The Story of Salvation for Children
Copyright © 2007 by Steve Copland
Preface: A note to parents, care-givers and Sunday school teachers.
The first draft of this book was written 20 years ago when I was a voluntary teacher of the government religious instruction at secular schools in New Zealand. It was written to give un-churched children faith in the power of Scripture, and Christian children a deeper love and trust in Biblical truths. Many young lives have already been influenced for God through hearing it, in Australia, New Zealand and even Cuba.
This book is not intended as a paraphrase of the Bible, nor is it to be a replacement to the Scriptures. Rather it is like a narrative exegesis. Each chapter takes about twenty minutes to read and ends with a biblical lesson and encouragement. Throughout the book I have tried to make the characters of the Bible come to life, and in a similar way to when a director makes a movie about the Bible I have used some artistic license, such as when Noah preaches a sermon to the people of his time. Noah’s sermon is not in the Bible, however, I have prayerfully tried to bring out the true intensions of Biblical characters in their imaginary conversations and thoughts.
I recommend, that as a general rule, it be read by a parent, care-giver, or Sunday School teacher to children from 7-9 years, and personally read by children from 10-15.
May those young lives who hear and read this book be eternally deepened in their love for, and faith in Jesus Christ and the Bible.
This is a story about us. It’s about you and me and Fred and Grandma, and, well, it would take too long to write down all our names because this story is about everyone. Everyone, that is, who has ever been born and even everyone who still hasn’t been born yet. It’s an exciting story too. It’s about why we are here alive and why some of us are not alive and why some of us can’t sing for nuts and why some of us are going to heaven and why some of us don’t even know where heaven is.
This is a true story. That means you can believe it, and if you believe it you will find out how to get to heaven even if you can’t sing for nuts. It starts a bit strange, because it doesn’t have a start. You see, it’s about the Lord, and the Lord never started. But don’t worry, because you’ll understand soon enough even if you’re not real brainy. This story is about everyone and for everyone. So this is how it starts.
Once upon a time there was no such thing as time because the Lord hadn’t made it yet. And there was only one place, and it was so big that it had no end. It just kept on going and going and going forever and ever. Whew! That’s a long way. This place is called paradise, or heaven, if you prefer. It’s the place where the Lord lives and the place where people like Grandma and Aunty Jean go too if they know the Lord, because He’s the owner. The Lord has always been there because the Lord has always been. He doesn’t have birthdays like you and me. The Lord wanted to have millions of angels and people enjoying heaven with Him so He started His plan.
Now the Lord knows everything, even about things that haven’t happened yet. He looked into the future and saw lots of things that made Him very sad. But He also saw lots of people laughing and singing in heaven. He knew many sad things would happen to many people for a little time when they were alive, but He would wipe away their tears and use the bad things to make them happy forever with Him.
Now no people were living with the Lord. He hadn’t made any people yet, and He hadn’t even made the earth yet. But He made heaps and heaps of angels so they could enjoy heaven as well. The angels really enjoyed living there.
You see, it is a very cool place. Not cool like it’s cold. . .nah, but cool like it’s just very cool. It never, ever rains, and it never gets dark; so you can’t go to bed because it’s always daytime. And you never get tired or lonely or sick, and you always feel really great. How’s that for cool?
So as I was saying about all those angels: There were lots of them, more than you can count, and one of them was called Lucifer. Now all the angels looked different from each other because the Lord never makes two things exactly the same. He doesn’t need to because He never runs out of ideas. Well, Lucifer was one great-looking dude. I mean, he was really gorgeous, ya know; so the Lord called Him Lucifer because Lucifer means “the Beautiful One.” So if you thought Lucifer meant “loose fur” and all his fur was loose and falling out, then you’d be wrong because he didn’t even have fur!
Now everything in paradise was perfect because no one had sinned. That means nobody had done anything wrong as we all have. But one day Lucifer was walking along beside the crystal sea—that’s a big lake up in heaven somewhere—and he saw his own reflection in a mirror.
“Wow!” he said, staring at himself. “I really am a rather good-looking dude. In fact I am totally amazing. I am, well—give me five,” he said and slapped his hands on the crystal sea and got a wet face for his trouble.
Well, Lucifer started to look around heaven and compare himself with everyone else, and he decided he was the best-looking creature in paradise except for the Lord. Lots of the other angels told him he was really beautiful as well, but they always said, “But not as beautiful as the Lord.”
Lucifer got jealous, really jealous, and then he started to get angry. The thing that made him even angrier was that the Lord was much more powerful than he was. Lucifer wanted to be the king of heaven, so he started planning how he could take over the place. Bad move, Lucifer. Lucifer hated the idea that the Lord was king of heaven. What made him the angriest of all was that the Lord was his king and Lucifer didn’t want anyone telling him what to do.
Now Lucifer talked to a whole heap of his angel buddies, and those dummies agreed with him. They decided to try to throw the Lord out of heaven and make Lucifer the new king. Wow! How stupid was that, huh? Yep, Lucifer was pretty stupid to think he could throw the Lord out of heaven. But when someone gets into sinning they just aren’t thinking right. Lucifer got madder and madder at the Lord because the Lord wouldn’t leave. Lucifer started to hate the Lord. Once he started hating, his heart became black, and the hatred spread throughout his whole body and mind. He became absolutely evil.
