“Where ever you wander
Where ever you roam
Be happy in Jesus
And glad to come home”
As we continue our journey on the train ride through history, we will now attempt to pick up the trail of the Southbound Excursion that we left last month when we followed the Northbound Expedition after the splitting of the rails. (Splitting of the Kingdom, 1Kings 12). It soon became apparent that this train also was in for a rough ride and over a period of some three hundred and forty-five years this train had twenty different tour guides (kings), some good, some not so good and some outright bad. So the people on this Southbound Express did not really have a whole lot of moral guidance, and just like their cousins that had gone north, they soon developed a tendency also to worship idols. In the case of the leaders of both the north and the south, there was a distinct difference. In the north, whoever was the strongest and or the most cunning became the leader. They were not related at all but reigned by might alone, whereas in the south those leaders (kings) reigned by succession, because they were all related and were of the Davidic Dynasty as promised (2Sam. 7:16).
Thus it came to pass that because of their sin God allowed the same bunch of marauders, the ones that had hijacked the Northern train, to come and raise havoc on this Southern Excursion. Although this raid was not as successful as the previous one, they still managed to capture a good many of these Southbound travelers (Isa. 36:1, 2Kings 18:9-13) and they were also sent to that far away country (2Kings 18:11), to join their cousins that were sent there some eight years earlier. It was only the front part of the train that escaped from this calamity, namely the carriage that the then present tour guide was riding in. (Jerusalem). But those people possessed a quality that even we today seem to pride ourselves on, namely that they were able to ignore the mistakes they were making and to repeat them over and over again.
Thus they kept ignoring the admonitions and warnings of their God, at this time brought by one of the most well known town criers of all, namely Jeremiah the Prophet, and were soon headed for a calamitous derailment. And so it came to pass that another band of warring invaders, this time from the East came and plundered the land and removed most of the people from off this train and took them away to the land where they once had attempted to build a skyscraper. (Gen. 11:3,4). In addition they killed all the Nobles and the King’s sons and also took the blinded King. (2King 24,25, Jer. 52). So this line of Kings had at this time come to an end, or did it? I will come back to this a little later on.
Now the difference is that in this instance God did not divorce these people, like He had that earlier bunch, but He punished them with banishment for seventy years, after which time they were allowed to return to their own land, which many of them did. However there was one drawback to their stay in Babylon, for when they returned they brought with them some new teachings, that became known as the Traditions of the Elders and which later developed into writings that became known as the Babylonian Talmud. But return they did, and rebuild they did, and this was God’s doing, for prophecy foretold that the Messiah was to come to that nation and into that country.
At this point I want to digress back to the Book of Genesis chapter 38:28-30. Here we read the story of Judah’s twin sons by Tamar, it tells us that when Tamar travailed, one of the babies put out his hand, where upon the midwife tied a scarlet thread, but the hand withdrew and that child was born last. This child was named Zarah and played second fiddle to his firstborn brother Pharez. Now some held the belief, that the descendant of Zarah left the company of the Tribes of Israel already during their stay in Egypt and migrated to the British Isles and settled in Ireland. Thus it happened, that as Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, the Prophet Jeremiah rescued the daughters of Zedekiah and took them by way of Egypt and Spain to Ireland where one of the daughters was married to Eoghiadh the Heremon, reigning King of Ireland, and thus the Royal line continues until today. (For reference see the book The Tender Twig, by Frances Henking).
So at this time let us now continue our travels. We have come to a large void of about four hundred and fifty years in which our Bible is totally silent, but it is during this time that survivors of the first train wreck and which had escaped across the mountains to the north, started to make their way group by group, tribe by tribe, to the appointed place as prophesied to David (2Sam. 7:10), which was to the north and the west, to the coastlands of north western Europe and the British Isles.
Thus we cross this great void or divide and we find ourselves again in the land of Palestine, which at the time is a province of the Great Roman Empire, and we arrive just in time to witness the birth of a baby boy, which in itself created quite a stir, for he was destined to be the new CEO of our travel company. When He arrived on the scene as an adult thirty years later He right away found twelve other men whom He taught and instructed to be His assistants, and His rules and actions would forever change the course of history. We can read all about this in the four Gospels. But the changes He brought were too much for some of the powers of that time and they had Him killed, but since He was closely related to the Almighty God of Heaven the grave could not contain Him, and thus this cowardly act set in motion a movement that would put the world on fire with a zeal for better life, namely life without end. Up until now all those riding the trains had incurred a huge debt, for very few paid the required fare, but all that changed with the Man of Galilee, for He paid the full price at Calvary. His blood atoned for all!
So here we are aboard the Redeemer Flyer, leaving Calvary and heading out on the last leg of our journey. The first part of this run turned out to be quite dangerous for the religious and political powers would not condone those who followed “The Way”, as it was first called and many were persecuted and lost their lives. Through the work of those twelve assistants that the Master had chosen many persevered and the movement grew. And so in the early part of the fourth century the Roman Emperor, Constantine, proclaimed Christianity, as it was now called, the official religion of the Roman Empire and thus we see here the official birth of the Church of Rome. So as we keep travelling along we see this church becoming a very dominant entity both in religion and in politics and soon the people were being subjugated by this body and truth was being withheld and it was at this time in history that the train seemed to enter a long and dark tunnel (Dark Ages) for about a thousand years before a light started to shine again. John Wycliffe translated the Word from Latin into English thus making it available to the common people and Martin Luther broke with the Church of Rome and the Reformation was on its way. And now as our train keeps barreling along more and more folk are getting on as the true Word is spread throughout the world and all looked rosy. But a strange thing is happening, people are getting more education these days and yet are getting more confused, we are in control they say. I can handle whatever comes my way, why should I believe in fables? So you see our train is losing ridership. And now we have arrived in the twenty-first century. All that we have gone through is past, the present is just for a moment, but the future is forever. So my friends and fellow travelers, where are you? The train still stops on demand, and anyone willing to get on will have a chance. For we have now changed trains onto the Salvation Special and we are heading for our final destination, be aware that there is not a whole lot of time left before we will get there. The cost of this ride is not beyond our means, just dip you finger in the blood of Calvary and believe, that is all that is required of you, and let me tell you, it will be worth it. Are you willing to ride the last part of the rail to see what awaits at the end station?
The place we are finally heading for is Paradise Junction, and when we get there, there will be a large banner telling us, Welcome Home. And they will all be waiting for us, there will be Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, Elijah and David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Peter, James and John, and all those others that got there by the Blood of the Lamb, and finally we will see the Lamb sitting on His throne, surrounded by all the saints whose garments were washed in the Blood and were as white as snow.
ND HE WILL SAY, WELL DONE THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. WELCOME HOME.