The Carnival

Suddenly before me was a scene like a state fair or a huge carnival. Lights were glaring and flashing; the music was jolly, hilarious, titillating; barkers were crying out about their wares. The stream of humanity I had traveled along with quickly branched out, standing and gazing at the sights before them. It was as if at that moment they had to make a decision in their lives. Not everyone in the stream of humanity was brash; many were bashful and backward and indecisive, but it seemed they were all being forced to make a decision as to what they would most enjoy. The exaggerated sensuousness of the whole scene was unbelievable. There was every type of allurement and enticement imaginable. Everything that would gratify the appetite, everything to satisfy the body, everything to stimulate the mind, it was all there. Absolutely everything and anything ever conceived was available. Situated all around were salesmen who, anxious to sell, were barking about their wares like carnival men enticing us into a side show. People were agape at all that was offered. Many stood there not knowing what to take. Others seemed to know what they wanted. I could see their eyes light up. I could see their bodies begin to respond as they picked out the very thing that was the “apple of their eye.” As soon as the choice was made, they would follow the salesman to a counter, lay down their money, go through a turnstile, on through a swinging door and could no longer be seen. I watched as the more shy, undecided ones were trying to make up their mind about what they wanted. Soon one of these sly salesmen would spot them also. “Hey, bring your friend over here. I want to show you something,” the enticing salesman would encourage. Pretty soon that shy, backward person, who did not know how to make up his own mind, had someone “helping” him. “This is the thing you want to try,” and the salesman cleverly would give his pitch to show them the benefits of his particular allurement. Well, some were still undecided. I watched the vendor bend down to the person and I moved closer to hear what was being said. The salesman would say, “Hey, if you’ll just try what I’ve got, I’ll make a deal with you: I’ll pay your way in if you’ll come through my turnstile.” Satan’s operation, as the enemy of our soul, has a way of “helping” us get started down his roadway. If he cannot get us to pay our way to start, he’ll pay the way for us just to get us hooked. But we will “pay” somewhere down the road. He knows before he is through with us, he’ll get all our riches anyway. When somebody tells us how to make an easy buck, we usually end up in a trap. Contracts and dotted lines usually follow free gifts. Know this! Whenever we disobey God and go the way of our own desires, we are only fooling ourselves. Someday we will see things from, God’s perspective. Finally, I saw those undecided people get sold on the devil’s lie that he would pay the bill. Even those who could not convince themselves eventually were convinced by someone else. Each made up his mind and chose something and off he would go through the turnstile of life. I said to the One next to me, “Where are those people going?” He said, “Come, follow me.” He took me through a turnstile and the swinging door. We walked into a dimly lit room. Once inside, we viewed another large banquet hall. The tables were long, as far as the eye could see. There people were seated, enjoying and partaking of the thing that had enticed them. As they came through the turnstile and swinging doors, they were led to the particular table which was their choice. Once they were seated, they were served what they had chosen. And it was exactly as they wanted! It was an eerie room: smoke filled; the lights were strange; the noises were weird (the most terrible I had ever heard). The smells were nauseating (the strangest I had ever smelled). It made the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up. It was like an accumulation of everything evil or that ever could be evil. We observed the crowd. People were laughing. People were singing. People were going through all kinds of situations they thought was happiness. It seemed everyone, even the shy ones, got caught up in the revelry of the moment. They made merry until that which was given to them was consumed. As they desired more, they had to make a request for it and it began to cost them. Each time they were given what they wanted, they had to pay a little bit more money until finally all the money they had was gone. Still their desires were not satisfied. Once their money was gone, the scene would change. The waiters would take them a little farther back in the room as they begged and pleaded for more. “I haven’t got any more money, but I’ve got to have what I want.” The waiter would shake his head and say, “I’m sorry, buddy, you haven’t got any more to give.” “But” he said, “I’ve got to have some more. I will give you anything. What do you want?” The waiter bargained with him, “Alright, if you want it that badly, I want your job.” Each advance toward the back of the room, would strip them further of something that had once been precious to them in life. They all paid a price each time to get what they wanted. They gave up their jobs, their families, their health, their mentality, their own will. Until ultimately, they were so hooked that they had absolutely nothing to say about what they were going to give up but were easily pliable in the hands of the waiters. Finally, as they reached the last table, I noticed something. When these persons who had sold everything (including their souls) to satisfy their desires, when they had nothing else to give (their own will entirely depleted),the waiter would then look to the end of the banquet hall. I looked down the smoke-filled room and saw a throne upon which sat a very sinister-looking man. A man with the look of greed and lust in his eyes and a slight grin on his face (more like a sneer) occupied the throne. He seemed to be saying, “This is my operation and I’ve got these people where I want them.” I watched the man who sat upon the throne. Later, I learned it was the Devil himself. Those waiters and emissaries were his demon powers reaching out for souls. As a waiter would look up, the one on the throne would wink his eye. Later, I learned the book of Proverbs says, “He that winks with the eye causes sorrow” (Proverbs 10:10). In general, I have discovered, when someone winks his eye, he has got something mischievous and destructive on his mind, and what is gain for the winker usually costs an innocent party. Do you agree? Think about it the next time you go to wink your eye! Well, I learned that Mr. Lucifer himself uses the winking of the eye to give out his orders. Finally, upon reaching a place of desperation and attempting still to satisfy the lust of the flesh, having given all they had to pay the price for what they wanted, they were refused any more. Eventually in total abandonment they would say, “Well, take anything.” They were hooked. It was worth the price, they thought. Finally, as they approached the throne in the back of the banquet hall, they gave Satan the very last thread of their own will. There was absolutely nothing left of themselves at all. Satan completely captivated them by his will. At this point, the waiter would stop and look to the throne. The man who sat there with the cold eyes and sinister sneer would wink his eye. When he did, it was a sign for the waiter to maneuver that poor, completely helpless soul through the final swinging doors. I watched the men and women and young people as the waiters took them and pushed them through the swinging doors. Soon after they disappeared, I would hear a scream which would fade away into oblivion. I turned around to the One who was with me and said, “Tell me, where are they taking these people?” He said, “Son, come, and follow me.” We pushed the swinging doors open and I saw a precipice with a very sharp decline. I watched as people were pushed over the edge of that precipice. They would sink into oblivion and, when the area would light up, that would be the end of the person.

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