The Lord decided Lucifer and his buddies would have to go. They weren’t enjoying being in heaven anymore because they had dreamed up some really bad things they wanted to get into, and there wasn’t anything bad to do in heaven. Also, Lucifer and his other bad angels were thinking they would like to be in the dark. The light always reminded them of the Lord, and now they hated the Lord because they hated everything that was good and beautiful.
So the Lord decided to make a place especially for them where they would be comfortable and where they wouldn’t have to be in the light all the time.
The Lord made a tiny little seed with everything inside it to make the whole universe. Then there was a big noise, and a huge black bubble began to appear. It became so big that only He could tell where the end of it was. Now we call this place space because it has plenty of space in there. It is just a great big black bubble with fuzzy edges floating inside the Lord’s place, inside heaven. As space was growing, all the parts of the space seed grew and stars were made, along with planets and lots of really amazing stuff.
Now before the Lord put Lucifer and his buddies in there He changed their names. He changed Lucifer’s name to Satan, which means “The Father of Lies,” because Satan had started telling lies before anyone else. He changed the name of the bad angels to demons, because they were a real bad bunch of cookies.
So the Lord put all those demons and Satan inside space and told them they couldn’t come out, and they didn’t try because they were really scared of the Lord. In fact, they were glad to be away from the Lord. When you are evil it feels real bad to be beside the perfect Lord of heaven.
Satan and his buddies were pleased to be in the darkness because they hated the light now, but the Lord did tell Satan he could come to the edge of the bubble to speak with Him sometimes. Now it was really dark in the bubble, and after a while all the demons and Satan became invisible because you can’t see demons when they are inside the bubble.
Millions of demons were put into the bubble. Demons never die as people die, so guess where they still are? Yep, good guess. They are still in the bubble. They are everywhere, but we can’t see them. That’s a good thing, really. They would maybe scare the hair right off ya toes if you have hair down that far yet; and some of us have, especially older people. So Satan and the demons were locked inside the bubble, inside space, and this happened Just Because they refused to have the Lord for their king and tried to be their own kings instead. Silly, really.
Now a few million years later—though to Satan and his buddies it didn’t seem so long because there was still no such thing as time—the Lord decided to begin the next part of His plan, and that was to make some people. He wanted to make them so they could enjoy being with Him because God is wonderful to live with—unless of course you’re a demon and your heart has become black with hate. Now Satan was up near the edge of the bubble when he heard the Lord talking about making people, and he called out to the Lord.
“Hey, God,” he said. “Whereabouts are these new things going to live? I’m a king too, You know, and these new things might want me to be their king instead of You. After all,” Satan continued, “these demons You put in here with me call me the prince of darkness. In fact, I am the king of darkness.” From inside the bubble came a big noise of shouting as all the demons called out, “Satan is our king! Satan is our king!” I reckon they were just too scared not to shout.
The Lord considered these things for a while, and in fact He had planned this all along. He had decided that His new creations, the people, should learn to make choices. If the people were going to learn to be like the Lord, then they would have to make a choice to be like the Lord and follow Him, or be like Satan and follow him. The Lord would not allow Satan to come out of the bubble so He made a place for the new creatures inside the bubble.
So the Lord made the earth, and that’s where you and I live. Then He said, “Let there be light,” and suddenly the sun was shining brightly in space. Old Satan must have started looking for some sunglasses when that happened. The Lord made the moon to rule in the nighttime and the sun to rule in the daytime so the people would have darkness for half the time and light for half the time. The Lord made it this way so people could have day and night to remind them of dark and light, Satan and God. But that doesn’t mean it is always bad at nighttime; it just means God was being fair because He never cheats.
And the Lord made trees and plants and lakes and seas. Into the seas He put heaps of fish and also some really big dinosaurs, which walked around with their heads sticking out of the water.
The Lord made everything in six days, and on the seventh day He had a rest. He decided people should have at least one day a week to rest as well, and that’s why most people have a day off on Saturday or Sunday.
Then the Lord made a place on earth, which was just like paradise. He called it the Garden of Eden, and He put a wall around it so the demons could not go in. They probably didn’t want to go in anyway; the Lord was in there, and they hate being near Him.
After this the Lord made lots of different animals and birds and put them everywhere on the earth.
Then the Lord said to Himself, “Let’s make a man.” He bent down and picked up some dirt from the ground and made it into the shape of a person. Then He breathed into his mouth, and the new man came alive. Yep, the dirt turned into skin, and hair grew out of his head, and fingernails covered the ends of his fingers. The man smiled, jumped up off the ground and stood before the Lord. The man was really happy and started jumping up and down and almost stepped on a big caterpillar who looked up and wondered what he was doing.
So if you thought that people came from monkeys and your great, great, great, great, great grandma was eating bananas and swinging in the trees you were wrong. Anyway, most of the science men who know lots of stuff don’t believe that crazy idea anymore. They have learned many new things about people, and they know someone made us. Guess who?
