A Tale of Two Hotels
by Steve Maltz of SALTSHAKERS
Now pay attention, I'd like to tell you a story. On the face of it, it is the story of the struggle between two hotel owners, but, as you've probably guessed (otherwise, what is this story doing in a religious publication?) it also carries within itself a second story. This is the story of God and His dealings with mankind. First a word of warning - this story has been written to help you get a broad understanding of the tremendous story of our salvation, it is not to be dissected for deep inner truths! If you want these then you're more likely to find them in the pages of your Bible, which I would encourage you to read. But first read my little story. As you read each part be mindful not just of the story itself but of the heading.
PART 1 : Conflict in the hotel (Rebellion of Satan and his angels)
There once was a very old and very rich man. He owned a huge hotel
lived there with his son and best friend. He was also a good man and was kind to his staff, an army of hundreds who looked after the hotel, prepared the rooms, cooked and did all of the chores necessary for the smooth running of such a place. They were preparing for an influx of a very large party of guests who were expected very soon and who would be staying a very long time in the hotel. The owner called all his staff to a meeting, in order to discuss the situation and plan accordingly. There, he gave out tasks to his staff in accordance to their rank and skill. Unfortunately his head steward was unhappy with the jobs that he had been given to do and, having found a group of like-minded people who were similarly discontented, organised a rebellion against the owner. This drew short shrift and the rebels were immediately sacked and asked to leave the hotel.
PART 2 : The first guests (The fall of man)
Soon the first two guests arrived. They checked in at the hotel and enjoyed all of the comforts of this high class establishment for quite some time. Then one day, while they were walking through the grounds they were met by the ex-chief steward, who, pretending to be a staff member, proceeded to tell them lies about the hotel owner. The outcome of this was that these two immediately checked out and were never seen again. It seemed that this episode had disastrous consequences as none of the other guests arrived as planned. In fact the hotel subsequently stayed empty for quite some time. But the hotel owner was, as I said, a good and kind man and none of his remaining staff were sacked during this lean period.
PART 3 : A rival establishment (The sinful life)
Meanwhile the ex-chief steward, now calling himself a hotel owner, had opened a rival establishment down the road and it was in his hotel where the missing guests were to be found. His hotel was a lot cheaper than the other one, though it was very badly run and its staff, the erstwhile rebels, cared little for the welfare of the guests. Occasionally guests from the other hotel would visit, see the squalid surroundings, and tell the poor unfortunate guests about the better place down the road. But more often than not they were ignored, apparently the other place was too costly for them and, anyway, they preferred the cheap short-lived pleasures here to the luxury and rewarding environment of the other place.
PART 4 : Infiltrated! (The call of Abraham)
Now let's return to the first hotel owner. Let's give him a name, we'll call him Mr Lord. Mr Lord had a plan. His every desire was for his guests to return, not because he needed the money, because he was very rich. In fact he wasn't going to charge them money for their stay, that never was his intention - it was just another lie of the ex-chief steward (who we'll now call Mr Lucifer). Mr Lord had been keeping an eye on Lucifer's guests and decided to have a word with one of the families, the Judah family. One night one of his staff broke into Lucifer's hotel and found the room of Mr Judah, the head of the family. After a short word with him he brought him back to Mr Lord's hotel for a lengthier chat with Mr Lord. Out of this chat an agreement was made between Mr Judah, on behalf of his whole family and Mr Lord, on behalf of his hotel. From that time on the Judahs were always to be reluctant guests at Lucifer's hotel and Mr Lord's hotel started receiving their first guests, usually, though not always, from the Judah family, though there was never a large number.
PART 5 : Rebellion! (The life and death of Jesus)
After many years it was time for Mr Lord to execute the next part of his plan. This was to be personally a very costly plan but, he knew, a necessary plan to ensure that all of his rooms would be filled for a very long time. For the purposes of this plan he needed to send his most trusted advisor, his son Emmanuel, to Lucifer's hotel, in the guise of a member of the Judah family. Once there, Emmanuel had to travel through the hotel (it was an extremely large hotel, though not as large as Mr Lord's hotel) and tell as many guests (particularly the Judahs themselves, who seemed to have largely forgotten their forefather's agreement) as he could about his father's hotel. This he did and he did well. He told the guests how much nicer and cleaner it was and how the owner and staff would look after them a lot better. He also told them that it would cost them nothing to live there and that, in fact, it was where they should have gone in the first place. At first his mission was a success and many from the Judah family changed accommodations. But things soon became sour as Lucifer saw through the plan and ensured that the majority of the guests, including many from the Judah family, turned against Emmanuel. He was thrown out of the hotel and into the wilderness. For a couple of days nobody from either hotel saw or heard from him. Both Mr Lord and Emmanuel's few new friends wept for him.
