Passover, also referred to as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is one of the most important Jewish Feasts. It is a festival the Lord asked His people to observe and remember—forever.
“Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.’”—Exodus 6:6-7
The cups of wine at the Passover Seder tell of the historical redemptive story of God’s chosen people. Wine is a royal drink that symbolizes freedom, as in the Israelites’ exodus out of Egyptian slavery.
Wine and vineyards are mentioned throughout Scripture in reference to abundance, celebration, blessings, and prophecies.
References to Wine in the Bible
Abundance and Wine in the Bible
- “Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine.”—Genesis 27:28
Isaac declares this blessing over his son Jacob. This passage is full of imagery of God’s rich bounty. It also reflects the covenant promise that God made to Abraham.
Celebration and Wine in the Bible
- “But those who have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord; those who have brought it together shall drink it in My holy courts.”—Isaiah 62:9
God tells us that Israel’s oppressors will no longer rob “grain or wine” from them. Instead, they will eat and drink in His courts of sanctuary. This restoration—and reclaiming of blessings—is certainly a cause for celebration!
Blessings and Wine in the Bible
- “So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”—Proverbs 3:10
The first part of this passage instructs us to trust and honor God with our possessions. Practically speaking, we can show generosity toward others as a way to express worship and wholehearted trust in the Lord. The heart behind this giving spirit is from a place of confidence that God’s resources are never-ending, and that what we give is directly from Him. As a result, He will “overflow” our cup.
Prophecies and Wine in the Bible
- “The Lord will answer and say to His people, ‘Behold, I will send you grain and a new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied with them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.’”—Joel 2:19
God promises to restore prosperity to His people who turn to Him, and judge those who are against them.
The Four Passover Cups of Wine Represent God’s Deliverance
The Lord uses four expressions of deliverance for the Hebrew people, describing their exodus out of Egypt.
- I will bring you out…
- I will rescue you…
- I will redeem you…
- I will take you as My people…
At the Passover Seder meal, each person is given a cup, from which they drink of the wine four times.
Believers and the Passover Cups of Wine
The cups of wine are taken at specific times throughout the Seder meal and represent different covenant promises.
The First Is the Cup of Sanctification. “Blessed are You, LORD our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.”
This is then followed by questions discussing the significance of the night and why the traditional foods are eaten.
The Second Is the Cup of the Plagues. This cup symbolizes the freedom we have from fear of all sickness, disease, and disasters.
The Third Is the Cup of Redemption and Healing Released. A blessing is said over the bread and the wine. “Blessed are You, LORD our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. Blessed are You, LORD our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.”
The Fourth Is the Cup of Praise. It is a time to proclaim God’s promises written in Exodus 23. We, as Believers, can declare these promises too, as God brought us out of the slavery of sin and into the freedom offered to us through the Lord’s covenant relationship made possible through Jesus!
The Passover Cups of Wine and Communion
Scholars believe that the third cup, which is the cup of redemption and healing, was mentioned when Jesus, “took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them (the disciples), saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins’” (see Matthew 26:27-28).
This third cup is what many of us today associate with communion.
When Yeshua Messiah went to the cross that day after the Passover, He willingly gave His life for us. His blood was shed to purchase our pardon and restore our covenant relationship with the Father.
These four Passover cups represent the four promises we still have today. The resurrection, which is what we as Christians base our faith upon, did not negate these promises… it fulfilled them!
- “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”—Matthew 5:17-18
Wine and Communion
During communion, we remember the redemption at the cross. But recalling these four cups—the ones that Jesus Himself drank at His last Passover meal with the disciples—opens our eyes and hearts to how big the sacrifice was at the cross. As a result, our faith in the Lord grows.
Let us take communion looking backward and forward. Looking back, we can claim the promises of the Passover cups of wine because of the blood that was shed for us.
Let us remember what God’s plan has been for us and His chosen people of Israel from the beginning.
Let us remember the people from whom our Savior was born and the richness of that heritage.
Let us remember the freedom from the bondage of sin we now have. Sin no longer yokes us. We are victorious!
And finally, let us remember the promise of what lies ahead; the crown of life and the robe of righteousness that is ours.
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”—1 Corinthians 11:26
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For additional information about the relationship between Passover and communion, check out these articles…