After zigzagging her way through the jubilant throng, Ramera found herself
back at Paradise Park. Her strength was nearly spent. Her breathing was labored, and sweat drizzled down her forehead. She
was surprised to see she was virtually alone, there amidst the fragrant flowers and leafy trees laden with succulent fruit.
Her throat was parched. She plucked an apricot from an overhead branch and bit into it. How refreshing its rich, sweet juice
was. The perfect tonic for flagging energy.
Sauntering through the park, she decided to sit awhile and enjoy its verdant
tranquillity before making her way back to the hotel. She spied a wooden bench beneath a gnarled fig tree. Once she was seated,
she shut her eyes to the gentle Glory Light, still holding her head erect. It felt so good to sit still, soothed by sweet
birdsong. Gradually, the light which filtered through her closed eyelids intensified. She could sense the Presence of Holiness_that
very thing which had sent her running in the first place. Curious, she opened her eyes to behold David, Regent of Jerusalem,
standing before her. At first she refused to believe that it could be he. But his face was a very familiar one to citizens
of the Kingdom. She was struck by the beauty of those expressive eyes set in a classically Semitic face, which was now unmarred
by the effects of sin and death.
“Now I know who you are,” Ramera said in the Kingdom tongue, spoken by
everyone in addition to their own native languages. She rose to her feet. “Your face has appeared on our video screens
before, to share the Word of God.”
“Peace, my daughter,” said the newcomer, gesturing for her to relax
in his presence. “May I sit beside you? I bring Good News of Peace.”
“Yes, please do,” replied
Ramera . “But I should think that with all the activities of the Festival, you would be much too busy to concern yourself
“Your soul is my most important concern,” declared the glorified personage. “The
Lord has clearly revealed to me your lost condition. I saw you fleeing His Holy Presence. We get very few visitors here, who
being dead in trespasses and sins, do not come for the express purpose of drinking from the Well of Salvation. People come
for a renewed refreshing of their souls, for this City is the Fount of God’s Glory.”
“My group is
passing through here as one of the destinations of our world tour to learn about other nations,” Ramera told him. “We
come from Gan Nesherim, and from Joystar, its capital city.”
The Regent smiled. “Ah...yes! I know your
Prince and his under-shepherds well. They are rulers of great wisdom and compassion; who in their mortality, were willing
to lay down their lives for the sake of the Truth. You are most blessed to enjoy their watchcare over your great land, the
‘Garden of Eagles’. You come from that renowned city once called Wanderstar. Indeed, it was filled with sinners
wandering blindly toward eternal destruction, until the day our Lord returned to redeem that city unto Himself. Before His
Return, it was a stronghold of dominions of darkness, a place where there was great trafficking in evil, and also much idolatry
and sorcery. But now the righteous shine as bright stars there, and the beauty of the Lord our God is seen in the faces of
those who rule your land.”
“That is so true, Sir,” replied Ramera , awestruck by his gracious words
“I am unspeakably blessed,” continued the Regent, “to see the restoration of my own nation to God’s
loving favor. It is such a joy to serve my King as His Regent, to assist Him in administering His righteous rule over His
own nation Israel; even to be privileged to continually behold His glorious countenance. Your father did not come this year,
Ramera’s eyes darted. “Ah...I think he was a bit too busy, Sir. But,” she hastened
to add, “my Uncle Jared did come with his wife, to represent our clan in Jerusalem for the Feast.”
Regent did not venture to mention Saul, but said, “The heart of your aunt and uncle rejoice in the House of the Lord.
Our God also takes pleasure in them, and in their worship.”
Ramera did not care to pursue that. “To think
that I have seen you in person! I can’t wait to tell my loved ones about this.”
“You are pleased
to have met me,” replied her companion, “but I cannot save you. Far better that you should go with me to see my
Lord, Who alone can purify your inward parts. Otherwise you shall never share in that blessed inheritance which we immortal
saints enjoy with Him.”
