Crossing the Threshold at Passover

Crossing the Threshold at Passover

Is Passover just a Jewish thing?  Why would Christians celebrate Passover when we have Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday?  Actually, I think you will be amazed at how intricately the Passion story is woven into Passover. The symbolism is astoundingly beautiful.  In fact, Passover is all about Jesus – He is the Passover Lamb.  Yahweh invites us to join Him for appointed times throughout the year.  The bridegroom has scheduled dates for us to commune with Him but so often we are a no show, primarily because of our naivete.  Christians think the Hebrew feasts are just for the Jews, but let’s see what the Bible has to say.

Threshold Covenant

I think to fully appreciate the beauty of Passover and what Jesus has done for us, we need to understand the threshold covenant. The threshold covenant is a conditional covenant.  The first example of it is Passover. 

Exodus 12:21-27 (NIV) “Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb.  Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe.  Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.  Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.  When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony.  And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’ Then the people bowed down and worshiped.”

The Hebrew word for basin in this passage is ‘sap̄’ which means “bowl, basin, threshold, gate, door, or post.”[i]  In ancient days, before there were temples and sacred places to worship the gods, the ancients worshiped at the threshold of the door to their homes.  They would carve a notch or groove at the entrance to their door where they poured the blood of the sacrifice made to the gods.  This was how they entered into covenant with a god for protection and provision for their family.  The father was the priest of the family; he would be the one to make the sacrifice at the threshold to their home. The threshold became the altar.

Ezekiel 10:3-5 (NIV) “Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court.  Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple.  The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord.  The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks.” (emphasis mine)

The Hebrew word for threshold in this passage is ‘mip̄tān’ which according to Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon has to do with “a crossbeam or carpenter.”[ii]  This Hebrew word for threshold describes the carpenter carrying a crossbeam. This is a picture of Jesus carrying the cross hundreds of years before He would make the march to Golgotha.  It’s a beautiful picture of the threshold covenant - Jesus is the Passover lamb. He is the threshold we cross over into relationship with the Father.

In ancient times, when guests were invited into the home, if they stepped over the threshold, they would be welcomed as part of the family because they accepted the covenant relationship offered to them.  But if they chose to step on the threshold or trample on the blood instead, it was a sign of contempt and that they had rejected the family’s offer of covenant.

Hebrews 10: 26-29 (NIV) “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

This passage takes on much deeper meaning once we understand that Jesus is the threshold covenant. Dr. Richard Booker writes in the Miracle of the Scarlet Thread, “When the people applied the blood in the threshold to the doorway, they were inviting God to cross over the threshold into their home as their protector from the angel of death.  God didn’t pass over.  He crossed over.  God entered into a threshold covenant with them. He crossed the bloodstained threshold and stood in the door to keep the executioner from entering the home. Death could not claim them. God himself was the door. The executioner could only enter the homes of those who did not have the blood.”[iii]

Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV) “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” 

The threshold covenant was a picture pointing the ancients to the epoch of time when God himself would come in the flesh to be the sacrifice of the threshold covenant.  Booker writes, “Galatians 4:4 tells us that in the fullness of time, the One True God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Great I Am, the One who was, who is and who is to come, crossed over the Threshold of Time and Space and became one of us. The same God who revealed Himself to the Hebrews in Egypt through the bloodstained threshold would lay aside His blazing glory and dazzling beauty in heaven and become one of us.”[iv]

Appointed Times

Passover is one of the three feast seasons when the Israelite men were required to journey to Jerusalem for the appointed times with the Lord.  These were sacred times in which they remembered all that God had done for them.  The feasts are a reflection in the natural of what has been given to us in the spiritual.  Passover is a symbol of the deliverance and freedom we have in Christ Jesus. He is the way of salvation and our spirit experiences a rebirth because of His sacrifice as the Passover Lamb.  At the first Passover, God’s people were in captivity for 400 years but in the fulness of time, God heard the cry of His children.  He delivered them from enslavement and called them a holy nation.

Exodus 19:6 (NIV) “You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

“Genesis is the story of families, while Exodus is the story of a nation” (13th century Biblical exegete – Nahmanides).[v] God’s people were set free from Egyptian bondage and birthed into the nation of Israel.  Likewise, those who accept Christ’s gift of salvation are delivered from the bondage of sin and birthed into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Passover is not just for the Jews; Passover is a feast established by the Lord for all generations. As Christians, we are grafted into the olive branch and by faith, are considered sons and daughters of Abraham. We get to partake in the Hebrew feasts and reap the blessings of these appointed times.

Exodus 12:42 (Amplified Version) “It is a night of watching to be observed for the Lord for having brought them out of the land of Egypt; this [same] night is for the Lord, to be observed and celebrated by all the Israelites throughout their generations.”

I Corinthians 5:7-8 “Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch – as you really are.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Passover Preparations

In preparation for Passover, the Israelites went throughout their homes searching for leaven to remove.  Leaven symbolizes sin or anything that causes decay or corruption.  Removing the leaven was an act of sanctification.  Jesus went into His Father’s house to search for evidence of decay and corruption.  He found corruption among the money changers.

The Israelites were given specific instructions in how to celebrate Passover.  Every male, on the 10th day of the first month (Nisan), was to select a lamb without spot or blemish.  He was to observe this lamb for several days to make sure that there was nothing wrong with it. If it was perfect, he was to kill the lamb at the doorpost or threshold. The blood of the lamb was to be applied on the top and both sides of the doorpost.  This was in remembrance for when the angel of death passed over the homes with the blood of the lamb as their protection.  The blood became the atonement for their sins and the judgement of death passed over those who were covered by the blood.  This was how God saved His covenant people from the angel of death.

During the Temple era, the lamb that was selected for the Passover sacrifice had to be within 5 miles of Jerusalem.  Bethlehem is within five miles so it became the prime breeding ground for the Passover lambs.  The hills were covered with sheep.  When a lamb was born, it was wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding trough for protection until it was inspected for defect.  If it was born without defect, then it was raised with great care to become the Passover lamb. A lamb designated for this purpose, was referred to as the “Lamb of God.”[vi] 

John 1:29 “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

During Jesus’ day, the lambs that were chosen for the Passover sacrifice, entered Jerusalem through the Sheep Gate.  They were closely observed for several days.  If they passed inspection, the priest slaughtered the lamb on the 14th day of Nisan at 3 p.m.  As the high priest made the sacrifice, he declared “it is finished.” 

The lamb selected was to have no broken bones as it was roasted over the fire.  In order to accomplish this, the spit in which the lambs were flayed was shaped like a crossbar (cross). 

Jesus, the Passover Lamb

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and placed in a manger or a feeding trough, just like the lambs born who would one day be designated as the Passover lamb.  Later upon his triumphant entry, Jesus arrived in Jerusalem the same day the Passover lambs were being selected and set aside for observation.  Jesus entered Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and some think it was through the Sheep Gate. 

Jesus was observed and tested by the religious leaders for several days, this coincided with when the Passover lambs were being observed to make sure they were without spot and blemish.  The religious leaders questioned Jesus’ authority; they asked him questions to trick him in hopes that He would entrap Himself.  But Jesus never presented the religious leaders with evidence of any wrong doing.  Finally, they took him to Pilate in hopes that he would find something wrong with Jesus, but Pilate said “I find nothing wrong with Him” (John 19:4). Jesus was the perfect Passover Lamb without spot or blemish.

I Peter 1:18-21 (NKJV) “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.  He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

Jesus was chosen before the foundation of the world to become the Passover sacrifice. He became the threshold we cross over into new life as sons and daughters of the King. Those who accept this covenant are adopted into the family of God.

John 10:9 (NKJV) “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”  

Historical records indicate that there were hundreds of thousands of Passover lambs sacrificed the year of Jesus’ death.  The priests began the preparations at 9 a.m. and slaughtered the lambs at 3 p.m. so the meal could be eaten by 6 p.m. before the sun went down marking the start of a new day.  At the exact hour the Jews were preparing their Passover lambs for slaughter, Jesus was nailed to the cross.

Mark 15:25 (Amplified) “It was the third hour (9:00 a.m.) when they crucified Him.”

The same hour the Jews slaughtered the lambs, Jesus, the Lamb of God, took His last breath and declared “it is finished.”

Mark 15:34, 37 (NIV) “And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?).’ With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.”

John 19:30 (NIV) “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

Jesus accomplished the Father’s will.  Every detail about Passover was fulfilled as a sign to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah.  As Christians, we are not bound to celebrate Passover the ways the Jews were instructed in the Bible, however by celebrating Passover, we can enrich our understanding of the magnificent Passion story.  

In years past, I have celebrated Passover by simply reflecting on the beautiful symbolism in Jesus’ fulfillment as the Lamb of God.  He was the perfect sacrifice and, in His death, He died once for all to wash away our sins (Romans 6:10).  Typically, I took communion as part of this time of reflection.  This year, I will be celebrating Passover by joining friends for a Seder meal.  Here is an article explaining the Seder meal in case you would like to incorporate this in your Passover celebration.

Upcoming dates of Passover:

2024 - Monday, April 22

2025 - Saturday, April 12

2026 - Wednesday, April 1

2027 - Wednesday, April 21


Written by Laura Sanger, Ph.D.


[i] H5592 - sap̄ - Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (kjv). Retrieved from

[ii] H4670 - mip̄tān - Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (kjv). Retrieved from

[iii] Booker, R. (2017). The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread.  Shippensburg, PA:  Destiny Images Publishers

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Diamond, E. (January 16, 2009).  The Story of a Nation.  Retrieved from

[vi] Longenecker, D. (December 21, 2018).  The Bethlehem Shepherds Were Not Just Country Bumpkins.  Retrieved from


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