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November 28, 1997

Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-22; I Corinthians 10:16, 11:17-34

In order to understand the full import of what transpired on that eventful night with Jesus and His apostles, one must look at the Passover observance in the time of Christ. To begin with, it is significant that Jesus participated in activities that were innovations in the Passover as recorded in Exodus. Nevertheless, it goes almost without saying that even though there were alterations, these changes were not anti-Scriptural. In other words, these innovations did not violate any principle of commemoration ordained by God; for example, consider the following additions to the original Passover: (1) the introduction of four cups of wine, and (2) reclining. Originally, the eating of the Passover was done in haste, but in the time of Jesus, the custom was to recline or lean in token of one’s freedom.[1] Thus, the Passover observance by Jesus includes details that were not practiced in the original Passover described by the Torah."[2]

The Custom of Reclining

Matthew, Mark, and Luke record this custom of reclining. All three synoptic Gospels state that Jesus and the twelve reclined in their observance of the Passover. For instance, Matthew writes: "And He said, `Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, `The Teacher says, "My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.' So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus was reclining (ajnevkeito, ajnevkeito, "he was reclining") at the table with the Twelve" (Matthew. 26:18-20). Mark writes: "So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover. In the evening He came with the twelve. Now as they sat (ajnakeimevnwn, ajnakeimevnwn, reclining) and ate,..." (14:16-17a). Luke records: "When the hour had come, He sat down (ajnevpesen, ajnevpesen, he reclined), and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, "With [fervent] desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;" (22:14-15).[3]

The Custom of Drinking Four Cups of Wine

The custom of drinking wine is mentioned by all of the synoptic writers. For example, during this celebration, Jesus and His disciples filled their cups four different times.[4] Matthew and Mark record that Jesus took "a cup" (pothvrion),[5] but they do not tell us which of the four cups he used, nor do they mention the other three cups. On the other hand, Luke and Paul identify "the cup" as the third cup in the Passover.[6] They identify "the cup" that Jesus took to institute His supper by revealing to us that this cup was the cup "after supper," that is to say, after the eating of the paschal lamb. Also, Luke is the only one that mentions two of the four cups shared in the Passover.[8] On the other hand, Paul is the only one that gives the name of the cup employed.[9]

Each filling received a particular name to focus attention on their blessings and redemption from bondage. For example, the first filling was called "the Cup of Consecration"; the second filling was called "the Cup of Proclamation"; the third filling was called by two names, namely, [1] "the Cup of Blessing" and "the Cup of Redemption," which also represented the blood of the Paschal lamb;[10] and the fourth filling was called "the Cup of Hallel," that is to say the Cup of Praise.

The Third Cup of the Passover Meal

The third cup was the most appropriate for Christ to institute His memorial to represent His blood of the new covenant. Since this third filling, to the Israelites, represented the blood of the Paschal lamb slain to protect the firstborn in Goshen, then, this third cup was the most suitable for Jesus to utilize to represent His blood shed or poured out for the redemption of the firstborn ones. Jesus tells the disciples, "This is my blood of the new covenant." Just as the third drinking was drunk to remind them of their redemption from Egyptian bondage, so, today, the third cup (the Cup of Redemption) is drunk to remind Christians of their redemption from sin through the pouring out of Jesus' blood upon Calvary.

This is the thought that Matthew conveys to those to whom he writes in his Gospel. He says, "He took the cup (pothvrion), and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, "Drink from it (aujtou'), all of you. 'For this (tou'to, tou'to) is My blood (toV ai|mav mou, toV |aimav mou) of the new covenant, which is shed (toV ejkcunnovmenon, toV ejkcunnovmenon,) for many for the remission of sins'" (eij" a[fesin aJmartiw'n, eij" a[fesin Jamartiw'n).[11] "Is shed" is an attributive participle[12] in Greek. Since this participle is nominative case,[13] neuter gender, and singular number, it must agree with the noun it modifies in case, gender, and number. This participle (toV ejkcunnovmenon) modifies the noun blood (ai|ma),[14] which is nominative, neuter, and singular. Also the word "blood" is predicate nominative, which means that it is identical to its subject, "this" (tou'to). The antecedent[15] of "this" is "it," (aujtou') and the antecedent of "it" is "cup" (pothvrion). Also, the word "cup" is nominative case, neuter gender, and singular number. Thus, according to Greek syntax, the cup is that which they were to drink and that which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins.[16]

