A group of tourists bound for a certain ancient city, were in conversation with some men in their compartment, also going there, and who appeared to be citizens of that place. Many questions were
asked. As they approached their destination, they saw a great castle, in an extensive park surrounded
by the waters of a beautiful river. "Who lives there?" asked the visitors. With a wide sweep of his hands, one citizen answered, "The Lord who owns all this country." "Can we visit the castle?" "0 yes," replied the same man. "It is open to every one." "Not at all," contradicted another citizen, and went on, "At the entrance to the bridge is a warning, 'Trespassers will be prosecuted', and at the entrance to the castle, another, 'Beware of Dogs'." The first citizen asked mockingly, "Have you seen these warning boards yourself?" "No, but the king's servants say so, and the guide book tells the same." The first citizen spoke laughingly, "I don't believe the servants, and I don't believe the guide book either Reason tells me that all people should be free to see the castle and walk in the park." The second citizen retorted, "In case the servants and the guide book tell the truth, it will go bad with us." The first citizen answered, "Who has seen the king? Who knows that those servants are really his? Does the guidebook truly show his instructions? Anyway, we believe the king is kind. Will such a ruler really punish so terribly those who break his rules?" A third citizen spoke, "I feel the servants are either knaves or idiots. Our ideals are equality, and possessing all things in common. In accordance with human rights we need no permission to see the castle or its grounds." The second citizen said again, "What's there in applying for permission to the king's son, his only son and heir, who is managing everything for his father? We need not run any risk!" The first citizen said in a bantering tone, "Yes. And, it seems, if we keep close to the prince he will protect us from the fangs of those bloodhounds. Is it not sheer nonsense? Nobody speaks about a queen, the lady of the castle. Whence comes this prince then? Whoever that young man may be, he can be no more son to the king than you or I." They talked on in that strain.
When they arrived at the city, the tourists went aside to discuss what they had heard. Each bought a guidebook. "This is a mystery," said they. "This guide book clearly confirms what the second citizen said." One tourist spoke: "But the fact remains, that not one of those fellows has been anywhere near the bridge, to be sure of what he says. Those who warn us seem to take for granted, whatever the servants or this guide book says." A second tourist answered, "What need for personal experience? Does not reason say, that in this 20 th century, no king or prince can claim an exclusive right to his property? This is the age of democracy. The people's voice is the voice of God. The subjects should be consulted for making rules." The citizens had not really dispersed. These came up, and offered to conduct the visitors to the castle. The tourists were extremely pleased. "Throwaway those books. They are not a guide really. Trust us," they said. The first tourist clutched his guidebook to his bosom, and refused to follow the citizens. One or two more of them did the same. "Poor fools," thought their companions, and told them before they set out, that they would soon rejoin them at the hotel where they had booked their rooms. A few of the citizens also refused to make the venture saying, that they were not so sure that the guidebooks were wrong, after all.
The party which had so rashly set out, decided to do the castle first, and then to saunter in the park, and lunch in the restaurant -if there was one there. Then, as if doing the visitors an honor, the citizens asked the tourists to enter the gate first. But as soon as the unfortunate men stepped in, with hellish howls a pack of bloodhounds fell on them. Seeing this the citizens took to their heels The guards who had been shadowing them all the way, 'arrested those and hand-cuffed them immediately. The sentinels at the gate drew back the dogs before they tore the intruders into pieces, and handed over the bleeding tourists also to be handcuffed. They were all hauled up before the prince who sat on his judgment seat. The wounded strangers were asked whether they had not read their guidebooks. "But our friends who are very learned and respectable citizens and experts, were of the opinion that all people were free to visit here," they answered. "But what does the guide book issued under my seal, in my father's name, say? Don't you know that this is my father's property and he can make what rules he likes about it; and that I go by my own published word, and not according to the opinions of your learned men? The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge; and not those who reject me and receive not my words. Had you contacted me, I would have done all the needful, and you would have been my father's guests. Now you have to pay the utmost penalty for ignoring my commandments." The guard took the whole party and threw them into a dark and deep dungeon from which they could never, never escape.
