the heart of Niddah:

Standard

Several years ago, I attended fellowship, and we discussed the Torah portion, but in particular Chapter 15 of Leviticus, which of course is about “Emissions” and what to do with them. There are a couple of things that were pointed out, which I found to be fascinating:

First, They shared an outline in diagram form of Chapter 15…

I. ~~~ Introduction
II. ~~~~~~ Abnormal male emission
III. ~~~~~~~~~ Normal male emission (AKA Wet dreams)
IV. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Marital Intimacy
V. ~~~~~~~~~~ Normal female emission (bleeding under 7 days)
VI. ~~~~~~ Abnormal female emission (Bleeding for over 7 days)
VII. ~ Summary

It’s interesting that Marital intimacy is at the center of the Chapter. Also, that only the Abnormal emissions resulted in needing a sin offering. The middle three were only a resulting unclean until evening, after taking a bath. This “unclean until evening” state, precluded them from entering the tabernacle, where YHVH himself dwelt. So they were ceremonially unclean, but not “sick unclean” needing an offering, or a period of quarantine.

I’m always fascinated to look at the heart of the matter, and was delighted to hear the others of that same mindset asking about the heart of the matter….

Clearly, Marital intimacy is one which begs for further time spent together – so the idea that after sex both parties shouldn’t jump up and run off to the temple or tabernacle but rather spend time together until evening is a beautiful way of encouraging intimacy on an emotional and mental level, in addition to the physical intimacy.

Marriage Bed…. Don’t be afraid to linger…

Likewise, if the man has a wet dream, he and his wife (if she touches him) are both unclean until evening. Is this perhaps an invitation by Yah to spend time together. If he’s had a wet dream, it’s likely that sexual intimacy hasn’t happened in a while. Is there tension building between them? Are there issues they need to address in their marriage? Is this time perhaps set apart for them to reconnect … until evening and a bath?

The last one is harder, cause we have a lot of Messianic believers who take a page from the Orthodox Jews and wholeheartedly feel that they must not touch a woman at all during Niddah, for fear of making the husband unclean. However, sex and wet dreams (which he can’t stop in any way) make that same husband unclean in the same way, so why put the restriction of not touching during Niddah?
Can we risk totally flipping the paradigm?? Is there perhaps a deeper spiritual truth that Father is after here??

IS perhaps, the Niddah law of Uncleanness really more of a call to the man to emulate Messiah, and take on her suffering, her unclean-ness, in his very being, and minister to his wife, during her time of Niddah, just as Messiah took on our Suffering, and unclean-ness and ministered to us? Is perhaps, this more about setting aside the husband and wife from hanging out at the tabernacle, but rather to connect with one another in non sexual, but loving ways?

See, science backs this up actually… Women are hormonally and chemical designed to go thru a time of inner reflection and looking at their most intimate relationships during Niddah. It’s kinda like our Reset time: time to evaluate what’s going on in our lives, and making necessary adjustments. If we don’t do this during Niddah, we will have harder post partum periods, with potential depression, psychosis, etc. If we don’t do it during Niddah and also post partum (as this time also is chemically and hormonally driven to introspection), we will have much harder menopausal symptoms and ultimately will set ourselves up for early death! Scripture is testified to by the Science of the woman’s body! (See Christiane Northrup’s work for more info – she’s not a believer, she’s a doctor, so take it with a grain of salt, but it’s amazing how her work supports what Scripture says. I’m paraphrasing from her book, “Wisdom of Menopause” 🙂 )

So, if during Niddah, the wife, is taking time for introspection and reflection, and if the husband is entering into that willingly with her, setting aside time to talk and hear her heart, to connect in non sexual ways – could not the marriage be strengthened in beautiful ways?!

Lastly, there’s this BEAUTIFUL picture, in Ezekiel 16, which perhaps gives us a glimpse of the Father’s love for us, his Bride…

6 “‘I passed by and saw you there, wallowing in your own blood; and as you lay in your blood I said to you, “Live!” Yes, I said to you, as you lay in your blood, “Live! 7 I will increase your numbers just like plants growing in the field.” And you did increase, you developed, you reached puberty, your breasts appeared, and your hair grew long; but you were naked and exposed.

8 “‘Again I passed by you, looked at you and saw that your time had come, the time for love. So I spread my cloak over you to cover your private parts and entered into a covenant with you,’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘and you became mine. 9 Then I bathed you in water, washed the blood off you, ❤ and anointed you with oil. 10 I also clothed you with an embroidered gown, gave you fine leather sandals to wear, put a fine linen headband on your head and covered you with silk. 11 I gave you jewelry to wear, bracelets for your hands, a necklace for your neck, 12 a ring for your nose, earrings for your ears and a beautiful crown for your head. 13 Thus you were decked out in gold and silver; your clothing was of fine linen, silk and richly embroidered cloth; you ate the finest flour, honey and olive oil. You grew increasingly beautiful — you were fit to be queen. 14 Your fame spread among the nations because of your beauty, because it was perfect, due to my having bestowed my own splendor on you’ says Adonai Elohim.

