The Great King in our story represents God Almighty. The Kingdom He rules is all that He has created, and therefore all that exists. The Daughter is His most cherished creation, the Human Race. The Tree represents Sin, and all that stands in opposition to the King. The Father is Satan, and his actions of betrayal against the King, and the deception of the Daughter is self-explanatory. The Daughter disobeys the King's decree, and because He is a just King, she is bound inside of her sin. It has become her prison. But the King is not without mercy. He mourns, and produces a seed that will become the hope for this Daughter. Not that He made the seed, rather that the seed was always in Him and a part of Him. It is, was, and will be Him. The King offers Himself.
Chapter I: Birthright
At the end of the prelude, the King gives the seed of love to Yabo, and charges his descendants with its care. This is representative of the promise that was given to Abraham, that the savior of the world would come through the children of Abraham. Flash forward some thousands of years, and we find Yu-Sefu, or Joseph, who sees the fulfillment of that promise. This Joseph symbolizes the man of worldly ideals. He toils and wars for the things of this world. He knows that there is a meaning and purpose to life, but sets his gaze just short of the truth. He conquers, hoping that what he has conquered will become something grand, but then discovers that these victories are of little consequence to the man who sees his end. The man that has tasted life and yearns for more will only find it, and find it in abundance, in Jesus. Yu-Sefu realizes that the kingdom ushered in by this Son will be far greater than that of his own. He realizes that it, and it alone, is a kingdom worth fighting for. But the weapons of this warfare would be far different. For the new kingdom confounds the ways of the old. The wise are considered foolish, and the weak are made strong.
Chapter II: The Tasks at Hand
When the Son sets out to find the Daughter, he searches for a long time before He finds her. Christ also searches for us in our day to day lives He longs to captivate us so that we may understand Him more. And just as the greeting is sweet between the Son and the Daughter, so too is the greeting when a heart embraces Jesus Christ. No romance is, was, or ever will be as true as the romance between Christ and those that seek Him. The two were made for each other. The Daughter's condition is representative of mankind's condition after the Fall – alive, but trapped inside our own sin and guilt, never able to reach our full, original potential. Just as the Daughter needs a savior to fight for her, so we too need a savior. The Tree of Knowledge (the sins of man) requires that the Son request the release of the Daughter by journeying to find the 5 Dragons. These dragons throughout the story will represent the trials which Christ overcame to set us free. Not that Jesus would need permission, but instead that he would show His love for us.
Chapter III: The Monkey King
The Monkey King's story is one of blessing and disaster. He was once a king of a great primate kingdom, but became too greedy, and ultimately went in search of a human face to wear to show his majesty, the face of the Man King. He went to war with the Man King, and ultimately subdued him and asked for his face. The Man King was clever, and told the Monkey King that he would trade faces with him. The Monkey King agreed only to find that the Man King had been blind, the face the Monkey King now wore was blind, and the Monkey King himself was now to face a life of blindness. This is representative of the ill effects of greed and pursuit of self-glorification. Ultimately nothing you pursue in this world will satisfy, and you find you've wasted all your time for nothing. But that was the Monkey King's past. The question now is whether or not he's learned from his mistakes. He journeys with the Son, and faithfully helps him on his way… and perhaps he will discover that humility is the path to happiness in the New Kingdom…
Chapter IV: The Bean Field
The bean field that the Farmer sits upon represents the "field" of souls that Christ left in the care of his people. Much like Shammah of the Old Testament, even in the face of great opposition the Farmer refuses to retreat as the others have; he refuses to relinquish his field unto darkness. I wonder how often we as Christians have retreated when we should have stayed and defended the field. How many strongholds of evil have we let into our "field"? If conditions in the world are worse than they've been, it has not been for lack of a holy presence, but rather perhaps a lack of courage to put that presence into action. The house is a comfortable place, as it should be. It is a place of rest. But the field will not tend to itself. If left alone the weeds will grow, the thieves will come, and before you know it the harvest will be irreversibly tarnished. The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few. This is our field, and its still worth defending.
Chapter V: Smoke and Mirrors
The Blue Crane tempts the Son in the stone valley, just as Christ was tempted in the desert. In this chapter we see how truly undeserving the Daughter is of the Son's affections. There are several other creatures that have been more faithful, and are even more beautiful in their present state. The idea of a King stooping to fight for the release of a begging criminal is a ridiculous image in our culture. And yet how much more for Christ to choose us over the offers he received in the desert? Christ decided to take the worthless and make it worthy.
