|The 4th cup: WHEN?|
They will point to Jewish Passover (Pesach) tradition to explain things. Indeed the RC will often use traditions, inspired writings of the Fathers etc to interpret the Bible. In fact, Catholics have to trust in these things because they are instructed to NEVER interpret the scriptures privately, because of one isolated verse written by Peter which says "no prophecy was given by private interpretation". This verse (incidentally) was not talking about interpreting the scriptures - it was referring to those who were given the Word by God to put into the inspired scriptures. THEY were the ones who did not write down their interpretations of what God had given them, but wrote down exactly what God had said, so that we can study what God said first hand.
So, let us consider the above question by looking at what the Bible actually says on the subject and get it into Bible context and not be influenced too much by extra biblical material, which can confuse matters. You may be surprised to know that there is NO MYSTERY regarding the final cup if we look only to the Bible for the answers. The Bible DOES explain it very clearly.
First of all, none of the four gospels mention Jesus drinking wine at the Last Supper (it doesn’t mean He didn’t drink wine – just that it doesn’t mention it). Besides Jesus already stated He would NOT drink again until later on. More on that shortly.
Every gospel account only states that He distributed the wine to the apostles only. It only mentions 2 cups at the table. The second one was taken AFTER supper. Of course just because it only mentions two cups does not necessarily mean that there were only 2 cups, but it probably means 2 significant cups (at that stage). However, the point is that we cannot state (as a fact) something which the Bible does not state as fact.
Please note the following statement by Jesus in Matthew 26:29 which is the whole crux of this article and is an indication when the final cup will be drunk:
“I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
There we have it in a nutshell! Jesus declared that He will drink no more wine until He does so in His Father’s Kingdom. Let us compare this, with what Jesus also said during
this Last Supper in John 14:2-3:
“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also”
So Jesus was going to the Father’s House in Heaven to prepare a place for us and would return later to bring us to it. The Father’s House is in Heaven – not on the Earth. Jesus said He will not drink again until He drinks it (with us) in Heaven. So this means He could not have drunk any wine on the cross.
So, where do we get the idea of 4 cups from?
We get it from Jewish tradition (not the scriptures). At traditional Passover meals there are 4 cups. Each cup represents an act of God in Exodus 6:6-7
“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. 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.”
1st Cup) I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians
2nd Cup) I will free you from being slaves to them
3rd Cup) I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment
4th cup) I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.
These promises were given to ISRAEL alone and were all fulfilled at that time. So why the need to continue the practice of the 4 cups at Passover. Was it just a remembrance or to point to a future and greater fulfilment?
Obviously it was pointing to something greater which would be fulfilled in Jesus.
Jesus came to the lost sheep of the House of Israel and instructed His apostles to do the same thing. Even Paul (an apostle to the Gentiles) preached first to the Jewish people in a City before he preached to the Gentiles. He said “to the Jew first”.
God has a special relationship with Israel. Throughout their history is a record of backslidings followed by repentance, but God never Totally rejected the Jewish race and (because He has this relationship with them) will always restore them and there will be a FINAL restoration.
Ezekiel 36 to 39 is a clear indication of a future restoration. Zechariah 12-14 also.
Jeremiah 31 makes it clear that God’s relationship with Israel and His love for them will continue on throughout eternity. It also describes the New Covenant with Israel, in this chapter Romans 11 tells us that Gentiles have been grafted into (believing) Israel through Jesus.
Jesus fulfilled the first 3 cups up to redemption, but the 3rd cup is still not fully fulfilled “acts of judgement” which takes place during the Tribulation (although I suppose it could be referring to the Father’s judgement of Jesus because of our sins).
Jesus cried out "IT IS FINISHED" The RC says this refers to the completion of the passover - not the completion of the sacrifice. They use that to say that the sacrifice of Jesus is not yet finished and continues on through the mass and transubstantiation. I will now show what Jesus really meant by "it is finished".
Actually, the Passover could not have been completed until AFTER Jesus had died. The Passover lamb had to be killed and the hidden piece of unleavened bread reappear.
