Part 3 of 3 Insert Link to Part 1 Insert Link to Part 2
The Fifth Cup
At the end of the celebratory Passover meal, a fifth cup is prepared and placed in the center of the table. This cup is not consumed. Known as Elijah’s cup, this is the cup of God’s wrath. Malachi prophesied that Elijah would return shortly before the coming of the Messiah and day of God’s wrath.
Malachi 4:5 New International Version (NIV)
“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.
At this part of the Passover ceremony, the door is opened, and the head of household says, “Pour out your wrath on the world!”
This cup is waiting for Elijah, the herald of the final and ultimate redemption. It is an acknowledgement that the Jewish nation was on the threshold of the New Kingdom, it is the Messiah who will bring the New Kingdom.
The waiting arrival of Elijah is the signal referred to during the beginning of Jesus Christ’s ministry with John the Baptist. The Jewish nation was waiting for the coming of the prophet Elijah and questioned John if he was Elijah.
John 1:19-23 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Testimony of John the Baptist
19 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”
21 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”
22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”
John’s statement is literal, he is not Isaiah. Then, John answers the intent of the question by quoting what Isaiah wrote in prophesy. John is telling them that he is the fulfillment of the Scripture.
Old Testament Prophecy
Malachi 3:1 ERV
The Lord All-Powerful says, “I am sending my messenger to prepare the way for me. Then suddenly, the Lord you are looking for will come to his temple. Yes, the messenger you are waiting for, the one who will tell about my agreement, is really coming!
Malachi 4:5 KJV
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
Isaiah 40:1-5 Your God says,
“Comfort, comfort my people.
2 Speak kindly to Jerusalem and tell her,
‘Your time of service is finished.
You have paid the price for your sins.’
I, the Lord, have punished you twice
for every sin you committed.”
3 Listen, there is someone shouting:
“Prepare a way in the desert for the Lord.
Make a straight road there for our God.
4 Every valley must be filled.
Every mountain and hill should be made flat.
The crooked roads should be made straight,
and the rough ground made smooth.
5 Then the Glory of the Lord will be shown to everyone.
Together, all people will see it.
Yes, this is what the Lord himself said!”
Jesus also answers the question about the return of Elijah and the herald described above in Isaiah 40:3, as written in Matthew chapter 11.
Matthew 11:7-14 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
7 When John’s followers left, Jesus began talking to the people about John. He said, “What did you people go out to the desert to see? Someone who is weak, like a stem of grass blowing in the wind? 8 Really, what did you expect to see? Someone dressed in fine clothes? Of course not. People who wear fine clothes are all in kings’ palaces. 9 So what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, John is a prophet. But I tell you, he is more than that. 10 This Scripture was written about him:
‘Listen! I will send my messenger ahead of you.
He will prepare the way for you.’
11 “The truth is that John the Baptizer is greater than anyone who has ever come into this world. But even the least important person in God’s kingdom is greater than John. 12 Since the time John the Baptizer came until now, God’s kingdom has been going forward strongly. And people have been trying to take control of it by force. 13 Before John came, the Law of Moses and all the prophets told about the things that would happen. 14 And if you believe what they said, then John is Elijah.
Jesus explains John’s role as an Elijah. His role as an Elijah was also stated prior to his conception (verse 17, Luke chapter 1).
Luke 1:5-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
5 When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. 6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. 7 They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.
8 One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. 9 As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. 10 While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.
11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”
19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”
The cup of Elijah has been fulfilled. Elijah has arrived. The fulfillment of the promise of Elijah: the Cup of Wrath and the Coming of the Messiah, has also occurred. Jesus has taken the sins of mankind upon Himself; the Cup of Wrath has been consumed by Christ.
There is new Blood of the Sacrificed.
The events of prophesy fulfilled continue in the Gospels.
· John 19:31-37
31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.
· Bible Prophecy:
Exodus 12:46 says concerning the lamb for the Passover meal: In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones. Numbers 9:12 says, They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. Zechariah 12 says, And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
The Passover meal has come to its completion and fulfillment of God’s Grace and His Everlasting Divine Mercy occurs. The Israelites were saved from the slavery of Egypt as the blood of the lamb marked those to be saved by the Passover of Egypt’s death of the first-born; now, the Messiah, the sacrificial death of the first born of God, gives His blood for the salvation of our souls from the slavery of sin and death.
The remembrance celebrated by Jesus and the disciple at Passover is complete. Jesus fulfills the third cup (the Redeemer), fulfills the fourth cup (establishes the upcoming new nation), and fulfills the fifth cup (takes the wrath from sin and disobedience upon Himself). The sins of the people have been placed on Him, the establishment of the New Covenant occurs, and the new nation is ready to begin under the King Priest (Jesus Christ – in the order of Melchizedek who was a King and Priest who brought out bread and wine for Abraham Genesis 14:17-19, and explained in Hebrews 7:1-28).
