Monday, November 2, 2015

Genesis 4: 25- 5:32 The History of Adam and the Godly Offspring

The history of the fall in  Genesis  3 teaches  us  that two civilizations  are destined  to arise in the world. God,  in Gen.  3:15  calls them respectively  “your offspring“ (referring  to the serpent –the devil) and  “her offspring“, referring to Adam and  Eve and the gospel promise to their  offspring.  And  so it is. 
In Chapter 4,   the story of Cain and Abel makes that first great distinction   in this regard. Abel brings  his  acceptable offering of  worship  to  God. His brother Cain, born from the same mother, not only brings  an unacceptable offering of worship to his Creator, but he  who also  becomes  the first murderer in the Bible,  and hence the first death is recorded in the Bible. This is deeply significant for it  reveals the sad fulfilment of Genesis  2:17 of which his parents  are the first cause!
We saw that Cain becomes the prototype of the ungodly offspring, as it is also recorded  that “Cain  went out from  the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod “– the land of wandering. 
We saw  last time  that the sons of Cain  became a  civilization in their own right. Cain had a wife, and he founded and built a city populated with farmers that provided food  and  gifted craftsmen and musicians. We saw that  the sons of Cain  did not lack in  intelligence and innovation. We also noted  that it was in this first city mentioned in the Bible  that  God’s original plan  for marriage became distorted when  Cain’s  grandson, Lamech  married two women  (4:19).  Furthermore  we have seen  that the  story of Lamech, Cain’s grandson  ends with  another murder.

The story of Cain leaves us with an uneasy   feeling. Now that Abel the true worshipper  is dead, who shall carry forward the  knowledge and  the ideals of true worship? How will the godly  offspring be propagated in future  if there is no future?  
This would indeed  be impossible if it were not for the fact that God  kept on intervening in the history of fallen man! Aren’t you glad that He intervened in your life?  And so,  we are told in  Gen. 4: 25-26  that  Adam and Eve had another  son, whom they named,  Seth ( lit. appointed ). Eve said : God has appointed  for me another offspring instead of  Abel, for Cain killed him.” (Gen. 4:25).
We are also told in v.26  that  Seth became a father  to a son called Enosh , and during that time there was a turning to God : ”at that time  people began to call upon the name of the LORD.”   Thus the covenant family, the godly offspring  is   preserved  at this time.

And so  we come to the 5th Chapter of Genesis   and verse 1 , which begins with  these  words :  “This is the book of the generations [1] (or histories) of Adam”.  This chapter follows Chapter 4 , which contains the history of Cain,  the offspring of the serpent.   Chapter 5  is a summary statement  of the history  of mankind from Adam  to Noah , in whose day God will  send  judgement  on  wicked men  in the form of  a  catastrophic flood. 
Chapter 5   also  reveals  the beginning  of  history of the human  family of the Lord Jesus Christ.  All  these patriarchs here are mentioned in Luke’s genealogy of Christ.[2]  We note then that Adam and Eve, fallen  people though they had become, were nevertheless  the beginning of the sons and daughters of God, for God  had chosen  to include them into his covenant. 
In  verse  2 we find a repetition  and restatement of the  original purpose and design for man, namely  the  fact that   man had been created  (i) in the likeness of God and (ii) as male and female (iii) and blessed  by God  (iv) and   named by God as “mankind” (5:1,2). Why this repetition? The plain answer is that  God’s  original design remains, even after the fall.

In  the rest of the chapter  (vv 3-  32)  we find   a record of  the genealogy  of  the  godly offspring   among our  pre –diluvian [3]ancestors :   

The  list  begins with Adam (vv.3-5). He   lived 930 years and he died.  V. 3  gives us an important insight.  Adam fathered Seth, a son  in his own likeness, after his image.  We need to be reminded  that  the image of God in Adam is now a fallen image.  This needs to be contrasted with  v. 2 ! 
The pattern follows  rhythmically : Life and death!  Seth (vv. 6-8) lived  912 years and he died; Enosh  lived (vv. 9-11)  905 years and he died ; Kenan (vv.12-14)  lived 910 years and he died ; Mahalalel  (vv.15-17) lived 895 years and he died; Jared (vv.18-20) lived 962 years and he died; Enoch (vv.  21- 24) is the grand exception!  He is without years , and he has no  recorded death.   He was taken  away by God. We will consider this in a moment.  Methuselah (vv.25-27) became the oldest of the patriarchs  and he died at the age of 969  years . Lamech  - note , another Lamech! (vv.28-31)  lived  for 777 years and he died. He was the father of Noah  who becomes the great  subject of  Genesis chapters 6  to  10 .

Two major observations  from this  list :
1.     The longevity  of the  pre-diluvian fathers :  There is a remarkable  difference  between  the age  span before the flood and after the flood. What  can be the explanation for this? Some commentators  see  the  collapse of the water canopy  of Gen.  1:6-8  to be the reason  for introducing  harsher living conditions  for mankind.  The fact remains that  the  flood in Chapter 6  changed everything. Man’s life expectancy  after the flood drops by 50 %  so that the sons of  Noah (who lived 950 years – Gen. 9:29) live considerably shorter. Shem lived 500 years (Gen. 11: 11)  and from there  we  find another 50 % in the days of Peleg (Gen. 11:19) when the tower of Babel was built, and soon  we find Moses saying that 70 or 80 years are the average for a human life (Psa. 90:10).
On another level we must  affirm that the  progressive  advancement  of sin  has a life shortening  effect upon mankind . In some   modern countries the  average life expectancy  has been less than 50 years !

