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Old as Methuselah
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Wednesday, February 01, 2017
Wendy Wippel

''Adam lived 130 years, and begot a son in his own likeness… and named him Seth. Seth lived 105 years, and begot Enosh. Enosh lived 90 years, and begot Cainan. Canain lived...zzzzzzzzz.'' Jesus said every yod and tittle is important. Ever wonder what all those genealogies are there for?

Proverbs gives us a hint on how to find out:

"if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God." (Proverbs 2:3-5) NKJV

In other words, if we seek insight, if we're willing to dig a little, if we approach the Bible as if it is a treasure trove; there are lots of nuggets of truth and insight waiting to be found.

This passage is a great example:

"Adam begot Seth, and Seth begot Enosh. Enosh begot Cainan, and Cainan begot Mahalalel. Mahalalel begot Jared, and Jared begot Enoch."

This is where it gets really interesting. Enoch, if you remember, was a righteous dude. The Bible records that he "walked with God; and he was not, for God took him." The Bible doesn't say where, but Jewish tradition confirms what's implied: to heaven. One Jewish tradition says that he was the last righteous man of his time, and God took him to prevent he too from being corrupted.  But before God took him, apparently he wrote a book.

The Book of Enoch. A book that is not part of the Bible, but one that is quoted by Jude.  And Jude's quote from the book of Enoch gives us some insight into this otherwise boring genealogy:

"Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”  (Jude 14, 15)

Jude is discussing God's final judgment on those who refuse to acknowledge God, but then says that Enoch prophesied about them also.

Implying that Enoch prophesied about another judgment before.

And that's exactly what many ancient historians recorded.  Enoch was given a prophecy of the flood to come, and he relayed that prophecy to the people of the time.  And not only did he relay it himself, he left a permanent warning behind in the name of his grandson, Methuselah.

Methuselah, a combination of the two Hebrew syllables  "Mewth", meaning "death" and "selah", meaning "to come".  A name that meant, essentially, "With my death, it will come".

And (ostensibly), after Enoch's preaching, everyone knew what was coming.

Here’s where you should be thinking, let's dig deeper. . .

From the genealogy provided, we can figure out whether Enoch's prophecy was actually fulfilled:

"After he begot Enoch, Jared lived eight hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years; and he died.

Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and begot Lamech. After he begot Lamech, Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died. Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. And he called his name Noah." (Genesis 5:18-30)

What did we learn from these verses?  This passage tells us that Methuselah was born 187 years before he fathered Lamech, and Lamech had Noah when he was 182.

Do the math and we know that Methuselah was 369 years old when Noah was born.  But you have to skip ahead to chapter 7 to find the clincher:

"Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth."

Do the math again, and whaddaya know,

Methuselah was 969 years old when the floodwaters came upon the earth. With Methuselah's death, the flood came. Just as Enoch predicted.  

But wait, there's more! (Treasure to be troved, that is.)

Enoch was taken by God, ahead of the judgment. Noah and his sons were saved through it, and the rest of the world perished. Like Jude said, Enoch prophesied two judgments, one past (the flood) and one future.  So it would seem that Enoch, Noah and sons, and those who perish foreshadow similar groups in the judgment to come. (I'll leave that to you to figure out!)

And I saved the best for last. Most of us learned in Sunday school that Methuselah at 969 years, was the oldest human ever. And his death brought judgment.

Which is nothing but another testament to the God we served, the God who is,

"not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  (2 Peter 3:9)

The God who;

"does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him". (2 Samuel 14:14)

The God that will leave the 99 sheep to go after the one that is lost. (Luke 15:4)

And I, for one, am thankful that one of those wretched lost sheep that the Good Shepherd went after was named Wendy.

Originally written: August 19, 2013

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Quark Soup

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