Pesach vs Passover (Part 2)

Let’s finally see how all of this talk of garments, robes, coats, and pas directly connect to the Feast of Pesach.  If you skipped part 1, this article will make far less sense.   Go back and read it.  

The word pesach is first used in Exodus 12:23, “For YHWH will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, YHWH will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.”  The source of the mistranslation of Pesach as “Pass over” occurs in the misunderstanding of this verse.  The underlined phrase above, “pass over” is the word pesach, but the phrase “pass through” in italics, is the crucial Hebrew word abar (Strongs H6446).  Abar (to pass over) will be covered at great length later in part 3 of this word study, but first we need to really understand pesach.

If Moses was our English translator, perhaps he would have written it this way:

Exodus 12:23, “For YHWH will pass over to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, YHWH will separate and protect the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.”

A few verses later, the same thing happens again in Exodus 12:27, where Pesach is first mentioned as the name of a Feast instead of as an action. “That ye shall say, it [is] the sacrifice of YHWH’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.”  Again, the first underlined word “Passover” is Pesach in Hebrew. The second phrase “passed over” is the Hebrew word abar.   In English, both the same words–in Hebrew not even close, 

The Pesach lamb would be better described as the “Protective Sacrifice”.  This word “Pesach” actually refers to both the Lamb (the price paid for protection) and the day itself.  Pesach is used exactly 49 times (7 times 7) in the Old Testament!

Exodus 12:27, “You shall say it is YHWH’s Protective Sacrifice, as he passed over the houses of the children of Israel, when he smote the Egyptians but delivered our houses.”

There is ZERO connection linguistically between the words pesach and abar.  They don’t even share a single letter!  The term pasas already discussed at length, would imply the covering and the elevation of status, while the extra letter, the chet, modifies that idea to include the protection and separation of the elect.  The word Pesach therefore would have been translated into English by Moses, as “YHWH’s Separation, Election, and Protection.”  (I admit, it’s a bit too wordy for the name of a Holiday.)  This is describing the sacrifice, the required payment, the act of REDEMPTION that is required by YHWH.  The Pesach isn’t just killed, it is fully consumed—it goes INTO the one being redeemed.  However, the blood is not consumed–it is put on the doorpost to be seen by YHWH, just as the animal blood on Joseph’s coat was shown to Jacob as proof of death.

Meditate on the deeper and more accurate definition of Pesach in connection to Yeshua. Is he better understood as our “Passover”, or as “YHWH’s Protective Sacrifice”?  Isn’t it easier to link and remember the themes of a night called Pesach with the purpose of Messiah’s death?  Can you better relate to the moment in your own life when you accepted the payment and the covering of YHWH’s Protective Sacrifice?  Does Pesach become more real for us today when we see how timeless the principle is, versus the one-time-specific history tied only to the events in Egypt?  When Israel found themselves in bondage to Pharaoh—it was YHWH who redeemed them by the Blood of The Lamb, and separated, protected, and elected them on Pesach.   He used the same mechanism to redeem us from bondage as well.

When each of us met Messiah, it was his role as YHWH’s Redeemer—our protector, our deliverer, who separated us from our bondage to Satan and to The World. 

Messiah is not our Passover, he is our Pesach!  

Like the Pesach lamb, we fully consume Yeshua.  Using his own very difficult words, we eat his flesh, and instead of the sign being outwardly on the door, we drink his blood to put it on the doorposts of our hearts.  Before we accepted his Pesach (his protective sacrifice) we were naked, guilty and rebellious—like Adam and Eve after the fall.  Before we accepted his Pesach we were like Joseph—in a pit with no hope.  Before we accepted his Pesach, we were like Aaron–not Holy, just another slave.  Once our Father sees our circumcised hearts, sees the blood of His Son’s Pesach on our doorposts, sees his Son’s Ketonet Pas fully covering our sins…we are no longer walking in shame, but we are covered in His righteousness.  We are no longer in a pit, but elevated to royalty.  We are no longer slaves, but are a nation of priests.  We are no longer simply individuals, but the daughters and sons of YHWH.  We are heirs to the promise made to Abraham…that we would be His people and we would inherit The Promised Land.  

Pesach is a day centered on the beginning (and each year, the renewing) of our new identity as Hebrews.

YHWH’s scriptural pattern is electing, dividing, and separating.  He showed this during the creation process, for example, as he separated light and darkness, oceans and sky, water and land, man and woman, and of course the seventh day from the rest of the week. Likewise, the word Pesach is also a word about separation and division.  The first 2 letters, pey and the samech, are the “pas” that harkens back to Joseph’s coat, but the final letter, chet, is an image of a dividing wall.  When we partake in the Pesach, when we put on Messiah, we are also required to separate ourselves from our former identity, and embrace who YHWH says we are.  Our new lives should be as distinct from our past as the seventh day is from the ordinary six.  All of Messiah’s teachings serve to further enhance each concept found in Torah, and the concept of division is no exception. 

Matthew 10:34-39, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” 

This is the heart of Pesach. Messiah commands us to even leave family behind, normally considered the most permanent and sacred relationships, if that part of your past is not consistent with the new creation that comes with the Ketonet Pas.  Of course, Yeshua practiced what he preached.  