Now old Satan was looking over the wall and saw this person in the garden. One of the demons asked him, “Why don’t we go in there and talk to that new person and get him to follow you as master?”
“No, not yet,” Satan replied. “This creature would not follow me. He is the image of God. He loves God. No, we must wait.”
“What are we waiting for, master?” the demon asked.
“Haven’t you been watching?” Satan asked with a growl. “God has made two of everything, and He will make two of these new people. Then we will speak to the one who will find me the most attractive, and we will trick both of them and every other person who will ever be born, into making me their king.”
“You are truly the king of the world, master,” said the scared demon and then decided to be quiet.
This time Satan was right, because sometimes he can guess what is going to happen. The Lord put the man to sleep, and while Adam was sleeping He took one of his ribs and made a woman from his rib. When Adam woke up he saw a beautiful lady called Eve, and he fell in love with her. She was his “other half,” and he was her “other half.” So the Lord married them, and they became the first husband and wife. They probably had a big kiss and a cuddle, but they didn’t go on a honeymoon. They were living in paradise anyway, and the Lord had told them to look after the garden.
Outside the garden evil eyes were watching. The demons and Satan were planning how they could get into the garden to talk to the man and the woman.
Inside the garden Adam and Eve were having a wonderful time. They went around and saw all the animals, and Adam told Eve what he had called them. He had given names to all the animals.
Eve laughed when she saw a little lamb jumping on the back of a huge lion. The lion didn’t mind at all. He just ate some grass and played with the lamb. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. All the animals ate grass in the Garden of Eden, and no animal killed any other animal. That only happened later when some really bad things happened. Did you know that when your cat gets sick he goes and eats grass. Cool, eh?
Adam and Eve wandered around the garden picking fruit and berries and swimming in the warm pool. The Lord came and spoke to them and took them to the center of the garden. He showed them two big trees. One of the trees was called the Tree of Life, and the other was the Tree of Knowledge. Then the Lord told them they couldn’t eat from the tree of knowledge or they would die. Now the Lord didn’t mean they would die straightaway like “zap, you’re dead,” but they would start to get old and, worst of all, would not be perfect anymore. The Lord told them the fruit of the tree was the knowledge of good and evil, and if they disobeyed Him and tried to get that knowledge then they would become sinners.
Now some people today ask, “Why did the Lord put the tree in there? If He hadn’t, then nothing bad could have happened.” But remember the Lord put people inside the bubble because He wanted them to have a choice about loving Him and being His children or hating Him and having Satan as their king. The tree was a test for them. The Lord knew what would happen, and He decided they must be allowed to choose to be good or bad.
Now old Satan was sitting outside the wall listening to everything the Lord said. The Lord knew he was listening because the Lord knows everything. But old Satan thought he was being really clever. Satan thought, “I reckon I can get those new people to eat the fruit from that tree. I’ll tell them God wants them to know nothing, that He wants them to do only what they’re told and not think for themselves. And when those stupid little people eat from the tree they will be just like me, but they will die. Ha ha ha.” He laughed to himself. He is a rotten dude, this Satan.
Well, the light in Eden was too bright for Satan so he asked the snake if he could borrow his body for a while. That silly snake said yes, so Satan got inside the snake’s body and started into the Garden of Eden. He slid past the lion and the lamb, which were still playing, and the lion stood up and looked at him with a frown on his face. The lamb fell off the lion’s back then stood up and stared at the snake as it slid past on its way to the tree of knowledge.
The Lord watched what was happening. He knew something bad would happen, and it made Him sad. But He knew it was very important for people to make a choice—Just Because God is wise and He always makes the right choice.
Adam and Eve were still near the center of the garden when Satan slid up into the tree of knowledge. Satan rolled himself around a branch and called over to Eve. “Hi, Eve. What a beautiful day.” Eve wandered over to see the pretty colored snake and have a chat.
“This is a beautiful tree, don’t you think?” asked Satan.
“Yes, it is,” replied Eve. “But God said we are not allowed to eat the fruit off this tree or touch this tree or we will die.”
“Die,” said Satan. “Do you know what it means to die? No, you will not die if you eat from this tree.”
Eve thought about that question, but she wasn’t sure what it meant to die because she had never seen anything die before. She became a bit confused.
“Well, when the Lord said we would die He meant we would be separated from Him—you know, like we wouldn’t be able to see Him anymore,” Eve said.
Satan slid around so he was right in front of her. “God doesn’t want you to eat from this tree because He knows that when you do you will be like Him, knowing good and evil. If you eat this fruit you will be just like God.”
Eve looked at the fruit. It appeared to be delicious. She thought about what the snake had said. “It would be good to be like God, to know as much as God. Anyway, why shouldn’t I eat from the tree? I want to have wisdom, I want to be someone important, and I don’t think God should try to stop me.”
Well, you know what happens to people who start thinking like Eve, don’t you? They get themselves into bi-i-i-i-i-i-i-ig trouble. Eve was getting proud. The Bible says pride goes before a fall, and Eve was about to take a really big fall. Outside the Garden of Eden the demons were watching as their master spoke to the woman under the tree. They knew that if these people ate from the tree then their master would be the king of the earth as well as space. They were afraid Satan might fail. And if he failed, they knew he would be really angry and scary.
