Cup of Demons
Originally scheduled for November 20
Many Christians find themselves puzzled when reading through the
book of Leviticus. Rules seem so petty sometimes. But often we can
find reason for it explained in the New Testament as a forerunner of
what was to come when Christ arrived. Such a regulation is found
'The priest shall also put some
of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense which is
before the LORD in the tent of meeting; and all the blood of the
bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering
which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
The explanation starts with the idolatrous
religions which surrounded the ancient Jew in the days of the
Tabernacle. Paul assures us that the “gods” of the heathen are
nothing but demons. The ancient pagans believed that the blood of
the sacrifice was the food of their gods. As a result of this
belief, they would drink the blood of the sacrifice so that they
would gain some of the power of their gods by doing so. Just to
drink that blood was to acknowledge dependence upon the demon gods
of the pagans. It showed that you wanted their power in your body by
drinking their food. The ancient Jew was strictly commanded not to
Paul picks up this thought in the New Testament:
No, but I say that the things which the
Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I
do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the
cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the
table of the Lord and the table of demons.
The argument is quite relevant; he was
talking to people who ate meat sacrificed to idols. The point is
quite clear: you are either on the Lord’s side or on the side of his
opponents. But of course today we don’t get meat sacrificed to
idols; that particular temptation disappeared about 1500 years ago.
Or did it?
The question is whether or not we have to choose
sides. The answer is still the same: yes, we do. Consider some
For most of us the first great temptation in life comes in the form
of sex. Marital faithfulness is under siege today. Our society tells
us that it is not only uncool but impossible.
When this temptation fades, the temptations of the world take its
place. I must have a better car, a bigger boat, live in a nicer
Finally, there is the supreme temptation of pride.
Not only do
you have to choose sides, you have to stick with it!
Communion provides a recurring challenge for this in two words:
“examine yourself.” If the temptations of this world rule your life
on Saturday night then it’s time to change. Don’t be a
hypocrite; confess your sin to God and repent. Plan to change
and commit to it. Then, take in a worthy manner – an honest,
repentant manner. Be what you claim to be – a follower of