Yom Shishi, 27 Tammuz 5777 — יוֹם שִׁשִּׁי כז תַּמּוּז ה' תשעז Friday, 21 July 2017
Genesis 5 (Part 11 in Series)
Origins/Genealogy (Part 2)
Those Who God Blesses

Recently the Profiles in Courage awards were presented. They are named after the famous 1957 book by John F. Kennedy entitled Profiles in Courage. There, Kennedy described the lives of 8 senators in the history of the United States. Kennedy chose to illustrate their acts of integrity, when they stood alone against tremendous political and social pressure for what they felt was right.

As I was growing up we used to see the movies in my classrooms also named after these Profiles in Courage, and they told the stories of great men, who endured opposition to stand to do what was right.

As I read Genesis 5, it reminds of those profiles in Courage. I think this message is a profile of a list of Great men. Last week I promised you only one message now from Genesis 5; I just couldn't do it, it is too Good!

So the week after next I will finish Genesis five.

But let's read Genesis 5 together.

One of the main purposes of this Genealogy is take us from Adam to Noah and the next big event in Genesis, the flood. But to skip over it quickly and see it as only trying to connect these people is to miss much of what the writer of the Torah wants us to see and understand.

Genesis again, is a book or origins. We are to understand our life better today, why it is the way it is from looking at Genesis. We are also to understand the whole Torah better, by seeing the clues the writer of the Torah is giving to help us understand the rest of the Torah and particularly the lives of the Israelites.

Firstly: Why are these genealogies here?
Secondly: Why is Enoch so significant
So what?

Genealogies:

When we look at these genealogies there are a number of typical responses. Some just skip over them. Others are awed at their long ages, seeking some explanation how people can live that long. They were healthier or had better genes, or maybe "years" were different back then.

Others would take all these years, add them all up, and come up with an age of the earth. That is where the Jewish calendar year comes from. But is that really the reason the writer of the Torah has included these ages, so we can figure out the age of the earth?

I don't think so. Let me first show you what I don't think you can conclude from genealogies in the Bible. And then I will talk a bit about what I think we can understand from them.

Firstly what I don't think they are trying to tell us.

I don't think they are trying to give us exhaustive lists of the people who lived. I think they are being very selective.

Cainan gave birth to Mahalalel, and later gave birth to other sons and daughters. They are never listed. Just Mahalalel, because he is the key one. The text is pointing out where he came from. It doesn't tell us anything about the others.

So they are not supposed to be exhaustive lists, but selective ones. So only certain people are listed.

Nor do I believe they are supposed to be telling us every generation. I think there is obvious compression of generations, all kinds of skipping.

You might say, well, it says he was "the son of," how can they be skipping generations, wouldn't that make the Bible untrue? No, the issue is, what does it mean when someone says, the son of in a genealogy? I think it means the one from whom they came. Can be the son, grandson, great, great grandson. He is the source. Let me show you a couple of examples in the Scripture. Consider Rachel and Billah, Rachel's maid who she gave to Jacob as a husband.

In Gen. 46, it says:

Gen. 46:19 The sons of Jacob's wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 In Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 21 The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim and Ard. 22 These were the sons of Rachel who were born to Jacob Ϡfourteen in all. 23 The son of Dan: Hushim. 24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shillem. 25 These were the sons born to Jacob by Bilhah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Rachel seven in all.

Rachel had 14 sons, and Billah had 7 sons. The text says they are actually speaking about Rachel and Billah's grandchildren. They both had only 2 sons.

By saying, "their sons", they are meaning, not literally their child, but that they came from them.

Which is what all these genealogies mean. Not so much the child of, but that they come from that person.

Consider Moses' genealogy

Ex. 6:16 These were the names of the sons of Levi according to their records: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Levi lived 137 years. The sons of Gershon, by clans, were Libni and Shimei. The sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. Kohath lived 133 years. The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. These were the clans of Levi according to their records. Amram married his father's sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years.

So the lineage is:

Levi
Kohath - 133 years old (went down to Egypt with Jacob)
Amram - 137 years
Moses - 80 years when he left Egypt

Where are the 400 years?

Also, the levites are said to have 25,000 men. Where did they all come from - 4 or 5 generations?
No! This is simply a compressed genealogy: not all the generations are listed.
Why? Because it's not important!

The key to know is that Moses is from Amram, from the tribe of Kohath, of Levi - that is what's important. Kohath is particularly important to know because they became the Levites closest to the holy things. The lists are selective, and intended to make connections.

Consider the New Testament as well.

Matthew's [record of genealogies] does that as well with Yeshua.

Matt. 1:1 A record of the genealogy of Yeshua Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

It is obvious to us this is a compressed genealogy. Yeshua was not the son of David. But he was the son, in the sense that he comes from his line - that is what they are trying to get at. Why are David and Abraham mentioned? Abraham the first Jew, from whom the blessing would come; David, the king, from whom the Messiah must come.

