The Significance of the Swaddling Cloths
There is nothing accidental about anything that happened in Jesus’ life. God becoming man was too important to mess up on even the most minor detail.
You will read that swaddling babies is what mother’s did back then and some today still do to newborns so Mary was simply doing what any mum would do. It makes the child feel safe and cocooned, like in the womb.
That would make sense except the angels tell the shepherds,
“This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 (NASB)
If wrapping in cloths is standard issue for all babies, then the shepherd’s are none the wiser about the identity of the baby. But the sign has two clear components; wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Lying in a manger is definitely an unusual place to lay a newborn and would almost certainly eliminate all other babies but the problem is there are lots of mangers in the area because Bethlehem and its surrounds were heavily shepherded. In which manger would they find the babe?
This is where the baby wrapped in cloths narrows the manger to one place. How so?
The answer lies in two verses written by Micah, 700 years earlier.
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2 (NASB)
The prophet Micah pinpointed the location of his birth: the little town of Bethlehem, where David, king of Israel, was born and grew up tending his father’s sheep in the surrounding fields. This is an often quoted verse and it is very prophetic.
But the clue to the exact location of his birth within Bethlehem lies in the sixth verse preceding Micah 5:2.
“As for you, tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you it will come— Yes, the former dominion will come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah 4:8 (NASB)
Tower, in Hebrew, is the word, “Migdal.” Alfred Edersheim, perhaps the foremost Jewish Biblical scholar ever, in his book, “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” believes, along with other Jewish scholars, that ‘tower of the flock’ refers to Migdal Eder, the place where the lambs set aside for temple sacrifices were raised. The flocks in the surrounding fields were vast, because there was an estimated population of around 5 million people in that area. During Passover, the annual celebration of the Hebrew nation’s deliverance from captivity in Egypt, one lamb was needed for every household. An estimated 250,000 sheep were needed every year to accommodate the Passover sacrifices and feast.
Every firstborn male lamb was considered holy and was set aside for sacrifice in Jerusalem. These newborn lambs would be wrapped tightly… swaddled… in specially designated temple cloths, to keep them from injury, and later they would be examined for blemishes. At the appointed time, the shepherds would take the firstborn males that were without mark or blemish, and lead them to Jerusalem, where they would be purchased by people wanting to present a sacrifice before the Lord to atone for their sins.
That’s how the shepherds knew exactly where Jesus would be found, because swaddling cloths linked with a manger (a feeding trough), could only apply to one particular location, Migdal Eder, the place where sacrificial lambs were wrapped and examined for perfection.
Stunning, isn’t it? This first-born, blemish free babe who would be the final sacrificial lamb was wrapped in the same temple cloths set aside exclusively for sacrificial lambs. What exquisite fine tuning!
Three decades later, the apostle John pointed out his cousin Jesus and said “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
And more than two millennia later, Jesus, the perfect Lamb that was slain, is still taking away the sins of all who accept His sacrifice that makes peace between them and God.
Peter and Heather
P.S. If you haven’t watched “The Chosen” Christmas Special this year, you are missing a real treat. Download “The Chosen” App and watch for free.
In fact, if you haven’t watched Seasons1 or 2, definitely binge worthy over the Christmas season. In our opinion the best dramatization of the Life of Jesus ever!
The Community Inside Our Heads (Part 1)
They say space is the final frontier but it is not. It is the space between your ears.
It is an immense privilege to interact with the dissociative alters of people who fully dissociate when I engage with their alters (or parts). In the case of people who fully dissociate in a counseling situation, the person herself has no idea whatsoever of anything that is transpiring between me (the counsellor0 and the dissociative part that has taken over control of her person.
When the part presents, it can look and act just like the person herself or it could be a male alter that assumes a more masculine presentation, sometimes even a deeper voice. If the alter presentation is a little girl, the alter will often present and talk like a little girl, using child-like vocabulary and mannerisms such as swinging her legs on the chair, twirling her pigtails (even though the client doesn’t have pigtails) and asking distracting, inquisitive questions.
Some clients have had in excess of 20,000 dissociative parts that completely take over the person in a counselling setting. Yes! 20,000! Hard to believe! Each part will have it’s own personality and viewpoint on life that is often quite distinct from the client’s worldview. Take any part and ask it questions about its choice of men, political & religious views, likes and dislikes and it will be quite different from the next part you talk to, and both could be totally unrelated whatsoever to what the client herself prefers.