This is My Blood of the New Covenant

It is in order for us to devote a brief amount of space to one of the most controversial sayings in the Eucharistic words of Jesus.[17] When Jesus said "This cup is the new covenant," or "This is my blood of the new covenant," What did He intent to convey? In seeking a clear understanding of this startling phrase about the "new covenant," one must keep in mind the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices to fully appreciate the sacrificial language of Jesus in associating His blood that is poured out with the new covenant and with the forgiveness of sins. The words employed by Jesus are very similar to the vocabulary spoken by Moses: "And Moses took the blood, sprinkled [it] on the people, and said, `This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words'" (Exodus 24:8).

What is the story behind these words spoken by Moses? Moses informs us that on a specially made altar, burnt and peace offerings were offered up, not by priests but by young men of the children of Israel. Then, the blood was collected and divided into two portions. After the blood was collected into two bowls, one portion was thrown upon the altar, the other portion over the people. After throwing blood upon the altar, Moses then read from the "book of the covenant." Next, when Moses threw the blood from the second bowl over the people, he said, "This is the blood of the covenant."

Moses penned these words about the "blood of the covenant" around 1445 BC, approximately 800 years before Jeremiah (31:31-34) spoke of God’s new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. This covenant was temporary; it was not intended to be permanent. As mentioned above, Jeremiah prophesied approximately 800 years after the time of Moses concerning the new covenant. Then, about 600 years after Jeremiah, Jesus announced the new covenant. Jesus made this surprising statement during the Passover meal. Three words, loaded with theological meaning, stand out; namely, (1) blood, (2) covenant, and (3) new. What does "this is my blood" really signify? In order to appreciate the full import of the blood of Jesus, one must also consider the meaning of covenant, especially "new covenant," for it relates to the blood.

This Cup is the New Covenant

Jesus ate His last Passover meal with His disciples on the night of His betrayal. During this meal, Jesus says, as reported by Luke and Paul, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink [it], in remembrance of Me," (1 Corinthians. 11:25). On the other hand, Matthew and Mark give His words: "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins," (Matthew. 26:28). There is a difference in wording between Paul/ Luke and Matthew/Mark. Matthew and Mark read "This (tou'to, touto) is my blood (toV ai|mav mou, toV ai|mav mou)[18] of the new covenant," but Paul and Luke read "This cup (Tou'to toV pothvrion, Tou'to toV pothvrion) is the new covenant in my blood." But Luke, unlike Paul, adds an additional clause: toV uJpeVr uJmw'n ejkcunnovmenon (toV JupeVr Jumw'n ejkcunnovmenon, "that is poured out for you"). This clause is an attributive participle in Greek and refers to "cup." Since an attributive participle is adjectival in nature, it must modify a noun or pronoun. The Greek participle is similar in function to the participle in English.

In English, the participle modifies the nearest noun, but this is not necessarily so in Greek. It may, but there are other factors to consider in determining which noun or pronoun the attributive participle modifies[19]. To illustrate the English participle, consider the following sentence: "The man, sitting by the door, is my Greek teacher." In this example, sitting is a participle telling us something about the noun, man. The participle modifies its nearest noun, man. But in Greek, the participle must agree with its noun in case, number, and gender, not the nearest noun as in English.

Since a participle is a verbal adjective, it shares the characteristics of both verbs and adjectives. As a verb participles have tense[20] (present, aorist, perfect) and voice[21] (active, middle, passive). As an adjective the participle must agree with the word it is modifying in case, number, and gender. In other words, the participle, in Greek, must be the same case, number, and gender as the noun that it modifies. This rule is crucial to a proper translation of the Greek New Testament. This law of grammar is top priority to a proper understanding of the "cup" saying in Luke's Gospel. Luke tells us that the "cup that is poured out is the new covenant in my blood."

