I would like to tell you a parable of two trains that have travelled across the pages of history for nearly two millennium.
Back in the First Century, both trains were parked across the station from each other in Jerusalem. One was an express that I will call the Jewish Train. The other train, which had just pulled into the station, was a local and had many more cars. I’ll call it the Gospel Train.
Now the Jewish Train had already travelled some 2000 dusty years and was just waiting to pick up one more passenger, known only as the Messiah, before continuing on. What the conductors didn’t realize, however, was that the Messiah had already come on board but was not recognized. When Yeshua finally identified himself as the one they were waiting for, neither the people nor the conductors believed him, and threw him off .
Broken-hearted over their rejection, Messiah shook the dust from his sandals and said to the Jewish train, “From now on you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 24:39). He then turned and boarded the local Gospel Train followed by a goodly number of Jews who had believed in him.
Then both trains pulled out of the station.
For the next two thousand years the trains hurtled through history on completely different tracks, experiencing totally different realities. The Jewish Train, once so filled with hope and promise, entered a long dark tunnel that was often terrifying. And the people cried out, when will it end?
The Gospel Train with the Messiah on board, although under constant trial and tribulation, was full of light and joy and promise. This train made thousands of local stops around the world, picking up more and more passengers.
Then, after twenty centuries, the Jewish Train suddenly found itself back in the Jerusalem station again. A new hope and excitement filled the hearts of the passengers as they sensed their long nightmare ride was over.
Soon after, the Gospel Train, now called the Christian Train, also pulled into the Jerusalem station. And Messiah made a startling announcement. He told all aboard he was getting off here and advised all who loved him to do likewise. He’d brought home the “fullness of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:25). It was now time to favor Zion. If we didn’t get off the train with him we would find ourselves plunged into the “outer darkness.”
And that’s where I believe we are today, folks.
Those who have ears to hear have already begun to pile out of the Christian train onto the Jerusalem station, realizing God’s ultimate intention was not to bring about a “Christianized world” – but a restored Israel. And that the Jews on the other train, who we could not relate to for so long, were actually our long-lost brethren.
Finally, we are starting to see this whole 2000-year church age was God’s way of rounding up all His chosen ones scattered around the world to fulfill the promises to Abraham. Did not Abraham hope against hope “that he might become the father of many nations [Gentiles]?” (Rom. 4:18)
Of those saved, some would be those circumcised in the flesh. But others would not be. That’s why our inclusion had to be by faith, “in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to ALL the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Rom. 4:16)
In the days ahead, I believe an amazing miracle will take place the likes of which the world has never seen. A huge remnant of believers from among the nations (and perhaps many Jews still in the Diaspora) will arrive in Israel in a supernatural way that will exceed even the exodus from Egypt (see Jer. 23:5-8, Isa. 11:11-16).
That’s when, I believe, those on the Jewish train will suddenly be given eyes to see. And they will say to us, “Blessed are you who come in the name of the Lord.” Indeed, many have already started to do so. And just as Yeshua prophesied so long ago, they will see him again.
Equally as exciting, they will begin to recognize who we “Christians” truly are and they will hear themselves fulfilling the words of Isaiah: “You will say in your heart, who has begotten these for me, since I have been bereaved of my children and am barren, an exile and a wanderer? Who has reared these? Behold, I was left alone. From where did these come?” (Isa 49:21). What a day that shall be!
This whole end-time event, I believe, has long been prophesied in the story of Joseph. Unrecognizable beneath his Gentile garb, Joseph (a picture of Messiah in his body) finally revealed himself in tears to his brothers in one of the most poignant moments recorded in the Bible. But unlike Messiah’s weeping over Jerusalem, Joseph’s tears were tears of joy.
And what did Joseph then tell his brothers? “Do not grieve (that you rejected me so long ago) or be angry with yourselves…for God has sent me before you to preserve a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive for a great deliverance” (Gen. 45:5,7). Without Messiah, Israel cannot survive the coming Tribulation. And without Israel, neither can we. It’s a marriage made in Heaven.
Clearly, many tumultuous end-time events still lie ahead. But first things first. And the first thing, I believe, is for the true followers of Messiah to start disembarking from the Christian train. It’s headed for the scrap yard.
It’s time to get ready for a great reunion in the Kingdom of God.
Brian Hennessy, is the author of Valley of the Steeples