Jesus could not have been referring to the Passover being finished because He was still alive. He was actually referring to the punishment of our sins being finished. Where does it say (in the Bible) that a cry is made at the end of the Passover, anyway? Remember, this is Jewish tradition, which may or may not have been followed at the time of Jesus.
In any case, it would be inaccurate for Jesus to cry out that the passover was finished because it wasn't completed until the death of the lamb (Jesus) which was coinciding with Jewish families eating the passover meal (at that very moment) and the resurrection of the unleavened bread (Jesus) had taken place. The passover could not be completed until the WHOLE lamb had been eaten.
On the Day Of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given. They were FILLED with Him at that point onwards. As Paul wrote "it is no longer I that live but Christ who lives in me". Jesus does not want to be partially taken but digested in full (SPIRITUALLY) and permanently. Jesus does not need to keep being sacrificed as He was offered up ONCE only. Here are 2 examples (of many I could have chosen) that illustrate that the sacrifice of Jesus did not need to be repeated.
Romans 6:9-10 "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin ONCE for all"
Hebrews 6:6 ".....and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace."
That final passage is referring to the sacrificial system. Some believers were falling away from grace (a once and for all time acceptance of Jesus as the Saviour and sufficient to save us from our sins by what HE has done) and returning to works and to sacrifices. The writer is saying that there is no remaining sacrifice required because the sacrifice of Jesus lasts for eternity. He does not keep on being sacrificed through transubstantiation.
We do not need to keep eating and drinking Jesus (literally) through the mass and eucharist because He already lives in us permanently through His Holy Spirit, the moment we first receive Him as our Saviour.
Remember: Jesus said He would not drink of the vine until the Kingdom had been established ie the 4th (or final) cup:
The ultimate fulfilment of “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God” has still not yet fully happened for Israel as of 2010 and (if it refers to the church) did not happen until the Holy Spirit was given.
If Jesus had of drunk the fourth (or final) cup (which He had already stated He wouldn’t do until the Kingdom had been established) why in Luke 24:30 (after the resurrection) does Jesus break bread (the men on the road to Emmaus) but not distribute wine?.
Jesus had said that He would drink it in the kingdom of God, but you do not read of Him drinking wine before His ascension, but we do read (in the Book of Revelation and in Matthew 25) of a future marriage supper of the Lamb.
In any case, why would Jesus have drunk bitter wine (vinegar wine)? If it was true the Passover was finished it would have been sweet (for victory) not bitter for sorrow. Jesus had already suffered for 3 hours in spiritual and physical agony because of taking the guilt of our sins upon Himself. So the sorrow was already over at that point. But as already pointed out, Jesus had not yet died physically as the sacrificial lamb, so the Passover was not yet completed. So it is meaningless to say that the passover was finished!
Vinegar speaks of counterfeit wine. It looks like wine but it is not. Maybe satan was trying to upset the plan of God by offering a counterfeit 4th (or final) cup but the scriptures do not say Jesus “DRANK” it. It just says He received it, but remember Jesus’s hands were nailed so it may have touched His lips but it does not mean Jesus drank it.
Or maybe it was the third cup that represented what Jesus had completed but it wasn’t THE 4TH cup. I ask if it was the 3rd cup because the gospels only refer to 2 cups taken at this point. Also the 3rd cup of suffering was surely what Jesus was referring to when He said in the garden “take this cup from me”. The 4th cup is surely a cup of completion. Passover was not complete until Jesus was resurrected and ascended.
There are different types of cups mentioned in the Bible. For examples “my cup overflows” “take this cup from me” . These cups are not necessarily cups of wine. In Jesus case He is referring to a cup of suffering He has to face. He may hold the cup metaphorically because He is about to suffer something terrible. This can be seen more clearer by the request made by James and John in the following passage.
“They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
They said they were able to drink the cup of suffering that Jesus was drinking from. Jesus did not say that that cup was only reserved for Him, because it wasn’t a literal cup. Indeed Jesus said that they WERE able and indeed: James was martyrd by Herod and John was exiled to the island of Patmos.