So, Elohim – Creator of the universe, didn’t hesitate to touch his Bride when she was developed and grown enough to be menstruating. In fact, He did the opposite, He picked her up, entered into covenant with her, BATHED her and HE washed the Blood off of her.

What if the laws of Niddah are about the husband entering into her suffering, ministering to her, as Messiah loved the church and gave Himself for her??

❤ ❤ ❤

The abuse cycle…. Things I’ve learned along the way

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I had a dream last night. I love it when, in my dreams, I do what I would do in person. It usually means that I’ve finally processed a thing deeply enough that my heart and psyche have caught up with what my head knows. 

In my dream, I made no excuses. I called abuse what it was, and I stood firm on the boundaries  set. I held space for the victim. My dream was a reminder that my processing has, over the last few years, shifted. I usually have to live through something and come out the other side, before I can write about it. It’s taken years to get here.  I needed to heal. My children needed to be safe from repricussion. 

For the present, I’m not going to share my story in detail. Not yet. There are other hearts involved that aren’t ready for those disclosures. For now, I’lll share what I’ve learned along the way and trust you to trust me when I say, “I know this deeply.”

These aren’t just words on a page. This isn’t psychobabble.

This is an overview of my experience, and the experiences of those who are flesh of my flesh.  I’ve felt it to my core. I know it in the very fiber of my being. This is what I’ve learned. Well,, some of what I’ve learned.

To start,  here are a few truths:

1. You are loved, by God. You were created in His image. Because you are an image-bearer of God, [Or, bear God’s image?] you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. Period. Full stop. If you’re married, your spouse deserves the same.  As a married couple, you both deserve love, kindness, and patience expressed in verbal, emotional, and physical ways.

2. God is very clear that abuse towards women and children is not to be tolerated. In fact, in Scripture, God took His people from a culture that didn’t value women or children to a place where women and children realized immense  personal worth.

3.  Knowledge is power.  If you are an abuse victim, you need to understand the abuse cycles and need words to describe your experience. If you care for or know someone you suspect is being abused, you need the power of that same knowledge.

My next segment will cover the abuse cycles. My hope is that each one will give you the power of knowledge.

Since I woke from my dream, I have words! I want you to have them too..



Abuse – what it may look like:

There’s a cycle of abuse. It’s a cycle that often takes a long time to recognize for the victim, but eventually those who are survivors, who recognize their worth and value, step out of the cycle. It isn’t easy, many victims will leave 7-12 times and go back, before they are finally “done”and usually the abuser lashes out, and will use anything in their power to regain the “relationship”. ANYTHING. And EVERYTHING. For YEARS…. That’s why many support groups recommend “no contact” policy with the abuser. Of course, that’s impossible in certain situations, which means it takes far longer to actually truly get out of the cycle.

The cycle – there’s a time of tension, when things are building. Lots of controlling behavior from the abuser, and walking on eggshells by the victim, who is trying to keep the abuser happy. The victims may even be “happy” with some connection, intimacy and joyful moments.. but under the surface, the victim is on edge, waiting for the next proverbial shoe to drop…

Because, the drop will come. The abuser acts out – is violent in some way – verbally, physically, etc…. The victim sustains deep wounds – bodily or to their soul or both. They begin to bleed out…. At this point, in the mode of self protection, the victim will do anything to make the abuse stop. They will tell the abuser what they want to hear, or clam up, or placate… they will do whatever it takes to make the abuse stop ASAP.. They are in full self protect and defend mode. They may also be in “self protect” the marriage, relationship, etc so will do things that seem off to the onlooker as they try to hold the “idea of the relationship” together while also defending themselves against the abuser. Sometimes victims stay because of the “idea of marriage”, the “hope of being loved”, the “person he could be”. Sometimes it’s because they were raised with the idea that “God hates divorce” – which is another blog in itself – but in short, God is very clear in the beginning books of Scripture that abuse of a slave turned wife is justifiable cause for divorce – how much more so a wife who chose to be a wife! Whatever the case, they may self protect the “marriage” and therefore the abuser, even while self protecting themselves against the abuser.

At some point, the anger dissipated, the abuser moves to apologies, tears, and/or blaming the victim. The victim usually accepts the apology, has hope, thinks, “Oh the abuser is really going to change now.” They may take the blame. They may apologize for whatever small infraction caused the blow up. This brings the relationship to some sort of “peace”.
They call this part of the cycle a honeymoon, but it isn’t a honeymoon. The victim is actually still reeling in pain, trying to find sure footing, and the abuser is manipulating the victim to keep the victim from leaving. BECAUSE.. IF the abuser was truly sorry, they would stop abusing. As our counselor has clearly stated, “If you apologize, you may only do so once. Apologize and change. If you apologize and do the same thing over and over you will lose all credibility.” So, if the abuser is apologizing, just to repeat the pattern next week, or in a month, just to lash out again – then it’s not an apology.. it’s simply manipulation.
If the abuser is blaming the victim, again, it’s manipulation, because if the abuser was healthy, they would actually take responsibility for their actions. Period. Full stop. Always. They wouldn’t put their woes over on everyone but them…

Effects of Abuse on the Victim:

I recently described the “honeymoon/calm” this way…

After the angry outburst, and after the apology,  the victims crave peace, and are in intense pain, so they quickly say “I forgive you” even tho their hearts are bleeding out on the ground from the latest wound. They ease themselves wounded and limping, through the rest of the time with the abuser, walking on eggshells, trying not to raise his/her wrath again, and then, if they are lucky enough to “get away” from the abuser for a time – fall apart due to the loss of blood.

