« Prev 1 Corinthians 10:21 Next »


Verse 21. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, etc. This does not mean that they had no physical ability to do this, or that it was a natural impossibility; for they certainly had power to do it. But it must mean that they could not consistently do it. It was not fit, proper, decent. They were solemnly bound to serve and obey Christ: they had devoted themselves to him; and they could not, consistently with these obligations, join in the worship of demons. This is a striking instance in which the word cannot is used to denote not natural but moral inability.

And the cup of devils. Demons, 1 Co 10:20. In the feasts in honour of the gods, wine was poured out as a libation, or drunk by the worshippers. See Virg. AEn. viii. 273. The custom of drinking toasts at feasts and celebrations arose from this practice of pouring out wine, or drinking in honour of the heathen gods; and is a practice that partakes still of the nature of heathenism. It was one of the abominations of heathenism to suppose that their gods would be pleased with the intoxicating draught. Such a pouring out of a libation was usually accompanied with a prayer to the idol god, that he would accept the offering; that he would be propitious; and that he would grant the desire of the worshipper. From that custom the habit of expressing a sentiment, or proposing a toast, uttered in drinking wine, has been derived. The toast or sentiment which now usually accompanies the drinking of a glass in this manner, if it mean anything, is now also a prayer: but to whom? to the god of wine? to a heathen deity? Can it be supposed that it is a prayer offered to the true God—the God of purity? Has Jehovah directed that prayer should be offered to him in such a manner? Can it be acceptable to him? Either the sentiment is unmeaning, or it is a prayer offered to a heathen god, or it is mockery of JEHOVAH; and in either case it is improper and wicked. And it may as truly be said now of Christians as in the time of Paul, "Ye cannot consistently drink the cup of the Lord at the communion table, and the cup where a PRAYER, is offered to a false god, or to the dead, or to the air; or when, if it means anything, it is a mockery of JEHOVAH." Now, can a Christian with any more consistency or propriety join in such celebrations, and in such unmeaning or profane libations, than he could go into the temple of an idol, and partake of the idolatrous celebrations there?

And of the table of devils. Demons. It is not needful to the force of this that we should suppose that the word means necessarily evil spirits. They were not God; and to worship theta was idolatry. The apostle means that Christians could not consistently join in the worship that was offered to them, or in the feasts celebrated in honour of them.

{b} "cup" De 32:38 {*} "devils" "demons"

« Prev 1 Corinthians 10:21 Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection