by Doy Moyer
How can understanding the connection between Christ’s death as the Lamb of God and the Passover event help us in understanding Christ’s death as it relates to God’s wrath?
First, to see Christ’s death connected to Passover is biblical: “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (I Corinthians 5:7).
Second, we cannot deny that God’s wrath is a reality that is present in the absence of repentance and forgiveness:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18).
“But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5).
“But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” (Romans 2:8).
“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:9).
There are more, but these should suffice to remind us that God’s wrath is real and will be felt by those who refuse to repent. We must admit, then, that in some way Christ’s death had to deal with God’s wrath. One way to think about it, among others, is to see this connection to Passover.
We often think of the Passover as God “passing over” the houses of the children of Israel who had slaughtered a lamb and put blood on the doorposts. It’s fairly passive in nature when thought of that way. Without going into detail, however, I am convinced that it is better to think about the idea here (pasach) as an active protection, a pushing back at the door if you will. In other words, as the Lord comes to kill the firstborn, the blood is a sign of protection and the Lord actively provides a push back to the death that would otherwise enter.* Compare Isaiah 31:5 where God said He would protect, deliver, “spare” (pasach), and rescue Jerusalem. Here he would not just “pass over” Jerusalem, but would actively protect and spare it from the damage that would otherwise come without His protection. God protects His own.
The blood of Christ serves us in that same way. By being washed in the blood of the Lamb, we have the protection, the barrier against the wrath that would otherwise come our way. God’s wrath is turned back by the blood of the covenant because it serves as active protection. It is more than forgiveness; it is the basis for the hope of salvation as a helmet and a breastplate of faith and love, as Paul indicates:
“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him” (I Thessalonians 5:8-10).
The Passover paradigm for Christ’s death sees God’s wrath as being turned back so that the firstborn ones — those purchased by the blood of Christ — in the house of God are actively spared by the Lord Himself. This is why Christ died for us. We are justified and saved from the wrath of God because He protects and provides for us through the blood of the Son (Romans 5:9).
Praise God for what He does!