This week is a renewed look at a study I undertook four years ago on the early Patriarchs from the book of Genesis, following on from Adam and Eve taking into account the second half Genesis chapter 4,verses 16-24, through to Chapter 5.
This is not a well known part of the early history of man kind after the creation of man and man's fall (sin), but it does reveal a great deal about the development of human kind in this early period.
Yesterday I gave the illustration of the famous swimmer Dawn Fraser who won Olympic Gold in the same 100 metre event at three successive Olympics, yet her life was much more than that one aspect of her life. So too in these Genesis accounts, we're only given a single aspect is highlighted.
Methuselah is the sixth generation from Seth. The family line from Seth had a focus on the Lord and this impacted following generations. This became evident when we read about Enoch who was such a man of God that Methuselah was obviously raised in this same manner.
From what is understood by the major commentaries, it appears as though Methuselah died seven days before the great Flood of Noah, as it is suggested that in Genesis 7 verse 10 "after seven days" means there were seven days of mourning for Methuselah. This also reflects Methuselah's godly life.
As Noah's grand-father he would have played an important role in leading his grand son into truth and godly living. It is claimed in ancient Jewish writings that Methuselah went around preaching to the people with his grand-son Noah about the dread that was to come if people did not turn from their wickedness and in turn serve the Living God.
Like his father Enoch, Methuselah had faith in God and walked a life wholly given to following the Lord in all that he undertook. He was passionate for the Lord and that same passion is in the life of his the Lord's today.
The second Lamech
Lamech was the seventh generation from Seth. Lamech, the son of Methuselah came from a family that honoured God as his grand father Enoch's faith in God was such that he followed the Lord in all that he undertook as reflected in Hebrews 11. What does the text say about Lamech the father of Noah? Genesis chapter 5 verse 27 and 28: "Lamech begat a son. 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."
First, Lamech had a divine revelation that his child had a special place in the plan of God. He was born into a godly family, where his grand-father Enoch never saw death, but was taken to be with God. In hind sight we recognise this.
There is another longer term application in that we too are called to continue our lives in service to God although the Second Coming of Jesus Christ might come at any time. There is both an urgency about the 'coming destruction – the Flood' and today's application, the 'Second Coming' of Christ, yet an equal requirement that we serve as if there is a tomorrow and a day after and a day after that ....
The following chapter (6 verse 2) God restricts the age of man due to the wickedness of men and women to 120 years. Prior to this, Chapter's 4 and 5 deal with long lengths of life. Was this part of God's wisdom to restrict evil upon the earth?
As stated in the first of this series, The Genesis Record by Henry Morris published by Baker Book House first published in 1976, on page 154 provides a statistical list of:
1. Year of Birth of each Patriarch
2. Age at Birth of Next Patriarch
3. Year of Death.
Morris says of this: "There is no reason to think there are any "gaps" in this record, or that the years are anything other than normal years ... The record is perfectly natural and straightforward."
He says further: "... Adam lived until Lamech (the father of Noah) ... and Noah was born only fourteen years after the death of Seth. Most likely, the oldest of the living Patriarchs maintained the primary responsibility for preserving and promulgating God's Word to his contemporaries.
Morris goes on: "Since both Enoch and Lamech were outlived by their fathers, there were only seven men in the line before Noah who had this responsibility. This probably explains why, in II Peter chapter 2 verse 5, Noah is called "eighth preacher of righteousness."
The Genesis story in this capsule of time, has a specific purposes in instruction to benefit to us. This five article series has looked at this specific period in history recorded in Genesis 4 and 5.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html