Look also at the 17th verse.

Matt. 1:17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.

I was studying the Bible with an Israeli, years ago, who had done a lot of Study with the Renewal movement (an off shoot of the Chabad). I had him read Matthew, and as we discussed chapter 1, he just said, "typical Rabbinical style. They are using numbers of generations to make connections"

He saw that using the 14 generations was not supposed to be exhaustive, but rather connective. There are missed generations as you look through the Tenach from the list here. Some people have made a big deal about it, even anti-missionaries, seeing missed generations as proof the New Testament is wrong. But they miss the whole point of these lists, and they miss that Matthew is using them the same way the Tenach did.

They [the genealogies] are not supposed to be exhaustive. They are selective.

Consider the pattern we see here in Gen. 5 and also in Gen. 11.

Genealogy of Genesis 5 vs. Genesis 11

 
 

Adam

Seth

Enosh

Kenan

Mahalalel

Jared

Enoch

Methusaleh

Lamech

Noah

   

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

Noah

Shem

Arphaxad

Shelah

Eber

Peleg

Reu

Serug

Nahor

Terah

 
   

Shem

Ham

Japheth

   

Abram

Nahor

Haran

   

From Adam to Noah, 10 generations, then 3 sons of Noah

From Noah to Terah, 10 generations, then 3 sons including Abraham.

Noah is a type of second Adam, the new father of all people; He is even given the same command, be fruitful and multiply.

The lists are made in patterns of 10, then the 3 sons, not exhaustive, but selective; they show connection and pattern.

Genealogies, in general, are given to show inheritance, or royal purposes, or special authority; like priests or kings - Whoever got the authority - Tracing out authority, not including all generations - Mentioning Notable people.

Let me give you an example of how genealogies in the Scripture can be selective and can show connections that are important.

Are you familiar with the sons of Zeruiah?

Sam. 2:18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle.

2Sam. 8:16 Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army;

2Sam. 21:17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David's rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him.

1Chr. 2:16 Their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. Zeruiah's three sons were Abishai, Joab and Asahel.

Joab was the well known head of David's army, and his brothers Asahel and Abishai were David's mighty men.

But you can see in the last verse, Zeruiah was a woman. Why not be named as the son of their father? Why the son of their mother? The answer is in the genealogies of 1 Chronicles.

Chr. 2:12 Boaz the father of Obed and Obed the father of Jesse. 13 Jesse was the father of Eliab his firstborn; the second son was Abinadab, the third Shimea, 14 the fourth Nethanel, the fifth Raddai, 15 the sixth Ozem and the seventh David. 16 Their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. Zeruiah's three sons were Abishai, Joab and Asahel.

So Why is the Joab called the son of Zeruiah?

Zeruiah is David's sister. Joab is David's nephew.

The genealogy was given so we could see the family connection between Joab and David. He was called the son of Zeruiah, to show his connection to David not to establish who is father was.

So I have, hopefully, made my case that genealogies are selective and the are intended to communicate to us. So what are some of things, from this list of names we read in Genesis 5, trying to communicate to us?

It is not always easy to see, but I think when you compare the Genesis 4 list to the Genesis 5 list, you begin to get a clue.

The Cain list has 7 names versus 10 in the line of Seth.

But both lists have a break at number 7 in their lines. Enoch is said to have walked with God and been taken up; versus Lamech, who is said to have killed a man in vengeance.

Also, the name Lamech appears in both lists, as does Enoch.

Remember, Biblical names repeat themselves all over the place; many people who attack the Bible fail to understand that.

Or, to understand that sometimes the names are not just coincidentally the same, but intentionally so.

Consider the name Lamech. Each Lamech is the only one in either list, to actually say something. Both quote Lamech, but quite different quotes:

Gen. 4:23 Lamech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. 24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times."

[Contrast the Lamech, above, in the line of Cain, to the following Lamech in the line of Seth]

Gen. 5:28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah and said, "He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed."

Quite different speeches. One has killed a young man in vengeance, the other is offering comfort to the world.

We are starting to see a pattern.

Enoch walked with God, versus Lamech who despised life and took vengeance himself.

In the line of Seth, Lamech, sought comfort for the world, In the line of Cain, Lamech sought his own vengeance.

One [genealogical] line, a line of righteousness and godliness, the other a line of evil and wickedness.

Also, the texts have patterns within themselves that reveal some of their purpose. They are trying to communicate something to you by their very pattern.

Compare the two genealogies, do see any differences?

Lamech in the line of Cain:

Gen. 4:17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

Lamech in the line of Seth:

Gen. 5:6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. 7 And after he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8 Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died. ¥ Gen. 5:9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 And after he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Altogether, Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died.

Only the line of Seth contain these long ages. There are no listings of long ages for anyone outside of this line of blessing from Adam (through Seth) to Noah and then from Noah to Abraham.