Many Christians apply an English rule of grammar to Luke's cup saying, rather than Greek syntax, that is to say, the participle modifies the nearest noun. For example, a common translation of Luke 22:20 is as follows: "Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you, (Luke 22:20, KJV). In the KJV "Which is shed for you" is a non-restrictive adjectival[22] clause with the relative pronoun "which." An adjectival clause may be introduced with relative pronouns, such as "that" or "which." In this English translation, the participle "shed" (poured out) is nearer the word "blood," not "cup." Thus, according to the English rules of grammar, "poured out" modifies its nearest antecedent, "blood." But with Greek syntax, as stated above, the participle does not necessarily modify its nearest antecedent, but its nearest antecedent must be in the same case, number, and gender.

In other words, the participle in Greek, unlike English, must refer to the noun or pronoun of the same case, number, and gender. For example, the present passive participle (being shed) in Luke is nominative case, singular number, and neuter gender.[23] Therefore, the noun to which the participle in Luke refers must also be nominative case, singular number, and neuter gender. Grammatically the only word in this sentence that the participle can modify is cup. The noun, "cup" (toV pothvrion, toV pothvrion), is nominative case, singular number, and neuter gender. On the other hand "in my blood" (ejn tw'/ ai{mativ mou, ejn tw'/ {aimativ mou) is singular number, neuter gender, and dative case,[24] not nominative. This understanding of Greek syntax will assist one in grasping the sense in which Luke uses the term "cup."

What was "being shed," or poured out? Luke says that the cup was poured out. Luke and Paul give the words of Jesus as "this cup," but Luke adds "that is poured out,"[25] which modifies cup in this context, not blood. But, on the other hand, Matthew and Mark give the words as "this is my blood that is poured out." As mentioned above, in Matthew and Mark, the attributive participle modifies "blood." Blood is equivalent to "this," since blood is predicate nominative.[26] But the antecedent of "this" is "it" and the antecedent of "it" is "cup." Both "blood" and "cup" are nominative case, singular number, and neuter gender. The rule of Greek syntax confirms that it is "blood" that is poured out in Matthew/Mark, but in Luke, it is the "cup" that is poured out. Thus, the "cup" in Luke is equivalent to "blood" in Matthew and Mark.

In both Luke and Paul, cup is used for blood. What is poured out? Is it a literal container or blood? Which? Thus, Luke identifies the cup as the blood that is also mentioned in both Matthew and Mark. In Matthew/Mark, the word "blood" agrees with the attributive participle, but also does the word "cup." But in Luke 22:20 "blood" is dative, not nominative ("cup" is nominative). Therefore, the word "cup" is utilized for "blood," because it is that which is poured out. The blood of Christ represents this new covenant and at the same time it is the blood that seals the new covenant. Nevertheless, all the accounts mean the same thing. Whether one says, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood," or "This is my blood of the new covenant," there is no material change. The pothvrion (cup) is synonymous with blood, not a literal container or vessel. The blood is that which is poured out.

The New Revised Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible translate according to Greek syntax.

And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood (Luke 22:20, NRSV).

And in the same way [He took] the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood (Luke 22:20, NASB).

Notice that NRSV and the NASV both translate the attributive participle (toV uJpeVr uJmw'n ejkcunnovmenon, toV JupeVr Jumw'n ejkcunnovmenon, "that (which) is poured out for you"), in Luke 22:20, as an adjectival clause modifying the noun "cup."

Jesus spoke of the blood as representative of the new covenant. This new covenant brings the people of God into a personal relationship with Him through the forgiveness of sins. It goes almost without saying, this new covenant constitutes a radical alteration from the old covenant. This new covenant represents a revolutionary break with the past. It represents a new approach to man's problem of relationship to God. In other words, God deals with sin once and for all. This new covenant answers this problem.

This new covenant is based on forgiveness. Under the first covenant, their failure to comply with the law nullified the covenant. That covenant depended upon obedience of the people. On the other hand, the new covenant relies upon the obedience of Christ, not man. Jesus is the new covenant, not a book.[27] Thus, the new covenant would not be invalidated through lack of perfect obedience on the part of man. In other words, God provided the means whereby He could put away sin once and for all.

