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The Generations of Adam
The Generations of Adam
Genesis 5
 
I want to ask you to turn to Genesis 5 for our study tonight.  I came across a though here in this chapter as I was looking for some of those more obscure passages for the Sunday morning series.  But what I discovered in Genesis 5, although wonderful truths, was not exactly what I wanted for the Sunday morning series.
 
Besides, it’s probably a little deep for the average Sunday morning crowd, so I set it aside for the more mature and developed Sunday evening attendees.  And I don’t know if you will find it as fascinating as I did, but what we have in this chapter really captivated my attention.
 
I have never been a student of genealogy.  I know a little bit about my family’s history and that is enough to satisfy me.  I am much more interested in my spiritual inheritance than I am my physical past.  One of the boys had an assignment one time to talk about their ancestry.  I told them to just put down they descended from a crooked farmer and a drunken sailor.
 
By the way, you did too as did every other human.  All of us root back to Adam and Noah and there really isn’t too much to brag about there.  However, the Bible does place a great deal of value on genealogies.  Both the Old and New Testaments, early on record genealogies.
 
 
The very first chapter of the New Testmanet, Matthew 1 contains the genealogy of Jesus.  Luke records one as well.  In the Old Testament, it is found in Genesis 4 and 5.
 
And as you study the Bible, you begin to understand why genealogies are critical. Ultimately, they lead us directly to the Lord Jesus Christ.  And Genesis 4 and 5 are important because they provide the Messianic genealogy, the line of blessing.
 
But it is also important because Genesis chapter 4 and chapter 5 is the only authentic history of the time from the creation to the flood. Now think about what I just said.  The only thing we know about world history from creation to the flood is found in these two chapters. There is no record of this period of time anywhere else.
 
Now from Biblical genealogical study we know the period of time from the creation of to the flood is 1656 years. We can look down the genealogical record of Adam and discover how long he lived and when he died and by taking into consideration these birth and death dates and length of lives, we can discover when the flood occurred.  We track through Adam and Seth and Enosh and on and on until we come to Methuselah and because Methuselah died in the year of the flood, we can know when the flood occurred. 
 
And any calculation of the numbers provided in Genesis 5 lead us to the year 1656 for the flood.
And chapters 4 and 5 of Genesis are the only authentic history of that time man has ever had.
 
So why does God give us all this information about genealogical lines and family history?  First of all, let’s think about
 
1. The Lessons
 
There are several lessons that flow from this genealogy.  I’ll just quickly list them for you; they speak for themselves and don’t require much explanation.  First, in the genealogy we discover
 
- the significance of time
 
God operates in real time.   Through this one genealogy we are given the age of the universe and the age of the earth and the age of man. We already know that the entire universe and the earth and man were all created in the same week. So we learn exactly and precisely the timetable for the earliest years of the earth’s existence and in one chapter all of the arguments for evolution are wiped out.
 
We also learn from this genealogy about
 
- the amazing life spans of those days
 
The Bible records the record of people who lived to be nearly a thousand years old. Death didn’t occur nearly as often as it does now.  Now as a result of that, this genealogy reveals
 
- the increase of the earth’s population
 
Just using conservative numbers, there could have been as many as 7 billion people on the earth at the time of the flood.  By the way, that’s more than currently inhabit the earth.  These genealogies record an amazing virility.  Just to put it bluntly, the old men who lived back then were studs!
 
Enoch has a son at age 65; Noah had three sons at the age of 500. That's a tremendous span of time in which to produce children, and accounts for the vast increase in world population.
 
So the population rate of that day must have been amazing with the longevity of life and the ability to have children for unbelievable lengths of time.
 
But the genealogy also reveals
 
- the reality of death
 
Eight times in this chapter you will read the little phrase, "and he died”. And every reference takes us back to the holiness of God and what He told Adam and Eve.  This is the judgment of sin.
 
But this genealogy is also given to remind us of
 
- the hope that is ours in Jesus
 
There is a man in this genealogy, as we shall see, who didn't die.  He was delivered from death and escaped judgment for his sin
 
So those are major lessons that flow out of this chapter.  Now the main content of the chapter is the genealogy itself.  So let’s take a look at that also.
 