Note that the client who comes to see me has no idea that she has any dissociative entities in her head whatsoever. She will be typically coming to see me for a variety of other presenting issues such as depression, anger, sleep, marriage, parenting, upbringing etc.
Seriously, it could be you!
In a mother’s womb were two babies.
One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?”
The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”
“Nonsense,” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”
The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”
The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”
The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”
The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery, there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”
“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”
The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”
The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her, this world would not and could not exist.”
Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”
To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”
Sometimes when people’s dissociative parts are removed, the changes can be life-altering. Here is one recent testimony. He is a very intelligent, high functioning individual.
It’s been almost 3 weeks, and I’d like to report substantial improvements!
I have a vast improvement in Lucidity. I have my mind back!! I am astoundingly improved in my mental state and function. Calmer, far, FAR more clear in my thinking, and the biggest thing is I must report is I am not embroiled in an emotional storm all the time! I didn’t realise how tempestuous my mental and emotional state was!! I don’t know how I was living with it. Prior to this latest session, I had such incredible difficulty getting my mind to work clearly, sequentially, and orderly!
My thinking was so noisy, all over the place, disordered and such hard work to get my thoughts into an ordered sequential alignment. It was burning all my energy trying to make my mind work. Absolutely exhausting, and deeply distressing. I can’t tell you how emotionally distressing it has been to fight with my mind like I have. I am so profoundly blown away by the magnitude of the calm, peace, and stability I now experience. My emotional state has also vastly, vastly settled. I was an emotional hot mess, and I didn’t realise to just what degree I was!
I keep wanting to exclaim to everyone around me “I have my mind back!! I have my mind BACK!!” Thankyou Jesus! And thank you Peter, for persisting and serving Him so faithfully! I am free! FREE! FREE AT LAST!!
The second major area I’ve noticed is a profound and settled grounded feeling. I feel physically present in myself. I had no idea how much of a struggle I was in, to feel physically settled, grounded, and present. I feel connected to my body and my heart in a way I never have before. I feel like I’m one person at last! I FEEL like I’m ONE. Once again, I never knew I was so disconnected and so turbulent until now, that I have settled! This is huge – huge – and I’m so grateful.
‘CONVERSION THERAPY’ BILL
The NZ Government is considering passing a bill that will ban ‘conversion’ therapy. In essence not allowing any form of prayer or spiritual intervention in treating people with gender issues.
In a shocking display of disrespect towards the democratic process, the Labour MPs on the select committee considering the ‘conversion therapy’ bill have gone against normal protocol regarding public submissions (usually 6 weeks – at least!) and have set a deadline date of less than four weeks. Now, at the time of this publication, less than two weeks.
But this bill has the potential to significantly affect the faith community – in terms of pastoral care, prayer, and what you can teach.
* Under the proposed ban, it could be illegal for a counsellor, spiritual leader, pastor, youth worker, teacher or other professional to counsel a child or adult with gender dysphoria in a way that affirms biology. They could be liable to up to five years imprisonment.
* If a young person, for example, wanted to align their sexuality with the teachings and values of their particular faith – be it Muslim or Christian, Jewish or Sikh, etc – and sought help to do so from a minister or faith leader, the proposed law change would make it virtually impossible to access the support they wanted.
* Prayer, as part of counselling or within the setting of a religious meeting, could fall inside the concept of ‘conversion therapy’. This has been acknowledged by theMinistry of Justice: “Conversion practices that take the form of prayer and counselling that are directed towards an individual would be captured.”
* Incredibly, the bill says that “consent” is irrelevant. Apparently, the mantra “my body my choice” doesn’t apply here. The right of self-determination is a founding principle of the mental health profession.
*If society believes a person is not fully informed enough to vote until 18, why does the select committee believe a child under 18 is informed enough to make such a life-impacting, independent decision that is contrary to his/her biological & hormonal predisposition. Voting Labour or National is walk in the park in comparison!
* this law could affect the charitable status of churches
(1) This means a 12 year son/daughter could embark on a therapy programme of hormone blockers without the parents knowing. No parental consent necessary.
(2) The bill is entirely fear based and irrelevant. There have been no persecuted cases ever in NZ or Australia of the spiritual ly abusive conversion tactics this bill is perported to protect the community from.
(3) The irony is that bill itself is in fact an abusive conversion therapy. It denies the free will choice of the person to seek a pathway of their own choosing. Parents are excluded from the process and a hormonal sledgehammer is used to direct the process. This is highly invasive, agenda driven and physically abusive.
