Our Protection: He Shall Passover

 

That night, tradition has it that as the destroyer passed through the land of Egypt, when he came to a home and saw the blood upon the lintel and doorpost, he would pass over the home. This is where the name for this feast, Passover, is believed to have originated, the passing over of the Jewish homes by the destroying angel.  

In fact the whole thing make sense. It is not the Lord who passes over. He is standing strong with the believer protecting him from judgment.
 
 
 
His Sign  of Protection
 

What does the feast of Passover represent? What is the message behind it?

Before the last plague and before the Israelites left Egypt, God told them to take a lamb, to sacrifice it, and to put its blood on the lintel and the two doorposts. It is interesting to see where God asked them to put the blood. If you draw a line joining the lintel with the post on either side of the door, you would have sketched a well-known ancient Jewish sign associated with redemption, one which later became known as a cross. It is the ancient way to write the letter Tav in Hebrew.

Where do we see this sign of redemption in the history of the Bible? Let me bring you to a passage in Ezekiel. Just before Jerusalem was to be destroyed, God gave an important instruction.

“Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.” (Ezekiel 9:4)

And then, whoever had the sign of the Tav on their forehead was saved. The Hebrew word for mark here in Ezekiel is the Tav, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, written in the form of a cross. It reminded the Israelites at the time of Ezekiel of that same sign they were asked to make on their doorposts every year at Passover, both of which protected them from judgment. The letter Tav or the T cross would be impressed on them as the sign of God’s redemptive work.

The rabbis made this connection. Rabbi Ibn Ezra made it and correlated the Passover with the Tav in Ezekiel.

 

Prepare to Meet the Redeemer

Here we see the meaning of this feast. The Passover lamb whose blood was applied in this particular manner, represents the Messiah. As its blood protected the Israelites, so the blood of the Messiah protects us today, only if, of course, we believe in His name. This is what Passover is about – it is about the salvation that we find in Yeshua, in Jesus.

We remember what Isaiah 53:7 says:

 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter.

Isaiah, like John the Baptist and like Paul, understood the connection between the Passover lamb and the Messiah.

The application of the blood was a command they had to do every year.  Another famous medieval rabbi, Nahmanides, said it was “for the purpose of remembering our redemption”. It was not only for that reason; it was also for the purpose of preparing Israel to meet their final redemption in the Messiah who is Yeshua of Nazareth.

This is crucial. This is why the Passover is mentioned some 120 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. The memory of this feast should never leave the Jew for this is where he will find the reason behind the existence of Israel. It is our task to go and proclaim this great news of salvation.

 

God Stands Guard Over Believers

All of these things bring us to consider the meaning of the word pesah. The usual meaning is that of passing over, from where we get our word Passover.

That night, tradition has it that as the destroyer passed through the land of Egypt, when he came to a home and saw the blood upon the lintel and doorpost, he would pass over the home. 

This is where the name for this feast, Passover, is believed to have originated, the passing over of the Jewish homes by the angel of death. 

But the Scriptures itself give us a much deeper meaning with a beautiful illustration. The verb pesahim (plural form of pesah)  is found in 1 Kings 18:21a when Elijah is speaking to Israel who was worshipping both the God of Israel and some idols.

“How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”

The word in our translation “hesitate” is the word pesah. The image we are given here is of an Israelite having one foot on one side and the other on the other side. When it comes to the Lord on the night of Passover, the same image is given, as He is seen standing over the houses of the Israelites, having both feet firmly grounded for the protection of the home.

And so He is standing over the home of everyone who has made Yeshua their personal Savior. This is such a powerful image of how God defends us.

This same verb pesah is also found in Isaiah 31:5 in speaking of God’s protection over Jerusalem.

Like flying birds so the LORD of hosts will protect Jerusalem. He will protect and deliver it; He will pass over and rescue it.

Perhaps a better translation of the last words would be, “He will protect and rescue it.”

Here is a translation given in Mekhilta de Rabbi Ishmael, a Midrash (commentary) from the 3rd century.

Passing over merely means protecting… protecting (pasoaḥ) and rescuing. Isa. 31:5  (Mekhilta Ish,. Tract. Pisha, 7.70)

In fact the whole thing make sense. It is not the Lord who passes over. He is standing strong with the believer protecting him from judgment.

The Lord was protecting the firstborn of every family who applied the blood of the lamb on the lintel and doorposts. This is a beautiful image of how He, the Lord, was going to give His Firstborn for the protection of all who would believe in Him.

Revelation 1:5 is a passage which brings us from the death to the resurrection of the Firstborn.

Yeshua Ha Meshiach, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
 
That is Passover fulfilled.
 
 

^