“But...I’m not good enough to come close to him!” stammered Ramera,
flinching. “Sir, you have no idea how I live! I’m sure the King is better off without me!”
know that is not true,” said Regent David. “You felt the sweet influence of His Spirit drawing you unto Himself.
Our God would never extend His love to you if your soul were of no worth to Him.”
“That is logical, Sir,”
said Ramera, diffidently.
“What is your age, young woman?” inquired the Regent.
“Nearly 40,” murmured the ruler, a faraway look in his eyes. “When I was your age,
I had just been promoted by the Lord to rule over all Israel. But in my youth I was tried in the Refiner’s Fire, and
passed through much tribulation. Only by the mercy of God did I attain to your years.”
sorry, Sir. It must have been hard for you. So much living had to be packed into the space of just a few years,” chuckled
Ramera, uneasily. “You know, I’m still a youngster myself. I may gain another inch or two in height before I stop
growing; at least that’s what I’ve been told. I take after my father, who is quite tall, although my mother’s
a tiny thing, ha!”
The solemn Regent would not be diverted by Ramera’s evasive chatter.
“Young lady,” he said, “it is because of the kindness of our God that the probationary period of mortal
life has been extended. You ought not to use this as an excuse to prolong your rebellion against the Lord, but as an opportunity
to draw nearer to Him. Long life is a gift of God, and ought to be lived to His Glory.”
“It would be hard
to give up things I enjoy,” admitted the girl.
“Long ago, I myself fell into the snares of sinful flesh,”
revealed the shining being, lowering his head. “You have only to read the Scriptures to know that the Lord redeemed
me from the blackest Pit of Sin. If I had not come to Him in my miserable estate, I would have perished for all eternity,
and I would not be speaking with you now.”
“But you were willing to give up those things which offended
God. Oh, Sir, I am not ready. I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not, not even for Him!” hedged Ramera, her
eyes round in dismay.
“Of course you are powerless to redeem yourself,” replied the Regent . “It
is God Who quickens the dead. It is he Who restores that which has been marred by the taint of sin, and Who exalts the lowly
to become saints of God. Had you been able to recover yourself from the mire of sin, the death of my Descendant, God’s
only begotten Son, would never have been necessary.”
“Ramera... I know that is your name. Would you even
now allow me to minister to you as your priest before God, to bring you to repentance? For it is written: Let him who is thirsty
come; and whoever is willing, let that one freely partake of the Water of Life.”
But he girl was not eager to
accept that wondrous offer extended to her by Regent David. The smirking, brazen faces of her equally rebellious school chums
flashed before her. One face in particular stood out in bold relief, a stunningly handsome boy nicknamed “Apollo”
by their clique. What would he think if she abandoned the free-thinking philosophy upon which their little circle was founded?
She could imagine her misfit mom teasing her for turning into a fanatic.
All her life her teachers and most of her
friends had warned her of her need for surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. But her inner-circle clique was far dearer to her.
Those nonconformists would surely dump her if she converted to the Faith. “Not now, please,” Ramera whispered.
“I have my reasons, Sir. Could I just wait awhile?”
Regent David frowned. He reflected on the bitter suffering
and hardship he had known during his years in political exile, how his soul had cried out for the blessed Presence of the
Lord in the thirsty wilderness. And now, here was this girl sitting beside him, trying to argue her way out of receiving that
same Glory for which his whole being had yearned, there in that parched wasteland of ages past. Ramera had always known a
life of material comfort and freedom from fear of harm. At this moment the Lord was going out of His way to extend His hand
to her, offering her His eternal friendship. An unperfected mortal might have seethed with rage, maybe even lashed out at
her in anger for her “take-it-or-leave-it” attitude toward the grace of God. But the Regent was far too wise to
indulge in a useless outburst of anger.
