Two days from now the passover occurs, and the Son of man is to be delivered up to be impaled.
On Nisan 13, 33 C.E., as the day drew near ‘on which the passover victim was to be sacrificed,’ Christ told Peter and John: “Go and get the passover ready for us to eat.” “At length . . . the hour came” for the Passover meal, after sunset on Nisan 14, which would be Thursday evening. Jesus ate that meal with his apostles, and then he instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal. That night he was arrested and tried. Jesus was impaled close to noon on Nisan 14, and that afternoon he died. Thus, “Christ our passover [was] sacrificed” on the same day as the Passover lamb was slaughtered. As the end of that Jewish day approached, Jesus was buried—before the start of Nisan 15.
Multitudes of people in our modern world profess to believe in Jesus. In that respect they are in a similar situation as were the Jews in Jesus’ day who professed to have the faith of Abraham, but refused to accept Jesus as God’s appointed representative —as the Messiah. It was, in fact, Jesus’ own countrymen who demanded that he be put to death.
Here’s something to consider and it’s not even hypothetical, not really. What would happen if Jesus were to return today to walk the earth? No doubt most people imagine that they would immediately hail him as if he were a great celebrity. But the truth is if Jesus were to return in the flesh the vast majority of people would be manipulated into being in favor of killing him again. And their animosity toward Jehovah will be amply demonstrated in the near future.
One of the reasons the Jewish leaders failed to accept Jesus as Jehovah’s anointed representative was because of their ignorance concerning the purpose of the Messiah. Even the believing disciples labored under the erroneous expectation that the Messiah was going to restore the kingdom to Israel and throw off the Roman yoke. They had no comprehension of the ransom at that time. It was inconceivable to the apostles that Jesus would be put to death as a common criminal. That’s why on one occasion Peter tried to dissuade Jesus from his sacrificial course only to be sternly rebuked by Christ.
But as regards the return of Christ the masses of nominal Christians, as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses, are in the dark. The evangelical crowd imagine that they’re going to be teleported into heaven the moment Christ returns. Admittedly, though, most churchgoers have no real expectation of Christ returning at all, let alone there being rapturously levitated into heaven.
But Jehovah’s Witnesses do not grasp the nature and significance of Christ’s return either. In that respect Jehovah’s Witnesses are in the same position as were the apostles before they were anointed and enlightened.
Really, how could they have any scriptural basis for anticipating the revelation of Christ? Since its inception in 1878 the Watchtower has taught that Jesus has already returned! His coming again in the future will be anticlimactic. After all, hasn’t Revelation’s “grand climax” already occurred? Have not the seven seals been unsealed? Have not the seven angels blown their trumpets? Have not the seven bowls of the wrath of God been poured out? Well, six anyway? What’s left?
In reality, nothing that has been destined to occur in the book of Revelation has come about. The revelation of Christ and the unveiling of Jehovah’s judgments has been concealed from Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The actual second coming of Jesus will bring about a great separation and a refining of those gathered together in Christ. Jesus will reveal himself to the chosen ones, who will then shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, Jehovah.
Jesus will walk among mankind by means of his brothers and everyone will be judged by their treatment of them. And just as Jesus was betrayed by his fellow countrymen and even one of his own apostles, the brothers of Christ will be set upon by the world and betrayed by those who used to be their brothers, so that the world will be held liable before God for having put all the sons of God to death.
At that point the sacrifice that Jesus provided will have accomplished its primary purpose of bringing into existence a new creation. When the last of the chosen ones are executed by the beast it will be as if the altar of sacrifice will become obsolete. The proclamation of the death of Jesus will then cease, as will the Lord’s Evening Meal.