They may fall apart in the shower, after the abuser has gone to bed, while the abuser is at work, or once they are not in the abuser’s presence because they’ve been able to smooth things out and leave “peaceably” or in the case of children in a divorce, because visitation time is up and they are no longer with the abusing parent. They may do this falling apart alone, or in the presence of family and friends. Children often act out, and may take a few days to come to any equilibrium when not in the abuser’s presence. 

If the victim is unable to “fall apart”, they will simply stuff the pain, for as long as they can before it erupts in disease of some kind. One way or another, the pain will come out because the pain was too great to not take a toll. That’s why victims of abuse are at greater risk for health issues later.  There are many studies that have been done that show a direct correlation between abuse and greater incidence of health problems and even early death, especially for children who score high on the ACE questionnaire. ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences and describes the experiences that can deeply impact a child for life – such as abuse, to them or their parent, abandonment, drug use by parents, neglect, mental illness in a parent, etc. For more, see this page, or the associated links to the CDC study contained here: https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/

Once the victim has “fallen apart” or stuffed the pain, slowly, they will take a big breath, and dive back into the relationship because the “honeymoon/calm” stage is upon us and all looks rosy. The victim will ignore that pit in their stomach, that fear of next time, that constant tension they feel, and will usually stay. If during this honeymoon/calm phase, the abuser meets the victims love languages (mine are physical touch and quality time), then the cycle is MUCH harder to pull out of because the victim actually feels loved during these moments. Fleeting. Moments. But, moments that keep those of us who are/were victims “in”. I made this connection a few years after I divorced. I realized that the meeting of those love language needs is what had held me in the relationship as long as it did. The quality time when my partner was past being remorseful/guilt ridden and before he became agitated, plus cuddles and make up sex made me feel loved, and therefore able to ride out the other two portions of the abuse cycle, believing that the “true him” was during that brief calm stage and not the rage filled tyrant, or the depressed, shame filled Eeyore…

This accepting the apology and then later falling apart isn’t a lie – tho the abuser may accuse them of lying. The victim isn’t lying – not in the traditional sense of “I know what is true but will tell you something else.”

It’s true to the victim’s experience. First, The victim often feels helpless to stop the abuse other than to tell the abuser what the abuser wants to hear. So as the abuse is happening, that’s often what the victim will do – calm the abuser down at all costs.  Then, When the abuser apologizes, the victim truly wants to believe the abuser. They want to have hope. They want to be loved and not treated as worthless shit. That’s why they say, “I forgive you.” Additionally, because they are reeling from the trauma, they don’t have words for how they feel in that moment. Their adrenaline is still pumping far too fast to be able to think or communicate rationally. It usually takes them time to process, to really see and give voice to their feelings.  To expect a victim to be clear, concise and straightforward in the immediate aftermath of abuse is unrealistic. 

Often, the victim can’t let on to the pain they are feeling in front of the abuser because that puts them at risk of being hurt more. Instead they stuff and shut down.  Victim’s learn to shut down their emotions, to not give tells on their face as to their pain. They anesthetize themselves by cutting off their ability to feel deeply.. Because they know if they do give a “tell” the abuse will be greater. Sadly, this doesn’t stop the abuser… In fact, abusers may needle and incite the victim to “try to get a rise or response out of them”. Let me say that again, Abusers want a reaction, they want to know they can control the victim, they want to see pain on the victim’s face. They may even admit to a certain level of abuse as an attempt to incite the victim to a response. (As me how I know…)

But, the victim has learned that hiding the pain is less risky than allowing the abuser to see it. AND the victim has learned that hiding their pain is their ONLY way of controlling the situation, so, the victim falls apart when they are away from the abuser and they feel safe. 

I have found that here is one true safe place. Messiah said, “Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew ‭11:28-29‬ ‭CJB‬‬

He is faithful, and true, to walk with us through these valleys, to heal our hearts and to restore to us the years that have been destroyed by abuse. He often uses others to support us on the journey.

This woman – My biggest support! My momma!
Photo by: Appalachian Wedding Photography

For those who are supporting Victims:

Beware – at some point the abuser will likely turn on you. You may be accused of any number of things. You’ll have to know that you are making the decisions you are making to support the victim with full knowledge and the willingness to stand by your decisions. So, be sure you know what you are standing on.

