Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Genesis 5 – Death Spread to All Men


These articles are the fruit of my preaching through the book of Genesis in 2017-2018. It is refreshing to review each chapter with an eye to the context of the rest of the book and the context of the Bible as a whole. It is my prayer that these articles are helpful to those seeking a better understanding of the book of Genesis. More can be found at www.fbcroxana.com.

Genealogies are some of the most dreaded portions of the Bible. Many a Bible reading program has sizzled out due to the long genealogies. But these genealogies serve a purpose (many purposes, in fact), and yield wonderful insights the longer they are studied. I have not included many insights that I have gleaned through my study of this passage. I tried to keep the main thing the main thing: the movement from Adam to his 10x great-grandson, Noah through his son, Seth, who replaced godly Abel. Whose family began to ‘call upon the name of the LORD’ (Gen 4:26).

1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.

This genealogy begins with a reaffirmation that God created mankind in His image and according to His likeness. The image of God was not lost in the Fall, although it was marred by sin. When God created mankind, He made them to be two genders, male and female. He blessed them on the day of creation, signaling that everything at that time was perfect and in need of no fine tuning. He named the man and the woman ‘man’ or ‘mankind,’ expressing His possession of them and His authority over them. Though sin has now entered the world, all of these things continue. And they will be passed down through the generations.

3 When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. 4 Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. 5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.

Seth was not the firstborn. Nor the second-born. Being born in Adam and Eve’s 130th year of life, Seth had many older brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews (sons and daughters of his brothers and sisters) and, perhaps, great-nieces and great-nephews (sons and daughters of the children of his brothers and sisters). As Adam was created in the image and likeness of God, Seth was born in Adam’s likeness and according to Adam’s image.

Adam would go on to live another eight hundred years, and had an unnumbered multitude of sons and daughters. He lived a total of 930 years. Then, according to the Word of God, Adam died. The only relative we are told that died before him was Cain. Imagine Adam, holding many generations of grandchildren on his knees, knowing that he was the one who brought the curse of sin and death upon them. Imagine him watching the human population grow and sin be manifested in gruesome ways, and knowing that it was his sin all those years ago that set it all in motion.

6 Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh. 7 Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. 8 So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.

Seth also lived more than nine hundred years, but not quite as long as his father. He also had many sons and daughters, and lived to see many generations of grandchildren be born. And over a thousand years after Creation, Seth died, succumbing to the curse of sin.

9 Enosh lived ninety years, and became the father of Kenan. 10 Then Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after he became the father of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. 11 So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died.

Enosh, the son of Seth, lived until around 1,140 years after creation.

So the pattern continues:

12 Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel. 13 Then Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 14 So all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.

15 Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared. 16 Then Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 17 So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.

18 Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch. 19 Then Jared lived eight hundred years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 20 So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.

All of a sudden the pattern is interrupted:

21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Enoch disappeared around 987 years after Creation (between the deaths of Adam and Seth). This is important in a number of ways. First, it demonstrates that there is a way to escape death. The text does not say that Enoch died. He simply ‘was not.’ He had disappeared, being snatched up. Second, God is the one who rescues from death. God took Enoch. Third, this assumes an afterlife in God’s presence. Fourth, the only way to be rescued by God unto this afterlife in the presence of God is to walk with God.

The pattern resumes again:

25 Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech. 26 Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. 27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.

Methuselah died five years after his son, Lamech, and during the 600th year of his grandson, Noah. He died the same year that the Flood started.

28 Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. 29 Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.” 30 Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. 31 So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died.

32 Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

The genealogy ends here, for the narrative will pick up with The Great Flood where Noah and his sons will be central characters.

Conclusion

This chapter represents the inevitable death of everyone living. Due to the sin of our father, Adam, in the Garden of Eden, we are all subject to sin and death. We are all born in the image and likeness of Adam, being spiritually dead because of sin.

However, there is hope in this chapter. If we walk according to the ways of the Lord, we will be saved from death and given eternal life. Enoch walked with the Lord. It is unclear how or if he was any different than the others in this genealogy. They may have all walked with the Lord, but God chose to take Enoch before his death. This may have been to demonstrate to a world grieving the death of their father Adam that there indeed is an afterlife that can be spent with God if only one walks according to His ways.

In our day, God has decreed that all believe in the name of Jesus, His Son, who died for the sins of the world, and was raised to life by God. Jesus ascended to God’s throne, from where He will come again with those believers who have died in order to snatch up those believers who are alive at that time. Like Enoch, those who are alive and who walk according to the ways of the Lord will be caught up. But that is not the norm, for (besides a notable two, Enoch and Elijah) every believer has died. But since we know that the Lord Jesus will return with those who have died, we do not mourn as those without hope. Death has been defeated. Jesus is the victor. And He will return to reward those who believe in Him and walk in His ways. But He will punish all those who have not believed in Him.


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