Luke 8:19-21, “And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see you.” But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” 

The plagues in Egypt before the original Pesach also played a role in the division and separation of his people.  In the ancient Hebrew, there are two words that first appear during the description the plagues that are only ever used in the context of Pesach: The first one is palah, (Strongs H6395) which means to “sever”.  Exodus 8:22, “I will sever [palah] in that day the land of Goshen in which my people dwell that no swarms of flies shall be there.” The first three plagues affected everybody, but now distinctions are being made between His people and Egypt.  The next plague proves that this is part of a new pattern. The term used there is again is palah,  Exodus 9:4, “And the LORD shall sever [pelah] between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel.” 

The next word is pehdot (Strongs H6304) translated as “division” in Exodus 8:23, “And I will put a division [pehdot] between my people and thy people—tomorrow shall this sign shall be.”  Pehdot is an extremely rare word, and one of several words translated elsewhere as “redeem”.  In ancient Hebrew, the word pehdot is built with a peh, the letter for “edge”, plus dalet, the picture of a “door”, and ends with tav, the letter for “a sign”.  It implies “the sign on the edges of the door.”  The ransom and protection that will occur on Pesach, via the blood of the lamb on the doorpost, is foreshadowed here.  The flies will not enter the houses of Israel as a yet another ‘division’, a pehdot, is made between Egypt and Israel.  The separation and division that occurs on Pesach, a division that is implied by its very name, revolves around a choice of whom you serve.  

Remember that the letter peh (the first letter in pas) is related to not just the lips but also to the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.  Also recall that the letter samech is an image of a thorn.  So, very rarely, Pesach is used as the verb “limp” (like a thorn in our foot).  This illustration is surprisingly found in during the events of Elijah and the priests of Baal, 1 Kings 18:21, “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, ‘How long will you limp between two opinions?  If YHWH be Elohim, follow Him–but if Baal, then follow him.’ And the people answered him not a word.”  The people of Israel are “limping” between two gods and are indecisive about who to serve.  Their spiritual walk has been impaired. The play on words in the two meanings of Pesach are then contrasted in relation to Baal’s priests. 1 Kings 18:26, “And they [Baal’s priests] took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying , O Baal, hear us.  But there was no voice, nor any that answered.  And they leaped upon the altar which was made.”  The word pesach is translated as ‘leaped upon’ (underlined aboved) in many bibles, but would be better translated as “surrounded, protected, and defended”.  The priests of Baal, instead of receiving protection from their false god, were forced to protect and defend Baal and his altar themselves.  Elijah in the next several verses harshly attacks Baal verbally and Baal makes no defense of himself.  

Of course, Elijah is also taunting the Israelites who are ‘limping’ between this false and impotent god and YHWH, the true Elohim of Pesach.  Most of our English bibles therefore contain another massive irony in the way that story is translated.  The word Baal simply means “lord” in Hebrew.  It’s similar to the word god, in the sense of any “higher power”, real or imagined.  Of course, we know the capitalized term “The LORD” is just a traditional Christian way of referring to the True name of God, which would be better transliterated as ‘YHWH’, as I tend to do.  The choice we face on Pesach is similar to the choice of the Israelite’s we just discussed. 

We too have to choose between “the lord” or “The LORD”.   Do we serve a vague and powerless baal of our own making, or the One, the Only, and the very specific YHWH?

We can keep a false god created through our own understanding and convenience, or embrace the transformational power of YHWH.  This 1 Kings 18 story drives the point home that Pesach is about choosing sides and being thereby separated. 

YHWH has extended an offer to all humanity, through the redeeming blood of the Lamb, to join his people, and come under His Ketonet Pas.  The payment has been made, and the garment has been custom tailored.  There are no deeds we can possibly do to earn it, but one action is nevertheless required by us.  We have to make a choice.  We have to decide to put it on, to put on Messiah, and from then on live as a redeemed people.  Our current circumstances are no excuse to ignore the offer of Pesach (if you doubt that, please read the entire chapter of 2 Chronicles 30, YHWH will make a way.)  If your heart is ready to choose to allow Him to set you apart, your Father wants you in His family now, and the Pesach Protection applies to you.  

Exodus 6:6, “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am YHWH, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.” 

Peter 1-18:19 “Knowing that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were redeemed from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, but with the precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot—the blood of Messiah.” 

In conclusion, we can see through the ancient language and the context of its use that Pesach implies “electing, protecting, and separating”.  We remember that we have been elected personally by our Father, YHWH, and an offer is being extended to leave the bondage of our ordinary sinful lives and enter into His Holy nation.  We put on Messiah, or in other words we allow Him to adorn us with his Ketonet Pas, which fully covers our former selves and allows our Father to accept us as His sons and daughters.  As His children, as members of His household, we are protected from destruction. The redemptive blood of Messiah, the Lamb of God, serves as a sign that keeps ‘the destroyer’ out.  Because we are now redeemed, purchased at a high price, we are no longer our own and we do not have the right to live as we once did.  We have accepted the offer on Pesach and now must choose to live set-apart lives as our Father requires.

Part 3 will focus on the word abar, the word correctly translated as “pass over”.

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