Having a rational conversation with the abuser isn’t going to be likely because they don’t see themselves as abusive. So their expectations of the victim, of you, of others are for “healthy relationships” yet, because they are abusive, they are unable to have healthy relationships. Their arguments will sound rational and reasonable … UNTIL you remember that they are, in fact abusers – which makes their expectations entirely unrealistic.

They may attempt to butter you up, woo you, share their sob stories or convince you of “their side of the story”, painting the victim with ugly stripes. If you are unsure, then certainly, listen to their side. Listen to the victim’s side. Ask both of them hard questions. Both while listening, and in going back to the other person to fully understand the situation if the stories are vastly different. Take time to observe the parties in question. Ask yourself if the abuser has always told “this story” or if last year they were singing the victim’s praises or begging the victim to come back.

Abusers tend to cycle through their periphery victims. So one moment one “periphery” person is the victim, next week it will be someone else, and last month’s victim is now to be chummed up to as if nothing happened the month before. Watch for those types of patterns.

Additionally, An abuser will rarely take responsibility for their actions or the consequences of their decisions, so let constant blaming of others for the losses of relationships be a clear “tell”. Ask those who have been eye witness to prior periods of the relationship to summarize their observations. Talk to those who have stepped out of relationships with the abusers.. Don’t expect perfection out of either party, but look for patterns. They’ll show up….

Once you are sure of your position, stand on it. Don’t waver. Be the support the victim needs. If you haven’t made a decision, or feel torn – don’t offer support you can’t follow through on.

So What does Support look like?

When safety is provided by others for the victim, it isn’t ‘Molly coddling’ despite the abuser’s accusations. It also isn’t manipulation. It is merely allowing the victims feelings and hurt to be fully expressed, and to be regarded as valid in the face of the emotional, verbal and physiological, or even physical, sexual or financial abuse they have endured.

Those who support the victims need only to ask the victims what happened, what they are thinking, and how they feel, and then reflect back that their feelings and hurt is valid. It’s okay for them to say, “I’m angry with you.” “I hurt for you.” “This makes my heart hurt.” Or “This makes me angry for you.” – because that validates the victim’s sense of anger – but don’t overstate your own emotions to the victim. Simple statements, where they feel cared for, validated and heard are best. Don’t make them feel like they have to take care of or protect you or themselves from your emotional response – so hold your anger till you can express it away from the victim. Believe me, it’s possible.. I’ve done it. I don’t vent to victims, If I vent, I vent to my support system.

Support people may need to call the abuse what it is… I know I needed the words – even as an adult….
There’s no need for lectures. It can and should be a short, simple, declarative statement:
“Calling someone names (such as idiot, stupid, quitter, coward) or cursing them (“Don’t give me that $hi%, asking if they are F’ing stupid) is verbal abuse. I understand why you feel hurt.”
“Taking sex by force, even in marriage, is rape. That’s not love, it’s sexual abuse. You have permission to be hurt and angry.”
“Punching or shoving in anger is physical abuse. That’s inappropriate behavior and not okay.”
“Discipline of children doesn’t include a balled up fist, regardless of the child’s age. That’s abuse. You have a valid reason to be angry.”
“Suggesting that you are damned to hell for ending the abuse cycle is spiritual abuse. It’s okay to be upset by those words.”
“Expecting you to read their minds and receiving their anger when you don’t is manipulation. It’s a form of psychological abuse, and is unrealistic. We all think differently, and you have a great brain.”
Etc, Etc….

Those supporting the victim don’t have to, and shouldn’t, berate the abuser to the victim, because the victim is caught and at some level loves the abuser and will feel defensive if their support person disparages the abuser. Disparaging the abuser will only push the victim away from you as a support person. Again, don’t make the victim feel like they need to protect you or themselves from your responses toward the abuser.

Instead, validate feelings, share simple facts. Send the victim to resources that will confirm that their experience is abuse. Encourage them to find and maintain a good counselor. The saying that knowledge is power is deeply applicable here… Because…. If the victim has knowledge of what abuse is, and has seen the abuse cycle, they will eventually recognize it. The abuser, given enough time, will prove to the victim that they can’t be trusted and are, in fact abusers. They will proverbially hang themselves. Over and over again..

I know… sometimes the abuse is so great that a support person may fear for the victim’s life, and rightly so. Early on, I had a dear friend tell me the truth of her experience. She was clear that abuse always escalates over time, never gets less. She shared a story of a friend of hers who had been threatened with physical violence. Then the abuser began to hit. When the victim finally left the relationship, the abuser stalked her and attempted to kill her – she lived, but had to have surgery to reconstruct the cut across her throat. My friend was very clear that threats often turn into more. I needed to know that. There may be other more educated advice out there for the support people of victims who are truly at risk for their lives.. If someone you are giving support to is in that place, please do some research.

