Peace be with you Ron,
[quote:1xvebv02]When Jesus died on the cross, Before He died He said “It is Finished” What was it that He meant by “It is Finished?”[/quote:1xvebv02]
Christ is referring to the Pascal Sacrifice and the 4th Cup of the Passover meal. The following is a excerpt from Dr. Scott Hahn’s lecture entitled The fourth Cup[/url:1xvebv02]:
[quote:1xvebv02] That’s the Old Testament background. What it all meant was that this was the covenant event. In other words, what God was interested in doing was to restore the family purity and the family communion of His children, the people of Israel. The Passover was the bonding agent that brought it about, through the blood of the lamb, that sacrifice. And so it was celebrated for thousands of years, and still is by Jews, as the sign of the Mosaic covenant. Now remember, a covenant is a sacred family bond; it’s more than just a contract. And remember also that firstborn sons were marked for destruction. In other words, Egypt offered up a sacrifice and so did Israel. Egypt’s sacrifice was unwilling: their firstborn sons. Israel’s sacrifice was voluntary: the unblemished lamb. All of this is key, I believe, to understand the New Testament context of the Last Supper and our own Holy Eucharist, because when Christ institutes the Eucharist, as I said, it takes place in the upper room at the Last Supper. And what are they doing but celebrating the Passover? Luke 22:15: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you.” So likewise in Mark chapter 14: “His disciples said to him, ‘Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?’ And he gave them instructions and the disciples set out and entered the city and found it as he had told them and they prepared the Passover.”
Why did he (Jesus) skip the fourth cup?
And you know the circumstances and details surrounding the Last Supper. I won’t recount all of them, but let’s just go over the more salient features. In Mark 14:22ff we read, “And as they were eating he took bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them and said, ‘Take; this is my body. And he took a cup and when he had given thanks (the Greek word for that is eucharisto) he gave it to them and they all drank of it, and he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many.'” And then he adds a kind of unusual statement: “Truly I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” And then, when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the night to the Mount of Olives. Now that might not seem very significant to you but to scholars who study the gospel accounts of the Passover in the upper room, there’s a big problem. Why? Because we know the way the Passover has been celebrated for centuries, for millenia; it’s a very ancient liturgy, it’s well known, it’s no secret. Jews still celebrate it according to the same structure. There are four cups that represent the structure of the Passover. The first cup is the blessing of the festival day, it’s the kiddush cup. The second cup of wine occurs really at the beginning of the Passover liturgy itself, and that involves the singing of psalm 113. And then there’s the third cup, the cup of blessing which involves the actual meal, the unleavened bread and so on. And then, before the fourth cup, you sing the great hil-el psalms: 114, 115, 116, 117 and 118. And having sung those psalms you proceed to the fourth cup which for all practical purposes is the climax of the Passover.
Now what’s the problem? The problem is that gospel account says something like this: after the third cup is drunk Jesus says, “I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until I am entering into the kingdom of God.” And it says, “Then they sang the psalms.” Every Jew who knows the liturgy would expect: and then they went ahead and said the grace and the blessing and had the fourth cup which climaxed and consummated the Passover. But no, the gospel account say they sang the psalms and went out into the night.
I’m sure this doesn’t seem like a big problem and for a long time it didn’t seem big to me, but it had led many scholars to question whether he was celebrating a Passover at all because you just don’t blow apart the liturgy that way. You don’t just sidestep the most important part. It would be like saying the Mass and skipping the Eucharist, forgetting the words of consecration. So why did Jesus do it? Other scholars say, well back then there must not have been a fourth cup. But ancient revered traditions like that don’t just spring up overnight and then cover the globe like the Passover liturgy has, with all four cups. And so it seems likely that there might be a better explanation. But where? Why did he skip the fourth cup? After all, he was raised a Jew, he’d been celebrating the Passover every year of his life since he was a little boy according to the strictest laws of Moses. Well, maybe there’s a psychological reason. Maybe he was so anxious, so uptight about what he knew he was going to do, he – for instance, we read in Mark 14:32, “They went out to a place called Gethsemane and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter, James and John and began to be greatly distressed and troubled, and he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful even unto death.'”[/quote:1xvebv02]
For the entire text of Dr. Hahn’s lecture you can click here[/url:1xvebv02].
As many think this passage is not a reference that Christ’s work here on Earth for our salvation was complete. For Old Testament prophecy has not been fulfilled until Christ’s resurrection.