In seeking to draw attention to the wonder of this amazing truth, God through Jeremiah set forth the superiority of the new over the old: "I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jeremiah. 31:31-34). Further, this covenant, according to Jeremiah, is "an everlasting covenant" (32:40). Also, Ezekiel speaks of this covenant as an "everlasting covenant" (Ezekiel 16:60) as well as a "covenant of peace" (37:27). Isaiah also writes about this covenant as an "everlasting covenant" (Isaiah 55:3).[28]

Jesus Prophetically the Covenant

Leon Morris captures the essence of the new covenant when he writes: "This new covenant would be based on forgiveness, not on a profession of readiness to keep the law of God."[29] Exactly, how this is to be accomplished, the prophets do not disclose completely. Jeremiah, as mentioned above, sets forth the fact, not the how of the new covenant. On the other hand, God through Isaiah, one hundred years earlier, tells the how, but not as fully developed as in Paul's writings. Nevertheless, Jeremiah speaks of Jesus prophetically as "the covenant." For instance, God exclaims: "I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles." (Isaiah 42:6).

Yet, the Israelites only faintly understood these prophetic utterances. In fact, even after the coming of Christ, men still wanted to know about whom the prophet spoke, of himself or some other man. Luke narrates such a story in the book of Acts. He informs us that a man from Ethiopia sought an answer from Philip as of whom the prophet Isaiah speaks. Philip begins with chapter 53 and preaches unto him Jesus.

God deals with the sin problem in and through Jesus Christ. In this way God demonstrates His righteousness in and through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, God confirms His righteousness in justifying the ungodly by setting forth Jesus as a propitiation for sins. Forgiveness of sins can only be forgiven through the pouring out of His blood. Our Lord restated this thought in the Passover with His disciples. His blood not only ratified the new covenant, but His death was also substitutionary. In other words, Jesus died for us. He poured out his soul for many for the forgiveness of sins. These words of Jesus, as reported by Matthew (26:28), also point to Isaiah 53, especially verse 12,

Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.

Deliverance is only through substitution. That was the meaning of the blood of the slaughtered paschal lamb. Jesus poured out His soul for me. The death that Jesus died was my death. He died for me. He bore my sins. He died in my place. The words "for me" and "in my place" should be upon the heart of everyone. Deliverance by the blood was the outcome of divine wisdom. Those seeking emancipation from eternal death must exercise faith in the blood; they can be assured that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin: "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28)."


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Grassy Church of Christ
Grassy, Alabama
December 7, 1998
10 a.m. – Bible Study

Eddy Church of Christ
Arab, AL
July 19, 1998
10 a.m. – Bible Study

Rocky Creek Church of Christ
Lucedale, Mississippi
August 12, 1998
7 p.m. – Wednesday Services

 


ENDNOTES

[1] Harold A. Sevener, ed., Messianic Passover Haggadah (NC: Chosen People Ministries, Inc, nd), 16 where Sevener says, "The youngest child continues to ask: ... 4. ´On all other nights we eat either sitting upright or reclining; why on this night do we all recline?'"

[2]For a detailed view of the Passover in the time of Christ, see Dallas Burdette's essay, "The Eucharistic Setting in the Synoptics and Paul."

[3] The NIV translates Matt. 26:20: "When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve"; the NASB translates Matt. 26:20: "Now when evening had come, He was reclining [at the table] with the twelve disciples."

[4] Ceil and Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover: Why is this Night Different? (Chicago: Moody, 1978), 71 says, "Also at the seder table, beside each place setting, are small wine goblets -- small because they will be filled with the sweet, red Passover wine four times during the seder. The custom of drinking four cups of wine dates back to ancient Temple times. The Mishnah teaches that, according to two authorities, Rabbi Yohanon and Rabbi Benayah, these four cups correspond to the four verbs in Exodus 6:6-7, describing God's redemption: I will bring you out; I will deliver you; I will redeem you; I will take you to be my people."

[5] The definite article (to;) is found in the Alexandrian or Egyptian type of text. See Nestle-Aland, Greek New Testament, 4th addition, (United Bible Societies: Germany, 1993), 102.

[6] See Luke 22:20: "Likewise He also [took] the cup after supper (meta; to; deipnh´sai7), saying, "This cup [is] the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." See also I Cor. 11:25: "In the same manner [He] also [took] the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink [it], in remembrance of Me." "After supper" is the clue in determining the cup that Jesus instituted His supper with. The participants always filled their cups with wine following the eating of the Passover lamb; this filling constituted the third cup, which is called "the Cup of Blessing."


