Prophecy and History in the 4 cups of Passover
Jer/Yer 31 makes it sound like the New Covenant won't come until Yeshua returns, yet the New Testament tends to talk about it in the present tense. Is this a contradiction? Sounds like it on the surface, but its not when we examine all the facts.
First, there are still prophecies that are part of the Passover tradition that have yet to be fullfilled. At each seder, we celebrate 4 promises from Exodus 6:6-7 with 4 cups of wine. They are...
Now most Messianic Jews consider the 3rd cup the Communion cup for a number of reasons.
The 4th cup is the cup of the wedding feast of the Lamb that we will drink when Messiah returns. For Y'shua said...
"I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until I drink it anew with you in My Fathers Kingdom" (Matt 26:29)
This tells us several things. First, that there is yet another cup to be drunk. And it tells us what that remaining cup is - the cup of the wedding feast. Also, this parallels Jewish tradition that teaches one can drink as much wine between the 1st and 2nd cups or 2nd and 3rd cups, but cannot drink any wine between the 3rd and 4th cups (See the Mishnah, Pesachim 10:7 IV D and E). Y'shua's statement here parallels that tradition perfectly.
The statement "I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until I drink it anew with you in My Fathers Kingdom" also tells us that this future cup is connected to the cup He drank that night. The disciples, familiar with the seder, understand exactly what He meant by what that connection was. So this confirms to us this was more than a tradition - but something that was, in all likelyhood, a G-d ordained tradition.
Note that the 4th cup is "I will take you to me". This is what happens when two people get married. The bride is taken to the groom - they are together. Note how the 3rd and 4th cups parallel the wedding betrothal process of ancient Jewish custom. When a man proposed to a women in ancient Israel,
At a betrothal...
At the wedding...
The 3rd and 4th cups of the seder are the betrothal and wedding cups of the New Covenant. Today, we are living in the betrothal period of the New Covenant. But in Jer 31, it describes the fullness of the arrival of the New Covenant in terms of intimacy saying "no longer will a man teach his neighbor 'know the Lord' for they shall all know me....they will all be teach by the Lord". So we're living in the time period between the 3rd and 4th cups of the Passover Seder. The fullfillment of Jer 31 awaits the second coming of the Messiah.
So the idea that some parts of Scripture talk about the "New Covenant" as if it's present tense and other parts talk about it like it won't come until the Millenium - well - both are true! There's no conflict, once you understand it in light of the tradition of wedding ceremonies.
This is the key to why the scriptures command that we spend all night after the seder in a prayer vigil. (See Exodus 12:42, Deut 16:7, Matt 26:40) After the wedding feast of the Lamb and the Bride, we will commune with Him forever. We "rehearse" this by doing the closest thing we can do to marriage intimacy in this life, which is pray - all night. It's called "watching" because our current prayer life is really a watching and waiting for the day our communion with Him goes beyond the "dark glass" Shaul / Paul talks of in 1 Cor 13:12 and we can know Him even as we are fully known.
Also, in the seder, the return of Elijah is celebrated just before the 4th cup in the seder. That's also when He will return - just before the 4th cup of prophecy - just before Messiah Y'shua returns to earth for His bride. This past Saturday night, when I celebrated Passover, I kept that tradition in a Messianic way by setting two places - one for Elijah and one for the second witness mentioned in Revelations 11.
Now various holidays are associated with the Bride in several ways...
So the Wedding is actually hinted at in two places; Passover and Yom Teruah.
It's also worth noting that the 4 cups of Passover...
Correspond to the names of the first 4 leaders of Israel.
So the first two leaders match the first two cups perfectly in name. The next two have some parallells to the last two cups in name/character, but not as perfect of a match.