(4) This bill is a direct attack on religion, religious values and processes. In essence it says, “Prayer and spiritual intervention is harmful so much so that those participating in such practices should be jailed.” If this becomes law, it is a very short step to banning prayer for all physical and mental ailments. My counselling practice would cease to lawfully operate.
(5) Genital surgery and hormones are no more than a bandaid attempting to stop an arterial bleed. You can’t change a Ford by putting a Toyota badge at the front. Masculinity and femininity are profoundly rooted in the soul and spirit of a person affecting every aspect their mind, will and emotions. Necessarily then, to be effective any intervention regarding gender dysphora and same sex attraction must address these fundamental components. Far from being a danger to the person, religious intervention within a professional counselling framework is key to complete and deep resolution of these dysfunctions.
If you want to watch a balanced video on this topic: https://youtu.be/8rJlEdY-vIk
It is very simple to make a submission and make a difference.
IF NOT YOU, THEN WHO?
There is a popular misconception that all curses are dealt with automatically at the Cross. This is not the case. Here is a recent testimony that we received from someone who uses the Anazao model.
Hi Heather and Peter,
Knowing that I am learning about dissociation etc one of my sisters in Germany and I have had many conversations and been praying together so when she asked me about a specific prayer about curses I sent her Anazao’s. Here is her (translated) testimony:
After I prayed the “curse prayer” for a specific curse I thought since I don’t always know who has cursed me during my lifetime, why not pray it as a general prayer. I was hoping that God would liberate me from something that I didn’t even know anything about. So I prayed against curses and all the negative things that people have ever spoken and thought about me.
What happened was that I felt some pressure on the left of my upper abdomen leaving. I had never felt pressure in this area before, only when it left I realized that there had been “something”.
Since then the strong sensitivity in this area has gone and it is easier to wear clothes that put pressure on this part of the body like a bra. Before praying it sometimes was really quite painful.
I later read that the spleen is located in this area. The spleen is an important part of the immune system and I am wondering whether I will experience improvement in this area as well.
We have received a number of testimonies from people who have received some of our prayers without knowing much about our counselling model and God has used this to bring immediate healing and changes.
In May we ran a training school in New Zealand. One of the participants had a bad back. It had been causing her considerable pain since a fall where she slipped on a shiny floor in a hotel overseas months before. As the school progressed, the pain increased in intensity to the point that nothing would alleviate it. She was considering leaving the school because she found it hard to concentrate.
Frequently when people have an injury that doesn’t heal, they assume it is linked entirely to the event that appeared to cause the injury. More commonly, the event that triggered the on-going pain is only the tip of the iceberg. It is the point at which the body cries “Enough, I can’t absorb any more pain” and so pain continues to bleed from that point onwards. The reality is that the person is likely to have had other back injuries throughout her life and, because she was younger and more flexible, her body could absorb it. The final injury is simply the point where the body can absorb no more pain.
To bring true healing, we need to identify these other back injury events. There will almost always be remembered historial back injuries that we can work through, in terms of using the Anazao healing model, to heal the spirit and soul components of those events and people will report an alleviation of the pain. Sometimes working through these remembered events completely heals the back and there is no more pain. Frequently, however, there is a partial reduction in pain, not complete removal. That is because there is often dissociative memories that actually holds the greatest amount of pain linked to back injury but the person has absolutely no memory of those event because she dissociated.
I suspected that was the case for the participant so when it came to demonstrating to the students how the Anazao model works regarding accessing dissociative memories, I asked her if she would like to volunteer. She agreed. Over three days of demonstration, each session about 1 hour, we accessed memories related to early childhood back injury that she had no idea about. The most potent being comprehensive sexual abuse when she was under 10. When penetrative sex happens at an early age, lower back pain is a common side effect. In addition, the external physical position the child is in when the abuse happens often aggravates the internal lower back discomfort. It is so important for the person to experience the physical pain of the event, right here and now as she is reliving the event, even though it is years after the abuse happened. The reason is that the body has all this energy still ‘corked’ in the muscles. Of course, she found Jesus in the midst of the trauma, bringing his peace and calm. She doesn’t have to experience all the pain. Just a fraction. Jesus takes care of the rest,
After the first demonstration, her back pain was significantly less. After the second session hardly any pain left and after the dissociative parts, which can often be a factor in holding residual pain were removed in the third session, there was no pain at all and her attitude progressively became more buoyant throughout these three days.