[8] See Luke 20:14-22. The cup in verse 17 is not the same cup mentioned in verse 20.


[9] "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" (1Cor 10:16).


[10] Ceil and Moshe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 84 says,"immediately following that prayer, the host leads again in the blessing over the wine, and everyone drinks the third cup, commemorating the verse in Exodus 6:6b: ´I will redeem you with a stretched out arm.' This third cup is the cup of redemption, also at times called the cup of blessing. It is the cup of redemption because, say the ancient commentaries, it represents the blood of the Paschal lamb." See also Sevener, Messianic Passover Haggadah, 38 writes "This cup that represents the New Covenant is the Cup of Redemption. It is the cup after the supper which our Messiah used to symbolize His death. Because we know it is the Cup of Redemption (the cup after supper), we know that it was the Afikomen that He used to symbolize His death and resurrection. The scriptures tell us that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin (cf. Heb 9:22). The scriptures further state that the life of the flesh is in the blood (cf. Lev. 17:11)."

[11] Matthew 26:27-28.

[12] A participle in the attributive position has the definite article; when the participle is in the predicate position it does not have the definite article. The participle is a verbal adjective. In fact, it is both a verb and adjective at the same time. Since a participle is an adjective, like any other adjective, it will describe a substantive and will agree in gender, number, and case with that substantive.

[13] Case is the distinction or mark of separation, which denotes the grammatical relation of a noun or a pronoun to other words in a communication. The purpose of case is to show relationship of words to each other. Thus, case has a distinct idea with separate forms for each image. These distinctions (ideas) are present in the Greek New Testament in order to express thoughts clearly. Some grammars give eight cases, while some only list five cases. But even within the five case system, the grammarians have developed various nuances to still describe the eight case functions to express accurately the thoughts of the person communicating his ideas to others. The case of a word in Greek is indicated by the "case ending." In other words, the case ending is a suffix added to the end of the word. For example, the word "apostle" in Greek has eight (five) cases to denote its various functions. If it is the subject (subjective case), it will end with a sigma (s), but if it is functioning as a direct object of the sentence, it takes a case ending Nu (n) that is equivalent to the "objective" case in English.

[14] In Luke's account, the participle does not modify blood, but cup. In Luke the word blood is "dative case," not "nominative case" as in Matthew's account. In Greek grammar, since the participle is a verbal adjective, the participle must agree with its noun or pronoun in "case." In Matthew, both "blood" and "poured out" are "nominative case," but not so in Luke. The participle in Luke, according to Greek grammar, can only modify "cup" which is "nominative case."

[15] House and Harman writes, p 45: "The word, phrase, or clause for which the pronoun stands is called the antecedent of that pronoun. Most pronouns have antecedent either expressed or implied, and they should agree with their antecedents in person, number, and gender. In John gave me his books, and I gave them to his sister, John is the antecedent of his; and books is the antecedent of them....The antecedent of a pronoun may be another pronoun or a phrase or a clause. In Everyone has his wishes sometimes denied, the antecedent of his is the pronoun everyone."

[16] The Greek attributive participle is dealt with more fully under the caption, "This Cup is the New Covenant."

[17] There are many Christians who believe that "the cup" refers to a container, not to the blood of Christ. And, as a result of this misunderstanding, these "one cup" brethren will not fellowship other Christians if they employ individual communion cups in the distribution of the fruit of the vine. This section briefly sets forth, hopefully, a sounder understanding of the term "cup" as it is utilized in the Gospels and Paul. Also, see a forth-coming article on the meaning of "cup" in the Synoptics and Paul by Dallas Burdette in the Fall of 1998.

[18] "Blood" is nominative case, not instrumental (dative of means) case.

[19] Matthew and Mark also use an attributive participle. Both men employed their participles to modify the noun blood, which is nominative case, neuter gender, and singular number, according to Greek syntax. The participle must agree with the noun it modifies. This study of Greek participles is too detailed for an exhaustive study for our purpose in this paper. See my forthcoming article on the cup sayings in the Fall of 1998.

[20] Tense is the quality of the verb that has to do with action. In other words, tense is time: past, present, future, etc.

