“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Friday, March 17, 2006

Passover II - The Cups

In my last post I examined the role of leaven in the Passover Feast. I will now continue to work through the seder and attempt to bring to light certain aspects of the seder that may be new to some folks.

First, we must understand that each and every person who partakes in the Passover should partake AS IF they were actually part of the nation when it was released from slavery. In other words, we are to reflect and remember our slavery and then as we progress through the seder, to rejoice in our freedom. As a matter of fact, it is brought out in the Seder that we now eat reclining, which is the way free men and women ate in that day, lying back on pillows and enjoying their dinner.

We first light the Passover candles,and say a br'kah, or blessing. We then reflect on the fact that , during the seder, we drink four cups of wine. Each cup has a significance: Cup of Sanctification, Cup of Judgement, Cup of Redemption, and Cup of Praise.

The first cup -- the cup of sanctification, represents the first 'I Will' of God; the promise to bring the people out from under the harsh salvery of the Egyptians. Imagine the Messiah in that Upper Room -- lifting the cup and bringing to remembrance the promise of God the Father to deliver the nation of Israel from slavery. Every mind in the room would have been focused on that time so long ago, recorded in Exodus, when God freed His people, just as He promised.

The second cup -- the cup of judgement is filled and then we dip a finger into the cup, allowing a drop of liquid to fall onto our saucer ten times, reducing the fullness of our cup of joy this night. Why? Because our redemption cost! What did it cost in the first Passover -- the ten plagues that afflicvted Egypt. What did it cost in the fulfillment of Passover? The death of Messiah! Again, let your mind go back to the Upper Room -- imagine the emotion as Messiah dipped his finger in the cup and allowed a drop to spill onto the table... Within hours, his blood would spill onto the ground of Calvary.

We drink the second cup only after we have gone through a section of the seder whereby we recognize that it was God who affected the salvation of the people of Israel and no one else!

The third cup -- the cup of redemption is filled after the supper. This is the one that Messiah lifted and said "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood." How do we know that this is the cup? It is stated in several places that it was the cup after the supper, which is the cup of redemption. As we drink this cup we reflect on Isaiah 59:16 - "He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him."

So imagine this -- first He fills the cup of sanctification and the disciples reflect on God's selection of His people, and their deliverance from slavery -- then the second cup comes around, and the disciples again reflect on the terrible cost at which the nation of Israel was given it's freedom. Now, Messiah breaks into the normal seder with the injection that it is HIS BLOOD which will bring ultimate redemption. WHAT A SHOCK to the system of the disciples. In our day and age no one thinks it strange (in the Christian community) that we speak of the redemption bought with the blood of Messiah, but in that Upper Room the tension was probably so thick you could cut it with a knife!

And the final cup -- the one that Messiah said He would not drink until that day when He will drink it new in the kingdom of God. This is the cup of Praise! I can imagine that, at the wedding feast of the Lamb, Messiah will lift this fourth cup and complete the seder that begun over two thousand years ago in that small room in Israel!


BugBlaster said...

Thanks Ray. I didn't know about the four cups, and it appears that the last supper can't be understood without them. We can look forward to a celebration beyond measure when Messiah lifts the fourth cup!

Ray said...

Thanks Bugs -- I am very much looking forward to Him lifting that final cup of Praise on that day!

Rose~ said...

Here's to looking forward to the fourth cup! It is great that you are posting on this, Ray. It is so important. You need some more readers - no one should miss this.

Ray said...


Thanks for writing and for your encouragement... Hope to finish up Passover and get into Unleavened Bread soon!

Glynn said...

Ray, just read your Passover Cups with great interest because I did a Bible study recently using J. Vernon McGee where he said the cup went around seven times. Do you have any idea why he would say that? He was a fine Bible teacher and there might be a reason outside of the Seder tradition. What do you think? Glynn.

Ray said...

I am not sure why Vernon McGee said it goes around seven times.

Rick said...

Hi Ray, I got here thru Google while doing some extra research. I thank God that there are Christians out there who see the importance of studying the Hebrew roots of our faith!
Take care!

Ray said...

Thank you for stopping by Rick, and thanks for your kind comment.

Rex Featherlin said...

I am working on a communion meditation, and my whole basis is to explain the 4 cups. I did my very first meditation last week. I did matza and used Isaiah 53:5 a my scripture. I received several compliments after church. Just wanted to tell you thank you for posting this,, and I hope to meet you at the wedding feast. God bless.