Eve stood there with her finger in her mouth thinking, and then she made her decision. She reached out her hand and grabbed a fruit off the tree. She rolled it around in her hand for a moment then took a great big bite. She ran over to Adam and said, “Hey! Have a bite of this. It tastes really great.” Adam knew he was not allowed to eat the fruit. But the silly man followed Eve, just like so many people do what their friends tell them even when they know it is wrong. Adam took the fruit and ate a big bite as well. All of a sudden Adam and Eve realized some things they had never thought of before. They realized they were naked, that they had no clothes on.
“Oh, no,” said Adam. “I’ve got nothing on; neither have you, Eve. We can’t go walking around here like this.”
Adam ran over to a tree with big leaves and grabbed some stringy bark and took them over to Eve. He put the leaves around himself and tied them there with the bark and told Eve to do the same.
“Here—put this on, woman,” he said, almost growling at her. “You don’t want the Lord seeing us like this, do you?”
Eve felt afraid and guilty. On top of everything else Adam was speaking in a way that made her feel very sad. He had never spoken like that before, and she was scared. “Everything has gone wrong,” she thought to herself as she put on the leaf clothes. “I should have listened to the Lord.” Now she knew what evil and guilt tasted like.
Satan was almost falling out of the tree from laughing at them. He was very happy right then because these new creatures, these first two people, had disobeyed God. Outside Eden the animals were restless; they were changing.
Just about then Adam and Eve heard the Lord walking in the garden toward them, and they felt very guilty for what they had done so they hid from Him. Now the Lord always knows every thought we have and everything we have done. He called to Adam and Eve, and they came to Him.
“Why were you hiding from Me?” asked the Lord.
“I was. . .uhm. . .hiding. . .uhm. . .because I was naked and didn’t want You to see me like this,” said Adam trying to find the words to say.
“Who told you that you were naked?” asked the Lord. “Have you eaten from the tree of knowledge?”
Adam immediately pointed his finger at Eve and said, “She gave it to me, the woman You put in the garden with me, and it’s her fault.”
And so the Lord turned to Eve and said, “What is this you have done, Eve?”
“The snake tricked me, and I ate the fruit,” said Eve blaming Satan, who was at this time sliding down the trunk of the tree and trying to sneak out of the garden without being noticed.
Then the Lord turned to the snake, and he stopped where he was. The Lord said to the snake, “You have allowed Satan to use your body to speak to My people. Your punishment will be that you and your children will crawl on your stomachs forever. All snakes will be this way.” The Lord also said to Satan, “One day a woman shall have a child. You will fight Him. You will bite his heel, and He will crush your head.”
Satan got out of that snake’s body and ran out of there as fast as he could go, but of course only the Lord saw him go because he was invisible to Adam and Eve. The snake fell down and started crawling away. Satan found some of his demon buddies waiting for him and told them what the Lord had said, but not exactly as the Lord had said it.
“This woman is going to have a child, He told me, and He said I’m gonna fight Him and He is going to win. How can a kid beat me? I’m the greatest. I’m the king of this world now. Adam and Eve have followed me, and God’s precious little people are all going to die.” Satan was angry and screaming by this time. “I’ll make all people hate God. I’ll make them believe God doesn’t exist. I’ll drag them into hell, and God will wish He had never made any of them. I will make God sad for His little creatures, because He hates to see them hurt and sinning. I’ll make them learn to hate and fight and kill. When this kid who is supposed to beat me comes along, I’ll kill Him while He is still a baby; He won’t have a chance to beat me.”
Satan thought it might be Eve’s baby who was going to fight him, but he was wrong. That special baby wouldn’t be born for a very long time, and His name would be Jesus.
Meanwhile back in the garden the Lord was talking to Adam and Eve. He said to them, “Because you have sinned, this whole world will be affected. All the plants and animals and the ground also, everything I gave you, will have death and disease because you have made Satan the ‘god of this world,’ because you have sinned like him. All people will sin because of you, and only those children of yours who decide to love and obey Me will escape from being Satan’s children. All those who follow him and refuse to change will end up destroyed in hell as he will.”
Just then they heard the roar of the lion and saw him run from the garden with blood on his mouth. The killing had started. The little lamb that had played with the lion was dead. The Lord watched all of this. He knew this was the first little lamb to die, but one day another lamb would die, one who would be called the Lamb of God, Jesus, and He would die for a good reason, to save the world from sin.
So terrible things happened because of Adam and Eve’s sin. The Lord told them to leave the garden because nothing with sin could stay in there and survive, and the Lord put one of his sword-angels to guard the gate. When they went outside the garden they saw that thistles had begun to grow and the animals were hunting each other. Adam noticed that some of his hair had started to fall out, and Eve thought she might have some wrinkles and a toothache. They were beginning to die.
The saddest thing was that when they were not in the garden they could not hear the Lord as well as when they were. Sin had made them separate from God, and now it was much harder to hear His voice and impossible to see Him. Not only were they dying in their bodies, but worse than this their perfection had died; they were not perfect anymore.