The [genealogical] ages may be trying to communicate something about this particular people, rather than describing the way life was.

I think it is wrong to assume that everyone lived this long.

No, only those who are in the Godly line, those specific sons mentioned, who are carrying on the image and likeness of God are those that live long.

We are seeing a pattern. This is a list of 10 great men. It is wrong to assume everyone lived to these ages. These men did: Because they were righteous - They were men of God.

These are 10 great men of God, they found long life, as opposed to the evil line of Cain. These were God's profiles in Courage; Great, Godly men who lived among a wicked generation.

And what was communicated through their long lives? To follow God is to have life.

Which brings us to the main person we want to talk about in this line tonight and the big "So What" of this discussion.

ENOCH:

Enoch sticks out even among these 10 great men.

Here, in verse 4, it says Adam died.

If you doubted God's promise to Adam, even, "you shall surely die".

Adam did die. As does each successive Great man of God; but then we come to Enoch.

Gen. 5:21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Enoch did not die; He was taken by God. 'Lakach'.

It's the same word Elijah used to describe what God was going to do to him. The Lord took him.

Enoch found life amidst the curse of death.

Why? As it says twice in the text. He walked with God.

What a powerful statement. Enoch - amidst this fallen world, with death all around him, in a wicked generation. He walked with God and found life.

Enoch walked with God 300 years, he did not die, but was taken up by God. The Bible also describes Noah, Abraham and Isaac as walking with God.

Gen. 6:9 This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.

Gen. 24:40 "He replied, 'The LORD, before whom I have walked, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father's family.

Gen. 48:15 Then he blessed Joseph and said, "May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,

God had earlier commanded Abram to walk with him. And many times in the Torah His exhortation to the Israelites was [for them] to walk in his ways.

Gen. 17:1 ¦ When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.

Deut. 10:12 ¦ And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

By choosing Enoch, Noah and Abraham, he shows that to walk with God is not just obeying a bunch of laws or legalistic adherence. They were men that lived prior to the giving of the law. The law was written on their hearts.

They did not obey a set of rules. They walked with God. It was personal, it was a relationship. And as they walked with God they found life. Just as God promised to Israel,

Deut. 5:33 Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

"To walk" is the common expression of fellowship and obedience with the Lord. It is the command to us today. Walk with God!

We can find life amidst this generation. Yeshua said, I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly.

In the New Testament, we are still exhorted to Walk with God as the apostle John says:

1John 1:6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

So you may ask, what does it mean to walk with God? How can I become a profile in Courage, a great man of God?

Let me close with the words of Marcus Dods (from Creation and Blessing). I think he sums it up well.

(in Genesis 5), only once is the monotony broken; but this in so striking a manner as to rescue us from the idea that the historian is mechanically copying a barren list of names. For in the seventh generation, contemporaneous with the culmination of Cain's line in the family of Lamech, we come upon the simple but anything but mechanical statement: "Enoch walked with God and he was not; for God took him." The phrase is full of meaning.

Enoch walked with God because he was His friend and liked His company, because he was going in the same direction as God, and had no desire for anything but what lay in God's path. We walk with God when He is in all our thoughts, not because we consciously think of Him at all times, but because he is naturally suggested to us by all we think of;

As when any person or plan or idea has become important to us, no matter what we think of, our thought is always found recurring to this favorite object, so with the Godly man everything has a connection with God and must be ruled by that connection.

When some change in his circumstances is thought of, he has first of all to determine how the proposed change will affect his connection with God - will his conscience be equally clear, will he be able to live on the same friendly terms with God and so forth.

When he falls into sin he cannot rest till he has resumed his place at God's side and walks again with Him. This is the general nature of walking with God; it is a persistent endeavor to hold all our life open to God's inspection and in conformity to His will;

a readiness to give up what we find does cause any misunderstanding between us and God; a feeling of loneliness if we have not some satisfaction in our efforts at holding fellowship with God, a cold and desolate feeling when we are conscious of doing something that displeases Him.

This walking with God necessarily tells on the whole life and character. As you instinctively avoid subjects which you know will jar upon the feelings of your friend, as you naturally endeavor to suit yourself to your company, so when the consciousness of God's presence begins to have some weight with you, you are found instinctively endeavoring to please Him, repressing the thoughts you know He disapproves, and endeavoring to educate such dispositions as reflect His own nature.

It is easy then to understand how we may practically walk with God - it is open to Him all our purposes and hopes, to seek His judgment on our scheme of life and idea of happiness - it is to be on thoroughly friendly terms with God.

Things were not made easy to Enoch. In evil days, with much to mislead him, with everything to oppose him, he had by faith and diligent seeking, to cleave to the path on which God walked, often left in darkness, often thrown off the track, often listening but unable to hear the footfall of God or to hear his own name called upon, receiving no sign, but still diligently seeking the God he knew would lead him only to good.