Before Passover (Pesach) officially ends (read this excerpt from The Complete Jewish Study Bible for a background on this important Jewish holiday), we’d like to share an interesting thought from Meredith G. Kline from his chapter titled “The Feast of Cover-over” in Essential Writings of Meredith G. Kline. In this chapter, Dr. Kline provides a different interpretation of the Hebrew word we usually translate as “Passover”—that is, when the angel of the Lord passed over the houses with blood on their doorframes during the last days of Hebrew captivity in Egypt. Rather than “pass over,” Dr. Kline argues that it means “cover over,” with the idea that God “covered” or “hovered over” them (like the Spirit did over the water “in the beginning”), that it was God himself who protected the Israelites from death.
In the light of our findings concerning the verb pāsaḥ, the picture in Exod 12 is not one of God’s passing over his people but of his coming to them and abiding with them through the dark night of judgment on Egypt. Like a hovering bird spreading its protective wings over its young, the Lord covered the Israelite houses, keeping watch over them. He was their gatekeeper, their guardian against the entrance of the angel of death.
Bringing this concept into the Gospel story of the New Testament, Dr. Kline writes:
At Golgotha, where the true paschal Lamb was slain, the sovereign ordering of God arranged a reproduction of the typological paschal scene of the doorway smeared with the blood of the lamb. This new doorway involved a great redemptive irony. … His proper place was the throne above the ark, above the lintel of that gate of heaven, with the holy cherubim on either side framing the entrance with golden splendor. At Golgotha the cherubim were replaced by two criminals crucified with him, on either side one, the vertical posts of their crosses the sideposts of this new paschal doorframe. And in the center, on the horizontal beam of Jesus’ cross, the lintel of this doorway, was posted his indictment. No epiphany of glory for him here—rather, the epitome of scorn.
Yet even the indictment on the lintel proclaimed in spite of itself the proper majesty of the Lord-lamb: “King of the Jews.” Though the Golgotha entryframe, stained by his blood, was a place of death, a sepulchral entryway, the tomb of the paschal victim was opened. And he came forth as the paschal firstfruits from the dead, the Easter victor, the Lord of life. The paschal door of Calvary proves to be the very gate of heaven.