God forgave Adam and Eve for their sin, but as when anyone sins, bad things happened that were because of that sin. The Lord didn’t stop Satan from tricking them, and He didn’t stop them from sinning; He wanted them to choose whom they would follow. If we couldn’t choose, then we couldn’t even choose to love the Lord. So it is a good thing to have a choice even if we make the wrong choice sometimes.
Now Adam and Eve were out of Eden, and Satan had power on the earth. The Lord had decided He would let the world exist for a set number of years, and then He would finish it. But only He would know when that day would be. That day He would take all the people who love Him home to His paradise. But those who hate Him, He would have to let go with Satan and be destroyed forever at the end of the world. But now the world would never be the same, and there would be sadness and horrible things happening. People would get sick and die, and people would learn to hate and kill. But Jesus would also come and save His people, and all this has happened Just Because Adam and Eve sinned.
Life outside the garden was much different for Adam and Eve. They had to plant seeds and grow their own food although the Lord had put many fruit trees outside for them as well. Back at the gate into Eden the sword-angel stood and stopped anyone from going inside. He held a flaming sword in his hand which looked like bright fire.
Satan and his buddies stayed away from him because they knew God’s sword-angels were the toughest angels in the galaxy. They found that out when they tried to have a war in heaven and throw the Lord out. They had been the ones thrown out. You just don’t mess with the Lord’s angels—not that they would ever hurt anyone who loves the Lord. In fact, the Bible says God has one of these dudes keeping an eye on every boy and girl.
The world was no longer perfect, but Adam and Eve tried to make a new life and a new family. The Lord told them to have lots of children, so that was what they decided to do. Their first two boys were called Cain and Abel, and they were very different guys. Abel really liked to look after sheep so he became a shepherd, someone who looks after sheep. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Cain liked to grow things so he grew lots of wheat for making flour and bread, and he grew vegetables and stuff.
One day Cain and Abel brought offerings to give to the Lord to ask for the Lord’s blessing on their work. Now Abel brought some meat, and Cain thought, “I’m gonna bring whatever I want so I will bring some wheat grain.” The Lord was pleased with Abel’s offering but not with Cain’s, and Cain became angry about this. So the Lord warned him to be careful that his bad moods didn’t make him do evil things.
Cain didn’t listen; some people just never do. Now Satan had heard what went on, and he decided to put a few very nasty thoughts into Cain’s head. Cain started thinking some very bad things such as “the Lord likes my brother more than me so I think I will try to get rid of him.” So Cain had a plan, a very evil plan. He may have thought it up all by himself, but I think perhaps he had some help from you-know-who. Cain didn’t have to listen to these bad ideas, but his anger started to control him. One day Cain asked Abel to go out to the fields with him, and Abel went. When Abel wasn’t looking Cain picked up a big rock and smashed it down on Abel’s head, and he fell to the ground and died. He had a big cut on his head, and the blood went into the ground, and the Lord knew Abel had died.
Cain went home, and the Lord went to him and asked him, “Where is your brother Abel?”
Cain said, “I don’t know where he is, and it isn’t my job to look after him anyway.”
The Lord told Cain that Abel’s blood had called to him from the ground, and this meant the Lord knew that Cain had killed him. The Lord told Cain he must be punished for killing his brother; now when he tried to grow his vegetables and other produce he would have heaps of weeds and stuff. The Lord also sent him away from his family to live in the land of Nod. Funny name, I reckon; but Nod was a real place in those days, and that was where he went.
Old Satan was pleased, of course, because he had seen the first person kill another person. Satan loves to see evil things, especially people hurting each other and rebelling against God. Cain left his family, and he and his wife went to the land of Nod and made a home there.
Now Adam lived to be a very old man; in fact he lived to be 930 years old. People lived much longer in those days because they didn’t get sick and didn’t have any bad germs around.
One of Adam’s great-great-great-grandchildren was called Enoch. Enoch lived until he was 365 years old, and he never ever died. That’s right, guys. He never ever died because he always obeyed the Lord, and one day the Lord just zapped him up to heaven. He didn’t collect anything to take on the journey; he just shot through, straight up. Must have fairly freaked out Mrs. Enoch, eh? She was probably walking around her kitchen calling out to Enoch to come for dinner.
“Hey, dear, why don’t you come for dinner? You’ve been praying for ages, and your dinner is going to get cold if you don’t stop soon. I can’t understand why you love God so much when you can’t even see Him.”
“Enoch!” she yelled. “Get in here, will you, man? Enoch, why don’t you answer me?” Mrs. Enoch walked outside just in time to see Enoch’s feet disappearing through the clouds. She probably fainted or something, and when she woke up she had twice as much food to eat.
I’ll bet Satan was as mad as a donkey with its tail on fire. Up until now he had watched everyone die when they got old, but Enoch slipped right through his fingers. Satan was still watching out for this baby that was gonna fight him, but he wasn’t really worried at the moment because things in the world were becoming very, very bad.
After Cain killed Abel other people did that as well, and things were going to get even worse. Some of Satan’s demon buddies had decided they would like to have children and their children would be huge giants who would teach the people very evil things. When you thought it couldn’t get any worse it did—and Just Because only one man on earth really loved the Lord now. His name was Noah. The other one who really loved the Lord had just left through the clouds before dinner. ZAP—gone.