They did not drink a literal cup. So when Jesus said “take this cup from me” He wasn’t necessarily referring to one of the 4 physical cups.
When Jesus said that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood, he may well have been saying that we need to be full of Him (which later became possible on the Day of Pentecost) it also means to digest His words, live His life and suffer and die for Him.
Jesus said that He was the bread of Heaven and that we should feast on Him. The bread represents His body. He is known as the Word made flesh. When we receive Him into our hearts (permanently) we are eating from His very Life. He also calls His flesh “food indeed” and “man shall not live by bread alone (our physical needs) but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (our spiritual needs)”.
This tells us that the flesh Jesus is referring to is His words which feed our souls.
To re-emphasise this from John 6:63
" It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
Jesus was referring to His words that would feed our souls and awaken our spirits.
In Hebrews it says that “God’s Word is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword”. So we need to feast upon Jesus through his Words and we drink His blood by being willing to suffer and die for Him. That is what Jesus said to James and John, that they could also drink of Jesus cup of suffering, by suffering for the faith.
Paul also said “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” Phil 3:10
In fact Jesus (like Paul) is saying that we need to become like Him by denying ourselves and taking up the cross to follow Him. To be His true disciples we need to be feeding upon Him, drinking His very life so that we can serve Him properly at a time when being a Christian means facing the death penalty. No wonder the people left one by one, but the disciples understood.
They said “we cannot leave, You have the words of eternal life”
Basically, they are saying, we are prepared to die for you because nothing in this world can offer what you offer.
The Drinking Of The Final Cup
Jesus said “I go to prepare a place for you” in John 14
In Jewish weddings the Groom has to go to his father to help prepare a place for the bride (before the wedding ceremony takes place) but leaves a gift behind. Jesus went to the Father to prepare a place for us and left us the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Groom will return to collect his bride, then the marriage ceremony begins followed by the marriage supper. This is when the 4th cup will be taken as the final and full redemption of God’s people.
By the way, when we look at Jacob serving 14 years for his 2 wives, we see that each 7 years are referred to as weeks. In the Book of Revelation it talks about the 7 years during the Tribulation as being the final week of Daniel’s prophecy.
In historical Jewish weddings the marriage supper lasts 7 days. Therefore, the marriage supper of the lamb also lasts 7 days ie 7 years.
However, the drinking in the Kingdom which Jesus is referring to is either in Heaven or in His Kingdom reign on Earth during the thousand years or in both. In Matthew 26:29
“I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom”.
The Church age is NOT the Fathers Kingdom. Jesus said “I go to my Father (in Heaven) In my Father’s House are many rooms”.
If some religious sects want to use Jewish tradition to explain the cups drunk by Jesus, then (to be consistent) why not also use the Jewish wedding tradition (but again it is not scriptural so cannot be taken as complete truth) which illustrates that the final cup will be drunk by Jesus in Heaven. This is what it says:
“the Jewish wedding ceremony and how it relates the Bride of Christ to her bridegroom, Christ Jesus, the Lord.
Shiddukhin: This was often the first step in a Jewish betrothal. It was not uncommon for the father of the groom to select his son’s bride. Sometimes the father could not do this himself, but would use a marriage broker or matchmaker. We have a perfect example of this in GEN 24:1-4.
Hmmm…this has a familiar ring for the born again believer. Doesn’t God, the Father do the same for His Son? “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (EPH 1:4)
Ketubah: The next step in the betrothal is ketubah. This is another word for the marriage contract. It would include provisions for the proposal; the groom agrees to support his wife to be and she declares her financial status, or dowry which she pays to the groom. This is illustrated in GEN 24:52-53.
Jesus Christ does this through the New Covenant. “And he said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” (MARK 14:24)
He promises to love the Bride and gives Himself for her. The Bride also promises to pay her dowry.
“For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1COR 6:20) Her price is a yielded life, keeping herself for Him.
Mohar: This is known as the bridal payment or bride price. It is paid by the groom’s family, but ultimately, it belongs to the bride. It sets her free from her father’s household and we see it illustrated in GEN 24:53 and GEN 29:20, 27.
