When Adam was 130 years old, he became the father of a son who was just like him—in his very image. He named his son Seth. After the birth of Seth, Adam lived another 800 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Adam lived 930 years, and then he died. When Seth was 105 years old, he became the father of Enosh. After the birth of Enosh, Seth lived another 807 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Seth lived 912 years, and then he died. When Enosh was 90 years old, he became the father of Kenan. After the birth of Kenan, Enosh lived another 815 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died. When Kenan was 70 years old, he became the father of Mahalalel. After the birth of Mahalalel, Kenan lived another 840 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died. When Mahalalel was 65 years old, he became the father of Jared. After the birth of Jared, Mahalalel lived another 830 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Mahalalel lived 895 years, and then he died. When Jared was 162 years old, he became the father of Enoch. After the birth of Enoch, Jared lived another 800 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Jared lived 962 years, and then he died. When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him. When Methuselah was 187 years old, he became the father of Lamech. After the birth of Lamech, Methuselah lived another 782 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died. When Lamech was 182 years old, he became the father of a son (Noah).Genesis 5:3-28
Before we start the genealogy found in Luke and compare it with Matthew’s genealogy of Christ I want to share with you the genealogy found in Genesis 5. I use this as an example in my God’s Awesome Book seminar but I want to use it here to set the scene before we look at this genealogy in Luke. I hope it will inspire you to dig into Scripture like you never have before.
The Bible text in Genesis 5 refers to Enoch who had a son and named him Methuselah. One of the derivations of Methuselah’s name means “His death shall bring forth”. His death will bring it forth – it will happen when he dies. Can you imagine what it must have been like for Methusaleh growing up? Imagine when his mum called him for dinner, “‘His death shall bring forth‘ come to dinner”. “‘His death will bring forth’ pick up your toys off the drive. Dad is going to be home in a minute.” That is what that little boy lived with. I would hate to be at school and have that name- “What are you named “His death it shall bring forth”? Why did your dad give you that stupid name? We’ll just call you “Deathy”. People would have said to his Mum and Dad, “What on earth did you name him Methuselah? I would imagine Enoch wouldn’t have said “I liked the sound of the name. It was in the name book we looked in.” Hardly! Rather I imagine he said, “Because God said. God told me to name him Methuselah so Methuselah he is”.
Did anyone in the village take his name seriously? I suspect not. I suspect they didn’t, or maybe some did. I wonder if they ever stopped to think about that – a name like “His death shall bring forth”. What is going to happen when he dies? I wonder if they worried when Methuselah got sick, got a cold and looked like he was going to die? There was high infant mortality. Often in some of these cultures you didn’t name your children until they were passed two years old for you were not sure that they were going to survive or not. This was the kind of situation little Methuselah grew up in. Did the people worry about what his name meant? “What will happen to us when he dies?” I don’t think they did. Most would have been like us. They cast it aside and thought, “Silly people, what on earth did they name their kid that for? “Enoch said God told him to name him Methuselah. Can you believe it?” “Oh that’s typical of Enoch. He is so super-spiritual; he sees God in everything.” “Just don’t worry about it. He’s wacko!”
Is he? Is this nonsense? Well look at this: Methuselah lived 187 years and then Lamech was born. Lamech lived 182 years and Noah was born. The Bible tells us in Genesis 5 Noah lived 600 years and the flood came. If you add all those up you get 969 years. What was Methuselah famous for? Methuselah is the oldest living character recorded in the Word. Methuselah lived 969 years to the day. What happened when he died? The flood came when he died. Amazing. When God said name the boy “his death shall bring forth” – it will happen when he dies, God’s judgement came at that boy’s death. Hidden in that little boy’s name was a prophecy of the coming judgement of God.
But wait there is more!
Hebrew names all mean something. They name their children to match a situation or event at their birth, or after a virtue they wanted them to have when they grew up. Naming people, places and happenings is very important in the Jewish culture.
- Adam’s name means “man” or “dust”.
- Seth the Hebrew for “appointed”.
- Enosh means “mortal”.
- Kenan “sorrow”.
- Mahalalel means “the praise of God”. Do you recognize the elements of his name? Halal is the root of the verb to praise, -el the shortened form of Elohim, one of the names for God, “Ma” is the prefix that turns a verb into a noun. Jared means “descend”.
- Enoch means “teaching”.
- Methuselah you know already.
- Lamech means “despair” and
- Noah means “comfort”.
Put them all together you get “Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow, the Praise of God shall descend teaching his death shall bring (the) despairing comfort.”
This is amazing. When I think about what God is doing there it sends shivers up my back. Those names hidden behind the text of the Genesis 5 genealogy make a statement. “Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow, the praise of God shall descend teaching his death shall bring (the) despairing comfort. Whose death? God’s death. That is a statement hidden behind the Genesis 5 genealogy of the forebears of the Messiah, telling us clearly of the Coming One and all that his death would mean and what it would bring to mankind. Only God could do that. Only God could determine that those people would be named that. You can’t do that.
One person at a God’s Awesome Book seminar told me “That is contrived Ian. The generations worked them out like that to fit the form. Oh is that what happened? I have it worked out. I have decided what my first grandchild is going to be called. And I have it mapped out for ten generations. So that in ten generations time people will look at our family and marvel. They will stand in awe of great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, granddaddy Ian. Have I got any chance? You are not going to determine what your child is going to call their child, what your grandchild will be called and after them, it just doesn’t happen. Especially when you want to name them “his death shall bring forth” or “sorrow” or “hopeless” / “despair”. And yet biblically it happened. Only God can bring that about.
Hint: Pay careful attention to genealogies. They are there for a purpose. I hope it inspires you to take this one seriously. I have never looked at the names in the genealogies of Christ in Luke. There may well be some surprises there. Scripture yields its treasures to those who bother to seek. After all He said, “Seek and you shall find.” Yes and don’t forget to ask and knock too.
SHH!! Be very, very quiet, I’m hunting forebears.Anon
Isn’t Genealogy Fun? The answer to one problem leads to two more.Anon
There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children – one is roots, and the other, wings.Hodding S. Carter