Now things were getting very bad in the world, and people stopped believing in the Lord. One man still believed in the Lord and also loved the Lord, and his name was Noah. Near where Noah lived and everywhere in the world, people had become very evil. Some of Satan’s buddies married human girls and had babies that grew into big giants. They were called the Nephilim, and they were half demon. They were very powerful and strong, and many people have written stories about them. The Nephilim taught the people evil things, like how to kill each other. They made the people worship Satan. All the people except a few were listening to Satan and his demon buddies and not to God. People would do anything Satan asked them to do, and they did terrible things to each other. They were killing each other and stealing and killing their children and burning people alive. They built big buildings like pyramids and killed people on top of these buildings. They told the people that if they did this then the gods would help them. The gods they were talking about were their parents, the demons, and especially Satan. It was a terrible time to be alive in those days because you never knew when terrible things might happen to you.
The Lord saw all the evil in the world, and He decided to stop it. He decided to give the people a chance to change; He would make a big flood, and every evil person would drown. So the Lord told Noah to build a huge boat called an ark. The Bible doesn’t tell us how He spoke to Noah, but Noah heard Him anyway. Now Noah decided to trust the Lord even though he didn’t know for sure what would happen in the future. The Lord was pleased with Noah for trusting Him, because God loves people to have faith. Faith just means to trust the Lord and do what He asks, even when you don’t know for sure what will happen.
The Lord told Noah exactly how to make the ark and how many rooms to put into it. Noah drew a picture of what the ark would look like, and he started work. It was the first time anyone in the world had ever built a big boat. It would be bigger than a whole football field and take a very long time to build. Noah was five hundred years old when he began to build the ark, and it took one hundred years to build. But he had some help because Noah had three sons called Shem, Ham and Japheth.
While the ark was being built everyone in the world heard about it, and people came to see it. People laughed at Noah and called him names and probably thought he was crazy. I guess they might have thought this especially if it didn’t rain much in those days and where Noah was building there wasn’t any water. It must have looked a bit silly building a great big boat with no water around. One day, when Noah and his boys were carting some logs to cut up for lumber, he met one of his neighbours.
“Hey, Noah, old man, where are you taking those logs?” his neighbour asked.
“I’m going to build a boat,” replied Noah, sitting down on the log to catch his breath.
“What?” asked his neighbour. “A boat? Where did you get such a crazy idea from?”
“From the Lord,” said Noah.
“Who?” asked his neighbour.
“The Lord God,” said Noah. “You know, the Creator of the world. He told me to build it because there’s gonna be a big flood and anyone who’s not on the boat is going to drown.”
“You must be crazy,” said his neighbour. “No one believes in God anymore since that last crazy guy who used to run around talking about God. What was his name again?” His neighbour scratched his head. “Oh, yeah, I remember—Enoch. That guy just disappeared. Wait a minute. He was your great-grandfather, wasn’t he? No wonder you’re nuts, old man.” His neighbour laughed. “Well, you build your big boat, and we’ll soon see if it rains or not, won’t we?”
Noah’s neighbour walked away laughing, and Noah felt very sad. He had spoken to many people about building the ark, and every one of them said he was just a crazy old man.
Over the next hundred years people from all over the world came to see the ark. It was the only big boat in the world, and news about it spread everywhere. Sometimes when a lot of people were standing around looking and laughing at Noah and his sons, Noah would climb up on a high part of the ark and tell the people about God and why he was building the ark. This only made people laugh even more. They would tell their children Noah was just a crazy old man and there was no such person as the Lord. In all the time Noah preached about the Lord not one single person believed his message.
When the ark was finally finished Noah prayed and asked the Lord to bring the animals. That day Noah looked up to see a huge line of animals coming down the road toward the ark. He could hardly believe his eyes when he saw lions and sheep walking together; usually the lions were trying to kill the sheep. You can imagine what everyone else did when they saw those wild animals coming down the road. They ran away. Those dudes were scared.
The line of animals stretched as far as you could see. Elephants and birds, cheetahs, foxes, rabbits, donkeys, spiders, mice, cats and dogs. Cows and pigs, hens and horses, gorillas and squirrels, moles and doves, flies and bees and butterflies and many, many more. Two of every kind of animal came to the ark and walked up the big ramp, which Noah had made like a door on the side.
After all the animals were inside Noah went out and stood on top of the big ramp. A big crowd of people was standing there. They had come out of their houses after the lions and tigers were inside the ark. They stood there talking among themselves about what they had just seen. They were trying to decide how Noah had made all the animals come to the ark.
Noah saw them standing there, and he decided to warn them one last time about what was going to happen. He had heard them laugh at him for a hundred years, and now the Lord had made the animals come. It was a miracle, and Noah hoped the people would believe God would flood the world. He would preach to them one last time, and then they would have no more chances Just Because God had decided it was time to destroy the Nephilim and stop the evil in the world.
Noah stood at the top of the ramp of the ark. In the distance behind the crowd he could see black clouds in the sky. He wanted to tell the people again that they could be saved from the flood. He said something like this.
