The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The thought just materialized in our head one morning:

“Go and find out why I named my book ‘The Fire Next Time.'”

Since the voice spoke in the first person and only one person we know of has a book entitled “The Fire Next Time” it seems a logical conclusion that the author in question was none other than James Baldwin.

Baldwin’s book has two letters: one to his nephew, also named James, another detailing how he became a preacher in his youth and his “Table Talk” dinner at the home of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

With that we went to find out the answer. It was fairly easy to ascertain. “The Fire Next Time” is a lyric from the song “Mary Don’t You Weep.” We heard it played repeatedly in our youth. The Aretha Franklin version to be sure.

But ReRe’s version made no mention of “The Fire Next Time.” Dave Marsh’s notes for Bruce Springsteen’s “Seegar Sessions” claim that not only is the notion of “the fire next time” potent folklore, but that the book got it’s title from the song. The lyric is described as being apocryphal.

The lyric may be full of doubt, but 2 Peter 3 gives a different perspective. Verse 6 explains the condition that connects the song to Noah:

Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

Then the next verse predicts the fire next time:

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Two bible verses. One speaks of “the world,” “then.” The other speaks of “the earth,” “now” and “fire.”

The original lyrics give a parallel to the verses from 2 Peter, despite opinions to the contrary.

God gave Noah the rainbow sign

No more water, but the fire next time

By Nnamdi Azikiwe

The Mhotep Corporation uses its Keyamsha The Awakening brand to heighten perceptions and expand awareness. By producing content that engages, entertains and educates we create value for value relationships with our audience for mutual benefit. Mhotep is derived from the name of the architect and builder of the first pyramid in Kemet, so-called ancient Egypt. I formed the Mhotep Corporation in 2003 to produce and distribute 3D animation videos based on traditional African stories. Since then it has evolved to being a media production company including books. In a previous life I worked as a systems analyst developing solutions for government and multinational organizations. Born and educated in Washington, D.C. I have traveled to several places including Haiti, the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, Nigeria (several times), Ethiopia (several times), Benin, Togo, and South Africa. I am married with three children.

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