Chapter VI: The Serpent Ja
The Serpent Ja is one of only two characters in our story who helps the Son along on his journey. Ja is the wisdom and power of God. This lifts the Son up out of the "Xong Chao Sea", (The Sea of Worldly Wisdom), as it must have helped lift Christ in his day, and helps lift those who seek it today. We see that the Evil Father aspires to be like Ja from the beginning, first, through sweet mentorship and eventually, after his demise at the hands of the Dragons, he takes the form of a serpent. But it is a farce. While the Evil Father may imitate, he will never posses the wisdom or the power of the Great King. By the wisdom of the Most High we ourselves are able to traverse such an ocean, to understand truth as it is, to not be swayed by the waves of belief and ideas of men, but to know that God is sovereign, and His word is true.
Chapter VII: The Wu-Tang Orphans
The Wu-Tang Orphans represent those in poverty. While all civilizations have fallen into some kind of immorality at the hands of Sin, often times the immorality in poverty-stricken societies will take a less privileged form. Children are left in the streets, whether by circumstance or human choice, and seem doomed to repeat the mistakes of their fathers. The Wu-Tang Orphans are no exception. They aspire and dream to be wealthy and ambitious, but at the same time they hate those who are more fortunate. They are dejected and cast out from society; they have made their own society. They grow to hate that which they cannot have-money, family, happiness. We find examples of these today in homeless or urban cultures. They find family in those who have no family. With a self-taught morality, there is no morality at all, and their condition becomes hopeless. The fatherless need a father. Jesus Christ is the answer. Those who need love will find it in Him. Those who need discipline will find it in Him. Those who need grace, family, direction, aspiration, and hope will find it in Him.
Chapter VIII: The Engineer
The Engineer is a man utterly lost in his career. He toils and toils for something that he believes will produce full joy. The fact is the objects that we use to gain joy often steal it from us, whether it be a career, a bad relationship, a hobby, or anything else that leads us to believe it is more important than the Kingdom of God. The Engineer makes his home in "Chao-Tu Prison", (The Prison of Worldly Successes). He is a poor man who longs for happiness that he believes he will find in the arms of a beautiful, wealthy girl. He believes so strongly that he dedicates his life to the fulfillment of this, even cheating death to attain it. But what if all of that skill and effort were dedicated to something truly valuable? Something that neither rot nor rust could destroy. The Engineer only finds true joy when he realizes he has a place in the Kingdom. The gifts and talents that have been given to him were given to him for a purpose, but not so that he would squander them in vain and meaningless pursuits, but that he would use them to advance the Kingdom. It is here and here only, in the service of the Son and the Great King, that the engineer finds full joy.
Chapter IX: The Ice Prison
The ice prison represents two different things in the form of the allegory. First of all, it addresses the topic of human trafficking, or rather any form of bondage or human slavery. The walls of ice are thick and seem un-breach-able. You become cold, and eventually lose all remembrance of any warmth or thought of salvation. The second allegory is that of Christ. The ice prison represents his love, in that he suffered for us, that he long-suffers for us. Those who are trapped in the prison of slavery have the hope that Christ knows what they are going through, and wishes to help them. The help may come in various times and forms, but it will come. Believers in prison around the world will testify that the capture of your earthly body is trivial when your spirit is basking in the glory of the Lord. The ice prison is a reminder to help those in trafficking and human slavery. To remember them in your prayers and your actions. To know that Christ loves you, and that he suffered for you willingly, so that you may be set free.
Chapter X: The Phoenix
The Phoenix is one of only two characters in the story who help the Son on his journey. Her name is "Fenghuang-the Righteousness of the Great King". No doubt Jesus' divine nature was key in his ability to resist temptations and live a perfect life, and I'm sure the righteousness of God was with him in power throughout his ministry on earth. But now Christ has risen, and we have the great privilege of taking part in that righteousness through faith! "The Hei-Meng Valley" (Valley of Worldly Pleasures) is a dangerous one indeed. Often times men lose their way in the valley. They are preyed upon by those who have spent a lifetime in the valley. Ultimately it destroys them, and they become the thing that ensnared them, so that they ensnare others (much like the creatures of darkness in the Valley). The world is full of these snares that seem pleasant but ultimately lead to death and misery. Friend, cling to the light! Hold to righteousness! Her tune, once distorted, may seem unpleasant in the shadow of the valley, but in the end she will lead you through the darkness and into glorious light.
Chapter XI: The Impostor
This chapter represents the betrayal of Jesus before the cross. I can only imagine the spiritual and emotional anguish that He must have felt when betrayed by one of his disciples, his closest friends. And worse still, this betrayal rings back to the eating of the fruit, the fall of man. And every man born from that day forth was a kiss on the cheek and a thorn in the crown. Judas was the instrument used, but the betrayal of Jesus lies in the sins of man. And the only thing that would set it right was a betrayer's death. A death on the cross.
Chapter XII: The Dragon King
Because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, and his taking the punishment for our sins, we can live an eternity with him in heaven. The love that led him to die brought him back to life, and we may share that love with him for all time. Oh, what a glorious day it will be! When the sons of men are free from bondage, and wedding bells ring loud throughout the Kingdom…