Sternly he said, “Ramera, I know this is God’s chosen moment for
you to humble your heart before Him. If you wait for a more convenient time, when you are so ensnared by the cords of your
sin that you find yourself sliding headlong into the Pit, God may still extend mercy to you in your affliction. But great
sorrow will be the price exacted of you for your stubborn delay. And as for those friends you are afraid of offending, they
will be unable to mitigate your misery in that fearful hour of judgment.”
Patiently Regent David continued: “I
was acquainted with the torment of resisting the voice of the Lord. My sleep was taken from my eyes. There was neither soundness
in my flesh, nor rest in my bones. I savored the forbidden delights of lust, for which I obtained forgiveness. But I was broken
upon the Rock of Broken Law. My daughter, many grievous arrows of sorrow pierced my heart, even to the day of my own death.
I reaped the bitter harvest of my own ways. Please do not resist the Spirit of God. Choose, rather, to profit from the example
of my own life, and repent early.”
The girl seemed not to hear him. What would her baby-faced idol say if she
took Regent David’s advice? Wouldn’t he reject her for losing those unique qualities which had attracted him to
her in the first place? His impish smile filled the screen of her mind, and she was not willing to let him go. Looking apologetically
at the Regent she mumbled, “I can’t give him up, Sir. Please...”
Righteous anger flashed in the ruler’s
eyes, but his voice was even. “Young woman, just whom are you prepared to sacrifice in this decision? It was my Lord
and My God, Who was made flesh on your behalf, Who humbled Himself to die the death of a criminal in your place. My own Descendant,
called ‘Yeshua Ha Mashiah’ by my people, is our Salvation, and you ought to be grateful to Him for sparing your
life so that you could come to hear my words today.” His indignation heightened, as he considered the frivolous choice
the girl was making. “How could you insult the Almighty thus, by rejecting His love, in favor of one whose intentions
toward you are as unclean as a swine?”
A swine! A ritually unclean animal. One which was scorned for rooting
in the dirt. Ramera bristled, knotting up her little fist, then relaxed her hand. No, it would not do to be taken into custody
for insolence toward the Chief Ruler of Messiah’s people, second in authority only to the Great King Himself. “Did
I hear you correctly, Sir? Like a swine?”
“Yes, my child. I find it highly offensive that you would choose
the affections of a scheming liar over the love of the One Who sacrificed His only Son for you.”
Ramera’s face flushed. “Oh, Sir, you’ve got no right to
call him that! Not once has Marty ever lied to me! Sure, he isn’t religious, but he’d never hurt anybody! What
gives you that idea?”
The Regent was unruffled by her wild objections. He said: “Consider, Ramera, what
trouble lies in wait for that one who will not heed the Wisdom of God. Only the Lord can give you wisdom to discern a pure
heart from an evil one. I, in my lifetime, was reputed to be as wise as an angel of God. So long as I delighted myself in
Him and in His Law, His power to prevail over all adversaries rested upon me.”
His next words came with difficulty. “Had I not been under chastisement
for my great sin, Amnon could not so easily have deceived me, and gained access to my daughter Tamar to ruin her life.”
Ramera knew the story well, having heard it before in school. Amnon, David’s licentious son, lusted after Tamar,
his beautiful half-sister. Access to her was nearly impossible, because in ancient times princes and princesses dwelt in separate
quarters within the palace.
Amnon’s serpentine cousin, Jonadab, cooked up a diabolical scheme to solve love-sick
Amnon’s problem. Amnon went to bed and played sick, knowing his tender-hearted father would come to check on him. When
David came, he was told it would speed his son’s recovery if only Tamar would visit him and bake him some special cakes.
Amnon’s hunger was of a baser sort. After luring Tamar into his bedchamber, he seized her by the wrists and forced himself
Ramera’s eyes widened in shock to think Regent David could compare Marty with Amnon. “Oh, no, Sir!”
she quavered, backing away. “You’re just prejudiced! Just because he isn’t a believer yet! Who put you up
to this, anyway? Uncle Jared?”
“Ramera,” remonstrated the ruler sternly, “your soul is
in gravest peril, and I am receiving other warnings for you from the Lord just now.”