Dissociation is definitely the forgotten factor in healing. To read more about dissociation, purchase our book, “Dissociation: The Forgotten Factor in Healing” and “God wants to heal so why doesn’t he?”
Dissociation and Fears & Phobias Part 3
[Read Dissociation and Phobia part 1 & 2 first. These are the blog entries for March & April]
Sometimes, only a single phrase is necessary.
We were at a theme park at the height of the holiday season and there were long queues for the rides as expected. It was about a 20 minute wait for this particular ride. One of the children who were with us was progressively getting more and more unsettled and expressing doubts about whether he could cope with the ride. It wasn’t a matter of size or age. Both Heather and I reassured him but any relief was only temporary. As we were nearing our turn to board the ride, he decided that he didn’t want to go. I suspected that his fears were part-based, but because we were so crowded and he was 12 yrs old and highly self-conscious, it was not appropriate to address the parts in the manner illustrated above. I was standing directly behind him, and I asked the Lord for the name of the principal part that was causing the fearful response. The thought “Lucas” came to mind. This was not the boy’s name. I bent over and whispered into his ear, “Lucas, you will desist.” Immediately he turned around, looked puzzled and said, “What did you say?” I said, “Nothing worth repeating.” He was okay with that reply and boarded the ride without any objection, declaring afterwards what a great ride it was.
There have been other instances where I have been swimming at the beach, in the surf with people who have begun to panic and settled them done by talking to their dissociative parts.
The interesting observation that readers have probably made is that in the instance of the scuba woman and the seaplane man, neither were Christians. The parts were settled because parts in anyone, independent of their belief system, will generally respond well to anyone who speaks softly and makes direct eye contact. However, while the parts have settled for the moment, there is no guarantee that they won’t flair up in the future and resume their roles.
It is only possible to remove them so that they never interfere again if you are a Christian. Only Jesus can do that.
It’s a benefit of belonging to the club. The only club where the owner has already paid your admission fee. All you have to do is ask to join!
To understand more about dissociation, purchase our book or e book “Dissociation: The Forgotten Factor in Healing”
Dissociation and Fears & Phobias Part 2
Heather and I were sitting in a small seaplane in Anchorage Alaska waiting to take off. We were flying to a remote mountain lake an hour inland to observe and track wild grizzly bears. We were waiting for the third passenger before taking off. He boarded, we introduced ourselves, talked about how excited we were to be seeing grizzlies in the wild.
The pilot was doing his final checks and Rick became increasingly agitated. “I am sorry I can’t do this” he said, “l’m going to have to leave the plane and cancel.” We were both surprised because he seemed very outgoing and self assured; a highflying lawyer from Seattle. This was a bucket list trip for us and if he cancelled, the cost of the flight would’ve been prohibitive to us without his contribution.
I asked him why he felt agitated and he said he wasn’t sure because he had flown a lot but was feeling sick and his skin was clammy. I asked him whether it had anything to do with being in a small plane and a confined space because his agitation increased once the side door was closed. He said he wasn’t sure but it could be. I told him we were counsellors and that if he would give me a minute I might be able to settle the agitation. He agreed.
Asking him to maintain relaxed eye contact with me, I said “I’m talking to all the parts of Rick‘s mind that really don’t like the idea of being confined in such a small space for such a long time. Something happened in the past when Rick was little and he was trapped in a small space and it overwhelmed him and you came out to carry him during this trauma. Rick appreciates all that you have done to protect him from a similar situation but he is no longer in that place any more and he would like you all to settle down.” I asked Rick to speak out loud to his parts, thanking them for helping him but that he would really like them to relax and let him enjoy the flight. He did that.
The agitation disappeared immediately, the colour came back to his face and there wasn’t a problem from that point on in any of the takeoffs and landings. And we saved ourselves a lot of dough and had an awesome grizzly encounter!
Many panic attacks, like the one above, are fundamentally driven by dissociative parts of our minds, frequently formed in childhood when circumstances overwhelm us. Dissociative parts can have a powerful influence over our physiology and psychology and they can exercise this influence very rapidly if they deem it necessary. In the midst of such an attack everything can feel quite overwhelming and the need to escape these feelings becomes our only tunnel visioned focus.
Part 3 next month.