 
 
 
 
2.  The Genealogy
 
Let me give you a couple of interesting thoughts regarding this genealogy.  First,
 
This genealogy is actually a part of the line of the Messiah.  That’s important because later on, when Jesus is declared to be the Messiah, you can trace his lineage back through these people in this genealogy all the way to Adam.
 
By the way, it also gives a clear line to Noah. Why is that important?  If Jesus didn’t come through the line of Noah, then His ancestors drowned in the flood.  When the flood came, the one man who was in the line that God had chosen for Messiah survived along with his sons. And one of them, Shem, was chosen to continue that line. This is the line of the promised seed.
 
Second, there is no reason to approach this genealogy any differently than you would approach any part of the Bible. There is no reason to assume it's not literal. It is literal. And I believe it is literal simply because the numbers are so specific.
 
If God was talking in generalities here, there would have been no reason to provide these exact numbers that flow all the way through, identifying the age of these people.
 
People try to say, "Well, we know it couldn’t have been only 1650 years from the creation of the universe to the flood. There had to be millions of years and there had to be time for evolution to take place and what about the fossil record and carbon dating and blah, blah, blah.
But when you come to Genesis chapter 5, you are provided cold, hard numbers and real people with real names and specific life spans and actual years that actually add up to 1656 years.
 
For instance, notice the name, "Adam" in verse 4. "And he became the father of Seth."
 
Then in verse 6 you see Seth who "became the father of Enosh."
 
You see down in verse 10 that Enosh became the father of Cainan.
 
In verse 12 that Cainan became the father of Mahalalel.
 
And in verse 16, Mahalalel became the father of Jared.
 
And, verse 18, Jared became the father of Enoch.
 
Enoch became the father of Methuselah in verse 22.
 
And Methuselah became the father of Lamech in verse 25.
 
And Lamech became the father of Noah, verse 29.
 
And Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, verse 32.
 
If I counted correctly, there are ten specific names identifying ten specific individuals in sequence from Adam to Noah. And we even giving the age at which they children were born and how old they were when they died.
Just keep that in mind and look over at 1 Chronicles, chapter 1 for a moment.  Here we have a repat of this same genealogy.
 
Notice how the chapter begins.
 
Verses 1-4
 
There is no variation; there is no deviation.
 
Now turn to Luke 3 for a moment.
 
Luke gives us the same genealogy in reverse order and it is presented as the genealogy of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus.
 
Verses 38-36
 
Same list.  There is no variation in the Chronicles genealogy; there is no variation in the New Testament account in Luke.
 
Turn to one other passage.
 
Jude, verse 14
 
Here we don’t have the full list, but we are told that  "Enoch was in the seventh generation from Adam." Check any list you want to, Genesis 5, 1 Chronicles 1, or Luke 3 and you find, in fact, Enoch is the seventh name after Adam.
 
It is a very precise, literal genealogy that establishes for us a history of the world all the way from Adam to the Messiah.
 
 
Now when you work with the numbers a little bit it becomes very fascinating. We learn from this genealogy that Adam overlapped Methuselah for 200 years.
 
Now let that sink in for a moment.  Adam is still alive 200 years into the life of Methuselah.  That means, there is a high likelihood that Methuselah met Adam.
 
And then, hang on to your socks, Methuselah actually overlapped Noah for 600 years. That means one man,, Methuselah bridges Adam to Noah.
 
Why is that important?  I think that is important because there was no written history of the earliest days on earth.  And if you’ve ever played the game of “Gossip”  you know the original information stays pretty much intact for the first person or two, but beyond that things can really get messed up.
 
That's why God made sure that these people stretched across that whole span of time.  I think it highly probable that Methuselah knew firsthand about Adam and passed it on to Noah.
 
Then we discover that Noah overlapped Shem for 400 years. In fact, Abraham died before Shem!  That means Shem, the son of Noah, could have told Abraham firsthand about the flood.
 