Sadly, regardless of the potential for harm, the victim isn’t going to leave until they are ready. They have to acknowledge and see the abuse for what it is. They have to come to a place that they are done – “stick a fork in me” done. They have to be willing to leave, for good. They have to be tired of the abuse, ready to take whatever consequences come from walking away, and clear within themselves that they are making the decision for themselves. Honestly, there’s no manipulating or controlling the victim into leaving and you wouldn’t be a good, healthy support if you tried.
They have a deep loyalty to the abuser. If they didn’t they would have left long ago. Whether it’s marriage, some unspoken or spoken contract between them, or the abuser is a parent – the net truth is the same – the victim stays because of their loyalty and they won’t leave until their trust has been so broken that the only choice they have to retain any sense of selfhood is to leave.
Let that sink in. The Victim will NOT leave until they are ready to leave. Even then, the pressure that the abuser puts on the victim may hook their hearts again, and they may return…. For a while, or for good.

So, what does that mean for you, the support and friend of the victim who is still in the abuse? It means offer support. Offer love. Offer truth. Offer support at a distance if they stay.. Meaning, don’t become so enmeshed in the victim’s life that you become a victim also. Tell them you love them regardless. Stay present. Don’t always bring the abuse up. Be a listening ear. Listen without judgement. Reflect back what you are hearing. Offer friendship and times away that aren’t at all focused on the abuse. Take a girls night out. Go shopping. Take them and their littles for a hike. My family did that for me. I knew, when the time came, that they had my back, and I had their support. They had waited, patiently, until I was ready. I know that took an immense amount of self control and surrender on their parts as they watched me “disappear”, as they observed my pain, but they gave me the room I needed to make my choices to stay, and the support I needed when I was ready to leave.

My dad. – who opened his home, and gave us a place of safety.
Photo Credit: Appalachian Wedding Photogrpahy

It also means – give permission. Give permission to the victim to be angry. To be hurt. To cry. To wail. To vent. To get help. To find a counselor. To say hard things. To hold boundaries. AND most importantly, give them permission to leave. Don’t tell them to leave… That’s different. I heard, more than once, “You need to leave his sorry ass.” But that wasn’t helpful. I needed permission, not advice. Give them permission to leave, to be done. They have to make the choice on their own, and they need to know that you will support their choice.

When I left one of the kindest things said to me was, “Misty, We will help you. We have a space for you. If you are ready, I’ll come down with my trailer and load you up. You tell me when.” I didn’t take up that particular offer as I had other offers as well…. But, their permission to leave, and their offer of help to leave, from that particular family, validated my experience because they had seen it up close and personal and based on typical loyalties should have been begging me to stay. I needed their permission.

I once saw a child who had been given the permission by professionals around them, to hold boundaries with their abuser. I’ve never, in my life, seen a child run and play as freely and largely as that child played that day! I swear if they’d had wings, they would have flown! As it was, they climbed higher, spun faster, ran more swiftly, skipped more exuberantly than I’ve ever seen that child, or any child play. I will never forget that day.
Give the victim permission to have and hold boundaries. That’s often all they need.

Lastly – speak life! Speak to the victim’s value. Speak to the Love of God for them! Compliment their character, their creativity, their passions. Victims have usually been repeatedly told and therefore internalized some massive lies about their worth, value and belovedness. The effects of this verbal and emotional abuse was recently described as a “weighted blanket of negative words” that holds the victim down. It feels all warm and cozy because that’s all the victim knows, but their psyche is dying, they are likely depressed, and may even be suicidal. Your words of life are antidote. They help lift the blanket off. Speak life!

To those who are in the middle of the abuse cycle:

I’ll say this – I don’t regret my decisions to stay, because I know Father asked me to for a season (that’s another story for another time). However, I don’t recommend staying – it’s hard as hell and I promise you, there are hard consequences that get harder with every day you stay…
But you have to be ready. You have to know you did EVERYTHING you could to make it work, because in the end of the day, You are the one who has to live with your decisions.

I also don’t regret my decision to walk away from abuse. Not one bit. It was the best decision I could have made, for me, and for my children. The second best decision I made was to get a counselor – one for me, one for the boys who was specifically their counselor. Their counselor has been hugely helpful to me as I’ve navigated parenting alone. He’s given them tools. He’s given them a voice. Lastly, He’s given them permission in ways I could not.
My counselor helped me deal with the trauma. A good trauma therapist, well versed in EMDR is worth their weight in gold in my opinion.

If you are thinking of walking away from the abuse, please start keeping records. I mean it. Document, document, document. Do as much of the communication as possible via written word (expect massive pushback from the abuser), or record verbal conversations (do know there are legal considerations here and recordings may not hold up in court, but they will help you keep track of what happened.) Take pictures. Capture screenshots. Keep emails. If you’ve just walked away, it’s not too late to start, in fact, now is the perfect time. Document!!
Why? Because you will amass a body of irrefutable documentation to stand on. You have to know that You can live with your decisions. Having hard, irrefutable data will give you that confidence.

We tend to put the abuse out of our minds. We tend to try to forget. If you document you will begin to see patterns more clearly. You won’t be going on memory. You won’t be going on feelings. You’ll have hard evidence in front of you. You won’t have to convince other’s of your decisions. You won’t have to defend yourself. If you feel like others have a place in your life to question your decisions, you can lay out the evidence and let them see it clearly. But please know that you own them no explanation. Lastly, you’ll have the evidence you may need in court.

