My sister Becky the other day called me up and asked “What are the four cups in Passover?” I didn’t know and had to grab my haggadah book just to tell her. Then I thought “Why four cups?” I then did a little research. I looked on FFOZ web page and found an article by Tim Hegg called “I am ADONAI, and I will…” from Bikurei Tziyon, issue 68, 2001. It is so good and relevant to us as believers. I’ll give you quick synopsis of what he says for each cup. To read it all, you’ll just half to get it from FFOZ.There are four cups based upon the four activities of God in Exodus 6:6-7. In the Midrash it states “There are four expressions of redemption by God:
1 – I will bring you out
2 - I will deliver you
3 – I will redeem you
4 – I will take you
They use four cups to correspond with these four expressions, in order to fulfill the verse in Psalm 116:13 “I will lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.”
1st cup - “The Cup of Sanctification” – God choosing of Israel for his own
Exodus 6:6 “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
“The first cup marks Israel out as God’s chosen ones - as the people for whom He would bring deliverance from under the burden of slavery, freeing them to worship and serve Him in spirit and truth. And this is the same work He does for each and every child He brings into His family – He chooses them of his own sovereign will and frees them to worship Him as He intends. It is the calling of every child of God to be sanctified – set apart – unto God, to be given over to His worship and His worship alone. The cup of sanctification or Separation, reminds us of this crucial starting point of our salvation.
2nd cup - “The Cup of Deliverance” – emphasizing Israel’s utter helplessness to rescue herself
Exodus 6:6 “I will deliver you from their bondage.”
“The second cup reminds us, then, that we were in great need of deliverance, for our own idolatry so bound us as to be unable to affect our own rescue. God’s deliverance was (and is) our only hope. Understanding the cup in this way makes it clear why Luke begins his report of Yeshua’s last Passover seder with the second cup (Luke22:14-17). He wants to emphasize that Yeshua is our Deliverer.
3rd cup - “The Cup of Redemption” – Abba paying the necessary price to redeem his children
Exodus 6:6 “I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”
“The picture turns from mere legal transactions in freeing a slave, to the heart of a father toward His own children, and His willingness to pay the necessary price to have them back, even when that price is most costly. That price was nothing less than the giving of His own dear Son, Yeshua, emphasized by His identification with the third cup as symbolic of His own blood shed for the redemption of sinners (Luke 22:20).
4th cup - “The Cup of Hope” – when Israel is in her land, her enemies are subdued, and peace reigns.
Exodus 6:7 “Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God.”
“This fourth cup envisions the time when true Israel and all those who have attached themselves to her via faith, we will worship God in truth, and will be known in every way as His people. This finial cup reminds us that our redemption is not fully realized yet, and though we enjoy the realities of it in the present, the future still holds our full and final redemption.
Summary of the Four Cups
First, that God chose us to be His holy (separated) people. To accomplish this He promised to unburden us from our enemy’s entanglements.
Second, That we cannot affect our own release and that in our helpless state we must trust in God and in Him alone for our salvation.
Third, God further reavels to us that His sovereign work of salvation necessitates both divine power and payment. Our salvation would cost Him dearly, even the life of The Lamb.
Fourth and finally, God lets us know that the redemption that is ours is still not fully complete. We must await the future with hope of Messiah’s coming, for He alone can transform us fully into the holy people He has ordained.