The following is the only story that we are aware of, that Jay Ferris wrote. It was written back in 1991. I’m not sure he would have changed some of it since then, but it is an enjoyable read, yet a sobering look into the “business” mindset behind the current world and religious system. Enjoy!
One day a snake oil salesman came to town selling a bogus, cure-all Vitamin. His message was that it was all natural, edible, and would make a better person out of anyone who took it. He passed himself off as a “messenger of human betterment,” and in order to increase his profit, he began to branch out. Being an equal opportunity employer, his first employee was a woman, and the business grew as fast as the population. It seemed that everyone who tried it became part of the organization, which soon became known as the “Damway Self-Improvement Vitamin Co.”
Focusing on food and clothing, the now “President” of the company set up a very effective pyramid sales organization. Nothing like it had ever been accomplished by any other business. He was the only one who really understood what it was all about, however. He knew insecurity would sell cure-alls, and embarrassment would sell clothing. He even had a sales incentive system; the more of the product you bought into, the higher up you moved in the organization. Not only was his staff hooked by the incentives, but also by fear. Privately the President would make everyone aware of their weaknesses, and that he was prepared to, and often did, tell others.
Damway Self-Improvement Vitamin Co. enjoyed 100% market share in a total population market. There was no problem on the supply side either, as the raw materials for the vitamins came from a particular tree called the “Good and Evil tree.” Back when the salesman wanted to grow the business, a reliable source had said that the tree was not designed for human consumption. There was nothing wrong with the materials, it was just no good for food and clothing. His first employee, incidentally, was his first customer. She thought that the tree would improve her station in life, not knowing that it was inedible, and that it would make otherwise healthy people ill. Furthermore people who ate of it became less attractive, which proved to be very embarrassing. This didn’t hurt business, however, as it was thought that the leaves from another tree would cover up the problem. But so far from making people more attractive, such garments were quickly stained by the very defects they were claimed to cover.
In all of this there was a kind of short-term “high” in those who took of the vitamins that came from this tree. Outwardly everything seemed alright, but in the long run people were robbed of their health, or completely destroyed. In the end, everyone died of embarrassment. By that time, no one understood the cause of death.
One day, a Government Agent came to town. He was an experienced tree surgeon, now attached to the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture. He proved to be untouchable. Nobody could get to Him. Even the president of the company couldn’t make a sale. It seems this visiting “G-man” was all too aware that the raw materials of the Damway Self-Improvement Co. were not fit for public consumption.
Beginning with those at the bottom of the heap, the G-Man began to educate the public about this. Very few would listen, and those that did couldn’t seem to retain the information. Nonetheless, corporate management was very concerned about His presence and the success He was enjoying. They plotted a way to get rid of Him. Occasionally they would try to disrupt what He was saying and doing, or refute His claims, but always it was to their own embarrassment. It soon became obvious to the G-man/Tree surgeon that the board of directors was not about to yield. He knew that the only answer was to deal with the problem on the supply side. He had to cut off the source of raw materials at their root.
One day there was a tremendous confrontation. The battle raged from the center of town all the way to the outskirts. The Damway management succeeded in driving the G-Man out-of-town, wounding Him in the foot. It looked like they had won, but by the time it was finished, the tree surgeon had cut down the Good and Evil tree, and together with another tree near by, made a public display just outside the city limit! The president of Damway, who never got very far away from his source of supply, received a head wound when the tree fell on him, and it appeared that he was dead. It was not a pretty sight.
The G-man, along with a handful of people who were on his side, made a public display of the cut-down tree that fell on the now-dead President, and served notice to the public that the Damway Co. was a fraud. On a good day, everyone could see this notice, from the lowest places as well as the highest. With everything out in the open, it was clear the company no longer had a product to sell. And with the president dead, it looked like Damway was out of business.
The management in power convened. They had to convince the people their products were still effective and still available. After the public display, however, deception became much more difficult. The conscience problem had been taken care of, so disclosure was no longer a threat, and many people found a better way of living. If they had known all this in advance, the leaders would not have agreed to go after the G-Man.
That was many years ago. Since then the Damway management has largely removed the display of the fallen tree on their dead president. Doing business in the G-man’s name, they are circulating conflicting stories, and in some cases, claiming that the whole thing never even happened. Many seemed to have forgotten. Virtually everyone is fuzzy on the details. Holidays commemorating the events have a fairy tale quality about them, even leaving out the major characters and the essential message.
All of this confusion about something which was once so clear is really very dangerous to our health, as we have it on good authority that the president of Damway wasn’t killed after all, and that he is about to take over his business again. It is even predicted that he is going to be more successful than ever, if that were possible. In the end, one wonders if anyone will still remember exactly what did happen.
INTERPRETATION (cont’d by Jay Ferris)
The devil used law against us from the beginning. It was a three-pronged attack. First, God being the source of our image, the devil says, “Who do you think you are?” Second, we are shaken in our sense of divine origin and destiny. The devil offers us a way to be like God. Third, we are embarrassed by our own efforts (nakedness), and the devil offers us a cover up. The knowledge of good and evil represents the law, and the law energizes all of this. Because law is the power of sin, the devil uses the law to empower sin. In doing so, he is able to enslave sinners.
God had spoken in the garden, and He wanted us to take His word to heart and make it our own. We failed to do so. So He sent His Word in the flesh, but as long as it was in the flesh, we could still not take it to heart. When Jesus was nailed to the tree, the Word in the flesh was cancelled. Jesus came full of divine expectations, and they all died in Him. He Himself was the notice posted on the tree. As a result the devil could no longer use law as a weapon, either to cause man to fall, or against fallen man.
The devil deceived us into thinking that we were nobodies who could become somebodies by our own doing. God bound the “self made man” deception at and by the cross. In doing so, God set a certain period, between the cross, and the revelation of the man of sin, calling it “Today”- a period for the nations to respond to the Gospel. At the cross, God clearly revealed that the only way to be somebody was in Jesus, by faith in Him. The good news is: God loves us so much, that Jesus died for us even on our worst day, and we can be as God through Him
What a great metaphorical writing. The snake “oil” in contrast to Spirit “Oil” is so sweet, I laughed out loud, refreshing! Death has nothing to barter with but death. Death cannot be better,, death is merely death.