Lastly – years ago, I wrote the following words, “I believe in marriage. I want marriage. But this isn’t loving. This isn’t life. This isn’t it.” Victims often feel that life is always going to be in the valley. They often feel like they aren’t fully living.

But this isn’t life.
Life is truly good. Outside of abuse, with some healing behind you? Life is good! There’s a lot of beauty in life! Have hope!

Sure, when a victim leaves the abusive relationship, there’s some years of hard. There’s years of heartache, of grieving, of facing the losses. Give yourself time to be in that valley, to make mistakes, to heal, to grow, to make decisions that are only yours to make, that may not be supported by others, but are part of your healing process. Don’t jump into another relationship. Become YOU. Heal! If you are in relationships, let them grow you, but don’t let them hold you down. Be in the valley. Embrace it. I promise – the valley won’t last forever. There are mountain top experiences ahead of you! Life is beautiful! But you won’t fully appreciate the mountaintop if you don’t allow yourself to experience the valley. So, do the valley until one day you realize that you are steadily walking uphill. Enjoy the journey. Look for beauty daily. And know that you are loved, deeply, by your Creator!

A little bit of beauty.
Photo by Appalachian Wedding Photography

Misty – Untethered…

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Untethered.. Free to roam. To relish. To live. To be.

Last year, in the middle of the pandemic, in the middle of the election year, in the middle of racial divides, political arguments, illness, and substantial loss, I created a page on IG and FB….

I take a lot of pictures… images of daily beauty usually, and I wanted a place to share that beauty somewhere other than my personal page. I felt like there wasn’t much I could offer to the world at war with itself. I didn’t have words to offer, or wisdom… I just kept seeing that despite the chaos and loss, there was still daily beauty. So, I offered that beauty…. I sought sunsets and sunrises to share. It’s the thing I felt like I could give to make life in the fall of 2020 a little more bareable….

So Misty_Untethered was born.
I described it this way: “Unfiltered photography by Misty of the Beauty around us, Joy in the journey, Adventures around every corner. Real life. Be present. Praise Our Creator Yehovah!”

I chose the word Untethered because I wanted to convey a sense of freedom. It was also deeply tied to the words Unedited and Unfiltered….

So many images shared online these days are filtered, deeply edited, changed, enhanced, etc. Daily life, landscapes, people – edited, filtered …. I get it… more saturation, a little less shadow here, a deeper hue there…. phone cameras don’t always capture the colors as we see them in person… But.. What happens when we edit the real out of life? What happens when we edit out the wrinkles, the dark spots, the blemishes? What happens when every image we create is “perfection”?
Does that take away our enjoyment of real life? Does that teach our psyche’s that beyond perfection is acceptable and anything less than perfection is not acceptable?
On the other hand, if we refrain from editing, can we enjoy the mishaps, the places of imperfection? Can we laugh at our own farts? Can we feel the ache of loss, and the joy of love more deeply if we refrain from editing?

I’ve been a writer a very long time…. I’ve been a teller of the story even longer. My husband, the first day we really started talking, noticed. He saw my gift in writing. He asked when I was going to write a book…. I’ve been asked that a lot. He wasn’t the first, nor the last. I don’t have an answer yet. I’ve not got a “subject” in hand. But, I want to show up. I want to write. I want to reclaim parts of my writing that have frankly been stolen over the years. Maybe, if you’ve followed my blog long, you noticed that I stopped writing in about 2013…. I took some hits about sharing my story, about being the teller of the story. So I pulled back… and I’ve not been ready to step back into writing except here and there, in online conversations. It’s time to reclaim that part of me. It’s time to heal those wounds. It’s time to write again….

Today, As I was thinking about “what would I write about?” I start at what I know… Life. My life. I wonder – what of my life do I share? What do I edit out? and suddenly, I’m back at Misty_Untethered.

I don’t edit out. I don’t hide the wrinkles and the scars. I write what is real, my truth. I choose not to be tied down, constrained. I choose to live, to be, to tell my story as it’s been. I get it… I may be judged. I am already. I’ve long believed that if I’m to be judged, it may as well be based on my full testimony, and not on the gossip and opinions without facts. So, I will choose to be real.

There’s a couple of memes I’ve seen floating around the last couple years.

You paid for the words… Say them. It’s time….
They should have behaved better..

I’ve long known that I can’t write about a situation until I’m “through it”.. I have to be on the other side of an ordeal, or a blessing, before I can fully process enough to “write it down big”….
When I’m ready, my brain literally starts creating an outline, a beginning, the body, the finale… It just happens in my head.
So, some things don’t get written, nor fully said, till I have words. Sometimes that takes days, weeks, or even years. BUT.. when I have words, when I’m ready to tell, rarely do I edit my words to be accepted by society. Rarely do I hold back. Certainly, I try to choose grace, loving kindness, honor.. but I don’t withhold..
I remember a few times when, in telling, I got the shock that comes with hearing real, unedited story.
My grandpa once told me, “Misty, How did you even tell that? I’d be so embarrassed to tell that story!”
When at my eldest son’s baby dedication I spoke in church, of sex being an act of worship to God, (Shocked faces) I heard about it in quiet whispers for some years later. I was the one willing to mention sex in church. LOL.
Yeah.. that’s me..