Matthew 27:50-51 "And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom."
In the Jewish Temple, the veil served as the barrier to the Holy of Holies where God's presence rested in the Ark of the Covenant. Only the high priest could enter this area, and then only one time per year, to make atonement for the sins of Israel (Exodus 30:10).
1 Kings 6 records that Solomon's temple was 30 cubits high (approximately 45 feet tall). The first century Jewish historian Josephus records that Herod extended the temple's height to 40 cubits high (approximately 60 feet tall). He also records that the veil was four inches thick. The 60-foot high, four-inch-thick curtain was torn in half, and from top to bottom, clearly indicating the destruction was not man-made, but came from God above.
The veil is now opened, opening access to the Holy of Holies. Hebrews 8:1-2 notes, "Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man." Jesus Himself now serves as the high priest. There is no longer a need for a man as high priest to stand before the Lord and repeatedly make atonement sacrifices for our sins; Jesus has provided for our atonement through one sacrifice for all time, His death on the cross.
The tearing of the veil marks the end of the old covenant and the beginning of a new covenant, for a new people, a new nation. The third and fourth cups. Hebrews 8:13 states, "In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."
The Kingdom of God, the establishment of the new nation, is now realized at Pentecost. For the Jewish people, 50 days from the first Sabbath (Shabbat) following Passover, is the Pentecost festival celebrating the First Fruits and the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai (the 10 Commandments). For the Christians, 50 days from the Resurrection, the Pentecost occurs celebrating the arrival of the Holy Spirit. God, The Holy Spirit, comes and resides in the new temple of God, each person.
The new Temple, the Temple of God, now becomes man; and the Law is now written on new tablets, our minds, and placed in the Holy of Holies, our hearts.
Hebrews 10:16 New Living Translation: "This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 New Living Translation: “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple."
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Leviticus 21:15-16, 21 You shall count for yourselves -- from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving -- seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days... You shall convoke on this very day -- there shall be a holy convocation for yourselves -- you shall do no laborious work; it is an eternal decree in your dwelling places for your generations.
Pentecost, the 50th day, also called Shavu'ot, the Festival of Weeks, contains two Jewish festivals; Hag ha-Bikkurim (the Festival of the First Fruits), when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the Temple; and the Hag Matan Torateinu (the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah), when the Torah was given to Moses and the people.
The period from Passover to Shavu'ot is a time of great anticipation for the Jewish Nation. Each day, from the second day of Passover to the day before Shavu'ot, is 49 days or 7 full weeks. The counting is a reminder of the important connection between Passover and Shavu'ot: Passover being the physical freeing from bondage as slaves in Egypt, and Shavu'ot being the spiritual redemption from bondage of the sins of idolatry and immorality in the Torah.
A New Remembrance is Established as Directed by Jesus Christ
A small portion of bread and the consumption of wine is now done in remembrance of Jesus Christ. The bread of the Passover is now Christ’s Body; the wine of the Passover is now Christ’s Blood. This is called the Eucharist: the Bread from Heaven, the Body and Blood of the Lamb of God. We now eat the Body and drink the Blood of Jesus Christ; this is the new covenant. The new covenant of Salvation. In receiving the Eucharist, we accept the Body and Blood of Christ and accept our salvation of Jesus Christ.
There are two theological terms describing the concept of the bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ; one is called consubstantiation and the other one is called transubstantiation.
What is Consubstantiation and Transubstantiation?
Consubstantiation is when two or more items coexist in union with each other. In this concept the items co-occur yet remain separate. Think of mixing olive oil and water. They are in relationship with each other: olive oil and water; a new mixture. Blended together, both the water and oil still remain independent yet co-exist together. They can be later separated, or they can exist suspended in solution together. Consubstantiation is the concept of the bread and wine co-existing with the Body and Blood of Christ. The bread and wine is not the Body and Blood; they are present with the Body and Blood.
Transubstantiation is that the bread and wine is the Body and Blood of Christ. The substance of the bread and wine has now changed.
Imagine a chair. What makes the item a chair is not the materials of the item. It is a chair regardless of what it is made of. Whether one imagines a wooden chair, a metal chair, or a fabric chair, it is still a chair. The material it is made of is not important; it is a chair.
Another example of transubstantiation is a gift. Your grandparent has two identical watches, and one of those watches is handed to you with the words, “Here is a gift I have for you. Keep this and remember me when you wear it.” It is now a gift; its essence is forever different than the other watch. Of course, the “gift-ness” could be a watch or something else (its form is considered a coincidence (or accident), for it could have been something else and still be his gift). The key word “is”, opposed to “like”. The watch “is” now the gift, not “like” a gift. It has become the gift.
Excerpts from: Michael J Heiman Religious Mysteries and Other Questions Revealed ©2018