So in Hebrew class the other day we had a fun little discussion about the word and idea of passover. Now this deals more with the actual event of Passover and not the celebration of Passover. Or in other terms, the verb “to passover” and not the noun Passover.
The verb form of passover shows up only a few times. In Exodus 12:13, 23
The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, so that when I see the blood I will pass over you, and this plague will not fall on you to destroy you when I attack the land of Egypt.
For the Lord will pass through to strike Egypt, and when he sees the blood on the top of the doorframe and the two side posts, then the Lord will pass over the door, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.
When I normally look at this story I think about Prince of Egypt with the cool smoke going through the land of Egypt and striking down all those heathen children, while passing over the houses of the Israelites, sort of excluding the Israelites from anything that is going on. But looking closer I found it interesting that the end of verse 23 has this little inclusion in it: “the LORD will pass over the door, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.” God passes over the door so that the destroyer will not enter. He is passovering, if you will, so that the destroyer doesn’t come in. That seems like an interesting little tidbit. So instead of excluding the doors of the Israelites, God is actively passovering the door.
So in class Dr. Kutz drew us to the other place where pass over is used as a verb in Isaiah 31:5
Like birds hovering overhead, the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”
So passing over isn’t this thing where God just ignores the door, or Jerusalem, but is an active verb, not an excluding thing. It is something he is doing, like being a shield and a deliverer, a rescuer and a passoverer. So in our normal context we thing that during passover the LORD just ignores the doors of the Israelites, but instead with this active verb idea we see that the LORD is standing in the doorway, passovering the door so that the destroyer cannot enter the house of the Israelites. We are not excluded in passover but included and protected by God. And when we see Jesus as the passover lamb, the one who stands before the judge, it is not that Christ’s blood just merely makes God glaze over our sins and exclude us from punishment, but instead we are actively passovered by Christ and His sacrificial blood. Christ stands before the judge and does not permit the judgment we deserve to strike us down. Oh what joy! What amazing power this blood of our saviour!
And to make a little side tangent as well, with my little exegesis I did on Numbers 16, there is this cool little thing with plagues and priests standing in the way, making these plagues pass over the people. The priest stands in the way of the plague, much as the LORD stands in the way of the destroyer, and Christ stands in the way of our judgment. It’s everywhere!
Passover is active!