2.    The second observation follows: "…and he died". The  warning  about ignoring the commandment in Gen.  2:17  has now become a sad reality, and the whole world has, as a result,  become a graveyard.  
God’s justice and wrath against sin, as well as His mercy are strongly emphasized in this chapter. Rom. 5:14  affirms  that "death reigned from Adam"  . The testimony  of  Scripture  with regard to the effects  of sin and disobedience  is clear: “The wages of sin is death“ (Rom. 6:23) . God’s mercy is emphasised in the fact that  despite sin He has mercy on who He will have mercy (Rom 9:15,16  which is quoted from  Ex  33:19) . All this in implied in Genesis 3:15 !  God, the eternal Creator and the Divine Potter  will  redeem for Himself a people out of fallen humanity for His own glory! From our NT perspective we know that  this elect people, this godly offspring has come into being not because they were  better than  the sons of Cain, but because  God has ultimately justified them in Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God slain  before the foundation of the earth!   

Enoch [4]! (vv 5:22-24)

And now let us consider Enoch, the7th from Adam (Jude 14) of whom no death is reported.    Who was this man? Now here is an interesting observation. Enoch was the seventh man from Adam ,born  through the godly  offspring  of  Seth.  He stands in  great contrast  to Lamech (Gen. 4:18-24),  the man who is the seventh from Adam through the ungodly offspring  of Cain.  In that sense both of these men are pre-figurements  respectively of the Christ and  of the anti-Christ. 
Concerning Enoch we learn that he did not die. “Enoch walked with God  and God took him”. (Gen. 5:24). The other man of whom this was true was Elijah(2 Kings 2)  The expression "he was not" [5]  means that  he was ‘taken up‘ ( as explained in Heb. 11:5) . "God took him" [6] which is  the  same word as that used in the ‘taking up’ of Elijah  in 2 Kings 2:3-5.

Enoch walked with God[7]. Literally,  ‘he lived with God.’ There was  an uncommon intimacy between Enoch and God.  The Hebrew word used for  ‘walk with God’ in our text is also used in Malachi 2:6,  where  Malachi  speaks  of the priestly tribe of Levi,  which had a privileged  relationship  to God. Malachi says  concerning Levi: “He walked with me in peace and uprightness and he turned many from iniquity.”  Levi was called  by God to be  a priestly tribe. To  the offspring of  Levi alone,  God gave permission to enter the Holy Place, to make intercession  by  sprinkling  the blood of the covenant  on behalf of the people of Israel,  and to  speak with  God  on behalf of  Israel. The  other tribes in Israel could not do that, for they were not appointed to that privileged office. 
Now Enoch   lived long before the twelve tribes  had  a list  of name  , his name appears  mysteriously  and out of the ordinary,  like Melchizedek in Genesis 14 ( cf. Hebrews 7).  Now Adam and Eve  had the privilege of intimate communion  with God in paradise, and ever since the fall,    when man is banished out of the garden    there is this perpetual lack of  intimacy. But here is  an exception:   Enoch walked with God outside of paradise. He was a  fallen man like you and me, and he was subjected to the same  frustrations as you  and me,  and yet he was given  the  privilege  to have close communion with God. Now this may fill you with holy envy. You may say: Why can’t I have that ?  I remind you, you will have  that. This  has been recorded for  you and me  to encourage us  how it shall be  once Jesus comes to restore all things. This is the picture of the fulfilment  of  the gospel promise. God says to all His people in Leviticus 26: 11&12: “I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”  This,  we saw  in our recent exposition of Revelation  was  what was promised in Rev.21:2&3“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them.”   
In the meantime we walk by faith  and not by sight. We walk by  God’s promises and His grace  in the midst of our frustrations and imperfections . We look to Jesus , the author and finisher of our faith  in the midst of our poor worship habits  and in the midst of  our poor experiences of intimacy with Christ.   Remember that Enoch was not a better man than you who love Christ. He  was not a Christian superman. He was given the ability  to walk with God, just as God gave the tribe of Levi the ability to walk with Him.

This  chapter tells how the race of the godly  offspring developed in the days before the Flood.  This  offspring  proceeds from and by  the grace of God, and not by the will of man. Man is  dead in his sin; he  has become a fallen being,  who in  the pride of his heart does not naturally  reach out to His Maker.  This text teaches us that  God infuses grace  into undeserving people .
We observed that death becomes a reality. The world becomes a cemetery.  Sin has ravaging effect as seen in the decline of  life span. It is  seen in the reality of death.
We look forward to that of which Enoch points us to: the resurrection body and eternal life, which is what we were created for by God in the first place.    

[1] Hebr. Toledôth  See also 2:4, 6:9, 1:1, 11: :10,27, 25:12,19, 36:1,9, 37:2
[2] Luke 4 ; Matthew’s genealogy in  begins with Abraham
[3] Pre diluvian – i.e. prior to the flood
[4] Enoch (Heb. chanôkh), means, as in 4:17, "beginner."
[5] Hebr. ênénnû
[6] Hebr. laqach
[7] The Hithpael stem signifies "to walk about"—"to live." The particular preposition used, ‘eth, denotes "intimacy, fellowship"

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