“For the last hundred years my family and I have been building this ark for God. Soon it will begin to rain. It is going to rain for a very long time, and the whole world will be covered with water. In a few days the water will fill up your homes, and it will keep rising until it is higher than the highest mountain. There is room on the ark for any of you who believe me and want to come and be saved from the flood. Please believe me,” Noah pleaded. “This is your last chance. You saw how the Lord brought the animals into the ark, so believe me when I tell you the world is going to flood.”
“It’s a trick!” someone yelled from the crowd. “You cast a magic spell on the animals, and that’s how you got them into your stupid boat. You’re a liar, Noah. It’s not going to rain, and there’s no such person as God.”
“No! Listen to me!” shouted Noah. “I’m telling you the truth. Surely there is one person who believes, only one. If anyone believes, then just walk up the ramp and you will be saved. We have room and food for you. Don’t worry about what other people think of you,” said Noah. “It will be too late after God closes the door.”
Not one person came forward and walked up the ramp to be saved. They laughed when Noah said God would close the door, but then it was so heavy it would need twenty men to lift it.
Standing in the crowd was a Nephilim. He roared at Noah and yelled out terrible things about God. He told Noah he would come over and close the door himself and lock him inside. Noah was not afraid; the Nephilim had been trying to stop him for a hundred years, but the Lord had always frightened them away. Noah was very sad. The people were shaking their heads and laughing at him. He felt sorry for them.
Noah turned and walked inside the ark, and as he disappeared from sight the huge ramp began to lift up without anyone touching it. The Nephilim who had stepped out to walk to the ark stopped. The Nephilim felt the presence of the Lord and was afraid. Some people screamed and ran away, and some people shouted out to Noah that he was lifting the door by magic. After a few minutes the people turned and felt less afraid. They started to say horrible things.
“Hey, Noah!” someone yelled in a loud voice. “There is no God, and it’s not going to rain. How long are you going to stay inside your stupid boat, old man? We don’t want your God. We have our own god and. . . .”
Suddenly there was a loud booming sound, and the person yelling could not be heard. It was thunder. The crowd of people turned around and saw big black clouds rolling across the sky toward them.
Boom! Boom! Boom! The thunder pealed, and lightning flashed across the sky. The people became afraid. They ran home to hide, and just as most of them reached their doors the first big drops of rain began to fall. Suddenly there was a small earthquake, and the ground began to move. Some of the braver people who had not run away started to scream. They had never felt an earthquake before. They had stayed beside the ark to laugh at Noah, but now they were not laughing. When they looked down they saw some small cracks in the ground, and water began to come up and wet their feet.
Inside the ark Noah and his family could hear the rain on the roof. Noah went away from the others and down into a small room in the ark, and there in the corner he got on his knees to pray. There were tears rolling down his face as he cried to the Lord.
“I tried my best to warn them, Lord,” he prayed. “I did my best to make them believe, but they were too proud, too arrogant, and they just wouldn’t believe in You and be saved. You gave us all the ark so we could be saved, and we kept room for anyone who would come. But not one person came.” Noah wept as he prayed. He was not angry that people had laughed at him; he was only very sad the people would drown in the flood. “Oh, Lord,” he said. “I wish they had listened to me. I wished they had stopped doing evil and obeyed You. But now it is too late for them because You have closed the door, and they are left to die.”
It rained and rained. The cracks in the ground became bigger, and water gushed up into the sky and poured onto the land. After a few days the people’s homes flooded, and some of them waded through the water or floated on things and swam to the side of the ark. They banged on the ark with their fists and called out to Noah.
“Noah!” they screamed. “Let us inside! We believe you now.”
“I can’t,” said Noah. “God has closed the door.”
They yelled and screamed, but Noah could not help them. Other people went to higher ground and told the people not to worry because it would soon stop raining and everything would be okay. After about ten days the ark began to float, and the people were standing on the tops of the hills. There was not very much room left, and the smaller and weaker people fell into the water. The Nephilim were probably standing on the tops of the hills, throwing people into the water, roaring in anger, shaking their fists at the ark. The people who were left stood there and watched the ark float away, but some of those who were in the water tried to hold onto the ark. It was too wet and slippery.
After many days there was no room left on the hills, and even the Nephilim fell into the water. After forty days the mountains were covered by water, and no one was left because there was no dry land to stand upon. The ark floated above the mountains toward the land that is now called Turkey. It was very sad. Only eight people were still alive in the world: Noah and Mrs. Noah; their three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth; and their three son’s wives.
If the people had listened to God and not to Satan, then God would not have brought the flood to take away the evil in the world. There would not have been killing and stealing and murdering their children if they had loved the Lord, but they refused to believe in Him.
Satan was very pleased with what happened, even though the children of the demons were dead. Although the people worshipped him and his demons he still hated people because they were made in the image of God, and God loves His creatures. Inside the ark it was warm and dry. Noah, his family and the animals were safe. They were saved from drowning Just Because they believed the Lord and obeyed Him. They had faith to do what the Lord said.