In fact, it is very likely that Shem was still alive, not only during the lifetime of Abraham, but also Isaac and Jacob. That means the son of Noah was alive all the way into the establishment of the nation of Israel.  In fact, according to this genealogy, you only need four people to span all the way from Adam to Abraham.
To span from creation to Abraham, you just need Adam, Methuselah, Shem, and Abraham and you can potentially reach all the way to Jacob. That is extremely important because God was passing down this divine truth.
 
Those who ridicule and make fun of the authenticity of Scripture really need to spend a little more time studying it and seeing what it says of itself.  God saw to it that accurate truth was handed down.  For Abraham, hearing about the creation and flood was like sitting at the knee of his great-grandfather and listening to stories from days gone by.
 
. Accurate truth was handed down. If you look at it carefully, creation appears to have occurred about 4,000 B.C. And here we are 2,000 years after Christ. That's why we say we believe in creation 6,000 years ago. So the genealogy provides for us these kinds of insights into the actual timing and the possibility of passing down truth until the time in which it could be written.
 
And it wasn’t just oral history.  Notice verse 1 of Genesis 5.
 
See that reference to "the book of the generations of Adam"?
 
Now we know the Moses was the human author of Genesis, but it could well have been that Noah wrote down this genealogy. Somebody did. This is the “book”. That word references a document. They may have used scrolls, or some other thing to write on pre-flood. We don't know. Nothing exists that was written because the destruction was so complete.
But the term here means, "something written; a document." This is the document. At some point, it was actually written down, and this is that genealogy that was written down.  So the accuracy at this point doesn't depend on oral tradition, even though oral tradition could be trusted because there was such an overlapping of people's lives.
 
They knew exactly who was who. It was written down.  Notice verse 1.  "This is the book of the generation - the generations of Adam."
 
Go to chapter 6 verse 9: "This is the record of the generations of Noah."
 
Go to chapter 10, and you have the generations of the sons of Noah.
 
Chapter 11 verse 10, the generations of Shem.
 
Chapter 11 verse 27, and you have the generations of Terah.
 
Chapter 25 verse 12, the generations of Ishmael; chapter 25 verse 19, the generations of Isaac; chapter 36, the generations of Esau;
chapter 37, the generations of Jacob.
 
So you can follow the flow of this original history through those generations. Literally, the record of these generations.
 
And so, verse 1 records for us the writing, the document that records for us the generations of Adam.
 
Then we have inserted in verse 2, almost parenthetically, a little snapshot of creation’s sixth day when God created man.  It was on that sixth day God created man. No evolution.  He was created unique and distinct.  He was Adam.  And as the unique creation patterned after God, he knew the blessing of God.
 
Then starting in verse 3 and running down to the end of the chapter, we have the genealogical record from Adam. We’re not going to look at all of this in detail, but I want to point out three individuals in particular.
 
First, notice verse 1 tells us that God created Adam in His likeness.  ."  The only human being to ever bear the fullness of the image of God was Adam.  And unfortunately, when he sinned, he lost that image.
 
Then notice verse 3 tells us at the age of 130, Adam fathered a son and notice the description, “in his likeness, after his image.”
 
Now that is a sad note. He was created in the image of God. Unfortunately, Seth was made in the image of man. Obviously, the image of God is still there, he has something of the character and nature of God in him, but that which is dominant and pre-dominant is not the image of God, but the image of his father.
 
And then we are told of the age of Adam and the time of his death.  Now Adam lived 930 years.  That means if Adam was created as a 30 year-old man, he has now lived for 900 years as a sinner.
 
 
He has now lived long enough to see the accumulated impact of sin. In fact, Adam dies only one generation before the flood. So he would have seen the wickedness of the populated world immediately before the time God decides to bring judgment on the earth.
 
Now we know Adam and Eve had lots of children.  In fact,  all the men in this genealogy were born before Adam died. Can you imagine the heartbreak he must have experienced?  Some of you are heartbroken over one child that has rebelled.
 
Adam fathered children for centuries, then watched as they experienced the pain and struggle and devastation of the sin that he introduced into the world.  He saw it all. He saw all of the grief and all of the personal struggle. He lived with the fact that his second son murdered his first son. He watched as the world became so bad it had to be completely obliterated.  He really knew firsthand the impact of sin.
 
