What are the Four Cups of Passover?
Passover is what many might consider a “Jewish holiday.” Ordained by God for us to follow throughout our generations during the plagues that led to the exodus from Egypt, Passover has many uses and blessings for us today. Aside from the nine blessings of Passover that we receive as we place our feet under God’s Passover table, there are various lessons and traditions that can renew and prepare us for the higher calling each year brings—one of these lessons/traditions being the four cups of Passover.
For the first few hundred years after Jesus’ death and resurrection Jewish and Gentile Believers fellowshipped together, celebrated Passover together, etc. However, various religious and political leaders soon chose to separate Jew and Gentile, slowly turning away from holidays and behaviors they deemed “too Jewish,” despite the fact that Jesus Himself observed them. As a result, Passover was “replaced” with Easter and those in power dissected and integrated whatever aspects they desired.
One example of this selective appropriation is found in communion. The taking of the bread, the taking of the cup, these are both a small part of the Passover table. Thus, today when we take communion, we are in essence taking one of the cups of Passover…
Yet, what about the other three cups? What are we missing out by not observing Passover?
Now, communion is a wonderful thing. It brings us into fellowship with one another, reminds us of what Jesus did on the cross, and gives one of the benefits Passover brings at any time of year. Yet, there were four cups…
The four cups of Passover being:
- The Cup of Sanctification
- The Cup of Plagues
- The Cup of Redemption
- The Cup of Praise
Of these we take “The Cup of Redemption” when we take communion, and indeed, it is a cup of high importance. Yet, all the cups serve a purpose. There is a reason for their presence at the Passover table.
The Cup of Sanctification:
This cup represents holiness and the cleansing we need to be able to receive from the Lord.” —Curt Landry, Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage
When we are sanctified by God we are forgiven, cleansed, and made holy. With these, we are able to enter into the year with God’s grace. We are able to answer the call without the devil having a legal right to stop us; we are able to be the light God wants us to be.
When God’s sanctification comes our relationship with Him grows. The power of God’s love and glory is made stronger in our lives and we can enter the year as our best selves.
The Cup of Plagues:
This cup reminds us of the deliverance of the plagues of Egypt, but it also represents healing from sickness and disease.” —Curt Landry, Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage
When we are healed of God we can boldly go through each day, following gladly all God would have us do. This—which is also part of one of the nine blessings of Passover—is important if we desire to answer our higher call each year. Because, if we are sick and unable to do what God asks us, then how can we answer our calling, let alone the higher call for the year?
The Cup of Redemption:
This is the cup Yeshua was holding when He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me…” at the Passover just prior to His death and resurrection. As a result, this is the cup that the Gentile Church took with them when they separated from their Jewish brothers and sisters. It is the cup we take at communion…
However, we have taken this cup and run with it… in many ways away from where it was intended to be; what it was intended to mean.
We have made it an often somber remembrance of Jesus’ death rather than of the joyous redemption it declares. We have made it less a celebration and communion—true communion with fellowship—and more of a sad dirge with a tinge of hope…
This cup was meant to focus on redemption, and while Jesus did indeed die for our redemption, it is doubtful God meant us to remember Him in sorrow—as if He were still dead and not raised to sit at the right hand of the Father.
…when Yeshua came to be baptized by John the Baptist, John had proclaimed by the Spirit, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29). So, when Jesus now said, ‘Do this in remembrance of Me,’ He was not cancelling Passover, but embracing it. Because this was the Passover, He empowered the cup of redemption as only the Messiah could do—by His soon coming death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.” —Curt Landry, Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage
With the true redemption that Jesus gave us we can be free from the curse we chose in the Garden. We can be redeemed and answer our higher call in Him!
The Cup of Praise:
This is the cup Jesus did not take at the Passover before His death and resurrection. It is a cup that many Believers who celebrate Passover also do not take, because they believe it is for Jesus to give…
I believe this is the cup we will receive from Yeshua Himself as we enter into heaven. He will hand us a wedding cup (or ‘Kiddush’ cup) and say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ It is important to understand that in a Jewish wedding, the groom extends this cup to the bride, and she drinks from it as a sign of her acceptance of the covenant being offered. Her acceptance of the cup seals the marriage.” —Curt Landry, Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage
As a result of this belief many at Passover leave the fourth cup unemptied; learning from it but not partaking it. Celebrating all God is, all He did, and all we shall know…
Remembering to praise our God in joy!
While the nine blessings of Passover are required to fully answer our call—specifically its increase—every year, the four cups of Passover play a vital role in this preparation…
They teach us lessons. They go through God’s goodness in Egypt, but further still, with the knowledge of Jesus, they go through His life, death, and resurrection… showing us His glory as He redeems us and sanctifies us again and again!
With sanctification, health and healing, redemption, and of course, with praise, we are far better equipped every day of the year. We are given the tools required to answer our call through Passover… tools not only useful for our call, but our very salvation and lives!
God desires us to set our feet under His Passover table, not merely to remember Him and the lessons of Passover, but so that we can live our best lives, be our best selves…
God desires us to thrive! He wants us to prosper! He wants to give us good gifts!
Let us allow Him to do this in and through us as we joyfully slide our feet under this table He has prepared for us.