The ark floated around for about seven months and finally came to rest on top of a mountain. Noah opened a window and sent out a raven to see if it could find a dry place to land. That raven never came back. A little while later Noah sent a dove out the window of the ark, and it came back because it couldn’t find anywhere to land. Sometime later Noah sent the dove out again, and this time it returned with a new green leaf in its beak. Noah knew then that the water must have gone down far enough for them to leave the ark. When he asked the Lord, the Lord told him he could go outside.
Outside the world was becoming a beautiful place again. Now there were large lakes, seas and oceans. On the land flowers were growing, and there was new grass for the animals. The animals came out of the ark, and the wild ones ran off into the hills, glad to be back on dry land again. So Noah thanked the Lord for keeping them safe, and the Lord told him to look up into the sky. There he saw a beautiful rainbow.
“What does it mean, Lord?” he asked.
“Whenever it rains,” said the Lord, “I will put the rainbow in the sky for you to remind the people that I will never again bring a flood which will cover the whole earth. The rainbow is the sign of my promise to the world.”
After another 350 years Noah died, and he was 950 years old when he died. Of course by this time many people were on the earth again. After Noah and his sons died, people again forgot about the Lord and the flood. And, yes, old Satan was working hard again. These people decided to build a big tower up to the sky so they could try to see into the future and do magic. They wanted to start doing evil things again, worshipping Satan and not the Lord. This would lead them into terrible trouble again, so the Lord decided to stop this before it became a big problem.
Everybody spoke the same language at this time, so the Lord gave them different ways to speak. He gave them languages like French, German and Russian, and of course when they tried to speak to each other they couldn’t understand. Only people in the same family understood each other. So when they were trying to build the tower there was a lot of confusion. Someone would ask for a brick, and the other person might have thought he was saying his cow was fat and ugly. In the end people left that place and spread around the whole world. The tower was called the Tower of Babel because “babel” means to talk like a babbling baby. The tower was never finished.
Now there was a man called Abram living in a land called Ur. Yep, in those days there was a real place called Ur, but it isn’t called Ur now because someone decided to change it. Now the Lord had decided long before this exactly how He was going to teach people to know Him and get to heaven, and Abram was a big part of His plan. Abram loved the Lord, unlike most people who did not believe in God. The Lord told Abram to leave the land of Ur and travel to a new place He was going to give him to live in. That place was called Canaan. Abram was about seventy-five years old when the Lord called him to go to Canaan, so he was no young fella. His wife, Sarah, was also getting old, but she was still very beautiful. Sarah had no children, and everyone thought she was too old to be a mother now.
One night the Lord woke up Abram and told him to look up at the stars in the sky. “How many stars do you see, Abram?” asked the Lord.
“Thousands,” replied Abram.
“Soon you will have a son,” the Lord told him, “and one day your descendants will be thousands like the stars in the sky.”
Abram knew Sarah was past the time when a lady can have a baby, but he believed the Lord because he knew the Lord always kept His promises. Then the Lord told him he was to have a new name and changed his name to Abraham, which means the father of nations. So Abraham moved to Canaan, and he also took with him his brother-in-law Lot. He had a name which was good for him because Lot was a greedy man who always wanted a lot. When they got to Canaan Lot said he wanted the nice flat land near the two cities and a nice river, so Abraham took the rocky land which was not so nice. Lot became a lot of trouble for Abraham later as we shall see.
One day Abraham decided to go on a journey because there was no food left in Canaan. He and Sarah and their friends went down to live in Egypt for a while. Abraham was worried about going to Egypt because he had heard the Egyptian king liked pretty ladies; he thought the king of Egypt might want to take Sarah from him.
So he said to Sarah, “When we get to Egypt tell them you are my sister, because if they know you are my wife they might kill me and take you.”
“But, Abraham,” Sarah replied, “that would be telling a lie.”
“But you are my half-sister, Sarah,” said Abraham. “So it is not really a big lie.”
When they got to Egypt the king, called Pharaoh, saw Sarah and wanted her to live at his house, and Abraham lied and told him she was his sister. He did not tell the king that Sarah was his wife. Then Pharaoh gave Abraham lots of sheep and cattle and gold and stuff because he liked Sarah and thought she was Abraham’s brother and not his wife. But the Lord was angry about this so he sent a disease to the king and all the people in his house except Sarah. The Lord did this because Pharaoh was going to marry Sarah, but she was already Abraham’s wife. The Lord stopped the marriage.
Then Pharaoh knew the Lord had done this to him, and he was angry with Abraham for telling him a lie. So he told Abraham to take his wife and everything and get away from Egypt. The king did not kill Abraham because he was afraid of the Lord. Abraham, Sarah, Lot and their family helpers all moved back to Canaan and settled there again. Lot took the land in the valley near the lovely Jordan River, and Abraham took the land in the hills. In the valley were two terrible cities called Sodom and Gomorrah, and Lot went to live there. But that is another story.
Sarah and Abraham made many mistakes. Sarah decided it would be a good idea if Abraham had another wife, so she gave him her maid to be his wife. Abraham agreed, and he married Hagar. They had a baby boy and called him Ishmael, but he was not the boy God had promised them. The Lord still blessed Ishmael, and from him came many of the people who live in the Mid
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