"For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and He poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them."
Let us study that cup.
The Depths of the Cup
This thought will take us to Gethsemane. We see our Lord prostrate in agony as Peter James, and John fall asleep. From His lips escape such groans and cries as would melt the heart of an archangel. Upon His brow the sweat stands out to run down His anguished face in rivulets of blood. He is gazing into the depths of a cup. "For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture." The cup is full of God’s wrath against sin. How can we ever know what the Lord Jesus saw as He gazed into its dreadful depths? The hymnwriter has caught something of His anguish:
Three times, alone, in the garden
He prayed, not My will but Thine;
He shed no tears for His own griefs
But sweat drops of blood for mine
Mirrored in that cup the Lord Jesus saw a whole world’s sin; He saw the dreadful penalty it had accrued. It was being offered now to Him, and He must take it and drink it. So great was the agony He faced that angels came down to mop His brow, to strengthen Him lest He die there in the garden. Peter, James, and John slept on.
The Drinking of the Cup
Our thoughts turn from Gethsemane to Golgotha. First, the searing pain as the nails were hammered through the hands and feet and into the wood of the cross. Then, the jarring of every joint and bone as the cross was dropped into its socket. Next, the hours of pain and woe, the muscle cramps, the rising fever, the burning heat, the thirst, the mocking crowds, the sneering priests. These, however, were but the beginning of sorrows. Darkness followed, and the cup had to be drunk in all its bitterness and gall. From the darkness came one choking cry: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" The cup was being drained to the dregs. The Holy Sufferer tasted the bitterness, the burning agony of that cup, tasted the horror of being lost, abandoned, under the wrath and curse of God:
Death and the curse were in our cup—
O Christ, ’twas full for Thee;
But Thou hast drained the last dark drop,
’Tis empty now for me. That bitter cup, love drank it up;
Left but the love for me.
How shall we ever comprehend what it meant for Him to drain that cup, that mixture, that concentrate of the wrath of God!
The Dregs of the Cup
This takes us to Armageddon: "But the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them." The Apocalypse speaks of it twice, both times in connection with the filthiness of Babylon (Revelation 14:8; 18:3). It speaks of it also in connection with those who commit the final apostasy and receive the mark of the beast:
"If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture [undiluted] into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb" (Revelation 14:9-10).
We read, in the same chapter, of "the great winepress of the wrath of God" (Revelation 14:19). The Lord has drunk that cup for us. But those who will not accept the cup of blessing and joy He now extends will have to wring out the dregs of God’s wrath and face His fury, if not at Armageddon then certainly at the great white throne. God is sovereign in His punishments.
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