This is only a parable. But it illustrates the truth about the Kingdom of God. It is God's own domain, and we can enter it only on His own terms and conditions. Our own ideas, imaginations and plans will not work there. God has declared and proclaimed in His Word, the Holy Bible, the conditions for admission into His Kingdom, and has put up clear warnings of the doom of those who reject or ignore His commandments. He will go by His Word on the Judgment Day, and the Bible will be the witness against unbelievers who will with crooked teachings keep people from recognizing their sins, from repenting for their sins, and from going to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
Paul says, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8). The Son of God, our Savior the Lord Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). Now, DEATH is going to carry you off some day, sure and certain. Then you will find yourself in ETERNITY. Is it safer for you to trust your Creator, Who knows what He says, and is anxious to save you from everlasting damnation, or to put your trust in the miserable theories and
opinions of men like yourself, who can neither save you, nor themselves from the just wrath of God?
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the
flesh...If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither
bid him God speed"(2John7,10). H.K.
YE ARE MY FRIENDS--2 Bakht Singh
If you want to have a true friend in your life, or to be a true friend to someone, first learn to cultivate real friendship with the living Savior. As you begin to grow in the friendship of the Lord Jesus Christ, He will give you many many loving friends everywhere. Before that, you may have shown much affection to certain friends, and spent your money on them. In order to show your friendship, you may have written very long letters. You may have even sat up at night and exhausted all your vocabulary to show your affection. When the reply came after three or four weeks, and when you opened it with trembling hands, and found nothing but a few formal lines thanking you for your letter, and apologizing for the delay in replying, your face fell and you had no desire to eat or drink. That is human nature. When however, you have learned by experience to be the friend of God, you will see that He Himself will give you many loving friends who will give you love unspeakable.
The disciples were feeling very very sad because the Lord Jesus had told them in a very plain way how He was going to be betrayed and crucified. They were all feeling downcast, and did not even know what to say. But as they walked in the dark night in the small path leading to Gethsemane, our Lord said, "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you" (John 15: 15). They thought they were being left alone and forsaken, but He called them His friends. Servants cannot understand anything about the master, but a friend can, and that is why the Lord made known to His disciples all what He head of His Father. That is divine friendship.
God was leading Abraham to the very same frienu3hip. "And the LORD said, Shall l hide from
Abraham that thing which I do" (Gen. 18: 17). What a wonder this is! God had every right to do what
He wished. His time had come to judge the inhabitants of those wicked cities called Sodom and Gomorrah and He was about to do so. But He said: "How can I hide it from Abraham?" Abraham was
not saying: "Oh God! You must tell me everything," because he had not yet understood the heart of
God for him. No doubt, he had been obeying God as far as he could, but he had not yet entered into
the heart of God. Now God was saying about him. "How can I hide my counsel from Abraham?" This is
God's purpose for you and me also. We are redeemed, purchased, washed and cleansed by His blood, not to live as we like. No, we have been called to be the friends of the most high and living God. God wants you to climb that Mountain of Friendship and then you will know how God, as your friend, reveals and shows you many many truths and mysteries. If you are really a child of God and if you are truly born again there will be a great longing in your heart to know the Bible. This was my longing too. I went on reading the Bible sometimes for 12 to 14 hours a day. But that did not solve my problem. Bible knowledge itself does not satisfy our hunger. Similarly, I thought that by spending many hours in prayer I would be satisfied. I tried that too, and whenever and wherever possible I spent hours in prayer, but even then I could see defeat in my life. Then I began to long for some miracles and through prayer and by God's grace, I saw many miracles also. But even that did not satisfy me. But when I understood God's purpose that He, the holy, just, mighty and great God wanted me to be His friend and enjoy pure friendship with Him, I was satisfied. God Himself began to speak to me and taught me things which I could not learn from any man. In other words, He taught me how to be His co-laborer, partner and friend.
Let us now consider a few points about the friendship of God with Abraham. "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am" (Gen. 22: 1 ). First of all, God tempted Abraham, i.e. He proved or tested him. Now if you want to climb the mountaintop of friendship with God and if you want to enjoy the friendship of God, then be prepared to be proved and tried by God's own testing.