Unfiltered. Unedited. Untethered….

I don’t know that I’ll write my story, or if I do how much, or which bits…. I do know that there’s a lot of tying up loose ends happening for me right now. What that means is, there’s a lot of story that is finding words.
There’s a lot that I’m finally “through” or that I’m almost through. Some of it I can’t communicate with whitewashed “grace”.. Some of it was putrid, ugly, painful. I shared just one example as gently and gracefully as possible at my wedding celebration. Apparently, it moved a lot of our listeners to tears… Both for the pain of the past, and the joy of the safety I now enjoy. I have a lifetime of such stories…. Do they need to be told?

I haven’t answers to those questions. But I know this. It will be Untethered. It will be honest. It will be full of my heart. I’m committing to writing on a regular, weekly basis. I am a writer. I’m a teller of the story. I’m also an educator, and a counselor. I don’t get paid for those things, they are part of who Abba made me to be. I’m giving myself permission, and encouragement to be fully me.

I still don’t know what my book will be about.. If you’ve gotten this far, and you’ve known me for years, and there’s been a subject I’ve written about that has really touched you, then please give feedback – what do you want to read more of? What captures your attention?

Surrender to God – Raising the white flag? Or Love making at the highest level?

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For many people, the word Surrender is fraught with emotion and meaning. In the military it means raising a white flag. For abuse victims it means letting abuse happen. No one wants that!

So, when faced, in the midst of faith and Scripture, with the admonition to submit or surrender to God, we are often left with repulsion! Never! Would we “raise the white flag”, let abuse happen! And rightly so!

In both cases tho, the surrender demanded is in a framework of “control over” and domination. The act of war is one of exerting power over another country or group of people right? And certainly, most abusers don’t do so just because of the purely physical feeling… they do so because the power over another gives them a very sick joy. It’s always about dominion over another person…..

But God… But Abba isn’t about power over. Messiah isn’t about control. He gives us the right to choose, in all things. Choice and Surrender go hand in hand.

In His love for us he has given us free will choice. Period. Full stop.
Let that sink in.

Let it be personal.
Our Creator, Lord and Redeemer is NOT every going to exert “power over” you. He’s never going to demand and then force you to do something you don’t want to do. He’s never going to drag you kicking and screaming. He’s never going to annihilate your defenses as an act of war. NEVER. He gives EVERY person the free will choice and he doesn’t take that free will choice away… You have the right to choose. You have the right to your own person. You have the right to own your choices and the consequences of them.

Bottom line – God – Abba – Father – Yehovah – Jesus – The Spirit – Yeshua – The Ruach… THEY WILL NOT FORCE YOU. There is no power over, there is no dominion. There is only free will choice.

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So, why would we choose to surrender to Him?

Because. Love.

There’s a really simple math equation in Scripture:

God is Love – 1 John 4:8

Love is… – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Therefore it follows that

God is patient, towards you (——-insert your name here——).
Father is kind to you.
Our Creator does not envy,
He will not boast, (Nor gloat about His Power over you )
He is not proud.
Abba does not dishonor others – He will not be rude nor selfish in how He treats you personally. He is not self-seeking, He seeks your best good first.
Yehovah is not easily angered, and especially not towards you!
Almighty God keeps no record of wrongs. (Read that again.. Read it a hundred times… let it sink in… God keeps no record of wrongs.)
God who is Love, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Father God always protects,
He always trusts – your heart towards him.
He always hopes – the very best for you.
He always perseveres. He endures. He always loves you, regardless of your choices.
Love – God, He never fails. Father will NEVER fail you.

Truly, this is the simple equation of Scripture. God is Love – Love is defined in 1 Cor 13 very succinctly. Therefore God embodies 1 Cor 13 in his thoughts, actions and deeds toward us, His precious creation.

If this isn’t an equation you’ve deeply settled into, that has transformed your thinking of who Abba is and who you are in relationship to Him, I encourage you to meditate on this equation and deeply settle into it. Take the next month to write these verses daily. Write them as Love is… Write them as God is… Write them as God’s heart and actions towards you, personally! Put your name in there! …. Let the words sink deep into your soul and psyche.

You can not even begin to surrender if in any way you believe that Abba is about control and power over. It isn’t until your heart understands completely that Abba is LOVE, and LOVE is the opposite of control, that you will be open to surrender…

I was recently asked about my thoughts on surrender. But I can’t even discuss surrender until the above framework is laid. Surrender to God is NOT surrendering to a “Power over/Dominion”… it is surrendering to a Being who is the very essence of Love.