We are told by God that our relationship to Jesus is with a price. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1COR 6:19-20)
Our price is not material things like gold and silver, but the life of our Groom. “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1PET 1:18-19)
Mikveh: The next step was ritual immersion, done separately by the bride and groom. It was symbolic of spiritual cleansing. “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.” (MATT 3:13)
The bride also performs a ritual immersion symbolic of the spiritual cleansing of the Holy Spirit. “But deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.” (HEB 9:10)
Eyrusin: This is the formal betrothal act. The word “eyrusin” means “betrothal.” This period is also known as “kiddushim,” meaning sanctification or “set apart.” The couple set aside to prepare themselves to enter the marriage covenant. After the couple underwent “mikveh” they would appear under the “huppah” or canopy to publicly declare their betrothal.
They would usually exchange items of value and share a cup of wine to seal the vows. This period would then last for one year. They were considered married, but did not have sexual relations.
One of the last acts of Jesus, was to bless the cup of the New Covenant. “”This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” (MARK 14:24)
He said He would not drink this cup again until the wedding feast.
“Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (MARK 14:25)
We are betrothed to the Messiah. It would take a religious divorce to nullify the contract. Only the husband could obtain this bill of divorcement. “”And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.” (HOSEA 2:20)
It is not in God’s character to divorce. (MALACHI 2:16) We are secure in our contract with Jesus. We cannot break it and He promises He will not break it. “Give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (JOHN 10:28)
These are some things to consider if one believe that one can lose their eternal security.
Matan: The matan or bridal gift would follow this public ceremony. The groom would return to his father’s house, but would leave his bride a gift before his departure.
It was a reminder that he was thinking of her and would return to make her his wife. Both parties had responsibilities during the betrothal. It was the custom for the groom to return to his father’s house and usually add rooms to his father’s house for his new family.
He would then wait for the father’s determination and go ahead to go and claim his bride. The bride was to keep herself busy, sewing and preparing her wedding garments. How beautifully illustrated does our savior do this for His Bride.
We receive our “matan” from our Lord.
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (EPH 1:13-14)
He is busy preparing us a place to live. “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (JOHN 14:2-3)
He is waiting for the day and hour when His Father says, “go and get your Bride.” Meanwhile, we are preparing our wedding garments. “So that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (EPH 5:27)
To echo the old hymn; “are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?”
Nissuin: The final and SEVENTH step in the betrothal is nissuin and literally means, “to carry.” During betrothal, there was great anticipation. The bride had no idea at what hour or time the groom would come. It would always be a surprise. Then one day, the groom’s father would say, “go” and the bridal party would set off down the street to the bride’s house. It was customary for one of the groom’s party to shout,
“Behold, the bridegroom comes!”
This would be followed by the sounding of the shofar. The entire bridal party would go through the streets of the city to the groom’s house and the groomsmen would once again set up the “huppah” or canopy. The couple would once again say a blessing over a cup of wine (THE FOURTH CUP?) and they would finalize the promises and vows.
The whole event was followed by the marriage supper. It included seven full days of celebration, dancing, eating and music. “Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” (GEN 29:27)
It culminates with the groom taking his bride to their new home. We too, do not know the hour of our groom’s return. “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (MATT 24:36)
We experience the blowing of the shofar and the wedding procession.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1THESS 4:16-17)
After our wedding ceremony in heaven, we will then experience the wedding feast. “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready” (REV 19:7)
Our wedding feast will probably continue for seven years and will include “the friends of the groom” or OT saints. “And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?” (MATT 9:15A)”
To clarify these things more, please checkout this shortcut link which is an excellent audio from Arnold Frauchtenbam (an experienced Jewish Bible teacher) who talks about the Jewish wedding and its relevance to the marriage ceremony of the Bride of Christ and the subsequent supper. I recommend it to you. Please go to:
To see more information giving evidence on why the Catholic Church is not the true faith, please click on this link Why The Catholic Church is Not a Christian Denomination