And somewhere in the back of his mind, he remembered that God had told him he would die because of his sin.  God said, "You eat of that fruit and you'll die." It took 930 years for that to happen. Adam's obituary wasn’t written until 930 years had passed. And it says in verse 5 that Adam died, but it took 900 years.  Wouldn't you say God is gracious?
 
Then comes that ominous phrase, “and he died”.  Over and over we hear it repeated through this chapter.  “And he died”.
 
 
Then in the middle of it all, we are introduced to a man in verse 21 whose name is Enoch. And with Enoch the pattern is broken.   We have many of the same details of the others.
 
We are told how old he was when he fathered the firstborn and how long he lived after he fathered the firstborn, but all of a sudden it injects twice - once in verse 22, once in verse 24 - that Enoch walked with God. And as I said, it may be that these others were righteous; we don't know that. But no such comment is made. But in the case of Enoch, it is made. He walked with God. That is a critical statement to make about a man. It breaks the pattern of the previous names.
 
And I love this, in verse 24, "Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him." You know what happened?  One day, in his three hundred and sixty-fifth year, after 300 years of walking with God, he walked right into heaven. He was not. It just says he wasn't around. He was gone. There was no funeral.
 
And what it doesn't say is, "and he died." Fifty-seven years or so after Adam dies, sixty-nine years before Noah is born, in the year of the world 987, he goes to heaven in an Old Testament rapture as an eternal reminder that there is victory over death.
 
Well, verse 25 then says the son of Enoch, "Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech." And we're back into the same pattern. It continues until we reach verse 29.
 
 
 
And in verse 29, the pattern is broken again.
 
Verse 29
 
Why this prophecy about the naming of Noah?
He names his son Noah which means, "rest," or "comfort." It comes from a Hebrew word which means, "to breathe again," or "to catch your breath."
 
The idea is how when you're working or exercising and you're hard at it, and you take a little break to catch your breath.  That’s what Noah was and what Noah did.  He was different from everyone else around.  Like a breath of fresh air, he sent his aroma heavenward.
 
But Noah also brought a breath of fresh air in a world of multiplied wickedness. In a world where everyone else was becoming corrupt, the righteousness of Noah brought into the world a breath of fresh air.
 
And Noah allowed humanity to catch its breath, even if it was only a small gasp of air. But it was a breath we can be glad for. Because it there hadn't been one righteous man, all of humanity would have been permanently destroyed. But there was one man who allowed the human race to catch its breath and survive the wretchedness of that era.
 
Now, I’ve chosen these three men, Adam, Enoch and Noah to highlight this chapter because those three not only mark this genealogy in a very special way, they show us the history of mankind and the promise of the Messiah.
 
 
Adam shows us the power of sin and death.
 
Enoch shows us the hope of conquering death.
 
And Noah tells us of a new day and a new creation that will come after the judgment.
 
And that, folks, is not only the history of the world and redemption. It is your story and mine as well.
 
Like Adam, we fell.  Like Enoch, we are saved through our relationship with God.  And like Noah, we will step out of the ark one day into a beautiful, wonderful brand new world called eternity and it’s all pictured in this genealogy.
 
Let’s pray.

 



Comments

01-31-2015
Terry Tolbert
PRgirl94, I know there is some discrepancy in the numbers, but as I figure it Shem's life span is 1558-2158, Abram's is 1948-2123 and Jacob's is 2110-2257, thus my conclusion about the likelihood of their meeting. You are correct about Adam and Lamech overlapping. Amazing, isn't it, and yet so many never consider it or even think about it! Thanks for your observations and input.
01-31-2015
PRgirl94
"And then, hang on to your socks, Methuselah actually overlapped Noah for 600 years. That means one man,, Methuselah bridges Adam to Noah."

Dude, not just Methuselah. If you calculate it carefully enough, you'll see that Adam lived all the way to Lamech, Noah's father, who would have been 56 at Adam's death.

Also, sorry, but doing your calculations, you'll actually find that Shem did not outlive Abraham and he did not get to live to meet Jacob. Abraham would have outlived Shem by 27 years and while Shem would have been able to meet Isaac, Shem died when Isaac was 48 years old, about 12 years before Jacob and Esau were born.
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