The Fourth Cup

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. Matthew 26:26-29

This is the origin of the rite we call The Lord’s Supper.

Paul describes the resulting rite, as well.

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26

There are a couple of interesting things about the Lord’s Supper, and Paul’s description of it, that are interesting to contemplate. We tend to forget is this was a Passover meal, and there are four cups given in the Passover meal. The four cups are based on this verse:

Say therefore to the people of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. Exodus 6:6-7

So the four cups represent:

  • God will bring Israel out from Egypt
  • God will bring Israel out from slavery
  • God will deliver Israel with great acts of judgment
  • Israel will be God’s people

The cup Jesus used to institute the Lord’s Supper was the third cup, the cup of judgment. It represents the judgment He was about to undergo on our behalf, judgment that would bring us out of the world, or Egypt, and judgment that would bring us out of slavery, through justification. Of the fourth cup, Jesus said:

I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father?s kingdom.

What we know from this is while we are justified now, we are not accepted until some time later. When is later? Has the acceptance already occurred, so we live in the Kingdom of God now? Not according to Paul. He says we should eat the bread, and drink the cup, until Christ returns. This obviously means Christ had not returned when Paul wrote these words, the letter to the Corinthians. And since we still perform the Lord’s Supper today, He has not returned yet, and we do not yet live in His Kingdom.

We look forward to the day when we stop drinking the third cup, and drink the fourth cup instead, the cup of acceptance, when will truly be People of God.

Signifies the completion of the bride of Christ.

Matthew 26:29 & 1 Cor 11:26

Note the ’til he comes in 1 Cor.

Jewish wedding customs. Supper was the highlight of the marriage. Note the entire marriage concept.

Comments are closed.