I took 1 Cor 13 into my being in my junior year of high school. I was practicing calligraphy at the time and wrote it many times over in that process. It changed the way I saw God, and myself. It’s the framework for my surrender.

Love is…

I know I’m loved. I know I’m in a relationship with a very loving God. I know he wants the best for me. I know he doesn’t rejoice in my downfall or in evil which I may participate in. I know he won’t ever stop loving me.

A relationship of love gives us the freedom to feel safe and not feel like we have to have our defenses up against being hurt. We can trust that He won’t hurt us. And in that relationship we can surrender….

Let’s look at this in the most intimate setting possible within human relationships for a better understanding of surrender in the midst of love..

My beloved and I – We are married.
We make love. When we make love, we stay present in the moment. We don’t worry for tomorrow. We don’t think over our to do lists. We don’t fear that we will be harmed in the process of making love… because we have developed a relationship of love and kindness – right?
So, in the act of love making, we surrender one to another. He surrenders to me… I surrender to him. I don’t control how he orgasms, or when, nor do I control myself in how or when I orgasm… I stay in the moment, I stay surrendered to being loved, fully and completely. I stay surrendered to loving him, fully and completely… and in that surrender, in that mutual loving – release, beauty, and orgasmic love follow..
We become truly one. We lay entwined, breathless, and one flesh.

This… THIS is surrender to Father.
He wants just as intimate a relationship with us, on the level of the Spirit. Surrender is merely an act of love, of love making, to our Redeemer who is Love.

So, for instance… My Beloved says to me, “Sweetheart, I’d like you to set aside this specific day to take time away from the world and spend it with me. I’d like to have an early breakfast, go hiking someplace spectacular and then come home and make love.”

I don’t whine and tell him another day is better. I don’t fuss about what he’s going to make me for breakfast. I don’t show up for a hike wearing heels… I submit/surrender to his wishes and get up early with him, delight in the meal he prepares, put on my hiking boots (and a lacy pair of undies beneath my jeans) and off we go… During the day we flirt and caress and when we get home we make love.

Flirting with my love…

In the same way, for me, when Abba says, “Hey Misty, I’d like you to take this day and rest. Take a day away from the world, come commune with me, spend time, go out in nature and enjoy what I’ve created for you, let’s have fun, and flirt and caress and enjoy our union – You in me, I in you.”

When he says that, I say, “Great! Let’s do it.” I don’t wine and moan, I don’t argue, I walk in obedience… WILLINGLY. I choose to be in this relationship. I choose to trust him…

So…. Surrender is as simple as Talking to God, Choosing to Trust Him to work it out, Choosing to walk in peace.

It’s born out of a place of Love. Abundant, never ending, Love.

That said.. there are times He asks hard things of us. He may even strip us of our security measures… We may feel like we have nothing safe to hold onto, like we are on a precipice, can’t see and have no guardrails (I hit that place a few years ago)…
But, I had the Rock beneath me, and I just needed to sit down. 😉

Anything He asks from us, hard as it may be, is always for our good. It’s always for our healing. It’s always for our hearts to be more healed, more full, more blessed. Yeshua (Jesus) said he came to heal our wounds, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to give us Abundant Life! So when he asks us to give something up, or asks us to face hard things, etc… The end goal is healing, liberty, Abundant Life.

We’ve been taught, by the church, that Hell is a place to be feared. That fire is bad. That being consumed is awful…

But God…

But Father is “an all consuming fire”.
But our enemy, before he was cast down, “was on the holy mountain of God, walking back and forth amongst stones of fire.” (Ezekiel 28:14)
But David asked, in the Psalms, “Who may walk on your Holy Hill? And answered – He who has clean hands and a pure heart”
But Father says He will try us as gold, as a refiner deals with silver…

What if the fire of ABBA’s refining is not to be feared? What if it’s how he cleanses us, and consumes all the pain, selfishness, unloving ways of thinking within us, little by little? What if we are brought so close to Him that we literally walk on HIs Holy Hill, amongst the fiery stones.. without being consumed? What if it’s merely a process of Him giving us a hug, and us being brought closer and closer to the depths of his heart, with our dross and our character flaws being consumed – cleansed a bit at a time, lovingly and without shame? What if we choose this???

And, What if all Hell is deep in the heart of God, where all sin is consumed… and what if when those who are destroyed there are so full of sin, are so full of hatred, control, etc that they literally choose to be no more rather than enter into a loving relationship with God?

Whether that’s what Hell is or not is still to be seen…
What I do know is, he is a refining fire, and his fire has a name. That name is Love. It’s the passion that burns between lovers. It’s the draw to be one’s best self. It’s the thing that we stand in front of, and gently submit to. It’s the Lover that slowly disrobes us, with kisses and caresses, and kindness… and then takes us to the bath or shower to be clean…
That’s what His love does. That’s what his fire does.

And that’s why it’s okay to surrender to stepping into hard things. Because in facing hard things, we are being held more and more closely to the heart of a loving, passionate God. We are being made one with the maker of the world in the most epic act of lovemaking ever seen in the universe. This is surrender.