Talking About Death and Fire on a Mundane Day
We’re eating our cereal and listening to I Samuel 2 on my iPhone. It’s easier than trying to herd everyone together after I clean-up the dishes, and the dramatized voices on the Bible.is app are more interesting than mine.
Eli’s two sons are given their death sentence at the end of the chapter. George, my oldest (almost 11), already knows this and is nonreactive. I ask Freddie (4 years old) why they had to die.
George answers for him, “Because they stole and were mean”.
I press on, knowing I can squeeze at least 15 seconds of learning into this moment. “Are they going to wake up when Jesus comes?”
Freddie answers, “No.”
“Will they ever be alive again?” I continue.
“I don’t know,” replies Freddie.
“Yes”, George corrects.
“When?” I coax.
“I’m done…with my cereal”, proclaims Freddie.
I’m ready to be done too. I forfeit my patient teacher plan and move on to plan B. Explain deep subject in 1 minute or less.
“Those who follow Jesus are brought to life in the first resurrection. We go with him to Heaven for 1,000 years and when we all come back, those who did not follow him are woken up from the dead. Everyone who has ever been alive on this earth from the beginning will all be alive at the same time and see God on his throne.”
“Will there be room for everyone?” inquires George.
“I think so. They will know God is true and will be very, very sad because they rejected Him. Then God will give them one last hug and God’s loving presence will consume them – they’ll die forever. No one can live in God’s Holy presence without Jesus covering them with his holiness. We’ve all sinned and sin leads to death. He can only protect and save those who asked forgiveness and followed him in this life. The Bible says God is a consuming fire.”
“Is that the lake of fire?” asks George.
“I’m not sure”, I reply, “We’ll all be in the same place. Some will be burned up and some will be refined or purified. That means made holy. We will all go through fire.”
“What about Satan?” Freddie pipes up.
“He’ll be thrown into the lake of fire too. He’ll be burned up forever.”
Reference texts for inquiring minds: 1 Samuel 2:16,17, 34; Dan. 12:2; John 11:11-14; Ps. 115:17; Eccl. 9:5; John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 20:4-5; Rom. 6:23; Rev 20:10-15; Heb. 12:28-29; Isa. 61:10; Malachi 3:2-3; 1 Thess. 5:9