The Four Cups: From Promise to Proposal

Nathan Coston

May 22, 2022


The four Seder cups tell the story of God rescuing His people out of slavery. It is part of the celebration of Passover in the Jewish Culture, passing down the story from generation to generation. The story is told through the cups in a specific order – Cup of Sanctification, Cup of Deliverance, Cup of Redemption and Cup of Praise. The Four Cups are relevant and have significant meaning for Jews and Christians today.

The Cup of Sanctification – The first cup of the Passover is “The Cup of Sanctification.” It is the first cup to be drunk at the Seder meal, and it was to remind the Israelites of God’s promise of a new life, free from the forced labor and heavy yoke of their enemy. As Christians, we too have been given the promise of a new life. We too have been brought out from under the heavy yoke and captivity of our oppressor.

The Cup of Deliverance – The second Passover Cup to be drunk during the Seder meal is “The Cup of Deliverance.” When drinking this cup, the Israelites were to remember that it was Jehovah that delivered them from the chains of bondage. It was Jehovah who passed over and saved them from the darkness of death when He saw the blood of the Lamb. And it was Jehovah that provided an escape through the water and put a barrier between them and their oppressor. As Christians, we too have been delivered. We have been set free, and we are no longer chained to sin. Because of the blood, death cannot hold us in captivity, and because of the Living Water, our oppressor can no longer reach us.
The Cup of Redemption – The third cup of the Passover Seder meal is “The Cup of Redemption,” and it is to be drunk after the meal has been eaten. This cup signified the slaying of the Passover lamb that spared the Israelites from the 10th plague. Those who had the blood of the lamb painted on their doorpost were “passed over,” when death came for the first born. This is the cup Jesus speaks of in Matthew 26:27-29, when He ate with His disciples for the last time, and this is the cup Christians drink when they observe Communion.

The Cup of Praise – The fourth and final cup of the Passover is “The Cup of Praise.” For the Israelites, this cup symbolized restoration and completeness. When drinking this cup, it was a reminder to them that one day they would finally be accepted by God. For Christians, it holds a very different meaning. It is The Wedding Cup. “I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” Matthew 26:29