Dissociation and Fears & Phobias Part 1
I’ve just completed an open water scuba course. A required skill to master is to have your mask fill completely with water and clear it while still underwater. Another was to take your mask off, swim a distance without it and put it back on and clear it, again all underwater. A fellow student attending the course found these particular exercises really confronting. She explained she has a near drowning experience as a young child and since then has never been able to put her face directly underwater. She coped okay when she had a mask on.
We were in a swimming pool, less than a meter underwater and when it came to her turn, she was really struggling. The instructor was very experienced and patient but could see that this would take some time, and since these were the last two skills for the session, and the rest of us had completed them, he excused us from the pool while he continued to work with her. Some time later she came back and had completed them but it was clear she was stressed.
As we completed the theory requirements, we were told that tomorrow or the next day, in open water in the sea, we could have to do the same exercises again, this time under 6 meters (18 ft) of water. She was definitely fearful about doing it all again, and with no easy escape route to the surface, she wondered whether she should continue with the course.
The next morning, before we went out to the dive, I took an opportunity when she was on her own and said, “Tiffany,
I specialise in trauma resolution. There are parts of your mind that were formed during your early childhood near drowning experience. They still function for you. Would you like me to help you reduce the fear of water against your face? It will only take literally a minute or less…” I paused, “..but it will require you to maintain direct eye contact with me during this time.…and no, this is not hypnotism.” She was 20 something and I braced myself for a post #MeTo response such as “Don’t hit on me you old fossil” but she immediately said, “Yes!” with a sigh of relief.
In a soft gentle voice I said, “I’m talking to all the parts of Tiffany’s mind that were formed when she nearly drowned. You have done a really good job in protecting Tiffany from ever being in that situation again by making her extremely fearful when water is directly against her face. Well done! She is no longer that little girl anymore and she now has the skills to cope with water against her face and a desire to really enjoy water. So you don’t need to do that anymore.” Internally, I asked the Holy Spirit for the name of a key part, and he put the name ‘Francois’ into my mind. I said, “Francois, Tiffany will be okay now, you can desist.” Her pupils dilated noticeable for an instant when I said his name. That was it. She looked more relaxed and said, “Thank you!”
She completed the exercises methodically and calmly, without any panic whatsoever. She gave me the thumbs up when she surfaced.
Similar scenarios have happened in non-counselling situations. I’ll share some more in part 2. A minute or two is all it has taken, sometimes as little as two seconds. Once you understand the highly influential role alters can play in our lives, particularly fears and phobias, and how easy it is to disarm them, you have a powerful tool in your toolkit.
Long summer holidays; sun, sand, sea, surf, snorkelling, scuba, sailing and plenty of time to catch up on reading. As some of you know I have taken a keen interest in the Evolution/Creation debate, the astrophysics related to the origin of the universe, the laws of reason and logic and the exclusive truth of Christianity. Over the years I’ve probably read 30 to 50 books on these topics. Yeah, I know, for some of you this is as exciting as yesterday’s cold porridge! I have often thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if someone could write a book that combines all the important points of these four topics into one easy-to-read book for the average non-science person.”
I never thought I would see the day. I. have. hit. the. motherlode.
“I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek is, in my opinion, the single book to replace 15 books in my library. It is brilliant. Giesler and Turek start with the premise, “Is truth knowable” and using the laws of logic, in particular the ‘Law of non-Contradiction’ they progressively look at Astrophysics, the origin of the universe and the increasing complexity associated with this event and the subsequent unfolding universe, and from the macro, they focus on the micro – the complexity of a single cell and constantly ask the question, “Does it take more faith to be a believer in a Creator or to be an Atheist?”
The key feature of the book that has me waxing lyrical is that it so gently takes the reader from one conclusion to the next without the reader realising that Geisler and Turek has simplified quite complex concepts into a manner that anyone can grasp. That is the sign of a really good teacher. The logic and scientific facts develop from gentle taps to a giant sledgehammer that lead the reader to the inescapable conclusion that atheism is thoroughly bankrupt as a belief system. There is never a sense that the Bible says so. The compounding truth and logic of the science and reason points squarely to Christianity, not Islam, Buddhism or any other ‘…ism,’ as the only viable conclusion.
You could honestly give this book to any atheist or non-Christian and challenge them to present a logical argument that contradicts the conclusions of the book.
The book has been out for a while. Shame I didn’t discover it sooner. There is a work book that goes with the book that is designed to train the reader to become more expert in defending truth. It would be great if all Church home groups, in fact all Christian schools and even secular schools, made reading the book and working through the workbook mandatory.
Seriously, it is that good.