Passover: The Four Cups of the Seder

Seder Table

The Seder Meal is the center piece of the Jewish celebration of Passover. The Seder is taken in remembrance and celebration of the Exodus and the promises made by God to His chosen people.

There is a great deal of scholarly debate about whether Jesus celebrated a traditional Seder Meal as what we Christians call the Last Supper. We do know that 1) the meal was taken during Passover and 2) it included many elements of the Seder Meal. Among them was the drinking of 3 of the 4 cups of the Seder.

The Seder Meal

The Jewish Seder meal is a ritual. It includes the consumption of carefully defined foods and wine along with reciting of ritual prayers. The Jewish Seder is a wonderful tradition, reminding the Jews of their history (especially their Egyptian bondage and the Exodus) and fulfilling God’s command of the Shema (Deut. 6:4-10)

The Four Cups of the Seder

The Four Cups of the Seder are taken in remembrance of promises made by God to His chosen people in Exodus 6:6-7:

6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring
you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from
being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm
and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people,
and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your
God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.”

The First Cup: Sanctification

“I will take you out of Egypt.” When the Israelites were taken out of Egypt, they were set apart from other people.

The Hebrew word used in the Seder is Kiddush,, which means to “set apart.” God’s chosen people are set apart from all others.

The Second Cup: Deliverance

“I will deliver you from (Egyptian) slavery.” To the Israelites, this meant that they were no longer under the yoke of Egyptian tyranny.

The Third Cup: Redemption

“I will redeem you with My power.” To be redeemed is to be freed or delivered from sin.

The Fourth Cup: Restoration

“I will acquire you as My people and I will be your God.”

The Cups of the Last Supper

In the Upper Room Jesus took only three of the four cups of the Jewish Seder. The first two, He took in the traditional way. But the Third Cup was different, very different. The Third Cup, the Cup of Redemption is what we celebrate in our sacrament of Holy Communion in Christianity today. “This is My blood…” “Do this in remembrance of Me.”

It is through the blood of Jesus Christ that we are redeemed today. It is His blood that washes away our sins.

Jesus refused the Fourth Cup. In fact, as He prayed in the Garden He said: “Take from Me this cup…” He was referring to the Fourth Cup, the Cup of Restoration. He also said that He would not drink this Cup until His return. It is then that all believers will be fully restored. It is then that the Fourth Promise will be fulfilled. It is THEN that we will fully and completely be His People.

Shalom,Art

Alive in The Word

My friends, if you’ve never participated in a Seder I truly hope you will be able to do so. It is extraordinarily powerful.

About aliveintheword

Missouri, USA Married to Marty, 45 years 2 sons (with 2 daughers-in-law) and 2 granddaughters Life dedicated to serving Jesus Christ and delivering the Good News
This entry was posted in CHRISTIAN FOUNDATIONS OF BELIEF, CHRISTIAN LIFE AND THE WORD and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Passover: The Four Cups of the Seder

  1. Thank you for your insights as I have been trying to understand various Jewish and Gentile traditions related to certain feast days (gentile holidays).
    There is no doubt on the gentile side, many celebrations have stripped away the purpose of that event, yet as I study scripture it seems something is also missing on the jewish side.
    My questions is this, G_d continually allowed his people to be placed in bondage or under the authority (rule) of other nations because of their disobedience to the original purpose or calling given to Abram.
    So what was that calling and for what purpose were they delivered out of Egypt? From what I see in various online resources and books, the Seder meal is indeed a remembrance of Sanctification, Deliverance, Redemption and Restoration; but for what purpose and when will that purpose be revealed or lived out by the Jews?

  2. granbee says:

    Wow, Art–Shalom! And I thought I knew all the meanings of the parts of the Seder Meal–and about Jesus’ Last Supper with the Twelve! I had completely overlooked the significance of His refusing the fourth cup–restoration–That will not happen until He comes again! I see now a lot more depth to His prayer to “take this cup from me” in Gethsemane. Thank you SO MUCH. Very much in your debt for this extremely thought-provoking information.

  3. Pingback: Return to your First Love | New Heaven on Earth!

  4. Pingback: Passover Seder - Passover Infographic | Raymond Lee Jewelers Blog

  5. writinggomer says:

    Wonderful post, thank you. I had not heard of these cups before.

  6. ptl2010 says:

    These cups are effectually reminders to all of the love of God and His great plan of salvation. Thank Him for we know His plan is/will be completed finally for He is God and controls everything to His glory. May we be His instruments and His evidence of the fulfilment of His plans in our lives as we receive His blessings and bless others with them. – our sanctificaiton by the Holy Spirit, deliverance from sin, redemption by Christ and soon to welcome Him as King of kings and Lord of lords.

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