PART 6 : The tide
(The Resurrection and the birth of the Church)
Then suddenly and out of the blue Emmanuel appeared again, in Lucifer's hotel, to a few trusted friends. He stayed with them for a short while and spoke much to them before leaving for the last time, returning to his father's hotel. From then on his friends, all Judahs, acted as if new life had been breathed into them. And from then on the trickle of defecting guests became an ever-increasing flood. Mr Lord was delighted and immensely proud of the work done by his son, Emmanuel.
PART 7 : A fight back (Persecution of the Jews)
But from then on Lucifer became like a man possessed. He prowled through the hotel, seeking out Judahs. He couldn't kick them out, lest they go to the rival hotel that was, by now, receiving new guests at an alarming rate. In this he was successful, as very few Judahs left his hotel for Mr Lord's establishment. He achieved this by creating a wedge between the Judahs and the other guests. Through his cunning, and aided by his staff, he turned the other guests against the Judahs. The other guests started plotting against them, verbally attacking them and generally being very rude towards them. They even claimed to honor Emmanuel Lord, saying that all that they did was in memory of him. All of these actions forced the Judahs to look within themselves for comfort. They stuck together in small groups and tried not to mix much with the other guests. And one thing that they never even contemplated was to escape to Mr Lord's hotel - who wanted to go to a place inhabited by people who hated them! It was bad enough where they were! And, anyway, the last person they wished to meet was Emmanuel Lord, the traitor!
Mr Lord and Emmanuel grieved heavily at all of this. Although they were happy about their new guests they were painfully aware of the suffering of the Judahs, their chosen friends. Emmanuel was urging for a new visit but held back because he knew that this would provoke a final confrontation with Lucifer, which will have dire consequences for those still in Lucifer's hotel at that time. Lucifer also knew this and had no illusions as to what his fate would be as a result of that meeting. So he stepped up the persecution of the Judahs. He did this because he knew that Emmanuel would not return until the Judah family formally invited him. And the more he persecuted them, by stirring up trouble with the other guests, the further away that day would seem! He was sure he could keep this up forever, if need be!
PART 8 : Confounded! (Preparations for the return of Jesus)
But Lucifer was unprepared for the activities of Mr Lord's trusted friend Mr Comfort. Mr Comfort was a quiet chap and always preferred to work behind the scenes. He was the person who looked after the administration side of things, who facilitated the movement of guests to his hotel. Mr Comfort was now given a new mission. This mission, like the early ones, was just to the Judah family. This mission was so secret that details are not available but, suffice it to say, it started to bear fruit. Many Judahs saw the light and booked their rooms (with the help of Mr Comfort) in Mr Lord's hotel. On their arrival they were met by the open welcoming arms of Emmanuel, as if welcoming a long lost son.
Lucifer was furious and he stepped up his nefarious activities even more. But to no avail. Mr Comfort was always one step ahead of him and, what started as a trickle of defections from the Judah family, soon became a stream. Emmanuel started to prepare for his return ...
And so ends the story. I hope you caught the thrust of it and benefitted in some way from this approach. The basic idea was that the first hotel was the place of God's blessing (Garden of Eden, Kingdom of God, Heaven) and the second hotel was the World, ruled over by Satan. There were possibly one or two facts in the story that were new to you, particularly concerning the relationship between the Church and the Jewish people. My reasoning is that the persecution of the Jews at the hands of the Church since the 4th Century AD had nothing to do with the true faith but all to do with the activities of Satan, the enemy of all God's purposes. I also put forward the idea that the return of Jesus is connected to this conflict, and is in fact the cause of it. Satan realises that Jesus will only return when the Jews reach a significant stage in their history and therefore he does everything to ensure that this stage is never reached by attempting to wipe out the Jewish nation, using every means at his disposal, including the State Church.
copyright Steve Maltz 1998
(an excerpt from book "My Son, the Christian?" published by Spearhead)