Cup of Elijah:
The Fifth Cup of the Seder

5th Cup

The last time I wrote, I shared about the 4th Seder cup—the Cup of Praise which celebrates God making the Jewish people into a great nation. However, to many Jewish people, this cup is bittersweet, since many are still in exile and awaiting the return of the Messiah. For this reason, the Rabbis instituted a fifth cup, the Cup of Elijah. God spoke through Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.” (Malachi 4:5)

In Luke 1:17 NASB) the angel says that John the Baptist, “will arrive in the spirit and power of Elijah.” The angel Gabriel’s prophecy in Luke 1:17 directly references Malachi’s prophecy (Malachi 4:6) that “He [John] will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers…” Later on in Luke 1, Gabriel visits Mary and prophesies Jesus’ birth. Of course, the birth of John is only a foreshadowing of the birth of Jesus—the promised Messiah!

It is essential to remember that this is the first prophetic word in 400 years since the last prophet Malachi spoke! It is no coincidence that the last words of the Tanakh (Old Testament) prophesy the Messiah’s coming and that the first words after centuries of silence foretell His birth.

In the 5th cup, the Cup of Eljiah—we see the amazing hope our people have in the coming of the Messiah! For those of us who know Jesus already, we already see Him as our Passover Lamb, and the 5th cup reminds us of His second coming! For those who do not yet know Jesus, the 5th cup points to a hope in their promised Messiah; though He already came, His people will see Him as if He came for the first time (Zechariah 12:10).

For all of us, the 5th cup reminds us of the sweet hope we have in the Messiah—that He has come and will come again to restore the Jewish people, regather us from the four corners of the earth and that He will bring about peace in Jerusalem and peace in the nations. There will be no more punishment, shame or sorrow (Revelation 21:4) —we look forward to when the Lord says of Israel: “They shall be My people, and I will be their God” (Jeremiah 32:38, Revelation 21:3). When Jesus returns, His kingdom will never end (Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 9:7)

What a beautiful hope we have in Messiah! I pray that the reality of this hope may dwell in your hearts this Passover, as well as in the hearts of your Jewish friends and family!

Next year in Jerusalem!

Your brother,