[21] Voice is that quality of verbs that indicates the relationship of the subject to the action. That is to say, the active voice means that the subject is acting, ("he is loosing") the passive voice means that the subject is being acted upon ("he is being loosed"), and the middle voice represents the subject as acting in reference to himself. For example, "I am hearing myself" (direct middle), or "I am hearing for myself" (indirect middle). The middle voice is a "subjective" personal voice.

[22] House and Harmon, Descriptive English Grammar, second edition (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1950), 304, state: "But nonrestrictive participial phrases require punctuation. Commas usually set them off. The general, seeing the day lost, ordered a retreat contains a nonrestrictive modifier, and the comma after general and the one after lost are necessary to indicate the meaning which the modifying phrase conveys. It is well to remember that nonrestrictive modifiers are not essential to the principal thought of the sentence. The chief idea to be communicated in the above sentence is The general ordered a retreat, and the participial phrase merely gives additional information. As a rule the participial phrase which introduces a sentence is nonrestrictive; as, Having been offended, he refused to come."

[23] Greek has eight cases: (1) nominative [case of designation], (2) genitive [case of description], (3) ablative [case of separation], (4) dative [case of interest], (5) locative [case of location or position], (6) instrumental [case which expresses means], (7) accusative [case of limitation -- its main usage is that of direct object], (8) vocative [case of direct address]; number [singular or plural]; gender [masculine, feminine, neuter]. See Ray Summers, Essentials of New Testament Greek (Nashville: Broadman, 1950), 16-18.

[24] " Blood" (ejn tw'/ ai{mativ mou, ejn tw'/ {aimativ mou) in the Greek case is instrumental (by), not dative (to). The dative "(to"), the instrumental ("by"), and the locative ("in" ) cases are identical in form.

[25] Since the participle is verbal as well as adjectival in nature, one must determine whether the participle is verbal or adjectival. But since this participle is attributive, then, it is adjectival in nature. The present passive participle modifies "cup." Thus the translation is restrictive, not nonrestrictive. In other words, the participle clause identifies "cup" as that which is poured out. An English sentence should help to clarify this rule. House and Harman write, p 303,304: "In The girl wearing the red sweater is my sister, we have a restrictive participial modifier, and hence no commas or other punctuation marks are needed. The phrase wearing the red sweater identifies the girl, and the sentence containing this phrase is read or spoken without any pauses."

[26] The predicate nominative or subjective complement defines or describes the subject. The subjective complement is a noun or an adjective or the equivalent of either which completes the predicate and refers to the subject. When the subjective complement is a substantive (noun or pronoun), it is called a "predicate nominative." Whenever the subjective complement is an adjective or any word or phrase used for an adjective, it is called the "attribute complement" or predicate adjective. The subject and verb are joined with a linking verb (am, are, was, were, etc). For example, in the sentence, I am he, he is a pronoun in the nominative case which completes the predicate (am), refers to the subject (I), and is in a sense identical with the subject. Another example should suffice to illustrate the predicate nominative: Washington was made Commander-in-chief. Washington and Commander-in-chief are the same person. Both nouns are in the nominative case, the former being the subject, the latter the predicative nominative. The verb "to be" is followed by a predicate nominative, never a direct object. See House and Harmon, Descriptive English Grammar, second edition (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1950), 232-238. "This is my blood." Blood is a predicate nominative, that is to say, the word "blood" is the same as the subject (This). But the antecedent of "this" is "it" and the antecedent of "it" is "cup." Even in Matthew/Mark, the "cup" and "blood" are synonymous.

[27] See Isaiah 42:6,: "I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles,

[28] Since the "blood" represents the "new covenant," a few comments on the "new covenant" is appropriate in concluding this subject on the traditions in the Passover. It goes, almost without saying, that the "new covenant" is not twenty-seven books that one calls the New Testament, but, rather, the "new covenant" is a new relationship with God based upon the atoning work of Christ. It is a relationship grounded on faith, not works. This is, do doubt, the reason that Jesus is given to sinful man as "Covenant." It is through Jesus that one enters into a new relationship with God.

[29] Leon Morris, The Atonement: Its Meaning & Its Significance (Illinois: Inter Varsity, 1983), 30.