The Book of the Generations of Adam - Page 3 of 3 (series: Lessons on Genesis)
by John Lowe
The name “Methuselah” signifies “He dieth, and the sending forth,” so Enoch gave it as prophetical of the looming flood. It has been computed that Methuslah died in the year of that catastrophe.
Some students see in Enoch’s pre-Flood “rapture” a picture of the church being taken to heaven before God sends tribulation on the earth (1 Thess 4.13-5.11).
It was by faith that Enoch was taken to heaven—“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translatedhim: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Heb. 11.5). He believed God, walked with God, and went to be with God, which is an example for all of us to follow. Imagine how difficult it must have been to walk with God during those years before the flood, when vice and violence were prevalent and only a remnant of people believed God—“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6.5). But Enoch’s life of faith wasn’t a private thing, for he boldly announced that God would come to judge the world’s sins (Jude 14, 15). In his day, the judgment of sins did come; but the judgment Enoch was announcing will occur when Jesus Christ returns, leading the armies of heaven and condemning Satan and his hosts—“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (Rev. 19.11). Enoch’s life and witness remind us that it is possible to be faithful to God in the midst of “a crocked and perverse generation” (Phil 2.15). No matter how dark the day, and how bad the news, we have the promise of our Lord’s return to encourage us and motivate us to be godly. One day sin will be judged and God’s people will be rewarded for their faithfulness, so we have every reason to be encouraged as we walk with God.
25 And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:
26 And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters:
27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
Methuselah signifies, “he dies, there is a dart,” “a sending forth,” namely, of the deluge, which came the year Methuselah died. Did Enoch give him this name for a warning to a careless people a long time before the judgment? He lived 969 years, longer than Adam, and the longest that any man ever lived on the earth; but the longest liver must die at last. These men Adam and Methuselah pretty much bridge the gap between creation and the Flood. According to our genealogy, this man Methuselah could have told Noah everything from the beginning of the world.
What God is trying to get over to us with the genealogies is the religious, the redemptive, history of mankind on this earth. In addition to what I said previously about the meaning of Methuselah’s name, I must add that others believe this name means, “When he is dead, it shall be sent.” What will be sent? The Flood. As long as Methuselah lived, the Flood could not come. The very interesting thing is that according to a chronology of the genealogy of the patriarchs (shown in the following verses) the year that Methuselah died is the year that the Flood came. “When he is dead, it shall be sent”—that is the meaning of his name.
28 And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:
29 And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.
30 And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:
31 And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.
32 And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
It is the popular opinion in the world, blindly accepted by men, and the conclusion, I think, of all philosophy, that human nature is inherently and innately good and that it can be improved. The whole program that is around today is that, if we will just try to improve the environment of man and his heredity, he can really be improved. Communism and socialism seek to
improve man. Arminianism means that man can assist in his salvation. Modernism means that man can save himself. In other words, salvation is sort of a do-it-yourself kit that God gives you. Some of the cults tell us that human nature is totally good and that there is no such thing as sin.
What does God say concerning man? God says man is totally bad, totally evil. That is the condition of all of us. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3.10). That is the opinion of the Word of God. If you will accept God’s Word for it, it will give you a truer conception of life today than is given to us by others.
Here is mankind, and we are following a godly line now. Where is it going to lead? Is it going to lead to a millennium here upon this earth? Are they going to come to Elysian (blissful, delightful) Fields and establish a Utopia? No! The very next chapter tells us that a Flood, a judgment from God, came upon the earth.
This “Lamech” in the line of Seth was radically different from the Lamech in the line of Cain (Gen 4.18-24). Seth’s Lamech fathered a son, Noah, who walked with God—“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6.9)—and was used by God to save the human race and continue the messianic promise. Cain’s Lamech murdered a young man who had wounded him and then boasted to his wives about his evil deed.
Lamech’s great concern was that mankind find comfort and rest in the midst of a wicked world where it was necessary to toil and sweat just to stay alive. Life was difficult and the only hope that true believers had was the coming of the promised Redeemer. Lamech named his son Noah, which sounds like the Hebrew word for “comfort.” His hope was that his son would somehow bring to the world the rest and comfort that people so sorely needed. Centuries later people would hear the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11.28).
Lamech was 682 years old and Noah 500 years old when Noah’s son Japheth was born. The listing in Genesis 5.32 is not the sons’ birth order, because Ham was Noah’s youngest son (Gen. 9.20-24) and Japheth his eldest (Gen. 10.21). The birth order would be Japheth, Shem, and Ham. But why is Shem listed first? Because in him the covenant was rested, as appears from Genesis 9.26, where God is called the Lord God of Shem—“And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” The birthright was probably given to him, and it is certain that both Christ the head, and the church the body, descended from him; therefore he is called Shem which signifies a name; because the name of God should always remain in his posterity; until He, whose name is above every name, should come out of his loins. So, by putting Shem first, Christ was in effect put first—who in all things must have preeminence. That Lamech, Noah, and the other patriarchs were advanced in years when children were born to them is a difficulty that can probably be accounted for from the circumstance that Moses does not record here their first-born sons, but only the succession from Adam through Seth to Abraham.
Noah signifies rest; his parents gave him that name with the hope that he would be a great blessing to his generation. Observe his father’s complaint concerning the calamitous state of human life, due to the entrance of sin, and the curse of sin—“Lamech…saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed” (v. 29). Our whole life is spent in labor, and our time filled up with continual toil. Because God has cursed the ground, it is as much as some can do, with the utmost care and hard work, to get a hard livelihood out of it. “This same shall comfort us” signifies that not only desire and expectation which parents generally have about their children, that they will be comforts to them and helpers, though they often prove otherwise; but it also signifies a prospect of something more. Is Christ ours? Is heaven ours? We need better comforts while we are living under our toil and sorrow, than the dearest relations and the most promising offspring; may we seek and find comfort in Christ.